Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dresses and T-shirts

It was a lazy Saturday today - hooray! I watched my Craftsy class "Sewing with Knits" for a couple of hours this morning (in my pajamas on my iPad - I love Craftsy!), and then I ventured upstairs to try and straighten up the sewing room. I'm trying to make some knit T-shirts, and I found this one that I reviewed on PR back in 2010.

Well, I mean I found the review on PR, but I can't find the actual shirt. I looked in the closet in the sewing room where I hang stuff that needs altering, and no shirt. What did I do with that thing? However, I ran across this Simplicity dress that I started 13 years ago.

Now I think I started this when we moved from New Orleans, but I got stuck on the lined zipper. That was the first lined dress I'd ever done, and I just couldn't figure out that zipper, so apparently I put it aside about 3 years. I eventually pulled it out again and realized I had lost about 15 pounds, so my mom pinned out some excess fabric for me in the darts and side seams. Now, 10 years later, it was time to do something about it. I took all the pins out and just sewed up the side seams by 1" each, then let out 1/2" as I was overzealous, and voila.

Now this was before I knew about invisible zippers, so this is some sort of lapped zipper I think, but I just threw that sucker down and sewed the lining down on the zipper, what with all my Mardi Gras dress knowledge I have these days. Now all I have to do is hem it....and iron out 10 years' worth of pinned up darts...and fix the pucker at the bottom of the zipper. (Apparently I wasn't too good at putting in zippers back then.) It felt pretty good to have a nearly finished dress after about 30 minutes' worth of work!

Now I need to ask you a question, and I'd appreciate any lurkers delurking for a second. I'm thinking of making a T-shirt with this fabric from Japan (no, that's not the question).

My question is when you print a PDF pattern and tape it all together, what do you do with it? I'm going to trace my pieces out, but then do you fold the whole thing up and stick it in a drawer? Do you hang it over a hanger in the closet? Do you cut the actual pattern pieces out and fold them up? It's just a big old piece of paper, and I'm not sure what to do with it once I've traced my shirt.

One last question - what happened to my sense of humor? I was reading through my February 2010 posts, and I seemed to be a lot funnier back then - what gives? Is my life really this boring now? It was also interesting that the SNL clip link still works, but now they make you type in your birthday before you watch it because it's for "mature audiences." Awesome!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Shorts and Dinner

I made some pajama shorts for myself using Simplicity 9499...

and the Japanese panda fabric that felt like flannel after it was washed. Yeah, this is a man's pattern, but the crotch curve seems to work!

The pandas are very happy.

And this is what 9 hours at cooking camp gets you - vegetable soup and sauteed shrimp for dinner.

And a creepy older brother photo-bombing your work.

Lucas came up with this cucumber dish himself. He peeled and sliced the cucumber, stacked the pieces in a decorative sushi dish with soy sauce, then topped with a basil leaf with a drop of olive oil and sea salt - yum! (Looks like he's been reading Katrina's blog!)

Here's the total package with the vegetable soup garnished with chopped basil.

I'm glad he inherited that love of cooking from Dean. Otherwise he'd be sitting around making these all day:

This being the Double Bump Dishcloth, which I managed to screw up about halfway through. It's very similar to the other waffle knit one I made. Definitely better than the DW Darrell Waltrip one as far as feel, but I have a hard time keeping straight which row I've just finished.

Oh well, maybe I should go sew. The dishcloths are wearing me down now....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Of Ticks and Dishcloths...

Well, let's show pictures first for the sewing ladies, then they can move on to the next blog, and my family can hang around for the tick story.

Random rainbow on Friday.

So here's the finished Nai-nai's Favorite dishrag, which I think is my favorite. It's REALLY thick and fun to knit.

And this is the DW Darrell Waltrip dishcloth, which was faster to knit, but not as fun or offense. And I'm not sure about those little bars across there (it's slipping 2 stitches every time), because I have a feeling they'll get caught or pulled or something.

Lastly, this is what the UPS man brought today - my bias tape maker (All About Sewing only had 1/4" and 3/8"), plus the mercerized cotton yarn I ordered to meet the free shipping amount - teehee.

