Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some New Shoes

I went to Target and had a few minutes to browse in shoes...(you can guess what's coming)...and I made a couple of impulse purchases. Now first let me say that I've been seeing peep-toes like these everywhere, but have had no desire for them at all.

Until I saw a beige pair at Target and tried them on. I know the picture is blurry and terrible and you can barely see the shoes, but it shows that I stepped out of my comfort zone and paired them with some wide-legged pants I bought last year at Loft, and a cowl neck tank I've had for 11 years (yes, 11), and I think I have a pretty 2011 outfit. Please correct me if I'm wrong, because you know I've got zero sense of style.

And I saw something like this the other day and thought, "Why?" They look bizarre to me, but they seem to be popular.

So that's why when I saw these at Target, I had to give them a shot. The shorts are from Saks last year when I was feeling man-ish (do you have these times when you feel frumpy and plain and unfeminine?) and had a Pretty Woman moment. I found a young salesgirl and told her to get me an up-to-date outfit with shorts and top. I never would've bought these shorts - they're shorter than I'm used to, pleated really weird, and the zipper's on the outside, which is a style I'm not buying...oh, except I did buy them.

Lucas gave the shoes the stamp of approval - he said they looked like moccasins. for a pedicure!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Not much time for sewing lately, but I DID finish one thing. First, a cool picture of "popcorn cake" which was made from a recipe on the back of Lucas's kid's menu at Tchoup Chop (Emeril's restaurant at the Royal Pacific in Orlando). Looks beautiful, but way too much marshmallow. There are M&M's and peanuts in there too. I think this picture would make a good jigsaw puzzle.

So forgive the blurry pictures, but this is my muslin of Vogue 8558, which looks like a scrub top to me on the pattern envelope for some reason.

I think it was Kitschy Coo who mentioned posting favorable pictures of oneself and editing out the bad ones a while back. I almost deleted this one, but decided you've got to see the front and how long it is (I cut 3 inches off the length already), and how hippy/gutsy it makes me look.

I almost did a swayback adjustment to start with, but figured this was my muslin so I'd see what happened. It has a weird curve at the bottom that pokes out too.

So by now you've noticed wrinkles emanating from the armpits - is this what you refer to as a tight armscye? I never heard that word till I joined Pattern Review, but I think it's a problem here. Not one reviewer mentioned this, though. (When I mentioned to Lucas that the pattern was too small there, he said, "Well maybe they weren't expecting a woman of your size." That was my laugh of the week!)

I do love the neckline detail and the gathered bustline. I have to work out those gathers better on one side, as I crossed the band higher up for a little modesty. This is reminding me of a robe my mom had in the 80's for some reason, and I think it would make a really cute dress. I'm not feeling it for work though; seems a little too casual and low-cut obviously. I will definitely try again with larger armscye(s?) to accommodate my bulging armpits.

And one last Mardi Gras memento. Dean went to New Orleans a day ahead of me with his buddies and shared a room. This is what I found when I checked in the next day, knowing they had caroused in the Quarter.

And page 649 really was Psalm 80, so they DID actually crack a Bible! What good husbands!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Disney vs Universal Studios

So I know several people heading to Disney soon, and I like to consider myself a connoisseur, if you will, of both parks. What's my experience? I've been to both of them several times at different stages of my life, from being single with my boyfriend (Dean, of course),

to being married and pregnant with a toddler,

to having a child and a toddler, etc.

I would make a general statement that the younger your kids are, the better Disney is compared to Universal. There are mostly kiddie rides that aren't scary with only a few roller coasters. Once they start getting older and braver, you need to head to Universal.

Now Universal has 2 parks - Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. Islands is where you'll find Harry Potter-land, and there is the Hippogriff coaster that's a good intro for the scaredy-cats. Dragon Challenge (Blue and Red - Blue is the best and ride in the front row) is my favorite coaster right next door, and reportedly my 10-year-old niece threw up in her mouth and was quite dizzy after she rode it, but it was her favorite ride after that. The little kids love Seussland but there's not much for an older kid to do other than be wowed by the cuteness.

Marvel Comic-land has stuff for both, but it's LOUD and crowded, so take a Tylenol first. Old Comic Strip-land is my least favorite part - it has a couple of water rides but that's about it. And what kids today know Betty Boop, Dudley Do-Right, and Popeye? Jurassic Park has stuff aimed at younger kids (a big prehistoric playground for example) but they do have a good river ride with dinosaurs.

