Sunday, August 12, 2018

Biannual Catchup!

Life apparently only gets busier until you retire, I guess! So after Mardi Gras, we did Spring Break in Las Vegas, and the craziest thing we did was indoor skydiving - that's me in the air. Important to note that it's hot, loud, and your mouth will dry out if you don't keep it shut. But it was a great once-in-a-lifetime thing to do.

Also we went to Red Rock Canyon - beautiful, but my pics don't do it justice.

Then 2 of my sewing/knitting friends who are also involved with Boy Scouts invited me to join them for a campout - woohoo! We went to Magnolia Creek Branch near Atmore for a weekend, but the trouble began when there turned out to be a Cub Scout Jamboree there too, and they were between our site and the bathrooms.

We relocated ourselves to an RV site, which is a big no-no, and the next morning the Poarch Creek Police showed up while Edith was cooking breakfast.

He wanted us to pack up the 3 tents and move back into the midst of the kids, so we just decided to enjoy a day knitting by the river, then head home after dinner. Ain't nobody got time to repitch a tent!

In the spring, Dean suggested a Warrior Dash, which is a kinder, gentler Spartan, so Lucas could see what he and Drew have been up to for years. I was kindly allowed to tag along, and it was way less muddy than I was expecting.

Lucas was initially trepidatious (not a word) and wanted to all stick together for the course. After I fell off one of the early climbing walls in a very embarrassing, arms-pinwheeling-as-I-go-to-ground type of maneuver, he realized he had this and asked if he could just meet us at the finish line. We made him stick with us just so we could keep embarrassing him.

And there was only muddy water along the course until the very end, when you got to slither through mud, so everybody was fairly clean up to this point.

He insisted on jumping the fire by himself so we wouldn't be in his picture - sweet kid.

He did let me pose for a final pic with him.

Pause for beauty:

And I attempted another T-shirt-yarn crocheted rug, but it didn't turn out as expected this time. I really think it looks better when the color changes are at the end of the row instead of the middle, but I was trying to maximize the yarn.

Also it's too small, so I may just undo the whole thing and buy more T-shirts. I'm trying to match the colors in the pillows, obviously, but it's not looking too good.

Speaking of creativity, Drew wanted to make his girlfriend a king cake for her birthday but didn't have a mixer, so instead of going to Walmart to get one, he carefully cleaned his drill and used it instead.

And the cake was amazing - no metallic taste at all!

And one last picture of the cake Dean made for Lucas's birthday using a Pioneer Woman recipe - it has Nutella and homemade whipped cream with shaved chocolate on top, and that was the moistest cake I've ever eaten. I have such a talented family!

I'm tired of uploading photos now and want to get upstairs for some possible sewing, so I'll tell you about the awesome week we spent in Montana later. I bought Barbara Emodi's sewing book and it's inspiring me to get some new projects going. What have YOU been working on lately?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Mardi Gras 2018

Well, we're a little out of order, but whaddaya want?! This was probably my favorite year at Endymion, and doesn't this pic of my 2 friends and Drew's girlfriend look like we're on stage at a play?

This is possibly the owner of Quarter Stitch in New Orleans wearing her handmade skirt made from Zapps potato chip bags - clever!

And this was just a gorgeous dress spotted on the street.

So then we were dancing at Lafitte's, which was pretty dead this year, and you really have to watch for traffic!

Which one looks more realistic? Nobody I sent it to really bought it, even after Camille texted it to Lucas and said we were on our way to the ER!

Note the lack of crowd in the street.

The only other people dancing at the beginning were the albino guy behind me (cool!) and a homeless guy who danced his poor heart out.

Now this was a surprise. My Cuban friend and I were getting down to a song when a Pedicab driver jumped off his bike and joined us briefly. Awe-inspiring!

Drew did a little dancing after he got off the float and had a good time with Camille....after Rod Stewart finished his 1.5 hour concert, which was beautiful, but sleep-inducing. When they started playing Kanye after that, Camille became a jumping ball of hair flying and admitted she nearly cried with relief.

And here's a little of the Alabama Chanin beaded Mardi Gras dress in action - it held up well, although the tiny lipstick I stuck in my tiny bra fell out after this performance. No worries - I found it.

And here's the last video of the Electric Slide with a group of older ladies who were dancing all night. The lady in red next to me is 79 years old and kept her heels on the whole time! My idol.

Now did YOU have a good Mardi Gras?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Saved by the Cowl!

So remember in the last post how frumpy my London top was?

Adding a cowl just makes it look more finished and balanced, I think. The neckline needed at least some type of collar, so I went through my patterns and found the Silhouettes Ann Top had the perfect one. I actually tried to make that top out of white slinky fabric and the armscyes didn't look good, so it's been sitting in a drawer for years waiting to be redone. I dug out the pattern piece and it worked! I was going to trim down the A-line at the bottom, but I'm afraid it'll be too clingy and tight.

