Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Silhouette Show

Last year, Peggy Sagers began having a 'Customer Appreciation' Fashion Show at the Expo...that is, she reserved the stage, then allowed anyone who made up a Silhouette Pattern to model the resulting garment...or garments, if they everyone could see the patterns made up on Real People. She even gave an incentive...a chance to win a free registration for one of her NYC Garment District shopping trips for anyone who participated. I couldn't do it last year because Miss A and I had to hotfoot it out of town so we could be back in the Rocket City in time for a conference (um, we were late...). But, this year I actually saved that time slot (it's at 3:15 on Friday) and I'm seriously considering taking a couple of things...the red holiday jacket being at the top of that list.

But...I think I'd feel kinda, um, well, you know, awkward doing the runway thing. Did anyone see that show last year? Was it fun or hokey?

At least I don't have to make my mind up on THAT one until I'm packing to go... ;)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm Registered....Expo Agony, Part 3

I considered the 5-classes vs 9-classes for a day or so; but in the end, the final decision maker was that the primary reason for going to the Expo is to be taught...the secondary reason is meeting up with sewing friends. Buying fabric is just sort of a fun bonus.

There will always be fabric available somewhere...but I will not often get to be taught by such sharp and knowlegeable folks as are assembled at the Expo. Anyway, the upshot is that I decided to go for the nine class package. ;)

After I decided that, I looked at my list of classes and was glad to see that I would only need to eliminate one class. After reading and re-reading the class description, I decided the details class by Diane Ericson was the one least likely to be useful to me...I love to look at Diane's creations, but, in all honesty, I don't wear a lot of artsy stuff. Funky, yes, from time to time, but not artsy. Anyway, I decided to eliminate that and set about putting all the others into a schedule.

It wasn't until I tried to put two classes in the same time slot that I realized that I still had concurrent selections...and they were both classes I wanted a lot. Cynthia's linings class and Louise's travel wardrobe class. Since I was taking several classes w/Cynthia, and this was the only chance I had to take one w/Louise (the other options were the same time as one or the other of my 'must take' classes), I decided to take Louise's class.

So, now I had an open slot. I'd already talked myself out of the details class so well that I wasn't tempted to put that back in the list; so I started reading the catalog again for those other classes that had caught my eye.

And discovered that they ALL were offered in a time slot in which I already had a class. With one exception.

So I signed up for Cynthia's Backs First class after all. I guess I was just meant to be in that class. ;)

So, for those who are still with me and who might be attending the Atlanta Expo, here is the final list (assuming that none of them were full as of last night):

Thur - 9 - Backs First Fitting/Guffey
Thur - 10:30 - Off Grain, On Target/Guffey
Thur - 2:30 - Fashion Illustration Basics/Ericson

Fri - 9 - Cutting Across the Country/Cutting
Fri - 1 - Jeans for Everybody/Sagers

Sat - 12:30 - Fearless Buttonholes/Guffey
Sat - 2 - Leather Logic/O'Connell
Sat - 3:30 - Pants Tweaking/Guffey

I know that's a little Guffey intensive...but Cynthia has 10 classes in the brochure! Most of the instructors are only teaching 3 -4. One of these years, I will skip the expo and save my pennies and do one of Cynthia Guffey's sewing clinics in Baton Rouge. I will, I will, I will...

One more note about the Expo...Shannon Gifford, who is no slouch as a sewing instructor herself and has been asked about teaching at the Expo, has told me that the folks receive NO compensation for teaching the classes; the only money they make is from product sold in their booths. While my budget will be down, I do intend to buy *something* from each person from whom I take a class... ;)

Monday, January 29, 2007

More Thank You Gifts

Miss R was the friend who actually perceived that I was in need of help and did a bunch of phone calling to round up the other four ladies to come and pack. So, I made a matched tote bag/apron set for her.

I love this fabric and had a hard time not using it to make a topper for myself... ;)

The linings are ready on the final two bags; I just need to put the bags themselves together.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Whittling the List: Expo Agony, Part 2

Ok, I sat down and looked at my ridiculous, overlapping list of classes to take.

Where to start?

Well, the first thing to look at: what do I *need* to learn?

Two classes jump out at me immediately...Diane Ericson's Fashion Illustration class (yeah, the double one) and Peggy Sager's Jeans class.

I can't draw worth a flip...I mean, even my stick figures are rather drunken looking. But I'm finding I'm frustrated in trying to communicate what I see in my head for costumes to someone who can't see the lovely thing that is in my head. I don't expect to leave the class able to illustrate for pattern covers, but it would be nice to at least catch the idea of what I see so that I can discuss costuming with the directors better. So, while that's not something I'd go for because I want it...I think it's something I need.

