Sunday, April 29, 2012

I might actually finish this challenge

It's probably too soon to make such a call but I can't help but feel optimistic about my chances.

Here's my first garment, the Sorbetto top from Colette Patterns.

Lord, I love a me a free pattern, let me tell you. I've made this once before as you will likely see during Me Made May so I decided to change it up a little. I went with a bargain basement white eyelet of mysterious fabric content that I pulled from the wallyworld clearance shelf a couple years ago. To help it fit better into my palette, I decided to be brave and smock the center panel. To accomodate the sitching, I placed the pattern three inches back from the center fold, giving me six additional inches to work with.

I marked my pleats on the fabric with a Mark B Gone pen in 1/4in columns and 3/8in rows.

Then pulled them up and tied them off.

Next came the smocking. I don't want to discuss how often I pulled out these stupid threads. This is only my third smocking project so trust me when I say I jack it up often. Halfway through, I finally got my rhythm and came up with a stellar row of stitching that made all the other ones look like they'd been done by Helen Keller on meth. So once again, I pulled stitches.

The waist is a little blousy for my tastes and some sort of mishap resulted in uneven darts that I didn't notice until after I french seamed the sides but overall, I really like this top. I especially like the pretty red gingham bias tape trim. It reminds me of this absolutely terribly ugly square dance dress I had the poor fashion sense to adore to pieces when I was about 7 years old.

Hopefully, I won't look back on this top and be horribly embarrassed as I am by that square dance dress. I can't even figure out how in the world a little black girl in Brooklyn ended up with a red gingham square dance dress. In fact, I had two, one red and one yellow. Maybe this explains why I'm so in love with my color palette.

God bless childhood memories.

Imagine this in red and try not to shudder.

Now I'm on to my button up skirt. It's two thirds completed. I just have to do the hem, buttonholes, and waistband which I hope to finish by tomorrow. After that, it's time to start cutting the dress. And wouldn't you know it, while in wallyworld, two and a half yards of red roses on white lawn just hopped right up in cart and refused to let me leave until I agreed to take it up. So there's an addition to my palette challenge.

I might be dying

But at least the flowers look pretty, right??

I think it's uneven but if you're smart,
you won't say a thing

You better agree or I'm going to come to your house and flop my sweaty behind right all up on your sheets. Especially if they are nice and cool.

And for an update on the rest of my gardening sitch, I did some weeding, caged the tomatoes, and strung up some kind of trellis (please, Lord say I did it right.)

Everything looks really good. The carrots are taking their slow, sweet time for which I cannot blame them as they are probably just a wee bit perturbed by random doggie paws constantly up in their business. The spinach doesn't have the same excuse as my Boston terrier isn't nearly as interested in that side but at least the little shoots, sprouts or whatever the crap you call them are bigger than the carrot seedlings.

For a kid who is too lazy for own garden,
she sure as hell is all up in mine.

It actually feels like a real garden now and not some kindergarten-esque smattering of wishful thinking. I'm beginning to think I might actually manage to harvest something other than tears and disappointment.

Sweet Dreams are made of these

Dude, I think Walmart is out to get me.

It all starts off innocently enough. I carefully plan my meals, make my list, and slowly meander up and down every single aisle. As I check off the list, I also manage to find crap I didn't know I need or have been meaning to pick up. More ketchup, a new thermos for the ever forgetful and inadvertently destructive pinky, cinnamon raisin English muffins I didn't know I was craving until just then, etc. Before heading to one of the only three among 15 check out lanes that are open, I do a quick perusal of the cart. Out comes things I really don't need to be buying, off I send the monster children for the dish washing detergent I almost forgot. And yet, despite my best intentions, without fail, it occurs to me come Sunday morning that there's something I've forgotten.


Have you ever been in a Walmart in the South at 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon?

Double ugh.

Apparently, Walmart is out to get us all, particular women who enjoy tettering among pews in a pair of absolutely perfect nude round toe heels. But at least I'm not the only one hobbling about, shoving a cart down the aisles, trying to see how many points you can get from mowing down small children screetching over the doritos mommy won't buy for them (except that she totally will if the kid wails hard enough, you can tell.)

Chicken broth, onion, trellis line, cool whip. I repeat these words over and over to myself in a bid to stay focused.

