Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lots of Christmas Sewing

Well, the plans for my Christmas dress fell through, but that's ok. I'm going to wear a lovely dress I made back in November. It didn't help things that I was really sick for a couple weeks.

Currently I'm sewing a professional tote from Creative Thimble. I really love the features in it and it's going to be outstanding with the fabrics I chose. Here's my progress thus far:
I've also rediscovered my love for knitting. I've knitted two pairs of socks and now I'm knitting scarves. Here's the first scarf I got done:
I wouldn't have thought I would have time for knitting since I hardly ever have time for sewing, but I've found a good bit of time. See, with sewing you have to sit at the machines and get things set up, etc. Not easy to do with various people yelling "Mommy....!" However, with knitting I can do it in the car, while snuggling on the couch with the little ones, it's very flexible.

I'm currently working on a second scarf, then I'll do a scarf and hat for my baby daughter and sew some pajamas for my oldest two. I am really enjoying doing Christmas projects.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Dress

Every year my husband's work throws a great Christmas party. It's being held in a nice hotel, so I want to wear something beautiful. If I buy a dress my only options are knits as my chest is bigger than what RTW allows for. I had decided lately that I don't have time to make a Christmas dress. But then I saw this from the Burda December preview:
So I'll wait until my Burda gets here and then I'll decide if it's doable in time for the party or not. I want something that's sexy but I don't want to look trashy or silly. This dress seems like it may fit the bill.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

New President

Barack Hussein Obama. I just want to vomit at hearing that name.

A part of me wants to laugh. Really hard. But then I stop when I realize I'll be suffering through his four years along with everyone who voted for him. I can't imagine what it's like for my marine friend to have to call Obama Commander-In-Chief. He is really bummed right now.

Guess I should go enjoy my possessions while I can before Obama equally distributes them among my neighbors. And also before he hikes up our taxes so I can't afford more possessions.

In the end our country will get the leader it deserves, so it turns out we deserve Obama. I just hope it won't be as bad as I'm sure it will be. My main hope is that the man doesn't nationalize our health care system while in office.

And what is the deal with people voting based on gender or skin pigment? Does anyone care whether or not a person is qualified? No, they don't. For a country that claims it's all about diversity, we sure did spend a lot of time fawning over the fact that Palin is a woman and Barack is black. We're so focused on gender and color that we don't see the full picture. I don't care what gender or color a person is, I just want the person that will get the job done. And Barack Obama is NOT that person.

So there, my rant is done. And it wasn't nearly as bad as I could have done. Just had to get it out of my system. I just hope that the United States moves on and we do ok during these four years. I would love for Obama to prove me wrong and show he's a great leader, but I don't see that happening at all.

I am however relieved that this is all over. I get SO ANNOYED hearing those ads over and over again. And the automated phone calls for all these people I've never even heard of before.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Sock Knitting

One evening at youth group, I saw my friend Janine knitting an eyeglasses case for felting. As I watched her knitting it reminded me of how much fun I had years ago when I knitted a pair of slippers. Those slippers were so comfy and I never did find out where they disappeared to. So I got this notion in my head to take up knitting again. The main benefit being I have a creative hobby that's portable and convenient. My feet are perpetually ice cold, so I decided to learn how to knit socks. It's actually not that hard and it goes pretty quickly. Even with three kids and practically zero free time I managed to knit up my first pair quickly enough. Here are my socks:
I love how the pattern is different on each sock due to the random effect of the color changes. The sock on the left has a sharper zig-zag, while the sock on the right has more of a gentle swirl going on. It's really cool.

I actually found knitting to be quite a stress relief. Since people seem to have nothing better to do lately than tick me off, I found this relief couldn't come at a better time. Although at times I found I had to back off my tension and unclench my teeth while knitting.

I think for my next pair I'll try a white-red-green Christmas yarn. I'll just do a regular worsted weight. Originally I was doing a boucle yarn slipper, but I found the boucle was impossible to work with as it kept snagging. I'm hoping it was just my inexperience and would like to try it again as it was such a soft and warm yarn.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Halloween Costume Is Done

Well, I got my costume done. I may create some accessory later, but for now I'm happy. My husband and I are doing a casino type theme. My dress reflects cards and poker. I'll also have a necklace made out of tiny red dice. It's really cute. My husband will be wearing a jacket with tails made from billiards fabric. He'll also carry a pool stick around with him. So I guess he'll be a pool shark. I had to do something creative this year as I love Halloween and last year I was too pregnant and tired to care, which is odd for me since I always dress up. I threw together some last-minute hippy chick ensemble. Not my best work.

Now I just gotta get my husband's costume done and I'll be all set. This year I sewed up four Halloween costumes: definitely a record. Five total will have been sewn by me since our baby daughter will wear a costume I sewed for my oldest child when she was a baby. In fact, it's the first real garment I ever sewed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What Have I Been Working On?

Been ages since I've updated my blog. I have three kids and no "me time", so it's bound to happen. I just started homeschooling my oldest daughter, so that adds a lot more to my already overflowing plate. Seems like just when I manage to steal a moment for myself the phone rings or I get an email and it's back to work doing stuff for everyone else. Oh well, I suppose being overworked is better than being bored. Right?