When you're tired of that just walk 10 minutes over to Universal Studios (not a 30-minute bus ride like park-hopping at Disney) where there are 2 great coasters for the >48-51" crowd (Rip Ride Rockit and The Mummy, which is way more than a coaster), but there are plenty of things for the chickens, I mean the <48-inchers. Men in Black is the hipper equivalent of Buzz Lightyear, where you shoot at aliens, and Disaster is the equivalent of Backlot Tour at Hollywood Studios in Disney, but way better. The Simpsons is fun and actually entertaining for the adults with all Homer's one-liners. The really little ones will like the playground with water features next to the ET ride, which sucks and I don't know why they haven't updated that one yet, but it's ok for kids.

Now I've briefly covered Universal, and for Disney, let me direct you to the expert, Tour Guide Mike. If you are going to Disney, you MUST check him out. He used to work there and now runs his own VIP tour business. For $21.95 he finds out ages, preferences, etc. for your group and customizes a plan for you. You find out the best days to do each park, the rides to avoid, best restaurants, etc. It's exhaustive and you can get lost in the website, but with his tips we didn't wait in a single line!

And one word on Disney's Fast Pass vs Universal's Express Plus. It's the difference between socialism and capitalism. At Disney, you can get a Fast Pass for no extra charge that tells you what time to come back to the ride so you can go to the front of the line. If it's a popular ride, you may be told to come back in 3 hours, and eventually there won't be any more issued. Now at Universal, if you stay on-property or pay extra (ranges from $25-$70 depending on the day), you get an Express Plus which means you can go to the front of the line at any time for any ride except Harry Potter, Rip Ride Rockit, or Pterydon Flyers. I'm a capitalist, myself.

Finally, don't forget to take a break from the parks for a day, or leave early to get some rest at the hotel. Otherwise, at the end of the day when you're ready to head out for dinner, you'll end up with this.

Which makes it harder to get fired up for this.

Any questions?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Funny Story from Mardi Gras

So Friday in the French Quarter we were hanging out and I was talking to one of my husband's childhood friends who was at our wedding. He said, "You know, you are a very attractive woman." (I attributed this to the beverage, but doesn't it do you good to hear that sometimes? And it was said in a purely platonic way.) So the next night at the big parade and party, he and I are sitting together, and a 20-something-year-old girl walked by in the most gorgeous dress. I had already spotted it but didn't get a photo - it was green with tiny leaves embroidered on the back like a vine. I told her that I thought she had the prettiest dress there, and she just smiled like I made her day.

When she walked off, our friend said, "Do you know how happy you just made her?" Then he proceeded to tell me that he knows how much women like to hear things like that, so he has made it his mission to pick out a random woman every day and tell her how attractive she is....DOH!

We all had a BIG laugh over that slip, and he was very embarrassed. Later that night somebody called my cell phone and he was in the background yelling, "Tell her she's attractive!"

Monday, March 14, 2011

And a Brief Comment on Other People's Children

Okay, the Mardi Gras pictures are below, but I wanted to go on a rant about poorly disciplined children. We were at Disney last week (which Lucas declares is full of crying babies in strollers smelling of poopy diapers), and were watching a magician on the Boardwalk. He was being "assisted" by 2 or 3 little girls who reported that they were 5-8 years old. It was all cute at first, the way they yelled at him when he misstated their ages, but then I started thinking that they weren't being very respectful by interrupting him, and where were their parents? Kate, the main assistant, even threw his props at him at one point, instead of handing them to him like he asked. He just kept smiling and going on, and she gave him a big hug at the end of the show. How precious!

Then the next magician started up, and he was a wisecracking smart-aleck who was very funny. He called Lucas up to do a trick and put a magic hat on him, which ended up being a toilet plunger in disguise. So Lucas has no clue, but the audience is now laughing, and Kate starts screaming to Lucas that he has a plunger on his head. The guy actually told her to back up and sit down, then said this was why animals ate their young, and finally asked if her parents were anywhere around. When she yelled out, "This magic show stinks!" he announced that he wouldn't be talked to like that by a child, and promptly packed the show up.

