Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mesa Grill Food and the AC Shirt

Home from the meeting, which was mostly spent in a 40-degree conference room in the dark looking at Powerpoints, but I did take a short break at lunch to sit by the my business casual (I took the suit jacket off), surrounded by bathing-suit-clad people sipping fruity drinks - so jealous!

My former resident and I did venture outside the hotel for dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in Ceasar's Palace across the street. I was trying to get the statues in the fountain along with the Roman soldier posing with the people on the right, but I didn't quite succeed.

We started with margaritas. Mine is the fuschia Cactus Pear margarita - yum! - and Susan had the White Peach, I think.

And on to the food! We opted for a couple of appetizers each, instead of 2 heavy entrees. Susan got the tuna "nachos," which was really tuna tartare with several sauces and some house-made chips in a bowl.

I got the smoked chicken and gouda quesadillas, which was probably the blandest dish of the night, but still delicious.

Next I had the lobster tacos - 3 tiny 2-bite size taco shells with lobster and a bunch of other stuff I forgot. Delicious (I really wanted to keep the little metal rack they were sitting in)...

But I think the big winner of the evening was Susan's blue corn pancake with BBQ duck - also a favorite according to Trip Advisor. So, I declare it delicious food at reasonable prices for Vegas.

And now for something completely different...I nearly finished my Alabama Chanin corset - just have to bind the neckline and armholes. So I actually did take 1 3/4" off the front shoulder straps to pull the neckline up slightly, but it still ended up a little puckery, so I may use some clear elastic there when binding. I think it fits pretty well, despite accidentally cutting a larger size in back than front - the armholes ended up okay.

I definitely needed a swayback adjustment, but I'm really thinking I like the T-shirt silhouette better for a Mardi Gras dress. There are fewer seams so it'll go quicker, plus I think I'll use a different stencil like Angie's Fall or something more interesting than Bloomers.

And I definitely need a handsewn cotton skirt to go with this, now...the sewing queu is getting longer! (Did I mention that I actually started the 2nd sleeve of my knitted jacket - progress!)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Vegas Conference Day 1

Aww, Las Vegas is neat - look at that castle! We should bring the kids!

on second thought....

This is my room at the Bellagio - love the lamps!

And a pretty good view.

So when you return from a coffee break to find an anonymous note saying "hello," it freaks you out a little.

Turned out, it was from a former resident who is also at the conference - more company for dinner! I did kill 30 minutes and $8 in the slots while waiting for dinner.

Random harpist in the Conservatory.

And dinner at Circo - nice view of the dancing fountain and the Eiffel delicious food!

I go bed now.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Ducktor is In!

I finished my Donald Duck costume - hooray! I made a whole shirt in about 2 hours - unheard of in this house! Here's my inspiration:

This is the only picture on the internet where his stripes are white instead of yellow, so I'm claiming it since I didn't have fabric to make yellow stripes. I was going to use the very Burda shirt I made a few years ago, but I needed a drape around the neck, and that fabric didn't match, so I just made a whole new shirt. I drafted a little pattern for the drape...

And finished the neckline by sewing those together - that was the hardest part, because it was wrong side to right side - duh!

Obviously didn't make a swayback adjustment, and it hasn't seen an iron yet.

And voila! Complete with duck quacker courtesy of Lucas, who saved it from a Duck Boat tour in Boston - God bless that little hoarder!

I pulled out my beloved but neglected cover stitch to do this shirt, and I even set the shoulders in flat using it. Just pinned it, didn't even baste it on the regular machine, since it's a ribbed knit, which that machine eats. Of course, I'm going to overlook the one pucker I got on each shoulder, and I think Becky can still be proud of me. Now I may redo the hat to make it poofier in the front, but that's if I have time - did I mention I leave Wednesday for a conference in Vegas? (Work related, not sewing - boo.)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hey Grandpa....Whaaaaat's For Supper?

Anybody remember that from Hee-Haw?

Not sure why they did it, other than to make you remember your childhood, because it wasn't really funny, just a rhyming description of a delicious Southern meal....hmmm. Oh, before I show you what we ate, let me warn you that it's graphic, so if you don't like hunting or seeing dead animals, get outta here quick! I'll show you my Donald Duck hat while you navigate away though.

