Thursday, May 31, 2012

Geocaching and Devil Dog

We got a little geo-boating in today (like geo-kayaking with a motor) and found a tough one in some deep briar patches. You can't see the blood dripping from Lucas's legs, but he claims it's there.

And did you ever see the movie from the 70's, Devil Dog: Hound From Hell, starring the kids from Escape to Witch Mountain? Jake revealed that he was sent either by aliens or Beelzebub last night when I took his picture.

Perhaps I'll get a little sewing done this afternoon. We'll see....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More vacation pics

Dean finds that a fish in the hand is worth 2 in the boat...and I realize what a delay there is with the iPhone camera.

And Pammie just showed us a picture of her treadle sewing machine she's refinishing, and look what I saw in a local flea market! They had about 4 vintage Singers - cool. (Of course we were looking for barstools, but you never go in a flea market with a closed mind.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Captions

Local woman suffers an unfortunate run-in with the legendary brain-sucking soft shell crab.

The part of Medusa will be played by Dr. Fun.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

American Idol Prediction Comes True

Okay, who's got an ear for talent? That's right - I do! I predicted Phillip to be in the top 2 (so Reed Grimm got sent home early, he was just too wacky) and he won it tonight - woohoo! My sister and I were furiously texting during the show - did your heart break a little when he started crying at the end and had to quit singing, then took off his guitar and just walked offstage to his family? My poor baby! He looked so sad. I hope his kidneys are okay.

And can I say something to the stylists this year? You rocked it, people! (I would put pictures here, but there aren't any on the internet yet.) The girls did a number and they all wore sequined dresses that were gorgeous. Then Fantasia sang with Joshua and wore this skin-tight sequined body suit thing that had slits in the legs from the ankle to the WAIST. The WAIST, people, so apparently there were no panties or Spanx involved. You go, girl! Then Chakah Khan....Chakah Khan....Chakah Chakah Chakah Kahn (hit it, Junior: Chakah Khan, let me rock ya', let me rock ya' Chakah Khan. Let me rock ya', it's all I wanna do. Let me take you in my arms, let me feel ya' wit my charms, Chakah. Cuz you know, I'm da one to keep ya' warm, Chakah....uh, it's a physical thing, let me rock ya' Chakah baby, cuz ya' make me wanna sing...yeah, something like that.) Oh, where was I - oh! Chakah Khan came out in the SAME DAMN sequined suit in a different color and without the slits. They made J'Lo look tame in her sequiny baggy-crotch pants! Oh, and the opening number had the top 12 all in white pants or dresses - everybody looked great, not a single dumpy-looking person in the group. It's amazing how good you look when your clothes fit properly! (Okay, I'll calm down now...deep breaths.)

Now back to the regularly scheduled post that I prepared earlier. So when I got sick of the shirt yesterday, I wanted to sew up a sure thing that I knew would fit. Then I got bogged down in fabrics and I finished organizing my drawers. I first saw this method at Tigergirl's blog, and then Mimi G did a little video about it, so I went out and bought 6x9" envelopes and clear sheet protectors. Here's how my formerly disorganized pattern drawer looks now.
Here's the binder I have with the pattern envelopes in sheet protectors, so I can sit in the den with the family and flip through my patterns, instead of crouching over a drawer upstairs.
And by the way, everybody's been taking pictures of their stash, so here's part of mine.
Yes, I have 2 drawers with fabric like that, but I also have one shelf in this armoire with more fabric piled up (plus that green bamboo knit thrown on top), so don't feel too bad for me. You can also see a clear container under my cutting table with some more fabric...still, nothing like the walls of shelving that you people have!
Hmmm, should I feel jealous when I compare my stash to other PRer's, or should I think of myself as a woman with control over my addiction? Right, jealous it is - off to Hancock!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Doom, Despair, and Agony of Sleeves...

With apologies to Hee Haw for changing the lyrics of their best song. Hee Haw was so integral to my childhood that my sister gave me a boxed set of the greatest episodes - how does one repay that kindness?
Well, onto the sleeve. So this is the white slinky-ish knit from Chicago, which runs just like pantyhose and sticks to itself like Cling Wrap - delightful! You can see by the seam allowance showing through the sleeve that I couldn't get the sleeve to fit the armhole, so I tried letting it do what it wanted.
It felt tight and you can see wrinkles at the underarm as well, so I think I really need to enlarge the armhole itself, not so much the sleeve.
Well, maybe I should try gathering the sleeve cap to fit the armhole like most people do.
Here's one more shot of shortened sleeve cap - note the alignment of the wrinkles.
And here's my attempt at gathering the sleeve cap and easing it into the armhole - what a great study in wrinkles - they're going the other way now! (I wish I knew what that meant - I'm sure I can figure it out...)

