Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I worked on my Nicole Mallalieu Day Bag tonight.

I can't help but wonder if perhaps I go into trances from time to time. Or maybe aliens kidnap me for a bit of fun and then dump me back in my sewing room after erasing our little rendezvous from my memory.

I say this because I can't believe it takes me so long to accomplish things. There must be a chunk of time missing somewhere!
I had already cut the pattern out the other night. Tonight I cut out the fabric, linings, interfacings, and fusible batting (I used batting on the body of the bag for stability).

I managed to fuse the interfacings and batting, stitch the main body of the bag, make the purse straps and contrasting loops that will attach to the straps with D rings, and add a reinforced bottom to the bag.

That's all that got done.

Although, I did have to go out and shovel my driveway, and it was that awful, heavy wet snow that makes me wonder why the hell I continue to live in a snow belt region!

But I look at the meager amount of sewing that was accomplished, and I'm so baffled at how quickly some people churn out dresses, coats, pants, etc... I mean it! This should not take so long (hence the aliens), but it does!

I guess this will just have to be my cross to bear!

And by the way, I'm thrilled to pieces that Blogger has fixed spellcheck.

Did you really think I knew how to spell rendezvous?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Just slouching around.

Friday night I managed to get some sewing done. I made the small slouch by Nicole Mallalieu. I'm incredibly cheap so I decided to use an old pair of blue jeans for the purse and the lining is some slinky paisley, left over from a skirt I made for Baby Girl.
Seeing this paisley fabric reminded me of the day before Baby Girl's Senior Award Night last year, when I realized she had nothing to wear. If I hadn't hurried up and made her a skirt and lent her one of my tops, she would have gone up on stage to accept her scholarship (where she high-fived the vice principal) wearing a hoodie, sweat pants, and a pair of men's bedroom slippers and not thought a thing of it.

I kid you not!

One day she came home from school and kicked off her shoes (in the middle of the living room of course) and I said, "What are those?" and she said, "My shoes." and I said, "But what are they?" And she said very patiently (like one would to an imbecile), "Men's bedroom slippers."

And they were.

But anyway, I like Nicole's patterns because, to me, they seem to be well engineered. Everything always falls into place the way they're supposed to. This really is an easy pattern and I realize as you look at it you'll think that mine is very plain and I agree.

I just wanted to put one together to get an idea of the dimensions and feel of the purse. I can then decide what embellishments can be made etc...on future purses.

The only zipper I had laying around was bone colored, but I really didn't care. Then I found an off white purse strap and realized that they went together well. I had no intention of really using this prototype and then decided that this will be a simple purse to carry with a t-shirt and jeans.

Here's the slouch, lounging in Hans' apartment. And here it is, opened up and showing off its lining. (Shameless!).

Here is the bottom!. All the little darts line up perfectly and give a nice roundness to it.

You know what? I'm going to get to work on all of my purse patterns, and for my own personal challenge? I'm going to whip out all kinds of fun and different purses!

I need to go now. I have to work on the acceptance speech that I plan on making when I win the Purse Queen award in my little swamp town!!!


Friday, February 22, 2008


Oh Happy Friday!! I got home a little while ago to find this in my mailbox.

The slouch bag by Nicole Mallalieu and the High Street Messenger Bag by Amy Butler, and I haven't even started on Nicole's Day Bag.

I have to work tomorrow and then I'm off to the Big City. But!!! That means tonight I'm really going to get to do some sewing. My sister's birthday is Sunday and as usual I don't have anything ready to send. But I'm thinking a slouch bag might be the ticket.
This month TBS has been celebrating One Month of Oscars and I'm hoping that they show something I like while I'm sewing tonight, like the other night when they played Some Like It Hot.
Ok! Enough blogging! Time to get some sewing done. Look out Connie, I told you I like a challenge!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A trip down memory lane

This past weekend some old family friends of Hans were in town and they reminisced about their times together as children.

Since I'm not getting much sewing done I'll post this instead.

Everyone has memories of their childhood. The little family outings, vacations, and traditions.

Hans' boyhood memories consist of family sailing weekends, playing tennis at the club, and visiting their family abroad.

When I was growing up I remember how we entertained ourselves by watching the neighbors through the picture window of our livingroom. Like the time our neighbor's wife ran up and down the street screaming ,"Karl shot himself! Karl shot himself!" And we all watched in horror as Karl reeled drunkenly out of their house, clutching his bloody hands to his bloody head, and staggered around their yard.

Oh my God! should someone call an ambulance?

Hell no! was the general concensus as we were all sick to death of Karl's antics.

Unfortunately, Karl made a quick recovery, as his injury was just a flesh wound received as the result of trying to straighten bullets with a hammer.

