Tuesday, May 31, 2011


It's a fake surf - get it? Looked painful when they fell - that jet of water has to sting. 5.5 hours at Waterville - I am Mother of the Year! I strongly recommend Great White with 3 people - we came close to flipping on a couple of turns - woohoo!

Final beanbag

They're not thrilled that it's purple, but it sure is comfy!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Lots of packing peanuts...

I read that it was cheaper to use packing peanuts from an office supply store than it was to use real beanbag pellets. This held 8.5 cubic feet of those suckers at $10/bag - luckily it was buy 2 get 1 free! Also luckily, the liner fabric was stuff I had already and the real fabric was $1/yd. So this will be a $41 beanbag which is larger than the ones at Target and my choice of fabric. I'll take it!!

Looks comfy

This is just the liner made of that $5 fabric I made the teepee from. I'll sew up the real fabric tonight - gotta take a nap after an intense game of Arena laser tag with the boys and 6 grown men who were dismayed to find us in their group. They were very kind to let me go first in the Mission Impossible laser room where you maneuver through lasers in 30 seconds.

Did I mention you watch the person on closed circuit TV while they're ducking and rolling through the room? I didn't do any leaping rolls or cartwheels...but I COULD have!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wish me luck!

Heading to dinner in the platforms....better hold off on the cocktails!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Feel Like a Rock Star

Oh my heavens, what a day! First, I went to Hancock to get this fabric for the 2 beanbag chairs I'm making.

Three employees were at the cutting table working, and the manager sees me and says, "Hey Lady! How you doin'?" I stand there for a minute looking around, realize there's nobody in front of her but me, and greet her back. She then tells everybody, "This is our fleece contest winner. Y'all remember that pretty jacket?" Oh my.....who wants an autograph?

Then I went to check out and talked to the lady in front of me who was buying a beautiful Vogue suit pattern. I went out on a limb and asked her if she went to PR, and she's a member! I told her to post a picture when she's done, and we swapped user names. How cool to meet a fellow-PR'er in line!

But now for the really big news.....guess what was on my doorstep when I got home? My Lady Gaga shoes! Now I just need a big weird hat.

I am 7 feet tall now! Amazing what $35 will buy you, isn't it? (These shoes and a trip to the ER for a broken ankle, that's what.) Now I've got to look back at the first picture I posted of these, because I thought they were supposed to be more yellow, but they're actually beige. Whatever...color is the least of my worries what with these 6" platforms! I told Dean I'd wear them to dinner tonight. He said he'd heat up leftovers.

And this is supposed to be my sexy serious Gaga face, but it just looks like my dad wearing a blonde wig and missing part of his lower jaw. I've got to remember that pouty looks very bad on me.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Idolmania is Now Over

Shockingly, I didn't even watch Idol last night. Neither contestant compelled me to watch and see what they came up with next, which is why I loved Casey, James, and Haley this year, and Adam Lambert last year - or was that 2 years ago? But I had to tune in tonight because I knew my favorites would be back.

Quick thoughts - I loved Haley's duet with the dude who's like Paul Anka - I just lost his name! She was jazzy and awesome and they tore it up. Jack Black and Casey were fun, if a smidge off-key at times, and I especially loved Scotty hugging each of his relatives during his last song then he comes to Jack Black, who holds his arms out for a hug right as Scotty turns to go back to the stage.

Lady Gaga sounded great and I like that song (Edge of Glory), but was anybody else squirming at the end when the guy climbed up behind her and they ended up on the floor - gasp! It was bad enough that Lucas was watching, but my MOTHER was there too. Oh Lady Gaga, why do you put me in the position of having to constantly defend your actions? At least she saved it by jumping off the edge of the platform with the guy, and that must've been 15 feet - Lucas totally forgot about everything before that.

But the best performance of the evening was by this guy. Oh, Tom Jones, you are still alive!

But you look like Grady from Sanford and Son!

Holy moly! This is what I remember you looking like:

(Mmmmmmm, Mama like.)

Now that brings me to a question. Who do you think was sexier, Tom Jones or Neil Diamond? I actually had a hard time finding a sexy picture of Neil in his younger days. He apparently gets around more here in the States than Tom does (I believe Tom is Welsh) so there are lots of pics of him in the, ahem, later years. This was an album cover apparently, although I think it looks quite vulgar.

