Friday, December 31, 2010

What A Boring Final Post

Well it's the last day of the year and I have been deliriously happy because I get to SEW again! December was a mess with meetings, lectures, parties, etc., and I didn't get to sew a lick because it was so busy. So today the office was closed but Hancock was open and my sewing machine was ready!

I actually got a few things done. The queue includes MIL's pants, my fleece, my mom's fleece, and then I want to make a shirt with buttons and collar to wear with the new pants I was forced to buy since I didn't have time to sew up a bunch for work. MIL's pants are from the Kwik Sew book, and look what they do with the extra space in the margins! (Yeah, exactly what do I do with that - trace it onto something? Please advise.)

So I got her muslin made and I have to wait till I see her to get it fitted. So I finished cutting out my fleece. I was still in casual mode when I bought the material (now I'm all about my high-heeled boots and corduroys, of course) so it's lilac camouflage with a purple waterproof overlay. I'll wear it on camping trips or walks around the neighborhood.

And the boys were with me in Hancock's, so Drew requested "a jacket like you made Aunt Tracey" from blue fleece that he picked out (Another item in the queue - now do you sew your mother's fleece first, or your son's? A real dilemma!) And Lucas went nuts when he saw all the fleece, so he picked out some for pajamas. Then he asked to get enough to make a pillow. So here's what he made while I cut out my fleece.

And here's what he did with the leftovers - a "pillow for the car" - very creative, that one.

So having accomplished all that, I've called it quits for the evening. Dean cooked a fantastic dinner of steak and mashed potatoes with truffle oil accompanied by a Caesar's salad, which the kids now love. Lucas, who hates all vegetables, ate 2 bowls of salad - joke's on him!

Oh, and I was really excited earlier about Hancock's Funtastic Fleece Contest which ends January 16th, because I figured I'll submit my fleece jacket. Then I read that they're looking for 1) Originality, 2) Creativity, and 3) Construction. So I've only got 1 out of 3. I looked through their "ideas for fleece" thing they give away, and I think they want stuff like that - using a pattern then fancying it up with your homemade embellishments. I got nothing. Oh well...if only that darn teepee was made out of fleece.

Oh, so one thing non-sewing happened that triggered a memory. We were in Gamestop to trade games and there's a man in his 20's on crutches with one foot in a cast, and the other barefooted. WHAT? You can go in a store now barefooted? I realized I didn't see a "No shirt, no shoes, no service" sign there, but wow - that's gutsy. And gross, because it was raining.

So that reminded me of when I was around 10 or 11 and my mom made me go to the grocery store with her (Super Valu). I couldn't find my shoes and she was in a hurry, so I had to go barefooted. I think we did this a fair amount, being redneck children in a podunk town (that has GOT to be the name of a song - I'm writin' that tonight!), but I'm just remembering the shame of it, so maybe it was only once. I remember she stopped to talk to a friend (she ALWAYS stopped to talk to a friend - does that only happen in small towns?) and I wanted to disappear in the floor because I was so embarrassed about my feet. Plus they were dirty from the parking lot, so that was even worse.

Anyway, I'm wondering if that guy today was embarrassed about his wet, dirty feet. Of course, he was at Gamestop with his girlfriend, so I think he made a conscious choice there.

Yep, I can't find any way to segue that into a New Year's sentiment, so just Happy New Year! As always, I hope to exercise more (I think all my treadmill dancing happens in January) and sew more, so we'll see how it goes. I also have Mardi Gras coming up, so that's something else to add to the queue. Back to the machine!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

Well, this is probably the Christmas card for next year, but you'll have forgotten it by then hopefully.

We had a blast in NYC! We did a ton of stuff, but we'll start with the geocaching so I don't have to cut and paste so many pictures. This one was across the street from the Dakota building, where John Lennon lived, and under a very nice arch in Central Park.

It was actually a pretty big one - we were surprised.

There weren't too many muggles around, but I snapped this of Dean as a jogger was coming our way. (I think he looks like a bad guy from The Bourne Identity - scary!)

And we did the NBC tour (Drew's favorite thing in NYC was seeing the SNL studio getting ready for the show later that night) plus went to the "Top of the Rock" for some fabulous views.

Stupid poses, admittedly, but still fabulous views.

