Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Funny Mardi Gras Dress Story

I bought this beautiful baby pink dress to wear to Mardi Gras back in 2001 (this was 1 of the 4 I've worn over 12 or so years). It poofed out at the bottom but was very fitted at the bodice with tiny beaded straps to hold it up - I felt like Cinderella (yeah, an old Cinderella, but it was my dream dress). At the first event I wore it to, Dean and I were walking around when I felt a sudden gust of wind over my right chest. I glance down and see my bra and torso...not what I was expecting to see, really.

It turns out I stepped on the bottom of the dress and it ripped the tiny strap, which it turns out is made of fishing line with beads on it. So the beads are pouring onto the floor while I stand there with half my chest exposed. I calmly pull the bodice back up, then have to walk around (well, not much walking after that - mostly sitting, and certainly no more dancing) the rest of the night holding the fishing line from the back right part of the dress over my right shoulder. It looks like I'm doing a reverse Pledge of Allegiance.

Somehow I made it through that night and took the dress to be repaired. Then I stupidly wore it again to another Mardi Gras a couple of years later. You guessed it - I stepped on it again and ripped the strap - again with the pouring beads and exposed fake boobage. I learned my lesson finally - that dress is hanging in the closet, broken fishing line and all, which is part of why I'm making my own this year.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Psalm 23 for Sewers

I put the zipper in last night, and near the bottom it got a little willy-nilly before I got control of it again, so I figured it'd be all buckled up when I pulled it out, but miraculously it was fine. I said, "The Lord is my seamstress!" (Yeah, I talk to God - see The Cruel Shorts post from 9/14/09) Well that started me thinking, and here's what I've worked out over the past 18 hours. The punctuation and capitalization are from the NIV.

The Lord is my seamstress, I shall not rip.
He makes my darts lie down without bubbling,
he leads my zipper foot close to the coils,
he restores my confidence.
He guides me in paths of good fabric selection
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of stretchy knits,
I will fear no wavy seams,
for you are with me;
your Brother PC-420 and your walking foot,
they comfort me.

You provide a tall cutting table before me
in the presence of my backache.
You anoint my sewing machine with oil;
my bobbin overflows.
Surely sewing mojo and an automatic needle threader will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will sew in the house of the Lord

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nearly There!

Ooh, you gotta watch the lighting in this dress. Notice how in one light the gut is the focus? I see lots of "oh, when's your baby due?" comments coming. Thus I've decided to go ahead with the drape the pattern calls for, but I'll do it in black instead of the same dress fabric like they do. That should also cover most of the center front seam - why'd they put that there? That's the first thing Dean noticed when he saw the skirt lining pinned on in that last picture. Anyway, so happy to almost be done - yippee!

In other news...the muscles are still growing - I've stuck with this working-out thing this whole time except for one day last week when I got dizzy due to poor those palpitations due to too much caffeine. Not cool to pass out in the weight room at the YMCA, but if you're goin' down, at least be muscular about it. If I lose consciousness, I'd rather hear, "Wow, she must've lifted too much on that last set," than, "What is such a poorly conditioned lady doing in the weight room, yo?" And my dear sister sent me a DVD to use with my giant exercise ball, which has heretofore been more of a bouncing toy for Lucas and something to stumble over for Dean.

So this dress will hopefully set off my massive quadriceps and showcase my powerful deltoids (don't forget the fake boobage).

Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting there...

Now this black skirt is just the liner - the real skirt is the same fabric as the bodice...although this makes a nice-looking dress I think. And remember this is for Mardi Gras, so don't freak out over the shiny silver material. And Junior, this fabric is actually psychedelic with the lights shining on it in pink, green, blue, etc., so no sequins will be necessary.

My only real worry is the bodice - it's kind of empty on the dress form (which sort of accurately represents me), so I'm going to have to try different boobage to fill it out. (You know you hate it when your gut protrudes farther than your boobs when viewed from the side!) But don't you worry - I have all kinds of boobage to choose from (see previous post from 2008 regarding "Purpose of a Bra, Part 2").