Then there was the matinee that Timmy, our neighbor from across the street, performed for us one lazy Sunday afternoon.

Timmy was 'special', in that he was slightly slow and massively obese. Timmy was twenty- something and lived with Mom and Dad. Timmy may have been a little slow, but he held down a full time job and bought his own car, which he would sit in for hours on end, listening to the radio. Timmy's mom used to lament that she wished Timmy would settle down and get married as she was anxious for grandchildren!

One day Timmy waited for his parents to leave and then proceded to set in motion a plan that must have been festering inside his head for ages.

My dad noticed something odd was going on when Timmy appeared at the front of their house dragging the family burn barrel behind him. Carefully he placed it, just so, on the berm of the highway and then went back into the house. Shortly thereafter he came out with the Sunday paper which was dumped into the barrel. He made another trip around the back of the house and this time he returned with a milk jug. Half of the contents of the milk jug went in with the newspaper and that's when my dad said, "What the hell is he doing?"

That was when I started watching.

Dad caught me up to speed and we watched as Timmy emerged from the house once again, approached the barrel and ....pulled a packet of matches from his pocket.

"What the hell..." Dad started to say, when WHOOOOOSH the lit match hit whatever combustible fluid Timmy had dumped into the barrel and Timmy (who'd been peering into the depths of the barrel) very calmly took a step back as roaring flames shot out of the top.

"What the hell is that crazy bastard doing?" Dad shouted with glee, which brought my mother running in from the kitchen.

She peered out the window. "Why is their burn barrel out on the highway?" she asked.

"How the hell should I know?" Dad wheezed. "Why don't you ask Timmy?"

"I'm not sure his parents would like this." Mom worried. "Maybe we should do something."

"Let him go, for God's sake, he's not going to hurt anything." Dad waved her away. "Too bad that barrel's so far from their house though, if that place went up in flames, he'd be doing us all a favor."

My mother swatted him with her dishtowel and went back to the kitchen. Dad turned his recliner to face the window and I pulled up a chair.

So while Timmy, in total rapture, watched the fire, we watched Timmy, and occasionally a car would toot its horn as it drove by.

Every now and then, Timmy would come out of his reverie to go into the house for more tinder. The tinder being; everyday household objects such as the mop, more papers, magazines, a few items of clothing including a coat, a wooden foot stool, some decorative baskets etc...

After each new object was sacrificed, the milk jug would make an appearance and the flames would wildly leap about and Timmy would stare, tranfixed.

Another trip around the back of the house brought forth the garden hose. But not for putting out the fire. The hose complete with metal nozzle was dropped in, and black tarry smoke rolled out.

Mom announced that lunch was ready and for once my dad didn't run for the kitchen. Since this was odd behavior on Dad's part, Mom came in to see what was going on.

"What's he burning over there?" she asked. "This is making me nervous."

"More like what isn't he burning!" Dad hadn't had this much fun in a long time and he made Mom bring us our lunch in the living room.

We were finishing up when Timmy disappeared into the house. When he didn't come out Dad was worried that Timmy had forgotten what he was doing and that our matinee had come to an abrubt end.

Then the door opened and Timmy staggered out of the house under the weight of a heavy object. We leaned forward to see what it was. It looked like a suitcase and then we both realized it was the family record player. For those of you too young to remember; before CD players came out, people had record players, and big vinyl records were played on the turntable. This particular record player was enclosed in a big hard case with a lid, and was big and bulky.

We watched Timmy feel his way to the barrel and then WHOMP, in went the record player, sparks flew, and my dad howled with laughter. Mom came running in from the kitchen, in time to witness the resulting undulating flames, as the last of the milk container's contents were heaved into the barrel.

"Sweet Jesus!" Dad squeaked as he wiped the tears from his face. "There won't be any Johnny Cash tonight!"

"This is ridiculous!" Mom said. "I'm calling the fire department."

"Leave him be!" Dad gasped for breath. "You can call them if he torches the house. But make sure it's really going good before you do!"

Dad almost had a stroke when Timmy took another sojourn to the back of the house and returned, laboring under the weight of an obviously full bucket.

We waited expectantly and held our breath as the entire bucket was poured into the barrel. Imagine our disappointment when the flames disappeared and huge plumes of black smoke billowed forth. The bucket had been full of water.

"Jesus Christ!" my mother swore as heavy, greasy smoke drifted toward our house. "Goddammit, I've got clothes on the line and now I have to bring them in. As if I don't have enough to do." She slammed out the door.

Timmy timed things pretty well. His parents arrived home an hour or so later and walked right past the smoldering burn barrel, never even giving it a second glance and by morning it was gone, relegated to the back yard no doubt, to wait for it's next exciting adventure with Timmy.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in their house that night. In addition to the disappointment of no Johnny Cash or Tammy Wynette I can just hear Timmy's mom.

