Friday, October 29, 2010

Orange Fever

Last night I met The Hubby for a celebratory business dinner in the City. As we were driving past ATT Park and the 2nd game of the World Series was in its 3rd inning, the streets were alive with the rush and excitement of a huge crowd of people. Of course these are the people who didn't pay $500 for a "standing only" ticket, but were just taking in the vibe of the event.
The entire greater Bay Area is pretty excited about the Giants right now. Boy did they ever perform last night.  The Hubby had his smart phone at the ready right on our very formal dinner table giving updates every inning or so (until the 8th inning where he seemed to be updating every 30 seconds with yet another run for the GIANTS.)
I'm not sure the boss man appreciated the interruptions, but everyone else at the table of 14, was excited to hear all about the progress.

Earlier in the day at my little knitting group, we checked out our fellow knitter Elisa's Christmas stockings. Elisa is our most prolific knitter and has knitted about 35 times more than the rest of us this year. She has knitted 35 huge stockings for her entire extended family since about February, and we were getting a final mind boggling show.
Not one of my very favorites, but a standout today was this particular stocking.
Amongst all the poinsettia, felted, victorian, ugg, snowflake, pirate, team, sock monkey, polka dots, stripes, there was this Giants stocking for a fan in her family.
So appropriate.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Celery - (or Halloween Part 3)

It's bit of a story, but real short I'll just say that Ellery is going to dress up as "Celery" this year.
1. It is one of her nicknames
2. Her baby sis is wearing a pea pod costume that we found on one of our hikes last Nov. 2
3. She has a book that is called "Pass the Celery, Ellery."
4. Her parents are dressing up as farmers??
5. We wanted to make a unique costume where people didn't know what it was. (not really)

So I started with some celery colored t-shirt knit fabric that I found at ________.? You guessed it Hi Fashion Fabrics in GJ, Colorado.
I made it up into a little jumpsuit.
Then bleached little lines (strings) down the length of it.
After bleaching the bottom few inches and then less up the next few inches.
I had no idea what I was doing, but it seemed to work okay.
Now for the leaves.
Kathryn found a perfect celery leaf on line and copied it in 3 different sizes.  We used two colors of green nylon fabric and traced the leaf design onto them several times.
Then cut them all out. Just took 5 or 6 hours. No big deal, right?
I sewed these leaves all around the neckline of the little jumpsuit.
So far so good.
Now, how to make a hat with celery stalks coming out of the top of it?
Start with a small frisby plastic disc,
and insert 1/2 cut lengthwise pool noodles into it like so.
Make sure to have some fun while you are doing this ridiculous project.
Go ahead, make a game out of the day.
Maybe this will warm the wearer of the hat up for the ultimate test of PUTTING IT ON HER HEAD.
Then if the "noodles" aren't bending just right, how about....
putting them into a hot oven to shape them. (around a nice glass pitcher - maybe this shape is good?)
Just don't leave them in the oven too long. "Where did it go?"
"Hmmmm, what is this?"
We added some more of our cut leaves and some bling to dress it up. Now what?
Smash down the wires that attach it all together so that our 20 month old doesn't get stuck in the head, then hot glue it down to the hood that we made out of the costume fabric.

I guess at this point I was getting frustrated, 'cause there aren't any pictures documenting our continued shenanigans to be had.

Our adorable child does NOT want this on her head.

We have attached 4 elastic strips to the hat and are tieing them under her arms to keep the hat erect. The hood buttons and velcro's under her chin, but she throws her head around and it falls down onto her back.

We may have to put some more of our celery leaves onto a plain old headband and put this on her. She'll be sure to keep that on.

