Friday, February 23, 2007

Mmmmmmmmmm, truffles ....

Just a quick note to express my public love for the Pilot. He has been gone for 3 weeks straight this time and returned to hearth and home carrying 2 boxes of chocolate truffles from Belguim, a half pound bar of milk chocolate and things for Monkey Girl and Hamster Boy. Did I mention the truffles? This is why I am not giving up chocolate for Lent! After all, one box was meant as a late Valentine's gift as he was overseas at the time.

Yumm, the last one I had was white chocolate with a coffee center and a layer of milk chocolate underneath the white and a small nut on top. I love my Pilot ...

I noticed that I have neglected to add the photo of the new pant pattern piece, so I will remedy that this weekend. I have some blog catching up to do!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lenten Thoughts

This morning my sister offered to take Monkey to school so that the sister and law and I could go to Mass as today is Ash Wednesday. I haven't gone to an Ash Wednesday service for a while as they are usually in the evenings when the kiddies should be in bed or early in the morning when I am dropping one off to school. So this was a nice thing for her to do.

Today marks the beginning of Lent for my family. We have never been a family to "Give up something for Lent". I know many people who do, and I support them in their endeavors. That is why I never send my mother in law chocolates for Valentine's Day. It always falls too close to Lent and she always gives up chocolate, ice cream and wine. Her only 3 vices. What we try to do is to pick something and do extra. This morning, one of the Deacons in training at my Parish gave a wonderful reflection on Lent as a Season of Giving. Giving of more of one's self than normal. Of restraint where no restraint is usually given (he used an example of our behaviour in traffic and line ups). This goes beyond just writing an extra cheque or not having chocolate. It involves true giving, that which takes effort and has an effect.

After some thought, I have decided on a two pronged approach. First of all, I am giving Ressy up for Lent. That's right, yesterday I made my last order to the Evil Fabric Queen for the next 40 days. Not only will my pocket book like it, so will the rest of the stash as they are complaining about being cramped. The second part will be to take some of the stash I currently have and sew it up and give it away. In the days after HamsterBoy was born, I sewed maternity clothes for young mothers who were in need. I have lots of bottom weight fabric in the stash. I also have lots of knits coming in a recent buy from Ressy. I am going to contact the local service agencies and see if there is a need for maternity or nursing clothes for young mothers. I am going to use my personal stash to fill this if I can. I am not sure of the success I will have, but I am sure that I need to try. I need to be a little more selfless this Lent. Does anybody care to join me?

Hamster escape!

First of all I have to admit something ... it was my fault. Last night I rearranged the Rodent's tunnel tubes and cages. I failed to double check one joint apparently. When Hamster Boy woke up he looked at the new set up and pointed the now open joint to me. He did not, however, notice that the Rodent was not in her bedroom area. I am hoping he either did not notice or did notice and was afraid to mention the fact that she was missing. I am betting on the former as he went to school far too willingly for a boy who knows his hamster was missing. Lucky for me, my sisters were here. Between the 3 of us and a flashlight, we managed to follow the trail of shavings to behind the washing machine. To get her out, we moved the dryer to make noise and then coaxed her out with some lettuce. She snatched that and disappeared back behind the dryer. So, my sister (the one with the almost photographic memory) remembered reading in one of HamsterBoy's books that dog biscuits are a special treat. So, the Dog surrendered a biscuit and out came the Rodent! She is now back in the cage munching on more lettuce and contemplating her brief overnight of freedom. And I don't have to tell the Boy or Monkey what almost happened ... Mommy almost lost the Hamster! And all because she was able to open the cage by herself, leading me to re-arrange the tubes to prevent an escape.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Customized Shopping?

While browsing the boards over at PR this morning, I came across an article on the use of Body Scanners in RTW stores. While this is not new to me, there was some content in the article that was a bit interesting to me. First of all, apparently, my hourglass figure is an oddity (emphasis is added):
"the women’s fashion industry was shifting from its hourglass-figure paradigm. The research – sponsored in part by J.C. Penney, Target and Jockey – showed that the hourglass figure is the least dominate shape of women, making up only 8.4 percent of the 6,318 women scanned. In fact, the hourglass figure almost doesn’t exist in women above a size eight."
Snort ... sorry, I am still shaking my head over the thought that the hourglass actually was the paradigm!