Yeah, fat chance. I didn't make it out of the gardening section before somehow, mysteriously, there are four cells of begonias in my cart. What's that you say? I didn't need begonias?? But they were $1.48 per cell and they are going to look so cute nestled around the mini rose bushes that also inexplicably also ended up in my cart. Add the tomato cages, the jar of nutella, coconut kid's shampoo, quarter inch elastic, and hair clips for pinky. Now I'm headed towards check out, sweating from spending too much time in the gardening section with at least $35 dollars worth of crap I had no intention of buying when I pulled into the Walmart parking lot. Then I get to sit there and wait in one of three lanes among 15 that are actually open. Of course, if you stand there long enough, your cart seemingly multiplies with crap you're going to regret buying when you get home.

Did I mention sweating? Because really, that right there should have been a sign from God that there was stupidity afoot. I'm standing there, sweltering like a pig and not once does it occur to me that I'm going to have to dig out a place in the yard to shove the coleus I'm loading into the back of my car while my youngest screams in his car seat like man size mosquitos are eating his face.

And mother heifer! I forgot the trellis line!

Thank God Home Depot is right next door.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Isn't it loverly?

My first challenge piece, the Sorbetto top, is almost done.


Sneak peek:

I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorites.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's that time of year

Spring Challenge 2012
It's time for Colette Patterns' latest sewing challenge.

I completely failed the last one having made only one piece, a turquoise and black houndsooth maternity dress inspired by Joan Holloway from Mad Men. But as I need clothes both for Me Made May and so I can nurse an infant in public without given people tickets to the skin show, I figured I go shopping in the old stasharoo and see what I could make happen.

What I found was that once again, I have waaaaaaaaaay too much sewing crap. This can be a good thing though. Due to my vast fabric hoard I can pull together a cute little wardrobe without buying much of anything. Just don't tell my husband. Not only would he forbid me from buying more fabric (Horrors!) but he would probably call A&E. Then, next thing you know, you'd see me on tv sobbing over a pack of $.97 buttons crying about how I was going to use them for that seersucker top and my life has come to a sudden and tragic end now that Mr. Man has tossed that little bag into a huge old dumpster parked in the front yard.

Once again, I digress.

The fact of the matter is that between my stash and instant Burda Style downloads, all I needed to buy to complete this challenge was an invisible zipper, some yellow embroidery floss, and a handful of red buttons (which is why I would have cried had some psychologist, a camera man, and the Got Junk people coerced me into given up my button stash.)

Wanna know what I'm making?

1. The Sorbetto Top: a free download from Colette Patterns involving white eyelet and a smocked center panel

2. The Ladybug Skirt: another free download, this one from Burda Style with some blue chambray I picked up, not just one sale but end of bolt bonus from Joann's while on vacation in Florida. I'll be breaking out my freshly acquired, mad bullion embroidery skills to dot the scalloped hem with ladybugs. (shaddup, it will so be cute!)

3. Ruby Shorts: a downloadable pattern of the not so free variety from Burda style out of orange gingham seersucker that I've had in my stash for two years. I can't decide if I want to go with blue buttons or white.

4. The Jasmine blouse: also from Colette. I have some navy and white floral lawn that will be perfect for the main body and a navy linette for the tie.

5. Simplicity 2255, View C, a cute, button down blouse using a white fabric of questionable fiber content that shrinks like a mofo if you look twice on it but involves so cute a pattern that I can't help myself. There may or may not be a gingham facing.  

6. McCalls 6503, a new pattern and spur of the moment purchase that I picked up a few weeks ago. I loved it so much that I bought it from walmart at full, walmart price instead of waiting for a Joann's $1.99. It would not be denied especially as it will look divine in a red, white and blue print I bought on ebay for something like five dollars for 6 yards, including shipping.

So what do you think?

I've already begun the Sorbetto. The smocking is giving me fits but I am confident I will overcome. Look for pictures by the end of the week. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Decisions, decisions

I'm finally working on the Easter, ahem, I mean Spring dresses after more than a week of inexcusable procrastination. Don't ask me why I'm admitting that I've just been lazy. I have a two and a half month old pudgelet. He's like a built in excuse. He's also a very good baby, I mean he's such a terrible, horrible, cantakerous, demanding little man and thus I am only now getting started on dresses that should have been done last week.

Thank God Pinocchio is just a story. I like my nose just the length it is, thank you very much.