"Has anyone seen the cat?"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

National Hemorrhoid Month

I think February is just like hemorrhoids; uncomfortable, annoying, and just plain old won't go away! This is also the time I have to do taxes and fafsa (which for those of you who don't have kids in college, means begging for grant money).

I also, in a fit of brilliance, decided to start listing on ebay. Listing on ebay is a little like giving birth. You forget what a huge pain it is until you do it again and then you remember why you stopped the first time.

After taking pictures, packing, weighing, and listing; you need to check your emails regularly for questions from prospective bidders. I'm amazed that someone would email a question with 13 minutes remaining on an auction. This happened to me last night and I just stumbled on it in time to answer. Then after an auction is won, people will ask how long before they have to pay. Well, ding dong, it's right there in my set of rules, but you have to be nice and email a response. Then if your stuff sells, you get to make a trip to the post office the next day, and then wait with baited breath in hopes that no one leaves you with negative feedback.

Add up your hours etc...and it's hardly worth it. I'm going to have to have a garage sale this spring for the leftovers and I dread that more than a root canal. Anyone ever had a garage sale? How come everyone I know who has a garage sale brags about the gazillions of dollars they make at theirs, but when I have one I make about $23.00 and filthy people, who let their runny nosed kids rummage through everything, want to give me a nickel for grandma's crystal punch bowl set. And how do you say " no" to someone who asks to use the potty.

Maybe I'm being a lttle pissy because last year we were here!

And I don't want to be here!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Deja Vu?

A conversation overheard at my neighbor's house last night.

"Hey Myrtle, This microwave's been broke for over a week now, when you gettin' us a new one?"

"Listen up Big Spender, I ain't stupid, I've been keepin an eye on the calender you know."

"What are you talking about old woman? You forget to take your medicine again?"

"You remember last month when the crazy neighbor lady threw a TV out her front window?"


"Well any day now something's gonna come flying outa there and I'm taking my chances on a microwave."

"You know what, old woman? You ain't so senile after."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mother Nature is a B*&&^%%

Not a lot of blogging or sewing this past week. I had all kinds of things planned but Mother Nature in all of her glory had other plans for me. First a lot of snow and wind then a whole lot of freezing rain (how is it possible to rain at 25 degrees) and then, oh gee!!! more snow. This is a picture of Baby Girl's car after we managed to get most of the ice off of it.

Here is my driveway before and after an hours worth of shoveling (ME!). When I got up the next morning there was about 4 more inches of snow. Typical winter weather but I didn't want to shovel, I wanted to sew!

I couldn't run on Monday as it was dangerously cold, Tuesday brought more icy rain and the roads were waaaay too slippery. Wednesday was crappy too and on Thursday I had shopping and baking (stromboli and peach pie to take to the Big City this weekend!).

In an attempt to use my time off from waitressing (Jan -Mar) wisely, I've also started listing a bunch of stuff on eBay in an effort to clean house. Have you ever listed on eBay? I find it to be a tremendous amount of work! I hate the shipping part. It seems like I have to enter my info in too many times. I know I'm doing something wrong but I have no idea what. It takes me about 20 minutes to list just one stupid thing. Whatever doesn't sell is going into the garage sale pile and that's it!!

I just got a new Nicole Mallalieu purse pattern from Blue Merle Boutique (free shipping!) and I would have liked to start work on it. Next week I guess.

I also wanted to finish the damn Burda dress. I tried it on and the back is baggy. You know, the area between the shoulder blades and the hips. There's way too much room there and it makes me look shapeless. I believe I may need to do sway back adjustments on my dresses.(I'll need to research the technique) I took it in about 3 inches in the waist, and increased my back darts but it's still baggy. I don't know how much more I can take in without it yanking at the front pleats!

I like Nicole Mallalieu. Connie at Couturesmith just got one of her patterns and it reminded me of how much I like them.
I hate to say it but I think I'm going to get a couple more. I like making purses. There are no fitting issues and you can do really crazy creative things with them!!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh Baby, Baby

While attending an adult function recently (no whining children running around), a lovely childless lady, just a few years younger than myself, expressed her concern about not having any children.

Put it this way; she's over 40 and her biological clock is in overdrive.

I'm lucky. This is one area that I don't have to agonize over. As a matter of fact I don't have to agonize over it, times 3.

"Oooooh, I just loooove looking at adorable, baby clothes." She cooed. "They're so cute and I just loooove them!"

I tried not to cringe.

"What if I'm missing out on something? If I never have children, how will I know?"

What does one say to someone in this delicate situation?

I can tell you what I'd could say.