So I was initially thinking what a thing of beauty this is going to be, but I don't want it to look pitifully homemade. But I just LOVE sewing - the best part is when you finish that seam and press it flat, then look how beautiful it is from the right side - magic! Darts especially - I'll have to do some closeup shots of the skirt, which I finished today. All that's left is joining the bodice and skirt - and let no man put asunder!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Muslin - Done (sort of)

Well, it was sort of a half-ass muslin. I just grabbed whatever fabric had big remnants and stitched them together. I think the pink fabric would make a cute dress, but that's all I had left from the shirt (which I shall review shortly). The green fabric was what I had left after making a pair of pants with fly-front zipper when I was a resident (they're still hanging in the closet). Obviously there wasn't enough to do the full skirt, but I mainly wanted to see how the bodice joined the skirt. I didn't do the "overlay" which is the scrunchy fabric below the bust.

I've actually got the real bodice lined and put together (stayed up till 11 PM last night), and the overlay was done today out of crepe-back satin, which doesn't like to scrunch at all. So that may not work out - it looks nothing like the pattern picture. I'll play with making pleats or something, and if that doesn't work I'll have to get a different kind of fabric for that.

So tonight if the creek don't rise and the gerbil don't run, I'm hoping to cut out the skirt. (Actually, the creek may rise from all the rain we got today.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I Hate the Exploreum

Well, with all the hullabaloo around the gerbil escape and capture, I didn't get to sew last night, which was depressing because I held that out like a carrot to get myself through the Exploreum. I think I enjoyed stuff like the Exploreum when I was in my 20's, but it passed quickly...which is a shame because I had Drew when I was 29 and Lucas when I was 35!

I don't know why I hate that kind of thing. The first time you go, it's so neat (move kids, let Mommy try this first). The second time you go it's just okay (here kids, let me show you how fun this is - now you do it and I'll go sit on that bench). Then when you go back again it's definitely boring (look, if you kids aren't going to play with anything, we're leaving). I'm sure it's because I'm old now, plus I'm also selfish (I need to get home and start cutting out the bodice lining - don't you kids want to go home and play computer games?). And the kids are older now, so they're not as excited either.

So the only interesting thing about places like the Exploreum now is watching the rude children and oblivious parents. Lucas was sitting at a thing figuring out a code for a lock when this other kid ran up and started banging the keys. It's cool to watch and see how your kids will handle situations like this - maybe it's a hint of how they'll respond when they're adults and a coworker bows up on them. When they were little I'd get all upset about it (where is this kid's mother?). Now I let it roll off. Another rude kid ran up between Drew and me when Drew was doing something - we just looked at each other, said "Real nice," and walked away. Learning life lessons at the Exploreum...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gerbil on the Loose

Damn gerbils! I was going to write about how much I hate going to the Exploreum, which we did today since the kids were out of school. But when we got home and started up chores, I noticed the dog was acting funny. Lucas was vacuuming the hallway and Drew was getting ready to take Jake for a walk, but Jake was nosing around the stove like he was tracking something...GERBIL!

We ran to Lucas's room and the cage was all locked up tight, but there was only one gerbil in it. (We shall rename the escapee Houdini.) We then see pellets traveling to the bathroom - I just cleaned the cages and vacuumed Lucas's room last night at 9:30, so he escaped sometime after that.

We then run back to the stove with an empty cage and food, and the little devil sticks his nose out, but of course Lucas reaches a hand out and he disappears. There then follows the most horrendous noise of gerbil running around in the stove. What the heck can he be doing in there? Sounds like an amusement park.

So after conferring with the chef, I did turn on the stove. Lucas almost cried and held his hands over his mouth waiting for squeaks of pain, but then the bugger poked his head out. Lucas exhaled and said "Thank goodness he's okay!" I nearly jumped out of my skin because he was right next to me and covered in dust, but then he ran back under, and now he's climbed back up in there for a toasty nap. (Gerbils originated in the desert, so 350 Fahrenheit may not be so bad.)

