Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wahhh! Wahhh! Wahhh!

This is a muslin. This is only a muslin. This blog is conducting a muslin of the Vogue 8379 Wrap Dress. If this had been an actual dress, you would have been instructed to proceed to your nearest department store where actual fashion is sold. This concludes the muslin of this blog.

It started out so promising. I like the look of the bodice - not showing too much cleavage, uh, I mean ribs.

Oh, I'm a little cocky even - this is my first real collar!

So how did I turn into a portly 60-year-old in the very next picture?

Well, there are the stripes of course. The salesgirl warned me I should run the stripes vertically instead of horizontally when I bought the fabric. Lucas told me I looked pregnant when he took the picture. "Big fat belly," he said, patting it. This picture tells me I am not dress material. I have legs meant for pants.

And I know I'm doing the ties wrong, because one tie goes to the floor. (I could take Jake for a walk and tie this to his collar instead of using a leash.)

So I tried wrapping it all the way around and that actually looks better because I think a belt is needed to hide the front seam - it looks less dumpy that just moderately dumpy instead of extremely dumpy. Man, how can I be so skinny in my head and look so big in this picture? Look at my boobs - I look like my grandmother!

So I know a really big reason is that it's too big. I bought the size 16-22 for some reason, but wanted to cut a 12-14 when I measured myself again. Doh! I thought about buying the right size, but I don't really think this is me, even with cute non-stripe fabric. The dang label says it's for every figure type EXCEPT the triangle, which is a euphemism for pear. And don't even get me started on the length of the skirt. If I hemmed it just above the knees and cut out some of the skirt fullness, things might work out between us, but I'm just not feeling it right now. (Maybe I'll see if my mother wants it, since she already IS a portly 60-year-old.)

OHHHH - now you know I'm just kidding, Mom! A good comedian always ties his last punchline in with his first joke, right? And P.S., if any of you ladies says something nice other than, "Your shorts are really cute in the 2nd and 3rd pics," I'll know you're lying, so let's keep it honest. Negative comments can't hurt me worse than these pictures do.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Now This is an Obituary

At first, I thought what a ridiculous obituary. Almost 2 full columns in the paper with sentences like, "Over the years they [the deceased and his wife] have had many dogs and innumerable cats in their personal care." Really?

But then it was like reading a book and getting to know the guy. "He was an indefatigable shopper at garage sales. He will be sorely missed at Hudson Salvage. [Are you serious?] Ready for every emergency he had one of the largest private collections of flashlights, batteries, chainsaws and other supplies. [He hasn't seen my father-in-law's barn!] He was rather famous for giving unsolicited advice to his tenants, merchants and friends. We recently found in a file a letter to PetSmart recommending a different way to package cat food."

By then I was hooked. There were paragraphs about his philanthropy to the Boy Scouts, local university, and various charities. "Other than one trip around the world on his way back from service in Vietnam he never took a vacation." Then the one that made me laugh out loud, "He had many long term business partnerships with various prominent businessmen and women all of whom can attest that he never arrived to a meeting on time, contending that he was 'born late' and had never been able to catch up."

When I finished, I felt like I knew this guy. Somebody did a really nice job of writing this obituary - he was obviously well-loved. That made me think of my dad. We didn't do anything special with his obituary, but we spent some time thinking about the headstone. (My first thought had been, "He stopped loving her today" from the Conway Twitty song, but I was overruled.) We came up with "Our fun dad. Adored by all for his humor, he shaped our life with his love and child-at-heart nature."

Man, I hope somebody will write something good for me when I die. Something like, "She couldn't match up her stripes consistently, but God seems to have put her in the right place at the right time for a couple of people." That would be nice.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fleece and Gold Lame

I had time to run through Hancock's in Daphne today, but I still couldn't decide on fabric for this Kwik Sew jacket (3813) that I want to make for my sister and myself.

It calls for a fleece with an optional overlay of waterproof fabric or some heavy woven. Well, here are the choices in a neutral fleece that could be worn with jeans in my opinion:

And here are the choices in waterproof overlay:

Do you see my dilemma? The picture shows a cute contrasting fabric, but I can't put any of these together. Again, I have no vision, so if you see something good please tell me. (Don't think I missed the gold lame-looking fabric - I already held it up to the fleece - it said, "Hey Babe.")