Well, first of all, your adorable infant will outgrow those cute baby clothes while it is actually wearing them. (Envision the Incredible Hulk as an infant).

Even if the adorable baby clothes don't split at the seams, they'll be worthless after the one time they're worn anyway, as I don't believe a detergent has been invented that truly removes baby poop and puke.

So much for that fun.

A quick trip to the store? Packing up all the necessary gear involved in any trip with a baby (half an hour), The baby's hungry (45 minutes), taking a nap (hopefully 2 hours), suffering from colic? (too many hours). Maybe tomorrow.

Then you get to worry about the Well Baby visits to the pediatrician (something like 16 visits a month, I swear), which involves an ungodly amount of vaccinations, your child doesn't seem to fit into any standard, government, percentile growth charts, and you're left shaking with fear that your bundle of joy is somehow lacking.

You can be guaranteed that your child will spike a fever of 104, at five past five on the one Friday night that you and your spouse decide to 'leave the baby with grandma' and instead, you spend your entire Friday evening in the emergency room.

They are only terrible two's if you allow them to be. Who's the boss here anyway.

You find out at your child's parent-teacher conference, that he's 'not motivated' and this is in the first grade! Be prepared to hear this for the next eleven years.

You don't want your child to miss out on anything that might keep him/her from leading a successful life so you end up shuttling children to and from: dance classes, hockey practices, ball games, and recitals. If you have more than one child you can be guaranteed, that their events will occur simultaneously and at different ends of the city.

Be prepared to do this shuttling on your own as your spouse has better things to do (golf and/or visiting Mom).

Speaking of money (weren't we?) none the aforementioned activities mentioned above are free. Let's see; dance recital outfits for your budding ballerina cost appoximately $75.oo each and guess what!? She's in 3 separate dance sequences (for about a grand total of 3 minutes, you do the math!).
Your hockey playing son's team can't be bothered to play with the local teams. NO! They have to go out of town every weekend and play with kids who also can't be bothered to play with their own local teams. Let's see; hotel room for two nights, breakfast lunch and dinner for 2 days, hockey fees.... Again, you do the math.

After all of this running around, along with working a full time job, you're supposed to have time for laundry, scrubbing bathrooms, sweeping, monitoring homework (who's done theirs and who's lying about having done theirs), packing lunches, and sex (what's that?).

Adolescence rears its ugly head and communication with your surly child grinds to a halt. Your son slouches about and speaks in monosylables. Your daughter 'talks' in ear splitting decibles and you wished she spoke in monosylables.

Two seconds after having turned sixteen, your child will clutch in sweaty teenage palms, a drivers license. And if you didn't get a full nights sleep when they were infants, you will never get a full nights sleep now.

Your son, who sleeps until noon (why couldn't he have done that as an infant?) now only converses with you in grunts, will mindlessly drive around with his pimply faced friends doing God knows what, and you'll find yourself scanning the local newspapers daily for mention of unsolved teenage vandalism.

Your shrieking daughter will drive around with her shrieking friends, and will arrive home at any given time with scuffed bumpers, dented fenders, and for the grand finale she will total your car. "It wasn't my fault!" (Black ice in July? I don't think so).

Then the magical day occurs.

The baby is off to college. (For sanity's sake I won't go into the college choosing process).

Baby can't wait to live the college experience. Finally, Baby will be acknowledged for the adult that he/she is. Intellectual conversations will abound! Freedom to live on their own (with your money) will be unlimited.

As for you, you breath a huge sigh of relief. You've done your job, your baby is out of the nest, and except for college loans you're pretty much done with this parenting thing.

And then your child, your child with the gifted IQ, your child who couldn't wait to be on her own, will burst into hysterical tears (after just one semester), in the middle of the family Christmas dinner to announce that "College isn't for me!"

And that's when you realize that being a parent is forever. You are serving a life sentence. When you're ninety, you're going to worry about your children and there's no getting around it.

And that's it.

Parenting is not for the weak.

And it's tough enough to go through when you're relatively young but I don't want to spend my IRA on college when I should be enjoying MY retirement.

That's what I could have said.

But I didn't.

I have a wicked sense of humor.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Like, here's like, an update?

Baby Brother phoned us this morning at the ungodly hour of 11:00 AM and woke us up!! (It's my only day to sleep in, so no nasty comments!).

Anyway, he received his award last night, not tonight as I stated in last night's post. (I'm easily confused, or maybe bourbon dulls my hearing. Whatever!).

He said it was very exciting and the above picture is the stage where Jessica Alba presented him with his award. I'm not sure what else he said because he was in a hurry to catch his plane and it sounded as though he'd already had about ten cups of coffee.