We hung around to see if her parents would show up and make her apologize to him, but all we saw was that she ran to some adults and got a big hug for the humiliation she apparently went through.

This was followed by dinner, where 2 girls who were way old enough to know better were screaming (seriously - high-pitched screaming) to get their mom's attention. She was reading the wine bottle and ignoring them, so one started pounding her on the chest. I was getting ready to open a can of whoop-ass (that may be a hick term too - no, more redneck...I come from a mixed family) but settled for glaring at them...unnoticed, of course.

So I don't know how you were raised, but we sat at the table quietly unless the conversation involved us. It was a routine occurrence for people to stop by our table and tell my parents what well-behaved children we were (we knew the fear of the belt back then). I remember 2 times it didn't happen. The first time we were at a different table than the folks and my brother heated up a butter knife over the candle, then touched my sister's hand just to see what would happen. Well, no compliments happened after the screaming stopped, that's for sure. The second time, we were teenagers and my dad was cutting up with us till my mother threatened to go sit in the car if we didn't behave. So that was his fault, really.

Well, that's all I have to say about that. I apologize in advance if you resemble this remark.

The Rest of Mardi Gras

Okay, here are the rest of my MG pics, minus the one of the guy dressed like an Indian which was too gross to publish. OH! Let's start with some dresses - I snapped pics of the print ones to give you an idea what I missed this year by going with a solid. I know this first one is blurry, but I was running after this woman with an iPhone. You ask why? Because that's a crocheted dress! Totally crochet - no lining in sight - wouldn't you run after her too? Hey Sheila - I bet you could make one that actually had a back to it!

And some less racey print dresses.

And mine...

And now a speculum - what?? Two guys were wearing beads that had speculums (speculae?) attached so I asked them if they knew what they were wearing. (I find that when fortified with an adult beverage I'll ask anybody almost anything, within reason.) This gentleman declared it was a megaphone and held it up to demonstrate how it amplified his voice. His friend felt it had to be a duck bill and held it up to demonstrate "quack quack." I'll just leave it at that and see what comments you all can come up with.

And I think these ladies on the left are really men.

And finally, we'll end with more Elvis - you can never have too many pics with the King.

I was hoping to update my profile pic, but neither of these was of sufficient quality, sadly. Maybe one day I'll learn to close my mouth.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jurassic Park

Dean and Lucas are up there in the Pterydon Flyer - I've been wanting to ride this for years but it always has the longest wait....till Harry Potter came to town! Ten minute wait!!!! You do have to be accompanied by a kid, so we had to go one at a time with Lucas.


This is the Jurassic Park River ride, but while you're waiting for them to crash down that final slope you can wait in a special viewing area - be ready to get wet.

Marvel heroes

This is Universal's answer to the Disney parades - Marvel heroes on 4-wheelers - Woohoo!!! They ride through to loud music and stop for pictures and posing.


This doesn't capture the fabulousness of Seussland, but I didn't want to slow anybody down behind me by posing a shot. It's my favorite place just based on looks, but the rides are for little kiddies.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


It is cute, because you come from an arid desert area (Lost Continent I think, with a Middle Eastern flavor) and suddenly there's snow on the rooves - cool!

Welcome to Potterville!

Ah, haha, Potterville...get it? (Buffalo gals, won't ya come out tonight...Name the movie!). So this is Potterville yesterday, with a line for the Harry Potter ride that wound around to Jurassic Park and I am not even kidding. The line for the STORE was huge because they only allow so many people in at a time. We did get to ride Dueling Dragons (I mean Dragon Challenge, as it's now known) a couple of times, and the Hippogriff roller coaster which is Lucas's speed.

This is one in a series of four, which I think will be below...


I mean this is cool! This is the view from Jurassic Park - looks like it towers over you.

This is how you do it

And this is the best way to see it - in a pouring rain! Where's the crowd? The wait time was 10 minutes because it takes that long to walk through all the turnstiles and because some people are just so "eat up" (it's a hick term) with Harry Potter that they have to stop and take photos or listen to the talking holograms (which were pretty darn cool, but seriously?). The ride is awesome and we did it twice - Lucas had a minor panic attack thinking there might be sudden drops, but he made it...despite being flung around and almost turned upside down. We highly recommend!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

For the Non-Riders

And this is what you do with the short ones (I didnt say scared, but there might've been a little panic attack during Rip Saw Falls) while the others are riding. We did actually win 3 stuffed animals, so it's not as much of a rip-off as you'd expect.