So lately I've been super busy and when I do get to sew it's mostly been Halloween sewing. I got an early start since I'm swamped. I finished sewing my oldest daughter's Cinderella dress and here's a picture:
She's really happy with it and it was hard to get her to stop jumping all over the place in excitement to take her picture. Hence the one poof looking off-kilter. The bodice will need to come in a bit, but I'll hold off on doing that for now.

My current project is a nice dress for myself (yeah, I'm shocked too!) for a banquet I'm going to on Monday.
Wow, that is seriously a really bad picture. It's raining out and the indoor lighting wasn't the best and in my hurry to manage a quick picture before kids rebelled in mutiny I didn't have time to set up something nicer. Oh well. But you get the general idea. It's a gorgeous dress. It's not quite done yet but almost. I'm really happy with it. Getting the fit right was a nightmare but after two test garments I finally got the FBA (full bust alteration) correct. Also, brocade is mean to work with and likes to morph into random shapes whenever it feels like it. The collar was a real bear to work with, but it's all coming together. Can't wait to wear this dress. Gotta run!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Losing My Mind

Seriously, I'm going to scream. I already had a breakdown from this Sears nightmare, but I think now I'm going to start screaming again like a loon until someone comes to haul me away and put me in my padded cell.

I got a call last night saying I'm scheduled for a dryer hookup (of the stuff my stupid installer forgot). I called last night, canceled that and scheduled for these people to come out on Wednesday to take the washer and dryer and refund me for this dumb purchase. So this morning (at 7:30 mind you!) I get a call from the driver verifying he's coming by today to install the steam for the dryer. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?!

So I call up to cancel the driver coming by today. The lady informs me there's nothing in her computer indicating any such appointment. I point out that I got TWO PHONE CALLS stating there WAS such an appointment. She says she can't do anything so I said fine, it's just a wasted trip for some poor guy. Whatever. Like I care at this point. Then she tells me that no one will be out today. How did we go from "Duh, I don't know." to "Sure, he won't be out."? Especially since it's not in her computer system.

This is why Sears is stupid and evil. All support goes through a central call system. So once you're out the store doors, you're on your own with the central processing center. Even if the store where you bought the item wants to help you, they can't. They're not allowed to do anything. The central center does it all.

I'm drafting a receipt up for the delivery guys to sign when they pick up my machines on Wednesday. I don't trust Sears not to pick up my items and then inform me that I can't get my refund because there's no record of the pickup in the system. I was told by two Sears employees I'm being paranoid. Then I remind them of the whole SNAFU Sears caused in the first place and they understand. I don't care how funny the delivery guys look at me, they're signing my receipt.

On the bright side, today I get my nice machines from Best Buy installed by my husband and father-in-law. Now here are two guys who are really smart and very meticulous about everything they do in life. Marry an engineer, you won't be disappointed. I'm spoiled because my husband does EVERYTHING around here. Our new house rule is he installs EVERTHING. Period.

I did manage to knock another sewing project out of the way. It's a crib sheet with matching blanket for my baby daughter. It's a super easy and quick project. The perfect shower gift for someone, in fact. It took me way too long to do it though since I was so stressed I wasn't thinking clearly and had to tear out a bunch of serging. I'll post my project later for you to see.

Next up on the agenda? Halloween costumes for the whole family, starting with my two oldest girls.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sears = Satan

Ladies and gentlemen, Satan is alive and well and is CEO of Sears. Seriously. The Prince of Darkness is, at this very moment, denying returns left and right and sending out his minions to break your appliances. How do I know this? Funny you should ask...

I have had the WORST day today. In fact, I've had the worst couple of days. And it's all Sears's fault. Stupidly I decided to purchase a washer and dryer from Sears. Thursday rolls around and the machines I so anxiously anticipated are delivered. Delivered by the world's dumbest delivery guy. He dented, scratched, and chipped my brand new washing machine. He didn't install the dryer right at all, and he screwed up the wiring. Dryer doesn't work--big surpise. Couldn't ask him any questions, because he doesn't speak a word of English!! Who hires a delivery guy who can't even talk to the customers??! Sears! So now I have a dented banged up washer and a dryer that doesn't work. But it's under warranty, no problem right? WRONG!

I call up Sears and explain all of this. They set up an appointment for a qualified technician to come out and fix my dryer. Hey, no problem, I have a qualified repairman coming to my house. Joy, oh joy. However, the super cool repair guy can get here today on Saturday. Well, today is when we were supposed to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday. My house is buried in laundry all needing dried, so I agree to get my dryer repaired today, thus missing out on the birthday celebration. I was scheduled from 8 to 5. Isn't that just considerate? They might as well just say "Yeah, we'll come fix your stuff. Just hang out at your house all day and stare at your driveway. We'll get there whenever we feel like it." Now, if the guy comes out in the morning, I still have a shot at making it to the celebration. So of course, you've guessed it already, he comes out at 4:00. He walks in, dressed all nice, looking ever so knowledgeable. Hooks up his fancy cool computer to the machine. He turns and looks at us....oh boy, he's gonna tell us what's wrong! "I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I have no idea what's wrong with your machine." WHAT?! WHAT THE--

So here I am, on a Saturday, having wasted my whole day waiting for this guy and he tells me he has no freaking clue what's wrong with it. He prints off a receipt stating it's broken and to get a new one. Then he just leaves. That's it. He's gone, machine's still broken, and we've missed a birthday celebration for this crap. So I call Sears. Takes at least 6 tries since the phone system keeps hanging up. My next plan is to salvage my Saturday. I tell myself I can make this Saturday worthwhile still by getting a new machine here NOW. So I plan to deliver broken dryer myself to any Sears store or warehouse and pick up a new machine. After many agonizing phone calls later, a couple things are determined. First of all, our machine isn't available anywhere, it simply doesn't exist according to these people. Also, no one at Sears knows where the warehouses are or what their phone number is. So I guess the warehouse just uses their psychic powers to process orders. At this point I decide to refund washer and dryer and wash my hands of this whole mess. I'm told to go to store where I bought it to get my refund. Fine.

