Saturday, May 26, 2012

Caterpillar Gave Me Mushrooms and This Doesn't Look Like Kansas

You know, I've totally had this photo shoot idea stuck in my head for months now. Desperately needed time/place/help to actually get it done.  First off, I think this dress was initially inspired by Ralph Lauren's Spring 2011 collection. Then it turns out gingham is the surprising IT trend of the season. So for once I'm a bit ahead of the curve. Huh, who knew?  I think pink wigs should be all the rage, too.  A girl can dream, right?  I think this photo shoot officially puts me in the "Mom, you're weird" category.

I gotta say, I love this dress to pieces. Even more than my black floral and lace version.  I like it with the pink bow, but I also made a red belt and I have some lovely red shoes that also work with it very well.

Hmmm, I wonder where I am?

For the record, my coworkers all think I'm batty too. So, whatever.

Such lovely flowers!

Showing off the ruffles and the hand picked zipper. 


Ok, time for me to go to bed. I think I'm officially done with this dress pattern and now that my cover stitch machine is working I'm gonna go nuts for knits. Later ya'll!

Get in the Groove!

I don't know if I've mentioned this before but space is at a premium in my house, particularly with the kids.  We converted the garage to a bedroom for our roommate*.  Which gave the kids their own room, but now I'm out a garage. We're still recovering from that (and hey, I got rid of an entire dumpster full of crap). Currently I take up about half our sun-room and I'm always fighting a losing battle against clutter and mess.  My daughter's art supplies share that space with me. Which brings me to one of my current projects that my Dad is helping me with.  We're building a new base for my cutting table, which currently looks like this:

Barely contained mess!
Oh, yeah, they finally came out with Instagram for Android and I've been having fun with it.  I like to use it because carrying my DSLR around is inconvenient when I need to be doing work. Anyway, moving along. The OTHER issue with this table is that its at exactly the wrong height that I lean in a manner that sets off my back (more about that here).  So now that Dad has his shop up and running in its new home, and we have light late into the evening, I'm making the effort to go help build the new base to hold my table. The base is essentially two sets of shelves to hold up the top of my current table. One side straight shelves, the other a bit more tailored to specific sewing needs.  Here's Dad's technical drawings:

Fun, right?
The other side will just be shelves, but I had what I call the "tall" shelf (on the left side of this drawing) so I can store actual BOLTS, woo!  We went this evening, including Felicity and her new tools.

Proper protection is important!
I love how different my kids can be. Felicity is all about the hands-on and making things.  Simon, on the other hand, got the President's Award for Academic Excellence this year. I'm having a Proud Mom Moment.

Felicity helps her Grandpa measure the router blade.

Felicity helped with holding the wood steady and removing and replacing the c-clamps.  And then, like most 9 year olds, decided that it was noisy and wanted to go inside for icecream. Cause Grandpa always has icecream. We made her earn it first though.

We moved to the porch after the first run.  We were all covered in sawdust by the end.  But, the grooves were cut, so I guess you can say we're groovy.  Bad DUM DUM.  So, now we have the shells done, Felicity held it together to show off.

I've Been Framed!!
So, not only will it be the correct height, I'll be able to reorganize my sewing and craft supplies.

In other news, I've finally managed to get the cover stitch machine to work. I've decided to keep BOTH machines so I don't have to re-thread when I want to go from safety stitch to cover stitch.  Four machines in constant use is totally not unreasonable, right?  I didn't think so.

* (Our roommate is also our nanny, it ended up that way as for numerous reasons he hasn't been able to find a job in years. He helps with the kids and house and he gets room and board, it works out.  Mom pointed out they used to do that years and years ago, the unmarried adult would live with and help whomever needed it)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

And Then I Met The Doctor

I had, and still have really, plans to do a stylized photo shoot of the second dress from Vogue 8470 but we've been way too busy with work, home, and my daughter's upcoming birthday.  Part of that was spending most of the day Saturday running around at the Renaissance Festival.  I was practically asleep on my feet but it was worth it, cause you know what? I got awesome photos.  And I got to meet The Doctor.

Yes, that's right. The Doctor.  I have proof.

Me and The Doctor.

And he liked my dress! I win.  