The other thing that peeked my interest was a reference to a website called My
The purpose of this site is to be an online portal for personalized shopping. After registering, you enter in a raft of personal measurements and then select colouring and hair colour and answer basic questions about what type of clothing styles you wear and so on. So far there is nothing new here, I have seen this offered elsewhere, but the new twist (for me) was that once your info is entered in, they offer you a personal selection of garments that are sized for your measurements and supposedly suited to your figure type and colouring. The idea being that you will then buy those items from this site. Being a member gets you free shipping and returns.

For the fun of it, I entered in all my info and then opened "My Shop" to see what they would have for me. I must say that had I the $, I would wear most of what they offered up for me. The biggest surprise was the red business skirt suit shown on the first page. It was a bluer red than the gab in the stash. Maybe it is the shade of red that put me off that gabardine ... it is a more orange red than a blue red. The only criticism I have is that the garments are shown on mannequins that are not my shape and the fit on the mannequins are definitely helped along by unseen pins an clamps, I am sure. It would have been even better to visualize had the garments been on a virtual me, I think.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Taming the Dragon ...

I couldn't do it. It kept me up last night, that red gabardine. Even though I was thinking muslin, I was internally hoping this version would actually be wearable. The only problem is I really don't have much in the Closet or stash to coord with red pants. Then there is the internal Stacy and Clinton snarking away about who wears red pants (or was that me channelling my mother?) ... so I went deep into the stash and found a classic navy blue gab instead. It was pre-washed and needed a fast pressing, so out it came. I have now cut it out and it is awaiting interfacing and edge finishing. I usually do this before I start any seams.

Changes to the pattern:
1. straighten the CF
2. added 5/8" @ s.s. starting at the bottom of the pocket area
3. added same to the pocket pieces and waistbands pieces
4. removed the dart at the seam at the front seam by straightening out the seamlines.
5. lowered the crotch "curve" and shortened the extension by approx 1 1/2"
(below is the inner back leg piece with the new cutting lines in red and the new seamline in blue)

It does seem that I have lots of gab in the stash, but most of it is poly cotton blends, I believe. My mother went on a buying binge years ago (I was Hamster Boy's age, I believe) with thoughts of a June Cleaver type wardrobe, I think, in classic navy and grey with the red for a jacket, I believe. Last summer, she "forced" me to take the majority of it home with me. I honestly can't see me wearing it. It's not that I don't like red, I have a couple of nice red sweaters and tops that I wear often. I have a red linen that is awaiting spring for a blouse. But I can't see myself wearing that much red. Maybe trench for spring? Yeah, right! I already have 2 coat UFO's, I don't need another!

As I have almost finished taming the Dragon, my mind is beginning to wander to the next project. Definitely the Twisted Turtleneck, first mentioned by Diva Phyllis over at the Sewing Divas. I have a white cotton lycra that would be perfect for this design. I plan on using the Simplicty twist top pattern as the basis of the top. When that one is finished, I plan on using a brown Pucci type print in browns and greens for a knock off of a new Jalie top that has an empire waist and a V front with a raised neckline. Leslie posted a review of hers over at PR the other day. I really like the look of it, but I don't want to spend $15 with shipping and taxes for a look that I think I can easily achieve using a Kwik Sew pattern already present (and fitted) in the stash. All I have to do is to eliminate the overlap, make a CF seam and raise the neckline in the back and shoulder area. I will have to play with that aspect of the design, but it will be fun to do! Another design growing in my head is to take my TNT princess T pattern and to add sideseam ruching and try to twist the center panel. I have some nice brown knit for that one. With some nice teal thread for contrast, it should be really nice, if I can get it to work.

These are all further attempts at pattern re-drafting for me, something I find I enjoy doing immensely! I have Armstrong's pattern drafting book and I find I am looking at patterns and garments in the stores in a whole new light as I try to figure out how they are made. I find myself looking closer at the stash to see which patterns I can actually morph to copy the details I like. I do more work in my head than I do in the actual workshop, but small steps first, right?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Basics, continued ...

Well, last night and this morning's efforts have me now ready to cut muslin #2 . Having undone all the changes done before and restarted really helped. Turns out I had over-thought the alterations. All that I really needed was to lower that curve and shorten the length of the extension quite a bit. When I balked at how much it appeared that I needed, I pulled out my Silhouette pants pattern and compared the curves. Pretty close! The only other change I had to make was to take a small horizontal tuck across the back and then add that back to the top. What I did was to take this out of the yoke piece rather than the pant as I didn't want to fiddle with adjusting the 2 pieces.

