Thursday, August 30, 2012

Isaac and Dr. Fun at Work

This is what Isaac did to our yard at the beach Tuesday - drowned it. But it didn't get into the house, so there's a huge blessing. Robbie, we're waiting to hear about your house when Vic gets to go home. You're up on stilts, right?

And while Dean was on call at the hospital and the boys and I were hanging out with my Mom and Jim waiting for the power to go out (it never did - another blessing), I knitted. Starting about 12:30 PM after I finished work and ate lunch, I sat on her couch and knitted a gauge swatch (or whatever you call it). I started with 10.5 needles called for, but that was too small, so I went to her next size larger which were 13's, but that was too big, so I loosened up and went back to the 10.5's. Success! This is what you get after about 7-8 hours of knitting.

Yes, I got up to eat dinner, and we eventually went home around 9 PM, whereupon I sat back down on the couch and knitted till 11:30 PM. I finished this sleeve last night and have already started the second one. I am OBSESSED with knitting now...poor neglected sewing machine. But I am having my best days in a while - go to work, go get the kids, go to Pure Barre while they do homework and chores, have a hot shower followed by a nice dinner my husband cooked (they don't like my cooking, so I do NOT feel guilty, but I know I'm spoiled), then sit on the couch and knit while they watch TV. BLISS!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dodged That Bullet

Well, Isaac moved west and couldn't get his act together, so we're getting rain and a little wind, plus surge as expected on the Causeway, but no power outage or flooding here in town - woot! And since schools and offices are closed for 2 days, that means more time for knitting. Thank goodness Joann was open yesterday (God bless you ladies for having to work all day yesterday). I picked up 4 skeins of yarn and started on a "slim shrug" for my first more complex project. Oh, and here's the finished scarf:

This is officially for Lucas, who claimed ownership about halfway through.

And my laugh of the day came from The Weather Channel, where Jim Cantore and Al Roker held onto each other and BACKED across an intersection in New Orleans to demonstrate the high winds. Then Roker says, "Somebody's cooking bacon. We're getting the smell of bacon at 80 miles an hour." (When you can't drum up some drama, go for comedy.)

And here's a little humor Drew found:

Robbie, I bet you got some water in your yard like we did, but I hope your house is fine!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Storm's a-Comin', and a Craftsy Class

Well here we go with the hurricanes again. It's been a nice couple of years with no major ones, but I guess Isaac is headed this way. Dean and Lucas have headed to the beach to button things down, but I'm stuck here on call all week feeling useless. This time around will be very different since we have a generator for the house. Forget about all sleeping in one room with a giant box fan plugged into a power inverter hooked to a car battery, which also ran the electric wok that we used to make grilled cheese sandwiches. And walking around with candles and flashlights is kind of fun for an hour or two, but that's it. That also reminds me about the tip to fill your tub with water - I never understood that, because I really don't want to drink tub water. I think it's really to flush toilets when you lose your utilities, but in New Orleans when we did that, the tub had a slow leak and the water was gone after a couple of hours.

Okay, let's just have a little rehash of hurricanes I've known. Georges in the late 90's hit Mobile while we were in New Orleans, but it was just a puff of wind there and the power went out immediately. I overheard a FEMA person at Tulane later saying they had 20,000 body bags ready to go and had put explosives on the levies when they thought it was coming there. Our next door neighbor had also offered us their roof if necessary, since we lived in a 1-story house and they had 2 stories.

Next was Ivan after we'd moved back to Mobile, and Dean had to stay at the hospital for that one, so I took the kids to my brother's house in Birmingham. I think the power went out in Birmingham before it went out in Mobile - not good when you have a bobcat (now known as the bobsicle) in your deep freeze like my brother did. That one knocked down most of the trees in our backyard (and the kids' fort), but the house was fine.

This is what you call a near-miss. No power for maybe a week, I think.

