Friday, April 30, 2010

A Visit to Ely's Fabric Warehouse

Well, I ALMOST met someone from today! Nancy2001 lives here, which is mind-boggling because I just visited her blog last week after reading a comment on patternreview. Her blog had me laughing, but her last post was almost a year ago - I think she needs to start it up again. Anyway, she commented under that last Mad Cow post about possibly standing behind me in line at Hancock's today, and that I looked much younger in person (Nancy, if you see me for real in Hancock's you'll be saying, "Really? ONLY 42?"). Unfortunately, I was still at work, but I BET we'll run into each other at Hancock's sometime - you know there's a sale next week on Simplicity patterns!

Anyway, a belated welcome to Mobile, Nancy, and I was going to review Ely's on patternreview when I get a chance. If you haven't been there, it's in the Crichton area on Springhill Avenue. It takes almost the whole block but parking is a nightmare right on the street - be careful backing up!

You can probably see that this is a big old store - I mean really old - with bolts of fabric just thrown higgledy-piggeldy (wonder how you really spell that) all over the place. There is some organization to it at times - they're stacked up on the floor or hung on the wall - but you'll see when you walk in that the bolts are blocking the walkways - you have to step over them to let people pass right inside the front door.

This is Mardi Gras and wedding headquarters, apparently, because the 2 huge rooms of apparel fabric are mostly filled with specialty stuff. I did NOT find a plain cotton knit to make more shirts today. She did have a beautiful red stretch wool, but you'd have to bury me in that what with our humidity. This is where I'll be shopping when I'm ready to make that bathing suit and my next Mardi Gras dress. I'm liking that sequined gray leopardy print below - what do you think? Perfect for a Cougar.

Now if you're allergic to cats, stay away, because a cat followed me around for the first 5 minutes. But I didn't smell cat pee or see any shredded fabric, so it must be well-behaved. Just adds to the character of the place.

That, and the fact that the owner lady answered a phone call from someone as I was leaving and started yelling into the phone that "I TOLD you this was the wrong number, now DON'T CALL HERE AGAIN!" Now you have a good day and come again - bu-bye!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Momentary Mad Cow...Or Is It?

Yesterday I took Lucas to karate at the YMCA. I sat in the car checking emails for a few minutes then went in and walked on a treadmill for 32 minutes. I said I WALKED ON A TREADMILL for 32 minutes! I did not drop him off then run up to the fabric store to peruse the clearance fabrics. I'm trying to turn the leaf back over (it's not a new leaf) of exercising there like I was doing religiously before the skiing trip.

Anyway, after karate we walked into the parking lot...and my car was gone. There were 2 empty spaces in the shade where I parked, and a row of white cars, but none were mine. My mouth dropped open. How could this happen? (Especially since one of those white cars was an unmarked police car.) I stopped and thought this really can't be happening, the car has an alarm on it - somebody would've done something. Then I thought, my wallet is in the car (in a safe place hidden from sight!). Then I thought maybe Dean came and switched cars with me for some reason. I looked around for his car.

I finally pulled my phone out to call Dean and see what was going on, when I thought, hey, let's look around the parking lot. Sure enough, my car was one row over, facing the same direction, in the shade. DOH!

Well, I got a glimpse of my future today when I visited a friend of my mother's. She has Alzheimer's but has known about it for a long time and is well aware of what's going on. She sent me 2 cards in the mail over the past 3 weeks, but when I walked in today she didn't know who I was. I said, "I'm Lynn - Sherry's daughter." Maybe a little flicker of recognition, then we started talking about my kids and she seemed to remember me. When I asked how she was doing, she said, "Well, I don't know what's going on, but otherwise I'm fine. I can sit here and talk to you like this fine but when you leave I'll forget you were here in 5 minutes." She's told many people that if they ever need to confide in someone about sensitive subjects to call her because she'll counsel and pray with them, then forget the whole conversation. (Good to know your sense of humor remains intact with Alzheimer's!)

I'll share with you the 2 main things on my mind today - 1) would I rather have Alzheimer's or cancer, and 2) if I'm in a wreck today who will pick up the kids, since my mom and Dean are both out of town. Now I'm vaklempt, so discuss amongst ya-selves...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Some Real Slick Britches!