The pattern calls for medium to lightweight fabric like panne velvet or rip stop nylon ("think drapey"), neither of which I have. So, I am trying to determine which fabrics to use from the stash. I have some nice twills, but I think they may not be drapey enough. Same for the brown ottoman ... I have some really lightweight brown gab type fabric from Fabricmart, but I would not be able to wear it any time soon due to the temps outside! So, I am going to hedge my bets and try some red gab in the trunk for this muslin. I was given the fabric by my mother, and while I like the idea of red pants, I am not sure I am the person to wear them ... primarily because I don't have enough in the Closet and stash to wear with them! So, the red gab is muslin bound while I re-think what to use for these pants! OF course, if the Sophia knit from Ressy arrives soon, this whole conversation may be moot! I have some in black arriving that would be perfect for these, I think!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dragon restart ...

OK, I have gone back to the beginning and removed all basted changes except for the expanded side seams. The pants are still a bit snug at the hip/waist area (see the drag lines on the left yoke piece?), but what I really am stumped about is what to do about those vertical lines below the crotch curve. I have yet to clip this curve although I did snip at the joint of the "L" shape. This is a very wide pant, but the majority of the width seems to be carried in the inner pant leg piece. Are these lines due to this extra width?

Help is needed here, readers!


Here is the promised photo of Hamsterboy and the She-Rodent known as "Hammie"...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A rose by any other name ...

I found this while playing and got a giggle ... what does your name mean?

What Lorna Means

L is for Logical

O is for Organic

R is for Remarkable

N is for Naughty

A is for Active

More UFO complaints ...

Well, the Closet, not wanting to be outdone by the Workshop, has now started to complain as well. Turns out that all those wearable muslins I have been doing aren't satisfied with being alone in the closet. They seem to think that because they have been completed with relatively little effort, that the "final" versions should be keeping them company upstairs. So, now the to do list is getting longer. Not only do I have to finish the UFO's, the mending and exercise, I also have to make up the final versions of the HP cardigan and jacket.

I think the closet feels left out due to all the attention being given to the workshop. This afternoon things were fairly subdued when I ventured down to try out the Beast formerly known as elliptical. I think the coats were a bit intimidated by the Beast. So should I have been, I think. I severely underestimated it's power. I foolishly thought that since I can easily do 30 minutes of hills on a treadmill (OK I could, last year!) that this wouldn't, indeed, couldn't be that hard ... could it?

IT WAS WORSE! After only 5 minutes I was seriously re-considering this purchase. Now I understand why the seller converted to a treadmill. First, my knees "thickened up", making them very tired. Then, the glutes started to yell at me ... I could feel one muscle all the way from the back of my knee all the way to my waist and it was not happy! I had to take a number of breaks to catch my breath. I swear that I heard those dragon pants muttering as they lounged behind me on the cutting table. Something about deserving every minute for abandoning them. Dissing the seamstress is NOT how to get me to quit! So, I changed the channel to HGTV and carried on! I forced myself to finish the full 30 minutes of motion ... problem is, it took me almost 45 minutes to accomplish that feat! My new goal is to bring that 30 minute session down to an actual 30 minutes in the next two weeks.

In an effort to make amends with the UFOs, I folded the Beast and slid it out of view under the cutting table. I then took the ring leader Dragon upstairs into the light of day to ripstitch all the alterations I have done to date. The plan is to put them back together and take another look at them. I explained that I have a meeting at the school tonight about Hamsterboy transferring into French Immersion next year. The ringleader seemed to accept that excuse/reason. The rest of the plan is to go down and rebaste along the original lines, take a photo and put them down again. I will then start to hand hem the sleeves of the coat. I have to pin the hemline. I will hopefully be able to call it a night after that. Of course, this all depends on Hamsterboy not having any more nightmares ... I bet it is the Closet that is waking him up each night. His Den is the other side of the Closet wall.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

No more excuses ...

I just came home from picking up the new addition to the Shop. While not a sewing machine, it is something just for me. I found an elliptical/stepper machine that folds oh so nicely and fits, like it was meant to be there, under the cutting table. Now, I know that if I kick the machine while cutting, it will be a signal to pull it out and use it!

In order to slowly acclimatize the rest of the room to the machine, I have opened the doors and just have it peeking inside. That should keep the ruckus to a minimum while I put the kids to bed and pop some Advil for this headache that has been plaguing me most of the day ... maybe a trial on the machine will help.

What I really need now is a nickname for the machine. I love how Ressy calls her treadmill the "dreadmill" ... I am now taking suggestions for what to call this little fella! Maybe the 'Lepper?

