Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Mannequin Dress

I'm referring to the finished product of Butterick 4790 as The Mannequin Dress. It looks great when you stand still, but when you move, all sorts of weird things happen. The straight under-dress rides up (see photo below, where I obviously didn't adjust it down before CPM snapped the shot). If you take a deep breath or bend the wrong way, the snaps might pop open, and then your lady parts are exposed for all the world to see.

Me Not Moving:

Still, I liked the way the bottom skirt was all twirly and fun. I had to find a way to save it for at least one wear. So I dug through my closet and found my favorite sweater. I think I can make this work, if I add a few extra snaps to the waist portion for added insurance and use the sweater to cover the top part not fitting me as well as it should. Also, I should probably wear a bra. I just threw this on from wearing my PJs and skipped that important foundational undergarment.

Maybe This Can Work:

Monday, November 23, 2009

In progress...Butterick 4790

I'm breaking my usual rule. If a pattern features a drawing on the cover, and not an actual human, I normally don't even attempt it. I don't trust that the finished product will actually look good on a human. But I was intrigued by Butterick 4790 after I saw this post on the Sew Retro blog.

You must understand how enthused I was about making this dress. (I don't actually know what came over me, I never get that focused about a project.) I had to go out and buy the pattern on Friday night after dinner so that I could have instant gratification. I couldn't order it and wait. I also luckily had exactly the right amount of fabric in my stash: a king sized Gaspa sheet from Ikea. When I got home from dinner/shopping on Friday, and my husband went to bed (at 7:30pm, go party animal!), I spent the next two hours cutting the pattern and fabric and pinning the darts.

On Saturday morning, I resisted the call of the sewing room in favor of working out and cleaning. Once the chores were out of the way, I allowed myself to be sucked into the forward several hours of sewing and hem pinning (mostly hem pinning, there really is a lot of hem to this dress). I should have been planning and cooking dinner during the latter portion of my sewing time, but I allowed myself to be convinced by my husband that going out to eat was the right choice, because it maximized my sewing time. When we got back from dinner, I sat on the couch for two hours and hand sewed the massive hem on the rear wrap portion while we caught up on our "programs." (I love our DVR.) This dress is a serious committment! I was then able to finish all of the bias bindings before hitting the sack.

So, I have no progress photo. I have to sew on a few snaps, a few buttons, and finally put it on. I have a feeling that it is 1 size too big for me, but I am determined to make this thing work, even if I have to stuff my bra! Stay tuned...

On Sunday night, I made these pumpkin scones. I highly recommend the recipe. The scones are incredible. I was craving a pumpkin scone from Starbucks all week last week, and these are even better. Of course, I didn't unload the photo from my camera yet, so all you have to go on that is the satisfied sound of my belly digesting the one that I ate for breakfast this morning. *Gurgle*

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Universe is Trying to Make a Point

I get it universe. I get it.

My whole life, I've gotten canker sores in my mouth. Through high school and college, I would frequently have multiple mouth wounds tormenting my existence. Add to that my love of spicy and acidic foods and you have a recipe for constant oral misery.

I don't really knows what causes them in me. Stress? Fighting off infection? Hormonal changes? I just know that the last few years have been blissfully free of major canker sore attacks. Then in the past month, I've had a series of doozies...two inside my mouth appeared and healed, to be quickly followed by two on my lips. One cleared up very quickly (thanks Abreva), but one refuses to disappear, probably because it opened up before I could treat it. It's gross and ugly (CPM calls it my second mouth). It's not taking longer than it should to go away, just longer than I think is attractive. It's not nice to feel like you have the herp. It really does a number on one's self confidence.

Maybe I'm stressed. I didn't actually feel stress in my life until just this week. Something pretty stressful, but not internet safe, occurred. Is it possible that my canker sores are prescient? I have psychic ulcers! Woohoo! (I can't wait for the google searches that bring people to this post...)

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a weekend!

Whew. I got nothing practical done this weekend.

On Saturday night, I saw Metallica for the second time in a year. We traveled from Philly to NYC, parked on the street for the cost of a $2 meter, had some sushi at West Side Sushi (yum), walked 16 blocks to Madison Square Garden, rocked out, walked back to the car, and then drove to Brooklyn for a midnight snack with some friends that I wish lived much closer. At that point, I told CPM that I was going to sleep in the car. And I did. I would periodically wake up and glance at the speedometer, see the needle hovering near 90, have a heart attack, and then close my eyes again. We made it home from Brooklyn in about an hour and 20 minutes. That is insanity. I got 5 hours of sleep that night altogether.

On Sunday, I planned to get together with my sister and her three kids to photograph them in Pennypack park. Great idea, right? The weather was perfect, the light was perfect in the park, I was so excited. What I forgot to figure in was that two thirds of the nieces and nephews are a bit, how do I put it, delicate. The photo session went something like this:

Me: Hey guys, go sit/stand/lean on that huge old log.
Niece: Ew, there's dirt on that log. I'm not touching it.
Me: Could you at least stand in the general vicinity of the log, then?

Me: Hey guys, let's walk down to that huge boulder and climb on it.

**We walk. We have to cross a little stream to get to the boulder. My sister goes first, to scope the safest/driest path. She reaches the other side, looks down at the leaves on the stream edge and...