What he won was a certificate, not a statue! Sorry about that (did I say easily confused?). There were statues, plaques, and certificates awarded that night. However I have seen the statuette that his company won a few years ago. It's surrounded by a little cage and an alarm system in his company's building.

The only other thing of note that happened this morning was that I got my very own library card to use in the Big City. Luckily I had my library card from home to prove I'm responsible enough and/or not illiterate or they may not have let me have one. I promised them my first born if need be, but they turned me down. They don't need a 24 year old insurance salesman at this time I was told.

So while I'm begging and pleading for a card, this little snot came up beside me and started bitching out the other helper at the desk. Apparently she had a fine on a book and didn't know about it and they said they'd sent a letter to her. But! It went to her old address and had not been forwarded to her new one.

I went something like this:

"Like, I don't know why you need my new address? Like, it's really none of your business? Like, I don't know why you feel the need to like, send me anything in the mail?"

Library lady patiently explained that they need her address in case they have to reach her.

"Like, that's why you have my Email? Like, that's why I gave it to you when I got my card here? And I really don't know why I'm being like, so rude to you? But I'm really upset because where I live is like, none of your business?"

Library Lady said she understood, but it's still library policy to have a physical address of patrons holding library cards. I myself am not sure what the exact issue was, because Hans gets emails from the library all the time, such as when he's waiting on a requested book.

But she continued with her incredibly chirpy bitching and I swear if I'd been suffering from PMS I would have had to open a can of whoop ass on her!

Has anyone else like, noticed, or is it like, just my age, but do younger girls like, have the most irritating, chirpy voices these days? Like, what do you think?

Like, Later!!

This Post is Rated XXX


I mean ZZZZZZZ (snore).

This is Hans and me on a Saturday night in the Big City.

And it was only 7:00 PM.

I kid you not!

Actually we go out a lot more when we're in my little swamp town. When we're at my place we can go out dancing at 9:00... dance non stop until midnight or so and go home.

Here in the Big City, nothing really gets going until about 11:00 or so and even then you're not guaranteed that the bands will play anything that you like, and during the winter, that's just not much fun.

So Hans snuck a picture of me in my penguin jammies and I took a picture of him monkeying around with the keyboard that I got him for Christmas. Back in the day, when he was supposed to be working on his Ph.D., Hans was in a punk rock band (much to his father's chagrin), that actually opened for U2 when they were still relatively new. Hans said that even back then, he could tell that Bono was going to be big.

And he was right!

Rock On!!

...and the winner is...

Baby Brother.

Hans' Baby Brother has won an Academy Award! He's out in L.A. as I write this and the picture above is one he just Emailed to Hans. It's really just a picture of a bunch of Oscars as he won't get his award until tomorrow night.

This is one of the technical achievement awards that are handed out now, and not during the televised events that we see in March. They also don't go through the nomination ordeal; winners are notified ahead of time that they've won.

It's an award for Mayan Fluid Effects and Baby Brother and 3 other co-workers are receiving it together. A few years ago his whole company won an Oscar for technical achievement for animation. I believe their technique at that time was used for animated movies such as Shrek.

Very exciting news and Hans said, "You should put this in your blog."

And I said "Well it really is exciting and Baby Brother is brilliant (and one of the nicest people you will ever meet even if he thinks Jiffy Muffin Mix is a gourmand delight), but I don't know if it's really appropriate. I didn't win it and it might be seen as bragging by proxy, and I can't stand people who do that."

So Hans immediately put me in my place by saying, "Of course people know you didn't win the award but you've mentioned Baby Brother in one of your other posts, so why not this?"

So I did and here it is.

Actually I hesitated to post this for another reason. I don't mention Baby Brother's name for a reason. He isn't aware at this time that I have a blog and even worse that he's actually been mentioned in it.

I have this fear that one day Baby Brother will be sitting before the head honcho, or the magnate of some super duper incredible software company, or Bill Gates, and this is what happens.

"Well, Baby Brother, your credentials are impeccable, your resume outstanding! But (and here it comes!), it has come to our attention that you've been mentioned in a certain blog. A blog that's, well, how do we say it? A blog that's written by your brother's girlfriend and we feel she's not wrapped quite tight. She thinks her dress form talks to her and she has a cat that's trying to take over her life!" Chuckle, chukle. "I'm sorry but we just can't take a chance with you. I'm sure you understand our position."

Baby Brother also mentioned that he still doesn't have his speech prepared.
Why didn't he let me know? I could have helped him!

Wouldn't that be an evening to remember!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A little fun

Someone's trying to look pitifull. Don't fall for it. She is THE BEAST!!

Burda patterns may become my downfall

Well, the Burda dress is almost done, but I've learned not to count my chickens before they're hatched. Luckily there was one review on pattern review that really did help me.