As I was saying, I cut out pudding's outfit this morning and after more gardening, I fired up the old netflix, put on some Doctor Zhivago and started cutting the pinkleminkle's 1950's vintage dress. After cutting out the bodice overlay from a silk organza I bought on sale from Martha Pullen, I realized I have to sew the pintucks into this thing in order to get the proper pattern for the main fabric. I did so and now I'm presented with a problem.

Which bodice look do I go for?

The first is three columns of embroidered ribbon. I know it looks like Irish green shamrocks here but I promise they are pretty turquoise and aqua flowers.


The  next one are three columns of lace beading insertion threaded with robin's egg blue ribbon. Just pretend it looks that color and not the sky blue it appears to be here.


Then, two rows of the ribbon and lace on either side with insertion lace down the center.


As above but switched.


And finally, the simplest option, three columns of lace insertion.

 I'm kind of partial to number four. What say you?

Friday, April 13, 2012

The wheels on the bus go round and round

So today, I woke up this morning and said to myself, "Self, wouldn't you like to spend a fun filled day listening to an eight year old yammer in your ear about nothing all morning?" Oh I wish I'd had that conversation as I lay in the comfort of my memory foam because let me tell you, the answer would have been a resounding no.

Look, I love my daughter. She's absolutely adorable with her flair for the dramatic but dear lord in heaven, that child does not know when to quit. And yet, without fail, I forget this little detail when I take it upon myself to ask the girlchild if she might like to accompany me and her little brother on a milk and soda run.

It was cute in the beginning. We started off in the car, music turned up, with the windows rolled down and all the interstate blowing in our faces. Ahh, Georgia. There's nothing like the smell of marsh in the morning. Oh, you've never smelled marsh? Imagine the mingling scent of dead animal and rotting vegetation. But I digress.

"Mom, pudding thinks my hair is funny because he's laughing at me."

Pudding is not yet three months old. He's probably laughing at the surge of warmth that just filled his diaper. But whatever makes pinky happy and doesn't involve an indepth conversation interrupting my favorite Queen song gets the hot mess heifer seal of approval. Plus, this is my not-so quiet time, the calm before the storm as it were. Or rather the 80's Arena Rock before the jibba jabba.

We pull into the parking lot and right away I can see where I've gone wrong. Before I even open the car door, pinky is looking for ways to be helpful. If you don't have children, you're probably tilting your head at the screen and narrowing your mouth into an awwwww. But if you have children, you just let out a heavy sigh in anticipation of how much work an eight year old's help can be.

"Can I unbuckle the baby?"


The child proceeds to grunt like a lumbering ox at the front of a cart full of manure.

"The buckle is too hard, Mommy. Can you do it?"

I knew we would end up here but had I denied her the chance to unharness her baby brother, she would have looked at me like I was silly to doubt the raging power in her linguini arms. I get the baby out and snuggled into the Moby and we're off to the races, you know, if the races were interrupted by questions I'm sure she knows the answer to.

"What kind of flower is that?"

"It's a petunia, the same kind I planted in the backyard. Remember?"

"Oh yeaaaah! It's preeeeeetttttyyyyy! Will you geeeetttt a piiiinnnkkkk one? Pink is my faaaaavvvorite!"

"I already have petunias, remember?"

"But you don't have a piiiiiiiiinnnnnnnk petunia!"

"I don't want a pink petunia. I have pink dianthus."

"How 'bout a fuschia petunia?"

Yes, she knows fuschia is a shade of pink. She also knows it's illegal to leave your children in walmart. I think she's testing me. I decide it's time to turn the tables on her lest I be tempted to ditch the child right in the middle of the gardening section.

"Pinky, you wanna fight?"

"Not in walmart, mom."

"But you have to be prepared."

"Prepared for what?" she says, watching me with a mixture of doubt and curiosity.

"For bad guys, lurking around every corner. You are a superhero, are you not?"

She stops for just a moment, wondering if I'm playing some kind of trick on her.

"Sometimes I am. What kind of bad guy?"

Pinky's favorite superhero at the moment is Thor. She nearly peed herself waiting for it to come out and I'm surprised she don't go through more underwear such is her anticipation over the new Avengers movie.

"I dunno, maybe Loki."

"Alright, but I'm gonna need my superhero suit and you're gonna have to remember to use my superhero name if you see him before I do."