Any ideas out there? I've decided my sewing skills do not include an engineering propensity.
More pictures to come, I promise.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Stove Top

For 8 - 10 years I have (we have) put up with an annoying click - click- click- click - click, whenever our large forward right unit on the stove gets remotely damp. If it is washed well, it then clicks for several days after. If it has a pasta water spill over, it doesn't stop clicking for a week. Only way to get it to stop is to run it for several annoying clicking minutes until it dries out thoroughly.
Finally the Hubby, after telling me for years that it would be great if I replaced our sick gas stove, took me to the appliance store and said, "Pick one out, now."
We found one that didn't require much adjustment of our exiting counter top. It fits in quite nicely, and has one cute little, adorable startup click when it is turned on.
It even has an extra burner, and an awesome simmer that goes on and off when you want to stew something VERY slowly.
Thanks Hun.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mexico with the Girls

I just spent a week on a big boat, going through the ocean of Western Mexico. I guess the term "Mexican Riviera" is the correct one for this beautiful place in the world.
My older (not bigger) sister invited  my younger sister and me nearly a year ago, and I in turn invited my daughters to accompany us in our travels.
The sunsets were phenomenal.
near Puerta Vallarta
And the accommodations were comfortable, with plenty of activities for us to participate in at all times of day and night.
Ready to embark
Our very large ship
Main indoor shopping and dining area
We had lots of fun off the boat too. We went to the gorgeous sandy beaches among the very impressively formed rocks in Cabo via a glass bottomed boat. The millions of sardines that we saw along with a myriad of other types of fish near shore was amazing.
The oldest girls in their respective families.
Impressively formed rocks.
We went down the coast to some older cities that also cater to us American tourists. (Isn't it odd that we call ourselves Americans and yet Mexico is also located on this very same continent? Who do we think we are?)
Anywho, Mazatlan was an old city with a heritage and we sure had some great shrimp at the restaurant that "Hector" took us too.
Then we went on some excursions in the countryside of our last stop in Vallarta.
Kathy pressing out a great corn tortilla 
at our cooking class.
Camille zip lining. 
.... and Kathryn, whoo whoo!
Here comes Stephanie next.

A very fun time in the sun with my 2 bestest sisters and my 2 bestest daughters. What could be better for a whole week of bonding?
Young girls with good opinions about the latest makeup application.
Hat night with my girlies and the lavender ladies. 
Kathy's group of friends from Portland had all sorts of 
events planned throughout the week. It was fun to participate.
Notice Kathryn smiling even though her sunburned back is 
killing her, and she has lost her IPhone. BUMMER!!!

I do love to travel, but I missed the Hubby.
Next time, we'll have the men come along.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Costume's Part Two - Little Bo Peep

Another Toy Story costume for the 2 1/2 year old of the house.
After making this, I decided I want to be Little Bo Peep. "Better get crackin'," as my mother would say.
Here is the picture we used to model this cute little dress from.
I had an old pattern from Simplicity (9089).
I found some light pink upholstery fabric with darker pink polka dots at my favorite fabric store.  (Yes, my suitcase was FULL when I came home from my August trip to Colorado/Utah.) This fabric was perfect. Not the usual type that I use for childrens wear, but reminiscent of Scarlet O'Hara's drapes.