So now I'm at the store. Saleslady is helpful and gets on the phone to get the ok to refund me. Cue the screeching brakes sound. She hands me the phone and I talk to the world's biggest jerk. He tries to convince me to let another tech come out and fix it. I told him no. He insisted. Told him no. He insisted. I screamed at him to stop. He tries to tell me I can't have refund. I threaten to get police in store, he decides I can get a refund. Then he wants to charge a restocking fee for washer AND dryer. I told him dryer is broken. He says it's not verified it's broken because the repair guy didn't put it in the comment. I say I have a receipt he gave me that tells it's broken. I scream at him lots, he puts me on hold for 20 min. Then he transfers me to someone and it hangs up. (The irony of being ON HOLD on the phone while AT A SEARS STORE is just insane. I came to the store to avoid this!)

I go to saleslady and demand store manager. She comes out and calls up mean jerk and informs him that NO WAY are they charging me a restocking fee on a BROKEN dryer. So he puts her on hold for 20 min! What the heck?! So after being in Sears for over an hour and me screaming and scaring off customers, the store manager finally is able to get the stupid Sears processing center to start the refund process without restocking fees on either item. So they'll call tomorrow to arrange a pickup to take away their hateful machines. Then the amount will be refunded.


Now for the silver lining....

While dealing with this, we made a stop in Best Buy to see if maybe we could get machines from there after refunding the Sears machines. A very kind and knowledgeable employee named Chris helped us right away. We chatted and told him just a little of our story. He felt really bad for us, said he'd help any way he could. Then, he asked us if we would like some drinks: some water, sodas or something. HUH?! Kinda stunned I said sure and before I knew it, this kind man went to the front of the store and brought back drinks for the whole family. I insisted on paying for them, but he waved me off and said don't worry about it. He then proceeded to price match Sears exactly (we bought the machines at good sale prices) and make sure we get the machines ASAP. (We pick up on Monday). Folks, you won't find this often at all: someone who actually takes pride in their job and enjoys helping other people. Customer service is as extinct as the dinosaurs. This man was so sweet and kind. I'd love to do something nice for him. Now to think of something.

I can't stress enough the importance of avoiding Sears at all costs. The salespeople there are ok, but support is non-existent. What's the point of buying something with no support and guarantee behind it?

And did I mention...


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Creativity Slump

Well, after being on a long creativity fast due to health reasons, I finally started sewing again. I finished my oldest daughter's nightgown. She is very happy with the result which is great since I messed up her last dress and she cried. Since it was just a nightgown I let her pick her fabric and trim by herself. She wanted hot pink feathers, but since they wouldn't survive the washing I had her pick something else. I promised her she could have feathers on her Halloween costume if she wanted.

Feels good to be back in the sewing game again. I've got to do my 2nd daughter's nightgown and some other projects. I would like to finish up my garments currently in my queue and do a handbag to relax and unwind from all that fitting. My friend Janine has me wanting to sew handbags now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My New Dressform!

Well, I finally got a dressform! I'm so excited. It just arrived today so I haven't had too much time to play with it. I still need to do some more adjustments to it. As you can see, my daughters wasted no time playing Project Runway with my dressform.

The dressform is a Dritz My Double Deluxe that I ordered from They shipped my dressform super fast! I ordered my dressform with standard shipping on Sunday and it got here today, Wednesday! They had a sale where all the Dritz dressforms were $129.99, so I jumped on the opportunity and got the nicest one they had. The dressform is also able to be set up off-center on the pole so that you can drape pants.

It will be so nice to just put the outfit on the dressform instead of having to try it on several million times while still sewing the outfit. Also, I won't have to bug my husband anymore to help with fittings. Not that he minds, but still, I'd like not to have to interrupt him constantly with fitting help. The dressform also makes a nice place to store the garment I'm currently working on. I'm also looking forward to being able to do some tissue-fitting. I have very limited sewing time, so I don't normally do muslins. Now if it's for a special outfit, then yeah, I'll do a muslin.

I tried the duct tape double thing, but really hated it. My husband wrapped me up in duct tape and I hated every minute of it. It smelled really weird and I hated the feeling of being trapped in tape. Cutting me out of the form was also nerve-wracking. My daughters, however, loved the process and thought it was the funniest thing they've seen. I figured I'd try it though, after all, if it fails (which it did) then at least I have a funny story to tell. Non-sewers especially find the story extremely weird. I didn't care much for the look of the form after it was done. The top especially was inaccurate. That could just be due to us not doing it right. Even so, I don't want to re-tape myself whenever my weight changes. I'm currently dropping weight, so I would have to redo the double every so often. Blech! No thanks!