These are the leggings with some new boots I finally found that are thin enough for my stick ankles.

Now these are some leggings like hose, and I've decided they can't be worn to work, and probably not even out to eat!

Maybe if I made a tunic even longer and more like a dress, then I'd be comfortable wearing them.

And of course it's Mardi Gras time again, and I wanted to wear the one-shoulder column McCall's dress, but the fabric is just falling apart on me. This seam came undone from the serging, so I went back with a regular stitch last year, and this is what I saw when I pulled it out of the drawer today.

You can see all the stitches I've thrown in there, and the fabric is just unravelling. Any ideas? I thought about FrayCheck, but I don't know. There's another seam that's doing the same thing - so sad.

Okay, and so far, Tide is my big winner in Super Bowl ads, mostly because I love David Harbour from Stranger Things.

Okay, off to edit the most recent Dr. Fun video, which Lucas agreed to do since one of his friends is in it. He shadowed me in clinic over the Christmas holiday and had no idea what he was really getting into! What was your favorite Super Bowl ad?

Friday, January 19, 2018

Fashion Advice

Okay, before we went to London I requested a Front Door Fashion mini-box, since I was on call a lot and didn't have time to shop for myself, what with outfitting everybody here with winter clothes. These were 3 outfits that I loved, plus I got a waterproof jacket in black camo that got lots of comments. This first one wasn't actually worn, but WILL be when the weather warms up a bit here.

I wore this red sweater twice in London, and did pair it with socks and boots from the 3rd picture.

And this is probably my favorite, with a crazy hi-lo that's very exaggerated. I wore this twice too, and actually wore those 15-year-old boots out, so they've been retired.

So I think all those look great, and I decided to make a tunic out of my London fabric to go with these leggings that have to be covered up. Ta-da - I'm frumpalicious!

Now what exactly is the problem? Is it too big at the bottom? I initially was disappointed in the neck, so am looking into adding a cowl or some type of collar or something, and this post was actually going to be about that, but then I saw the pictures and realized I've screwed something up! Now this is Burda 3197, and here's my first shirt with it from 2010:

Wonderful fit! So apparently it's the tunic length that's doing me in, but then why do the sweaters look good and this doesn't? I think it has to do with the neck and shoulders being wider than my hips in the sweaters. So I tried adding a scarf to see if it would help.

Um, I guess a little bit. Then I figured maybe there's too much real estate below the waist, so I tried to replicate a hi-lo hem. (Recognize my scarflet, Robbie?)

Hmmm, I'm just not feeling it for some reason. What do you think? I need to be featured on a What Not to Wear or something - feel free to submit my pictures! And please let me know what it is that's off, so I can redo this top!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Holiday Trip to London

Well, I have a few funny things to share with you. Christmas was delightful, though I was on call. The kids ask for funny things these days: Lucas wanted a Hazmat suit for a video, and Drew wanted a multimeter...well, he is in Engineering so I guess that's not funny.

I bought for myself the Alabama Chanin Swing Skirt Bundle that goes with the Craftsy class that I didn't need, but bought because I wanted to hear Natalie talk about sewing some more.

So after Christmas, the school band and chorus took a trip to London to march in the New Year's Day parade there...

which we have surmised is a money-making scheme for the charities of London to raise money from US families who come to watch their kids march in a parade where the spectators are all family members of marchers! I'm sure that's not really the case, but we met a native Londoner who was going to watch a different parade entirely, and we studied the list of "international" performers to discover that the only act NOT from the US was a group of baton-twirling dancers from Italy. And of course there were the equivalent of Shriner's funny cars and stuff like that from local clubs in London...

but the dancers from Colombia? Just a Colombian social club from London. The Chinese dragon dancers? The local Chinese interest group from London. At any rate, Lucas said it was the best thing he's ever done, with a huge crowd stretching for 2.2 miles, so we won't tell him. It was actually the first parade his school has ever marched in, which should be a clue right there that this is not the Rose Bowl Parade!

So to start at the beginning, we get to the hotel and everyone's just laid out across chairs and the floor in the conference room where we're based because the jet lag is so bad, and the coordinator starts handing out room keys. We're not called till the very end, and the coordinator tells us we have a temporary room because our real room was "soiled by a disabled person," and they're cleaning the rug thoroughly, but we can't get in it until after dinner. Ummmm, okay. So we go to a tiny room to wait an hour for dinner, but we can't unpack or anything. I decide that a room that's required a rug cleaning isn't going to be ideal, so I ask at dinner about having another room. The coordinator assures me they use so many chemicals that we could eat off the floor. She sends us off with our new key after dinner to move to our new freshly cleaned room. Well, as soon as I walked in, I was hit with the overwhelming smell of poo. This was not a cute baby-diaper leaking onto the floor, this was apparently a full adult bowel evacuation all over the carpet from the door to the beds. And not only that, when I stepped into the bathroom, I left brown watery footprints on the tile floor! Unbelievable! We went back down to the front desk where I tried to convey the direness of the situation with words like "reeking" and "suffocating," but the manager said all she could do was move us to another room tomorrow afternoon. She did give us 3 free drink coupons while Housekeeping went to spray some air freshener and open the window, but they didn't cover the hard liquor I wanted, only beer and wine.