I then purchased some peacock blue satin with matching cut chiffon from an online source. This chiffon comes in 30 colors and several widths. I'm going to make some pettiskirts out of it for my granddaughters.  "Such a lot of fun stuff to make, so little time." VKHodgman
So I cut out the pants pattern, and sewed front to back.
I left the inseam of the leg open and then attached 3 rows of 2 inch wide matching chiffon to the lower leg. I used 3x the width of the bottom of the pants for each row of chiffon. (the bottom width of the pants was about 15 inches so I gathered (15 x 3) or about 45 inches of chiffon for each row) Gathering them in the center of the strip, pinning in place, then sewing with a very small zig zag stitch was the easiest way to go about this.
I had to try the pants, and other parts of the costume, onto the wearer at some point, so I made up as much of each thing as I could before taking it over to their house.
Have I mentioned that it is a dream come true to live close to all these little buggers. So fun!
Then I sewed up the inner leg seam, hemmed them up and put one last 2" strip of chiffon on the very bottom edge of the pants.
These little pettipants will go under Bo Peep's dress. Didn't they turn out cute?
Next up .... the actual dress.
First the bodice is sewed up, using some matching satin, some leftover lace that I have had for 15 years, some ribbon from my EXTENSIVE supply, and some sleeve liners to keep the poof from getting flat. I haven't ever used a sleeve liner, but I am now sold on the concept and it wasn't hard. You just gathered the bottom of the sleeve and sewed it to the liner, then sewed the sleeve into the bodice, and finally hand stitched the liner around the shoulder seam while turning under the unfinished edge.
Cool, huh?
Then I gathered the skirt and the peplum, and the tulle skirt underlining, and the tulle peplum underlining so that it would be ultra poofy.
A lot of layers.
Pull it all together and sew it onto the bodice.
Put in the zipper, and go try it on.
It was a little long in the skirt. I think the pettipants wouldn't have poked out of the bottom, and her mother didn't want her tripping, so I shortened it, and then the peplum seemed too long.
I was going to cut the peplum and refinish it with my handy dandy rolled hem foot, (which I LOVE) But, instead I just turned it under and hemmed it to the tulle, making it poof even more.
Woo Hoo, nearly finished.
 But the bonnet.  I couldn't find a pattern that I envisioned looking like I wanted, so I looked at how the baby christening bonnets are made in my heirloom baby book from Sew Beautiful, and I just figured out how to make the brim so it would circle her little, cherubic face.
Wait till you see her in this. It will be so cute.
No wonder "Woodie" looks at her with his big bug eyes. She is adorable.

Halloween Costumes-Part 1 Toy Story Jessie

I have happily enlisted to make several of the grandchildren their costumes this year.
I will show you the first one done here and then later the others.
Lexy is nearly 5 so she constitutes what her little brother and sister might be this year as they will dress up in anything fun.
Because Toy Story - the movie - was such a hit with her this past summer, she decided to dress up as Jessie, the cowgirl toy from the show.
Here is a picture of Jessie on the left. We used this as our model.
I bought real boots off the internet at
Aren't they cute?  The brown bottom of the boot will show under her pants for the costume, then she'll have some cute boots with a little pink trim to wear to school all fall and winter. I like 'em.
I then found a fake red felt cowboy hat. It was cheap and I punched little holes in it all the way around.
Then I laced 1/8 inch white ribbon through the holes and replaced the main ribbon around the side band of the hat. (I just looked that up ... I didn't know what to call it. The internet constantly amazes me and teaches me very important things)
Looks like I don't have a final hat picture. I did the hat for about 6 bucks plus shipping, so 10 bucks. Then I was over at Affordable Treasures a couple days later and found a perfect velvet velour Jessie hat. I'd have bought it ($19.99 Plus tax) had I seen it earlier, but ours is very cute and it fits her little head perfectly.
Next item is her chaps. I purchased some Minky Cow fabric in Grand Junction at the most fabulous fabric store. Hi Fashion Fabrics has been there since I can remember and always makes me wish there was something like it in Nor Cal.  Seriously, there are a few more people here, yet this small city in Colorado has a MUCH nicer fabric selection. Go figure.
I backed this incredibly smooth and soft fabric with denim to make the chaps have some more body.
The hardest part was figuring out what shape chaps come in. The drawing of Jessie in the movie just has the chaps start at the top of the leg in a straight line. I thought we didn't need to ruin a pair of blue jeans in the process, and that real chaps might be more costumy for her to wear, so I used a McCall's pattern 2851 that goes around the waist and velcro's closed.
The larger leg of the pants started a little too low on Lexy's leg for my taste, so I had to tuck up the crotch part into her waistband and then they were the right length.
We bought a white button down shirt and took off the front pocket. Then I drew in the yoke line that seemed right for a cowgirl shirt and made up a stiffened yellow satin yoke to cover the shirt yoke.
I did the same with some enlarged cuffs, then embellished them with red soutache braid.
The most fun I had was taking a match to the cut edges of the polyester braid. Just melts and seals itself from fraying right before my eyes.
Here is the finished shirt.
I'll add a picture when she models it for us on Halloween.

Next up ... Little Bo Peep.