Thursday, May 28, 2009

Snip snip


I just finished my cutting for today.
2 corsets x 36 pieces each= I'm pooped, and I have yet to construct the dang things.

I decided to go with corset bodices or the bridesmaids because since a corset shapes the body inside of it, I don't have to worry as much about fitting. Does that make sense? The trade off is, they take for freaking ever to make.

And now I shall eat a cookie, corral the children and chain myself to my sewing machine for the rest of the day while I transform those 72 pieces of silk, lining and inner lining into a pair of corsets.
Fare thee well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What's this?

It's twelve yards of scrumptious habotai silk waiting patiently for a soak in the bath.
I'm really trying to get these Bridesmaid's dresses turned out but there seems to be an issue at each step.
Thanks to my dear friend Suzi I now have Dupioni in the correct shade for the bodices. What I don't have is something light and frothy for the skirts. I went out looking for it today.
I didn't find it.
What I did find was a bottle of dye to pair up with that pile of stashed silk. My test swatch is drying on the back porch as I type and hope I got the color right. Heaven knows I haven't got time to fiddle with dye colors. I need that silk in the bath right away. There are dresses that need sewing.

Update; When the silk came out of the dye there was just one word for it. Bubblegum. Further experimentation showed that once dry it was actually a lovely shade of pink, still too dark though. It's in a cycle with color remover now. If it comes out too pale I'll be thoroughly disappointed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The agony

I love Sesame Street. I've loved it since I first laid eyes on it as a tiny girl. The following is one of my favorite bits.

I felt so bad for the poor couple being kept from one another by the uncooperative traffic light. As I watched I always sent uplifting thoughts to the distraught groom "Don't worry, the light will change. It will!" After a while I'd start wondering if maybe the light was broken because it just wasn't changing was it? So, I'd think through ways he could get across With it red. Hmm, if he walkerd around the block...No, he'd still be on the wrong side of the street. He could call a cab to ferry him through the traffic, or maybe if he walked down to the light at another corner he'd have better luck.
By this time the song would be ending and a last surge of hope would rise in my bosom, perhaps in the last frame the light would turn miraculously green!
Still when I watch it I find myself hoping that the light will change at the end. It never does though.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A story and a dress

I thrifted this shirt last summer to re-purpose into a Zizza Dress. I loved two two stripes of embroidery, I loved the four (I already took one off) pockets.

And quelle suprise! Look at those great vents at the hem! I'll admit I didn't notice those until I had it home.

It's been waiting hopefully in the closet for me to figure a way to incorporate all of those elements into one little dress.
The day finally came. I happened upon Presser Foot while ambling about blog land and look what they're making for this month's sew along.
I needed a distraction from my stalled progress in out fitting the bridal party this week so I jumped in to play.

Now for the story part.
Would you believe this little girl's pop enjoys to tease her?
Well, he does.
On Tuesday when she asked him what came in the mail he said "noodles." I told her maybe he was teasing and maybe he wasn't but what did she think? She thought he wasn't and really wanted to know where the noodles from the mail box were.
The thing is though, he was teasing and there weren't any noodles.
On Wednesday she and I decided we'd better give him a little taste of his medicine, so we started out down the road to the mail box

She was very anxious to get there so she walked her very fastest.

Say, the pockets on her new dress are just right for this sort of thing!

She couldn't help but giggle at the thought of her poppa opening the mail box and finding it full of noodles!

Into the box they went, now all that was left to do was wait.

Well, that and walk home. Just a minute now, she spotted something.

Would you look at that little fellow carrying such a big treat home to his family! And isn't it interesting how pretty the cement is when you look so close?

Well, she waited the rest of the day, and when her pop came home he told her there had been noodles (of all things!) in the mail box! And he wasn't even teasing this time.
The End

Back to the dress.
I strayed from the tutorial a bit to accommodate the bits of shirt I wanted to preserve.
I wanted the embroidery to reach up over the shoulders so I cut my front piece to extend into a gathered strap. I started out planning to eliminate the sleeve piece all together but I needed the extra length from that piece to get the gather I wanted in the strap, so I used the piece but trimmed the length.
I had really hoped to use the vents from the original shirt but it was just too wide, so they had to go. I had high hopes of preserving the vents for use in another project. I was thinking of a shorty little romper for The New One with a vent on each leg and one of those extra pockets square on her front. Alas, there's just not enough of the shirt left to do it. I'm still mulling over the romper idea though.

Some of Each

It was a beautiful day today. Cool and overcast. We get an overcast day every now and then hereabouts but they're generally stuffy and oppressive. A cool overcast day, now that's something to write about.
We picnicked for lunch, we strolled after dinner, we played in the yard, enjoying the smattering of drippy drops across our faces. I'm just waiting to go for a luxuriously -just because I want to- kind of a run. My windows are open, the breeze is cool and smells like wet pavement. All of this is miraculous.
I've been waiting for bridesmaid fabric to be delivered so I can dig in to that project. I spent the week worrying, wishing I could make some kind of progress. I prototyped the skirt and found that a twelve-gored number with an off set flounce is what I'm after. It felt good to have a game plan, still it's ridiculously easy to mess up a twelve gored skirt, and I'm going to be constructing four of these, heaven help me, without bodies for reference.
Today, with the skirt design nailed down and still waiting, I was feeling rather useless. Then I remembered the New One's dress. Since I forgot to measure her before tucking her in to bed the day I cut the other six flower girl dresses, I've been putting hers off. So I had a purpose.
I decided to make that little dress an exercise in speed. It was the down hill side of nap time and I raced against the waking children to get it finished. While I was working my fabric was delivered. On a roll now, I was exhilarated. The little dress took about an hour.
But it didn't fit her.
And the fabric is the wrong shade of pink.
The Mr is working late and after having my braces adjusted this morning, I've lost the ability to chew so dinner was buttered rice. It's amazing how good that is.
To sum up, today was wonderful and discouraging. It flipped and flopped from one side to the other so many times I couldn't keep track of what I should be feeling. Contentedly discouraged. that oughtta do it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bunny hop