So I had to just put that down because it was driving me crazy. This can't be a TNT if I haven't figured out the sleeves yet, and all the Silhouette tops I bought have that same French dart, so I bet the armholes are similar too - arrghhhhh! Back to the drawing board...

Wait - I know! The cardigan armhole fit perfectly - I'll trace it onto this shirt - that's gotta work...right?

(Also, did you note how the material is quite sheer so I lined the front by cutting 2 fronts and sewing it all up as one? Which means 4 French darts, and a walking foot...what a lot of work - sigh.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mother's Day Silhouette Patterns

Well yesterday was a hellatious day of call, so I didn't get to finish what I was working on. So I'll show you the 4 patterns I got from Silhouette's Mother's Day sale. First is a halter top with built-in bra. I would've made this last weekend, but you have to have bra cups - cool! You can't tell a whole lot from the picture on the front with a lot of these patterns, I've noticed.
This is a knit shirt with "smocking" that a couple of people on PR have made.
I looked at this one and thought, "Why the heck did I buy this shirt pattern - ugh." Then I remembered it's actually a yoga pant pattern.
And this is the style of my favorite shirts from Dress Barn - knit with plackety-thing at the collar.
Also, I got sucked into a subscription for Sew News. I got the free issue, and there was actually an article about modifying a pattern I was planning to make up! What are the odds?! Another sign from God!
Hopefully I'll finish the Ann's Top I'm working on in the white gauzy knit from Chicago - we'll see. I have high hopes for it...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I Finished the Cardigan!

Holy moly - I actually made it up to the sewing room for a few minutes! Long enough to sew on the hook and eye closure for my Betzina cardigan. Guess what? I LIKE IT!!!
Of course, I'm hippy and short-waisted to start with - do you think if I lowered the ribbon it would make me look less so? Because I can see making another one of these in a better fabric.
I love these pants - got them at The Loft in Chicago. I may have to look for a trouser pattern and do some more in linen...though I hate ironing.
This is my tribute to Mimi G.
Except that I'm not cute as a bug, and I don't have any bling to speak of, and my nails are always unpainted....uh, but I'm tall! And I'm wearing Nine West Nuncios - snap. (Which the dog is blocking, dangit.)
Yeah, I better stick to my usual goofy poses. My 9-year-old cameraman is not patient enough to take the kinds of pictures Mimi G produces.

In other news, can you believe that JOSHUA got sent home from American Idol? I was blown away - I had him pegged as the winner. Okay - off to dinner - more tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Awkward Family Photos

My SIL Elizabeth, of Eternity Scarf fame, sent me this link to Awkward Family Photos - Mother's Day edition. Some are totally gross, others are hilarious. I would like to add one of Dean's favorite photos of the family, which he carries in his wallet, I believe. I had a coupon for a free sitting at Walmart, and we didn't have a family picture with Lucas yet, because he was only a few months old, so I figured I'd use it to get a nice portrait for Dean to have. He was working, so he couldn't be in it.

I very carefully picked out our clothes, and was delighted that Drew and I both had yellow shirts! I picked Lucas's fanciest outfit, but I am not a fru-fru type of woman, so there were no precious John-John's or whatever those fancy smocked outfits are called. What we ended up with was an awful hair style on my pale makeup-less face, a too-large fake smile on Drew, who looks as if they threatened him with some sort of punishment, and a baby monkey from the zoo.
Is it just me who thinks Lucas looks like a monkey? Something about that collar sitting under those ears just screams Planet of the Apes to me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

27" Bread and 27' Slide

Behold the wonder that is Japanese bread!

This stuff is huge and fluffy and delicious. The cheese cannot keep up and feels inferior.

You can't HANDLE the sandwich! (A Few Good Men)

And here's the 27 foot waterslide we rented for the Pack cookout. That's 27 feet tall, as in almost 3 stories down. I had an ambulance on standby. (Not really, but I thought about it.) I snapped the pics before the crowd of almost 80 showed up.

My co-den leader had the great idea to come down it ourselves at the end when everybody was leaving. It was not as scary as it looked, at least to us. The people standing at the end of the slide probably beg to differ.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Infinity Scarves for Mothers

Well how cool is it that I have now made a scarf for each of the mothers in my family?! And here they are, in no particular order: My sister Tracey, who goes by Junior when commenting here.

