Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Drum roll, please!

My Sis Boom Jamie dress is done! I had a minor setback while sewing the straps onto the dress. I jammed some thread up in my sewing machine so badly that my mom and I had to take it apart. Good times. BUT. It was fixed, reassembled and the dress is completed.

Wanna see it on a hanger? Why wouldn't you?!

Doesn't that hanger look so stylish? The dress really does make the hanger, to paraphrase the old saying.

You wanna see the dress on me? Alrighty then!

Ignore the empty CD rack on the right. That's our high-tech way of keeping Spongebob from ripping the cable wires out of the wall. Fug, but it works. :D

So there you have it. The first dress I've ever sewn and only my second sewing project EVAH. I am pretty danged proud of myself and think I did very well. Lightning told me I look beautiful and he wants me to wear the dress forever. Not exactly practical to do that, but it is the highest compliment from him. Princess is excited to get a Marissa dress soon. And I'll eventually crochet a shrug to go with it.

Thoughts on the pattern: It was really very, very easy to work from. Lots of pictures, which were very helpful for a beginner like me. The instructions were very clear as well. I liked that the pattern told you exactly how to print it so your pattern pieces would be to the proper scale and WHICH pages to print for each size so you don't have to figure it out or print a TON of unneeded pages. Very user-friendly pattern, two thumbs up from me!

I did size up to the large bodice and waistband, as previously mentioned, and I was glad I did. The skirt was WAY too big, though. FAR too many gathers. Now, part of that was my fault because I cut the skirt to the large dimensions instead of the medium. But even still, I ended up taking 10" off each skirt piece to get a look I was happy with. I definitely recommend starting with the correct width but gathering, pinning and trying on multiple times, trimming the width a bit at a time, to see how you like it. For reference, I am 5'5" and 134 lbs (and losing-to a goal of 125, but that's neither here nor there.)

Thanks to Sara at Sew Sweetness for hosting the sew-along, Lina and Carly for helping me pick my main dress fabric. This definitely will not be my last sewing project!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sis Boom Jamie bodice and skirt

Today, I monkeyed with the skirt some more. I ended up cutting 10" off each side before I was halfway happy with it. I think I accidently cut the skirt for a large too, like the bodice. I am a medium, but Sara at Sew Sweetness recommended cutting the bodice and waistband one size larger than normal. Since the kids, my cups runneth over, so it's a very good thing I took her advice there. But I think I extended the advice to the skirt by mistake.

Mr. Snarky and my mom both claim that the way it is now does not make my butt look gargantuan. I trust the female opinion in such matters a bit more than the male, but since I got one opinion from each gender and they match, I guess it's all good.

I nearly slit my wrist with a straight pin while trying on the pinned-up dress one of the times before I sewed it. Actually, it's on the back of my wrist and it's pretty shallow, just a scratch. Hurt like the dickens, though. Next up is installing the zipper.

Wanna see the dress so far? Sure you do!

And you should appreciate this picture, because I stood on my bed to take it. With the ceiling fan on. Hoping I didn't do a Franny in the alternate ending of "Dawn of the Dead." ROMERO's "Dawn of the Dead." Not the new one with fast zombies. It's not a terrible flick on its own, but the original is vastly superior.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sis Boom Jamie dress-back bodice

So I did get the back bodice put together and sewn to the front tonight. I also sewed the skirt together along the short edge and monkeyed with it for a while. Here's what I learned:

1. Sewing over a forgotten pin in fabric breaks sewing machine needles.

2. Don't bitch about buying 90/14 needles when you already had one on the machine.

3. Because you will break that one and be glad for the extras.

4. Do bitch about getting out of Hancock Fabrics without the brown thread.

5. Because your mom is right when she says that little spool doesn't have enough.

6. Do take your mom up on the offer to pick up some for you tomorrow so your lazy butt can stay home.

7. How to properly use the zigzag stitch on my machine. No, I didn't know. I figured it out. It's all good.

8. Believe some of the things you read online.

9. Especially about how big gathers make your butt look. I've never looked that big in my life when I wasn't pregnant, and this was an ALL OVER from the waist down big. Holy moley.

10. When you are frustrated at the hugeness of yourself in the pinned-up dress, put it up for the evening and go blog about it. Think about it tomorrow. Tomorrow is anothah day.


