Sunday, June 28, 2015

Airbrushed AC Shirt Awesomeness

But first, some homemade bread. This is the 21-year-old breadmaker we received as a wedding gift, and it's still got it!

Added the water, dry ingredients, then opened for a little peeky-poo after 5 minutes.

Sadly, the water is supposed to be cold if it's summer time, and I used hot water, thus the sunken top.

But oh so moist and tasty!

Now to my new favorite top. I opted for gray thread to bind the neckline, and wish I'd felled the seams with it too...oh well. I also serged the sleeves right-sides-together before hand-sewing them to the top, so there's a nice finished edge there. Just thought that would be fun.

Sad AC model style pics.

And my AC skirt made from recycled soccer T-shirts too...

"Why yes, I AM an Irish step-dancer; why do you ask?" Seriously, did capri pants go out of style suddenly, or is it just these shoes that make it look so weird?

Oh, it even goes with my favorite gray pants and gangster shoes! Wish I worked in the corporate world so I could actually WEAR this blazer.

So does it scream cray-cray, or can I wear it to work?

Nobody commented on the pink AC top I wore, but this airbrushing's definitely gonna get some looks. I'll let you know. Oh, and here's some experimental stitching on the blue dress:

Lucas wisely pointed out that I already have a beaded dress, so I'm just going with the satin-stitch. I believe backstitching is done with embroidery thread and not button craft thread like I did here, so I'm taking that out too. Now Robbie, do you want to email me some pics to post here? I'm anxious to see how your top is turning out!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Racing and Airbrushing

The weekend started with us saying goodbye to Dean and Drew, who flew to Dallas to do a Spartan race in the stadium. Lucas and I watched Insidious 3 at the theater - we were the only people there, and it was CREEPY! (Good movie, if you're a scare-aholic, and I just learned the older psychic lady is the crazy over-tanned neighbor Magda from There's Something About Mary - that chick has quite a range!) Then we got up at 6 AM Saturday to run Lulu's Hot Trot 5K. This was Lucas's first 5K and he was a-might nervous!)

Then he nearly had a heat stroke because it was about 100 degrees with 95% humidity, so we finished in 58 minutes, but at least he was still conscious when he crossed the finish line. Note the redness of our cheeks and ears - and this is AFTER we cooled off in an icy water sprayer.

We ran home to take showers, then Robbie joined us for the great Alabama Chanin Airbrushing Experiment...where we also nearly had heat strokes! We set up in the garage, where it was probably 110 degrees with 97% humidity, and proceeded to paint for about 3.5 hours, and yes, sweat was dripped onto fabric as well. This was our first test piece using a thinner knit fabric and Angie's Fall stencil with mostly transparent paint in a slate color. We discovered the transparent paint is actually see-through, takes longer to dry than opaque, and flies out of the airbrush in about 10 seconds, whereas the opaque lasted quite a bit longer. Behold the beauty:

Now what could this be? This is Robbie's black fabric with Anna's Garden stencil taped up to achieve a couple of small flowers (trust me).


I may have to frame this next one. This is persimmon Alabama Chanin fabric hanging off the table, and we've already painted the bottom half with a black/white mix of opaque paint. Looked silver in some cases, and brown in this case. Of course the part on the table is unpainted.

These are some of our finished fabrics laid on a bed to dry. You can see my white top there too.

This is what you feel like after you've lost 4 pounds of sweat in a stuffy garage surrounded by paint fumes.

No - just kidding! The fumes were nothing, so we didn't wear masks, and we took breaks for delicious pork butt sandwiches and cole slaw that Robbie graciously provided. Also a break at the beginning because I couldn't remember how to set up the airbrush. There are 3 pieces that have to go together with a tiny screwdriver, so instructions and reading glasses were necessary before we started.

So I'll get better pictures of my dress and top after they've "cured" in the dryer and I have some better light, and Robbie promised to send me pics of her garments when done, so maybe I can post them here too. Oh, and speaking of that Spartan race - here are the boys after finishing in 1 hour 45 minutes. I need to go see if Drew can lift himself out of bed this morning

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday Airbrushing!

Okay, I simply can't wait to upload all the pictures - here are some quick videos. Thanks to Lucas for adding the music to them...otherwise you'd hear the deafening roar of the air compressor. (And it's humorous music at that - I was thinking some country fiddles or something, but he said the videos were kind of boring, and sped them up with the appropriate accompaniments.)