Lucas's favorite thing was seeing the Statue of Liberty. He grabbed Dean's leg and said, "Thank you for bringing me to see this!" (Sniff, sweet) He later decided that going in the Times Square Toys'r'Us was the best thing. He obviously likes being shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of people so that you can only shuffle your feet to walk and workers constantly yell at you to keep moving. He also must love getting hit in the face with wayward remote control helicopters, as that is what happened to him. (Dean declared it akin to being in hell...I concur.)

We did the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, then made our way to "Curry Row" in the East Village, I believe, for some fabulous Indian food that's ruined us for our local joint. Drew later decided this was his favorite thing about New York. And I just had to video Lucas walking down a street - that kid skips everywhere when he's in a good mood, and I missed that but caught some sort of hand antics I wanted to remember. Why don't adults walk down the street like this? (Uh, well, they'd be picked up by the police and taken to the psych ward, I guess.)

We went to the Museum of Natural History, rode the subway (another big hit with Lucas), ate NY pizza plus other fabulous food (thumbs-up for Scarpetta), shopped in Times Square, and walked through FAO Schwartz just to say we did it. I also had a few minutes to run in Paron and gaze at the fabric - shout-out to Sheila for hooking me up! I wanted to go in Metro Textiles, but we were in the area on Sunday and they were closed. Shopping for fabric in NY is totally different than running in your local Joann's - I felt like such a novice!

After all that, we came back to the beach to have Christmas with the whole family.

Of course, a family get-together with us means either karaoke or a dance party, depending on the sound equipment, so here are a few highlights, starting with Jester and his sidekick.

Junior and Joe smoldered in front of a full moon reflecting off the water.

And Drew and his cousin grudgingly sang (I use the term loosely) at their mothers' insistence.

Poor Jakey was even forced into the holiday spirit for a few seconds.

So now I'm back to become re-acquainted with my machine and hopefully finish my MIL's pants and my fleece before starting on my mom's fleece. Whew, so much to do - hope you all had a great holiday too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

And One More Thing...

If you happen to receive one of our Christmas cards, let me explain a little. This is what we started with.

And with the wonder of Photoshop and Drew's computer skills, we ended up with this.

So no, I didn't let my kids swim in oil; and no, the dog isn't covered in oil; and no, the water didn't actually look like that. I'm not sure if it's funny, or tragic, or an environmental statement, but our sentiment was that we wish you a tarball-free Christmas. My neighbor's first reaction was, "Oh, it looks how did you put the puppy dog in the picture?" I could tell by her face that she didn't get it, so I explained it and she burst out laughing. Then she showed it to her husband to see if he got it, and his first comment was, "The dog is covered in oil."

I don't think this one will be hanging on lots of mantels.

The Post Before Christmas

Well, this first picture came out too bright so I messed with all kinds of settings to let you see the miracle of the jack-o-lantern face on this Thanksgiving carrot. It came out of the bag like this. Sadly, it didn't make the news.

And here's my sister, Junior, modeling her new jacket - it fits great except for the sleeves being a little long. I offered to make the lilac camouflage one for her with shorter sleeves, but she respectfully declined. Is that a statement on my choice of fabric? Hmmm.....

And I'm 2 lectures and 1 den meeting down, but still have the big pack meeting and karate party to go, plus the trip to NYC. Naturally, the MIL pants and other 2 fleece jackets did not get made yet. I DID actually measure and trace out the pattern for the MIL pants, though - baby steps!

And oddly, I'm having a very cry-ish holiday season so far. Last night the boys and I made hot chocolate and settled in to watch It's a Wonderful Life, and I teared up remembering the first time I saw it when I was about 8 or 9. I remember my whole family piling up in my parents' bed and my dad explaining it to us (at 404 for Jester and Junior). And today, Little Drummer Boy came on the radio, so I turned it up because Lucas wasn't familiar with it (is that a sign of a bad parent, or just a sign of modern times?), and I started tearing up again.

I thought you were supposed to get depressed AFTER the holidays. Well, looks like I'm ahead of schedule for once - merry Christmas everybody!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just Too Darn Busy!

Man, I haven't been able to blog or read any of y'all's stuff (for our non-southerners, that's the possessive of y'all - the plural is "all y'all") because it's just been too darn busy around here. There were a couple more lectures, a Cub Scout pack meeting with an actual police officer who talked about "crackheads" and showed the boys his Taser (then mentioned Tasering "private parts" if you're resisting arrest). That was our best meeting yet!