I'm really anxious to use my dressform for the first time. Now I just gotta finish up my daughters' dresses so I can start tracing my pattern. I plan on doing this dress:
I'll be doing the sleeveless version with the long scarf. I'm doing it in a black/white/red fabric I got from G Street Fabrics. The scarf will be red. I really should post pictures of the fabric I suppose. It's getting chaotic here now with the girls, so perhaps later I'll post fabric pictures.

It's raining here. I love rain! Perfect sewing weather. Now to just find some sewing time....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Friend's Dress a Success!

Well, that pose says it all! My friend Janine's dress was a success! I still can't believe I sewed it. I'm actually kinda numb from shock. I should have been jumping up and down for joy, but I would just stare dumbly at the dress and ask myself "I made that?" A lot of praying was involved in making this dress, so I certainly won't steal the credit here. Thank you, God! This picture of Janine is just too cute! Such a cute sassy look! And she looks absolutely beautiful in her dress.

This project was intimidating, but I learned so much from it. I got some experience working with chiffon, which I had never used before. I also got the chance to sew for someone else who has entirely different fitting issues from myself. Since I was panicking so much the whole time, I'm also not nearly as nervous anymore sewing dresses for myself. I've gained so much confidence from this project. Possibly more than I need considering I'm planning a majorly challenging project for Christmas. It's so much scarier to sew for someone else because you don't want them to be upset if things go wrong. Which, let's face it, they often do! Especially if I'm the one sewing. I know the disappointment I feel when my outfit is ruined, so I wouldn't want to do that to someone else, especially a great friend. Also, this dress was for a wedding and not just any ole wedding, but her son's wedding! Yikes! So I'm extremely grateful that things turned out great and Janine was happy.

At the wedding someone saw Janine in her dress and asked "So, you decided not to go with the dress your friend made?" To which Janine told her that she was wearing the dress I made. Needless to say, the lady was truly shocked I sewed that. So it was a great feeling.

It meant a lot to me to do this for Janine. She's done so much for me and probably doesn't even realize it, so I wanted to give something back.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chaos continues....

Well, I did finish my bathing suit to match my baby daughter's bathing suit. It turned out great and I was very happy with the results. I still need to take a picture of me in it and write a pattern review. I'll post a picture on my blog later when things aren't so insane.

Right now I'm working on an unexpected project: a top and skirt for a friend of mine to wear to her son's wedding. I think I'm insane because I really don't have time at all to work on this, but so far I'm getting it done. She is tall and was having such trouble finding a great dress for the occasion. As she's a really great friend of mine, I wanted to help out. So we went pattern and fabric shopping and I got to work. These are the patterns she chose:

For the shirt, we're doing the version with the short sleeves and narrow collar. The collar, sleeves, and peplum are all in a cocoa color chiffon to contrast the lighter color crepe fabric of the shirt. For the skirt, we're doing it in the cocoa crepe fabric and we're doing view A without the sash.

The deal was that if my friend Janine doesn't like this outfit, she has to tell me honestly and also not be mad that it didn't turn out the way she wants it. In turn, I have to promise not to be mad if she doesn't like it. Having said that, this is still really nerve-wracking and a lot of pressure. However, I'm happy to do this for a wonderful friend.

It's a whole other ballgame sewing for someone new. It took me quite a while just to figure out how to get clothes fit on me. So working with a new body and all new fitting issues is quite daunting. We tried the top on Janine yesterday and it looks like a good fit, which was a relief. My main concern with this project is getting a proper fit.

Also, I had never worked with chiffon before. While I love the feel of chiffon I absolutely hate sewing it. Really, really, really hate sewing it. Especially hemming it. I tried all the methods suggested out there: narrow hem (both with and without the special rolled hem foot), rolled hem on serger with and without fishline. No matter which I used, it took away the airiness and flow of the chiffon. This was especially the problem with the collar. The collar needs to stay light so it folds and ruffles nicely. So I hit PatternReview and Google some more for research and discovered a hot knife method. Since I'm working with polyester chiffon, I could melt the raw edges of the hems slightly to seal them off and keep them from unraveling. This worked perfectly to keep the fabric nice and light. Then my collar wasn't lining up right and I discovered this is due to chiffon being evil to work with. Also, a mystery spot appeared that I couldn't get off. No clue how it got there. ARGH! So I cut a new collar out and plan to get it put on today.

Once I get past the shirt it'll be smooth sailing. My goal for today is to finish the shirt by tonight. The shirt has more fitting issues and the chiffon is difficult to work with. I'm pretty mad at Vogue right now because when they say "semi-fitted" on the envelope, what they really mean is "not even remotely fitted". The shirt muslin was SO LOOSE on Janine. It made no sense whatsoever. Why pay good money for a pattern if it's wrong?

Ok, now I lost track. A Kim Possible commercial just showed up on tv and my IQ plummeted. So anyway, I'll keep you updated as to my progress for anyone interested in following my insane adventure.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My New Friend

This is my new friend. He's kinda creepy actually. He's pretty big and gave me a surprise the first time I saw him just chillin' on my front porch. I was trying to get a close-up picture of him, but failed due to me being a big baby. I'm not at all squeamish about bugs, but after seeing how fast this spider moves, I had visions of it latching onto my face after annoying it with a flashing camera. It didn't help that when I was trying to take his picture, I could see the glare from his eyes. Yikes! So my husband was kind enough to get closer and get a closer picture for me. As you can see in the photo, our spider is currently consuming a large moth.