Then came Katrina, which hit Waveland, MS, and New Orleans, of course. I stayed for that one, but it ended up being more dramatic than Ivan. At one point, Dean went into the garage right before a tree fell on it, so I went running that way just as he shot back into the house. Lucas remembers running in various directions as we heard limbs coming down. And the kicker was that one of our trees fell on the neighbor's house as we watched from our bedroom window, then we started smelling gas - it took our gas line with it. That would be when one of the boys started playing with their race car that runs on friction and sparks, so I'm yelling to put the car down before we blow up. We went over to another neighbor's house for the rest of that one, and I believe it was 2 weeks we were without power. Luckily, the Mexican restaurant nearby got power back very quickly - yay for cold beer! We'll see what Isaac brings now.

So amidst reports from Jim Cantore and Mike Seidel, I saw an email from McCall's about a knit class at Craftsy. I've heard a couple of you guys mention that site, so I checked it out. You actually make 5 knit garments and get the low-down on sewing with knits, and it was only $19.95 if you sign up from Meg McElwee's site, Sew Liberated, so you save $10 over the Craftsy site! I signed up, though I don't anticipate much sewing in the next couple of weeks obviously. Anybody else do any Craftsy classes? Anybody have any hurricane stories to share? (Robbie, I assume you've got your things in order - don't forget your stickers! Are you headed to Birmingham?)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Baby Bunting - Done!

Well, I cut out the bunting one night in about 20 minutes (including tracing a smaller size, because it's Kwik Sew), and sewed this up in one hour flat. Oh, add 10 minutes to attempt ripping out this cuff that I sewed to the wrong side. And you can't rip overcast stitching in fleece, so I had to cut the seam and re-sew it.

Here's the finished product in very bad sunlight, with another little outfit I made for Lucas when he was a baby. That was back when you could buy ribbing in stores.

Here's a close-up of said ribbing, along with my poor stitching. I didn't have a serger and apparently was fond of a wide zigzag.

Now this neck ribbing was purchased at Hancock's and made from a "ribbed collar for RTW" shirts that is meant to replace a collar on a shirt. It's sold as one piece and is kind of stiff, but I put the pattern piece on it and cut this out. So $5 for that. The cuffs are "ribbed cuffs for RTW" shirts that I cut down to the right length - about $5 for that too. What gives? Even the store in Boston didn't have ribbing. Are you supposed to just buy a ribbed knit in white? Go online? Ridiculous, but I made it work.

So this pattern was EASY and I think I'll make another one a little larger in a heavier fleece for winter. This is gonna be a warm little baby in Pennsylvania! (Better get online and order some ribbing now...)

Next capris - Silhouette style! (Because I've now done 4 Pure Barre classes - these thighs are getting TIGHT...on the inside, that is....they're still quite doughy on the outside.)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mad Cow Strikes Again

I picked up a prescription at the drug store Friday afternoon, brought it home, and dropped the packet of pills into my overnight bag because I was heading to the beach Saturday. It also comes with a little pill holder thing that has the refill sticker on it, so I put that in my bathroom drawer. Then it was time to sew!

The next morning, I took my shower and went to take my pill, but there was only the holder, and no pills. I searched the entire drawer, went through the garbage in case I threw it away with the bag, searched the drawer again, and walked around the house a little bit. Then I called the drugstore, which was thankfully not open, and left a message about how when I opened the bag I found the pill holder, but no packet of pills, so I would need a refill.

I collected my things and went to put something in my overnight bag, whereupon I found said pills - DOH! (Yes, I called the drugstore back and said my Alzheimer's was acting up, very sorry, etc.) I guess it's not as bad as driving to New Orleans for a meeting a week early.

Anyhoo, here's the final product, which I wore to the party Saturday night. I was worried the shirt was just a smidge short (or the leggings just a smidge tight), but Dean gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up - unsolicited! - so I pressed on.

Hooray for Target having a rack of capri leggings right inside the front door. And a clearance rack of yoga capris next to that - got a pair for Pure Barre for $7 - whoop!