So the boys got home Sunday afternoon from a week at Boy Scout camp in Tennessee, where their tents were on elevated platforms...under which slept 2 camp dogs who were apparently infested with ticks. One of the dads came up to me first and said Lucas and he were tick magnets, and that Lucas had about 7 or 8 ticks during the week, the last of which he pulled off just 2 hours ago in the car. Lucas then came up and very quietly said, "Well, in the words of a fellow camper, I had 2 ticks on my d***." He apparently woke up the first morning with a "stinging in his groin," (he knows the word groin - so proud!) so he went to the latrine, where he saw a gigantic tick and thought he "had the Black Plague." He reported it to his tentmate who took him to the health hut, where one adult said he'd have to get another adult to help. Lucas thought this meant it would take 2 men to hold him down and remove the tick, but it's just a rule in the Scouts for safety. That night he showered to be sure all the "tick stuff" was gone, and found ANOTHER one in another unfortunate place. This time, the guy gave him some tweezers and he removed it himself. (Are you squirming or itching yet?)

If you knew how modest and fastidious this kid was, you'd know why I was so amazed at the fact that he suffered 8 of these things, plus chiggers and redbugs, and still had a good time at camp! Oh, then Drew told me about getting a fish hook in his head, and how he carried the guy's fishing pole (now attached to Drew's head) over to the instructor to remove the hook. These boys are going to have such good characters after all the character-building experiences they've suffered this week!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pants and Scout Washing Machines

Well, I couldn't turn them into capris because they're too stinking cute as full length work pants with my new flats. Plus, they're SO comfortable to wear that I hate to relegate them to summer only. And from this angle, there's nothing wrong with them (other than wrinkles from sitting and contemplating the other leg...).

Now when you look at the back, you see the right leg twists so the princess seam is clearly off. I think one of the panels is off grain, but there are FOUR, so how do I know which one? I've ripped a couple of seams to try and make it twist the other way, but that's not working too well. Any suggestions? (You know I'll wear messed-up stuff, so I'm liable to just shake my leg a lot at work so nobody notices!)

And lastly, this is what Lucas was doing at Scout camp today, provided by another mom whose husband is one of the adults there. We heard they had a "Scout Washing Machine," but to see it in action is awesome. I doubt Lucas will complain about helping with laundry now.

Have a great weekend - I'm off to finish my dishrag!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chicks' Sewing Weekend...

or Bay Area Sew Along, as Katrina put it. So Robbie, Becky, and Katrina - are you in? I thought I had all of your email addresses, but I don't, so it's an official post. I've been thinking about having a girls' sewing weekend at the beach, and the weekend of July 27th is looking good. Or the weekend of August 17th. I would head over on Friday to clean the house and arrange sewing tables near outlets, and you all could come over Saturday morning with your machines and notions to commence a sewing extravaganza. We could sew all day, have some steamed seafood for dinner (or go out if you're so inclined), then sew into Sunday morning before packing it up. Katrina, do you think Dionne would be interested? I have enough room for her. Y'all (or WE) could work on the Closet Bombshell bathing suit you mentioned at Kadiddlehopper's blog - it was awesome!

So you guys check your schedules and let me know if either of those weekends works ( If one isn't good for all of us, we can do it later in August or September.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sewing and Knitting - YAY!

I did get a little something done yesterday. Remember I started this muslin before I went to Japan? It just needed bias bindings for the armholes, and I did that last night. I nearly burned my fingers pressing the bias strips since I had the steam setting on...thus my desire for a bias tape maker. Alas, none of you lurkers wanted to delurk and advise me on what to buy, so I turned off the steam setting and plodded on. Hey, it turned out great!

Just need a little swayback adjustment next time, and I'm good to go.

And while syncing my phone, I knitted some of NaiNai's Favorite Dishcloth, which is looking a little different from everybody else's...

One side does look wavy, and the other is more nubby and supposed to look kind of waffly eventually. It's fun to knit - every other row, you slip every other stitch, so it's fast!

Okay, my intention tonight is to turn those princess-seamed Vogue pants into capris....or to make pajama shorts out of that green Japanese fabric with tiny pandas in it, which turned out to feel like flannel after it was washed....we'll see what happens!

Monday, June 17, 2013

While the Boys are at Scout Camp...

I'm almost recovered from the jet lag, but I do still fall asleep on the couch at 6 PM if left alone, and I fell asleep in the middle of knitting the other night about 9:30 PM. Arghhhh! Anyhoo, I got my fabric washed up but still haven't gone upstairs to the sewing room yet, despite the new onset of FREE TIME since the boys are gone for a week to Tennessee. Lately I've been obsessed with knitting. Now our local Joann is moving to the Festival Center and will be closing in just a few days, so they have everything 50-75% off! I was looking for cotton yarn to make dishrags for our Lake Martin trip, and I bought every skein they had left (it wasn't much). I also got this book for 1/3 the usual price - woohoo! (And yes, the lines are long, which is why I bought the book...I stood in line for about 20 minutes staring at it. Smart product placement, Joann!)