So that night, we wore shoes between the beds and bathroom, kept the suitcases away from the wet area, and slept with the window open. The next afternoon while everyone else was doing an audio tour of the palaces and Parliament, we were moving to another room and unpacking. And by that point, the smell had seeped into the hallway, so they actually sent more housekeeping people up to clean the carpet again.

One other outrageous event was that we were supposed to pick up tickets for the grandstand where we'd watch the parade on New Year's Day at breakfast that morning. When I went to get them, the coordinator told me I picked them up the night before. I told her that I didn't, because we were out at a lovely Indian restaurant enjoying a New Year's Eve dinner that Dean had booked,

then we watched fireworks from the banks of the Thames before coming back after midnight. She told me someone had picked them up for us, which also wasn't true. Turns out, everyone wanted their tickets early, so she just handed them out willy nilly, since she thought adults could be responsible and only take what they were supposed to. Apparently someone had friends in France who wanted to see the parade, so they took a couple of extra! Luckily another mom remembered who it was, and we spent the next hour tracking them down. It doesn't sound very dramatic in retrospect, but after the room incident, I had a bad moment where I declared that we would board a plane for the States if we weren't able to watch Lucas in the parade. After all that, it became the running joke that we had the worst luck of anyone in the group.

And speaking of bad luck, I came down with a horrible cough and sinusitis to the point that I stayed in bed instead of going to the Arsenal-Chelsea football game the night before we flew back.

On the flight back, I couldn't clear my ears - has that ever happened to you? It's the worst upon landing, so I'm sitting there madly swallowing and blowing my nose, twitching all the while as it feels like I'm being stabbed in the ears and around my face, and holding a napkin in case my eardrums rupture, all while slowly going deaf. It turns out they didn't rupture, but they did hemorrhage to the point the left one will need surgery if it doesn't clear up in a few weeks, and I remain slightly hearing-impaired. Nice.

This is Winston Churchill's chair in the cigar shop he frequented, and they let just anyone sit in it! See the indentation in the back of it?

But the funniest story is about the fabric store. I wanted to go to The Berwick Street Cloth Shop because I Googled it and it carries exotic fabrics for plays and movies. The reviews were good, and there were no red flags, but Dean insisted on going with me since it was a fair walk from where we were. Well, there's construction in the area, so there's a bit of a tunnel with a sign that says Berwick Street is open and go this way. I did notice the large poster of shirtless men before I saw the name of a store we were walking past, which I can't type here (okay, it was Hot Squirt, sorry), and it occurred to me that we were in the redlight district. Then the posters changed from shirtless men to pantsless men and naked ladies, then the stores changed from products you could buy to, ahem, "services" you could purchase. Dean realized this before I did and stopped walking, calling out my name to get me to stop, but I was plowing right on through with my mouth hanging open. He apparently saw that it appeared to be a dead-end, but I was noticing that normal-looking people were coming our way, and obviously not from these shops, so I assumed there was an exit somewhere ahead, which there was indeed. This prompted a discussion of my gullibility and naivete, but I maintain that I researched the store and knew right where I was going, although I was mighty glad to have Dean and Drew with me. We didn't get any pics of anything, sadly, and when I google-map it now and do a street view, those posters are not in place and there's no hint of seediness! I will, therefore, be leaving a warning about it on Yelp or somewhere in case other women get scared off. Oh, here's a beautiful jersey knit I bought and am making a tunic from:

Also, here is a cowl I made from some hand-dyed yarn my sister gifted me for Christmas:

And I'll leave you with a bit of Somewhere Over the Rainbow from the choral finale of the New Year's Day parade group, performed in Westminster Central Hall. Lucas is 3rd row up, 2nd boy from the left.

I will say it was a fantastic trip and amazing to hear them sing in places like Southwark Cathetral and the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral...illegally. Maybe we need some video of that:

While they were making the travel arrangements, the choir director asked if they could perform inside, and they said no. He asked if they could perform on the steps, and they said no. So apparently while we were touring (they were already dressed in tuxes for another performance), he just told them to run up and sing one song. The crowd and the security guard didn't seem to mind!

Hope you had a great Christmas and that you're avoiding the flu epidemic!