Thursday, November 29, 2007

Preoccupied

I've not finished a SINGLE project all week. Mostly because I've had this contraption on my mind:

For those of you lucky enough to have never needed one...it's a CT Scanner (a "CAT" scan.) And I took a trip through that hole this morning. I had to drink a bum-load of this:

(Oh, ok, just 3 bottles. Still. And the friendly fruit images on the bottle are a decoy. It tastes like white glue.)

and then I got one of these as a prize:

(I'm talking to the nurse as she prepares the IV and I'm right in the middle of a sentence and say "I'll wait til you're finished", you know, with my eyes squeezed shut so I can't see the poke. And she says, "Hon, I am finished." Man, she was good.)

It was all over in 90 minutes and other than the mini-freakout I had last night on learning of my copay ($250!!!) I think it went rather well.

Lest you all worry from my ToooMuchInfo posting tonight, I've had a persistent kidney infection. Stubborn bugger. The CT is just a precaution to rule out abscess, and I fully expect it to be normal. (Good vibes sent my way won't hurt either.)

Your regularly scheduled sewing humor should commence asap.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Gingerbread Tee

I whipped up this cute little tee for Lu this afternoon:


The ribbon accents weren't intentional. They were to cover up these:


HOLES!! I guess I had the tee pinched in the embroidery hoop, and this is where I screwed it in really snug. The sewing gremlin is going back and forth from my house to Shannon's and back to mine.

I kinda like the ribbons in the end, though. I used Steam a Seam to fuse them in place, and then straight stitched them to the tee. The gingerbread girl's bow is a removable pin for laundering.

You can find the adorable gingerbread applique machine embroidery design at Sewing For Sarah. It's a free download!

Happy Stitching!

Gratitude.

I am thankful for a lot of things in mylife...my children whom I adore, my parents & siblings who always make me laugh (even when I want to choke them), my job (which is trying but has those tiny moments of joy that keep you going), my friends...

And I am especially grateful for all of the friends I have made in this wonderful world called the internet.

This Christmas season is the 10th year I've been single. Most of you know that I'm divorced, but none of you know that my ex-husband left me, my toddler son & baby girl a week before Christmas, ten years ago this December. For a few years, I dreaded Christmas. It's not an easy holiday to spend alone.

Christmas is my favorite holiday, and I love everything about it. The tree, the music, buying and making special gifts, the baking, the old movies. I love it. So it didn't take me long to get over the dread.

But it is a lonely time of year for a single person. The kids & I go and do lots of things during the season where we're surrounded by family "units". I've never let my fear of being the only single mom in the crowd stop us from enjoying all of the fun and splendor of the season. (Or for that matter, hopping on a plane and flying to some unknown city for a week. Yes, I'm terrified when I do it, but I keep doing it because if I don'thow would we ever go anywhere??)

Many people ask why I never remarried. My kids were very small when I divorced, and frankly I had my hands full. After a few years, I went back to college to get my teaching degree. And the years just sort of....passed.

In all honesty, I live in a small rural community whose population is aging. The church we attend is filled with families and the elderly... and all of my friends are married. Around here, the only place singles have to go is the local tavern. Not exactly where you'd like to meet the man of your dreams. Or even a pizza sharing partner. Besides, I'm not as cute as I was a decade ago.

So single I remain.

Today as the holiday season officially begins, I am especially thankful for all of you. For making me laugh and keeping me sane, and for letting me share a little bit in your lives. And for that I am really grateful.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wishing a safe & happy turkey day to all my blogger friends, near and far!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tickled Pink Again...


Here it is all finished! Well, except for hem...which isn't finished because I can't decide about whether to add a hem ruffle or not. The sleeve hem ruffle is pretty cute, but I think the hem ruffle might be "too much". At least for Lu.

As you can see (I hope), Temily is a basic peasant top, with a panel for smocking on the front. I piped the panel here with pink microcheck that matched the pink in the print.

I had some problems with the sizing. AS&E tends to run "large" anyway, so I should have only sized up 1 size. That would have been perfect. I ended up taking out about 6 inches total from the width (3 on each side at the hem tapering to nothing at the armseye).

What I'll do next time is use a peasant top I have already fit to Lu and then adjust the front for the smocked panel. And I DO want to do another one! It went together so fast! Next time I think I'll also add ribbon or self-fabric ties to the seams at the smocking panel, to tie in the back like a sash.

It looks pretty dang cute on her too, but she's busy watching a Barbie movie and refuses to model. Diva.

Tickled Pink Temily

The bullions are done. They're not prize-worthy, but they are very pretty & finished...which is the important thing!


I used the Temily pattern (resized to a 10-12) from Australian Smocking & Embroidery issue #80. The smocking plate is "Tickled Pink" from AS&E #70.

I added pink Swarovski crystal accents between the roses & along the top row of baby waves.


Now it's on to construction!

Handmade Holidays...

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

And have you been visiting SewMamaSew daily for this?


I'm smack in the middle of re-learning Buillion Rose embroidery to finish up the smocking on a Temily for Lu. I graded the pattern in AS&E up to her size (she's between a 10 and 12).

Here's the Amazing Tutorial I'm using to refresh my memory on the bullion rose. Pictures to follow soon!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pretty.

Ok, so my Wally-World no longer carries the elastic thread. Bummer. As such, I couldn't finish the black top for Lu's plaid skirt ensemble. It will have to wait until the weekend when I can get to Hancocks (and pray they have it there.)