Now I know these pictures are tiny, but this is what I have planned for the yarn. This one is the Darrell Waltrip dishcloth, and I didn't like it initially, but there are some better pictures at Ravelry that look intriguing.

And this one is Nai'Nai's Favorite, which is apparently a combination of Chinese Waves and Grandmother's something-or-other patterns. It'll be first up.

The plan is to use these at Lake Martin then let the ladies take them home as gifts...used, dirty gifts....real nice.

(Also, anybody else having trouble with blogspot's new photo adder thing? It messed up my spacing - bleh.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Japanese Hotels

I just had to show you a big difference between American and Japanese hotels. You know when you stay in a hotel here, you usually get shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and soap in little containers that you can take home, right? In fancier places, they even give you Q-tips and cotton balls. Well, in every place we stayed, we got this:

Yes, comb and brush, hairbands, and TOOTHBRUSHES with TOOTHPASTE! Tiny little toothpastes - how precious! Also disposable razors, but I forgot to get a pic of that. One hotel even had full-size containers of facial products, and the shower had dispensers of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Obviously you don't take that stuff home.

Every place also had PAJAMAS! I slept in these everywhere - very comfortable. Of course you don't take this home, but you do get to take home the slippers! (Yes, I'm so much about the free stuff.)

Now you know this had to be done, right? You've heard of Toto? The fancy schmancy Japanese toilet company? Well there are different models of course, but here's a sample of the control panel. I'll let you figure out what button does what. See that sound button? This simulates a flushing sound for those shy bladders. There was also a top-shelf toilet that intermittently cleaned itself while lighting the bowl from inside - weird!

I'll leave you with a sign at the monkey park demonstrating the creative use of English, and spelling too!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Japanese Fashion

Uh, yes, I DID run back to Marunan and get 2 more pieces of fabric before we left for the airport. The blue geometric is a knit, and the gray one is cotton.

And here's a Bento box just for fun. You can buy these anywhere, but they sell them on the bullet trains too. It's just like flying on a plane - an attendant wheels a cart down the aisle and you can buy a drink, lunch, or even little toys. The packaging is awesome, and inside...

BAM! Lunch!

So I read a lot about "man-pris" which are apparently all the rage in Japan. Men usually wear really long shorts, or these capri pants, or they just roll up their regular pants. Huh...

Apparently these are young, fashionable men who don't want to wear boring old work pants or jeans, which are rare to see.

It got kind of hard to take pictures of people, especially if they were facing me, so I usually snapped them as they walked away.

And I only took one woman's picture, because they would always be walking towards me and I thought that would be tacky. (But seriously, you should've seen the chick with 4" gold stiletto heels walking up the mountain to see the monkeys!) This is an employee of the Information booth at a mall - so spiffy, and why don't we wear hats here anymore?

Though they thought nothing of taking our picture. I spied 2 people taking our family's picture at a train station, and on the streetcar to the monkey park, a woman seriously held her camera up over the back of a seat and appeared to be making a video of me reading my book. Either that or she took a bunch of pictures, because she held it there for several minutes, even after I looked at her! Ah, the trials of Caucasion-ness in an Asian nation...

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Last Day in Tokyo

Enjoy a little Bewitched in Japanese!

And here's some Darren, who sounds so angry and sinister. The show sounds much more serious than it did in the States.

So my MIL and I went to Kamata on the advice of Michiko, who's pictured below.

Right outside the train station is a couple of blocks of Yuzawaya, which is a ginormous fabric and craft store with 5 or 6 buildings with multiple floors. They had tons of Liberty of London prints in one store, which I know Katrina would love - I would've gotten you something, but I didn't know what you already had!

Here's my stash - I'm not a huge fabric hound, so I feel like I should've gotten more stuff while I was here but I just couldn't do it.

And here are a few gratuitous shots that Michiko took for us at lunch the other day. I believe we shall never take another picture without throwing a peace sign!

Lastly, we ate a fine shabu shabu dinner last night at Shabuzen, the restaurant apparently made famous in Lost in Translation. They claim it in their advertising still! Shabu shabu, in addition to being fun to say, is where you cook premium Japanese beef in boiling water, along with vegetables and noodles. Lots of fun, and Lucas is now supremely proficient with large cooking chopsticks!
Off to the airport shortly...should I run back to Marunan for one last piece of fabric?!