Saturday, July 30, 2011

Debugging the Commercial Pattern

So to ease back into my sewing mojo, I signed up for this class at my local joint, All About Sewing. This is who hosts Sandra Betzina and others during the year. For some reason, I was the only person who signed up for this. Maybe it was because it was hidden in the schedule, or maybe it was because it didn't involve actual sewing. (Robbie, had you noticed it and opted out, or did you not know about it?)

I took several patterns that were already cut out and basically had a private tutorial from Sue on how to double check patterns and see if they need adjusting before cutting them out of fabric. I got a handout with several rules regarding different garments. Some of this was common sense, like making sure the front and back outseams of skirts or pants are the same length. One thing I hadn't caught before was looking at the front and back shoulder seams of the Betzina blouse pattern - the slope was actually different, and when overlapped, it resulted in the very wrinkle I ended up with in my shirt! If I'd picked that up to start with, maybe I would be wearing that shirt right now...maybe. Sue's hypothesis was that the Today's Fit line is supposed to fit today's imperfect woman (with rounded shoulders), whereas her original Vogue 1000 (which is their pattern block - did I phrase that right?) had identical front and back shoulder seams.

Anyway, there was information on pattern blocks and drafting methods, and we looked at some of my actual patterns and where I might want to adjust them, so that was very helpful. It also forced me to cut out some patterns, so maybe I'll get the gumption to go upstairs and make something!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Restaurant Review

Still haven't made it up to the sewing machine yet, but we did eat some good Japanese food last night. When in Pensacola, discerning diners eat at Yamato.

They have 2 Hibachi tables, but we opted for the tatami room. You leave your shoes on the stone steps leading up to the dining room, and they have a recessed area under the table so your knees won't protest at being folded up.

They even opened a curtain to give us some ambiance.

Lucas loves the bridge (below) you can walk over at the entrance (I was tempted to, but this foyer is visible to the dining room and I didn't want people to think I was goofy).

Lucas said he felt like he was in Japan, so that prompted me to find some old pictures from when we took Drew to Japan in 2000 to meet the relatives. We slept on the floor at an onsen (hot spring place with a hotel - I think that's the name of it) and these pictures crack me up - especially Drew on the floor. My picture-taking skills have improved, but too bad I didn't have a digital camera back then.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?

From Sew Stylish. Am I mistaken in thinking that this looks weird? That you can't use the top of this pocket so why is it there? That the top 2 pockets are in a very unfortunate location?

Am I the only one who thinks it's dangerous to suggest this is stylish...especially to the likes of me, who doesn't know any better?


I bought the summer issue of Sew Stylish magazine at Hancock. I would hope that if I made this, you would not let me outside. Or at least make me see an eye doctor to check for color blindness. How do these dark pockets coordinate in any way with this bright skirt?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Couple of Must-Reads

Okay, I grabbed this at LaGuardia last weekend and started it last night at 10 PM. I just finished it - a record for me, and now I need to wash my face because I started crying on page 312 and couldn't stop. Such a good book with some very good lessons, and some places are so funny I laughed out loud.

And I read this one last month because the title reminded me of how my grandfather taught us to spell Mississippi (which is of course how every Southern kid is taught, probably). I'd like to get this guy's other books to read now. He's an Alabama native with family apparently here in Mobile. This one rates up there with The Help.

Now to get out of these pajamas and get dressed for the day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Finally....Brown Shoes

Goodbye, my old friends. I bought you while at a meeting in Boston 7 years ago so I'd have something professional and sensible to wear to work.

But you're so mannish and square, and I've been searching for something more feminine...but not the Lady Gaga platforms - it's not really cool to wear those to work. Plus you're just so worn out now that people think I'm getting shorter.

And then I had 30 minutes to walk around Soho by myself last weekend, and I found some new friends. They are the answer to 3 years' worth of questions. All I wanted was something brown, interesting, pointy if possible, with a low heel. I'd been in stores and cruised the internet to no avail. It was either the same boring square or ballet flats. Until now...

