Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowpocalypse 2014

Otherwise known as my beading marathon! I had a short clinic Tuesday morning before the ice moved in...and had to defrost for 10 minutes before I could drive.

LOOK at my weather map! We NEVER get pink - so pretty!!! (Anybody know what the blue color above it means?)

So Dean fixed seafood gumbo, we cranked up a good fire, and I am almost finished with the second panel, if you can believe it! Unfortunately, all the snow we were anticipating and prepared for went northward unexpectedly and tore up Birmingham and Atlanta, who were not expecting it. My brother spent the night at work, my SIL hiked over a mountain and hitched a ride on 4-wheelers to get home (did that BOW training kick in, Elizabeth?), and Robbie's family spent hours trying to get home.

So all we got was sleet and ice, but you can still have a little fun with that, without necessarily requiring a hip replacement. Here's Lucas giving the front sidewalk a shot while Jake goes on about how it's his turn...

And here's Drew's documentary of his ride, with the unsuspecting Jake blocking his path.

I have found that Facebook is an awesome way to keep up with things going on in a storm, but also can provide some entertainment. Pure Barre FB'd that they were closed, but started a contest to win some sticky socks if you send in your winter planking picture. Lucas obliged by taking a pic for me.

Okay, back to beading!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Threading the Needle...

Oh, my bifocal contacts are failing me with this tiny needle! I had to get Lucas to thread it for me (took him a few minutes, so I didn't feel so bad), then Dean offered to loan me his readers, and it was a REVELATION! Look at those thread fibers! Look at that gigantic needle eye! (Look at that gallon of wine!)

But I refuse to rely on them the entire time, only for threading the needle. If I keep them on longer than that, I feel cross-eyed for the next 10 minutes. Plus, my optometrist said your eyes are like muscles: if you don't make them work a little bit, they'll get weaker. This is when I was begging him for stronger contacts because I couldn't see, but what do I know?! (Disclaimer: this is my "funny concentrating" face, which Lucas said was "awkward," and he asked me to smile nicely for the picture, but when have I ever been about smiling nicely?)

And I forgot to mention that I just finished the first bag of Alabama Chanin beads - 2,040 beads to be exact - thank ya very much!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Alabama Chanin Beaded Dress - One Panel Down!

Thank you, Jesus, I finished the first panel last night! Here's how it looks on my dress form, but that blue cover I made the form throws everything does my crappy lighting...

So here it is on me, and I'm sure my clothes don't throw anything off. Can't you just picture it? I even put a heel on, but Lucas cut it off in the pic. I didn't bead the very bottom inch because I may need to shorten it - we'll see.

One Lucas-ism I meant to write down before I get back to beading that second panel. We went to an Eagle Court of Honor for one of Drew's friends (we'll call him John) in the Troop, and Lucas feels fairly close to him, so he was sad that he won't get to see him at Troop meetings much longer. Dean and I were also talking about how Drew will be a senior next year, and then gone. Lucas said, "I'm feeling really sad because everybody I'm close to is leaving: John, Drew, Seth Meyers..."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Florabama Weekend and Dress Update

The boys went on a Boy Scout campout this past weekend, so Dean and I had our first weekend alone in a long time. We spent a significant portion of it at the Florabama Yacht Club and the actual Florabama. We ate there for lunch on Saturday, and I was delighted to find that they had toys outside in the sand for little kids to play this Barbie, who was buried up to her neck - cute!

Then I stumbled on the Barbie massacre - this is only a portion of the poor Barbies scattered over the beach, many missing their cute outfits. (Have you seen what some bloggers are doing with Barbie clothes lately?!) This left me disturbed and I had to stop taking pictures.

This is "scotched mac eggs," and I have no idea what that name means. They're boiled eggs wrapped in pork sausage and fried, then served with horseradish sauce. Tasty, but a little dry. (Note to self: don't take family to Florabama Yacht Club for dinner - it's okay for lunch, though.)

We headed across the street to listen to a band play after lunch. You may have to enlarge the picture, but do you see the things hanging from the ceiling under the beer banners? They're bras, stretched across the ceiling, and they were in several of the bars. Alrighty!