Lucas cut up a shoebox lid and duct-taped it together for me, then we cut 2 circles of blue knit fabric....

That wouldn't staple nicely, so we hot-glued the hell out of everything...

and ended with black ribbon around the bottom. Whatcha think?

Okay, you were warned! My step-dad took Drew squirrel hunting this morning, where he killed his first (and only) squirrel! Nice shot, by the way - straight through the neck for maximum edibility.

Jim very kindly taught Drew how to skin it before bringing it home, so Dean just had to rinse it and throw it in a pot. (Yes, Tracey, I sang "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" in a very high-pitched voice when I saw this...and also "Hello My Baby," a la Bugs Bunny.)

Dean browned it in olive oil, then made a roux, and ended with a delicious squirrel and vegetable stew in the crockpot.

Tree to table - so self-sufficient!

Combine this with all the hand-sewing I've been doing around here, and it feels like we're LIVING Hee-Haw this weekend. If only Dean was smoking a corncob pipe on the porch, instead of a cigar...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Home from the Expo

Well, the Expo was a great experience. My favorite instructor was Kathy Ruddy, who currently has a Craftsy class! As soon as I see a sale, I'm signing up.

She reminded me of the brunette in the Bangles for some reason, and she has the cutest little voice that squeaks at times. The class was 4 Steps to Perfect Pants, and she asked the 3 of us who were there first if anybody had a flat seat. I raised my hand, then she asked me to stand up and turn around. Well, then she inspected everybody's derriere as they walked in the class. She literally took their ticket and told them to lift their shirt and turn around so she could classify their tush. When class got started, she said, "Okay, I need Lynn to stand up. Let's look at Lynn's flat, dropped seat." (Nice.) She then called the others by name and listed their issue while we checked them out - hilarious.

And I had previously thought that Cynthia Guffey sitting wide-legged on the floor in her skirt to demonstrate something was the best moment of the week, but Kathy topped it. While demonstrating an elastic waistband, she proceeded to shuck off her pants and put on a different pair. When the ladies started laughing, she told us she had to do that for her stage presentation after the class. And sure enough, she got up on that stage with male vendors all around and proceeded to drop her pants, walk around with them at her ankles, and change clothes. Somebody asked if she wanted to tell the men to look away, but she said, "No, I'm not fun anymore. If I was 20 years younger, then they'd want a look!"

Oh, but that reminded me of Cynthia's funniest moment.

We had a small hand-stitching class in the Marriott Boardroom at the end of a long day, and she sat on the floor to take off her silk blouse. She said, "Y'all, I want to give you a tip about keeping makeup off your clothes when you take 'em off." She then proceeded to put a giant pair of granny panties on her head with her face covered up, and changed into a T-shirt. We were all laughing, but then she said that they used to make something similar that zipped over your head. It made her claustrophobic, but the panties at least had 2 leg holes where you could gasp for air if you got nervous...and then she demonstrated. What a hoot! And I got her favorite saying wrong in the other post. It's not "do you know what I'm talking about," it's "do you know what I'm saying." And she says it very sternly. She's like an evangelist preaching better sewing techniques. "You've got to motivate...before you communicate," and "opportunity favors the prepared" were a couple of her themes.

So after meeting some awesome women, picking up some great tips, and getting just generally motivated, I went to see Captain Phillips with my brother and SIL last night. Okay, I thought Gravity was a really good movie, but this one might have blown it out of the water - oh, a pun. Of course you know how this ends, but it's the most tense movie I've seen in a while. Elizabeth and I were both shaking at some points, and my brother reported chill bumps. I think Tom Hanks needs an Oscar nomination for the ending especially - so emotional!

Alright, I'm going see if there's an age limit to apply for the Navy Seals, and if they take women. Or...maybe I'll just get upstairs and finish my bags!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

No Machine, Dangit!

But as a consolation, I bought myself Louise Cutting's one seam pants pattern, mainly for the instructions....

Some of her gorgeous Eileen Fisher linen knit....

and I got for free Cynthia Guffey's pant fitting DVD.