Yes, the man who owned the tiny store called you wingtips, but he assured me you were handmade leather - thus the color variations - and are the hottest thing in NYC right now. How would I know? I'm from Alabama. But he lived in Huntsville for 5 years, so I can trust him. And when I put you on the first time, I felt like Gregory Hines and had to suppress the urge to tap across the store.

Yes, Drew said you looked like men's shoes, but I explained to him that I have always had a penchant for manly shoes, and at least you're slightly pointy. Dean was similarly condescending to you, but don't listen to him.

The search is'll be with me a long while (apologies to Survivor).

Now to order a pair in black.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Perhaps Back to Some Sewing?

Well, between vacation time and an upcoming lecture on Friday, plus call, I haven't set foot upstairs in quite a while. Now I ordered these two DVD's for my birthday present to myself (I'll find any excuse, really) but haven't looked at them yet. Anybody ever watch these?

Now I'm very excited about getting to them and then fixing that plaid muslin I had going earlier with the upside down zipper, especially since I ran across a "sample sale" in NYC where I purchased a pair of Dolce and Gabbana pants that were plaid and reminded me of the muslin. But it just hit me that the Fitting DVD has a terrible picture on the cover. That poor woman appears to be wearing nothing but pantyhose and half of a tissue pattern, and they've put her on the cover! God bless you, anonymous woman, unless that's you, Pati Palmer...then more power to you!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Surprise Birthday Weekend

Well mercy-percy, Dean gave me a surprise weekend in New York City (New York City??!!) for my belated birthday! We arrived Friday and wandered around Washington Square before dinner (yes, those are the Betzina jeans).

A magic show was going on (I thought they only had street performers in New Orleans...hey, this magician IS from New Orleans), and would you believe that Lucas got called up? You can skip the crappy iPhone video unless you're a family member who didn't get it emailed to you already.

On Saturday we ate lunch outside since the weather was so nice and went to see War Horse at the Lincoln Center.

Yes, I'm embedding the Youtube video montage of the play because it was that good. Dean tells me Steven Spielberg is making a movie of it - get your tissues! I bet it won't be the same as the play though - look at these horse "puppets." It was amazing - they did stuff on the stage that was mind-blowing. (Of course, when they suddenly changed to slow-motion galloping with what I think was a dramatic representation of getting mown down by shells and machine gun fire, Lucas whispered, "What exactly is going on?")

And then the piece de resistance....we participated in Improv Everywhere's 8th MP3 Experiment!

Here's a link if you're not familiar. And here is an actual photo where you can see the three of us (Lucas is too short) - prize to the one who can pick me out of the crowd!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One More Dance Video

Well, since my mother doesn't want to appear on the internet before a bunch of strangers, this is the last dance video...until my sister or brother uploads their stuff to YouTube. It's so funny that you think there's no sound with this video...till you hear the pool players in the background, then it's really hilarious because they're just dancing their hearts out in silence!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tina Turner! Live at Lake Martin!

This is the first (and most entertaining) installment of the Lake Martin Dance Videos. Junior has got some moves...and is very agile! Let's see the slow part of Rollin' on the River first:

And now for the fast part - back up!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Next Year, Shirts

I have discovered that when you are on a boat from 9am to 7pm, no amount of sunscreen can protect you. Though the only pale spot on Drew's back is where he sprayed the aerosol sunscreen at 8 am, complete with drip marks. Weird.


Pirates at the Beach

We passed this ship on the way to Pcola. It was full of sweaty, shirtless, swarthy pirates and their wenches. And is apparently available for corporate events!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Last Sunset Cruise

I bid you adieu from beautiful Lake Martin. Next up, Blue Angels at Pensacola Beach! Plus eventually some good dance videos from the Wii. We had a dance battle tonight with 8 people. Just have to find out who all agrees to be posted on the mom has already refused to sign her permission slip.