And on a side note, the decor for the party was outstanding (but the band sucked - picture the Benny Goodman band with 2 members - he was nice in his day, but this is 2012, right?). Every table had a 1.5-foot tall glass vase like a martini glass with glass rocks in the bottom, electric candle submerged in water, leafy green vegetation on top, and the big surprise was a betta in every one that they gave away at the end!

His name is Swimmy, and Lucas has already outfitted his new home on his dresser (this is not it). Nice party favor!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Almost Done with the Top...

The mojo is firing on all cylinders, people! I had my best day ever on Wednesday, when I had a good day at work, made it to the inaugural Pure Barre class, came home and showered, had a nice dinner with the family, sewed a little bit on the shirt, then knitted on the couch while the family watched TV. What a productive day! And yesterday was pretty darn good too, since I got the baby bunting completely cut out and ready to go. A brief side note: where do you ladies buy ribbing? They didn't even have it in Boston! I bought a ready-made collar at Hancock and cut the pattern out from it, then today I found ready-made cuffs, but ya' gotta have real ribbing sometimes. Back to business: I nearly finished the top.

And here it is, looking like a completely different color. I'm just lacking the hem, so I tried it with some black denim shorts I have in the hopes that they would work for the "island party" tomorrow night.
Um, hmmmmm.
Well, I'm happy I dipped the back a little lower than the front, because I think I'll be shopping for some leggings in the morning. I don't even know where to buy leggings that you can wear in public....Kohl's? Target? I need some help here. I am so sad this wasn't a dress. I have gold flat sandals and dangly gold earrings - why couldn't this be a real dress?!

Am I the only one who thinks these shorts look like a short version of Captain Kirk's pants? Remember, their pants ended just above the ankle and flared out a little - very retro. And the ladies (Uhura - my favorite!) wore black boots with their mini-dresses. Continuing to take the side track, did anybody else notice that many plots revolved around Kirk being disrespectful to the ladies? It was always Uhura and that blonde chick, but you never saw anybody else be the one taken over by the evil alter ego (well, Spock once, but they didn't make him lecherous, just kind of sexy and angry). Okay, time to stop drinking wine and get back to hemming.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Dress will now be a Top, and Pure Barre!

Well, I figured my MIL bought the purple fabric in Joann, since that's all they have in Pensacola, so I headed there to try and find some extra to complete the dress. But what is this?

It's called flannel-back satin - have you ever heard of such?!

What a cozy dress that would make in the winter! Wonder what you really do with it? I also found this blue cotton print on the clearance aisle and grabbed it to make a blouse or something.

And I DID find a purple fabric that I thought was close enough to work, but when I got it home I realized the floral stuff is lighter purple than I thought. Oh well....

So I'll have to go with a shirt. I tried to get creative by laying it out on the bias, but I didn't want the center front seam, so I chickened out and cut straight grain. We'll see how it goes.

And now for my NEWEST obsession...ever heard of Pure Barre? A co-worker told me about it, and I decided yesterday that I'm tired of sitting around complaining about my gut getting larger. Now that the boys are back in school, I have a little time in the afternoon to do something, and you can only sew so much. I went to the first class yesterday, and I would totally have done it again today if I wasn't so busy in clinic. The lights are low, the music is loud, and everybody's concentrating on their own muscles. It was 55 minutes of intense Pilates-type moves with some yoga and ballet stuff thrown in there (thus the name), and I came out feeling great. I'm doing something healthy for myself - hooray! Okay, now back to sewing....

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Bodice

See, I have no vision whatsoever. When my MIL gave me this fabric, I thought "Maybe I'll make a skirt, but where would I wear it?" Look what a cute summer dress it makes!

Okay, the top HALF of a summer dress. I pinned the bodice to the scrap of fabric I have left, and I really feel like if I cut a little off here and there and sew it to the back to cover my bum, this'll work! I'm going through other patterns and I pulled out one straight skirt I've made a couple of times - the blue floral one with the exposed pink zipper, if you remember that - because it uses very little fabric. I may try tracing that, but I have to get it join the bodice, so I'll frankenpattern them together and see if I have enough. If not, I'll try going with a tunic length top and wear it with leggings. (Wonder where they sell gold leggings, that would really make this pop!)