My MIL, Keiko, who was dismayed that her shirt didn't match, but you gotta do what you gotta do for the blog.

My SIL Elizabeth, who took a humorous picture depicting what the scarf could be used for when one finds oneself at the end of one's rope, so to speak. (I believe this would be called an Eternity Scarf.)

This is a very fancy-schmancy way to wear it - I have no idea how she did that! Bravo, Liba!

And finally, MY mother!

And here's my Mother's Day haul. Lucas shopped at the school store (on my dime) and bought this beautiful red fleece blanket and a stunning ring made of beads and sequins, along with a candle holder not pictured. Drew bought me (on his own dime, unless Dean cheated) the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy - exactly what I was wanting! And on the ride home from Pensacola, Drew "DJ'd" with music from my iPod, and he even played some Florence for me even though they don't care for it (it broke up the Dubstep and Dragon Force, which is all a mother could ask for). That is what I call a good Mother's Day.

Except that now I have to go to Walmart and buy the food for our Cub Scout Pack cookout tomorrow, for which I have 72 RSVP's so far....and it was such an awesome day.

But wait, look what I did when I got back from the hated Walmart! My MIL kindly gave me some panko-breaded pork cutlets (tonkatsu, to those in the know) to fix for dinner tonight. Wait, ME cook tonkatsu? Yes, indeedy! (If you're wondering why that's odd, I'll tell you of the Thanksgiving where the tip of my pinky ended up in the sweet potatoes.) Dean was on call, so I bravely heated the oil, with support from Drew, who declared that the final product did indeed look like what Dean and my MIL cook. Look at the perfect bubbles from the correctly-heated oil - I'm almost more proud of this than anything I've sewn!!

And my cooking inspired Lucas to create a special dessert for me. He poked peanuts into the brownies my mom made yesterday, then stacked and drizzled and arranged to achieve this:

What a Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Weekend

I went in Joann's yesterday to look for an interesting button for the bathrobey cardigan, and this is what I came up with. A square button that may not work at all, and a metal frog closure that may be too heavy for the ribbon. That prompted me to look at stabilizers, etc., and I bought a tube of Solvy and another package of stiff something-or-other that you use to stabilize buttonholes. We'll see what happens!

The coolest thing was that when I was checking out, Becky appeared! She was in the Betzina class last year, and she shared some excellent tips on interfacing, etc. It's the first time I've run into somebody I know in the fabric store - neat!

I'm planning a quiet Mother's Day weekend of card games and possibly going to see Dark Shadows (Johnny Depp's new movie - I thought the previews were hilarious, but my sister saw a bad review...hmmmm) with the kids and my mom, since Dean is on call, and I'll get a pic of my MIL with her new scarf if she'll let me. Hope your weekend is great!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Live Hood Ornament?

I pulled out of the garage yesterday and went to get the kids from school. At some point after I left the house, I noticed this in my rearview mirror.

No, that's not a hood ornament on the car behind me, it's a baby bird who somehow ended up on my rear windshield wiper. He enjoyed the ride for a while, but decided he needed a better view and flew up to the roof of my car. And he couldn't really fly, so I had to (safely) apply the brakes to "catch" him on the car.

Alas, the wind proved too much for him, and he started chirping and trying to fly. I saw him flapping his pitiful wings behind the car and tried to slow down and catch him again, but he landed in the road. He hopped up after a minute and just started walking across the street toward the grass. When I made the return trip, I didn't see him splattered in the street, so I'm hoping he made it.

I'm really wondering what the people driving behind me thought. That would've been crazy if he'd landed on that chick's hood - what a save! (Of course, I had to wash the back of the car off when I got home - apparently he didn't really enjoy the ride.)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Mother's Day Scarf

Hey - I actually sewed something as a gift for someone! I know you people are always making clothes as gifts for other people, but I don't usually do that kind of thing. However, my MIL is going to Niagara Falls in a few weeks and I thought I'd give her an infinity scarf in case it's chilly. (Well, it's probably not chilly, but I thought it'd make a nice Mother's Day gift for her since she wears scarves every day.)

I made this one about 10" wide and 58" long, and this is a drapey knit that feels like thick pantyhose. Took about 15 minutes to make, including watching the tutorial again to get the dimensions.
I hope I didn't make it too long for her, given that she's just over 5 feet tall.
I'll try to get a picture of her wearing it, since she's much better at showcasing scarves than I am.