And...I've really never made jeans before. I used to be able to find jeans that fit *good enough* at the Lee outlets here and there, but since the days of the dropped waist and lycra fit, (and, as Kathleen Fasanella might add, The CAD camel toe), I've not been able to consistently locate jeans that I'm comfortable wearing. So I bought one of the Hot Patterns Jeans patterns and I'm actually considering beginning the process of developing my own personally-fit jeans pattern. So any wisdom Peggy could pass along pertaining to making and fitting blue jeans will be greatly appreciated and quite possibly more than a little useful.

So, that adds up to the equivalent of three classes.

Next in the class selection process, I went through the list and crossed off classes that I thought probably duplicated material I have had before. Not that it wouldn't hurt to hear it again...just that, well, I gotta cut something!

I took Cynthia's Tops Fitting class last year, which dealt heavily with back fitting (and was amazing and I want to see it again, but, well...), so I could probably eliminate the Backs Fitting Class. And I took Louise's Cutting Edge class last year, also...which may have new stuff this year, but from the class description it looks like it could repeat a bit. Then I looked at the three-part 'Bridge to Fabulous Sewing' series that Cynthia's doing. I'd really like to do that, but from the descriptions I think she will probably cover information that I've heard from her before in some form...and I still haven't got the specialty feet for my machine that some of her techniques specify. I'd like to hear what Peggy Sagers has to say in the 'Speedy Sewing' class...but, the truth is, I can be a sewing whirlwind when I put my mind to it, so I don't know how much new-to-me stuff she'd be presenting.

So, now my list looks like this:
Cynthia Guffey:
Backs First Fitting - Thur 9 AM
Off Grain, On Target - Thur 10:30 AM
Pants Tweaking - Thur 2:30 PM or Sat 3:30 PM
Lining Guides - Fri 9 AM
Solid Beginnings - Fri 10:30 AM
Skillful Stitching - Fri 2:30 PM
Sewing Workshop - Fri 6:30 this one counts as two and has a materials fee
Fearless Buttonholes - Sat 12:30 PM

Peggy Sagers:
Jeans for Everybody - Fri 1 PM
Speedy Sewing - Sat 2 PM

Diane Ericson:
Fashion Illustration - Thur 2:30 PM another double class with a fee
All in the Details - Fri 10:30 AM

Louise Cutting:
Cutting Edge - Thur 2:30 PM or Fri 4 PM
Across the Country - Fri 9 AM

Tammy O'Connell: Leather Logic - Thurs at 9 AM or Saturday at 2 PM.

So, I have three slots definitely filled...and 7 more classes to cull down some more.

Now, 'tis time to determine if I'm going to take 5 class package, or forfeit some shopping money to take the 9-class package.

Either way, something's going to get cut!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Expo Agony

Every year it's the same. There is one extremely painful process associated with the Expo (besides paying the credit card bill after same)-- figuring out which classes to take and which classes I won't get to take. Yesterday, I thought I had my choices made, but this morning I began to waffle on it and now I'm starting over again.

Here's the list of all the classes that I really *want* to take:

Cynthia Guffey:
Backs First Fitting - Thur 9 AM
Off Grain, On Target - Thur 10:30 AM
Pants Tweaking - Thur 2:30 PM or Sat 3:30 PM
Lining Guides - Fri 9 AM
Solid Beginnings - Fri 10:30 AM
Skillful Stitching - Fri 2:30 PM
Sewing Workshop - Fri 6:30 this one counts as two and has a materials fee
Fearless Buttonholes - Sat 12:30 PM

Peggy Sagers:
Jeans for Everybody - Fri 1 PM
Speedy Sewing - Sat 2 PM

Diane Ericson:
Fashion Illustration - Thur 2:30 PM another double class with a fee
All in the Details - Fri 10:30 AM

Louise Cutting:
Cutting Edge - Thur 2:30 PM or Fri 4 PM
Across the Country - Fri 9 AM

And finally Tammy O'Connell's Leather Logic class, which is Thurs at 9 AM or Saturday at 2 PM.

Obviously, even if I had unlimited funds, I couldn't take all of them; they conflict. So now the problem becomes...what do I cut?

AAAiiiieeee, this is the hard part...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Eating Money and Expo Registration

We've eaten a lot of money this week...or, put the money where the mouths are...or some similar thing.