I vote for Tom. I actually saw him in concert in little Jemison, Alabama, in the 80's and, sure enough, ladies threw their underwear on stage. My mother nearly knocked us kids down when she tried!

Oh, and here's a little fun from SNL last week if you missed it. Timberlake and Lady Gaga - best show of the year, I think. The previous link got removed, so here's a cute skit with just Timberlake. I hate the ads they force on you - sorry.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Internet is Back - Phew!

Who knew that unplugging and replugging your ethernet could fix a problem you had for days without the bother of undoing the modem and shutting down the computer in a certain order?! I do now.

So I didn't get to rant about Haley going home last week, and here we are at the finale already. I have nothing to say. Haley was diverse (oh, I guess I DO have something to say) and fun to watch, and ran around in heels even after the terrible fall in the first song last week. What a woman. I hope Lauren wins now, but there are apparently too many teenage girls crying and texting furiously for Scotty - that's my prediction.

So my sewing mojo was lifeless after the disappointing fitted shirt, but I had lunch with Robbie in Gulf Shores yesterday and felt better. Then my mom asked me to help her hem her jeans (okay, only sewing the hem, not pinning the hem, which I hate doing), and while we were in the sewing room I started pulling out patterns and fabric and got motivated again. She gave me some suggestions on the lilac shirt from several months ago that looked like this (Vogue 8558):

Look, I lost 10 pounds! Well, no, I shortened it and cut the sleeves off since they were too tight and I wanted to salvage the muslin. (See my old friend the shoulder wrinkle? Apparently I do need to adjust for forward shoulders since I don't like thrusting my chest out constantly.)

So here are the back wrinkles with 1/2" cut off the armscye between the lower notches.

And here we are with it lowered a total of 1.5". Fewer wrinkles! Now I think you're supposed to pivot the upper part of the armscye around to make the sleeve still fit, but this will be sleeveless so forget about that.

So I'm going to attempt self-fabric bindings on the armholes for the first time ever - wish me luck. Then I'll hem it up and wear it at the beach, ignoring the fact that it really needed a swayback adjustment. And I might make it into a longer dress version - rrrrrrow!

So it's ADHD sewing because I still need to try pants out of the Kwik Sew shorts pattern, and I have two Kwik Sew 2892 Beanbag chairs to make at the beach next week while I'm off (in between enjoying the actual beach with the kids, of course).

I'm sure I'll have more to say tomorrow after the finale - stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Catching Up to Fashion

Well I did get that princess seam pattern out of the envelope and cut out one piece before getting sucked into Scout stuff again. Our end-of-the-year cookout was last evening and went swimmingly (that means only one bloody nose and no crying kids or serious injuries). Although I can't figure out how Lucas's foot seems to be under his head and he's still smiling - you have to click to get a picture big enough to see this.

And I was spurred on by Sheila's shoe extravaganza so when Amazon and NineWest hit me the same day with their taunting emails about the latest trends in shoes, I had to get some. They were 60% off, okay?

I know, they don't look like me at all, right? I'll fall off them and risk ankle-breakage, but even Dean pointed out that the giant wedges were all the rage again after he read an article in the paper. I simply have to try. Did you know I wore Keds tennis shoes through medical school in 1993? And you know that trend was over in 1987, right? This picture sums it up right here (and lets see if somebody can name the location - family excluded):

I am wearing those greenish jeans right now. That yellow shirt is hanging in my closet, but I try not to wear it much because it has shrunk a little and exposes my midriff if I lean or reach. Guess what year this picture is from.

2006. Ouch. At least I donated that purse to charity....last year.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Don't Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen

Oh, Lady Gaga, I'm trying so hard to be a queen! I was all revved up about getting the front to an acceptable place, then I looked at the back - bleh! You wouldn't believe the research I've done on these drag lines. I'm assuming it's a couple of problems, rounded back and prominent shoulder blades. I also have forward shoulders but I refuse to make an adjustment for that when I can just stand up straight to fix it. One thing I did do was cut these armscyes 1/2" lower on front and back and it felt better across the back...till I looked at the picture.

I found one articles in Threads July 2010 on fitting a jacket, and they pinch out this drag line then transfer the amount over to the armscye to cut out the extra fabric. That seems like it would make the arm tight to me, but what do I know. The other fix I found, in FFRP I think, was to lower the shoulder seam. Then I thought it was because I changed the back dart - instead of the really long one on the muslin, I shortened it to start below the armscye and made it narrower, thinking it wouldn't pull so much across my back. But I sewed the original dart back in one one side and it didn't make much of a difference. I also took more of a seam allowance on the back between the wrinkle and the armscye, but that didn't help.

