Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Skirt Challenge

Well, you've seen my entry into the skirt challenge at Darrell's. He has finally sent me pics of his entry. The one that had us all gasping with surprise and awe. With the exception of his co-worker, Denise, we all just saw a beautiful blue silk A-line skirt. Simple design and we didn't see any original elements. We all started to tease him mercilessly until he quietly said "I made the fabric". We all were silenced. We had all taken for granted that the beautiful glass beaded and bias pintucked fabric was one that he carried by the bolt. After all, we have all seen similar fabric before. Then Denise said that he had painstakingly pintucked the yardage on both bias angles to get a diamond effect and Then he cut and stitched the fabric into the skirt. Then he added the beads. Each one stitched on individually.

Look and drool ... and appreciate the skill and the patience this man had for his craft.
This is the full view on a mannequin in his shop (He designed and made the top and the net shrug she is also wearing).

This is a closer view of the skirt front:

Here is a detail shot of the pin tucks and the beads:

We are trying to badger him into submitting this into Threads, either for the Reader's Closet column or to write an article on how he did it. He is resisting. Help us convince him otherwise! Comment so that I can copy them all and take them in on our next get together!

What is the new challenge for our little group? We had to bring in 3 lengths of fabrics, all had to be 60" wide and a natural fabric and a half yard long. We also had to follow this guideline: One had to be a print, one a solid and one could be anything. We then a Yankee exchange (after some German cheesecake, that is!) and picked/stole one fabric piece from each of the 3 piles. I brought in 2 pieces of linen and some silk chiffon. I ended up with my baby blue linen (I had originally picked a piece of royal blue raw silk, but it was snatched from me!), a piece of purple silk with yellow ribbon embroidery and a black polka dot on white cotton. The finished garment must have all fabrics visible, no other fabric may be added except for linings and interfacing. No other rules. I will post shots of what I have tomorrow. Till then, start thinking for me! I need inspiration ... feel free to send me pattern shots for ideas!


I started my job this week. Yup, offered the job on Wednesday and started on Monday. Gotta like that! I have been training all week on the computer system with the are trainer. Lovely lady! I have a choice, apparently, wrt work attire. According to the "Manual" I have to wear the company shirt (LS or SS) or the company Cool Max Polo Shirt (LS or SS) with black non-denim, non cargo style pants or skirts with black shoes. OR, according to my manager and the trainer, I can wear office attire. I figure that if I get one each of the yellow shirts, I can make the polos from the silkweight PD (thank you Ressy!) in the stash and just wear a name tag to show I am staff. That leaves me with the need for black pants and shoes. That way, I have "official wear" for those occasions where it is a must (training and conferences) and can wear my own office wear the rest of the time.

So, knowing that the only black shoes in the Closet are strappy slingbacks (suitable for parties and dancing - should the Pilot ever acquire a right foot to go along with one of his 2 left feet LOL!), I needed to go shoe shopping! Stop clapping with glee, Phyllis! I know you wish you were here to help! I went to Payless first as I wanted a quick pair to get me through to the arrival of the first paycheck. What did I see in the front of the store? The sweetest little patent Mary Jane's with the cutest kitten heel. Perfect for the office and for the weak ankle. I fell in love instantly ... especially when I saw them in the red! Oh la la! Almost walked right out of the store with them then and there. Glad I didn't as I had not yet discovered that black shoe rule. So, I went home and finished my second pair of the HP Everyday Pants, this time in a lightweight brown wool crepe. Tomorrow being the Pilot's payday, I will go and get those black shoes.

So, about my pants. I finished the brown wool crepe HP Everyday pants last night. They look divine! Feel divine too … I wore them to work today and had a blast. Super comfy and stylish! After work, I thought I would go back to Payless and get those Mary Janes (in black) for work. Little voice in the back of head says: “Go to Winners and look for black pants; take MB’s advice” (buy some servicable pants OFTR for now and sew better ones on the weekends). So, deciding to listen to little voice, I drive past Payless and waved to the shoes in the window (Sorry Phyllis, the little voice was louder than your shouts of encouragement!) and parked at Winners. I went in and headed for the pant section, knowing that the likelihood of finding a pair of black pants was minimal. True enough, there were no pants in the pant aisle that fit, let alone were black! So, I wandered. I found a new section called "Collections". That little voice found an obnoxious twin who screamed "EXPENSIVE ... don't go there!". The little voice said very quietly "go look". So, being somewhat perverse and not liking obnoxious anything, I did.

