Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Roses for Oonapalooza!

This is my Katie Kadiddlehopper pose.

Check out my make for this month's Sewcialists theme!  I know, I'm totally squeaking in just before the deadline. Obviously, this is the dress that sparked my last blog post thought train. If it was TL;DR the gist of it was "I'm too nerdy for this kind of dress and PINK". But then there are so many other brilliant women that do. It was a silly notion, and while Oona approves of silly, I don't think she goes for THAT kind of silly.

Speaking of silly, while taking these photos I was like "I feel ridiculous". Luckily our lush vegetation gives us a good bit of privacy from snoopy neighbors. Oh, and I took these the same day I took my kitschy coo hack pictures. Isn't amazing how much a wardrobe change can make you look different? I mean, I'm wearing the same makeup!

So this is the Camino Cap from Kitschy Coo just like my other one only I made the skirt down to the floor this time. Its pretty much a straight size 8 though I did curve in for the underbust. I didn't want contrasting bands on the sleeves but I did on the neckline just to break up the pink. Both fabrics are an ITY from Fabric Mart, which I got on sale. I did a rolled hem on the serger, easy peasy. Its gotten to the point I can whip up a knit dress in two hours. TWO HOURS. Its no wonder knits are so popular with this kind of production speed.

Unlike the other dress this one gets compliments everywhere I go. With such a vibrant print I'm keeping the accessories to a minimum. Its all about the dress you see.

This is me laughing at myself for ridiculous posing.

Obligatory mouth open Oona pose, except somehow she does it without looking like she's getting tested for Strep throat. This is one of the things that makes her so awesome and vibrant even on screen, she has that light and presence that makes it work. Love you Oona, you totally deserve the spotlight this month.

I can't wait for all the roundups at the end! What I've seen so far has been fantastic.

Monday, July 28, 2014

'Real' Geek Girls Don't Like Fashion

I'm sitting at work in a recently make Kitschy Coo Camino cap maxi dress (real photos later) in many shades of bright pink, digital print roses and wondering how I got here.  And by 'here' I don't mean work, I mean wearing pink.

Since venturing into sewing for myself things other than costumes, I have also ventured into unfamiliar waters of wearing bright colors (ya know, OTHER than red) and shapes that I haven't previously been able to explore and I'm having a great deal of fun doing so. BUT, and this is where the title becomes relevant, I always have this small voice in the back of my head saying that I'm betraying my inner geek girl. 

It might be the same small voice that is in the back of many other minds, or the debate of what entails a REAL geek girl would not be a thing. Though I don't mean fandom specifically, I'm approaching this from a general experience of what it was like to be a nerd or geek or whatever-the-frak its called now, in high school. We weren't the cool kids with the in crowd keeping up with the latest fashions. At least I wasn't until I jumped head first into grunge, largely thanks to Nirvana, before everyone else caught on. Mom had, for a long time, tried to make me things that I saw in the magazines but the early 90's were total crap for people that sewed. When we moved to Georgia she basically stopped trying at all because I was making my own money and spending it on clothes for myself. It was a lot of the boho chick that I still love today but then I detoured and dove head first into Goth. OMG, I loved me some Goth but maybe because it just extended my ability to wear Ren Fair garb outside of that venue. 

So in retrospect, I was certainly into clothing and fashion but it was to the beat of my own drummer. That drummer never won me any popularity points, the biggest relief was moving to Georgia where the school was large and I mostly stayed off the bully radar. I hung out with the band nerds and what some considered "the bad kids" (usually male), but largely because they didn't scare me and they weren't so much as bad as they were acting out on crappy home lives. At some point I became their sounding board and therapist because I never jumped to conclusions and I called them on their bullshit. Two boys in particular told me after we graduated that I had saved their lives just by being there for them. I'm not sure how this tangential thought happened, so I'll digress.

What was I talking about? Oh, right, betraying my inner geek girl.

So, fast forward two decades where I'm now working in the IT industry with a very old, large corporation. Its not been around as long as its parent organization (over a century) and the technology portion of it has relaxed the dress code to Business Casual, unless the suits are popping over for a visit. But its the casual portion that I am stressing here. The GenXer's have had a great deal of influence over the years inserting a sort of disdain for the stuffy dress of our elders. The women of this very technical industry were, by and large, the awkward geek girls from high school and thanks to our Riot Grrl 90's we were now beyond fashion. We are better than that! We are all about what is INSIDE and how that counts (i still believe this) so much more than what we wear! Those fashionable girls are the enemy.