Plus this fabric is stiff as a board - it looks like I'm wearing a paper gown from a doctor's office, doesn't it? It doesn't drape like the muslin did. So I went ahead and basted in one short sleeve after googling "back drag lines" and finding a discussion on PR that said the sleeves would make it look different. It looks worse - arrrrrgh! Plus it's kind of tight when I raise my arm.

I was going to hang in there and power through this so I would have a TNT, but I'm thinking it may be time to move on to another pattern. Virtually all of the PR reviewers said they did major alterations to get this one to fit. They all commented on the shoulders being too wide and the bust having too much ease, so I should've expected problems. I have 2 others I was debating sewing up first, but I went with the Vogue because it was Sandra's class.

I also need to go with a drapier fabric - this shirting must've been for a man's shirt or a little kid's fru-fru dress. Wonder if it softens up with multiple washings?

I think I may whip up a muslin of one of these others and if I have the same issues, then it's definitely time for fitting help with Robbie. At least I know how to put a collar on "a la Margaret Islander!"

And I have an idea for a book with pictures of people wearing ill-fitting clothes on how to get rid of the drag lines. Each chapter would be a body part and instead of line drawings or people wearing pattern tissue like in FFPR, it would be real people and real clothes with drag lines like these. Somebody get busy on that - let me know if you need a model!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Idol Never Fails to Surprise

I just can't predict anymore. I had Scotty pegged to go home after his fluffy, nothing new performances, but James went home instead.

An article said he had become cartoonish and his Don't Stop Believin' was just a sound-alike, which I agree with, but is Scotty showing us anything better? My prediction now is that Haley goes home and Scotty wins, though I think Lauren would be a better winner. Whatever...

Oh, look what I found out! I was getting ready to cut a size smaller front, but I every time I held up the pattern to myself, I just couldn't believe that this wasn't fitting, so I had the bright (and delayed) idea to mark center front on my muslin and actually pin it together there. Voila!

Where did the wrinkles go? I was just overlapping the front together by what I thought was a good margin, but center front is actually way different than I thought. Robbie, I'd like to personally apologize to you for wasting your time - how about a free lunch in a couple of weeks? (I had already asked my mom to get the kids from school so I could come for fitting help that day. Think of all the people I've put out just because I didn't mark center front.)

So after that revelation, I think the thing fits pretty darn well and I went ahead and started cutting out the real fabric. That is white shirting that is actually kind of heavy for long sleeves, so I decided to change course and go with the short sleeves. Plus I'll move the shoulder seams up a smidge to sit at my shoulder point. And God smiled at me TWICE yesterday, because look what came in the mail!

Oh, I was expecting a paperback thing on tops only, because it was only $13.95, but this is a huge hardback book on skirts and pants too! And it's about fabric and pattern selection, fitting issues, and adjustments - woohoo! Is it my birthday?

And finally, I wanted to show you what I bought that Sandra recommended. (Remember last year I said if she told me cat turds were delicious, I'd ask my sister to send me some. And please forgive me for using that word - I normally would say "poo," but "turds" worked better in this case.) This is a point-turner which is also used to turn tubes, like those bikini ties I'll eventually get around to finishing. See my nice pointy collars?

I can also deliver babies at home now, or extract teeth. Look out, Lucas!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Somebody Clean That Up

Lady Gaga is their coach tonight and she's dressed like Nora Dunn...or Carol Burnett dressed as Nora Dunn...so funny! She and Haley hit it off and Haley's second song was even better than the first. JLo said, "Look what you're capable of - that's why we push you baby". Haley should've told her to take a hike. The first song was great too, be-otch! So far Scotty and Lauren are so-so. James is next. I predict James and Haley in the top two. Of course, I thought Casey was going to win it.

I May Throw Up

Okay, JLo and Randy just ripped Haley down to the bone about her Michael Jackson song that she tore up (I thought it was one of her best performances) then told Scotty how awesome he was for a nice performance of a mediocre song about 9/11. Maybe it's the wine, but I want to rip their skin off! Steven Tyler told her they were wrong and that she was awesome - you go boy!!!! Seacrest just asked who won that round, and Randy said it was a tie between Scotty, James, and Lauren. Bite me, Randy!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Muslin #2

I'm not totally sick of this yet, because I had 2 front facings already cut out and marked, so I just cut out a new back to work on that adjustment with the sleeve. I added 1/2" to the back armholes up to the shoulder.

