Monday, August 26, 2013

I'm Published!!!!

Does anybody subscribe to Sew News? Well, I did for a year, then I let it go awhile, then I re-subscribed because they promised me a free CD of sewing projects, which arrived Friday. Well imagine my surprise when I was flipping through my first new issue last night and saw this:

Can you believe it? That's me! I sent it in before I let my subscription lapse last year. Now, to be honest, I don't think this is that funny, and it didn't really sound like me, so I went back to read my original blog post, which is attached below. I think it's a lot funnier like I originally wrote it, but they DO reserve the right to "edit for brevity and clarity." (I DID edit it for brevity and left out the part about talking to God, but whatever!)

For your convenience, and so you don't have to click a link, here's the original post, titled The Cruel Shorts:

Remember Steve Martin's short story The Cruel Shoes? I relived that recently with these shorts (minus the razor blades and bloody feet). I was trying to adjust the zipper length by cutting off the top. I read that you could do that then oversew the teeth to create a new zipper stop. I've never done that before, so I wanted to take it slow and only do one side. Unfortunately, I cut one side of the zipper then proceeded to put the shorts on to see how they were looking. (It's like I had a Mad Cow moment - I'm lucky I didn't wander out to the mailbox half-dressed.) I sort of forgot to sew the new zipper stop before I just zipped that zipper up. So what happens here is that the zipper pull is only on one track now, can you picture that? And that means you can't UNZIP the shorts, which means you can't GET OUT of the shorts, are you following me here?

So for the next 30 minutes or so, I'm sitting in my chair trying to thread the damn zipper pull back onto the teeth. (This may explain the early appearance of an old-lady hump on my upper back, that 30 minutes hunched over a broken zipper that I'm wearing.) I got it once but the teeth weren't matched evenly, so when I unzipped there was a big gap of teeth sticking out at the bottom. So I worked for another few minutes, talking to God VERY LOUDLY, and finally got the thing threaded back on correctly. Can you imagine how hard it is to evenly match the teeth? I'd like you to cut off one side of an old zipper and see if you can unzip yourself with zipper intact. I really think the only way to do this is to let God know VERY LOUDLY what you need to happen.

At any rate, I was thoroughly put out with these shorts after that stunt, so I finished them as quickly as possible and refused to sew on the belt loops and nice button closure that were called for. They're baggy shorts that aren't supposed to fit like that, and they don't deserve a nice finish. They got a stupid old hook and eye closure. That'll show them who's the boss...try and trap ME again, I don't THINK so!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Tight Pants, Short T-shirt, and Old Skin

I have to sew on a button, which I currently can't find, and block my sweater, but here's a sneak peek at the final products. First, a look at my Hong Kong finish (illegal in some states). This matches the pocket fabric - wheee!

And here's what it looks like together. I'm really hoping that "T-shirt" will grow a couple of inches when I block it - arrgghhhhh! At least you can see the front pockets....

Definitely need some ironing on those pants too...and why do I have a pygmy belly? (Nothing against pygmies.)

I'm deliriously happy....well, maybe just happy, with the fit. The twisting of the legs is not very noticeable, and I have that diagonal wrinkle from hip to inner knee on EVERY pair of pants I's like an old friend.

This is my "creepy first grade teacher" look. I seem to remember teachers who wore slacks with open-toed shoes in the 70's, which was fine then, but I've never liked the look....or my creepy Vogue jacket-thing. (The fabric's creepy, not the pattern.)

Here's a close-up of my single crochet border around the neckline. It pulled the center front a little bit, but I'm okay with it....and also my neck. I purposely looked up to avoid double-chinnage in the shot.

Commencing total randomness:
This is what Lucas bought Dean for his birthday. He went to the campus store where they have a gift section (mainly for teacher gifts), and told me he bought a bottle.
Me: "What kind of bottle?"
Lucas: "I don't know; I think he can pour wine in it."
Um, okay, that's a solid glass stopper and something like gold leaf around the bottom. What kind of gifts are these teachers expecting from the students if this is what they stock? (I'm guessing my homemade knitted dishcloths would NOT be a favorite...)

And lastly, look what I discovered one day. Normal inner elbow arm skin, right?

Until I lift it in the air and gravity takes hold of it. Then it becomes....OLD PEOPLE SKIN!!!!

Off to moisturize...

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Rehabilitated Redneck

Okay, Katie from Kadiddlehopper posted a vlog thing of some words and phrases that expose how we all sound different, depending on where we're from. I also checked out LadyKatza and Laurie from SewExhausted. This went around awhile ago at Tanit-Isis's blog apparently, but I missed it.

So I was born and raised in Sylacauga, Alabama, which is about an hour south of Birmingham...that's Bir-ming-HAM, not BUMmingum, as in England. Sylacauga is also the hometown of Jim Nabors.

