Saturday, July 31, 2010

San Antonio

So I packed a book, chapstick, and sunglasses in my carry-on bag for the flight to pick up Drew. What did Lucas pack?

That would be 2 animals to hug, an empty breath mint container stripped of it's label, a play toilet plunger from Mardi Gras, a magnet, a box containing a broken electric fan (handheld), an empty Valentine candy container, and an empty camera case, among other things. I made sure he didn't have any liquids or weapons - you never know with this kid. He begged to bring a half-size baseball bat to play with, but it wouldn't fit.

And here he is in historic Market Square getting to ready to ride the bull. The hat is doing a fine job keeping the Texas sun off his head!

So anybody know any good fabric stores in San Antonio?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We Made a Hat!

Oh, my baby loves his sewing machine! We got it set up on a little desk next to mine and he wanted to put his thread in his own container, etc. Then he brainstormed about "what you could sew besides clothes." His first thought was a placemat. Huh. Then we came up with a hat, because I have a pattern for that (Simplicity 5581). He wanted to make it out of fur (yuck), then black vinyl that Drew wanted to make gloves from. I talked him into leftover fabric from the shorts. (Then he asked what we could make from the black vinyl - "maybe a shirt? Underwear?" Oh dear.)

So he operated the foot pedal unless there were pins to remove, and he did all the machine work except guiding the fabric. He did the decorative stitching on the brim all by himself.

Then he wore it the rest of the night and slept in it. Now he wants to make more to sell in the front yard. You saw that coming, didn't you?

And here are some odds and ends. I stopped at Daphne Fabric and Lace and thought about some pants or a jacket out of this very soft material, but is it ugly?

Okay, never mind, I decided it is ugly for pants after I looked at it again. (1978 called and said my mother wanted her pants back.) It's $7 a yard - maybe if it was $2 like everything else there I'd try something. If you have any great ideas let me know.

And finally, I tried Amy's tip about loosening up tight sleeves on my Jalie top, but it didn't turn out. If they weren't so tight and I didn't need to slash them so far up it might work, but I decided to just chop them off and make it sleeveless. We'll see how that goes.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Birthday Sewing Machine

Well, we did it. We bought the 8-year-old a used Janome 3128 for his birthday (Thanks to Sewista for reviewing this machine!). He's been borrowing my machine to make this big blanket to use as a tent and talked about making PJ's, so I figured why not. Then I worried about how it would go over - will he think it's weird that we gave him this instead of a video game or something? See for yourself:

As soon as he saw the foot pedal on top he knew what it was before I even got it out of the box. I'd say this is happiness.

Here's a sample of his sewing technique - lots of lectures about fingers and needles were given, of course. He does have to learn that this machine doesn't automatically sew backward with the push of a button like mine - that's why he's pushing the back-up lever and waiting for something magical to happen.

Here's his first creation - I see a monogramming business in his future...NOT! I did hear him say, "Oh, now I've got to get some fabric." Maybe I'll let him borrow my Hancock gift card...

Monday, July 26, 2010

I Gave My Love a Mullet...

Friday afternoon Lucas and I were swimming off the dock on a float while Dean cast-netted for bait fish. He tossed a couple of little pinfish our way as a joke - haha, that's funny, you missed. But then he carefully selected a fingerling mullet (that's a baby mullet, but it's bigger than your finger) and prepared to throw. I growled a warning, but it went unheeded and the man has good aim. That fish scored a bulls-eye right on my belly, whereupon I commenced flailing and hollering. (I didn't scream, I hollered - it's lower pitched). My bikini bottom has extra fabric around the waist for storing Twinkies or your muffin-top, and that's where the mullet went. I may have said some ugly things; the white-hot rage I felt makes it hard to remember. I was off the float splashing around to clear him out, and then I realized the current was really strong and we needed to swim harder to get to the ladder. Lucas abandoned the float and got to the ladder first, then I finally made it after hard swimming and hauled the float with me up the ladder.

As I laid the float on the pier, something silver caught my eye. It was the bottom half of the mullet...hanging from the right cup of my bikini top (a split second of "What is that? It CAN'T be!"). Then he started wriggling (rising panic gives way to a full-fledged freak-out...pause to picture woman in bikini screaming and jumping around on dock while grabbing her right breast.)

