Saturday, December 29, 2007

Back at it! Return to Patchoullli ...

So I have spent the day in the shop working on the newest version of the HP Patchoulli dress, in a paisley/floral stretch velvet. The velvet is in a black with a burgundy paisley and floral pattern that has the pile removed. The waist panel is done in a matching burgundy rayon knit as will be the neckbands I am putting on.

I have the skirt done with the waist panel and hem ruffles in. Instead of using the full length of the ruffle and gathering the double fullness in, I only put on one panel for a slight flirty effect on the bottom. But I think it is too long now. Also, I see the hem ruffle and I get a "Prairie Skirt" feeling. Not my style ... to be honest, I think that is why the linen version sits in the Closet more often than it should. Too many ruffles (neckline, hemline and sleeve hemline) for me. I go for a more of a cleaner look.

So, the conundrum now is, do I cut the skirt back and then re-sew the hemline treatment or just remove it completely and hem the skirt plain. I am leaning towards the latter, to be honest. I still have the second halves of the ruffle that I thought I would use on a skirt made from the rayon knit. Maybe to add some hemline interest I can do something with the rayon ... I do have a lot of it!

The bodice I have modified to be a cross over V neck with a contrast neck band in an homage to the Cosmo Dress. Rather than the underbust gathering, I am going to dart out the excess. I have to play with the fit a bit on Mindy first, though. I am not sure if I have the wrap just right yet. If it doesn't work out, I have a back up plan ... when I cut the neckband, I also cut it out in the velvet, so I can make a reworked bodice out of the solid rayon and use the velvet for the banding. Then I can recut the bodice with whatever changes are needed. If things go well, I want to wear this to church tomorrow, so cross your fingers sweeties!

BTW, in between coat sessions, I am going to be starting a pair of Claire Schaeffer pants using the couture directions. AND I am going to line them as well. So, watch this space for more on that in the future. That will be my first big project of the year. Then I will tackle those Marfy's I ordered in the fall!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Blast from the Past ...

I know I usually post about sewing and the family, but tonight ... a pitch for a movie. Yup, a family movie (that has about 2 mins of sewing, does that count now?). The Pilot and I just took the kids to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. We laughed and giggled all the way through and the Pilot and I were singing "The Witchdoctor" in the parking lot as we walked to the car. Kids thought we were nuts, especially when we began to argue over whether or not the chorus ends in "Bing Bang Walla Walla Bing Bang" or (his version) "Bing Bing Walla Walla Bing Bang". So, he thinks I am on searching for the right words ... I am resisting the urge! I told him I am not worried about who is right ... but I am dying to know!

Go see the movie! For those of you who like me, grew up with the 'munks, learned the song by heart every Christmas, go for the fun of being a kid again. And sing the Witch doctor in the parking lot and be proud!

Holiday Cheers

Yesterday I managed to leave work early to go to the School to see Hamster Boy in the annual Christmas talent show. My children go to a Catholic school, so this event happened the day after the second Advent Mass and is a wonderful show of talent from all the kids involved. For the past two years Hamster Boy has been trying out for the show with other kids and not getting in. This year, his whole class managed to get something on the stage, be it a dance routine, a song or a skit. I heard girls singing songs, by themselves or in duets, violin and piano solos, a classical guitar, a flute and skits that had me giggling till late last night. There were kindergarten children stealing the show as they sang about Santa. There were the senior class members making us all cry as they sang the Live Aid song "Do they Know It's Christmas", ending with them all adding a can of food to a pile in front of the stage. What a wonderful way to end their Advent project of collecting food for the local food bank!

There was much off key and many missed notes, but each one made it more special. Christmas songs are never more Christmas-y then when sung by a child. IT is that innocence and that joy of the whole season that infuses their whole being. IT is their gift to us, like the drummer boy of old gave to that other Child, whose birthday we all are looking forward to. They sing and dance with their whole heart. IT was one of the nicest concerts I have ever been to. Minimal staging, lots of laughter and the students in the audience sang along with their on stage classmates when they needed help. We all smiled at the toddlers in the audience who danced on the floor next to the stage where their elder sister was performing, silently stealing the show, getting lots of applause at the end.

If you have the chance to see a children's concert, may you enjoy it as much as I did yesterday. Let it take you back to the time when you didn't worry about budget and presents, about taking time off work, about all that holiday stress. When Christmas was all about a Child. One whose birthday brought us so much more than we can ever give back. So, when trying to figure out when you can bake that pie for Christmas dinner, why not bake a birthday cake instead. After all, 'tis the season!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mumsews returns ...

I just wanted to say thanks to Texas for the latest snowstorm! It is great! Over a foot and a half of new snow for a guaranteed white Christmas … we made it to Mass this morning and then spent the afternoon baking cookies (I mixed them, Brian rolled and cut and I took them out of the oven). I sense a new traditional way of making cookies in the Newman household! Especially since this one recipe is the one I hate making as it is a pain to roll and cut. But it is a Newman cookie, so it is a must. As soon as I get some ground almonds, I will make the cookies from my side of the family ... yummy almond crescents!

The kids just came in from shovelling out their snow fort (again) and trying to outrun the neighbour’s snowblower as he kindly helped Brian with the massive snowplow drift. Their bottomless stomachs want food, but Brian and I are still full from last night's dinner party. We hosted a friend from Brian's work. They brought their 3 kids as well, so we had a house full of fun! Nothing that 2 beer can chickens on the BBQ can't fill up, though! Good thing, now we have some leftovers for supper tonight ... I see chicken salad on my plate.

I have been away too long. Was it really 19 Oct that I last posted? WOW, I knew it had been a bit, but not that long! Thanks to the "mother hens" (you know who you all are!) for your kind thoughts and worries. It is nice to know that others think of me as much as I do of them! Where have a I been? Well, most of October was spent adjusting to working for the first time in 14 years. Trying to balance kids, home, husband (re-learning how to live with him after a year away)and Scouts. Then, the past 4 weeks I have been out 2 nights a week at the gym not working, but working out) with a trainer. Love the way it has made me feel and especially like the half-inch I lost on the waistline (it was all core work!), but hated the number of nights away. After the holidays, the trainer's schedule changes, so I will have sessions in the morning instead. The true value of working at a gym!

I haven't been sewing much of late. After having Brian gone all last year, going downstairs while he is home just doesn't feel right. We have a year to make up for, you know? It is hard to explain, but most nights I just want to be in the same room with him. We weren't even like that as newly weds, but it is kind of neat to feel like that after almost 20 years together! But ... tonight, mumsews returns! I was daydreaming vice singing today at Mass and saw a new version of the HP Patchoulli dress ….sort of a morph into the Cosmo dress in a stretch velvet floral print I have aging. That will be my holiday dress. Susanna needs a new dress as well. I love stretch velvet, it is so easy to sew up! Then I will finish Brian’s shirt and a new top for Iain. As much as I love my job, I miss having the weeks before Christmas to be holed up in the workshop sewing for the holiday gifts.

I did manage to get a jumper done for work, though. I will try to take a photo of that one soon. A long term plan is to have a mini sew along with dear friend MB. We are both going to do a Claire Schaeffer pant sew along. I have read so many things about the CS patterns and the couture options, that I want to dive in and try it. I have some cashmere coming from Ressy that are pencilled in for pants. If they are not the right weight, then it will be a jacket and I will try using the wool flannel also sitting nicely in the stash. So, I hope to end this year sewing and start the new year the same way. I have to get used to shorter spurts of sewing as opposed to the longer stretches I used to have.