Then I set in one sleeve.

I'm showing you my nice French seam which I finally did right! (I am not ashamed of goofy faces...you might say they are my craft.) It doesn't feel as tight, but there are still a couple of wrinkles. And I didn't work on the front at all.

I can see that I'm going to need help to get this done right in under 6 months.

Robbie has been thinking about this dilemma and offering me wonderful suggestions. Here's a link she sent me to Sarah Veblen's article in Threads on getting the armhole right by adjusting the bodice - fabulous! I need to finish reading it.

I need to get this thing fitted soon so Robbie can get some sleep - she wrote her first suggestion before I got the kids out of bed this morning! Robbie, I'm thinking this may require a 2-person effort with some free lunch or dinner for your trouble...hmmmm?

Monday, May 9, 2011


I stand corrected - men DO dress up...or down...and take pictures at concerts.

And thanks for the shirt tips! I will definitely start over fresh and do the back adjustment first. I also picked up the new Threads at Hancock (finally got my jacket back - whew) and it has an article on sleeve-fitting tips, plus I ordered Marcy Tilton's guide to easy shirt and tops, or something like that. It may be more for knits. PLUS I watched the Shirts and Blouses DVD I got from Sandra's Power Sewing website.

Now to get upstairs to that machine and prove I can summit this peak of sewingdom, as Pammie puts it!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Weekend Wrap-up

I hope all you mothers had a lovely weekend. I'm still having a lovely weekend, with my fancy gourmet dinner cooked by Chef Dean coming up shortly. I didn't have time to sew on my shirt Friday after work - I just got the kids and headed to the beach with my mom and stepdad. Dean was at Jazzfest in New Orleans for a boys' weekend (apparently they didn't dress up and take pictures like Kristy and I did for Lady Gaga).

Saturday we headed to The Track in Gulf Shores for some putt-putt action (watch out for the ducks that sit on the green....and poop).

After that we moseyed over to Lulu's for lunch on the Intracoastal Waterway, and saw this really nice old boat go by. Never saw one like that before.

Then back to finish up the go-cart action.

We took my mom out for a nice dinner at the Villagio Grill at The Wharf, then did a little fishing today before coming home. I got a nice note from Drew, a jigsaw puzzle with a Mother's Day sentiment from Lucas (yes, 3rd grade teachers continue the tradition of making gifts in class!), and beautiful roses from Dean.

Oh, and I got THIS from Pammie! Thank you, Pammie!

Now I'm supposed to tell you some things about myself and nominate 10 more bloggers, but I'll have to think about that a bit. For now, I'll just show you some terrible pictures of my shirt muslin, how about that? This is THE PAGE where Sandra sketched my alterations based on measurements and what I told her about RTW fitting issues.

Here is the muslin with sleeves and collar. Uh, I told her the wrong thing about my RTW. I assumed it was narrow shoulders, but it's apparently something else, because I didn't get rid of the wrinkles coming down toward the bust. I'm thinking I need to recut the pattern - remember I did this before the class so I altered it my way before doing her stuff.

I got the hips widened, but the armhole is too small and/or the center back is too narrow.

I think I need a wide back adjustment and maybe to lower the armhole. (Let's have a laugh for a second. See the wrong side of this arm seam? I set the first sleeve in BACKWARDS in class, but didn't catch it till I got home and tried it on. Then I couldn't tell the right from wrong side because I screwed up my first attempt at a French seam. So THIS sleeve had to be turned inside out since I put it on the wrong side. A clue that I've only been sewing really easy knit shirts till now?)

So I'm terribly disappointed I didn't start from scratch with Sandra, and I have several fitting issues still to work out. I have 3 books in my lap to research. But what positives can I pull from this sewing today? Let's see, I like the overall concept of the shirt because it will fit nicely when I get it right. Oh, and I like the collar!

And to make this the longest post on record, but really just for posterity, pictures of Jake when we got him in honor of his 5th birthday, which falls on Mother's Day.

And to remind me how young my kids were then...