It didn't occur to me until much later that that attitude is ultimately the same thing as high school exclusionary tactics from the other side of the isle. And it hadn't occurred to me how much of this attitude and seeped into my unconscious until I caught myself thinking, and even voicing, my own disdain for the girly. Like full skirted dresses with lace, gingham maxi dresses, bright colors, and florals in general should be verbotten. Or something. I would say things on Facebook like "I'm going to lose my Goth Card for this" and even the most stoic of my friends said that was a silly thing to worry about.

I mean really, I'm a grown woman and what others think of me is none of my business. I'll wear whatever I damn well please.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Kitschy Coo Hacks: The Cowl Neck Maxi in Blue

Hello Sailor.
 y'all. Y'ALL. This is like, my favorite knit garment I've ever made, FOR SERIOUS. Its a combination of Kitschy Coo patterns that have been modified from the original. The bodice is from the Lady Skater but I used a Threads tutorial to create a cowl neck.

The skirt is the maxi version of the Camino Cap, but this time I had enough to go all the way to the floor.  The fabric is a navy blue bamboo rayon from Fabric.com, its one of their reorderable medium weights that aren't quite so clingy as other rayons. Still, if I'm going to wear it out and about it needs proper foundation garments for a smooth silhouette.  And I have, in fact, already worn this to work.  It was a bit bizarre because if ever staring was audible, it was that day. No one actually complimented the dress, but one lady on the elevator had her mouth open. When she realized I was looking at her she said 'Your hair is... amazing".

I was like "Um, thanks! Oh hey look this is my floor".  Cause I suck at taking compliments, its taken years to learn to just say thank you.

This fabric drapes beautifully,  I might add. LOVE IT. Let's see what else? Ah yes, I used clear elastic at the shoulders and the waist for stability. I did cut the bodice two inches shorter to have it hit at the right place with the weight of the full skirt. I just did a rolled hem on the serger because this is a knit and well, I was feeling lazy. Wanted to WEAR IT NOW!

This is the "Would you please do something about your dog barking all fucking day" face. Seriously people, if you are going to have a pet, don't neglect them!!

I want like, a closet full of these! I'm wearing it around the house right now and I can be active and do things in it without worrying. If I'm cooking there are aprons for a reason!  I also know that y'all are going to ask me about a tutorial, I've already mentioned to Amanda (Of Kitschy Coo) that I'm game. The kids are away with their Grandma this week going road tripping, so its been quiet and I've been concentrating on the six things already cut out. Yes, SIX. Crazy, I know. I have another hand full of things I've not yet blogged and need to share!  I've started working out again now that my pain management doctor has agreed that it will take more pain meds in the short term but be beneficial in the long term. I'm pretty determined to make that uphill journey for a second time (the first was before Mom went into hospice).

So tell me, have you ever hacked a pattern until is was barely recognizable from the original? Did you like it afterward?

Stay tuned, later this week I have photos for Oonapalooza!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kitschy Coo Camino Cap Duo!

we're looking fierce today

Hey, Psst. You. YES YOU. Do you know what this is? If you guessed the latest pattern from Kitschy Coo then you would be correct! This latest addition to her pattern collection is purrrrfect! I was so happy I got to test from ground zero on this one. Its such a cute and sassy design wrapped up together.

The Camino Cap is a downloadable PDF (-->GET IT HERE<--) that can be made up as both a shirt and a dress. There's the contrast yoke or one piece, and it comes down and covers the shoulders very nicely. This is especially good for those of us in a work place that has two settings: beer cooler or meat locker. In any case, I made an almost maxi length for me, and I confess, did it to completely rip off Katie's wonderful version. I lengthened at the "lengthen here" line and at the bottom. But since I made Felicity one as well, I didn't have enough to reach all the way to the floor. Normally I would wear high heals but soft ground, nope.

Mama Cat and her Kitten

Yes, you read that correctly. Mother/daughter outfits. She was gracious enough to wear hers with me for photos. I'm in size eight, she's in size 1. I had to shorten the bodice for Felicity by about 2 inches, the waist is a bit low and its large at the high bust but that's ok, room to grow!

Spot the belt. GET IT? Hahahaha, I kill me.

This is the husband's favorite, cause I'm smiling.

Check it out, I didn't even need to do a sway back adjustment!

Lawd that girl, she's getting her red belt this Saturday, btw, WATCH OUT BOYS!

I love the little dip in the back, makes for a lovely show of the nap of the neck. Kitschy Coo has THE BEST necklines.

Its like looking in the mirror sometimes.

This is me basking in the glory that is this dress, and/or contemplating how many more I want to make. OH, I have even told you the BEST THING about all the Kitschy Coo patterns. They are made from the same block so most of the pieces are interchangeable. I've had several hacks stewing about and tested, and I want to make some tutorials. Maybe when the kids are visiting relatives with their Grandmother later this month.

That's all for now!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Are You Ready for Some OONAPALOOZA!?