UFO Sightings

I seem to have hit a speedbump the size of a moose in my sewing. First, it wsa too cold in the basement. Solution: I closed the cold air return for the furnace that was bringing in all that minus stupdid air. Then I added a space heater to the Shop, but when I planned on going down, Hamster Boy had some bad dreams, needing snuggle time with Mom on the sofa. This happened for a few nights in a row, so I think Hamster Boy was imagining all sorts of horrible things when he heard the exercise wheel and antics of the Rodent at night. Said Rodent has been moved to the TV Room out of earshot of Hamster Boy. Nightmares have almost gone away. I think he has also been reading the old Goosebumps books at school ... they tend to make his imagination go wild! Still no sewing at night for a while ... And daytime has been busy with Scout stuff. One of my homework assignments for my training is to make a 3 year plan, 3x 1 month plans (in detail) and then plan and run a weekend camp. All by end March.

It all started because I needed to take a break from the coat and started the pants. Then I needed a break from the pants, so did I go back to the coat? No. Now, both are UFO's taking up space. Looking around the shop, I also see a fleece coat started when we first moved here almost 18 months ago. It was intended for my mother, but then she went to Burlington Coat Factory with her friend and came home with 4 coats/jackets. No need for it anymore, so it hangs, forlorn, watching the other coat.

I am sure the two of them have been bickering when the lights went out. The Cashmere can be a bit snotty at times, so I am sure that the wool fleece is now laughing at the Cashmere's unfinished state. "At least I have facings and linings" I thought I heard it mutter ... As for the pants, I am not sure it has forgiven me the snub I unintentionally gave it to help the Monkey make her "pooch pouch" "it is sooooo PINK!" it whines ...

Just when I get them calmed down I hear a quiet sigh from the closet area ... turns out the Pilot's shirt muslin is threatening to come out of hibernation early. Not a good thing to do, I tell it. The last time the Pilot was home, I took a good long look at his back and shoulders... he has re-discovered the weight room. Again. Come Spring Break, he is going to Darryl for some shirts! I am going to wake up the muslin and then join it with another and we will compare the two at the shop.

Of course, snarking in the background is the mending pile. My dear Mom sewed the Monkey a number of nighties and tops a year back and the seams have all popped. They need almost total redoing for her to wear. They feel so left out ... especially as they don't even have a basket or a box. Just a pile.

What the reaction will be tonight when I introduce the Elliptical/Stepper to the mix, I am not sure. I am sure that there will be some snark about it being a new place to hang UFO's. I will have to make some space under the Table as it folds down for storage when not in use. I have yet to decide if it will actually be inside the Shop or just outside the glass doors, but still in view of the TV. I wonder what I would hear if I left a tape recorder in there tonight ...

Monday, February 05, 2007

Tagged ... again!

I've been tagged by Robyn over at Blue Moon! While I won't tag another 5 people as I think the pool of non-tagged people is quickly becoming a puddle, I will post another 5 things about myself.

1. I am Catholic and a cultural anthropologist ... reconcile that!
2. I don't sing in the shower, but I do love singing Alto Tenor along with my choral CD's in the workshop; as I used to sing in a choir for many years, I am actually pretty good; no I don't do karaoke!
3. My second favourite CD is from a group called The East Village Opera Company; a neat group that believes that the Major Classical composers were the rock stars of their time and have re-worked many pieces into rock opera; their Ave Maria is beautiful! I have their first indie album ...
4. Must see TV: CSI Miami (I love the corny opening lines of David Carruso!), House (don't you wish we could all say whatever we liked sometimes?), Vegas and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
5. The name the Scouts up here call me is Hawkeye ... ironic cause I have really BAD eyesight, although it is better than the alternative which was "Bubbles"; those of you who can see the Canadian cable TV show called "Trailer Park Boys" will understand why!

The coat is still slumbering and as are the pants ... I have an order for more Scout neck scarves to finish and deliver this week.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Toe Shoes???

I like shoes, don't get me wrong ... but I am not obsessed by them. I guess that is still the SAHM in me. I just don't have a lot of shoes, although the ones I have are nice enough, I think that Stacy and Clinton would pass me by. A friend sent me photos this morning of some new shoes that I can only assume were runway pieces and not meant for general wear ... they are so over the top that I just had to share them!

For those of you with ballet lessons in your past, be warned ... painful flashbacks may occur and I apologize for any toe cramps you may experience ...