Sister: Hey guys, check out this little snake on the edge of the stream! Cool!
Niece: (Shriek is audible for 10 miles around. Eventually she is cajoled into crossing stream and looking at snake. This kid has balls of steel. Sometimes.)
Older Nephew (who, at 10, outweighs me by 20 pounds, and looks down on my head): No way am I crossing that stream or going near that rock. There are snakes and they will eat me. I'm standing right here. (And he did.)
Littlest Nephew: (Carried over stream by me.) I'm being a good boy, Aunt Hedduh. You taka my pikchah and I get banana bread when we go back to your house! (Yes, I bribed him to behave and to take pictures using banana bread. It worked like a charm.)

We finished up at the boulder and decided that the whining (dirt/bugs/leaves/hunger/etc.) from the older two kids had reached its peak, and were walking out of the park. My sister and her kids were a bit ahead of me on the trail, as I followed behind shooting artsy "walking ahead of me photos." They were bickering the entire time, but the photos make them look like the worlds's happiest family. Ha! And then my sister says to my niece, "Hold on a sec. What's on your neck?" And my niece then has the world's most impressive meltdown. You know when kids have to be held down to get shots/be examined? It was like that. It took two of us to hold her still enough to flick off the tick that had luckily not yet attached to her neck. The whole time she was slithering around, whipping her head away from us, kicking, screaming. It was really a sight. We found it funny. So we laughed. Laughing at her misfortune is the surest way of pissing my niece off. The screaming then became even louder. Her face was red, and she was yelling at us to stop laughing at her and crying at the same time. This made us laugh even harder, which made her scream harder. By the time we reached the car, my niece (who is only 8), had settled into a very impressive pre-adolescent pout. It was quite dramatic. Luckily, I had a fresh pack of colored pencils waiting for her at my house. (See, more bribery!) It is my most effective tool as an aunt.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simplicity 3692

What the hell. I spent 2 hours putting together this knit top. I should know better. I have no serger. I used a cheap Wal Mart knit with horizontal stripes. I was also an idiot, and cut 2 back yokes instead of 1 front and 1 back. By the time I realized my error, I decided that unpicking seams would make me want to stab myself, and I'd rather just go with the flow. I know a wadder when I see one. I considered this more of a learning experience. Gathering knits: check. Making a yoke and yoke facing: check. More practice attaching sleeves correctly: check. I can wear this to clean the bathroom, so it's not a huge loss.

The pattern is Simplicity 3692. I've seen it done in wovens, and I may try that next. Eventually I'll get a serger and return to the land of knit.

It looks much better on the hanger than it does on me.

Simplicity 3692, Sort of.

Let's Pretend...

That the following four pictures of food make up for me doing absolutely nothing useful with my free time lately!

First up: a quick week night meal. I knew I had some veggies rolling around in the fridge. I also knew there might be a box of couscous in the pantry. Score! Roasted veggies with couscous. It's healthy. I think I ate Halloween candy for dessert to keep my diet balanced.

Roasted Veggies and Couscous

Next: A good use of a Quorn turkey roast that had probably been in my freezer for a few months. I invented a mac and cheese to go with it. Ingredients: 16 ounces of half and half, a whole stick of butter, a block of sharp cheddar, a block of asiago, and a big log of goat cheese. Melt dairy, cook pasta (orecchiette in this case), toss together in baking dish, top with bread crumbs, and bake. Probable caloric content: 1 million calories. The asparagus makes the dish healthier. Also, balanced this meal with Whole Foods bakery brand chocolate cake.

Quorn Turkey with Mac N Cheese

Next: The banana french toast from Vegan Brunch. Serve it with Tempeh Bacon. And fruit sauce. And maple syrup. And powdered sugar. Take a carb loaded nap after eating.

Banana French Toast

Finally: Seitan Cheesesteaks. These are only good when you use Ray's Seitan and good rolls. Any other seitan (including the crap you make yourself) is sub par. One day I will probably learn that Ray's puts cow blood in the seitan, and I would still eat it. These are topped with shredded cheddar jack cheese because I was too lazy to stop and get American on the way home from work.

Seitan Cheesesteak

I have had a "to do" list of sorts rolling around my brain. Some of it is done (winterized Vespa, check), some of it is not (make fall skirt). CPM and I are going to see Metallica this weekend. And then CPM and I are going to Toronto for the weekend at the end of the month. Eventually, I'll have interesting things to write about. Until then, eh.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wedding Crashers

I feel bad when I go to a wedding and the food that I'm eating sucks. I just hate knowing that someone has paid an arm and a leg for sub par catering. That's a major disappointment. It's even worse when the sub par food is the (unlisted) vegetarian menu offering that costs even less to prepare than the chicken/beef/fish. How do you mess up pasta? (Answer: by overcooking it, and then topping it with an oily/mushy mix of broccoli and green beans and calling it "primavera.") Thus, I am calling out the Stuart Thomas Manor in Farmingdale, NY for having shitty wedding food. Brides and grooms of Long Island, take your business elsewhere, lest you have a room full of hungry and disgruntled reception attendees.

I'm so glad that I eloped.