Monday, February 28, 2011

A Giveaway? At Living La Vida Loca?

Two exciting things happened today....

I got my $100 gift card from Hancock Fabrics in the mail with a congratulations letter for getting first place in the local fleece contest, and I got a free song download because I purchased tickets to Lady Gaga's concert in New Orleans! (Look, she's even excited for me.)

So I figured I can have a giveaway like all you sewing ladies do to celebrate! Except it's not my gift card...or awesome fabric...or vintage's a new song called Vanity by Lady Gaga....because they gave me 2 downloads and I can email one to a friend. Except none of my friends like Lady Gaga, and Dean's only going with me so I don't have to drive by myself at night. When I told my mother LG was coming to New Orleans, she said, "Well, WHOOP-TE-DOO!" in a tone that sounded just like my grandmother (who was prone to saying things like, "She thinks she's Miss Asterbutt!" and "Just tell 'em to step to hell!" and "He's nutty as a fruitcake!")

So, what are the rules of this thing? I've seen others where you're randomly drawn from a hat, or you're assigned a number and dice are thrown, but I'm thinking that if you just really like Lady Gaga then I'll give it to you. (Because I'm not thinking that sewing chicks are really into her music, but I could be wrong.) I don't see a whole lot of takers on this, but let's give it till Friday. I'll email you with the link to the website where you type in the code and it takes 1.5 minutes to download the song to your very own computer! (And no, it's not very good, but there's no cursing or sexual innuendo in it, so that's a plus, right?)

Sadly, the download is only available to US residents per website rules - sorry nice visitors from Slovakia, France, Croatia, Czech Republic, Norway, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, and my Canadian/UK peeps! And if, by some odd coincidence, there is more than one of you who really does like LG, then I'll come up with a random way to decide.

Let the commenting begin!....You can go ahead and comment now....The phone lines are open....Can somebody check the connection, it doesn't seem to be working - I was sure I'd get some comments.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Mardi Gras on the Water....Sort of

Well, we caught a disappointing parade in Mobile Friday night where the boys and their friends caught about 4 beads each, along with a Moonpie or two. Saturday we went to the beach to view the Pirates of the Lost Treasure parade. They have a flotilla all decked out and they go to a couple of ports to throw beads before proceeding down to the Flora-bama. (This would be the bar where my mother took me when I was a medical student and she was in town attending a meeting - her work friends decided to go here and I was dragged along. This would also be where she got slapped on the rear by some drunk redneck and I did not. Nothing will hurt your self-esteem more than that, let me tell ya'.) We thought the boats might pass by close enough to throw beads, but not so. Plus a fog rolled in, so the pictures were terrible.

And I branched out some this weekend and attempted to refinish a table. Now I know NOTHING about refinishing furniture, but I mastered the electric grinder/sander thing enough to take some paint off.

What I'd like to do now is commence to spraypainting, but I'm sure there are some tedious steps before that happens, like fine sanding by hand, and probably applying several coats of something or other, so I'll let you know how it turns out in a year or two.

I DID read about 3/4th's of the first volume of the Power Sewing Toolbox. The chapter on seam finishes and embellishing seams is my favorite so far, and I'm hoping there's a good index so I can go back and find some of this stuff later. I think the jacket chapter is phenomenal, but I've never made one so it's all over my head about "roll lines" and such. And my goodness, I haven't even looked at the DVD that comes with it! One nice extra touch is there's an elastic band to hold your place attached to each book - that came in handy when I was on the dock with the wind whipping so I didn't have to fight the pages.

What did y'all do this weekend? I better get to blog-hopping and find out!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Christmas Came Early

Oh, look what was on my doorstep yesterday when I got home! I ran around the house yelling, "The new sewing books are here! The new sewing books are here!" like Steve Martin with his phone books in The Jerk.

There was a Valentine's special at her website where you get a free shirt DVD if you order the Power Sewing Toolbox, so I had to do it. I'll study up before she comes in May for the Shirt Sit 'n' Sew, so maybe I can actually FINISH it, instead of just finishing a stupid POCKET, like I did with the jeans. (I do sew much faster now, so there's hope.) I've read the first 2 pages, which start with general tips. Number one was to take the phone off the hook (they're not ALL high-tech tips about linings). Another one was to set up a sewing day with a friend, get up early so you can pick up some pastries and coffee on the way, and enjoy some conversation before you bring in your machine. I like these warm and fuzzy tips! (Robbie, we should do this sometime...when our husbands/kids won't mind if we take over the kitchen and den for a day.)

And I stopped at Daphne Fabric and Lace on the way home from work Wednesday and picked this up for $2.00 a yard.

