Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Some people think I'm "plumb crazy", but here's a photo essay of why I choose to live within a mile of my parents...

Note Pa Pa isn't holding the lead rope anymore...

My horse crazy girl...

Priscilla, confused as to why I'm on the OTHER side of the fence.

Megan, who's camera shy.

You just can't replace a good Pa Pa who'll come by at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night, because "his girl" wants to ride.

ps...the little turquoise dress turned out great. Just needs a hem now. I can't show you a picture of it on the recipient, but it fit her perfectly! Can you just imagine...measure, choose pattern size, adjust length, and sew. And it fits?? Wow, I'm super jealous. It was a fabulous, easy pattern. I recommend it if you need a quick, easy sheath!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

10 things.

The lovely Jana and equally lovely (but snarkalicious) Beangirl nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award.

I swear I haven't forgotten either of you, I was just waiting for a long enough stint at the computer to come up with 10 interesting things! Here we go!

1. When I was in kindergarten we painted giant pumpkins, probably with fingerpaints. I slaved over mine. I love love love art in all forms (this, you probably already know). My painting was chosen to hang in an art showcase at a St. Louis mall with other art pieces from every school in the area. Not bad for a 5 year old. I still remember walking through the mall with my mom and dad until we found my painting hanging high above the crowd.

2. I wanted to be an actress when I was young. Not just any actress; I wanted to be on Broadway. Sort of odd since my favorite actresses were Judy Garland and Shirley Temple (not known for their stage work). Still, I love show tunes and can belt one out with the best of them. (This probably explains my intense love of Glee.) Of course I also wanted passionately to be on Circus of the Stars (trapeze). I don't remember which desire came first, but one hinged on the other. Obviously.

3. Speaking of the trapeze, my parents were the cool and interested sort who knew my hidden secret desires but never poked fun at them. Instead, my dad made me a trapeze and a rope swing for the back yard. Both of which I used to practice my circus act for hours. Just in case.

4. Speaking of my dad, the year I wanted the Barbie Dream House for Christmas (horribly plastic and overpriced, and WAY out of our budget), he made me a 4-tier wooden house for my Barbie family. Complete with a (scandalous) double bed for Barbie and Ken. My dad rocks.

5. Speaking of Barbie & Ken's marriage bed...well, Barbie eventually got knocked up. I knew where babies came from, and my Barbie sprouted a pregnancy belly...usually a washcloth balled up and stuffed into her skirt. Presto! Preggo Barbie! I thought this was normal Barbie play. (I also totally corrupted Tina, so then we both had preggo Barbies parading about.)

6. I wrote my first short story in 4th grade, and really, I've never stopped writing. I concentrated on short stories until I was in my twenties, when I decided to try my hand at a full-length novel. Before YA was the popular genre it is today, I wrote a YA book. It was sort of a controversial topic, so I never attempted to publish it. The whole thing began as a bargaining chip with myself. I gave myself until August of that year to finish that book or go back to college and finish my teaching degree. Well, I finished the book, but I decided the degree was equally important to me and my kids. I had been a single mom for almost 3 years at that time. I didn't write much while in college (the 2nd time) but in the past 3 or 4 years, I've been cooking along and learning a lot about my own writing style and ambitions. (BTW... If you're interested in that side of me, you can follow along with me & Shannon on our shared writing blog. )

7. Speaking of Shannon...we've been friends for nearly a decade. She's the one of my two original online friendships that actually went the distance. I can honestly say, I've never had a better friend. She's the smartest, funniest, sweetest, most honest, gentle soul I've ever encountered. I'd be lost without her. This is saying alot since I'm fairly self-absorbed (I've lived single too long) and Shannon is clearly better at everything I think I can do well. I love her anyway.

8. I'm a freak of nature. No, really! Both my mother and father are rH positive blood types, but I am rH negative (O neg, the universal donor, to be specific). The rarity is something like less than a 15% chance. Oddly, of my 2 natural siblings, my brother was also O negative. So my parents had 2 rH negative babies out of 3. Weird.