Oh, and there was a meeting in Phoenix, AZ. I would've asked Auntninn from Living the Spacious Life
for recommendations on a good fabric store, but this was all I saw of Arizona.

Yes, this is from inside the cab.

Beautiful landscaping at the airport! The city looks real nice from the interstate, but my meeting was 10 hours every day so I didn't see much of it. I DID go with 3 colleagues to Scottsdale for dinner at Cowboy Ciao, which I highly recommend.

And my coat WON over at!!! Well, every coat won, technically, but that's beside the point. I get to try out 2 of Sandra's online lessons for free - woohoo!

Anyway, I hope to finish 2 more fleeces and a pair of pants for my MIL from the Kwik Sew book, so we'll see if that gets done by Christmas. Because did I mention there are 2 more lectures, another pack meeting plus a den meeting, and a trip to New York City all crammed in there?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Waiting for the Glue to Dry...

Hooray - she's all finished and the Fray Check is drying! Because when you start out like this:

you are going to need some serious Fray Check. I may actually try the woodworking tool that Robbie suggested on the next one. This is what my elastic sleeve looked like because I was unsuccessful at easing it in the KS way.

So I just ripped it off and realized the non-elastic way was going to have to suffice this time. (Kind of looks like a fabric jellyfish.)

When the glue dries I'll take some action shots, because guess what? Sandra Betzina is having a fall coat contest! (And the winners are drawn randomly- even better!)

I'll leave you with this cotton on a truck...just because I like cotton and it's what we grow down here.

My dad pulled off the highway one time and let us pull a thing of cotton (would that be called a boll?) off a cotton plant in Sylacauga (would that be called trespassing and theft of property?), and I kept mine for a long time trying to think of something to make with it. I wanted to make a Barbie shirt, but you can't really make clothes out of a handful of cotton. Every time I see cotton fields around here I want to pull over and let the boys grab some...maybe I'll just pick some up off the side of the road so as to avoid incarceration.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Would You Like Elastic With That?

Hey Junior, do you want elastic sleeve cuffs or not? I'm taking a break from the Fray Check fumes (thank you Robbie, that's what I was trying to think of), so you have time to think about it. Here's a picture of each:

Here's a closeup of your non-elastic cuff...

and your elastic one.

I hate the way Kwik-Sew does these - that's why I sewed one cuff on without inserting elastic yet - it's just too hard to stretch an 8 inch circle of elastic while enclosing it in the casing then attaching it to the sleeve. There must be a reason they do it that way (and I bet I'll find out when I try inserting the elastic my way).

And you didn't think I made this jacket without my standard zipper problem, did you? It calls for a 26-inch zipper which is supposed to fit perfectly according to the drawings and instructions. Well, mine was 2 inches too long! Of course I have to lop off the top, and you know what comes next....I forget to sew new zipper stops and zip that sucker right off the track. But here's the beauty of separating zippers - you only have to thread one side back on - hooray! (Don't worry, the zipper stops now, Junior.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Stream of Consciousness

This is my neighbor just before his big recital. No, it was just Halloween, but you see I'm not the oddest one in the neighborhood. (You see that, right?)

And a HUGE shout-out to my shoe idol, Sheila, who recommended the Nine West Nuncio to me for pointy-toed bliss. Check out her website, but don't jump out of your chair - she's much more sophisticated than I am and has music on her blog. I love that woman! Sheila, the shoes are divine - wore them to my anniversary dinner last night and they were soooo comfortable and soooo hot! They're SUEDE!

And the fleece jacket is almost finished, Junior, but look at this tragedy. Please note the shiny tip of a needle amid the seamline I'm holding. I broke a needle for the first time in my life - pulled too hard to get it over a thick seam while applying the zipper. At least the machine was fine.

Here's what it looks like zipped - my seams are even! My seams are even! Drew has requested one for himself in blue, and my neighbor (not the ballerina) thought it was a North Face jacket at first glance (probably not at second glance) - could there be a better compliment? I just have sleeve cuffs and collar to finish.

Lastly, in Books a Million tonight I saw the strangest display.

Am I the only one who finds it odd that Justin Bieber is under "Kids' Education" right above Anne Frank and Abraham Lincoln? And I know my sister will be incensed that the Today show is doing a special with Lindsay Lohan's mother tomorrow morning. What up, America?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Getting There!