Monday I had a crown prep ($$); Tuesday 10 YO DD got braces put on her teeth so the soon-to-erupt permanent teeth will hopefully have a place to go. $$$ again.

And it's time to register for the Atlanta Expo.

My first pass through the schedule netted me 12 classes that I wanted, including one with a materials fee. After the dental bills, I went back and revamped the whole thing, shaving the list down to 5, with a smaller materials fee for a different class. That'll keep the registration fee below $100. I still have to run the thing past DH, just to make sure I'm not going to inadvertently break the bank...I *think* it'll be ok, so long as I don't spend beaucouldles of money on the vendor floor.

But that's so be around such temptation. Could I really be Very Good and just get the notions I plan to pick up? Will I resist new patterns? And the, I'd better plan on spending a little at the Expo, too...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bamboo Bamboo

Ok, over the weekend I had to make an emergency notions run to Hancock's...I took my '40% off the regular price of any one fabric cut' coupon with me and actually bought another piece of fabric; I'm justifying this one because 1) it's not something I can guarantee I'll find again and 2) I want to encourage The Powers That Be at Hancock's to carry more fabric of this quality.

I got 1 3/4 yards of dark brown (organic, no less) bamboo/lycra knit. It's very, very a rayon, or even some acrylics. I'm almost afraid it's so soft it will be uber clingy, but maybe not. I thought I'd wash it and make it right up into a turtleneck top, but I discovered that, in a rare moment of domestic efficiency, I'd already washed the load it should go in. So it's got to wait for the next time the brown/green/grey load comes up. And, the more I think about it, I believe that it's wide enough that I could get a twinset from that piece of fabric.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get it made up fairly soon...into something...and I'll report back on what I think of the fabric after I'm done ;)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Back to Monday Night Cutting

I wasn't sure I could maintain the Monday Night Cutting; DH withdrew from his Monday evening Bible study; just not enough hours in a week. He was so pressed for time that he wasn't doing the preparation for it and wasn't getting nearly the full benefit; I was sad for him to withdraw, but I know he's got enough on his plate without it. So, my 'evening at home alone' went away. Plus, I signed up for a ladies' exercise class at church that meets on Monday evenings (gotta do something about those scary scale numbers). But, when I went I found out that class only goes from 6 -'s not an evening devouring thing.

So,after I got home last night, I happily pulled out the cutting table and cut out four knit shirts (3 for me, one for DD). I have hopes of maintaining my Table Time after all;).

Now I've got a sizeable the still messy sewing room. I've cleaned a bit, but there's still a lot to do. However, I've GOT to get those Thank-you gifts done and distributed this week...I gave Miss L her bag, and it'd been so long that she forgot what she'd done that I was thanking her for!

Um, that's kinda pathetic that it took that long...but, as a result, she was Really Surprised to get her bag! A gift from the blue...that part was fun.

I wonder if the other ladies will remember?

Monday, January 22, 2007

I Guess You Really Can't Take Me Anywhere

Subtitle: Thank goodness that stain stick stuff really works!

We had a kind of informal reception to go to Saturday night; I decided to wear a blue jacket and a white top with a favorite blue print wrap skirt...we NEVER wear blue in choir, so it's nice to have a chance to justify the blue things in the closet from time to time. HOWEVER...

One of the goodies at the reception was a chocolate fountain. I got ONE (yes, one) juicy strawberry and waved it under the chocolate, commenting as I did so that, with me, this was likely a mess waiting to happen (oh, be careful little mouth, what you say...).

Sure enough, in less than two minutes, I had chocolate dribbled on the front of my white top. Fortuntately, a friend had one of those Tide stain pen thingies in her purse...I went to the bathroom and applied said pen to the spot on my top...and the spot came out. It really did. Ok, so now I have to go buy a dozen of those pens...

But the evening wasn't over. I did manage to eat a plate of safe, non-drippy food (a couple of slices of fresh pineapple and a pecan tart) without making a mess, but later in the evening I fetched myself a cup of coffee, and turned to go talk to another friend that I'd spied earlier but hadn't spoken to. I took about two steps, stirring the coffee, and I suddenly thought 'I'll probably spill this all over myself' (oh, be careful little brain what you think...). It is the truth...the moment that thought completed its trip across my little brain, my heel hit a slick spot on the floor and my foot slid out from under me and... I dumped about half the coffee on my jacket, my skirt and the floor. I couldn't believe it.

At that point, I figured I'd better just go home, crawl in bed, and pull the covers over my head....