Hmm, what's this? Just the first attempt of mine to do something really different to a pattern. I haven't ever tried French seams or flat-felled seams (I still can't remember the difference) or anything that the pattern doesn't tell me to do, although I did line that glittery shirt and was mighty proud of it. But my first pair of Jalie 2909's showed bumps and bulges at the hip in addition to fierce panty-lines, so I decided to try and line this second pair with a Betzina method. (If that woman said she liked cat turds I'd probably try 'em.) Now of course she recommends this little half-lining for the front so if you sit all day you can stand up without wrinkles, but who the hell cares about wrinkles when your pants are hanging up on your cotton panties (knickers for my UK peeps). So I applied it to the rear....a half-ass attempt if you will.

Well, maybe that's the whole problem I'm having with the wrinkles on the back legs and the pucker at the waistband that I ended up with last night, but I gotta tell ya' - these things slide off and on like buttah! There will be NO panty lines. That's right - nothing to distract you from the hip indentations that I still didn't get rid of...or the leg wrinkles. And I hate that I'm burning out on these because I did spend one whole afternoon working out that lining...about a month ago. (And you can see a month's worth of basting lines on the legs - I tried about 4 different stitching lines to get rid of the wrinkles.)

Anyway, I WILL finish these pants. As God is my witness, they're NOT gonna lick me! As God is my witness, I'll never be pantsless again! (Paraphrasing from Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, of course.)

Weekend Update

Jakey had a pretty good weekend except for the terrible storms that rolled through on Saturday. He saw the bird on the pole in the background and raced through the grass into the water before he remembered that he didn't like to swim, despite being a labrador mix. He said, "I could get that bird if I wanted to, Mommy. I just don't want to." Some geese showed up Sunday morning and he tore after them, then realized they weren't leaving and were honking at him loudly, at which time he hollered, "Oh, uh, never mind. Just wanted to say hello." He was running out on the dock with Dean when a huge bolt of lightning struck over the water and he froze in his tracks, then turned tail and hot-footed it back up to the house in a panic. And every clap of thunder Saturday made him yell, "Hey Mommy, I didn't know if you knew the devil was out here - can you let me in? Hey Mommy? Daddy?"

When we got home I started cutting out Drew's shorts and reading over the instructions. This Simplicity pattern has the most messed up way of putting in a zipper, so I'm adding the fly pattern piece to the center front and just cutting it out as one piece so I can do the usual Betzina way. Does anybody actually follow these instructions for fly-front zippers? I'm curious!

And sorry, no SNL links - we went to bed early and I didn't see anything funny enough to link in the first 30 minutes. If I Hulu it and find something worthwhile I'll let'cha know. But put next Saturday on your calendars because BETTY WHITE is hosting - oh MY!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pattern Orgy

Hancock was having a 99-cent McCall's pattern sale - no need for a coupon which is never the right date you need it! So of course I had to swing by and check it out. Well I was deciding between 2 shirt patterns when it hit me - they're 99 cents apiece (normally $15)! Thus began the orgy of pattern buying. I've got six new ones for shirts, cargo shorts in 3 lengths, 2 different swimsuits, and even a man's shirt (Dean is trembling with, what is it... excitement and anticipation? Oh... no, it's fear and dread.).

So Dean called me a pattern nerd for reading through instructions last night while watching TV, but I gave it right back by pointing out that I sat with him through 3 hours of the NFL draft the night before (Who knew Tebow would go in the first round as the second quarterback, ahead of Jimmy Clawsen??)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Sick of Idol

These people are so Bo-ring! Everybody should've gone home except Lee, Mike, and Mama Cass....I mean Janis know who I'm talking about, I forgot her name. Their ensemble songs are boring, their Ford commercials are boring, and I finally made poor little Lucas go to bed at 9:05 when it was obvious they weren't going to give the results till really late. (Drew ran into Lucas's room screaming with joy when Tim got the boot - they'd agreed they'd scream together if he left.).

Two Lucas syntax errors this week - walking in a building with two entrance signs, Lucas says, "Mom, I think we entrance over there." Cute. Then regarding corndogs (or as I think of them, puke on a stick), he says, "Have you ever noticed how they taste horrible when you get close to the stick? Wood plus dog equals horrible." (Clever and good at math, too!)

I'm also sick of trying to fit the Jalie 2909 pants - I stitched them up for good and basted the waistband on, which nearly reached my shoulder blades in the back, so I shall move it lower and try again tomorrow if I have time. These should be long enough the fabric is fabulous, and as long as I'm moving my legs nobody'll notice the wrinkles on the back. I'll just dance constantly - nothing new for me.