Only a few minutes till the trick-or-treater's arrive, so here's what your jacket looks like so far Junior.

"I declare," says Mavis, "I know I have that lift ticket SOMEwhere!"

I think you'll likey. Mother's already put in a request and plans to hit the fleece sale at Hancock if it's still going on. All I've got left are elastic casings and zipper - yippee!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween at the Office

Our Halloween was a lot smaller this year since there were no medical students or residents this month. Could it be that they actually avoid rotating with me because they know I'll coerce them to dress up? Here's one of my nurses, who's pregnant...does it send the wrong message that Hannah Montana's got a baby bump?

Here are Dora the Explorer, and Woody from Toy Story - she decided SpongeBob would be too hot.

Our room decor was really realistic this year - watch me mount this horse!

You can check out previous Halloweens at that tab on the sidebar. (I missed my black nail polish this year - I kinda prefer being Cap'n Jack Sparrow to being Cinderella - much easier to roll around on a chair without a giant skirt, and nobody tries to pull the fur off your dress.)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jake Hates Halloween

More power to you people out there sewing up Halloween costumes! I prefer to buy mine, and if we can recycle something from a previous year, all the better! We currently own 3 pair of black pants (Ninjas and vampire), 2 black capes (vampire and Darth Vader), a couple of creepy robes (ghouls) and multiple black tops with multiple colored sashes (Ninjas). (Do you need any sort of Ninja weapon? We have it!)

This is what I bought for the dog last year, but he refused to wear it. Here is Lucas "encouraging" him to give it another shot. What is he supposed to be? A smart blonde! Get it?

Here is how he prefers to wear it - I'm guessing he wants to be a young Santa Claus?

And just for fun, here he is in some others. I think the Jimmy Ruff-et was his favorite (I just made that up - it's a gift from God, people).

But Cap'n Jack Labrador didn't go over too well.

Happy Halloween if I don't see you before then!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why I Love Alabama

Because one day you can go to the woods and enjoy a campout...

and practice your BB gun skills with your Scout friends (note the safety glasses)...

and the next day you can go watch racing boats get ready...

for Thunder on the Gulf!

Oh, and the dress worked just fine with the sensible heels. We even danced on a clear dance floor placed over a swimming pool - never saw THAT before! ("Hey Mary, they're cheering for us - we must be pretty good!" Who knows the movie?)

(I had no idea he could cross his eyes that well...or that I could purse my lips that hard.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We'll Call This Done

Well, I'm feeling a little homemade in these pictures, but the afternoon sun is very harsh and hopefully the room will be darker. I also need to iron it a little more.

I think the main problem is that it's just too big. The black one was really big and I took in huge seam allowances, but I was scared to cut a smaller one since the fabric was different (shantung vs jacquard) and other reviewers had different results following muslins.

The shoulder seams kind of float over me unless I pull them out away from my neck, and I do plan to double tape my bra straps to the dress - pardon me for the exposure! If I had another week, I'd tweak the fit of the back a little more, but I'm so tired of taking darts in that I'm calling it quits.

I'm also opting for the "sensible" black heels that are a little lower and squared off instead of pointy - I'm apparently the only one in love with pointy shoes these days. These are definitely more comfortable. And I guess overall this came out okay - let's not forget that it could've turned out as bad as this!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Which Shoes?

I'm in the home stretch with the dress - this is a fitting before sewing up the basting for the last time - ignore wrinkles! But I don't know which shoes to wear, so I need your input. This is my favorite pair of black heels, though they get a bit tiresome after a long evening.

Don't forget about my roach-stompers - Dean's LEAST favorite shoe, though actually reasonably comfortable. It's kind of bronzey-gold and you can compare it with the black heel.

I don't think the clear one looks dressy enough - it looks like I'm barefooted and I don't have time to get a pedicure! And this gold-ish one - I bought this pair years ago in Boston and wore them once. They got all kinds of comments but the ties came undone and fell around my ankles after a night of walking around. Dean thinks this is the best color but says they make my feet look like skis because they're so long.

The straps may be too much with the dress.

Once my mom helps me with the final stages (and hemming - God love that woman!), I'll post some more pictures and do a formal review at PR. I'm only concerned because the back now is poofy like one reviewer mentioned, and that lady had to take out horizontal darts to fix it - ACK!