Sis Boom Jamie dress WIP

So I finally got my fabric. It went through something called FedEx Post, which is where FedEx picks it up, takes it somewhere, then USPS picks it up and takes it the rest of the way to you. I never heard of that before. But I got it Thursday, which was good because they originally said 4/18 and I know I couldn't sew a dress in 3 days. Seriously.

I went to Hancock Fabric and picked my waistband fabric that night so I could get going. I also picked up a zipper and some brown thread. I didn't know it, but I didn't make it out of Hancock's with the thread. But it wasn't on my receipt either, so I guess I didn't put it on the counter. Luckily, my mom had a small spool of matching thread. IDK why, but I'll take it. I had to go with a blue/teal zipper to match the waistband and print because apparently a 14" brown zipper is just not in demand. Who knew?

Of course, I forgot to get a thread to match the waistband, so I had to stop at Hobby Lobby on Friday to get that. But today I was ready to sew!

Wanna see what I got done? Of course you do!

See how it doesn't match up on the left (right side of picture?) IDK why it doesn't, but Sara at Sew Sweetness recommended sizing up on the bodice and waistband. So whatever extra fabric wouldn't be taken up by the zipper installation might be trimmed off beforehand anyway. I appear to not be the only one whose bodice didn't quite match up, so I feel better about that. Because everyone else's dresses are turning out lovely.

This is all I got done tonight, for several reasons. One, I am a novice seamstress and so this took a while to do. Two, my helpers broke my concentration. Princess had a million questions and Lightning kept asking for banana bread. He loves banana bread SO MUCH. His master plan is to ask me to buy bananas, then not eat them til they're so overripe that it's banana bread time. I've seen the plan in action, but pretend I don't know so he can feel like a sneaky boy. Spongebob slept through it all, bless him. And three, I had other stuff to do today.

So tomorrow I'll get at least the back bodice done. Anything more than that...well, I don't know. I have other stuff to do tomorrow. But my sewing machine and ironing board can't live on the kitchen table forever. (I don't have a full size ironing board, just an over-the-door number whose over-the-door hooks got lost in some move somewhere. They may be in New Mexico. Who knows.) And I only have til the 21st to finish to be eligible for FABULOUS PRIZES! I luffs prizes. :D

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Random thoughts from my head

The Jillian Michaels Quick Trouble Zones workout is not quick. It's about an hour long. But it is much easier on my knees-the 30 Day Shred made my left knee hurt all the time. However, it is all about toning and boy, is it hard. But I am only about 7 pounds from my goal weight of 125 now, so I shall keep on truckin'.

I am the biggest. dork. EVAH. I was browsing the History Channel online and I found an error in a slideshow. They used "passed" instead of "past." So I emailed them to tell them. Yeah, I'm a dork, but I can't help it-I do freelance editing as of my WAH gigs, so it's kind of hard to stop myself. I've always been one to find errors, too.

Things I'm loving online today: the LOLCat Bible, Raymond on Wheel of Fortune (thanks to Mr. Snarky for finding him) and as always, the marvelously snarky and brutally honest MICHAEL K at DListed. DListed is not for wimps-there is a lot of language but I don't mind that and oh, is he funny!

I'm out of stuff to say. Toodles.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little whippersnappers these days

Back in MY day we didn't need no fancy iPads to learn our letters and numbers. We went to Kindergarten and colored, did worksheets, took a nap and played Musical Chairs or Duck, Duck, Goose. Apparently the Kindergarten students in Auburn, Maine are above all that tomfoolery, though. See?

Now, I was one of the only kids, if not THE only one, in my Kindergarten class who could read. I remember my teacher being distinctly shocked when I started working on my worksheet before she read the directions out loud. She asked how I knew what to do and I said, "I read it." She made me read it aloud, then told me to wait til everyone started in the future. Arguably, not the best way to handle an advanced kid, but it was what it was. And honestly, kids should have a better start than that when they enter Kindergarten, but this was the early 1980s.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like my kids don't have a lot of electronic learning toys. They do. "Laptops," Tag readers, Leapster 2s with educational games. But you don't just hand a kid a toy and say, "Figure it out, kiddo, see ya." With the toys and the work I've done with them, the older two are doing really very well. They can both write, read and do math and Spanish, all to varying degrees of success. The wee one isn't quite old enough for such scholarly pursuits yet.