That reminds me that at a company party a couple of years ago, an administrator commented to my nurse about my supposed...uh...lack of sobriety, to which my nurse replied, "Oh no, she's not drunk. She acts like that at work all the time." (We have fun at work.)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iron-On Info

Sheila and my sister asked about the iron-on T-shirts. I found the "Iron-on Transfers Inkjet" paper at Office Depot in the paper section (with the journals for some reason). It's about $15 for 6 sheets that work on light shirts, or a dollar more if you're using a dark T-shirt. You load one sheet at a time in your printer and then print whatever you want - images from the web, pictures you draw on Paint, etc. Don't forget to reverse what you're printing first - we forgot to do that for Drew so it came out backwards the first time - he just put it on the front of the shirt and put the correct one on the back - haha. You iron the shirt first to dry it out completely, then iron on the picture for about a minute and a half - instructions are in there. After it cools peel it carefully and don't wash it for 72 hours. Voila!

The Olive Fabric Comes to Life!

Oh - this is officially my favorite thing I've ever made (a Jalie top I'll review when I can get some decent pictures)! I love the fabric and the shirt style is so CUTE! I wore it at dinner last night (Dean cooked a new dish - marinated tofu in peanut sauce with a touch of jalapeno over Asian noodles - yum!) and I'm wearing it for errands this afternoon. It sewed up really quick - about 4-5 hours over 3-4 days which is fast for me. I feel like Katie, who sews one or two items every day! (So yeah, not really like Katie, but kind of like Katie if she was hypothyroid maybe.)

Now, it's a rayon lycra blend from All About Sewing, my local store, so think pantyhose. That's what it felt like when I was sewing it, and my machine found it quite delicious. The first time it ate the fabric I thought I broke it again because it shuddered and gave me a "safety mechanism enacted" message. Luckily it had just swallowed a lot of fabric, which it regurgitated uneventfully, but that happened enough times when I was near the edge of the fabric that I started sewing seams in the middle.

I've decided I'm not a big fan of these particular pants anymore, though, because they seem to have shrunk now and are too short. The flare at the bottom also looks weird. That may be my fabric, because I still have the 2nd pair I was working on that I lengthened and I'm still loving them - just need to hem and wasteband them.

Okay, well that's it. I don't have anything funny or insightful to say. Oh, I was going to comment that this top seems to work well for the endowed as well as the bony. The gathering at center front suggests something's rising from the barren landscape, even though there's no cleavage to see. How can that be? If you're new here you may have missed the secret of my success. Over and out.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Some SNL Clips

This one's from last week with Tina Fey - a little grossness with the caramel but otherwise fit for all viewers (about 90 seconds):

This happens in our family a lot (kinda funny, not offensive, few minutes):

Another ESPN episode sponsored by a feminine hygiene product - totally offensive, but oh-so-funny (5 minutes)!

Okay, the last and most offensive I guess. These skits with 4 friends catching up are always wrong (and funny), but this ending was unexpected, too. You've been warned! Do NOT watch this unless you're related to me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

These Children Aren't Right

Well, here's our Saturday. I dragged them to the fabric store to pick out material for summer shorts - I'll give it a shot with the ONE pattern Simplicity makes for men's/boys' shorts. These are the fabrics they picked out (yes, my children are boys):

The one on the left is Lucas's. He loves anything tie-dyed and I have a feeling he wants to wear this with his tie-dyed T-shirt. I pointed out a cute fabric with multi-colored skull & crossbones, but he wouldn't have it. The fabric on the right is for Drew. I pointed out a neutral camouflage and a blue fabric with guitars on it, but he wouldn't have them. What're you gonna do? They're not asking for piercings and tattoos, after all.

When we got home I forced them outside where Lucas demonstrated his engineering know-how by rigging his broken-down John Deere tractor with an old carseat so he can ride it. (Maybe he should get a job with Toyota!) Now those are both from when he was a toddler, but the tractor is still the most popular item in the garage. (Note the sad face because the chain broke and he can't pedal it anymore, poor baby.)

And here Drew demonstrates his ability to do 2 things at once without a trip to the emergency room. (He obviously inherited his father's genes when it comes to not falling down.)