If you've ever seen the Andy Griffith Show, you can imagine how I used to sound. I'm ashamed to say that the loud sound coming from a police car (pronounced PO'lice by my dad) was pronounced si-REEN at my house....till I went to medical school in Mobile (where the accents are Southern but hoity-toity, if you know what I mean) and smartened up. Another funny thing is that when I moved to New Orleans for fellowship, I was repeatedly noted to "not be from around here" by people, and one attending said, "What a beautiful accent! Are you British?" Then I spoke again, and I'll be she was embarrassed. (I told her that Vivien Leigh who played Scarlett O'Hara was British, so it was a common mistake - ha!) That's the extent of my accentual influences, so let's get to it.

The words are:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

And these are the questions:
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket? (Drew said, "What's a supermarket?" We call it a grocery store.)
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you use to change the TV channel?

Come on - you know you say caught (cawt) differently than I do, so figure out that webcam on your laptop and give it a shot!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Busy Week!

Don't you hate a busy call week? I took so many phone calls at the hospital and the office on Monday that I felt like Lloyd Bridges in Airplane. Remember that awesome scene where everything's happening at once and he has to make all the decisions?

He walks through the office and people keep coming up to him, and he tells them what to do really fast without letting them talk. Then he picks up the phone (it's his wife) and without listening, says, "I want the kids in bed by 9 and lock the gate." That's how I was rolling on Monday - it was awesome.

Except that it hasn't slowed down that much, and my sewing is suffering (I know, you gotta have your priorities in order!). Now my KNITTING, on the other hand, is doing okay, because there's always time for that before bed. My blue knitted T-shirt is almost finished - just need one more cap sleeve and then I'll sew it together. (I told Dean I was knitting a T-shirt, and he said, "Why isn't it a sweater?" I said, "Because it has tiny sleeves." He says, "Then it's just a sleeveless sweater. The opposite of that thing you knitted that was nothing but sleeves.")

I did take about 15 minutes one night to finish the waistband of my Betzina princess pants, and last night I ironed the hem, so that just needs to be stitched. Hopefully there'll be a totally handmade outfit to show by this weekend - blue T-shirt sweater and khaki pants - woohoo!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Baby Steps with the Coverstitch

You should see the wreck my sewing room has become! After the GCGSW, I ended up with even MORE fabric that I haven't put away yet, and my machines are sitting around's just a mess. Last night I vowed to spend 30 minutes up there, and realized I hadn't sewn on 2 patches to my Scout shirt (yes, I'm a nerdy uniform-wearing Scout parent, but I'm the Popcorn Kernel, so I'm supposed to!). Well that forced me to clean up enough space to plug in my Brother for 10 minutes of sewing. Well today I went BACK up there to put away fabric, and guess what I found? This Burda shirt, stuck in the back of a drawer with some other muslins and stuff needing repair.

I loved this shirt and wore it a bunch, but this is what happened with my Brother twin needle stitching...

Aha - there's a Janome coverstitch for that! (Get it - there's an app for that - see what I did there?) I spent 20 minutes threading and setting it all up, and voila!

No, I didn't use matching thread, I just grabbed 2 spools of similar blue, and a third one for the looper. Check out that awesome stretchy wrong side!

Now see my Jalie shirt?

Well, the same thing happened to it...or this may be the Betzina pattern with this same fabric, but I used wooly nylon in the bobbin for supposedly better elasticity, and look what happened.

The WN just stretched itself to death and broke, I guess, because it's no longer present!

Janome coverstitch to the rescue!

Okay, I may need to work on my tension when switching between knits, but I love this thing!

Check out the wrong side - this sucker's not breaking! Okay, off to check on homework, head over to my mom's to eat some delicious enchiladas she and my niece have made, then hopefully back home to sew some more!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Matisyahu at the Giants Game

So we went to a Giants game while we were in San Francisco last week - not a fabulous game, but who knew there was going to be pre-game entertainment from Matisyahu? See, if you ride with Drew, you are going to hear lots of Matisyahu, which is how I heard him. He's had some hits, but isn't really well-known by the public at large, I think, though I could be wrong. Lucas is sick of him, apparently, because Drew plays this EVERY DAY during the school year. Anyway, it's good stuff, and you almost have to cry, because look at that beautiful stadium with boats right THERE in the water. Most beautiful stadium we've been to....and it turned out to be Jewish Heritage Night, which is how we were lucky enough to hear him.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bridge View

Today we rented a car and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge to Muir Woods, had lunch in Sausalito at a marina, took a quick peek at the Marin Headlands (the heights are very scary there!), then drove south to see some Pacific Ocean. On the way back, the boys humored me with a quick trip around Alamo Park to see the "Painted Ladies" houses - such a girlie tourist thing to do....


Late in the day, we found Lands End at the northwest corner of San Francisco. Fantastic place to see the ocean, the bridge, and apparently seals on rocks, though we didn't have time to get to all of that. We did have time to run down to the beach and go in a cave....


In the middle of the Lands End tunnel, you can see the ocean splashing a tiny bit of beach - awesome!

End of the Tunnel

This is what was waiting at the end of the tunnel at Lands End.....I didn't risk jumping the chain to get a better pic like the people in front of me - sorry!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Poor Lucas got stuck with me today while Dean and Drew did a Segway tour, because he's not old enough to ride. We had a couple of fun moments before it all went south for him....