I was concerned that the spider may be poisonous so I looked it up and discovered that it's not. You can never be too careful with kids around. Especially since it lives on the front porch. Turns out it's a species (of which there are 100) of fishing spider. So I'll just let him live on the porch rent free. He seems happy hunting.

Also, I discovered a deer tick on my leg yesterday. Not cool. My daughter got Lyme disease from a deer tick and it was awful. She's fine and recovered now thankfully. So now I gotta keep an eye on my leg for the telltale bullseye rash. My yard scares me.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Working on My Swimsuit

Well, I'm chugging along here working on my swimsuit. I'm trying to get it done in time for tomorrow's trip to Hershey Park. My plan is to spend half the day lounging about the water park. The boy shorts are completely done. The top is almost finished. I was sewing like a champ! My baby took a nap and I actually got just about all the sewing done on the top.

I ran into a problem (of course!...grrrr) with the shelf bra. It's not snug around my body. I have no clue why this is, but it probably has something to do with my ridiculously large chest size. I'm really hoping that I can take in the elastic on the lining and that will fix the problem. I'm also getting really annoyed and discouraged at trying to sew anything for myself. It always goes wrong!

I sewed a medium size for the top according to the bust measurement. I'm thinking that what I should have done was sew the smaller size. I don't think my ribcage is a size medium. It's just my silly bust that is.

Overall, I love my swimsuit although there are silly mistakes in there due to not getting any "alone time" to sew and not being able to properly concentrate on things. Trying to sew anything with three kids is pretty much impossible. I have no idea how I get anything done or why I even attempt doing this.

Hopefully, I'll at least get the suit to look decent enough to wear tomorrow.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

How Many Inches In A Yard?

36. The answer is 36. Let's see, when would this tidbit of information be important? Oh gee, I dunno, I suppose if you worked at a fabric store this would be something you should know. ARGH! So yeah, with employees like that no wonder Hancock Fabrics had to file Chapter 11. I really need to go check out G Street Fabrics. I wonder if their employees know what a yard is and understand basic fractions.

I'm currently working on this top (Kwik Sew 3378):

I just barely had enough fabric for my shirt after I changed around the way the pattern pieces were laying. Hence my mini-rant about fabric cutting. So whenever I get fabric cut I guess I have to babysit the cutting people by measuring the fabric right there in the store. Sad really.

I'm hoping to get this shirt done soon as I even have a skirt I just made to go with it. The skirt is mostly done, just need to hem it. It'll be exciting to have something to wear that actually fits since I lost 20 lbs. I must admit I haven't been as productive due to my new laptop. I've been relishing having a computer that isn't slow, so I've been playing Half Life 2 on there. If all goes well today and I can find some time, I'm hoping to get my shirt sewn. My goal is to have my outfit done in time for church on Sunday. I just hope I sew the shirt right. I have no luck with clothing for me.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Mother's Day Weekend

It was awesome! My husband Tim worked so hard to make the weekend absolutely perfect for me and he succeeded. He started off the weekend by fixing our pond waterfall for me and improving our vegetable garden.

On Saturday Tim and our girls presented me with my mother's day gift:

A NEW LAPTOP!!! WOW! I didn't realize I did a good enough job to get THAT present! Boy was I shocked. It's fast, powerful, and even has some cool extras like a webcam, full number pad (important for accountants...hehe), and sweet lightning design. Now the lightning design was picked out by Tim and our two girls. Although if my oldest had her way 100% my laptop would now be covered in cute flowers. It's a decal that my husband put on my computer. It took him 20 minutes to get it on there. He's an extremely patient man, by the way. He did such a great job that the design looks painted on. He got the decal from Decalgirl. Funny enough, when I first opened my present and saw it was a laptop, the first thing I thought about was getting the purple lightning decal from Then I pull out the laptop and there it is: my decal already on there! So now for the first time I have the fastest most powerful computer in the house. My prior laptop was ancient and dying, so this laptop is amazing to me.

On Sunday morning I woke up to breakfast in bed. It's definitely confusing waking up and being offered breakfast on a tray. I loved it! Then we go to church where my husband had another surprise. This time it was for all the moms at church. Tim had purchased roses and had a kid at church hand a rose out to each mother there. Later of course, we went out to a nice dinner with his mother and family as well.

It was a wonderful weekend. I'm still kinda in shock from it all. I love my family so much and to see how much trouble they went through this weekend because they love me was so touching.

My only worry now is Father's Day. Mother's Day is a tough act to follow! What in the world do I do for Father's Day?!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Baby Swimsuit

I just finished my baby swimsuit about a half hour ago. Yeah, it takes me about that long just to upload photos and type a simple post. It's complete chaos around here. One cat is chewing on my while another just threw my scanner on the floor, so I'm rather annoyed with cats at the moment. Scanner still works--way to go, Canon!