And finally, we've discovered the fun of iron-on transfer paper from Office Depot. Lucas found downloadable iron-ons for his favorite cartoon (thanks, Cartoon Network!) and after weeks of begging I finally picked up the paper. Now I know how the photo places turn your items into personalized ads - I'm off to find a nice family pic to iron-on an old T-shirt!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Sewing Machine Ref

I have a resident rotating with me this month who's trying to sew her daughter some dresses. She told me she took a class years ago because her mother made her, and she recently bought a Singer for $80 at Target. It seemed to be broken, though, because it would only sew a few stitches before jamming and breaking the thread. She actually hand-sewed a simple dress for her daughter when the machine broke. I told her to bring the machine to clinic and let me have a look before she took it to a shop (not that I'm a mechanical genius, but she didn't know what the feed-dogs were and said the top thread wouldn't pick up the bottom thread, so I figured we had a user-error).

So she set it up today and I saw she had the tension maxed out. She was also using the minimum stitch length. I fixed the settings and asked her to do a little stitching on the coverlet she's making. She put the bulk of the material behind the machine and fed it under the needle towards the front. (I didn't notice this because I was signing something, lest you think me negligent). When I did turn around I saw her sewing while pulling the fabric towards her with all her might! No wonder the machine was jamming! Can you imagine? (For non-sewers, the fabric feeds through from front to back.)

I immediately exclaimed "What are you doing to your poor machine?" (I didn't yell this, I've never yelled in my office.) I shooed her away from the poor Singer and told it I would never let her fight with it like that again. I let it know what a good and brave machine it had been, but that it's troubles were over. After some consoling and coaxing, the poor baby sewed a fine straight seam for me, then sobbed with relief. The resident looked on with amazement that the fabric literally walked itself through the machine while I gently guided it, not having to pull and tug. I let her sit down again and asked her to demonstrate the proper sewing technique. She actually finished sewing the thing before the first patient walked in the door, and was beaming with pride.

[Disclaimer: No patients were harmed or left waiting during this clinic.]

I did ask her permission to post her picture and to use it (like Katie's EKG pockets) in a future lecture, and she acquiesced after being threatened with a failing grade for the rotation....uh, I mean she was psyched about the other residents finding out that she sews! (I also told her that her mother should get her money back for those sewing lessons!)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Two More Lucas-isms

Last night at bedtime Lucas told me that a classmate got mad at him for touching her chicken nugget. He said it was just an accident; he hadn't meant to. I told him touching someone's food can never happen accidentally, so was he leaning too close or playing or what? He fessed up that he was showing her something (a trick to do with your nugget?) and touched it, whereupon she ran to the teacher and told on him. He claims not to have heard what the teacher said (selective deafness?). I didn't buy it and gave him a stern lecture on germs, manners, etc. This morning he complained of a stomachache after breakfast, which I also didn't buy, and sure enough, right before I dropped him off at school he said his teacher might be moving his desk away from the girl today. The story always comes out eventually. (But there were no repercussions after all, so it was apparently an inconsequential poultry molestation.)

Also tonight after the Scout dinner, I thought he was asking me about the difference between banana pudding from 2 different restaurants, when he was actually asking about the difference betweeen 'nanner puddin' and bread pudding. When I figured that out with an exasperated sigh, he said, "I'm sorry, I thought we were on the same page." Now where did he hear the page analogy? (My page usually has the heading "Mad Cow.")

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Back Home...

What a lovely week at the beach, besides a couple of days of chilliness and overcast-ness. Here are some of the photos (sorry the first one is dark, and the others show more detail if you click on them...not that you want any more detail since we're not wearing makeup):

My sweatshop - how nice to sew in a room with a view of water where you can throw the door open to catch a breeze!

But my poor baby skipped stitches and didn't want to zigzag too well on my sister's shirt.

It still turned out okay, though she didn't want to pose without makeup...

Okay, I talked her into wearing sunglasses and posing...

Hey, Tracey, I missed the fact that your right shoulder is higher than your left (unless you were posing that way). Perceptive seamstress I am, huh!

See, my hips aren't really that wide - I was just posing that way. (It's my favorite pose.) This is the pink too-young-for-a-42-year-old shirt I made. The fabric was WAAAYYYYY too stretchy and I had to take about 3 inches off the side seams. Wish I could've taken some out of the center front, but that was cut on the fold, so things were not as snug as I'd like there. (But just small things that don't cause a lot of commotion when they're dangling freely, so no biggie.)

I actually kind of like the back - the top part is made of two ties that you knot and the bottom has a little keyhole where the ties are. Kind of cute. I even remembered to sunscreen that place!