And may I just say how SHOCKED I am that Lisa Lampanelli got fired last night?! Theresa was expected, but what a twist that they did those interviews and fired some more. I think Clay or Arsenio will be the next one fired, but I really wish it would be Aubrey. If she wins this thing despite being the most narcissistic person I've ever seen, I will scream....after texting my sister.

Monday, May 7, 2012

America's Got Talent...But Not At This House

No, I don't have a tour of my sewing room, just a little fun we had Saturday night demonstrating my kids' musical talents and my ability to convulse when hitting wrong notes. Our drummer appears somewhat lethargic but is still able to keep the beat:

And here's a little more polished product sans drums (this is like the 3rd run-through together if you wonder why it's so rough). Obviously more practice is in order.

That was "Somebody That I Used to Know" by Luiz Bonfa, in case you didn't recognize it....and why would you, really?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend Sleeve Work

So who knew that a little camping table would occupy 9-year-old boys outside for hours? They played in the fort, swung out of it on the rope swing, and when that got boring they set up the table and had a snack, plus they ate their lunch in the treehouse. You can see Lucas in the top level eating a sandwich. Precious, and they were outside for 7 straight hours!
So while they were thusly occupied, I worked on my sleeves for the Silhouette top. (I was using any available knit - would this be a bad example of color-blocking?) I did the right sleeve first and it was obvious the cap height was too tall, so I adjusted and added the left sleeve. And I mean as you're looking at it, because everything's reversed in these pics.
You can see how I have folds from excess fabric. I shaved off 1/2" from the cap height and tapered back to the original underarm line. I also added 1" to the bicep circumference. First I slashed the pattern like one book recommends, but that was getting really complicated with the lower part of the sleeve, so I just extended the underarm 1/2" on each side and tapered back into the sleeve around the elbow.
Obviously not perfect, but much better. Next, I'm ready to try a second muslin on one of those Chicago fabrics...
But first, I have to finish reading The Hunger Games!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Well Saturday stretches before me with no plans, and the kids are occupied with friends and chores, so I should get to sewing! First a couple of stories, though. Drew and I were in Target and the lady behind us at checkout was unloading just TONS of baby food from her buggy. Drew pointed out that she also had a 4-pack of Red Bull. (Hope she's not breastfeeding.)

And yesterday afternoon I took three 9-year-olds to see The Avengers while Dean did yard work with Drew, and you people who have girls might be just a little bit jealous. I bet they don't laugh and giggle endlessly at bodily noises that they make (I would've died of shame if I made these noises in front of somebody's mother). But the conversation was actually about healthy eating at one point. One kid told Lucas that his parents read on the internet that if you drink a Coke every day, you'll have so much stuff around your heart by the time you're 30 years old that it will kill you. He only drinks Coke once a month. And Mountain Dew gives you Mountain Dew Mouth, which is 18 cavities for every Mountain Dew you drink. (Inaccurate, maybe, but effective!)

So I'll leave you with this, as I go vacuum the rug by the back door for the 3rd time this morning because they've trekked in dirt and leaves again. Silhouette Patterns is having a Mother's Day special - buy 3 patterns and get the 4th free! I'm thinking about it - I love that Ann's Top pattern so much - so I've printed out the 6-page catalog to peruse. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cardigan Declared "Weird"

Okay, I think it's kind of cute, myself. I'm sad I got a wavy hem for some reason, and I didn't hem the sleeves because I just think I'm done with it.
Lucas, my usually supportive and always brown-nosing child, looked it up and down and said, "Seriously?" I said, "What do you think of it?" He said it was "weird."
I asked Drew what he thought of it (keep in mind they were not in earshot of each other and had not conferred beforehand). He felt the sleeve fabric and said, "It's weird."
Dean, being a grown-up with an advanced degree, declared that I looked like a present. Apparently he objects to the bow. He asked if buttons were in the future plans.
I did mortify them by wearing it out to eat (no, seriously, there was not even any talk of paper bags for their heads - they were very supportive), where the bow got in my way and was in constant danger of becoming untied. I realize this is not practical for work, but I certainly would use the pattern again and button the front like other PR'ers have done.

So what do you honestly think? I've already had 3 votes for weird and 2 for "bathrobe" (yes, Mother and Jim, I'm recording your votes too - thanks for being honest), and I don't really plan to wear it anywhere else, so you don't have to sugarcoat it.