The color is off, but this is a green/blue striped knit and a rose something or other. The tag said something about crepe, and it feels like a medium polyesterish fabric, and the guy said he thought something like gabardine maybe, but we're no experts. It's very nice and drapey and I was just going to buy a yard or two for a shirt, but it screamed "Dress" at me, so I got 4 yards. (At these prices, you waste the guy's time hauling the bolt out if you don't buy a bunch, in my opinion. There's also the risk of a rat bite, given the looks of the place, so let's make it count!) Now the only issue is that I washed and dried it, and it feels a little coarser now with a little less drape. Hopefully this wasn't something that should be dry-cleaned only...I better consult my Betzina fabric dictionary for gabardine and crepe.

And to wrap up the week, my favorite Idol contestant made it to the final 24 last night, but when I was looking for his picture (thanks, TMZ!), it said he was in the hospital for a blood transfusion! He supposedly may be allowed to show up for taping - otherwise he has to drop out...can this be true? I'll be devastated.

So who else has the PS Toolbox books, and who are you rooting for on Idol? And isn't Steven Tyler a hoot when he closes his eyes while the contestants are singing? I like this season a WHOLE lot better than last year.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Finishing Up With the Offensive Stuff

Well, while we're on indelicate subjects, I'll post some Lucas-isms. The other night we were watching TV before he went to bed and he, uh, passed gas. He then said very seriously, "Mom, I'm a little worried about my farting situation." I asked him what the "situation" was, and it turns out he just had a lot of gas that day, which disturbed him. Funny conversation. (This concludes all discussion of digestive issues.)

Then we were driving to karate on Tuesday and he said, "Mom, I'm going to start doing a diet."
Huh? I ask why.
"Well, my legs are a little chubby."
"Yeah? Chubby compared to whom? A skeleton?"
"No Mom! And when I look down, all I can see is my stomach - it's a little fat."
This from an 8-year-old boy. My word, where do they get this from? (Hey, does my left boob look crooked to you?)

And now I have to go recover from American Idol. They sent Chris Medina home, who's engaged to the woman suffering from a brain injury. J-Lo broke down after she told him they weren't putting him through, so they had to postpone the rest of the results till tomorrow night. Thank goodness - my eyes are already swelling and Lucas almost cried himself. Now what if my precious chubby teenager from Louisiana doesn't make it? Or the funny red-headed boy? Or Scotty with the low voice? (Baby lock them doors'll get it if you've been watching him from the beginning!) But my absolute favorite is the scruffy boy with the beard who scats and had the tuning thing at his first audition - love that guy!

Oh yeah - my brother decided that poop from the last post was werewolf poop and I shouldn't go in the back yard when there's a full moon - good idea.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Veterinarians ONLY!


I'm trying to space this right so you have to scroll down to see the pics because they are truly disgusting; so if you're not a veterinarian or someone with special knowledge about dog poop, please hit your BACK button. If you were looking for the Mardi Gras dress please click on the label to the left. Oh, but that means you have to scroll down...sorry. Maybe you can go to Pattern Review and get a direct link to the dress when I get it reviewed.

If you ARE a veterinarian, my Golden Labrador (4.5 years old) has been acting strange lately, wanting to stay in his kennel instead of out with the family, and his stomach gurgles loudly all the time. He only eats when he has company, so he's gone a day and a half without eating because no one was sitting with him in the laundry room. (Even if you go in there with him, he won't eat if he thinks you're leaving soon.) So yesterday we ventured into the backyard and Lucas found this. Now I've had dogs my whole life, and I've never encountered poop like this. I've seen dry poop, wet poop, white poop, poop with leaves, and even poop with worms in new puppies, but nothing like this.

Could it be the unusually high dew point lately that's causing terrible fog conditions this week? We're not using any new fertilizer on the grass and there aren't any new plants out there that would've dropped weird seeds. This doesn't resemble any family members so I don't think it's like a pod from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. What could be going on here?

No, this is not a cute little hedgehog, this is poop sprouting a head full of luxurious black hair. Someone would pay to have that transplanted on their head, I guarantee long as you didn't tell them where it came from.

Dean hypothesized that Jake swallowed a lot of hair, but Jake is blonde and this stuff is growing towards the sunlight. Should I be worried about some weird parasite or fungal infection? This HAS to be some sort of rhizome (I vaguely remember that term) or plant, doesn't it? And it's not just one incident, there are several around the yard in various lengths.

Thoughts and advice? Well, finish your gagging, I'll wait.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Dress is a Winner

Thank all you bloggers for coming by and commenting! The boob issue was totally a flash/nap thing as you predicted, and a tug straightened out the back. I didn't flash anybody despite strutting across the dance floor during several songs (and by "strut" I mean something a chicken does, not the lovely lady in Saturday Night Fever), and I got 2 compliments on the dress before Dean did the big reveal and told people I made it. A friend even called today and asked me again if I REALLY made the dress or not. So this one's a keeper.