And I'm still plugging away on the dress - I got the sleeves put in flat (thanks Kid - it feels better to have permission!) and sewed one cuff up. Plus I cut everything else out but the last skirt front. Yeah, I cut some here, sewed a little there, cut a little more, etc. It's ADHD sewing with plenty of fabric. Look how big this dang skirt front is - this is just one side! Other people cut out some of the fullness, but it's a wrap skirt and I don't want to overdo it on my first try and end up flashing the hoo-hah on a windy day.

This took up my entire cutting table - I had to rearrange the rotary boards! Anyway, tomorrow is karate, Scouts, and apparently now Robotics Club, so I see very little sewing in my future. Wasn't it a lovely Monday? (And I actually did 20 minutes of Pilates tonight!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stormy Sunday

Well, I didn't get the dress finished (yeah, like THAT was really gonna happen), but I did get the bodice underway. I had to hem up my shorts first and put a button closure so I could wear them today. Then I had to sew a patch on a Scout shirt. THEN I started cutting out Vogue 8379. I got the shoulder seams done and the ties basted on the front, but I really want to set the sleeves in flat and it tells you to do side seams and work on sleeve cuffs first. Then the power went out so that was the end of that. This is what I was working around before the power went out.

Jake is terrified of thunder and wanted to jump in my lap but had to settle for a head in my armpit while I sewed. Funny dog.

So did any of you set the sleeves in flat? Kid and Sue, I know you made this - if you happen to be reading, did you follow the instructions?

Oh, we also saw the comedian Brian Regan tonight for Dean's birthday. He's hilarious and he's also family-friendly, so take the kids. Here's a little clip of a bit that he did on request at the end. I've never seen a comedian come back and do an encore, and it was all requests. (That's also from Youtube, not my phone - I'm a rule follower, people!)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

iPhone Potpourri

Well this was going to be 2 cute things Lucas said, but my iPhone had pictures I meant to upload weeks ago! Let's get started:

I took the boys to Sunday school last week at the Baptist church for the first time (I was raised Presbyterian). When we met back at the car, Drew told me he had donuts and soda and played games the whole time...more like a get-to-know-you class I guess. Lucas was terribly depressed and said he was the only one who didn't bring a Bible, he couldn't find the stuff they were supposed to look up, and the teacher called on him twice but he didn't know the answer. (Now come on teachers out there, let's not embarrass the guest on his first visit! For all you know his parents are Vegans...uh, I mean Wiccans.) We got back home and I realized we needed bread, so I asked the boys if they needed anything from the store. Pitiful Lucas said, "You can get me a jar of happiness." Wowzers - I've traumatized the kid!

The second cute thing was that he had to take a sack of things that described him to share with his class. He put in a clay bear he made with the babysitter and said, "This shows my artism."

Now to the photos. Lucas asked if we could sew before bedtime tonight, then proceeded to lay out plans for shorts, a visor, and a bag. We had 10 minutes, so when he found out we only had time to lay out a pattern and cut fabric, he opted for slippers made on the fly from leftover teddy bear fur. He cut it up willy-nilly then wrapped it around his foot and said it was harder than it looked. We decided on 2 seams and we may attempt elastic later to hug his ankle. This is what you get in 10 minutes:

Drew got his braces off today - hooray and thank you, Jesus! No more wondering what that is stuck between his brackets and droning on about rubber bands and swishing with Act.

This is how pretty the waistband is on the Kwik Sew shorts. So much nicer than the New Look and Simplicity shorts!

When we were on vacation we ate at John Besh's restaurant at the D-Day Museum in New Orleans - it's themed to the years of WWII. Here's my tomato bisque and grilled cheese (with pesto dipping sauce, I guess).

And here's Lucas's mac & cheese in a metal lunchbox, complete with toy soldier. He kept the box and takes his snack in it. The only thing it lacks is Steve Austin's picture (wonder why haven't they remade the Six Million Dollar Man?).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hey, I Got Something Done!

Well what a productive weekend! I got one lecture finished, got all the kids' school stuff completely done, and actually sewed up these shorts minus hemming and buttonhole.

I cut them out 2 weeks ago and forgot that I cut the pockets on the bias this time. I've been looking at RTW madras shorts and this seems be the way to go. (It's funny, since I started sewing a lot more I'm noticing more details about my patients' clothes - ooh, those jeans are topstitched with white thread! These pockets have zippers on the side!)