Saturday, January 20, 2007


The bag on the right is correct; the bag on the left has a boo-boo. I don't know why I had in my head that those straps should connect *across* the bag instead of *along* the bag, but I did. I thought it was a little weird to carry, but it wasn't until I was making the second one that the lightbulb went on. But the truth is, there are NO illustrations of the finished bag in the instruction guide; the only sketch of the finished product is on the back of the envelope. When I finally hunted the envelope down (it was still on the cutting table) and saw that yes, those straps are to connect on the same side I was seriously embarrassed.

Ok, so I did it correctly on L's bag...then I wondered what to do about K's bag...the one on the left. Should I just call it 'an alternative arrangement' and give it to her? Or...unpick all the topstitching and the seams and redo the straps?

I haven't been following Summerset's adventures with the American Beauty set for nothing; I absorbed the lesson of Three Linings and was awestruck. So, with that as my example, I spent about half an hour last night with the seam ripper and fixed it.

Now my conscience is clear. ;)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Bonus Post: Me, too...the Five Things Tag

When I saw that Danielle from Final Fashion had tagged Mary Beth at The Stitchery, I realized that the game had made the jump to the sewing bloggers...and that sooner or later I'd probably get tagged. The deal is this: If you are tagged, you
1) Post 5 things about yourself that you have never posted
2) Tag 5 people whom you'd like to know more about

Sure enough, Gaylen, who writes G Marie Sews tagged me this morning...

SO, Part the First...hopefully, I haven't already posted any of this stuff:

1) I've fed lions. Really. My uncle was a vet student at Purdue when I was a kid, and part of his college funding plan including working with the animals in the small zoo that was attached to Columbia Park (suddenly that doesn't look right...I hope my memory isn't failing me.) in Lafayette, IN. While he was there, one of the lionesses gave birth to triplets, which were named Tom, Dick and Harry. However, Mama Lioness rejected two of the triplets, so Uncle Ronnie had the task of bottle feeding them for a little while. He brought them out to my Grandparents one weekend and we all got to see (and bottlefeed) the cubs....just a little. Even at the young age of those babies, they were still lions and they still had very sharp teeth and claws. So we fed them VERY CAREFULLY.

2) I am an (inactive) member of the Professional Disc Golf Players Association...number 1818. DH & I actually played in tournaments before we had kids; I usually ended up solidly in the middle of the competition, if there were more than three ladies who showed up to play ;). I like Disc Golf; you can play a whole 18 hole round in an hour and a half or so...if you're having a bad round, it doesn't hurt for so long. However, it's been so long since I played regularly that I need a calculator to keep track of my score...

3) I play the clarinet, and was drum major of our high school marching band my senior year.


5) I am a definite Night's much easier for me to stay up late than it is to get up early. If I had my druthers, I'd stay up until 2 AM or so and then sleep until 9 or 10. Unfortunately, society does not run on those hours. (DH is, of course, a Morning Person who hates to stay up past 9:30 PM. Why does it always happen that way?)

I watched as the tags have hopped around a number of the blogs I read, with a sinking feeling that, by the time it got to me, most of the bloggers I know would have been tagged already. It can't just be any ol''s got to be someone who might actually read this blog. I mean, it wouldn't do much good for me to tag the Superfantastic Manolo, as I doubt he drops by lowly Sew Random. And I can't tag my mother...she doesn't blog.
Hence the immediate response to Gaylen's tag...I'm afraid if I wait until tomorrow, there won't be anyone left!

But, I don't think these folks have been tagged yet...and I *think* most of them check in here from time to, I tag:

Pins and Needles
Gorgeous Things
The Southern Sewa
and Rustybobbin

I *would* tag Jemimabean, but I'm cutting her some slack since she's in the midst of the post-ice-storm apocalypse and there is no electricity in her neck of the woods. (ETA: I just noticed that Shannon tagged Jemimabean already anyway...gee, this is like buying fabric from Emmaonesock's roll ends page...ya gotta be quick....)

I will say that it has been fun reading all the "five things" that others have posted...I'm surprised by how many superb vocalists there are who sew and post (I am not one)...and I've found some new links, too. So this has been a Worthwhile Project. ;)

Overdue Thanks, Part 2

I don't know why I was all hush-hush on the first Overdue Thanks post...the chances of any of the five ladies for whom I'm making things stopping in here are just slightly higher than the chances of President Bush dropping by the house to say hello. So, anyway, here's the first of the Thank-You gifts; it's Loes Hinse's Weekender Bag, slightly modified. I added two on the outside (that's a fused-on initial) just by putting a lined layer between the handles, and a second on the inside by simply omitting the edgestitching along the top edge of the zippered pocket. I also stiffened the bottom a bit with some double-sided Peltex. I haven't put the button on yet; I'm making a total of four of these bags and I thought I'd just sit down and sew all four buttons on at once.