The other thing that tickled me pink was Simon deciding to wear his Assassin's Creed costume.  I hadn't really thought about it but the game is set in a similar time period as the Festival.  And right inside the gate others in costume recognized what he was dressed up as and played along.  It was great to see him not feel like the odd one out, for once.  And I got some much better photos of his costume. 

You shall pay for your insolence!

So the best part about Simon wearing his costume was all the compliments and a couple of "Where do I buy that???".  I was not there for one of them and the other mom in our party said "I'm pretty sure his Mom made it".  Talk about making me feel appreciated. :)  Oh, and we met a gargoyle, but at first we mistook it for a weeping angel.  First thing Simon said was "Don't Blink!" 

A gargoyle protects

Saying goodbye.
The day was also spent with friends. Amanda, Ida and her husband Mark, and Ida's youngest daughter, Faitha, whom my kids love to pieces.  Usually I get lots of photos of Felicity being as photogenic as she is, but this time I just caught two. One of her literally jumping into Faitha's arms, and then when she got to open her presents when we stopped back by Amanda's on the way home (her roommate is also a long time friend). 

But I'm getting ahead of myself a bit.  Friend pictures!

Felicity tackle-hugs her friend!

While resting in the shade there was some dancers performing on the lawn area.  I got some neat photos.

More dancers. 

Oh yeah, the obligatory birthday present photo. Do not be fooled by Teh Cuteness. She has tools and is not afraid to use them.

Felicity is excited about her tools!

We don't believe gifts have to be gender appropriate. And yes, that is the dress from her Red Riding hood costume.  This is my sewing blog, after all!

I think that's all for now.  I do leave you with a few of my attempts at macro photography and hope you have a wonderful rest of your Sunday!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let's Talk Business

Or rather, business casual. Except I don't really do casual so well. Its funny, I work for a large telecommunications company in the NOC (network operations center) and on third shift.  Up until about a month ago almost everyone except me would wear jeans and a nice looking shirt.   But now we're in a shiny new building right next to Head Quarters and you should have heard the engineers.  "Now I have to go buy a whole new wardrobe!".

I just kinda chuckled.  I don't really need to change much in dress, though I do desperately need more basic separates.  Skirts with pockets and some nice blouses.

Vogue 8747
I believe I've settled on this one for turning into a TNT blouse.  Princess seams plus ABCD sizing looks to be the easiest to fit and give me many variations.  The latest Threads even has a tutorial on adding a button placket to this specific pattern! Win all around.  My fabric choices, however, are a little on the rebellious side.  I have my eye on the Goth Bunny fabric on Spoonflower, and of course the Hello Kitty L.O.L Tana Lawn I pre-ordered, not to mention the one I got in NYC.

Bunny Goth Pinstripe Blue
Goth Bunny

Hello Kitty Liberty of London

I like dressing up but since now I HAVE to... well let's just say I gotta be me.  For the bottom half of my wardrobe update I have two patterns.  The first of which is Colette's Beignet, which I'll be using some black rayon suiting from  

I also have a wool/rayon blend small plaid suiting that I intend to make a pencil skirt out of with Vogue 8672, but without the ruching. View A, to be precise. 

So that's what I have on the top of my priority list for work sewing.  Then its on to making vacation clothes for the kids!  My blue gingham maxi is done and I absolutely adore it. Will probably wear it everywhere this summer.  Going to try and get photos this weekend to put up for you.  And stay tuned, next I'm going to post the "power dresses" and sporty jackets I have planned to round out my work wardrobe.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Slice of Life

Hi everyone.  It seems there's quite a bit going on in Katza Land these days.  Some of it good, some of it not so good. And some sewing, but that I'm saving for last, so if you aren't in the mood for personal updates skip to the bottom half.

 The not so good first?  Well,  our main car is currently in the shop getting an engine overhaul that hit us in the wallet pretty hard.  And one of my best friends had a miscarriage, and what really sucked is I was at work with no backup and couldn't drop everything and be there physically. She was barely eight weeks, so small blessings, I guess.  And its mother's day, which means I'm feeling sad.

But Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms that read my blog!

His shirt says "geek".  He's proud of it, too.

Good news! Well, I was able to go to my son's presentation for his advanced class. They had teams of three build and program a robot. They did really well! Felicity was quite envious so used Simon's physics kit to build one at home.   Then they had their blue belt tests this weekend.  I managed to make it to the test and get photos, though I was running on sheer willpower having been up for almost 22 hours by that point. PHEW.

goofy faces!