I found a pair of wool knit pants in black with the neatest lines to them! Aside from being luscious to touch, they were a sewn on (as opposed to the Betzina method) fly front with a semi faced waist. Semi faced, you ask? What is that? Well, it was faced from CF and CB to the points at which you would put belt loops (I call it mid point of the side front/back). In between, it was a partial band. The other neat thing was that the fly shield had a cut on tab extension for a button. The fly was closed with a zip to the waist edge and held closed by a pant hook and eye. The eye was placed right at the seamline of the fly extension. Very classy, gives a wonderful smooth front and is oh so comfortable. How do I know? Cause I tried them on and them pants FIT! Oh yeah, baby! I need to drop the crotch a hair and fold the hemline up enough to make some cuffs, but other than that, they are on me for work tomorrow! And even better, for the quality and cut of the pant and the wool, I think that the price was worth it. I'll post detailed shots later so that you can see what I am talking about. I might be able to knock these off using some of the Sophia knits in the stash!

As I admired the look of these pants, I thought, I wonder how the brown wools made it today? Do they still look OK in the back after a day at the desk or are they all droopy? So, I took the black pants off (reluctantly, BTW, they are SO COMFY!) and put the browns back on; wondering, what are the chances that this one pair of size 14's will still be there tomorrow when I can spend the Pilot's pay. Then I turned and looked at the backside of the brown pants. And didn't see any wrinkles, so that is the good news. The bad news is that I could see flashes of my creme coloured undies! ACK! I must have snipped a thread when I clipped the crotch seam last night and it had given way. SERIOUSLY given way. My inner debate as to whether to wait a day was silenced. The reason for the little voice's constant advice to day was clear. I needed an emergency buy! After all, in about 15 minutes, I would be walking across an elementary school playground where my little gap would be at eye level for about 30 kindergarten students! And they are not known for their subtlety, are they? Out came the credit card and I changed the pants in the corner of the parking lot with the seat all the way back and down. Only then did I venture out to get Monkey Girl!

The moral of the story? Listen to that quiet but persistent little voice when you shop. You never know what you may be leaving behind you ... So, you'll have to wait for a shot of the brown pants until I fix that crotch seam!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Phoenix Rising ...

How appropriate is this considering I am starting a new job, the kids are both in school full time and the Pilot is in a new job as well?

You Are a Phoenix

Driven and ambitious, you tend to acquire material success easily.

You have grand schemes - both for your own life and for changing the whole world.

You are a great leader, and you have no problem taking the reigns.

However, you aren't all business. You also have great talents for performing and visual arts.

C'mon ... curious minds want to know!

Friday, September 07, 2007

When Goodbye Hurts

I have been happily talking about the fact that my youngest is now in school full days. She comes home excited and full of smiles and happiness and tells me how much she loves her class and her teacher. She was all excited, anticipating her big brother walking her to school and me picking her up. "I'm a big girl!" she would proudly state. So, a bit unsure, I let her go with her brother. He is silently proud of the fact that he is allowed to do this. She would play with him until some of her friends showed up and then she would leave him and the other "big kids" to go with her own classmates. Then, when I show up to walk her home, I am sent away as she wants Hamster Boy to do it. So, I slowly walk away and they both catch up fairly quickly.

Yesterday that changed. She called me to come and get her. She wasn't feeling well. She was in tears. I brought her home and we cuddled on the sofa for an hour and then she was fine and went back to school for the rest of the day without a problem. This morning, she was uncertain about who should walk her to school, so I suggested that I come along with them. Hamster Boy went along ahead and the two of us made it to school. She wanted to be with me the whole time, right up to when her class started to line up to go in. Halfway up the steps, she turned and was crying that her belly ached again. She wanted to come home. "I like grade 1 but I don't want to go" she cried. I walked her to her classroom and then the teacher gave me that allknowing look. Assurances were given and I know she will be fine. But every parent who has to remove their child from their arms and give them over to another's care when they don't want to be there knows how heartbreaking it is. Goodbye hurts.

Two years of kindergarten wasn't a problem for her. She had her days when the Pilot was away where she needed her Mommy. I know that this will pass. But goodbye hurts. I left hearing her tears and knew I had to keep going. Goodbye hurts. I know that the teacher will call me later today, probably at recess telling me that she is now OK. But my child is hurting inside and it hurts me, too. She is growing up and doesn't like it very much.