The directions say to fold down the upper corner (singular corner, not corners) on the lower portion of the dress. Well corner, to me, means corner. But then there would be 2 corners on the skirt, right? There would be a left corner and a right corner and for the life of me I couldn't figure out why they would need to be folded down. So on my muslin, I chose to ignore that advise.

Marching onward to pattern review, I found out, thanks to Seamingly Simple that Burda meant to fold down the upper center point of the lower skirt (I'm sorry, to me that's not a corner!). I can't seem to link her Flickr photo here, but if you look at her review and click on transition point, her excellent photo shows exactly what Burda meant.

So I folded down my center front and then added the drape and then attempted to attach the upper bodice.

I said attempted.

Because something was wrong!

After attaching the upper bodice to the lower skirt, you're supposed to then fold the facings of the bodice inwards. Looking at Seamingly Simple's photos I knew exactly how mine should look. But mine looked Simply Wrong.

For some reason, once the facings were folded inwards, the bodice top gaped horribly, and twisted into itself in an odd way. (I did NOT take a picture of that! Do you think I'm nuts?).

Now c'mon! This shouldn't be difficult! For God's sake, this dress is really pretty basic and somehow I've managed to take yet one more wrong turn!

But I think I know what happened.

I don't seem to interpret things properly. I made pleats in the bodice top as called for, but I think I pressed them in the wrong direction.

I think if I'd pressed them in the opposite direction, the facing fold would fall at a different angle.

But, I've already stitched the bodice to the skirt (along with the drape) and I refuse to rip it out!

I put the dress on and monkeyed around with the transition point, pinned it as best as I could, took it off and hand stitched it in place.

Someone else would fix it properly, but I find that life is short, this dress is for me, and as long as it looks good from the outside that's all I care about at this time.

I also removed the inner-lining from the front drape pieces and they hang a lot better than before.

Sally Stitch loves her pearls.

This is the center point that's turned down and pressed.

For now, the dress is pinned at the side and back seams. I still have to put in the zipper but that will happen next week, as once again I head to the Big City tomorrow after work. We take turns on Saturday mornings at my job and tomorrow is my turn.

Blogger spell check is broken! Please don't be too critical of any errors you find, I'm very sensitive!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I can't believe I'm blogging when TBS is showing Rear Window!!! One of my favorite movies!!! Grace Kelly's outfit's alone make this movie worth watching.
I worked on my dress quite a bit this evening and ran into a weird snag. There is a drape on the font of the dress that worked fine on my cheap muslin. But, when I tried to attach the drape on the fashion fabric of the good dress, it just didn't fit together, or hang properly.
It wouldn't drape.
I took it off of the dress and looked it over and I think maybe the fact that I inner-lined it is the issue. It's supposed to drape softly and I think the inner-lining is too stiff, plus I honestly can't remember if I cut the inner-lining with the bias running in the proper direction.
I'm going to remove the inner-lining and go with just the fashion fabric. Not a difficult thing to do.

I just finished watching the scene in Rear Window with the brandy swirling, and Grace Kelly is wearing the sage green skirt with the white, cross over halter top dress. So classy!!!
I'm going to finish my movie now, while Chlorox purrs beside me and The Beast snoozes in front of the fire.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Baby Steps

I've finished the bodice of my Burda dress and took a couple of pictures but I'll post those tomorrow; it's late and I'm tired

Of course, yet once again, the Burda instructions were hazy, and literal thinking Laura took awhile to figure it out. But so far nothing has been ruined and I'll continue tomorrow night.

I did get to thinking though, that at this time last year I never would have made a muslin, I never would have attempted an invisible zipper, I have about 10 more purses than I've ever had in my life and I think I'm truly making progress!

If it weren't for all the fantastic sewists who take time to blog, I'm sure I would have thrown in the towel by now. The internet can truly be a wonderful thing.

I tell everyone I meet, who shows the slightest inkling of sewing interest, to please check out some blogs and see for themselves that sewing is alive and well in our world.

We had a heat wave roll through and I think it's about 40 degrees here right now, so for the first night in a long time I didn't bother with the fire place. But you can see from this picture that Chlorox still feels the need for warmth and closeness.