I finally succeeded in getting him out, and he slipped between two boards in the dock to swim to freedom...I wonder if he swam by the 3 fishermen in the boat at the next dock who were watching the whole thing.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reunion Weekend

Well I had my 25th high school reunion Saturday night. I think I should be feeling old, but when I go to those things I feel like I'm 17 again, minus the anxiety over whether that boy is going to talk to me or if that girl is mad at me, etc. It's just so nice seeing people from your childhood, and all the stuff you did in between is gone. My accent reverts to more southern (or so I've been told, and if you know me you wonder how it could GET any more southern) and we talk about stuff that happened in the 4th and 5th grades. I was amazed how different one classmate looked with her new hair color, but when she started talking her mannerisms came back to me and it was like I had seen her yesterday. That's good stuff.

I drove around town and went by the house I lived in till I was 9. I wanted to take a picture of it but the owners were on the porch...along with several vehicles in various states of disrepair and one up on bricks with no tire. Then I noticed the gutters were falling off and it was in pitiful shape. I thought (just for a split second of course) about pulling up and asking if I could go through it for old times' sake, but then I figured I'd get mugged and they'd strip my car for parts. Maybe next time I'm in town...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New PJ's...For Me?

Well, just PJ shorts, not a whole set. These gray shorts were the very first thing I sewed with my brand new Brother PC-420 that I bought for my birthday a year ago. I made them to wear at Lake Martin so as to have some decent PJ shorts to wear in front of the extended family. Did I say decent?...

I should've said "roomy."

These were a Butterick pattern for PJ pants and shorts as well as a cami, and they were notoriously oversized...which I found out after I joined PR. I mean, I could build a couple of shelves in there to store my Twinkies and Ho-Ho's! They are monstrously big. I could adopt some orphan kangaroos and provide them a loving home. (But I prefer not to.) I don't mind turning over at night and adjusting the blanket, but adjusting the leg of my PJ's to cover my hoo-ha is a bit much.

Thus I made these up in one hour last night. I bought a cheap cotton knit at and used Simplicity 9499 to make these up.

This is a men's small and it sewed up in 10 minutes, with an extra 15 for trimming seams, threading the elastic in the casing, etc. I haven't hemmed them yet - this is a muslin and it's a bit snug, but I slept well last night and didn't moon anybody.

I even wore them today around the house. Hmm, maybe I'll make up some more of these with a smaller seam allowance to give a bit more room. I bought 3 or 4 yards of this fabric at like $1.99 thinking I'd make a cute shirt, but it was a big disappointment in being not very stretchy and not terribly soft...but apparently perfect for PJ's and wear-around-the-house shorts (even if it IS a men's pattern).

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Kwik Sew Shorts - Love 'Em!

This pattern is awesome! I worked on them a little bit yesterday and finished them up today, but you could certainly do them in one day if you're not working around this:

Yes, I had to take turns with Lucas on the machine because it was just killing him not to be able to finish his "big sheet."

What's he making? A tent canopy, far as I can tell, that he wants to mount on a pole over his bed and use Mardi Gras beads to raise and lower it. Uh, okay. So he's been going through the scrap bag pulling out pieces to sew together.

So back to my shorts, this is my first Kwik Sew and I love the instructions. She's big on overcasting seams if you don't have a serger, so I did that instead of pinking. I also used Betzina's method of sewing a bit of selvage in the crotch seam to strengthen it.

Now sorry for the very crappy pictures - I guess that's dust on the mirror, but you can see that I matched the plaid quite nicely in the front. Well, except for the waistband. But the pockets I added from the failed Simplicity shorts match up. I read other reviewers complaints that the real pockets gaped, so I slapped these on. And, look Ma, I made a nice waistband (except for the plaid not matching) - I added a button instead of the hook/eye closure.

And I couldn't match the plaid from the side, plus there was a little gaposis of the contoured waistband, but I can fix that next time - no big deal.

And they fit nicely, but I totally failed to match the plaid in the back - oops!

I love the fabric - cotton madras from Hancock, very soft - and these will go with lots of shirts I have, even the poorly fitting Jalie!