I did think about criss-crossing the back straps as Aunt Ninn suggested, but they're not long enough - doh! I may have to go get more fabric, since I left the wrap at the party, so I could cut another strap that's longer...if I was really industrious. The so-called wrap was just the big rectangle I ended up with after cutting out the dress, and I really wanted to sew some beads or something on the end to make it look official. Hopefully somebody picked it up.

So the room was VERY dark, which was good, and we were not the absolute youngest couple - somebody brought their daughter and son-in-law, but we were close. After listening to Mustang Sally and similar hits, I approached the guitarist, who looked like he was from Lynyrd Skynyrd, and asked if they knew any Taio Cruz or B.O.B. (I couldn't think of Bruno Mars). He gave me a blank look and said, "Sorry." We did end up dancing to You Dropped a Bomb on Me and Brick House, and I guess it was good they didn't know any of the new stuff - there might've been some broken hips on the dance floor.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here It Is, Blinged and Spanxed!

Oh, hooray, it's finally finished after 2 days of tweaking! Let's just admire the fabric and the first 10 seconds of, "I think that turned out nicely," before we pick it apart.

Now, in the photo above, why is my left boob so much larger than my right? (This photo looks like something hanging over a fireplace, what with the dog, hmmm? We had a hard time keeping him out of the picture.) Maybe I need to tug on it...was the padded bra twisted? I don't notice this in the mirror - only in pictures.

And the photo below initially looks like I have a huge bicep, but that's the side of my chest showing. That's my only complaint with this dress, is that it seems to stretch every time I put it on and the front sides threaten to expose more and more "rib meat."

Which leads us to my major design change (besides the side slit) - I opted not to tie the thing around my neck for 2 reasons. First, it felt funny with the knot right up on my throat, and second, I needed a little support on the back to hold the dress up. When I bent over, the dress would roll down and expose the bra. I tried the elastic in the seam allowance trick, but that was too puckery, so I came up with this. Now obviously the right side is higher for some reason. I think if I just tug the strap tighter on that side it'll loosen up in the back.

And it's funny that I don't see the big wrinkles my mom and I were working on feverishly yesterday. I ripped that back seam twice to try and fix it, but the final diagnosis was off-grain cutting. We tried re-pinning the seam allowance and ironing it twice to no avail. (The funniest picture would've been her ironing the bottom of the seam while I was wearing it, backed up to the ironing board with the dress hiked up - yikes! It's just a pain to yank on and off repeatedly. My apologies to any neighbors who may have been incensed.)

Anyway, this is a trial run tonight, where the average age of the crowd is around 70, so they don't see so good at night anyway, right? (Watch out, I'm an equal opportunity offender!) Then I have 2 weeks to redo any boo-boos before New Orleans. So let fly with your suggestions, okay? Let's keep it honest - you won't hurt my feelings. I thought about embellishing the straps on the back with something so they don't look so much like overalls, but maybe they're okay. And my mom hooked me up with some of my grandmother's jewelry, so that brooch on the knot jazzed the front up. (Was it supposed to be a Star of David, Mom, or is that just coincidental?)

And here's what I did in 30 minutes on Friday - I finally got to cut out a muslin of Butterick 5391.

They ARE fast and easy, but the legs are much larger than suggested by the pictures and line drawings. I grabbed this pattern on sale before I read the reviews. I'm going to try again with the skinny-leg version, because the back of these is actually flattering, but I really need pockets. Anyway, I'm happy I got to sew something besides the dress this week.

And I grabbed a couple of patterns at the Vogue sale. You know I got 7762 because there's a shapely blonde I hope I'll look like when I wear that dress, and I love those long sleeves. But seriously, how practical is that dress and where would I wear it? Not to a dinner party - I'd get food all over the sleeve or knock over my wine glass.

And I got the Betzina 1173 because she showed us this top when she was here last year and it was stinking cute! The dress looks like a sack and she couldn't believe that was the one that dominates the pattern envelope, but apparently she doesn't have control over what they highlight.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by and let me know your thoughts.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Thoughts on the Grammies

I thought they were pretty good this year. I usually only catch snippets, like when that rude guy (forgot his name right now) got up and took the microphone from Taylor Swift. But this year we watched a good bit of it, and I was impressed. I loved Bruno Mars doing a 50's version of his songs, although I kept waiting for them to break it down...but it was still dance-able. I was relegated to the living room by my family, who can't appreciate the loose-jointed wonder known as Mom, and instead gawk at me like I'm a circus freak. But before that performance there was Lady Gaga. Now I know she's terribly controversial and a circus freak herself, but did you see her 60 Minutes interview before the Grammies?