How do you take a kid this happy (riding on a cable car - standing on the running board, no less!)....


And make him this miserable? By taking him to a 4-story fabric store, of course....and then a yarn store.


Not every store has a big window on the street. Lucas nearly freaked out when I headed down this hall. "Mom! You are going into a tanning shop!!"

Yarn Store

How cool - swatches of all the yarn, and they'll let you knit up your own swatch to keep if you like. Very helpful staff too. They sell by the yard, so we pulled up my pattern on Ravelry to calculate how much was needed. I'll post a link when I get back to my desktop.


Voila - my beautiful Britex haul! The black stretch knit remnant will be leggings to wear with a tunic I already have. The blue knit is a 2 3/4 yd remnant that was $20! And the green knit print wasn't on sale, but is so soft and buttery that I had to have it.


And this is my yarn from Artfibers - the coral I liked wouldn't work for the shrug, dangit! When will I stop buying blue yarn?!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Golden Gate

The Highlight of the trip is not going to be Britex - it's riding on the America to watch a semi-final in the America's Cup! We're getting ready to board....

US team

That's the American team practicing in the background.

Hoist the Sails!

They put the big boys to work too.


The kids on board hoisted then retired the flag.

Monday, August 5, 2013

San Francisco, Here We Come!

I'm on my way to Britex....uh, I mean San Francisco, for one last hurrah before school starts back again (and Boy Scout popcorn selling). I've heard about Britex from Sandra Betzina and some other people, and it looks like I need to hit the 4th floor for the sale remnants, but I'd like to check out some knits too. Any other suggestions about maneuvering this intimidating place?

Any suggestions on other fabric stores I should hit, should the family grant me more than an hour to peruse? And sometime we'll have to discuss how you handle yourself in a behemoth fabric store like this. I went to Paron in New York a few years ago on Sheila's suggestion, and I realized I was a novice when it comes to fabric buying. I'm used to my Hancock where I can pick the bolt up and drape myself if I like, but Paron had most things on long rolls with the ends sticking out, so I couldn't really get a good feel. I've seen them yank rolls out on Project Runway, but I was a-skeered to do that myself, being somewhat of a country mouse. How do YOU do it?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cover Stitch Decisions

I'm lucky enough to have 2 dealers in town who carry cover stitch machines, so I went to All About Sewing to test drive the Janome 1000CPX, now on sale for $499, then I went to America Sew and Vac to see the Baby Lock. (No, I will not provide a link to AS&V.) The Janome was similar to the Brother I tried last weekend, and this version has 3-needle capability, as opposed to the 900 model which only had 2 needles. It also has an automatic tension loosener when you raise the presser foot, which the Brother didn't have - you pushed two buttons at the top to do that. I could do that fine with no big deal, but I'd also have to order the Brother on-line, and with the Janome, I have the luxury of taking it right in for service or questions.

Next, I went to AS&V, where I used to have my Brother sewing machine serviced, till the owner gave me the creeps and put a hard sale on me for an embroidery machine I told him I didn't want. I had gone in straight from work wearing scrubs, and he asked me if I was a nurse. When I told him (cringing the whole time) that I was a doctor, he said I could afford the top-of-the-line embroidery machines he was pushing, and argued with me for 10 minutes about why I needed one. I haven't darkened his door again till now...and I'm sorry I did. He showed me the Baby Lock Evolution, which is the combo serger/cover, so I asked about the stand alone cover stitch that Baby Lock makes. He says, "There's no such thing." (Huh?) He goes on about how it's a "cover and chain stitch" machine, there's no such thing as a stand alone cover stitch machine. (Well alright, sir, you have proven I'm an idiot.) I mention that I tried a Brother cover stitch machine, whereupon he tells me that Brother does not MAKE one. The only ones who make them are Janome, Baby Lock, Bernina, and Elna. My mouth must've dropped open, but I wanted to see what else he would lie about, so I let him keep talking. He told me the Evolution in front of me cost $1100, and that the BL cover and chain machine was a little less than that, but was a very slow seller and not popular at all, so I should go for the Evolution. Then he traded off to the other lady in the store, who might be his daughter or some other relative. After he walked off, I asked her how much the Evolution was - somewhere around $2300! How does this man stay in business?

I let her do her spiel and give me some brochures, and I tried to keep an open mind about the machine, but he just spoiled it for me. I've checked out the posts Debbie Cook wrote about the different machines that Becky pointed me to, and I've checked out Pattern Review too, and I don't think I can go wrong with any of them. Given that it's at my local dealer, it's on sale, and Deepika at PR bought one, I'm going with the Janome. (Didn't that feel like House Hunters on HGTV where the couple sits down and discusses which of the 3 houses they want?) WHEW - that feels like a weight off my shoulders now!

In other news, check out this monster spider in our backyard. Is that a banana spider? He tried to sabotage the chicken legs Drew and I were grilling, but Dean came out and ran interference for us.

And it was Lucas's 11th birthday, but this one was a lot different than the year we gave him a sewing machine - remember that? He's a big boy in the Boy Scouts now, so we gave him some camping gear, including a Buck knife, that was the big hit.

Have a great weekend!