9. My original college major was Chemistry. I thought I was going to be a doctor (a field I still wonder if I should have pursued...)

10. I can't sew without a movie playing. I don't know why this is, but its true. My brain needs the background interest. I prefer to sew to disaster movies, but chick flicks work too. Speaking of which...I'm off to peruse the dvd collection!

That's 10 things, although I don't know if they count as interesting. I tried to pick different things than I've done before for this meme. As for those I'd nominate as a Beautiful Blogger, I'm incredibly late to the party! I apologize if I pick someone who is a duplicate!

1. Shannon of Frogs in a Bucket See #7.
2. Nikki of Subversive Sewer She cracks me up. No holds bar sewing and blogging.
3. Melinda of Country Girl Couture LOVE Melinda's style.
4. Gelbean of Gelbean Sews I was so glad to see Gelbean blogging! I've been a fan of her PR reviews for years.
5. Peacock Chic! Love her. She's fabulous. Enough said.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

livin vicariously.

I get to do a little vicarious-body-sewing today. My vintage dress is on hold for a short bit, because I'll be working on this Kwik Sew 3598 sheath dress (View B).

The dress is for a student of mine, who's a district officer for one of our organizations. They require all of the girl officers to wear the same dress, and to ensure this they choose a pattern and fabric and ship a pattern/fabric package out to each girl.

It's obvious a non-seamstress put together the packages because this is the fabric they chose for the sheath dress:

In case you can't tell by the swatch above, that's a poly-cotton BROADCLOTH. Great.

And...while they included a zipper and one spool of matching thread, they neglected to include a hook/eye for the neckline (which will surely be necessary since it's a plain centered zipper, not an invisible zip).

I normally don't mind doing this little job because the pattern they choose is always simple to make and fit, and the girl officer is always a doll that I enjoy doing a favor for. (This year is no different.)

But broadcloth? Hmmm. If I felt better**/knew it would be worn more than once or twice, I'd throw in some turquoise lining I have in stash to make this sucker hang/wear better. But the truth is, it will only be worn twice, and I don't feel like fooling with the extra effort. I also don't have serger thread to match, and clearly one spool of regular thread is not enough to adequately finish inside seams either. Any suggestions would be mucho appreciated!

On the up side, it will be fun and interesting to sew something for a teeny tiny girl who needs next to no alterations! (Um, that's where the vicarious part comes into play.) It will truly be a novel adventure.

**ps...Thanks for the well-wishes over the week both here and by email. I'm on the mend, but have a slight complication. Nothing to worry about, I should be all better in a few days. Yay!

I appreciate every single one of you who reads the blog, especially the lurkers who are too shy to comment! Even when I am horribly remiss in saying so on a regular basis. ;) I actually have real guilt when I'm under the weather or too busy to post. So...

And bonus...a song for you!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

in progress: Vtg Simplicity 1672

Hiya. I'm actually making progress (sort of) on something. Today I started on an adorable 1940s war-time dress, in the scalloped version:

For fabric, I chose this creamy white and purple vintage find:

There's a slight slub in the weave, making it a little bit crisper and dressier than plain old cotton. It's only 36 inches wide and I have a little more than 4 yards, so I'm hopeful I have enough! I may have to do the facings out of a solid white.

You know I've been exhausted and slow-going for a couple of weeks now. I thought it was just the busy school year, but turns out I also have a kidney infection. I am taking it easy this weekend, partly because I only have small bursts of energy. Honestly, folding laundry this morning wore me out. This easy little dress may take me more than a week to finish!

I've got the bodice altered and now I'm taking a break to write this post. This afternoon I plan to cut out the bodice and alter the skirt pieces.

In fun mail day news...this beautiful vintage slip came this week:

I am seriously in love with it. It was a "cutter"; in other words...it has a couple of worn places and there are a few lace tears, so the ebay seller was putting it up cheap to be CUT UP by a crafter!! WHAT?? (haha). No no no no no. This is a gorgeous example of lace work and fine pintucks and no way was I going to let it be cut up if I could help it!