Twitter and myself have struck again. Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow and caretaker of our Sewcialist blog footed the question "What should our next color theme be?" and when there was some back and forth I tweeted:

What about #OONAPALOOZA?

And everyone, including the Diva Herself said HECK YEAH OONAPALOOZA!!  So this month of July up to August 1rst, Oona is your inspiration. Post your makes in the Sewcialists Flickr Group. Challenge yourself to sew with bright colors and wild prints, make it in something that you've always wanted to try but were afraid of what people might think. And if you find yourself dizzy from the choices, do what Oona does and grab a cocktail and tackle that apprehension with boozy glee.

 If you don't know who Oona is, then you are missing out! Head over to her blog here and lurk her closet here. Here are a few of my favorites.

That's a BHL Victoria Blazer with the most awesome of maxi dresses.

Feather skirt. NEED I SAY MORE?

I've got a few ideas brewing in my head, please tell me yours!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer Vacations and Destination Weddings

Remember back in school when the teachers would have you write an essay on what you did during the summer? I kind of feel like I'm about to write one of those now but I'm only a month into the summer school break. Remember that cruise I mentioned? Yup, that was awesome. It was also almost three weeks ago but I didn't get any of the actual wedding photos until today. Its kind of hard to take pictures of yourself when your job is moral support for the bride. Not that she needed much, its the happiest I've seen her in two decades.

It was a lovely wedding and a lovely vacation. The wedding was during our first stop in the Grand Turks, it was just family and best friends there, most of us were actually in the wedding. We'd had no rehearsal or anything like that, and seeing as it started at 10am we'd all managed to forget to eat. Which made cocktails at 11am extra fun. The food was amazing. It was sushi and other hors d'oeurves, and an entire section of gluten free, including cake. I had two pieces of cake because I NEVER get cake anymore.

I'll be honest, when I saw the photos I freaked out. I was like "I am not that wide!!", and then proceeded to have a melt down over my weight.   Then hubby pointed out they used a wide angle lens. Ug. Oh, and Dreama is the same height as Felicity when she's not wearing 5 inch heals. So I'm like a giant compared to all the other women. Or a Viking. Let's go with Viking.

*warning, picture heavy post ahead*

Me, Dreama, Dreama's beau, Dreama's Niece Cas, Felicity, Phaedra, Aurora.

The Soon to be Mr. And Mrs.  Of note, the necklace and earrings are my Mother's. She loved Dreama very much and so Dreama wearing her jewels meant she was there in spirit.

This adorable little girl. She and her cousin were very serious about their flower girl duties. Later she also decided my arms are the best thing ever. She'd crawl up in my lap all during the cruise and hug them and go "squish squish squish!" and then blow raspberries and giggle over and over.  Its kind of hard to hate a part of your body that gives three year old girls that much joy.

Obligatory photo, I'm trying not to cry. 

Let's not forget about Simon. I couldn't make him a suit so I had him pick one out from the Easter day ZuLilly sale. I was like "really" and he said "really".  I had to hem the darn thing up like 10 inches (its a size 12 for boys!!) and he was just the coolest mac daddy around.

So after the wedding we still had six days ahead of us!  Its honestly the best vacation I've ever been on because I didn't have to do one lick of cooking or cleaning. The next day was St. Thomas and when we all woke up and headed out to the Lido deck the entire thing was covered in towel animals. It was AWESOME! Except the part where Simon almost got eaten by a fuzzy alligator.

Baby elephants love to sun in lounge chairs.  I don't have any photos of our first trip onto the shore, I just didn't feel like lugging around my dslr.

Simon and Felicity swimming in the Lido deck pool.

Our next stop after a day at sea was Tortola, where we got to swim with dolphins!  It was also Felicity's birthday, and since Dreama and family were going on a deep wreck dive their niece wasn't old enough to go (that entire family is scuba certified).  So after talking to Cass' grandparents she came along with us. Again, no DSLR and the photos they took during the swimming with dolphins were not great AND 35 dollars FOR EACH PHOTO. OMG, I'm still mad about that racket. I got one cell phone photo of the three, with dolphin photo bomb.


Cas was gracious enough to take a photo o the four of us together. I'm wearing a hummingbird skirt here that I have yet to blog about. I'm a bad blogger, sorry. 

The next day was St. Maarten, we docked on the Dutch side. At the last minute we decided to book an excursion out on a catamaran to do some snorkeling and swimming. We were warned the French beaches are clothing optional. We were unconcerned and figured that warning was why it wasn't a full booking. Felicity was the only one that even noticed one person. 

As it was both of them were much too busy swimming from shore to boat so they could jump in as often as possible. We anchored in 16 foot deep water and it was almost like glass, you could see the bottom so clearly. Hawaii wasn't even this clear.