Don't mess with my daughter. 

"So bored with these splits" says my son.

Sewing!! I finally got around to it the last night of my weekend.  I spent the other nights cleaning and doing food prep.  Our CSA is keeping me in vegetables, that's for sure!  I'm making another Vogue 8470, but its a sleeveless maxi version.  Nine yards of ruffle to the bottom of a circle skirt! That's a lot of pinning and fussing, let me tell you. The dress itself is from a very light weight flannel in a blue/white gingham. Its deliciously soft and airy, but the loose weave makes it 'grow' so to speak.  What started out as matching patterns often ended up going wonky on me.  Below is photo evidence of the dodgy pattern matching.  I did try, I swear.

Oh yeah, and a hand picked zipper.

I decided the easiest way to get the zipper in was by hand.  I never thought I'd say this, but the sewing details by hand are calming.

There was suppose to be a bias facing for this, but I decided to just fold and iron the seam allowance and do a tiny top-stitch.

More zipper and dubious pattern matching

And now for the ones that DID come out just right. The center front!  Everyone stares at that spot anyway.


And the right side seam. Hello gorgeous!

That's it for  now. All I have to do is sew the ruffle on the bottom and I'll be done!  But first, a long work week. Leh Sigh.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spoonflower Fabrics; Something for Everyone

  I was poking around Spoonflower trying to find fabric that my husband might actually like. Something kinda dressy that I could make for him.  He likes dragons. Ok, so I found this:

Fiery Metal Dragon, L

He kinda liked it, thought it wasn't bad.  But then he came across this:

For the Horde!

Oh yeah, that's way more his style.  There was a time he practically lived World of Warcraft.  So I've bookmarked it.  Then I went looking for something I could make a tablecloth and napkins out of.  I was pleased to find there was an entire range of Cthulhu fabrics.

Picnic with Cthulhu  - Green on Cream
Please to be making a sanity check.

Even Christmas Cthulhu!

decapod 3-colour (ve)
Christmas decorations my husband won't complain about!

Something on my "to do" list for a while has been to make curtains for the kids' rooms. For sure they have very unique personalities.  Simon was all about this galaxy print.


I asked Felicity and she was like "No, I want horses!"  So I did a search on "horses" and this came up. I said 'Skeleton Horses?!' and she goes "YEAH! That's what I want!".

Carousel Horse Triad of Bones
I think there's something wrong with this family.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest - A How Not To

So I decided to take a stroll through Pinterest on my lunch break.  Apparently the Met Gala is all the rage under the fashion section but my brain came to a screeching halt at this Wonderful Couture Garment from Versace on January Jones.

Photo Source Here
For the life of me it looked so bloody familiar I couldn't stand it.  Then it came to me:

The Venture Brothers! (photo credit)
I can't be the only one that sees the similarities, right? RIGHT?  This is perfectly normal, isn't it?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Like A Boss

Bernina 1300DC
So I'm on a mailing list that tells me all the different estate sales and auctions going on in the Metro Atlanta area.  Lately I've been ignoring them, but for whatever reason I opened this one up and decided to poke around.  Low and behold one of them said "lots of sewing stuff" including a "really nice sewing machine".  So I looked through the photos and for the life of me didn't see a sewing machine. But they did have this serger.  Then it dawned on me that whomever was running the estate sale had absolutely no idea what they were selling.  So I spied the model number from the photo, did some research, and discovered its a really nice serger that retails at $1400-$1700 AND HAS A COVERSTITCH!!

Oh hell yeah.  Now, we're cash poor cause we just paid bills but I had a bit of 'mad money' left in my personal savings.  I decided to check it out since it was super close to me, too.  I don't know what I was expecting them to have it priced at, but when I saw they had it for $99 that baby was out the door with me in a heartbeat. That's less than half what I was willing to pay for it.  Now, it has some parts missing, like the blade cover and the standard serger foot, but those are only going to cost me another $50 or so.  And I did try to get the cover stitch to work and was having a great deal of difficulty.  I figure if i need service and the parts I'm STILL coming out more than a thousand dollars ahead! HELL YEAH!  Eat my deal finding dust, suckas!

Still, this thing is going to take some learnin'. Its a  bloody complicated machine, yo.