I have my computer on my lap and she's lying on my legs. What a tough life she has.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

We Have an Update

I have a small update on my Burda dress.
I had decided to innerline the dress with organza.
It will also have a lining.
I used polyester organza as the innerlining.
I take things too literally.
I had read that innerlining should be attached to the fashion fabric and then both are to be treated as one fabric.
So that's exactly what I did. But it became an issue when it was time make darts and pleats.
Trying to sew the darts in the back bodice with the two layers seemed odd and difficult.
I ended up sandwiching the organza (which didn't fold nicely at all ) into the fashion fabric and making the dart. That's when I stopped and emailed Laura at Laura's sewing room (she's my guru!)
She says you are to make darts, pleats, etc... on each piece individually and then treat them as one. For example: make your dart on your fashion fabric, make your dart on your innerling, press each in opposite directions, and then place wrong sides together and treat as one.
Well, I had already done the back darts wrong and I decided not to rip them out. But I will be careful for the rest of the dress.
The instructions also called for vilene bias tape to be used in the armholes. I went to patternreview and thankfully found a really good review on this dress.
I went and bought bias tape, trimmed it to 1/2 of an inch and stitched it to the innerlined fashion fabric. I just used pins to hold it in place and then sewed in 1/2 inch from the edge.
I have 1/2 of the top done and I've pinned it to Sally Stitch. (She's being very quiet, she knows I've replaced my poor old computer and knows she could be next).

Blurry picture of the shoulder seam with the bias tape at the armhole.

1/2 of the top bodice. Pinned together but not sewn

The top front and back stitched together at the shoulder, with the bias tape sewn into the armhole. The organza is the fabric on top and you can see I've drawn the fold and pleat lines onto the organza with indelible marker. I used indelible marker since it was on the inner lining and would never be seen. I will make the pleats in the fashion fabric and innerlining separately and THEN treat as one.

I'll work on this some more tomorrow. I want so badly for this to work!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Fabric and Patterns

I've bought fabric and purse patterns from a store I found on eBay and thought I'd pass it on to you. She has Michael Miller Fabric, Nicole Mallilieu and Amy Butler purse patterns etc... I've always received great service. Click on this link to her eBay store. Blue Merle Boutique. It looks like her eBay store might be closing though so you might want to hurry.

This Little Piggy Went to Market

I came across this picture the other day while doing a thorough house cleaning of my OLD computer. Yes, I finally broke down and bought a much needed lap top. It wasn't a purely selfish purchase as it's going to be a must have for a future indeavor that Hans and I have in mind, but that's for another time.

It all began when Hans and I made a trip to southern Alabama and Florida in the middle of August.

You read it right. August.

Who, you ask, would be stupid enough to go to Alabama and Florida in the middle of August?

The same idiots who would go to Boston, Massachusetts in January, that's who.

Hans and Laura.

I'm a typical snow bird, in that until I met Hans, I managed to get to Florida a couple of times in my life, and then it was only during peak, tourist season.

Well, it came about that Hans needed to head south to take care of some family business and he thought it would be fun to turn it into a long weekend, and asked me to accompany him.

I was packed before he finished asking.

For those of you who've never been there in the summer; the south is HOT.

The next time someone tells me to go to hell, I can tell them I've been there and back!

Much to Hans' relief, he finished up his business quickly and we headed off to 'Hooks' (or 'Hyooks' as the locals pronounce it) for barbeque. 'You can smell our butts for miles', Hooks' sign proudly proclaims and it's true. The only way they could have been improved upon would have been with beer.

We sat at a beach bar one night, and one would think that beach bar would be equated with breezes, but not here. There was no breeze and so much sweat poured off of Hans that I feared he would melt on the spot. Watching people run around in blue jeans, suffocated me.

But our biggest mission (and we decided to accept it) was something that we were to find, and bring back to Hans' Baby Brother.

Baby Brother is twelve years younger than Hans and now lives in Toronto. When Baby Brother was about 14, and Hans was well on his own, Hans' father moved his family to Alabama.

Apparently, there was some obscure muffin mix that Baby Brother grew to love, and it could only be found in the deep south.

It certainly can't be found in Canada is what we'd been told.

Too much of our time was spent zipping around Alabama in pursuit of the elusive, muffin mix.

I asked many times, just what was the name of this gourmet mix.

Hans couldn't remember, but he'd know it when he saw it.

"I know it's at the Piggly Wiggly! I just know it!"

But we couldn't find a Piggly Wiggly.

Apparently, Piggly Wiggly had been bought out and was no more.

I found that to be sad. I would love to shop at a Piggly Wiggly. It's got to be more fun than WalMart (Well maybe not, you really haven't lived until you've shopped at my WalMart, in which a hideous cross section of America, shops).

Finally we stumbled upon a store that we could tell, (thanks to the peeling, left over name underneath) had at one time been an infamous Piggly Wiggly, and in we went.

Eureka! In no time at all Hans found the elusive muffin mix and began to wildly pile boxes of them into his little 'used to be a Piggly Wiggly' basket.

"Wait a minute!" I grabbed his arm. "Number one, this can't possibly be the muffin mix that Baby Brother wants and second of all, how the hell are we getting this home! We only do carry on luggage and we don't have enough room for all these boxes."