So anyway, the second attempt went much better. The main thing was I just needed to slow myself down a lot. I fall into the trap of rushing things but to be fair, I really don't have much time at all to sew. So I'm constantly trying to be as efficient as possible so I can get things done. I decided not to change the elastic width to 1/4". In thinking about it I figured there is no way Kwik Sew is wrong, it must be me. And of course it was. There's not much wiggle room with folding the edges over though, so make sure you're really careful about keeping the edges where they should be while sewing.

The swimsuit looks absolutely gorgeous. My one issue with it is the straps are rather long. If you look here at the pattern photo, you'll notice they look long and loose there too. It's the same mine looks. The bodice is too low because of the loose straps. I'm not sure at the moment if I want to shorten the straps or not. My daughter will be five months old on the 12th and the pattern does state that size XS is for 3-6 months. Also, babies grow pretty quickly in such short amounts of time. So I think I'll hold off on altering anything for now. We go to the waterpark on May 30th, so I'll check the straps again later before we go for the fit. The ruffles on this suit are just TOO CUTE!!

Now, I'm preparing to sew a swimsuit for myself. I'll be sewing Kwik Sew 2868. I'll be using the same material I used for the baby swimsuit so we match. It'll be so cute! I've been exercising so I'll be ready to wear my new swimsuit. I was 145 lbs and now I'm down to 125 lbs. I've got more work to go, but hey, I'm getting there.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Epic Fail

This picture does a much better job summarizing my progress with my baby daughter's swimsuit than any of my words could.

My first attempt at the baby swimsuit failed. Big time. It really annoys me and puts me in a bad mood for most of the day when that happens.

For whatever reason my brain mixed up the torso and height measurements. So then I sewed a size small, which makes no sense because it says "6-12 months" right there next to it!! DUH! My daughter isn't quite 5 months old yet. I was supposed to sew the extra small size for 3-6 months.

So I figured well, I'll just keep going with it since I got this far, then just give the swimsuit to someone with a bigger baby girl. Yeah. Right. That's when I discovered that the straps weren't quite working right. I couldn't fold enough of the fabric over the elastic. I think the elastic should be 1/4" not 3/8" like what the pattern suggests. I'm going to try 1/4" with this next attempt. Good thing I ended up ordering a little extra from Spandex House and also that they give generous cuts. I had enough fabric to attempt this the second time and still enough left over for my bathing suit. Oh, and just to note, it takes FOREVER to sew ruffles on a swimsuit. You wouldn't think so, but it does. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! And I have to do this. All. Over. Again.

Since it's the day after I can kind of see just a little bit of the humor in this. I'll see more of the humor once I actually have a functional cute swimsuit for my baby. At any given moment anymore I'm pretty much half-asleep when sewing. It's also hard to concentrate with everything going on.

I'm actually satisfied to get the amount of sewing done that I do achieve. Hopefully this next attempt will go better. I can't work on it at the moment which is a shame since my older daughters are playing happily and the baby is napping. I'm half-blind because my glasses lens popped out and I'm wearing contacts because I can't locate a screw for my glasses lens. I can't see things up close with contacts. This screen is blurry right now and forget seeing the stitching while I'm sewing.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Second Swimsuit Done!

Well, here it is: my second swimsuit is finished. This one went a LOT faster than my first one. I had to get used to handling the swim fabric and I also had to learn to properly use wooly nylon in my serger and coverstitch machine. Normally, I never like my work. I always find some flaw and declare it to be "ruined". However, I love the swimsuits I did. Yeah, they have small flaws, but to me, they're perfect!

As you can see, my daughter is so happy in her swimsuit. For the first time since she was a baby she finally has a swimsuit that fits. My oldest daughter pictured on the left here is especially hard to fit when we go clothes shopping. Bathing suits are pretty much impossible to fit her properly. She is extremely tall and skinny so to get a suit that fits around her without being too loose, it ends up being too short. Then it ends up pulling really hard on her and the bodice ends up lower than it should, making it look really weird. The suit I made her fits her beautifully and she loves showing it off. She got to pick out her own fabric, which she's very proud of. To give you an idea of how tall and skinny she is, I altered Kwik Sew 2605 down to a size 2 and added 3 3/8" for the height. The pattern only went down to a size 4 so needless to say, a LOT of work went into resizing this pattern.

You can read my review of this pattern here at PatternReview. I included more photos in the review and more details about the pattern.

Bottom line: if you're planning on sewing a swimsuit, go with a Kwik Sew pattern. Don't even look at the rest. Kwik Sew patterns are great and the instructions can't be beat. Kwik Sew swimwear patterns especially get excellent reviews I've noticed. If you've been too scared to try swimsuit sewing, get up and start now! I was nervous as well, but it turned out great and I discovered I actually love to sew swimwear.

Now I'm off to sew up a swimsuit for my baby daughter and for myself!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Bathing Suit: DONE!

I'm so excited! Here it is! My first bathing suit ever! Now when I first pursued this project, everything I read stated that this is a very fun and simple sewing project. Well, maybe for others, but certainly not me. At least, not at first. It took me way too long to complete this, but after learning from my many mistakes, I'm confident the rest of my swimsuits will come along a lot faster.