When I get to a real keyboard, I'll type more observations. Thanks again, Robbie, for being so hospitable!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Expo Day Two

Not too many pictures, but today was even better than yesterday! I had lunch with Robbie at Panera Bread, but dinner was a quick bite at Chik-fil-a between classes. Thank you, Chik-fil-a, for giving me a pretty flower with my dinner! (I read about using my new crotch ruler - hope nobody was looking over my shoulder!)

Here's my half-finished tote bag. I pieced and stitched all these pieces - quilting's kind of fun!

I even sewed vinyl on a serger with a chain stitch for a couple of the inside pockets, which you can't see too well, but I'm trying to demonstrate with various items.

And two funny observations: Louise Cutting says "yo" like Jesse from Breaking Bad. An example sentence from my morning class: "Yo, this is a lot simpler than the usual full bust adjustment." And Cynthia Guffey has a couple of key phrases she repeats, uh, repeatedly. "I'm going to stitch right here, do you see?" "Do you see," is also Sandra Betzina's favorite phrase, but she doesn't usually expect an answer, whereas Cynthia does. Also, "You know what I'm talking 'bout?" And with an answer expected before further discussion.

Alas, I didn't win anything today, but there's always tomorrow..

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Expo Day One

First, a random turtle on my way out yesterday...

And here's my serger classroom - 20 Babylock Evolutions - neat!

Here's the prize table - not sure which machine I'll win, but it wasn't the Brother or the Juki today, dangit.

Lunch at Tiziki's Mediterranean Cafe - yum!

And finally, my Serger in a Flash bag - cute!

Didn't have time to put the straps on, but that can happen later (or it can be a basket instead).

Too bad I didn't take pics at my Pure Barre class - I hung in there pretty well!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sew-ing Ex-po Here I Come!

(Sung to the tune of California Here I Come, of course.) I'm packing! I'm doing laundry! I'm making lists!

Now I'll calm down. I leave tomorrow right after work to drive to Birmingham for my first Sewing Expo with my sewing buddy, Robbie. Dean asked me if it was going to be a bunch of grannies sitting around stitching (gosh, I hope not). I told him it would be just like one of our big medical conferences, except instead of selling echo machines and medical textbooks on the expo floor, they'll be pushing fabric and sewing machines....and I won't have to dress in business casual....or should I?

I wanted to keep it lively when I was signing up, so I registered for not 1, but 2 serger classes. Barb Callahan will teach me to make this bag Thursday afternoon...

and Cathy Gandy will teach me how to make this "classmate tote" on Friday.

ALSO, while in Birmingham, I'm taking the opportunity to do a Pure Barre class on Thursday night - woohoo! I see Sandra Bullock's legs in my future (see previous post on Gravity if you're terribly confused about that). Okay, why am I prattling on and on? You'll see some pictures of the festivities soon enough - back to laundry and packing...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

Well, I almost have a blister on my right forefinger from felling 6 layers of fabric. I realized I should watch how close my knots are to the seam allowance as I was embroidering the leaves, and sure enough, here are 3 knots right in the path of a seam.

So far I've been able to work around them, but once I went too close to one and the needle did NOT want to go. She does recommend needle nose pliers for those times you have to coax your needle through - yikes! So here's the back sewn together but not all felled yet. Bianca recommended lowering the armholes and shortening the shoulder straps to raise the neckline (thanks, Bianca!), so I'll see if I can make that happen or not. I bet I can finagle the front, since I already cut it a different size than the back, and that didn't mess up the armholes on the tank top, at least.

Oh, but now I have ANOTHER project. My nurses are dressing up as Mickey and Minnie Mouse for Halloween, and I've been advised to be Donald Duck - really popular with the kids right now, I'm told. Uh, they don't sell that costume at Party City, or any other internet business I found in the States, so I'm going to make it myself. Now before you get all excited, I'm just going to do a blue Burda T-shirt like I already made, except make it really big and somehow get a drape around the shoulders with some yellow strips for that and the sleeves.

And I bought this white flannel on sale at Hancock yesterday to make some shorts with an elastic waistband.

I bought some yellow tights at Party City and I'll wear my white walking shoes I wore in Japan. Now to find a hat, or something I can cover with blue fabric. Oh, and I went to Pure Barre today - Sandra (Bullock, not Betzina) inspired me...although now I feel like a limp dishrag - bleh. Hope YOU had a good weekend.