Cinnamon coffee cake

And I stayed up last night till 10:30 cooking this cinnamon coffee cake - a neighbor's recipe. Only thing is, she left out the step where I should add vanilla. Yes, I brought vanilla, and I've made a cake before so I should've realized I left it out, but I was following the directions to a T. Thus, no vanilla. So it looks really pretty, but there's not a whole lot of flavor to it. Apparently I can screw up any number of things!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crack Salad Recipe

Amy asked about the recipe, and I got another picture to show you what it really looks like. The brown sugar kind of liquefies overnight and that's when it's really good...kind of like cooking cocaine to get crack, possibly? Don't let your children read this blog.

Mix 2 bags of red seedless grapes with 8 oz of soft cream cheese, 8 oz sour cream, 1 T vanilla, and 1/2 cup sugar. Pour in oblong dish and top with 1 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup chopped nuts. Lower blinds and lock doors. Not safe for intravenous injection...but Scott's working on that!


Goat Island

I totally did not know that Goat Island near the dam really has goats! That explains the signs posted on trees that say No Dogs Allowed.

Poppers and Wine

These are the jalapeƱo poppers stuffed with shrimp and cream cheese that Mom and Jim made last night....and the wine I drank to quench the fire. I ate half of this plate, but I'm not saying how many glasses of wine were necessary. Let's just say that I went to bed at 9:00! But hey, you should know that this house has tons of windows and a paucity of blinds, so we all get up between 6 and 7 am. There, I feel better.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Last year was the first appearance of my sister's grape salad, which Scott renamed Crack Salad because we couldn't stop eating it....even though that first bite makes your salivary glands draw up something fierce! We joked that we could spit across the room after that first bite. Wow, sorry for that crudeness. (I got Bossypants by Tina Fey for my birthday - be happy I'm not dropping F-bombs - and can I say that I admired her before I started the book, but now I love her.)

Grape Salad

So you can make out brown sugar and pecans on top, but there are actually grapes in there.....mixed with cream cheese and vanilla and some other addicting substance I'm sure! (I'm typing all this on my iPhone, which autocorrects "addicting" to "assisting" like a person in denial!)

Family Photo

Well, I'll rely on someone to email me the big family photo with everyone, but here's the condensed version taken with my iPhone.

Yes, we're usually dressed up to go eat with clean hair and lipstick on the appropriate people, but this year it rained so hard and we're not eating out, so we'll be happy that we're clothed and smiling. (We'll ignore my mixing a plaid with a loud print - I made both, so there!)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Yummy Crust

Too bad I started really late and took it out of the oven at 10pm. No taste until tomorrow....but it looks good!

Peach Cobbler

I even branched out and attempted this Frank Stitt cobbler recipe my friend made a couple of weeks ago.

Finished Product

It turned out pretty good for the first attempt, and Scott even had labels ready to go.

Papaw's BBQ Sauce

My grandfather made this fantastic barbecue sauce that he would "put up" (or "can" for the city folk). After he died, it took us about a year to finish up the last jar. I remember that dinner. We never tried to make it ourselves until today. My brother had the idea to do it so we'd stay busy inside and avoid the boat traffic. (We'll commence tubing tomorrow when everybody abandons the lake.) So here's how it started...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shrimp Boil

So this was my brother's night to cook - yum!

This will be the first year Dean hasn't made it up here to dazzle us with gourmet cooking. Nope, it'll be my marinated flank steak out of the Flylady's friend's cookbook - something like No Time For Dinner. I'll let you know if anyone gets sick.

View From the Porch

This house is really high up from the water. Cross your fingers I don't take a tumble here! Dean's parting words and nightly reminders have been, "I love careful on those stairs."

So yeah, if you were going to rob my house while I'm here, too bad because Dean has to work all week and is actually home. So there!

War Eagle!

So we spent one night in Auburn before checking in to the rental at Lake Martin. Ya gotta get a pic at Jordan-Hare Stadium!