Okay, send any suggestions you have...I also have to put together my popcorn presentation for the Cub Scout Pack meeting next week, so my sewing time is getting crunched - yikes!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Weekend in the Water and a Dress Crisis

All the back to school preparations have kept me busy, so I never did get the shorts made, though I did get them cut out and ready to sew. We headed to the beach this weekend for some kayaking and swimming before Drew starts school tomorrow. Lucas was apparently exhausted and slept the whole way over, not even caring that the dog was drooling on his neck.

We enticed Jakey to swim with us, but he insisted on getting in the float.

Drew got him settled then climbed out to eat a sandwich. Jakey had no idea how he should get out of the float and onto the dock. Drew got back in to help him out.

And here's what I've done so far on my scarf. I need a couple more skeins of yarn to finish, but I'm very proud of it so far.

So here's the current dilemma. My MIL gave me this fabric today that she hasn't used in 2 years (who knew my MIL had a stash?). It's actually darker purple than the picture suggests. I was thinking a skirt, but we have a party next weekend with an island theme, and it says to wear your best island attire. I've been told that Hawaiian shirts and colorful florals are in order, so I figured I'll use this fabric for a little dress!

And I do mean little, because this is 44" fabric and there's a yard and a half! So I looked through my patterns and found 3 cute sheaths, but the one that met the yardage requirement was a serious-looking number that you might wear to the office, but not to a party. Therefore, I decided to make Simplicity 4577 work - you may remember this as my first Mardi Gras dress.

Well, I laid out the pattern pieces and was amazed that I actually had enough to do it with a short skirt. I commenced to cutting out immediately. As soon as I cut the first bodice piece out, I remembered that I didn't wash the fabric yet, and this is 100% cotton, so I bet it'll shrink. DOH.

Then the kicker, I only laid out the skirt front - totally forgot about the skirt back. Dadgum, I've already cut the bodice out! So, any suggestions? Find some purple or gold fabric to coordinate and make the skirt from that? Use the remaining yard and cut it on the bias then sew those strips together like in the "zero waste" articles in Sew News? What would you do? Ooh, maybe add a peplum like my friend Katrina did with her Cambie shirt, then pair it with a RTW skirt? Hmmmmm, party's Saturday, time's a-wastin....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Shopping in Boston

Well, this pic was on Sunday when we came back from the Harvard Museum of Natural History and were looking for the dim sum place. Dean didn't even realize he walked right by the very fabric store I was looking for, but it was closed on Sundays in the summer, so I had to go back yesterday after our Duck Tour (you know, where you ride around in the amphibious vehicle and plunge into the Charles River for more tour - great to see the sights). Lucas saw me whip out the phone for a pic and thought he had to pose yet again in the heat, but he was relieved that I didn't need to stop everybody for this one.

And this is the fabric I bought for $2.98/yard. It's a tiny corduroy and I initially thought skirt, but I got 2 yards and today I'm thinking pants, but that would be outrageous! Is tiny corduroy okay for a dress when it gets cooler?

I thought it was interesting that only the suiting was on a bolt. Most of the other fabric is on hangers.

These stripes drove me wild, but I already have material for pajamas, so I passed.

And here is what the boys purchased yesterday - hats! Drew is really into fedoras, so we found Goorin Brothers on Newbury Street, who happened to be having a 50% summer sale. You can't argue with a $20 fedora. Or a bicycle hat, which I believe is what the salesman called what Lucas picked out. That kid's a nut...

And to top off the celebrity sightings in Boston - remember we saw David Spade and Adam Sandler in the North End - we were on an elevator with none other than SHAQ! That man is gigantic - I was standing next to him and felt like I was walking next to Godzilla. We looked up his stats because he just didn't seem to be of normal human proportions, and he's 7'1 and weighs 325 lbs! I was nowhere near his shoulder, and Lucas was close to his waist. He graciously posed for a pic with another family on the elevator, so we got scooped, but he was very nice to even get on the elevator with us in the first place (he had to duck).