And it wasn't ALL sewing - we did have some fun, as evidenced by the hole to China dug by Lucas and Parker, and the 3 tiny boys on the tube far in the distance screaming for their lives under what appear to be very stormy skies (they weren't, Mother, relax; though that brings back the memory of you running down the pier at Lake Martin last year screaming "GET OUT OF THAT WATER!!!!" when it was lightning. Good times, good times.).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Toes and Tops

Well, it was a yucky rainy day yesterday, so we spent most of the morning in Target. (Sometimes an unfamiliar Target can be as interesting as the beach.) I picked up some nail polish on the way to check out, and painted the tootsies when we got home. Later the weather cleared up and we all sat on the dock while Dean fished. I commented that I didn't mean to get such an obnoxious nail color (Hot Magenta - rrrrrrow!), whereupon Drew declared that painting one's toenails "is like painting garbage cans - you can try to make them look pretty but they're still garbage cans." Don't my kids say the sweetest things?!

In sewing news, I'm thinking of using that pink knit from Hancock pictured on a previous post (didn't have enough for my sister's tshirt) for Simplicity 2666 view A (alas, I can italicize with effort on the iPhone, but I can't link). Suffice it to say that it's a tank top with ruched bodice, spaghetti straps, and lower half that drapes to extended points past the hips. I was worried this was not appropriate for a 42 year old, but I justified it with my usual argument: "I'll wear it over a bathing suit at the beach." I just don't know if I want to get my hopes up for my broken machine by cutting something out that may not get sewn for weeks....

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Boating, Tubing, and Sewing...or Not

Oh, the sadness of having company for spring break! (No, not the having of the company, but the leaving of the company.). My sister and nephew came down to the beach for a couple of days, and since they left we've been sitting in the corner crying. (Well, that and catching up on laundry.) So I told her I'd make her a shirt while she was here and I brought my sewing machine and a bag of stuff over here and set up shop downstairs. Then we trekked to Pensacola for fabric, but JoAnn there was a huge disappointment. They only had 10 bolts of knit material, most of which were kids' prints. The rest were fall prints. They don't have a Hancock (what?) so we had to go to Hobby Lobby, where they had a whopping 8 bolts of knits. She picked out one there and I commenced to sewing later that afternoon. Well, turns out my machine is actually broken from the jeans zipper teeth encounter, so it proceeded to skip stitches and zigzag intermittently. My heart is broken!

I finished it as a wearable muslin since it fits, but I plan to get her better fabric and a well-sewn shirt after my machine is repaired. So you see that the sadness over my machine combined with my failure to deliver a fabulous shirt and the funk over their departure has put me in a depressed state of mind. Maybe cloroxing some toilet bowls will perk me up!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

"I Got a Fever..."

Drew ran a little fever before we left for the beach yesterday and pulled a classic line out of his growing repertoire. He asked me if we had any cowbell. I said, "Huh? No, we don't have a cowbell.". He said, "Cause I got a fever...and the only more cowbell.". I should've seen that coming. (Right here is where I'd put a link to the SNL episode where Christopher Walken needs more cowbell, but Im on an iPhone, so you'll have to google that yourself if you missed it). Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Hooray! I finished them at 6:45 AM by hammering in rivets in the garage so as not to wake everybody else. The only stinky thing is that I ran over zipper teeth while trying to put the buttonhole in (don't ask why zipper teeth were there; you know my previous zipper problem) so the machine doesn't make a buttonhole anymore - whoops! So a little visit to the store is in order, and I can wear my jeans to show the owner - she's the one who hosted Sandra Betzina last week. And yes, I did wear the jeans to dinner last night without a button...which is actually a good thing when you eat too much moussaka. I may leave it off permanently.

So anyway, off to pack for Spring Break vacation at the beach. I'm making my sister a shirt, so I'll get pictures of her in it hopefully, but won't be able to upload them till I get back. (What do you mean you want to go to the beach? We've got a SHIRT to work on!)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

DJ Zipper and Rapper-17

Word to Drew for the videography, and props to my man Rapper-17 (picked the name himself) for joining me on the flo'. Remember my little statement at the top about being odd and sometimes inappropriate? I think it crossed into weird today, but you'll forgive me I hope. I just wanted to show how much talent DJ's need to do that scratching - we had to do a couple of takes because I was off the beat, thus the poorly edited version. Anyway, shows how well these jeans are made that I can play the zippers like that with no popped stitches, huh! (Ignore the carriers that aren't sewn down yet.)