So I'm going to make another pair in a pink plaid Madras, then try a couple of shirts to go with them. Yeah, that's in addition to a lecture on Wednesday, a class reunion next weekend (should I make something to wear to that?), and another lecture coming up. That'll happen!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lake Martin Wrap-Up and New Projects

Chiquita Tracey welcomes you to the last of the Lake Martin memories.

I did get a lot of sewing done that week. Every day after lunch while others were napping or reading, I'd work on something. Let's see, there was Scott's hole in his pocket, Jim's ripped shorts (twice!), Joe's ripped bathing suit, finishing touches on all the lake shirts, my niece's shirt, and Drew's shorts. Yay, I finished them and my mom helped me figure out a new waistband treatment - hooray. (Now I can't remember it.) Here he is wearing them, as well as his cousin.

So now I'm on to some shorts for myself, and I think I'll try these Kwik Sew 3614's - they got really good reviews and MNBarb at PR made like 27 pairs or something! I've got them cut out and ready to go this weekend.

As promised (threatened?), here's a sample of my mother's dance stylings. I think it speaks to what an excellent dancer Jim is that he's wearing shoes and she's barefooted, and yet there is no cursing or screaming.

And with that, my brother and sister bid you adieu! (Yes, he's holding a fireplace broom they were using as a microphone - I believe it was for Elvis's Moody Blue.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Did You Need a Little Pick-Me-Up?

Wanna see some 40-year-olds dancing, then wheezing and clutching their chests? At least the 9-year-old can keep going - the rest of us gave out. Anyway, this is good for a little pick-me-up when you're feeling down or bored. We inherited this uncanny dance ability from our dad, who was prone to falling on the floor and doing The Worm at the drop of the hat...or the Sprinkler, which Lucas has mastered. Our mom has a different dance style, which I shall profile in the next couple of days....oh yes I will!

Daredevils on a Tube

Lucas got thrown off the tube last summer for the first time and apparently lost his nerve forever. He only tubed with the older kids a few times, but he was happy to join Mimi for a very slow ride. He looks really brave standing up, and my poor mother adds to the illusion of speed by appearing to hang on for dear life, but Parker declared he could probably swim faster than the boat was going. (You will note the lack of significant wake.)

After the Sewing...

So this year at Lake Martin we were lucky enough to find a couple of rope swings! These provided hours of fun (plus bruised flanks, sore arms, and back pains). Now, I've lost Tracey's clip - Scott, will you check and see if you have it - but here's a sample of my work:

Elizabeth opted for the easier version, though the level of difficulty in accessing the swing was much higher - you had to traverse a steep slope with pebbles then step up on a tree. Now this was edited for time, as it took her 28 full seconds to get her nerve up, but God bless her for trying it!

I'll post Tracey's swing when I find the clip. (It's similar to Elizabeth's down to the scream at the end). Here's to 40+ year old women willing to laugh in the face of terror and the threat of spinal surgery for the pursuit of adventure!

The Lake Shirts

So here we all are in our trashy lake shirts (S2666), as I like to refer to them. Not necessarily a ho-shirt, but the only one I would wear out in public is Elizabeth's view (my SIL in pink) - much more coverage. I'm on a mobile device in Texas, so sorry for the out of order pics. Obviously this is the back view.

Here we are embracing our muffin tops.

And I did bring the machine to the lake so I could make a top for my niece - thank goodness Jalie (2794) has kid sizes too. Aren't they cute in their matching shirts? The fit was spot on and it went together really quick, so I didn't miss any water time.

Oh good, the nicest picture for last!

Here's What I've Been Up To...

Hello Stranger! I'm back after falling off the planet for a week. There was a lot going on with camp preparations (i.e. manic shorts-sewing aided by my saint of a mother who selflessly cut and ironed and interfaced while I sat at the sewing machine), followed by a week at Lake Martin, followed by more laundry and packing for Drew.

So I have more clips of our fun, but apparently I have to load them on YouTube now because Blogger won't play the regular clips from my camera. Oh well, if you're incriminated in any upcoming videos, rest assured that these are unlisted and not available for public consumption (only public humiliation here at my blog).

And since I'm boarding a plane in one hour, I'll leave you with this and then work on some more later this weekend. This is my brother and sister and the niece and nephew plus Lucas, as captured by Drew on his Flip. You will see that the madness runs in the family - it's not just me.