Here's a close up of the tucks, 5 folded tucks followed by 5 tiny pintucks.

The laces are amazing, alternating with a tiny strip of batiste fabric between sections.

Oh, if only I had a 23" waist, I'd repair the few bits and wear this! Anthropologie had a similar slip/skirt last year. Maybe I should use this one and knock off my own version!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Sorry it's been so quiet around here... I haven't encountered much "quality time" this week! What with "homecoming" and "parent/teacher conferences" at school, I'm basically running on fumes.

I'm hoping to get some of that aforementioned QT with the sewing machine this weekend, though. My fall wardrobe is sadly lacking...

(I also have some vintage pattern purchases to share that are AWESOME. Just sayin.)

See you soon!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Project Runway at fashion week...

If you watch PR, you might know that they showed at Fashion week this week! Of course, all of the designers remaining thus far had a collection to show, so as not to spoil the remainder of the season. Several will be eliminated between now and the finale, so it's just a guessing game at this point.

Here are my favorites, some of whom surprised me and some of whom didn't surprise me in the least.

First surprise? I freaking LOVED Mondo's collection and he's one of my least favorite personalities on the show this season. My favorite things from his show (it was actually hard to choose just 3!):

The colors, the patterns, the silhouettes. I pretty much loved the entire collection. Go Mondo! Now I'm hoping he's in the final 3!

I loved Christopher's collection even though it was very simple. Thus far on the show he has been in the background, one of those "quiet ones". But everything in his show was very wearable and pretty, I think.

I love love love Michael C. I think he's a doll on the show and have never been quite able to figure out why the other designers hate on him so much. He seems sweet and genuine. (SPOILER: I was happy on this week's episode to see a little bit of turnaround from Mondo.) Here are my favorite pieces from Michael C.'s show, even though the collection itself was a little too Las Vegas Show Girl for me:

I love April, she reminds me of a student I had in class, so I've been rooting for her even though I don't necessarily share her design aesthetic. This is a nice piece though:

Valerie's collection was... Interesting. But I liked a few pieces, although it was more like concept art than clothing. This was my favorite:

Gretchen's collection was fugly. Could it be my intense dislike of her on the show is coloring my view?? I don't think so. I read some reviews and it's a pretty universal 'blech' response.

And WTHeck is going on with the pleats on these pants anyway? There's like some weird zigzaggy stitching across them horizontally where the widest part of your hips would be (if you had hips, which, this model does NOT.) And the darker ombre of the fabric right at the crotch looks like she pee'd her pants. Now THAT'S a print faux pas I don't think I've encountered before.

I dislike Andy on the show too, and other than the celestial headdresses, which I found fascinating, his collection was not my taste either. But I did like this one:

(I think that dress leaving the runway in the background was my 2nd favorite piece, but I didn't show it here because honestly, it would only look good on that 10 year old boy figure of the model wearing it. It's very Calvin Klein in that way.)

I'm terrible at guessing the final 3 (or 4!) and I have never once guessed the winner on this show correctly, so I'm not going to start hazarding guesses now. Mondo's is my favorite, hands down, so I hope he makes it through!

Tom & Lorenzo blogged all the collections (I snagged pictures for this post here, there and everywhere) and they have the entire collections on their blog. So go see and report back on your favorites hasta pronto!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

fall sewing, now in progress.

It's no longer 100 degrees every day! Fall's coming. Finally.

I'm working on this tee (from the new Ottobre Woman), all cut out and ready to stitch:

But the rest of my fall sewing is up in the air. I've been perusing my files for favorites from the past since the new Burda Style magazine/Big 4 patterns haven't really inspired me so much.

I think this dress is from BWOF 2/08? Love it.