I am really blessed that the job I found enables me to see her to school and then to pick her up after. No babysitters. That was the one condition I made for job hunting. I turned down a couple of offers due to the hours. I am glad I did. Goodbye hurts even more when there is a babysitter at the end of the day and not Mommy.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Empty Nesting ... sort of

It all started with Brian announcing that he was going to take the day off so that he could take the kids to school. He wants to make up for missing most of last year and this year Monkey Girl started grade 1. Yup, full days of school ... no more half days for us! I now have my days to myself (thus the job hunting!) So, on Tuesday, we walked the kids to school (OK, we walked behind them as they ran ahead!). Then after we were further abandoned to friends from school, we walked home, hand in hand. We then made a pot of coffee and sat in the quiet and drank. Then we planned. We finished our coffee and then put our plan in to action: Home Depot here we come!

We walked around the kitchen area finalizing our choices and then we browbeat the clerk into talking to us. She then told us we needed an appointment to sit and get a ballpark estimate. Looking around, and spying her appointment book, I saw that there was nothing on it. I waited. She said “you need an appointment”. I sat silently. She then looked at me and said “I can fit you in this afternoon?” Then I smiled and said Fine! See you at 1:45! We then started walking around.

In the proceeding 90 minutes, we managed to redesign our bathroom vanity and pick our new shower stall, toilet and sinks. We priced MDF for a new sewing table configuration (that I have to now design), designed a kitchen island and priced a new deck. Then we sped to the local chip truck and got 2 hotdogs and some wonderfully sinful fries. Gulped them down and made it back to Home Depot. I fell in love with Corian counter tops but not the price tag. So, it looks like it will be laminate. I now have to compare what I found at HD with Ikea and then price them both out in detail.

It was so much fun to just wander and dream and plan ideas like that. We pulled out a 4x8 sheet of MDF to see if it was enough for an L shaped work surface. Seeing as it was only $25 for the whole sheet, I figure I can get a real nice work surface with holes for the cords and a power bar mount … Oh my! Now I just have to figure out dimensions and drawers and such. That way, I can bring the kitchen table I am currently using as a sewing table into the empty eating area of the kitchen for the kids to eat on and do homework on. It will also become the basis of my kitchen island … Brian and I came to an agreement as to what we like in a master bath wrt cabinetry. I want some drawers for my stuff and he wants shelves for towels and cleaners and such. We discussed the rather unique way our plumbing is and how to accommodate it in the cabinets. Everything but colour …

We made it home in time to do a bit of web surfing and then pick the kids up. There, we were told to leave by Susanna who was expecting her older brother to pick her up so we retreated and left her to Iain. Then they both joined us for the walk home with lots of talking happening!

How is that for a day? The first day without kids and we spent it in Home Depot! We could have spent it at home, being romantic, but instead we snoop shopped together and had so much fun! We were like kids in a toy store before Christmas! Couples that dream together, stay together!

Working wardrobes

Well, I am now employed! I sign my contract on Monday and start training on the local systems the same day. I am taking over as the Club Administrator for a branch of local private gym. Yes, the same one I interviewed for in the spring. Same position, too.

So, now I need a working wardrobe for a casual work environment. I see more HP Everyday pants and maybe even some of the Razor Sharp pants in the wools I have in the stash. I see some crisp shirts and lots of tops (lucky for me I have a bunch of Ressy's rayon knits stashed in fall colours!) and some more casual style jackets. Think Sportive Suit and the Lacy Wrap cardigan as well ... then there are the Marfy's I am looking at as well (more on those another day ... now that I know which job I have, I will have to adjust my purchase plans!)

Then, there are the shoes ... Phyllis dear, you must come up north for a weekend to help me shoe shop once I get everything done! Really! Come on up ...

Monday, September 03, 2007


I have just uploaded photos of the HP skirt and the capris. I am about to go and post the reviews, but here is a sneak peak of the results of my efforts! First the skirt. This is a late night pic of the skirt, so sorry for bad posture and tops that are not tucked in all the way ...

Now the capri conversion. These I am most proud of. The darts look a little stressed, but that is due to the fit process when I needed to let out the s.s.. I actually can pinch an inch at the s.s. now. These were worn last night to a BBQ, so there is some wear wrinkles, but otherwise I love the fit! I just have to do some real minor tweaks still, I think (I could use some more ease at the hip area judging by what I see). For some reason, the front looks off kilter, that is because I didn't straighten them before I took the photo.