Technology is important, this is true. However, should a $475 (and that's with a DISCOUNT for the school system) iPad 2 really be provided for each Kindergartener to learn his/her letters and numbers, the stated use for the devices? Heck, my school district, which looks worse by the day (especially with busing issues) actually says kids should ALREADY be able to recite the letters and numbers to at least 10 before entering Kindergarten, among other skills. My kids are way past that already, at 5 and 3. Even if the Auburn school district doesn't hold kids to the same standards, which it would seem they do NOT, I've taught my kids the skills they have without an iPad, version 1 or 2. They don't really do much on the desktop, either...mainly just playing regular games for experience moving the mouse and potty training bribes. :D

It's just like that "Your Baby Can Read" bullcrap that teaches kids sight recognition, which does absolutely no good in helping them figure out new, unfamiliar words. Phonics isn't perfect, but it works a helluva lot better than that. People have become so consumed with one-upping everyone else that they've lost sight of what's important. Parents want their kids potty trained by a year, "reading" before that time as well, and playing alone with the latest grown folks' electronic gadget as soon as they're old enough to keep it out of their mouths. What happened to kids being kids?

On a final note, it really grinds my gears that the Auburn superintendent Tom Morrill (who is retiring in June, BTW) called the iPad 2 "more important than books." Really? Yeah, an iPad 2 can hold a lot more information than one or even 100 books can. But look at the writing of people who were exposed to the Internet and texting AFTER they presumably learned proper English in school, younger people in particular. It's horrendous. And the more immersed in technology we become, the more I think of Stream of Consciousness and I hope there's always someone left in the world who can still read actual books.

Disappointment, thy name is Jean M. Auel

When I was a Freshman in high school, I took Anthropology. At some point during this class, we watched "The Clan of the Cave Bear," starring Darryl Hannah as a Cro-Magnon(pronounced in Mr. Langnehs' style as Crow-Manyon) and a bunch of people in really bad Neanderthal (Knee-and-dur-tall) makeup. Mr. Langnehs offered extra credit to anyone who read the book. I don't recall a report being required, but since I was/am a generally honest little Snarky, I read the whole book.

And I fell in love. The writing, the characters...everything was just so perfect about that book. I even persuaded my mother to buy the other three books out in the series at that time, "The Valley of Horses," "The Mammoth Hunters" and "The Plains of Passage," sight unseen. I knew I would love them that much. And I did. I read them so much they fell apart and I had to buy a whole new set.

Like other Auel fans, I waited impatiently for the fifth book in the series, which did not come out until 2002. At first, I was rather disappointed in this book, "The Shelters of Stone." The Zelandonii people seemed like a generally nasty, mean-spirited bunch and the usual depth of writing just wasn't there. However, it's grown on me to the point of "it'll do."

Nine years later we have another book, "The Land of Painted Caves." This is supposedly the last book in the series, so it's really, really good, right? Wrong. I could NOT be more disappointed with this book and I really wish I'd never read it. Had I known the series finale would be this bad, I wouldn't even have read SoS and stuck instead with books 1-4 only.

Too much of the book was spent on descriptions of the scenery and painted caves. I know Auel visits these places and does all this research but dang. Character development, which was lacking in SoS, is nearly absent in TLoPC. The book covers hardly any time at all. Events that were foreshadowed strongly never took place. Jondalar and Ayla engage in absolutely RIDICULOUS behavior for their characters that almost made me throw the damn book across the room. Inconsistencies and spelling variations and errors abound, so it looks like no one even edited the book at all. If Auel was this tired of the characters, she should have left it at 4 books.

I am not the only one who feels this way. It's a sad thing when a book released on March 29 has 15 used copies for sale on Amazon already on April 10. And it is a LONG book, 750+ hardback-sized pages, so I'd bet many people that bought it the day it came out just haven't gotten all the way through it yet. 219 reviews so far with a 2-star rating. My review gave it 1 star. And that was being nice.

I'll stick with books 1-4 from here on out, although after this it may be a while before I can even pick them up again. I may rarely read book 5. Book 6 sucks and has no place on my Earth's Children shelf. I already told my mom not to buy the paperback for me when it comes out, as she did with SoS so my set would match. I'm just glad I didn't pay full retail for this paperweight.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I can haz shrug?