This dress is from a recent Burda Style, in the plus section:
And this is a previously made "jumper" from the 9/2007 issue of BWOF. I've worn the original to death, so this is a contender for a repeat in black doubleknit.
Although, I only have one piece of black doubleknit, and I really love this vintage pattern:

And I'm out of time for blogging this morning, so one last fall pattern favorite... This one a top with a cool necktie, for under jackets and cardigans. I don't have the BWOF issue handy, but I'll try to find the month/year in case you need to make it too! I've had it earmarked at least a couple of years.

Actually, I've had most of these (and a hundred others) earmarked for too long. Let's get that fall sewing mojo jumpstarted! I'm tried of having nothing to wear!

Have a great Thursday!!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

drive in movie.

One of my most favorite historic Tulsa landmarks, and one of the last all-wood construction drive-in theater's from the 1950s, burned to the ground Friday afternoon.

The Admiral Twin drive-in was built in 1951 and sits just off "Route 66". My parents lived off of Admiral street in Tulsa, OK back in the day, when they were a young married couple. The drive-in was a good value for their weekend entertainment!

They would all pile into the same car with my two aunts, their husbands, and the half a dozen kids between them. (They all lived within a block or so from each other). You paid by the carload back then, like $5/car if I remember my mom right. When my mom was still in high school she said they would cram into every nook and cranny of the car to get as many as possible into the movie on that $5, even some in the trunk!

They brought their own snacks and if you've been to these old fashioned drive-ins, remember you had to hang the little speaker on the rolled-down window glass so you could hear the movie.

I went to this drive in as a kid, and I have taken my kids to this drive in as well. The last movie we saw here was Madagascar I think, so it's been a few years. They didn't have the hanging speakers anymore, you tuned into a local AM station to hear the movie through your car speakers.

The last movie showing on last Friday as it burned? The Last Exorcism. Sort of freaky, right?

There's a grassroots campaign in place (already!) to fundraise and try to rebuild. This year was the 60th season of the Admiral Twin. The last movie scheduled for this season would have been the Outsiders, a local favorite since it was shot in Tulsa.

I do hope they're successful in their rebuilding efforts. Really, how much more wholesome can you get than a carload of family & friends and a drive-in movie...

Saturday, September 04, 2010


Of course as soon as you want to sew something up "quick and easy" you end up with a wadder. It's like the Murphy's law of sewing. I cut out this Hotpatterns tee a few weeks ago and have been fiddling around trying to finish it ever since:

I had been hanging onto a blue & white beefy cotton knit (interlock?) for YEARS. I thought it would work perfect for this tee, since I had plenty to work with and could do the cool bias neckband and pocket, as featured on the cover illustration.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a draft error in my copy of the pattern. The neckband piece is WAY too short. Here's the neckband from the front:

There was no way to attach the neckband without super-stretching the t-shirt neck out of whack, resulting in numerous puckers and gathers. AND...on the back, there are at least 2 inches that I simply cannot ease into the neckline. I had less than 1 inch of neckline left but more than 2 inches of neckband left to ease in!

A quick perusal of PR shows a couple of reviewers had the same problem.

I think I've been spoiled by the excellent results I've had with Ottobre Woman neckbands and bindings. In my experience, the OW neckbands/bindings are always spot on as far as length, so I completely trust the pattern piece. I never have to fiddle with putting those bindings on.

I probably should have measured the neckband piece more carefully against the neckline, but really? If I pay this kind of money for a pattern, I expect someone to have done all that for me. (Yup, I'm still a little annoyed about it.)

Sigh. Now I have to either toss this whole shirt (I've saved this fabric for *literally* a decade!) or pick out that neckband and cut a new one, if I can find enough scraps to do so. The other alternative is to find some white ribbing or possibly use some of my FOE to bind the neckline.

For now I'm moving on to the new Ottobre Woman I posted about earlier this week. I can't wait to get started on those garments! And here's a sneaky-peek of my new baby...Can you guess what she is???

More pictures and drooling to come.