I even matched up the plaid in the back! That involved lots of cutting and turning and tweaking, but look what a nice chevron I have (Dean didn't get it when I pointed it out, he thought I was gesturing rudely).

Now I have decided to shorten these up.

But let's not go this high - this is getting cellulitic.

So I've thought about some things the past week. I tend to dress very mannishly, then I get all depressed that I don't have any sexy feminine clothes, so I'm going to try and do a dress next. I was thinking about this one, but if anybody has suggestions for something easy, feel free to chime in. I don't like ruffles or poofy sleeves or plunging necklines, so this seems to fit the bill, plus it's a hall of fame pattern at PR.

I got a striped knit for $1.99 to play with, but I'm a little worried about a knit over this derriere. There's always Spanx, but then it's still clingy, so do I need a lining? Bleh! So you ladies who sew knit dresses - do you line them or wear a slip or what?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Quick Laugh

Man, I feel like I'm on a merry-go-round and my blogging and sewing are sitting under a tree watching me spin out of control! School is starting, I have 4 lectures in the next 2 1/2 months, and I'm the new assistant popcorn person for the Cub Scout pack (what the hell?!).

Needless to say I haven't gone back in the sewing room except to put a new button on a school jacket and sew up a ripped seam. I'm having withdrawal! But while I was plugging away at my Powerpoint presentations and filling out CME forms, Jake gave me a light moment. He spotted a critter outside the window that drove him mad - turn up your volume! And I don't know why he cracked at the end, maybe because I gave a name to the object of his fascination. Maybe he thought it was a tiny puppy or a cat...then he realized it was the hated...the despised...SQUIRREL!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I Hear the Train A'Comin...

We avoided the pain and suffering of flying home and came back on the Amtrak! No security lines, no limits on what's in your carry-on, no rude stewardesses to deal with - pure bliss! Slow, plodding bliss, but bliss nevertheless.

We arrived at the station for our 11:55 PM departure (well, we really left at 1:30 AM, so don't take Amtrak if you've got a train to catch - oh! I haven't seen a pun here in a long time!), and we stood outside as the train approached because it was so exciting (Scott and Tracey: Daddy got it wrong with airports - we should've been at the train station). And look at the sweet girls with signs waiting on their grandmother! Oh, but wait, that train's comin' in hot - back up Lucas! Oh, that's a freight train, never mind.

It did arrive a little late, and they let us board about 10 minutes later.

We had a sleeper car, so Lucas demonstrates climbing to the top bunk with his luggage.

He also demonstrates the duct tape wallet that Drew gave him (that Drew spares no expense for his brother), and the harness that keeps you from falling out of your bunk in the event of a sudden stop - nice!

And here Drew demonstrates the recommended way to take a shower - sit on the toilet and hold the shower head in your hand. Right...let's just say if you weigh more than 90 pounds you will not enjoy this bathroom.

But the couches were comfortable for sleeping, the food was good, the staff was exceedingly friendly, and you can work or read or make silly videos while traveling home with no worries (don't worry about arriving on time either).

Amtrak - an experience of a lifetime - put it on your bucket list today!

A Nice Mariachi Band

This was a restaurant along the River Walk in San Antonio. The band was excellent, and the guitar-playing was astounding, but I was mostly covetous of their pants. I want to sew some silver buckles along my seam line like that. Maybe I should email Sandra Betzina with that suggestion - she could make it happen!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Texas & a Sewing Machine ?

So this is what Dean found interesting on the plane...and what Lucas does with his plunger.

Thanks for the tip about fabric barren-ness in San Antonio, Kid. We battled the crowds at Six Flags (Fiesta Texas!) instead. The last 2.5 hours in their water park were almost enough to do me in. But we did also tour the Alamo and get a little history of Texas. Lucas remains confused about all the Mexican people and isn't Texas a state in the US (I think he thinks we're in Mexico) and he didn't picture Texas looking like New York City. He doesn't get out enough, apparently.

Now my friend Lisa asked me for a rec on a good machine to learn to sew on that can be put away easily. I've only sewn on this new Janome 3128 a little bit, so if you guys have comments, fire away. I will say this one is small and light and sews great, though it is loud compared to my Brother and the foot pedal seems a little less sensitive than mine. Price is another issue - you can get this on sale at Hancock for $80 currently, whereas my computerized Brother PC-420 was $500. Do stay away from the embroidery models unless you want to take that up - those are thousands of dollars. I'll turn it over to the experts now...