And by the way, I have a thing about Facebooking your activities as they happen, so rest assured I only do this while the kids are swimming....and they do have lifeguards!

Rip Ride Rockit

So this is the coolest roller coaster ever - the tall thing behind the boys is new at Universal. You choose what song you want to listen to before you climb straight up and go 65 mph through loops and corkscrews. Drew said his vision went a little black the first time he rode it because of the G-forces, but he remembered what Mr. Jim did when he was a pilot in training to combat that.

Would you believe there's a camera in every car and they make a music video of your ride? When you get off you can watch snippets of it (or buy it for $34). Drew seriously looked like he was going to lose it on his video. I rode it today with him (I selected Paralyzer by Finger Eleven) and we both succeeded in maintaining consciousness. Woo-hoo!

Universal Studios

Yeah, they have funny ideas about Mardi GRAS here. I've never seen this before - kind of creepy.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Now to More Wholesome Fare

So there will be more FQ pics later, but let's move to the current vacation in Orlando. We're staying at Universal Studios - we like it better than Disney for older kids. So we checked in Monday and enjoyed the pool.

Not the most sanitary pool in the world, what with the wildlife, but it's the equivalent of Disney's Animal Kingdom, I guess!

Fieri in the French Quarter?

Yeah, no....this was another of my posse (yeah, you like the way I say "my" posse - I was lucky they let me join "their" posse!) who is actually bald, but doesn't he rock the Guy Fieri hair!

And that's actually the homemade shirt I was referring to - not the white collared one, Robbie. I'm saving that for Betzina in May.

Also note I'm drinking water - gotta keep your wits about you with all the unsavory characters around. I had a picture with a guy dressed as an Indian, but the expression on his face was too disgusting to publish. I actually think it was divine intervention that my Internet went down as I was uploading photos - made me rethink that one.

Monday, March 7, 2011

One pic at a time

Okay, the internet at home was down, so I'm sending photos from Dean's phone. Because I already uploaded my photos and erased them from my phone. I have learned my lesson! So each photo comes separately, and we'll start with a photo of my posse - these are the hoodlums I was hanging with. So there's an environmental engineer, a financial person, a teacher, and 2 TJ Maxx executives - who thought my homemade shirt was some designer - I forgot the name.

And the flyswatter I'm holding was combined with nine others (total of 10) to whack me on the bum. Yes, some dude walked up and slapped with me with ten of these in one hand, then let me pick one to keep. Mardi Gras in the French Quarter is not for the faint of heart, or bum!

More photos to follow...

Patriots in the French Quarter

See, it's not all about skin in the Quarter - these ladies were quite modest. At least I think they're ladies...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Giveaway Winner and a Question for the Sewists

Okay, you can stop checking the blog every 5 minutes to see if you won. I'm awarding the Lady Gaga song to Amy from Louisiana, whose husband is a very special man. (I bet he would go with her to that concert!) My husband has now backed out of the concert since a friend from Pensacola said she would love to go with me. Dean told me to make a girls' weekend of it, but I bet that's because he's planning a guys' weekend with my friend's husband. (Of course, they'll have all the kids, so I'm a little nervous now.)

I've been trying to finish up some pants, but I'm not happy with the bagginess in front and it's not worth tweaking since there are no pockets. So, I wanted some instant gratification sewing and I decided to try a top with the blue striped material I bought last week. Now it's not really instant, because I'm trying a new Vogue pattern (8558) from the stash. We'll see how it turns out.

Oh, but it won't turn out for a while because it's party time in New Orleans! So this is the action shot from the trial run of the dress a couple of weeks ago - stay tuned for action shots of New Orleans Mardi Gras! I've decided to paint my nails purple to match the dress - gotta get a little wild, you know. Hopefully will get those posted late Sunday.

Oh, but I did have a serious question to pose. I have this $100 gift card to Hancock and I want to buy something I wouldn't normally buy, like fabric, so what is your favorite tool in your sewing room? I've heard about bias tape makers and special sewing feet - what would you buy if you had a $100 spending spree? Thanks for your tips, and have a great weekend!