If our next dinner has a hint of smoked gerbil, I won't be surprised. Hell, our next dinner might BE smoked gerbil!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American Idolmania is Back!

I missed it last night and haven't watched the recording yet, but tonight the hick blonde from Vonore, TN, reduced me to tears. They showed her jumping off bridges for fun with her friends, then showed her mama's trailer. She said she was doing American Idol because she didn't have "nothing else, except this dress, that I got for $4 at the Dollar Store in Smyrna." That's when I teared up. She wore her $4 dress to the audition and sang a really country song in a really good country voice, and Simon was very kind to her - that made me lose it. So Lucas and Drew were laughing their heads off at her accent and her bad teeth, and Lucas says, "Why are you crying Mom?" I said, "Don't you think it's nice when somebody who doesn't have anything at all gets something really good?"

The next hick guy who got made fun of really badly (he nearly died 3 times in his life, so they ran with that theme) made the boys laugh a lot, but Lucas actually said, "well it's really funny, but it's kind of mean that they're making fun of him."

Maybe he's learned something from American Idol....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fabric & A Day In The Life...

Here's that psychedelic fabric I'm thinking about....It's $15/yard right now, so I think I'll do a muslin (that's like a dry run for you non-sewers; a dress rehearsal so to speak - OH! What a fabulous pun!!) in something I can wear sort of casual. This'll be the time to get the 60's fabric, Liba. Now I'm thinking I also want a mod headband to hold the hair back and some big round blue sunglasses like Barbie wore - what a look.

Here was my day - this is Arby's dinner day:
8-2 Clinic (that means "see patients")
2:30-3 Pick up kids, Lucas does homework in carpool line - God bless him.
3:20-4:10 Home to change to athletic-wear, hem 2 pairs of pants for Drew (alas, no time for real sewing), he starts homework/chores, Lucas has "30 minutes," which is his screen time, & changes for karate
4:30-5:25 Karate at YMCA - I worked out 45 minutes (can you feel my muscles bulging?). Drew stayed home to do homework and change for Scouts - God bless him.
5:30 - Zip through Arby's drive-thru for dinner while Lucas changes into Scout uniform (loves to do that in the car). The man handing me my food says, "I know you - you're Dr. Fun (not my real name)!" Wow, it's only the 2nd time in 10 years I've been recognized in public by a patient's parent. Of course, I just saw him this morning, so it wasn't a stretch.
5:41 - Run in house, change to jeans/shirt while boys unpack food, wolf down roast beef sandwiches. "No talking - just eat."
5:51 - Head to Cub Scouts den meeting and arrive on time.
6:55 - Drive Drew over to Boy Scouts then go back for Lucas's pack meeting.
8:15 - Home with Lucas who gets ready for bed.
8:25 - Commence to cleaning up gerbil shit.
8:40 - Drew home & getting ready for bed.
9:30 - Wine & cheese with Deaney and come to Mama, Stephen King. (Dean even thought to record American Idol for us - God bless him.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Golf and Mardi Gras Dresses

Saw a copy of Golf Digest yesterday - the cover was President Obama kneeling and checking out a shot with Tiger Woods behind him. I just don't know what to make of that. Why is the President on the cover of a magazine other than Time or Newsweek? And why did they still run this after Tiger's indiscretions? Other people dropped him, couldn't the magazine (or the President!) have said, "You know, this really isn't a great time for this picture." Just my opinion...

Now I had a revelation the other night - I will make my Mardi Gras dress! Of course, why not? I have 4 that I've been wearing since 1998 or 1999. My word, do you realize that for 12 years I've worn the same 4 dresses! That speaks to so many things: my frugality, my humbleness, my lack of adventure, my poor fashion sense, but perhaps most ability to still fit in them!

So since there are now pictures on Facebook of the one I wore last year, and it's the same one I would wear this year, I decided to create a new one. I researched patterns on and came up with 2 looks I liked. I ordered both patterns, but today I decided that the keyhole bodice with looped fabric to tie around the neck (the slinky one on the bottom left) is just not for the flat-chested woman. That dress on me would be screaming, "Attention! Attention! Do not be fooled. There is nothing to see beyond this keyhole - it is simply a distraction. Please direct your attention to the mile-wide hips below!" So I'm opting for the halter-top style (top left). I think it needs a slinky drapey fabric to still be sexy, and I found a wild one at Hancock I'll try to upload later.