Speaking of mistakes, I made quite a few of them. I learned from looking at ready-to-wear swimsuits that regular thread is used in the needles while the wooly nylon is only used in the loopers. I was doing a 3-thread overlock with all wooly nylon for the seams. After examining the RTW swimsuits, I realized I should have been doing a 4-thread overlock with regular serger thread in the needles and wooly nylon only in the loopers. I also messed this up when coverstitching and finally figured out my tensions were off because it needed regular thread in the needles--I was using all wooly. I feel kinda silly now, but then again, I'm new at all this! I didn't have much experience with wooly nylon thread. You also know that you've messed up beyond belief when you have a blister on your finger from picking out so much thread after seam ripping. Now that's sad. Really sad. So now that I'm all set, this turning out to be quite fun. Hopefully the next suit will come along much quicker.

Now the pattern I used is Kwik Sew 2605 which comes in size 4 for the smallest size. My daughters are a size 2, even my five-year-old. They are very tall and skinny like their daddy. Now I looked at the toddler swimsuit patterns and I didn't care for them at all. They looked too "babyish" for my big girls. Also, I really wanted the swimsuit with the racer back so they could frolick and rough-house in the water without straps sliding down. So being the brave (perhaps insane) soul I am, I decided I was going to alter the pattern to fit a size 2 girl with a size 4 height. So I scaled the pattern down to a size two and lengthened it on one line instead of the back waist and crotch length lines given. Scaling this thing down was so NOT fun!! When I got stuck I got my husband to help me. He doesn't sew but he LOVES math and extrapolating data. So he scaled it down and also scaled down the elastic requirements. The result of this insanity was a swimsuit that fits my daughter perfectly. I'm so shocked! Swimsuit shopping for my daughters, especially my oldest is not easy. Any suit that fits around them doesn't fit lengthwise. The result is a really low and weird looking bodice.

I'll write a pattern review on this pattern when I finish the second one I'm making from it.

Thanks to all those who are following my swimsuit adventure progress and thanks for your comments. It's always great to receive encouragement.

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Bathing Suit: Progress

Well, here it is: my first bathing suit in progress. This is a swimsuit for my three-year-old daughter. She picked out the fabric herself after I showed her pictures of fabric from the Spandex House website. When she first picked it out I was thinking "yuck". But the print has actually started to grow on me. It's got a retro look to it, it's cute on her, and it's different from anything I've seen in the stores for little girls this year. What's the point of sewing if I don't sew original things?

I still need to add the elastic bands to the armholes, legholes, and neckline, then topstitch all of those areas. I have a Janome Coverpro 1000 coverstitch machine, so I'm covered there.

I have got to rave about my serger: a Viking Huskylock 910. I freaking LOVE this machine!! This is my first time using wooly nylon in both loopers and the left needle. It handled it beautifully and I didn't have to tweak the tensions much at all. Gorgeous stitching and it handled the fabrics beautifully. Way better than my former serger the Janome Compulock. A special thanks to my handsome husband for getting me this wonderful Huskylock serger.

The overall concept of sewing a bathing suit is simple yes, however, it is pretty difficult when you've never worked with lycra before. The stuff is slipping all over the place. Last night I thought I'd rather slam my face into a car door repeatedly than to be working with this stuff. I think once I get the hang of holding onto the fabric and keeping the raw edges lined up as I'm serging, then I'll be cranking out these suits quickly. I think I'll enjoy swimsuit sewing immensely once I get the hang of handling the swim fabric.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Swimsuit Fabrics Purchased!

The fabrics I ordered for mine and my daughters' swimsuits arrived today! I was so excited to see that box on my front doorstep. The fabric on the left is actually a navy blue (hard to see in the photo I know). I ordered these fabrics from Spandex House. If you've never checked out their website...Oh my goodness! It's sensory overload. It took me FOREVER to decide which fabrics I wanted. It was insane. Their service was great and they sure are speedy getting your order to you! Definitely a lot different than walking into a JoAnn's or Hancock Fabrics to choose from a vast selection of about 8 different colors: all solids of course. Boring! Not only that, but these fabrics were way cheaper even! I paid $8.00 - $10.00 per yard at Spandex House. JoAnn's wanted $15.00 per yard for a solid color. Good grief! I would love to visit Spandex House in person, but since it's all the way up in New York City, don't think I'll be going.

So now I've got the fabrics. Today I'll be picking up the patterns. All of the patterns are Kwik Sew Patterns (naturally!). I'm armed with the best serger and coverstitch machine on the planet, so I should be ok here. I'm so excited to get started, but also nervous since I haven't done a swimsuit before in my life. Here's to fun this weekend!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Adorable Baby Outfit!

Well, I did it! I finally sewed something I'm 100% proud of. I can't believe I had a part in sewing this gorgeous outfit. Yesterday I finished the jogging suit for my baby daughter. The pattern is from Kwik Sew's Sewing For Baby book. I even added some cute embroidery to the outfit with my machine. Doesn't she look absolutely gorgeous in her outfit! I love my baby!

After I finished this outfit some friends of ours got to see her in it. The looks of astonishment I got when they heard I made it just made my day. I'm so used to sewing things and then when I'm done I look at them and say to myself "That's not quite right." You get so sick and tired of constantly tossing out ruined projects and dealing with so-so results. I'm on a sewing high after this success right now.

Since I'm feeling ultra brave after this project, I think I'll try my hand at sewing some swimsuits for my older two girls. My oldest daughter is extremely tall and skinny, so finding her a swimsuit that even fits is a challenge already. And that's without also adding to the fact that most swimsuits in the stores for little girls look like something that a street walker would wear. Ugh! I'm telling you, the swimsuits some people let their little girls's scary. Hopefully I'll have another sewing success story to post after the swimsuits are done.