Sunday, we took Jakey over to a dog-friendly restaurant for his first lunch out with the public. This was the only time he stayed under the table, but he didn't bite anybody, and he only barked once when surrounded by 4 really old people. Apparently, old people make him nervous.

And here's where I am on the dress. The slowness of the tiny bitty needle has been offset by Bianca's revelation that she can continuously backstitch with beads, instead of the stab and stitch method I was using. Using a shorter needle has some advantages, so I'm almost finished with this panel...

Now only 3 more to go!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Odds and Beads

My MIL said she saw this in a store and thought of me, so she gave it to me for Christmas - how cute! She'll keep an eye on my sewing room while I'm not there...or freak Dean out when he's on the treadmill.

And Bianca showed her beading glove, so I thought I'd show mine. I had great hopes of handstitching an Alabama Chanin official beading glove, but I was in a rush with this dress, so I recycled a ribbed cuff from an old outfit. It's more of a beading bandage, I suppose...

And the embroidery needles I tried (sizes 3-9) wouldn't fit through the beads either, so I'm using the tiniest unknown needle I found in a big red pack of needles Lucas got when he took a sewing class at school in the 3rd grade. It is half the length of the other needle I was using - yikes!

Onward and downward...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What Brand is This Machine?

So my nurse was given this vintage machine by someone who was going to throw it away, but she doesn't sew, so she brought it to work so we could figure it out together. There's no brand name on it!

The handwheel is partially obstructed by this weird metal thing that actually holds the motor to the machine.

After getting rid of the original thread and playing with the stitch and tension settings, we got it to sew a reasonable seam, but then it kept breaking the upper thread and not catching the bobbin, so she's taking it in for a tune-up. Any ideas on it?

Oh, and this is how I styled my sweater for dinner the other night, but Drew told me that the sleeves were "big" and weird, so I didn't wear it to work today as planned.

And here's where I am on the dress. The new beads arrived last night from Alabama Chanin, and my arthritic, far-sighted mother has agreed to help me bead the rest of the dress - DOH! (She's verklempt right now - "See if I help HER bead that ridiculous dress!") Of course I'm just kidding, can you imagine volunteering to help somebody bead something so hard to see and you're not even going to wear it? I'm filling out her nomination paperwork for sainthood tonight.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Quick Trip to New Orleans

We drove over Saturday morning to pick up Mardi Gras tickets and had lunch at Liuzza's by the Track. They actually had horse racing going on - cool! These houses down the street just struck me as happy together. For lunch, I highly recommend the roast beef po'boy with horseradish (it's called the "blazing beef" or something like that) and do NOT miss the sweet potato fries.

Then, while the boys went to the World War II museum, I had time to shop a little bit. This is a store called Trashy Diva, and LOOK at this dress! (Katrina - this is your store; I saw you in everything there!)

But the piece de resistance was the last 30 minutes, when I popped into Promenade Fine Fabrics just to see if he had any cotton jersey, which I highly doubted, since it's all specialty high-end fancy dress fabric. Imagine my surprise to find a plethora (well, 8 bolts is a plethora to me) of fancy cotton! The owner, all dapper in his black suede jacket, showed me several bolts I'd missed and was disappointed I didn't buy one more cotton print. He cut all my fabric then said, "I really want you to go back and look at that cotton print I showed you; it's a really fine cotton." I had to tell him I hated the color (it was a peachy print that would wash me out), but I love it when somebody takes the time to make a good sell! Here's the haul:

So the top print is just a viscose/rayon blend I couldn't resist because it feels like butter, and just coincidentally goes with the other cotton solids I bought - I could sew a wardrobe! I got black cotton, white pima cotton that may end up dyed for Pure Barre-wear, and navy blue Hugo Boss pima cotton (gotta look up Hugo Boss - I've heard of him).

OH, and I forgot the terrible thing that happened Friday. I've gone through 7 or 8 jars of beads so far, and Ely's ran out of stock and won't order again till February. I tried some twisted bugles, but they didn't fit on my needle, and I was worried the dress would look weird with half-straight and half-twisted. The guy told me Hobby Lobby sold them, but I was crushed to find out they don', I resorted to calling Alabama Chanin to compare their beads, and they have what I need. I bought $45 worth of beads to finish the dress, but I refused to spring for the $30 2-day shipping, so I find myself with a little time off till they get here. Guess I can cut into this new cotton in the meantime!