This is a cool's my first attempt at bag making and it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. I'm not crazy about sewing bulky fabric...but this upholstery fabric wasn't so bad, about the same as jeans-weight denim. Actually, the biggest problem I had is that the fabric had been coated with some sort of stiffener on the backside that made it rather sticky to work with. I have one more bag to make out of this fabric; the other two are out of a textured blue and white stripe, which is a little lumpy and may give me more trouble. But Loes was pretty careful to minimize seam intersections and such to cut down on the bulk as much as possible, which helped considerably.

I may even make one for me one of these days...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Photo Link Woes (again)

This time last year I was agonizing over which photo service to go with for the review photos; ultimately, I picked Yahoo because (1) it's free (2) I could link individual pictures to a review and (3) it's free. But I had (still have) a huge backlog of reviews (I got 2002 and a bit of 2003 updated...but I still have most of 2003 and 2004 left) with broken Photoworks links that I need to go back and fix. But Yahoo upgraded their photo site last year too and...the old links don't work there, either. Well,let me correct that, they sort of work; it'll go to the homepage, so a determined review reader *could* click around until the correct photo was located, but I'm sure it's frustrating. I know it bugs the stew outta me.

And, with the 'upgraded' Yahoo photo site, it is necessary to click through about 2 additional windows in order to get a photo uploaded to a correct album. It seems to me I *should* be able to upload directly to a specified album, but my attempts to do so have resulted in creation of a new album with the same name and one photo in it, instead of the new photo added to the exisiting album. So everything gets uploaded to the 'All Photos' album, then copied to the correctly labeled album. And it's not enough to have the album flagged as public...each photo must be individually tagged 'public' in order for Jane Review Reader to see it. Now, I know that by using the tags I could create 'smart albums',so maybe Yahoo is trying to discourage folks from having a bunch of albums and substituting the tags instead? Or do you suppose they're deliberately trying to get us to visit as many windows as possible in order to maximize the advertising opportunities?

All I know is that it has become a longer, more tedious process to upload photos...and I've got a bunch of links to add to the 'fix this' list.

But it is still free and I still can (eventually) link an individual photo, so I guess I'll learn to live with the headache.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Red Shoes!

(They really are dark red; on my monitor, it looks kind of dark fuschia...but then, we're having image problems)

I guess it was November when I decided that I needed red shoes in my wardrobe. I'd always thought of red shoes as, well, sort of frivolous. But a revelation hit me that,if I accessorize right, I could wear them with black, grey, brown, blue, and suddenly what I had thought was a frivolous notion sounded downright practical. So I began looking for red shoes.

But my foot needs a 6 1/2 or 7 WIDE shoe. Tough enough to find in basic black, let alone a funky color like red. And forget anything that has a heel more than 2"...even 2" heels aggravate my back. But I kept looking...and last week, I found the Pretty Good Red Shoes.

Now, these are not exactly what I had in mind; my Perfect Red Shoes would be more the color of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers, only without the sparkle, and they would be a little less pointy in the toe, and they would be real leather, not fake. But these Hush Puppies were less than $40 from Zappo's, and they're dressy with a nice low heel. And, believe it or not, they're just a hair big, even though I got the 6 1/2; I'll have to add some toe cushions, I think.

At the least, they're good enough for me to find out if red shoes really are a wardrobe necessity. If I wear these a lot, I won't feel so frivolous spending a little more on shoes that are real leather ;).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Holidays are Over

It almost seems silly for the kids to get two weeks off for Christmas, go to school for one week, then get another day off. Back in the day, in the land far away (can you believe I'm even saying that...), when we returned to school after Christmas, that was it...until Easter. Good Friday and the following Monday were even labeled 'Long Haul Break' on our school lunch menu. The Long Haul is Long Gone; every month of the school calendar has at least one day off now.

But that first week back after Christmas has a kind of surreal quality...the upcoming three-day-weekend keeps everyone from shifting completely back into gear again. But, now that it's yesterday, and the next day off isn't for another five weeks, I think maybe we can try to pull the routine back. Ok, let me rephrase that...we can try to get a routine pulled together. Anyway, I got Absolutely Nothing Productive done over the three-day-weekend. Well, I take that back. I got about 3 patterns traced. And played video games with DS. And took DD to the dentist. So I guess it wasn't completely useless.