Here's Robbie:

And here's me:

And tomorrow I'll show you some fabric eye candy!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Alabama Chanin At Work

I'm just saying it's not all about cowboy booted-women in a field of wheat, or barefoot women on a dirt lane. Maybe that IS where you work, but I work in an office seeing patients, and I'd like to be able to wear my Alabama Chanin stuff everywhere. That's why I tried the T-shirt pattern from Studio Sewing and Design, though I did lower the neckline and cut it shorter. (And this would be the ONLY AC garment where you need to lower the neckline - trust me!) My corset and fitted top were in no way appropriate for the office - and I've only worn the fitted top with something underneath it to lunch with Robbie, because I've been told it looks like lingerie. Anyhoo, my office-wear also involved other fabrics, since the AC fabric is primo and I have so many knits in the stash currently. So you've seen these before, but here're the actual outfits for work. The blue top already garnered a compliment, and nobody asked if I made it!

Someone PLEASE suggest better shoes with both of these - I'm dying. I've been to DSW twice in the past few months and just can't find any spiffy flats other than my gangster wingtips, and they don't really go with EVERYthing. And I have this weird thing about open-toed shoes - I don't think they belong in the doctor's office - am I crazy? (Katrina - no offense if you wear them!) I had an attending who wore Birkenstocks with everything, and I felt it was just TMI, if I may borrow a phrase. Plus I couldn't wear sandals for years in public because I was so self-conscious about my feet. (Scott Kenny, my 5th grade boyfriend, squatted down to inspect my painted toenails one day at school then called everyone to come look, so I blame this phobia on him.)

Also, I should've done a close-up, but I did end up doing a twin-needle hem and neckline stitching on the blue shirt, and I thought the cretin stitch around the hem of the pink shirt looked fine and helped camouflage it's "unfinished-ness." I'm wearing that one tomorrow.

Oh, now have I told you the fabulous story about my AC Mardi Gras dress? I feel like I told somebody, so stop me if you heard this. A few months ago we had a fancy fundraiser to go to and I wore the dress. A colleague of mine, who shops bi-annually in Atlanta and New York City for her clothes, came up to me and said, "That looks like a Project Alabama dress." My jaw dropped - someone actually RECOGNIZED my dress as being Alabama Chanin! It turns out she bought one of Natalie's first T-shirts in NYC, and was a big fan of her work. She told the next person who walked up to us that my dress was worth about $6000 - high praise! Anyway, she decided she wanted to try to make something herself, so I gave her links to the AC website and Craftsy - wish her luck!

Okay, I'll let you know tomorrow how many people ask me if I made the pink shirt once they see the threads and knots poking out...and how many just give me a weird look.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Mother's Day Stitch Fix

But first, I attempted a new stitch on the neck binding of the pink AC shirt, but this proved too cumbersome for a Sunday afternoon, and will take more practice. I believe it's "Zig zag chain," and I eventually pulled it out and went with the standard cretin stitch. If I can neaten up the hem, I'll wear it Friday with the coral pants.

And this would be Drew practicing for the upcoming Spartan race. Dean braided together ropes so they could work on their foot wrapping techniques. Funny, I don't think Drew could fit in the treehouse anymore.

And now here she is - my mother in her first Stitch Fix...but certainly not her last! She insisted on applying lipstick prior to photography, even though I told her makeup and high-fallutin' hair are not encouraged on my blog. Sorry I don't have brand names, but this is a wrap top, silver bib necklace, and stretch high-waist trousers.

The fit of everything was perfect...

Except for this knit dress with horizontal stripes which was a little too she made me try it on. She also loved the jean jacket, but has one already, so I'm buying this one from her.

The dress emphasizes my...ahem, gut...which I'm camouflaging with the jacket, so it will be passed around at the lake and given to the woman with the smallest middle. Tracey and Elizabeth, you're up next to try it on! It's long-sleeved and much dressier without the jacket, FYI.

Lastly, I cut out a short fitted Alabama Chanin dress from my blue AC fabric which was a birthday gift from my Mom and Jim last year. This is the same pattern as the Mardi Gras dress, but comes just above the knees. I should also have enough left over to do a bolero possibly. Now could this blue paint match any closer? I'm thinking of mixing it with white paint to get a lighter stencil - whatcha think?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

We Have a Couched Skirt Front!

But you must build up slowly to the luscious texture of the couched skirt. I bought these for the airbrushing that will happen Saturday. We plan to mix black and white to achieve slate, gray, silver, whatever you want to call it. I'm thinking of doing the blue on my blue fabric...we'll see.

First in the Alabama Chanin hit parade, we have a pink stretch knit from my local All About Fabrics. Used the AC T-shirt pattern, lowered the front neckline, cut off about 2.5 inches, and did it all so far on the machine (that is perfectly legal and is referred to as A. Chanin, thank you very much).