If you listen to Mr. Snarky, I in fact have no blood. He has said those very words to me, specifically on a car ride home from my Granny's house one day that was warm enough for me to wear shorts. It went like this:

Me: Wow, it's getting chilly. Feel my leg.
Him: *feels leg* OMG it is FREEZING. What is WRONG with you? You have no blood.

At least I won't have sparkly vampires chasing me. Ew. But he does make a good point...I get cold really, really easily. You'd think I grew up in the tropics. So since the Sis Boom Jamie dress for the sew-along hosted by Sew Sweetness is not only the cutest. thing. EVAH. but also is sleeveless, my arms will get cold at some point.

Kim turned the Jamie dress into a super cute tunic and modeled it wearing a cardigan. This got the wheels turning. Because I am thrifty, nay, because I am cheap, I went looking for free shrug/cardigan/arm warmer patterns. I like this one posted by a lady named Melissa, but as it isn't an actual pattern but guidelines only, I'll have to monkey with it. This one is really cute but may be too frou-frou for the Jamie dress. Plus it's short sleeved.

Now, I am more experienced at crocheting than sewing. I've made a baby blanket (in the back loops only, DOH! But my daughter loves its airiness), a Care Bear, a Strawberry Shortcake, a duckie, and a granny square here and there. I think I can handle a shrug, but that will be a project for AFTER the sew-along.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I can haz dress?

So check it out. Over there:


There is a shiny new button on my blog, which I figured out how to do all by myself. Sometimes I rock. I feel all techno-accomplished, too. Sara at Sew Sweetness made it super easy by providing the code, though. It's a sew-along!

Yes, folks, I think I can sew. Those of you who know me know that I am a cross stitcher. Many moons ago, I asked Mr. Snarky for a handheld sewing machine for my birthday. To make cross stitch projects into small simple things, like pillows, wall hangings, etc. You know, for when I actually FINISHED a project? I just wanted one of those infomercial ones that you can hem a skirt with at your desk or repair a torn curtain while it's hanging (call NOW!) But Mr. Snarky went above and beyond and got me a real, honest-to-goodness sewing machine. Talk about overwhelmed. My mom used to work in a sewing factory and made some of my clothes when I was little, but I had never touched a sewing machine. Ever.

So I really didn't do much with it because I didn't know how and I was severely intimidated. The machine got put in the closet, where it couldn't silently mock me on a daily basis. Then last Halloween, I found an AWESOME Tinkerbell costume that my daughter just HAD to have at Make it and Love it. I used fleece because it was all I could find in time and didn't make it an actual onesie type of deal because I had no bathing suit that fit her for a pattern, but a regular top and skirt instead. Despite this, I think it turned out pretty well, especially for my first sewing project.

Now I think I know how to sew. My friend Lina, who not only sews but is also the best baker EVAH, posted about the Sew Sweetness Jamie Dress Sew-along and I said what the heck. It has an actual pattern, which my mom claims makes it easy. I found a great deal on fabric too-I'm just waiting for it to get here so I can take it to Hobby Lobby and choose a coordinating waistband fabric. Wanna see my fabric? Of course you do! Chosen with Lina and Carly's help, here it is:

Pretty, huh? So I'm gonna give it a go. And if I succeed, I can make cute girly things for my daughter and I won't have a big old paperweight any longer, but an actual sewing machine. :D

You can join in, too! Click the button for all the details, including where to buy the pattern and a suggested Etsy shop for fabric. You know you want to.

I forgot I had a blog.

No really, I did. Doesn't that make me the worst blogger EVAH? Yeah, it pretty much does.

In my defense, I've been super busy. As only a work-at-home Mom with 3 little ones can be. Circumstances in Wonderland have made me the breadwinner, so I really need to get paid for my writing time as well. People really do pay me for my non-snarky writing. It's true. I even have my own little page on teh Interwebz with Amazon Affilate ads. I'm not Regretsy by a long shot (although I do admire her whimsicle effery quite a LOT and am just a wee bit jealous of her) but I suppose I do OK.

But then I wanted to join a sew-along at Sew Sweetness and found myself commenting sans blog address. Yes, I was one of those LOSERS who comments with just their name, no hyperlink to a blog or site. The humanity. As a result, there was a miscommunication (quickly resolved) that made me remember...I haz a blog! With 3 followers! My BFF, Mr. Snarky, and my BFF's other blog. So, yeah it's only 2, but Blogger sez 3, so neener.

And I guess I'm back. Why not? *waves*