OH, and I ALSO forgot to tell you that after a delicious dinner and touring a Mardi Gras museum over Arnaud's (pictures of their Mardi Gras dresses to follow later this week), we walked back to our hotel and stumbled upon police waiting to escort about 10 horse-drawn carriages filled with people wearing fancy clothes and masquerade masks. A crowd was standing around watching them, and it turns out that Beyonce and Jay-Z threw her mom a 60th birthday party in the French Quarter. We didn't see anybody we recognized in the carriages, but there were 3 SUV's with them, so I bet they were in there. Turns out, upon Googling this morning, that Kris Jenner (of Kardashian infamy) and Jennifer Hudson were there too - who knew?! (And according to Dean, who cared, but it's fun to sight a celebrity...or their SUV.)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Knitted Jacket Done!

I had a different button in mind, but it was very heavy and too big to comfortably get through the buttonhole, so I used another one.

It's very warm and comfy, but I have one question...

Why does hers look so hip and cool (to me, anyway)...

and mine looks so bulky? I'm not getting the vibe I expected. I feel more like a granny...or a teacher wearing a chunky sweater to stay warm.

I'll have to ponder that while I'm beading...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Fleece Jacket Mayhem, Sad Cat, Sad Dog

I was almost very productive today....almost. I was going to finish Dean's fleece jacket (Kwik Sew 3815) after making adjustments to the sleeves and coming up with the brilliant idea of using fleece instead of the canvas for the sleeve casings, since those chafed. Alas, my poor machine broke a needle that proceeded to disappear into the workings of the machine, giving me lots of error messages and funny noises. Here's the devil jacket.

I've lightened up all the pictures so you can see the details. Now when I made my mother's Auburn fleece, I broke a needle top-stitching over this intersection, which has about 10 layers of fabric, so I went VERY s-l-o-w-l-y here, and the needle did just fine. It wasn't until I was attaching the last cuff that it broke. Four little layers - 3 of just fleece - and she had enough. Drew says the heavy duty sewing probably weakened the needle to the breaking point...he's in honors physics, that one.

Here's the back, but this fits Dean a lot better than it fits my dress form.

And here was one thing I did finish. I actually blocked my knitted jacket. I hate blocking stuff, but the edges all were curling up, and the garter stitch yoke was quite wavy, so I wet it pretty good, as you can see in this fuzzy picture. (If anybody knows where I put my blocking pins that I bought at JoAnn last month, can you remind me?)

And here are 2 of my favorite YouTube videos. I love the cat one, but the dog one may be funnier. It's a little crude - watch out!

Okay, now maybe I can start beading that dress again!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year!

It's been mighty nice around here while the boys have been on Christmas break, but I've been on call this week and haven't had time to post. Here was what Lucas gave me for Christmas. Apparently he went to the campus store and bought all these things for me. The candles and bath salts are for a relaxing bath, obviously, but how many 11-year-old boys would think to buy their mothers hem tape? He's a funny kid. Drew very kindly gave me a gift card to Designer Shoe Warehouse to buy some shoes for my Alabama Chanin dress. I have been blessed with sweet and thoughtful children.

And here's what I've been up to in the middle of beading the dress. This is the sweater I started back in February 2013, and I'm finally in the home stretch. This is from Seamless Knits by Andrea Knight-Bowman:

And voila, I only have a few inches left of the yoke, making the buttonhole, finishing the edges, and sewing on a button.

And in the middle of THAT, I also decided that Dean needed a fleece jacket like the rest of the family, so I started THAT a couple of days ago and am finishing it up tomorrow. WHEW!

In between all the sewing projects, I've watched a ton of movies (The Great Gatsby was gorgeous to look at, but I fell asleep in the middle; The East was really good and made me want to recycle more; and The Purge just stunk.), had some wonderful family dinners, and have just really enjoyed these 2 weeks. Hope the rest of the year goes as well as these few days have...