What a fit. I did feel like the armscye was a bit high, so I lowered the pattern pieces by 1/2" - we'll see how that works out. And this is with a slight swayback I rounded the sides up using a "Pamela's Patterns" Favorite T-shirt pattern that I acquired somewhere...can't remember where...but it was already cut and the back was missing! I thought I bought it at the Sewing Expo in B'ham a couple of years, ago but I could be wrong.

I cut the selvages off and plan to use them as binding for the neck and armbands...with white thread because they don't make button craft thread in that too weird? Maybe tan thread? Maybe embroidery thread in a matching color?

Okay, you're ready now, for the lovely "worminess" of couching! This is hanging off my ironing board - I love the shadows.

Center front seam - who's ready to fell that sucker?

Please don't make me do that. I think a nice press will be just fine.

It was hard enough sewing the seam together, given all the other stitches and knots in the vicinity.

Now please forgive me for lightening all the pictures so you can see the skirt better....and yes, I only have a front, so I'm holding the skirt up with my arm.

I'm not sure exactly where it will hit on my knees - guess I'll find out when I finish the back and put a waistband on.

And now, channeling a solemn Alabama Chanin model...except they don't wear glasses...and where are my boots and knee socks?

I LOVE THIS SKIRT (FRONT)! I want it in a dress now, preferably with a back. Remember that you can buy this skirt online for $1400 or so? Totally worth it - this feels like about $700 that I'm wearing right now...oh, I just checked and they're sold out at Polyvore - I win!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Yummy Auburn Velvet Cake

I think she liked it!

It tasted good by all accounts, but the colors just didn't turn out as bright as I hoped.

Drew photobombed me.

Lucas apparently took my phone to snap a picture, because I didn't know this had happened. Wonder why the dog's ear is standing straight up - odd.

So for the upcoming Alabama Chanin airbrushing session, I'm kind of stuck. I was going to do white fabric with a gray stencil like Bianca's (reviewed here), but I'm afraid that would clash with the couched skirt if it's an all-over maybe just one shoulder? Or I'll just wear a different shirt with the couched skirt - problem solved! And I want to use my actual AC blue fabric for something great, but I only have 2 yards and I didn't buy another fabric to make a second layer. So it could be a nice short tank dress, but won't be very embellished. Perhaps just stenciled? What color would you use if you weren't going to cut out shapes? I've worn out Pinterest and Craftsy looking at project ideas - even Googled "Alabama Chanin at work" to see if anybody else made stuff you could wear to work. Nope. Oh well, I have one week to get it together. What are you doing this weekend?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Happy Birthday to My Mother!

But first, here's the Jeopardy style game pitting attendings against residents. We were The Attenders (do you get it?), and they were The Pseudo-Sumo Cerebri (that's a little more obscure). A great time was had by all, and we were tied up until Final Jeopardy, at which point my Mad Cow kicked in and I couldn't save us. Of course, my 2 teammates are much younger than me, so I don't know what their excuse is! Also, fellow Captain America and I were a little peeved that the Hulk didn't go buy the full Ironman outfit like he was supposed to (I'm not bitter or anything.)

On to cake! If you were here in 2011, you may remember I made my mother an Auburn Velvet Cake that was all orange inside. It was a great hit, so I decided to do another one this year, but make the middle layer blue. Somehow my orange is not as bright as the last much food coloring DID I use last time?

I couldn't get the dark blue I wanted, this is more a Florida Gator blue - sorry!

What the heck? Was there a mouse hiding in the pan when I poured in the batter? This is the bottom that has a dent - the top looked fine. Any ideas from you bakers out there? I shook the pan to even out the batter and thought it looked fine when it went in.

Alas, the name of this post could've been Last Dance by Donna Summer, as my beloved wedding-gift Mixmaster hand mixer continually jammed up to the point of non-functionality. The mixing blades kept hitting each other and getting stuck - warped after 21 years. At least it made it till the icing was creamy.

Perhaps I should've saved the chopped pecans for the top of the cake...or chopped them a little finer.

I could've just stopped here and left you with a lovely picture of a nice cake...but you know I'm more about different ways I screw things on with it.

I think you're supposed to cut the puffy top off each cake layer; perhaps that's how other people get them to lie flat. Anyway, there were gaps on the sides that I couldn't get the icing to stick to, and the pecan chunks wanted to drip off the sides - lovely!

To add insult to injury, this is apparently not the cover that goes with this cake plate. It's larger in diameter than the plate, so would just rest on the cake itself if I let it go.

Tomorrow I'll show you how it looked on the inside....