But, anyway, it's time to take the nice dreamy music out of the stereo, put on some up beat happy stuff and get to work...where'd I put my Daytimer and that box of 3x5's...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sewing Quirks

Once upon a time, many years ago a fair-to-middling seamtress (yes, that would be me), laid a pattern piece erroneously on the fabric and cut the pattern out along the line marked 'place on fold'. Devastated by the ruination of a garment before the first stitch was sewn (I can't remember whether I tried a narrow seam, recut the piece or simply ditched the whole thing...heck, I can't even remember what the garment was. It was a VERY long time ago!), the seamstress decided to leave a paper margin along the 'place on fold line' to remind her 'Don't cut here, Doofus!'

As I was tracing patterns yesterday evening (yeah, still...instead of cleaning the sewing room...) I realized that I *still* do this:

It's so normal for me that I don't even notice it, but when I've traced patterns for, say, Bible costumes and have others helping cut,it has caused some confusion. So I have to explain why the margin is there. It really isn't a problem...the tissue is transparent enough that the fold of the fabric can easily be seen well enough to line the pattern up...but it has gotten me some rather odd looks from fellow sewing enthusiasts.

So I started wondering...does anyone else have any 'weird sewing habits' like that, or is it just me? ;)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Must Decide

Boy, there are a lot of pieces in that Neue Mode pattern! But I finished tracing/preliminary adjustments last night; now I need to decide what I'm going to use to make it. I've thought about just making a throw-away muslin from ugly fabric, and I might do that...or I might alter it slightly and make a Loes Hinse-style jacket from it. The main point is to see how the shoulder/armsceye/sleeve all fits and hangs...if it's good, I'll be morphing that whole assembly onto jackets that have given me problems in that area (like the FSG jacket, which is still awaiting alteration transfer from the muslin to the pattern). I do think it's a nice little jacket...I may go through the stash and see if I have anything that's good enough but not too good to try it. I've not made a Neue Mode pattern before, so I'm not really sure how it fits. According to the flat pattern measurements, it should be good, but since there are no markings for bust point, waistline, full hip, etc, I'm not sure I measured exactly right.

But the main thing that is holding me back is the state of the sewing room; it's gridlock in there. I need to just take a deep breath and go in with the intention of not coming out again until it's clean.

I know... I'll just issue a challenge to DD...see if she can get her room clean before I get the sewing room clean...given the fact that I'll be doing laundry also, she just might make it. Prize at stake: A dark chocolate Hershey bar... ;)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Limping Along

Sometimes the collective reluctance of our family to discard anything that was once useful comes in handy...

The first computer we purchased (11 years ago) died a worthy death well before we moved from the old house. But somehow the carcass of it followed us through the intervening moves, and DH recalled that it had a video card in it. A very old, low-tech, low-resolution but still functioning video card.

So he found the old computer box, pulled the video card and replaced the video card in the current machine.

No more screen hang ups!

Ok, things *look* a little weird, and the resolution leaves something to be desired (can't see the details on the reviews and sites of fellow Sewing Enthusiasts too well, for instance), but I *can* type an email without minimizing and maximizing the screen to refresh it after every couple of keystrokes.

So now we know what the problem was...but DH decided to just order a new CPU anyway, figuring the video card was just the first of the aging components to fail and the rest would soon follow (still don't know what happened to the budget data, but it at least was recoverable...whew). But the new box will take a week or so to get here, so we'll just limp along with the weird look until then...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Pattern Tracing Anointing

You'd think I'd be working on that Guy Laroche pattern preparatory to receiving my lovely wool to make it, but no, I've been tracing off this one instead:

I'm not really going off in an uplanned direction; I like the sleeve head shaping on both the jacket and the blouse (and, just in case you're wondering, I'm making the frou-frou free version). My intention is to see if this is going to be an armsceye/sleeve head combo that I can use as a template for other patterns...and I need some button-up shirts; my wardrobe has become very skewed towards t-shirts over the last few years. I've got the blouse traced with preliminary fit adjustments; the jacket's a little more complicated...but I can leave it on my table all day if I need to and whack away at it as I have a few minutes here and there.

I'm going to try to make Thursdays my 'go to church and work on costumes' day; I've got sorting/storage issues that need to be addressed before we find ourselves in the midst of a costume crunch again like we did last spring. Dunno at this point if I'll work one hour, or two, or four...a lot depends on what shape things are in and what ok's I get to clean house ;)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Computer Glitchiness

It was an occasional unexpected reboot for months. "Unknown Device Driver" was the culprit, according to Microsoft's Online Crash Analysis.