I hope.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I Got Braces!

I've been needing braces for years. Unfortunately, braces were not in the budget growing up. So now as an adult I'm finally taking care of something that should have been done years ago. I looked into Invisalign a while ago, but when I was told the cost I decided that my crooked teeth were just fine, thank you very much. However, as the years went on I realized my jaw and mouth just didn't sit right. So I went to the orthodontist and asked about Invisalign. He told me that my getting Invisalign was like "going after an elephant with a pea shooter". Funny guy. Then I was told I would need braces. Yikes! I have a severe overbite, really worn teeth, and a messed up jaw. It's not like I had much choice. So here I am in braces at age 27. I've had them for about four days so far and I'm actually getting used to the things. I have ceramic on top and metal on the bottom. My tongue is roughed up and really sore. I also had to go in to the office yesterday to get the top cleats bent in and some extra glue taken off. The glue had dried to a sharp point which tore my tongue up something terrible. I'm a very picky and sensitive person so for me to have this metal and wires all in my mouth is annoying and frustrating. I'm not much liking it, but at least right now I don't hate it nearly as much as I did just a couple days ago. I went in at 7:00 am on Friday, March 21. After leaving the office later I had a "What the heck did I just do?" moment. I was pretty bummed out. Then I found a site called It has been a wonderful help to me and very supportive. I highly recommend it for any adult already in or considering braces.

My tongue is doing better and that was the main thing that was stressful. I'm also getting sick and tired of people asking me what in the world I did this for. Of course, all of those people need braces as well, so whatever. It's hard. I get so jealous hearing others talk about getting their braces off. Heck, I'm only on day 4. My estimate is anywhere between 18-36 months and I won't know which end I'm on until I get further along and we see how my teeth are moving. I also have to get two teeth extracted on top on Thursday. I'm a huge sissy about stuff like this and I'm really scared.

I just keep repeating to myself: "It's worth it, it's worth it, it's worth it..."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Horton Hears a Retching Sound

So tonight the family and I decided to go to IHOP for dinner. I have this thing lately about wanting to eat there. Of course when we sit down to look at the menu, our girls immediately noticed the pretty picture depicting yummy pancakes covered in pastel syrup and candy, topped with a pretty pink lollipop. So of course they want it. And why not? It looks kid-friendly enough. Now I'm looking at this thing and while I admit it sure is pretty to look at, common sense is telling me--no, screaming at me not to order this item for my girls. So of course, being as I'm a fully competent adult....I order the who-cakes for one and the jo-jo meal for the other. Now the jo-jo meal also comes with ham and a side of green eggs. "Why are the eggs green?" You might ask. Well, that's because some marketing genius thought "Hey, let's make the eggs green by putting creamed spinach in them!". No. Seriously. I'm not joking. When the food arrived, the girls oohed and aahed over the pretty display, and immediately snatched up their lollipops. And that's as long as the novelty lasted. My 5-year-old promptly scraped off the colorful sauce and candy and ate some of my normal pancakes instead. My 3-year-old ate some of hers and probably elevated her blood sugar beyond belief. She (wisely) completely ignored the creamed-spinach-egg nightmare.

Who the bloody heck decides to mix creamed spinach and scrambled eggs?? Not only that...but then decides to market them to KIDS!! BLECH!

And the most burning question of all: What was I THINKING?! Definitely not one of my better mom moments.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Baby Quilt

Well, not sure how, but I actually was able to make my baby daughter a quilt after she was born. Believe me, it's not easy to find time for my hobby at all. If it wasn't for my wonderful husband, I'd never get any time at all for my hobby. He's there to watch the kids and make sure I chill the heck out and go do something I love. At times he commands me to go do this. I got this pattern from Singer's book: The Quilting Bible. It was a fun pattern and I may even do it again some day. It got really tedious cutting out all the hearts and prepping them to be sewn on. But in the end it was worth it as the quilt turned out gorgeous. I find quilting to be a great break from garment sewing when I need it. Quilting is pretty straightforward and I don't have to worry about alterations, sewing collars, etc.

A True Artist

A good friend of mine makes some really gorgeous jewelry. She's been doing it for years and only in the recent years has she made a business from it. When I was in the hospital after giving birth to my daughter, she came to visit me and gave me a salvation bracelet that she made. The visit meant a lot to me because my baby daughter was in the NICU and I was absolutely terrified. This bracelet isn't just a beautiful piece of jewelry. It means many things. First of all, it's a salvation bracelet, so for us Christians it represents what Christ did for us. Black is for sin, red is for Christ's blood, white is being made clean through accepting Christ, blue is for baptism, green is for spiritual growth, and gold is for Heaven. For me the bracelet also stands for true friendship. It serves me as a daily reminder that there are real friends out there who will take the time to be there for you when times are really tough.

If you have a moment, you can can hop over and check out my friend's site: Gentle Spirit Creations It's simply amazing to see what talent she has and it's always a joy to look at her creations.

Note: The picture seriously does not do this piece justice at all. I was trying to catch the sparkle of this jewelry. The photos on the Gentle Spirit Creations site are way better.