This was all FINE because I had lost my black top/corsety thingie mo-jo anywho. On to bigger and better things, I say! For Lu's Centennial Celebration performance, we designed this little number instead:


I got to mix prints (my favorite thing) and Lu loved the crossover bodice. No pattern used, other than the armscye off of a bodice pattern in my stash. The bodice has halter ties around the neck, and the back is shirred for about 5 inches.

The bodice isn't really crooked either, she's just standing funny. See...


The best part is the frayed spiral roses on the skirt. I tore 1-1/4 inch strips of the blue/cream dot and stitched 1/4 inch from each edge to keep the fraying in check. Then I gathered each strip with my gathering foot (very fast & simple). Wind the strips around and around until you have a big fluffly rose & ta-da! Frayed goodness. I made 1 large & 2 smaller roses, with accompany twirly vine-age:


The little cream top underneath is actually a peasant top pattern lengthened to dress-length. She will probably hereafter wear the underdress as pajamas because she immediately said it looked like Little House on the Prairie jammies. Well, fine. But she wore it tonight under the dress! Fashionista.

Let me tell ya. It's not easy dressing a 10 year old!!

Free


In the beginning of a change,
the patriot is a scarce man,
and brave, and hated and scorned.
When his cause succeeds,
the timid join him,
for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.
~Mark Twain


God bless our Veteran's!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Secret Heathen Past?




I Am a Yule Log



While you do have holiday spirit, you have a secret, heathen past.

Refundable.

We saw this last night...


It was OK. It didn't give me that cheerful holiday spirit kind of feeling at the end, and there was no cheering and clapping when the credits rolled (like there was at the end of Christmas with the Kranks). Spoilers follow, so stop reading if you don't want to know.

My biggest problem with this movie? A main storyline revolves around Santa's brother (Fred) and his girlfriend and why he won't commit to living together.

ISN'T THIS A FAMILY MOVIE????

I realize this wasn't a religious film, or even a sweet, soon-to-be classic (it is Vince Vaughn, after all). I was also pretty sure at the get-go that we would be watching a secular, "gift-giving is King" kinda film.

That being said, I was very uncomfortable with this message of immorality being broadcast to a room full of families with their children who thought they were there to see a holiday film for families.

The worst part? The big payoff in the final scene is that he DOES commit to moving in with his girlfriend. THAT'S the happy ending to this Christmas movie?

How much more difficult would it really have been to write this character with his inability to commit to marrying his girlfriend? Absolutely no more difficult. At all.

It's a sign of our times. And I don't like it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Underdogs.


The football team from my kids' school & the team from the school where I teach (different states) reached the playoffs this season. (Football's B-I-G here.)

In an odd coincidence, they will both be on the road, and they will both play against wealthy private schools tomorrow night.

But I have a soft spot for my alma mater (the kids' school) and the scrappy way those boys fight to the very end of the season to make the playoffs every year.

Sometime late tomorrow afternoon they will travel via rundown yellow school buses to a gated campus surrounded by million dollar homes. A campus with a $60 million auditorium & private music rooms. Eight tennis courts. Every advantage you could want or imagine for your child.

Our boys are from a poor farming community. There are no navy blazers here. There are no tennis courts or swimming pools. Our stadium hit the quarter of a century-old mark at least a decade ago. The city swimming pool was closed in the early 1990s, and the gymnasium is exactly the same as it was when my parents (now in their 60s) were in high school.

It makes you wonder...just what makes a winner?

God bless them all. The priveleged and the poor, the entitled and the determined.

And good hunting, boys.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Halfway!

The easy half is done in my Hannah Montana meets McLeod's Daughters at Christmas outfit...


No pattern used (and my pattern stash ain't getting any smaller). I just measured Lu for length and went at it! This is a longer skirt, below knee with an attached black gauze petticoat & ruffle. You'll notice I haven't changed my serger yet from the red. ;)

Since I have a couple more things to roll hem in red, I figured what the heck & sampled the red on the black gauze. Loved it. So it stayed.

(MajorSheppherd assisted with photography duties.)

Now it's on to the Hannah Montana half!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Flea Market & Fantasy


My recent loot from the flea market included all of my favorite things! A sweet little platter in "that pink"...an old jar crammed full of buttons...and my favorite color combo (baby blue & red) in vintage feed sacks!!

My jar of buttons doesn't look like much on the outside, but I spot a twinkly rhinestone button in there, and at least a few vintage Czech glass buttons! Seeing as I only paid $5 for the whole jar, I'm thinkin it was a steal!

In sewing news...I'm working on an ensemble for Lu to wear to the Centennial celebration at her school. She's a greeter & will be passing out programs, then will perform with her class. She's pretty excited about it. Of course I only find this out on Thursday and the program is NEXT WEEK!!!

While I had my heart set on a dupioni silk smocked beauty from AS&E, I settled for a hand-drafted pattern I designed with a very vintage feel (and I do mean very! I'm talking Renaissance here! Altho, no, her school is not that old.)

I thought a period piece (with bite) might be a nice way to burn off some of my excess creative energy right now. This outfit will be so far away from what I normally do, it's almost a costume. But that's fine because I think individually the pieces will stand alone.

I searched Renaissance & medieval gowns, and I really like the feel of this (with less shoulder of course!)

and this one, which has a Christmas-y feel:

And really, how completely lovely is this...
All gown are from the Very Merry Seamstress. Her website is chock full of beautiful, custom gowns. If you're a Renaissance Faire attendee...you definitely need to see her site.

So I'm shooting for separates (skirt, peasant top & corset-y overtop) that will work separately wtih other pieces for maximum use. I'd like all of them to be age appropriate too, of course. If I find success (and probably even if I don't) I'll post pics!