Yes, she only wore a leotard (looked like Spanx) in one segment, but she's got cellulite and a gut like mine and she just doesn't care. And her song "I Was Born This Way" had a message. She let Anderson Cooper hear a little bit of it in the interview, and she couldn't stop herself from dancing before she made them turn the cameras off. (Some people have a dance gene, I think...not necessarily a GOOD dance gene, but you gotta move when you hear a beat.) And I have to admit that I had some tears in my eyes at the end of her Grammy performance. Now Lucas was all like, "The dancers are in their underwear!" But I think it was like Jamie Lee Curtis doing her magazine pictorial in her underwear without airbrushing.

I just know the message I got was "You're worth something, no matter what you look like." As opposed to the message I got from Rihanna and Drake, which was "I am all about my crotch."

What did YOU think about the Grammies? (Or were you sewing instead?)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Happenings

It's been a crazy weekend on call, but you know what that means...the boys all go to the beach and I can sew without guilt! (I seem to be the only one feeling guilty about sewing - are the rest of you women sewing in your family room where people can talk to you? Because I'm upstairs and everybody downstairs feels ignored. Plus you notice I said "women" and not "ladies," because Lucas said only old women are referred to as "ladies.")

Anyway, I forgot to tell you that I took a serger class at All About Sewing Saturday afternoon and now know how to operate my mom's Riccar!

I even used it on the bra part of my Mardi Gras dress (yeah, who cares if there were 3 different threads in it from the class - nobody'll see the bra).

Being alone, I sewed on this dress for 6 straight hours. I seriously sat down at one point and when I checked my watch it was 2 hours later! This is what had me stumped for a while. It's a swayback adjustment and I needed 2 full inches out, which made the rest of the skirt seriously crooked. I looked in books and checked PR, then I ALMOST called Robbie K, my sewing buddy in Gulf Shores. (But I figured 8 PM on a Saturday night in Gulf Shores would NOT be a good time to call.)

You can see that my skirt was going to be way off grain, but I finally straighted it up and made the back bodice a little off grain. I know they say to redraw the grain line, but you really have to move the pattern when the skirt is this long. (You can also see that I use whatever's handy to hold my pattern in place while I rotarize - scissors, cell phone, iPad...)

And here's what we ended up with. I call this my Chris Lee pose (google that if you missed the news this weekend).

This boobage is a little too perky, so I may adjust down to something more natural looking.

And I think I'll leave the side seam open to add some walking room...gotta figure out how I'm going to do that - I guess I can serge finish my seam allowance?

The back needs work. A previous reviewer said the back rolled down to reveal the bra so she added a "shelf" of 1" elastic in the seam allowance between dress and bra, but that made mine look a little puckery and it hikes up too much now. I'll address that tomorrow.

And I'll leave you with Drew's monogram on his fleece jacket. He wears this thing all day when he's not in school, even at dinner. God love him!

I also spent 4 hours at the computer this morning getting a case report submitted for publication, and tomorrow I have to prepare a talk I'm giving next week. Plus I have to wear this dress Saturday night, so wish me luck on finishing it, what with the Scout leader's meeting and 3 soccer games we have this week. I refuse to make my mom hem another dress for me - it's time I learned to do it! (Maybe a nice narrow rolled hem on the serger...nobody'll notice!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Fabrics in New Orleans

No sewing this weekend - we went to New Orleans for a night - but look what I got to do! We wandered around Magazine with the kids, ate at Taqueria Corona, checked out a cool toy store, and then they let me go in Promenade Fine Fabrics! (I'd link it but they don't have a website.)

This is on St. Charles very close to the Westbank Expressway (or is that the interstate?). The owner said he's the ONLY fabric shop in New Orleans because Hancock's and Joann's are officially in Metairie.

This is Mardi Gras dress headquarters - too bad I already had fabric. (Plus I don't think I could afford most of this stuff.)

He has fabrics by Ana Sui (is that somebody I should know?), Dolce & Gabbana, and a bunch of other big name designers I can't remember.

I was mainly interested in knits, and he only had a few, but look how cool! I have a RTW dress out of that purple geometric fabric that's too tight - should've bought some more.

This is what my husband let me get away with - not too crazy, you know, just gray dots on black. (He never liked that purple dress.)

Now it's off to the Pinewood Cluster, uh, I mean the Pinewood Derby, THEN maybe I'll get some pants going with Robbie's fabric (if I don't have a raging headache)! And I've got a Mardi Gras dress to make never ends.