Seriously, have you ever seen water so clear?

After the first snorkeling trip I decided to stay on the boat. The snorkel was tons of fun but as I was swimming back to the boat my legs gave out on my and I felt myself starting to panic. Since I'm more aware of most of what impending panic attacks feel like I started calling for Daecon. He was keeping up with the kids and reminded me I could inflate the flotation device, I did, but kept saying in as normal a voice as possible that I need help to get to the ladder. One of the crewmen swam to me and grabbed me by the arm and somehow LIFTED me onto the ladder saying in a Jamaican accent "Its OK baby girl". Daecon had my towel and a xanax in hand, told me the kids were OK and didn't complain that i had to SEE them before I calmed down.

The same lovely crew member gave Felicity some shells he found. Nice ones too!

Daecon and Simon enjoying some wind.

This was the view from the swimming cove. The amount of sun made it challenging to get not over exposed photos. Problem was that the moment it was cloudy I had to change the settings again. I can't lighten some of my others without out graininess. Its OK though, I did come up with a few good snapshots.

And hopefully soon I'll be posting more. I just haven't wanted to take the time to write lately and didn't want to post anything out of obligation. It never really seems fun. I hope you have something planned for the summer, Northern Hemisphere readers!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Toys and Past Lessons Remembered

I bought a new sewing machine!  Or rather, I financed a new sewing machine. I'm excited either way because I looked at my numbers before taking the plunge. This ain't my first rodeo going down this road, you see.

Let me back up a second though and give you some photos. I finally decided to go with this one after pondering it for some time because of Caroline's one year review. Its a Janome 8900 that I bought from Ashby Sewing during their annual Sewing Expo sale. If you live in the Atlanta area I HIGHLY recommend them, especially for getting your machines serviced. The guy that does the work is recognized nationally for his expertise.

At this time I don't have a special table that the machine sets into, this is one that husband and brother in law built for me. Its very sturdy, just like this machine. Full speed and everything in the sun room vibrates, but you can barely hear it, which means I can sew when my husband works from home. SCORE! I decided to not install the knee lever because I'm more likely to injure myself on it than find it useful. For whatever reason my hips are always larger than I think they are, come to think of it so are my bewbs. I run both into door frames ALL THE TIME.

Stop laughing.

So as you can see this thing is huge. Lots of stitches, lots of carriage space, and I even got the extra spool holder for my larger thread spools.

One of my more favorite features, slots for the most used feet! The tension is automatic but has an override button and there's a walking foot in the storage container at the bottom (not pictured) along with bobbin storage and even more feet. When I was checking out they asked if I needed more bobbins.

"How many are in a package" I asked.
"Ten" she said.
"I'll need two then" I said
"What in the world are you sewing!!" she exclaimed.

Apparently quilters don't switch bobbins out that often. I know I need a black, red, and blue wound at all times, and really several other colors. Or two of one color if I'm working on something with lots of stitching. I don't know about you but I hate stopping to wind a bobbin, so lots of bobbins it is! Oh, and it takes standard needles so I didn't have to rush out to buy more. In any case, I love this machine to bits.

But lets go back to about this not being my first rodeo when it comes to financing. We bought our house back in 2002 before the prices skyrocketed but the regulations for financing had begun to loosen up. This was also before the bottom dropped out of the tech industry when outsourcing became the norm. I had done a lot of research and when we chose the house we chose one that we could pay on one salary, despite it being a tiny house. This turned out to be a decision that saved our asses. Even so, what happened to many in 2008 happened to us in 2004. One or both of us were out of a job at any given time for several years.  During that time I was staring down the long road of possible foreclosure and lots and lots of credit debt. We did the credit consolidation, we liquidated all our retirement funds (what little there was), we had to turn to friends and family. This was a time of hardship for us but we made it through. A decade later we both have steady jobs (queue superstitious knocking on wood) and our credit has been repaired. We have, on several occasions, used the X number of months no interest financing. These are great deals, and how I financed my new sewing machine. THE TRICK, however, is to be absolutely certain you are never late on your payment, because then they charge you an obscene amount of interest. And the laws being what they are, they will then share that information with all the other credit companies and they will jack your interest based on that one card. And if you overpay it goes toward principle, not the next month's payment.

Its a racket.  Its a racket I would not gamble with unless very certain I could do the monthly payment on time. When I financed this through Ashby they made sure to tell me this all up front before I sign the documents, which I thought was amazing. Most places don't, but I already knew because, well.. been there, done that.

I know that was long winded and maybe a bit off topic but I believe in sharing knowledge, be it how to do an FBA or how to keep from getting scheistered by credit companies. Got any nuggets of wisdom to share?