And how Lucas hit his eye before this picture and it swelled up, plus he looks like a frog, and this one just makes me guffaw.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sewing Class

Oh, the class was delightful as expected! Now if you ever sign up for this class and they tell you it starts at 12, you should come around 10:30 to set up your machine and maybe walk across the street for a delicious chicken salad sandwich at Tropical Smoothie. I found this out last year when I walked in 10 minutes early and was the last person to arrive.

We each got measured and went to Sandra for sizing and alteration instructions. Since I had my muslin made I went back for more instructions - she suggested taking 1/2" out horizontally from the front just above the armhole notch. I honestly haven't tried it on yet to see what it looks like now. But I did learn how to do a collar and stand, a sleeve placket, and how to ease the sleeve cap by holding your finger behind the foot as you sew (this is mentioned in the pattern but some PR reviewers complained they didn't understand the technique, so I'm ahead of the game now).

This is Sandra demonstrating her placket technique - doesn't it look intense?! It actually was fun sewing with 15 other women and sharing horror stories and sewing tips...

until the sex talk started, which actually happened last year a little bit. This group was larger than last year, so some ladies were happy to contribute and share stories. The rest of us concentrated really hard on our machines at that point or clustered around the ironing board till that conversation was over. (Awkward!)

Other than that, it was a fabulous class and I'm depressed I couldn't do the lecture/demo. One lady said she learned more today at that than last night sewing the shirt - dangit! (This was her first year and I thought she was younger than me - Sandra even told her she shouldn't have any figure issues since she was so young - then she told me she was 51! I forgot to ask if she'd been using Meaningful Beauty...)

And here's my friend Robbie from Gulf Shores - look at her fabulous-fitting shirt! I want to use the Power Toolbox tip from Volume 1 that says, "Schedule a sewing day with a friend. Pick up coffee and pastries on the way to her house, then chat over breakfast before you bring your sewing machine in." Except I would rewrite it, "Set up your sturdy sewing tables on the beach. Don't forget sunscreen, and ignore all weird looks from strangers when you begin sewing." Oh, and a shout-out to Becky from Mobile, who sat in front of me and turned around to ask me if I had a blog (nothing makes you feel more like a movie star than someone recognizing you from your blog). She apparently googled SB to see what to bring to class and I popped up. I'll have to start wearing sunglasses in public...well, maybe just in Hancock.

I hope to work on my real shirt tomorrow after work, so maybe I'll get some pictures up then. Oh, and I voted about 50 times for Haley last night, as well as James (who was pitchy). Scotty and Lauren also did great...goodbye Jacob!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Please Enjoy This While I Sew

Why couldn't I learn to dub like this - it's hilarious! Now I've got to load my car with sewing stuff - let you know either late tonight or tomorrow how it went.

Monday, May 2, 2011

T Minus 42 Hours - Commence Full Panic Mode

Okay, so I'm expected to sew with Sandra Betzina Wednesday, and I need to get my act together. I decided to do Vogue 7903, which has 17 reviews on PR and looks much more tailored than the other Vogue I was thinking of doing.

Now this is only one day of sewing, unlike the class last year which was 3 days, so I figured I should go with fabric cut out already to work on sewing techniques. The problem is that I need fitting help, which it says she will do, but I only have time to do one or the other probably. So I cut out a muslin first to see what kind of fit issues I have.

Oh brother. I already graded from a size B (for a 34" bust, but should I have based that on a high bust of 32" instead? I think she said in her book to always go on high bust) to a size A at the upper armscye (is that the same as armhole, just a much nicer word?) as recommended for narrow shoulders, but I still need another inch at least off those shoulders.

And that bodice is too full - ooh, I've never done a SBA (wait, does that stand for sway back adjustment - I meant small bust adjustment)- maybe I should just size the whole upper part down to an A?

And obviously the hips need to be let out even more than the C I sized up to - maybe just smaller side seams so I don't have to mess with all those darts.

And I didn't do a swayback adjustment because of the 2 darts there, plus I wanted to see what was up before I started messing with it.

And I think from the above pic that the armscye needs lowering, or else I sewed that back dart totally off-grain. Yeesh.

So, anybody make this shirt before and have any suggestions? I reckon I'll take this muslin with me and just work on fitting help - I haven't even cut out sleeves or collar stuff yet. And several reviews said the collar was confusing, so I really wanted to work that out with her, but oh well - if she can get it to fit then I can figure the rest out at PR hopefully.

Time for wine!