Then, just before Christmas, the monitor would black out momentarily then come back on. We thought it was a problem with the screen, so, after we got back, DH switched the monitor w/the one in DS's room; but, no, the blackouts still happened. In about a week, that has escalated to severe problems w/the display/cpu interface. We may be talking something seriously fried...our budget program suddenly appears to be devoid of all data (shriek!)...and I managed to get on today only by doing a system restore to about 10 PM last night.

This looks serious.

Most of our stuff is on a removeable hard drive (not the budget data, unfortunately. We *thought* it was running off the 2nd drive, but discovered this morning that it wasn't), so most of our files should be ok...eventually...and I'm going to go pull the last printout I used to balance the files out of the trash so I have the current balances on hand, at least...

Anyway, I'll post as I can...if I don't post, you can blame it on computer problems.

But, there's a silver lining...if I can't spend time on the net reading sewing blogs and boards, maybe I'll actually sew a little... ;)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I forgot to ask Santa for willpower...

The first fabric purchase of the year...well, at least I made it a week.

But I have this great Vogue pattern that's been in the stash since October '05, waiting for the right fabric. Yesterday,I got my newsletter and swatches from The Fashion Sewing Group, and, lo and behold, there was this lovely dark grey wool twill with an elongated herringbone-type weave that grabbed me by the front of my shirt and yelled, 'Make that Guy Laroche coat from me!!!' right in my face.

What else could I do?

That'll be 2 1/2 yards in the 'Fabric in' column in a couple of days...maybe if I sew fast, I can have 2 1/2 yards in the 'Fabric out' box before it gets here?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Potential Project Overload

Ok, so it's a new year, and, at the moment, there are no 'gotta do its' costuming, choir clothes, or requests outstanding (well, not counting a couple of odd puppets that need some straps hour or hour and a half project).

And I succumbed to the Hot Patterns 3-for-2 sale; waiting on me when we got back from Indiana were:
Classix Nouveau Razor-Sharp Pants,Plain & Simple Princess Shirt and the Denim Diva Classic Bootcut jeans, which has now been discontinued and doesn't have an image available any more. Of course, I am just dying to get started on them...and there's the FSG muslin changes that're still awaiting to be transferred to the pattern...the 'Thank you gifts' that need to be assembled...the pink tweed jacket that I *will* need for choir in about 4 months...

And then there are some projects that haven't even been started, some things I need in the wardrobe...a white shirt, a short sleeved white shirt (ok, I don't *need* that until about May), some leggings for running on chilly mornings (the ubiquitous 'get in shape' resolution, you know), a black rayon/lycra tank/cami...

And that's not even considering the things I just want to make, like the 'In The Trenches' outfit I wanted to make to wear to LAST year's Sewing Expo...I'm determined to make it for this year; the actual, real, nice fabric version of the Cadeau top, the shirts for DH for which I purchased lovely silky cottons from Michael something like 4 years ago, the list goes on and on and on and on...

Just piles of stuff that I want to make, really, and I can't make up my mind where to start. Oh, and the sewing room is a total wreck. Not sure how *that* happened... ;)

First things first: Carry the Christmas decorations upstairs, work on the budget (it must be caught up by the end of the week), THEN choose a project. I'm sorta feeling a pattern tracing anointing coming on today...I don't have to clean the sewing room to do that, and I can try out my new craft table. :D

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I Must've Been a Good Girl

I got sewing stuff for Christmas!

The biggest gift, literally, was the gate-leg craft table, from The Man of the House. It's a hair smaller in both length and width than the kitchen table, but it's 36" high. Hopefully, that will help with the lower backache that has me moving Real Slow after a day of cutting or tracing. I've decided I want two for church, so we can put them end-to-end...if we ever get a sewing room set up there. ;)

My sister and my mother went together and got Helen Joseph Armstrong's Patternmaking for Fashion Design for me. That's a pretty intimidating volume! So far, I have barely opened it. Is there a good way to digest that thing, or should I just plan to use it for a reference mostly?