Of course, this has to meet with the approval of the Grand Poobah, but seeing how he'll be in a wacky costume of his own (and quite possibly 3 sheets to the wind), I think I've got some leeway here. Let me know what you think...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Has Anybody Seen My Sewing Mojo?

I mean sewing is like the FLU! I caught it this past summer and was out for WEEKS with it - I must've made 5 or 6 things before I got rid of it. But I got cured sometime in September right around the time I bought 4 different fabrics and 2 new patterns. Why does that happen? I think a lot of it was that Scouts ramped up with the school year, plus the boys started karate 2 nights a week. All that driving around cuts into sewing time. Maybe I could get a smaller machine to keep in the middle console of my car!

The only plus side of all that was I joined the YMCA so I can work out while they're in karate. And I still read that sewing site frequently, plus I follow a bunch of sewers' blogs. But nothing will depress you more than seeing the Alaskan lady sew 99 items of clothing in 2009. Did I mention she works full-time and has 3 kids? How does she DO that?

So the fever hit me (low-grade this time) again and I procured a sewing machine cabinet and cutting table, which I have assembled upstairs, and last night I MADE myself go finish cutting out the cute pink shirt I was going to make back in August(yeah, ANOTHER pink shirt - not ho-ish this time). I will NOT feel badly that this is sleeveless and everybody on the sewing site is making winter clothes, because I will have finished the dang thing!

And then I can start on the brown twill pants I was planning, the fabric for which is still sitting on the dryer waiting to be pre-shrunk (it needs dusting off first).

(P.S. If you zoom on the sewing table, you'll see that I put the bottom right shelf on backwards - hopefully my clothes come out better than my furniture.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

So last January 1, I rode bikes with the boys and walked on the treadmill. I've started exercising again the past couple of weeks (4 times, to be exact) to get ready for our ski trip in February. Would you like to hear a quick history of our ski TRIPS?
1) Gatlinburg - Dean crashed on that one, not me. He went over the edge of a black diamond and I lost sight of him, but heard gasps from the ski lift overhead and saw many people pointing down, apparently at my beloved. I had to wait till I got down my green slope to see if he was alive or not.
2) Vail with another couple - The men insisted the women didn't need lessons so they took us up to the top and headed for a black. Michelle and I chose an easier route down a blue, but I still crossed my skis and tore up my knee. God bless her, she walked all the way down with me (except when we came down the black diamond on our derrieres). I ended up in physical therapy the rest of the week with a strained MCL. I also ended up with a swollen face brought about by the severe sunburn I sustained by not using sunscreen. My forehead actually hung over my sunglasses and the bridge of my nose blocked part of my vision.
3) Snowmass when Lucas was a toddler - Going down a lovely blue with Dean but lost my nerve on the last run (it's always the last run, isn't it?) and tore up my other knee. This time Ski Patrol came and took me home on the gurney - wheeee! That was the trip where we all ended up with a GI bug too (the kind where you're on the throne holding a garbage can) and didn't know if we'd make it home or not. Did I mention that I fell going to dinner the first night there? Landed on my tush but I was holding Lucas at the time - yeesh.
4) Deer Valley - Prophylactically wearing both knee braces now, I almost hit a tree. I threw myself down before I hit it, but I went backwards and banged my head on the snow. Now I wear a helmet.
5) Beaver Creek - Drew talks me into going through the Kiddie Forest with him because "it's FUN!" The "fun" is lots of tiny moguls and a narrow path between trees that makes it impossible for me to wedge. Thus I gather speed and hit a patch of bumps that throws me off into the woods. I huffed out of there on foot and told Drew, "That was NOT fun and don't you EVER take me through something like that AGAIN!"

Now you see why I've got to get these scrawny legs in shape for the bruising they're about to take!