As quickly as I yanked boxes of mix out of Hans' basket, he frantically put them right back in.

"Hans! Stop it! This is cheap old Jiffy Muffin Mix and you can get this stuff anywhere!"

"No you can't, Baby Brother says you can only get this in the south and I promised him I'd bring some back!"

"Well, Baby Brother may be smart (And believe me he is!), but he doesn't know squat about muffin mix!"

Hans let me put the Jiffy Muffin Mix back on the shelf and I pretended that I didn't notice him smuggle a couple of them back into his basket (he would just have to find space in his luggage).


A couple of months later we took the smuggled muffin mix to Baby Brother, who was thrilled and honored to get them.

And then one day while wandering through Walmart (and I kept a firm hold on Hans who has been known to wander) I stumbled across this.
Yes, it's Jiffy Muffin Mix! Not in the deep south but right here in the frigid north!

Hans nearly fainted.

He immediately took a picture with his cell phone so he could send it to Baby Brother.

Jiffy Muffin Mix: 3 for a $1.00

Full length, Good Will leather coat: $45.00

Nicole Mallalieu purse made by Laura: $10.00

The look on people's faces at Walmart when Hans took this picture: Priceless

Y'all come back now, hear!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Scene 1, Act 1, Take 2

I'm back in the Big City, and guess where we went this morning?

Yes, the pool and the library. Are we gluttons for punishment, or what?

We were a little smarter this time around though. I took my cell phone and we checked the library hours so I wouldn't be kicked to the curb at closing time.

First, we went to breakfast at a very popular and always crowded diner. For some reason there are only something like 2 places to eat breakfast within walking distance of the pool and library.

We had to wait outside for a few minutes before being able to get inside and wait yet once again. There were a couple of tables that could hold four people (referred to as a 4 top by waitri like me) but were occupied by lone couples. Hans remarked that if we were in Europe we could sit at the other unused half of the table and no one would care. But you can't do that in the Big City.

A 4 top opened shortly thereafter and the cute little couple in front of us offered it to us first. (They've probably been brought up to be kind to the elderly).

We told them to take it, but would it be ok for us to share? I promised them we would behave and this would allow other people to be seated faster. They were just fine about it and the waiter who seated us, thanked us profusely as this would certainly make things go smoother.

After we were all settled in and had placed our orders, we discovered that the young couple are students at a local university that's noted for its academic excellence (I wouldn't even qualify to scrub floors there, I'm sure). Hans himself pursued his Ph.D at the same school more than a few years ago.

The young man is an mechanical engineering major.

The young lady is a chemical engineer major.

Hans described his unpronouncable major.

And then all eyes turned to me.

"I'm a waitress." I blurted.

Then we learned that the young man is from Malaysia but his family now lives in China.

Hans perked up. Malaysia and China! Hans has visited both several times and knew exactly where the young man has lived. Hans has been to Shanghai and described the massive construction that he'd witnessed going on and as that's where the young man's parents now live, he knew what Hans was talking about.

The shy young lady was born in the U.S. but her parents are originally from Korea.

Korea! Hans has been to Korea many times also, and this was also discussed.

All eyes turned to me.

"I've been to Disney World!" (I hope they don't think I was bragging.)

So how did these two young people end up at this particular university? Hans asked the young man if he had gotten his high school education in Malaysia.

Well, no. Actually he'd attended boarding school in England and of course Hans knew which school it was and remarked that some of his friends had also attended boarding schools, although different ones, in England. Hans himself had gone to boarding school in Canada.

The young lady had gone to public school in a different city and I can guarantee you that she graduated at the top of her class.

Everyone looked at me.

"I went to a 3 room school house that taught 6 grades. There was 1 teacher for every 2 grades, but we did have a gym!"

It turns out the young man speaks Chinese in addition to English. He's studied French but remarked that he's not really proficient in it.

The young lady speaks English and Korean.

Hans of course speaks fluent German, English, understands and speaks French very well and can get by with Spanish. Hans' brother's speak German and English, but French is their main language, as their partners are both French speaking.

Here we go again.

"I just nod a lot when I'm with Hans' family." I shamefully admitted. And at this point, I don't think anyone was too surprised with that.

But just as we were getting ready to leave, Hans picked up my purse and God Bless him, he held it up and stated proudly, "Laura made this. She makes purses and dresses."

The young lady's face lit up. "You made that?" She actually looked impressed. "And you make dresses too?"

I admitted that I try to sew, and that my daughter actually liked and wore the prom dress that I made for her last year.

And on that happy little note we parted ways.

I think our world is in good hands if even a fraction of our youth, is as nice, and intelligent as the young couple we were fortunate enough to spend our morning with.

Here's the purse. I use it as my main purse and I really do like it.