Finally, my Dear Sis-in-Law in California gave me a straight stitch throat plate/presser foot combo...that doesn't quite fit my machine. I can fudge the foot by nudging the needle position over a bit, but the throat plate doesn't fit the's about 1/8" too long. My New Home *is* something like 16 year old, and it may be that the dealer out yonder thought this kind of generic Janome set would fit. I'm going to run it over to my local guy this week and see if I can switch them out for a set that actually fits my machine, but that may not be possible. I really hope it is; I've looked at the day-before-the-Expo classses for the Atlanta Sewing Expo, and both Louise Cutting and Cynthia Guffey have straight stitch throat/foot on the Materials List that students are to bring. I originally bought this machine because I couldn't get specialty feet for my (then)10-year-old Kenmore; I'd hate to replace it just because I can't get feet for it, either...

I've been working all weekend on de-decorating the house; I should have all the trimmings and trappings boxed and ready to carry to the attic before I go to bed tonight. I hope to get to the sewing machine this week; I'll see one of the ladies who helped us move way back when next weekend and I'd like to have at least her thank-you gift done in time to take it with me ;)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

*Still* Catching Up

Of course, that could be my Life Motto...

Anyway, we were with family in Indiana for Christmas week...home for 3 days...then gone again. Some Very Dear friends of ours said they wanted to bless the DH and me and gave us three nights in a timeshare unit in Gatlinburg, TN (where's that jaw-dropping graemlin when you need it?). It was a bit harried to do it during the holiday, but it made getting the two younger DKids situated for the week so much easier, since school was not an issue (they go back Monday). So, instead of sewing/organizing/etc last week...I went to the Smokies with my Sweetie. It'd been three years since we'd done any 'go away by ourselves' type of thing, so it was GREATLY appreciated.

That was the first time I'd been to Gatlinburg...I'm not much on touristy-type places, but we spent our days poking around in the Arts and Crafts community just outside of town...that was cool. Unfortunately, it appears that we were a wee bit late...a number of the places were closed until March (Jan 1 - March 1 is apparently the 'off season'....every hotel had a 'VACANCY' sign lit). But we did still see some very neat things. One of our favorites (we actually bought some stuff here) was Alewine Pottery. This was a really big (two buildings) pottery shop, and there were a number of beautiful pieces I would like to have brought home, but we each chose a mug, and we got one of their 'Rebekah Pitchers' (one is pictured in the middle left of their homepage) as a gift for the folks who sent us away. I would've liked to hang around a little longer and watch them work, but the shop was a bit crowded (off season notwithstanding...they were having a sale) so we didn't stay too long.

Since DH is gone (we got into town last night, and he left on a short business trip this morning) I should have more access than normal to the computer; I'll post about sewing-related Christmas gifts tomorrow :D

Friday, January 05, 2007

Farewell '06

Am I late or what?

We're back in town now for a good, long while, I do believe, so it's time to catch up.

Firstly, the last project for '06, the 2nd draft of the Cadeau T:

Ok, technically it wasn't wearable until Jan 1...I finished it on Dec 31, then put it on and found that the very lightweight matte jersey didn't drape like the original slinky be blunt, it cupped under my tum and bum and looked like a maternity top. Not a look for me these days. But, after throwing it in a heap and forgetting it for the rest of the night, I had an idea on New Year's Day, took the band off the bottom, cut 3" off the bottom edge of the top and put the band back on. I think it's wearable now, although the neckline is still too wide. I believe I moved it in 1" at the shoulders; I could probably move it in another inch or so to get it where I could wear normal straps under it. But 21 YO DD thought it was cute...and that's saying something. I'll probably update the review tomorrow.

Secondly, Totals for 2006:
Fabric In: 161.975 yds
Fabric Out: 128 yds
Last fabric purchase: 12/11/06
Garments made for me: 41
Garments made for other people in my family: 18
Home Dec projects: 1 tablecloth; 3 sets waterbed sheets/pillowcases; 1 Kids' throw pillow
Wadders (er...unintentional muslins): 1

Miscellaneous Church-Related Sewing:
6 Roman Soldier tunics and shorts, 18 Bible robes and 9 vests, 22 altar blankets, 2 kid's tunics, 1 medieval dress, 12 stage drapes, 1 kids' sized Grim Reaper Robe

Team Effort: 4 Baptismal Robes, 15 Bible Robes,6 Vests

I really blew it w/regard to fabric parity...naughty, naughty. No more bundles for me. This year I will instigate the 'Guaranteed Parity Plan' -- if I buy more than I sew, the difference must be given away the first week of '08.

That threat ought to help a little, no?

One final image: DS and his converted sweatshirt:

Despite the amateur photog's red eyes, can't you just see how tickled he was with his new pillow?

That was some bonus points for Mom, that was... ;)