And now back to humdrum Mobile, where there are never any celebrity sightings. And school is starting next week - yikes! Maybe tomorrow I'll show you the knitting I did on the plane - a scarf is in the works....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dim sum

And this was the best - a dim sum palace in an old theater. Before we were even seated, 5 Chinese ladies surrounded us with their carts to push their dishes on us. Drew got cut off in the rush and Lucas unknowingly consented to a plate of shrimp rolls. They kept stamping our card, and I was afraid we'd racked up a huge bill without knowing it, but it was the cheapest meal yet at $30. Then we realized that every new group of diners got the same treatment - the ladies would line up and pounce on each table using a divide and conquer strategy, getting kids to nod their heads while their parents were looking elsewhere - hilarious! But the food was delicious and it was just the cultural expansion Lucas needed.


The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a great cheaper alternative to the larger Museum of Science, but they import all their possum(s?) and armadillos from other countries. They did credit Auburn University with one display of the Santa Rosa Beach Mouse - War Eagle!


Lucas is devastated to find that his real parents have been encased in glass. (see, remember that old baby pic where he looks like a monkey?)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


And after dinner in the North End, we ran into a crowd. Turns out it was Adam Sandler, whom I didn't recognize at first, and David Spade. How cool!

Bike shorts

So proud that my custom blue madras shorts held up!


You do have to avoid pedestrians and ducks. And bridge railings, which I hit while avoiding another biker, but Lucas did great and loved it! You can't get him to bike at home, but he did 2.5 hours in 98 degree heat without a single complaint - shocking!

Boston Day 1

I highly recommend Urban Adventours! They give bike tours around Boston. We did the family-friendly Tour de Boston around the Charles River, but they have a downtown version too.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Canoeing on Your Birthday

We went over to Adventures Unlimited in Milton, FL for a 7-mile canoe trip on Lucas's birthday. Last time we did this, Jake was a puppy.

Two miles in, we stopped to eat lunch. Then the thunder started. We packed up pretty quick but couldn't avoid the thunderstorm that blew up right over us. Let's just say that we avoided hypothermia by huddling under an overturned canoe Dean set up for us, and we finally just took off paddling when the radar showed no let-up in sight.

Five miles of river and several hours later, we made it home in time to celebrate his birthday with the grandparents - hooray!

This will probably be his most memorable birthday ever.

Maybe not the best one....unless you call not getting hit by lightning a good thing, in which case it was most definitely the best day ever!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Made a Hat! But Not Shorts...

Lucas is the first to model it when I finished it at 11 PM last night. (Well, it's the Olympics, so we let them stay up late.)

I left my ends long because I realized I had some boo-boos to fix. Namely that I dropped a stitch when I started weaving it together and didn't pull the top tight enough, thus the hole.

And that I sewed it wrong sides together, so the seam is on the outside - doh!

Drew is ashamed, but it does fit him better. Dean couldn't stop laughing long enough to pose for a picture, but he did try it on.

So I took it apart today and enlisted my mother's help to figure out where I went wrong. She was flummoxed, but took out a row and made the diagnosis. (God bless mothers who hem their grown daughters' dresses and rip out their mistakes in knitting...well, those who ask first. HA - I knew that would get her!) Okay, see, I started a scarf on bamboo circular needles for a plane ride, and I messed up royally when I cast on, so she ripped the stitches off and fixed it, but I was shocked that she undid everything so fast, and I said, "You just ripped all my work." (Seriously, it was one row of 40 stitches - nothing.) I was appreciative when she explained what I had done, but it made her feel bad later that she did it without asking.

And now, we have a totally wearable hat!

And in other news, we're going to Boston for a long weekend before the kids start back to school - anybody know any great fabric stores? I found one called Winmil Fabrics near the hotel, but I'm open to suggestions. And now to work on those shorts I cut out weeks ago...