"I don't know your super hero name."

"I'll tell you but you can't tell anyone else or they'll know it's me and we'll all be in trouble."

"Fine. Shoot."

Do you know how hard is to lean over to a little girl's mouth level with a twelve pound baby strapped to your chest? Turns out, I really didn't have to. Girlfriend's whisper is louder than a jackhammer.

"Lightning Speed."

And this, my friends is how I got roped into making a superhero costume for one antsy little girl. And guess what color it's going to be?


I changed my mind. Perhaps listening to little girl gum flapping is a rather fine way to spend the morning after all.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I am ridiculously easy to distract

It's true and it would be nice if I could blame it on someone dangling stuff in front of my face. The reality, however, is that I have a thousand ideas bouncing around in my head at any given moment and can only follow through on those ideas when I'm supposed to be doing something else.

For instance, I'm supposed to be sewing up those post Easter dresses. Instead, all the fabric lies neatly in their flat rate boxes while I am practically teeming with gardening energy.

But can you blame me?? I have not one but two whole strawberries growing on my back porch.

Naturally, this means I must plant more. Suddenly, I am convinced that I do not in fact have a black thumb and that I possess the knowledge, power, and superhuman, super tight superhero costume wear mega strength to go all Laura Ingalls Wilder and provide my family with food grown with my magic, stuff growing fingers.

So before I wake up and realize that I did the same thing last year and only had a Charlie Brown rosemary tree and an unknown mystery pink, not-a-petunia looking plant to show for it, I took my happy behind out in the backyard and made all my precious little John Deere dreams come true.

May I present, La La la la lola?

Green stuff! YAY!!! I probably planted stuff entirely too close to each other especially considering how vine-y some of my choices are but whatever, live, learn, and buy your produce at Kroger, amiright?

The one thing I can't manage to get over though is the startling realization that I am, in fact, a complete and utter priss. Yes, I attacked the ground and the crap that was in it with gusto. However, I was also prancing around in my old navy shorts and bargain basement wally world sneaks like I was terrified something under the soil would jump out and eat my face. YES THIS IS A REAL FEAR! It didn't help that within mere seconds of lifting up one of those bricks, something slithery and gross meandered its way over the dirt.

Uhm, eww like for real and stuff.


I resisted the urge to flick it out of my precious little garden as if it were some kind of intruder that dare enter into my sacred, hallowed growing things ground. After all, earthworms are good for gardens, good for earth, or something so why do they have to look so ::doubleshiver:: gross?

I'm sorry, what was I saying?

Oh yes, do you know how long it takes to plant crap when you stop to brush off your hands every five minutes? This is particularly true when you can't bring yourself to brush them off on your person. It also adds to your gardening time when you refuse to sit directly on the ground and instead, choose to waste precious time considering your newly laid brick border for the best seating location to reach all your plants. We mustn't seat our precious heinie on the disgusting dirt stuff, you know. It's bad enough I'll have to wash my hands. I do not want to have to wash my knees, socks, or anything else really. Sure, I could buy a kneeler but I shouldn't have bought the plants either.


I'm actually quite ashamed of myself really and yet proud all at the same time.

After all, for all my wussiness, I have a purty garden to show for it.

Tomorrow I'll be planting flower seeds and I'll do my best to be less of a prissy heifer about it. After all, there's nothing prissier than enjoying a nice long soak in raspberry scented bubbles. Then all balance will be restored.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Deep Breaths

I, Samantha of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. I endeavour to wear at least one Me-Made garment each day for the duration of May 2012.

I am thrilled and a wee bit terrified to announce that I have signed my rear end up for a challenge.


I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. I feel my procrastination weighing on me like the last piece of birthday cake mocking you from the countertop. Bring your fat behind over here and eat me, lady. EAT ME!! Okay, so my sewing doesn't call to me quite like that but challenges like this usually mean I start them with the best of intentions, only to fail miserably, sort of like the Fall Palette Challenge from Colette that I conveniently "forgot" I signed up for, perhaps because I was busy stuffing my face with cake.

This time, I know I can, I know I can, I know I can.

Hey, it worked for the little engine.

(Don't even ask about the Easter outfits. From here on out, they will be referred to as spring outfits, yes? Yes. Also, I hate picture smocking and bunnies . . . a little bit)