Yesterday The New One wore full-out big girl pony tails with all of her hair included rather than just the top section. It was adorable but you're going to have to take my word for it because I have no photographic evidence.
When Enzo saw her completed coif he started talking about bunnies.
"Oh, how cute and creative of him," I thought, "He thinks her ponies look like bunny ears"
And I used to pride myself on my detailed memory.
This photo was taken two/three weeks ago. I put in the ponytails, told him he was a bunny and he hopped around the room with glee.

Being the lone son, sandwiched between a pair of sisters can be rough. Every morning when hair combing time comes there's a struggle. Zizza wants nothing to do with it but knows it will happen whether she likes it or not so she requests the fastest hair-do she can think of before I get the chance to suggest anything more involved. The New One, being only eight months of age isn't so much cooperative or uncooperative but sits and looks a whatever interests her while I follow the movement of her wee head with my comb.
Then there's Enz. Any time he sees a vacancy he jumps right onto the step stool with an eager "air, tome?" I comb his blonde wisps and send him on his way. A few minutes pass, I may still be waiting for Zizza to put in an appearance, I may be stowing the hair combing paraphernalia at the end of the task, and here he'll come again. "Air tome?"
He's not satisfied until theres something or other adorning his boyish little head. Usually I put in the blue teddy bear barrette, or there's a cookie monster clip that also works well. These things hold onto the pale froth of his hair for a minute or two and then somehow make their way back to the hair drawer for another go the next day.
This morning he was not leaving that stool without "bunny ears" I tried again and again to explain that since his haircut last week, he was out of luck on the bunny ear front.
Through his persistence he proved me wrong.
He does have enough hair for a quick pair of bunny ears.

But I don't.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Remember last summer's quest for golden wedges? I stumbled upon the perfect pair.
Just a few little problems. For one, at $148.95 they're a few (or quite a few) steps out of my price range. For another, after I didn't find a suitable golden wedge last summer, I kind of outgrew the desire.
A sad ending for a quest.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A new skill

Over the past month and a half my young son has started to play with toys. I mean actually play with them. In the past he would hold one and carry it around while he did whatever it was he was doing. Now he's interacting with the toys and with his sister. It's been fascinating to watch the change come on.
Now, for your enjoyment I'll demonstrate one of the first interactive games Enzo played with Zizza and their stuffed animals.

Why hello Mr. Monkey sir. Fine day we're having is it not?


I've asked Millie to bring our tea out to the veranda so we can enjoy the fresh air. Won't that be nice?


Did you enjoy yourself at the ball last night?


Her play is quite a bit more sophisticated that his which means she gets rather bored of playing with him after not too many minutes. Even after the sibling interaction has ended, he'll sit and play with his toys. It's amazing how much of my time it frees up. He used to come looking for me as soon as he found himself alone in a room. Now, he'll sit there for halves of hours making his Monkey say "hallo" to his Robot and driving his tractor over the baby. (Who, judging by her laughter, enjoys this as much as he does) I can even walk into the room and after exchanging a quick "hallo" with a toy taxi cab leave again without being followed.
It's nothing short of a miracle I tell you. I don't remember this happening with Zizza. I'm not sure if that's because it didn't happen or because I was too tired out and preoccupied with pregnancy to notice it when it did.
Either way, I'm glad to be noticing the change with him.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

almost genius


I made cupcakes as my contribution to the refreshment table at the recital last night. I used Pioneer woman's recipe and I have to say I was disappointed. The cake was rather dry, a total downer. Now, the problem might have been that I baked them late Thursday night and went to bed with the cupcakes warm on the counter. If I'd waited for them to cool and then popped them into a tupperware to wait until frosting time I mightn't have had the problem.
Anyway, I made those an that got me thinking about cup cakes in general and I made another batch to share with friends today. I have this book, In it is a recipe called "The Hostess With the Mostess Cupcakes" I bet you can guess what those are like.
I set out to make them and that is where the near geniusness came in. The book says to fill the chocolate cup cakes with plain old white icing. I was not on board with that. Cupcake filling should be creamy and delicious in a way simple butter, milk and powdered sugar icing can never be.
It happened that I had half a can of sweetened condensed milk in my fridge, also some heavy cream. That got me thinking, "Why have I never mixed those two divine ingredients?" So, that is what I did. I whipped a cup or so of cream until it was good and fluffy, then I folded in about a half cup of sweetened condensed milk and gave it all a good beating.
It. Was. Heaven.
So I filled a piping bag and squirted generous amounts of the stuff into each and every cupcake. Even the already frosted yellow recital leftovers got a shot of the creamed heaven. I frosted over everything with chocolate ganache and that was that.
Or was it?
Observe this bisected cupcake specimen. Where is the cream filling?

What happened to all of that luscious goo? I re-filled my piping bag three times to get through all of those cakes. What on earth happened to it all? Was it absorbed into the cake? Did it ooze back out through the top? I don't know. I do know these were a sorry excuse for filled cupcakes, and as genius as my whipped sweet and condensed cream may have been, the over all project was a flop.
I'll have to come up with some other way to use the heavenly cream of my genius. As good as it is on it's own, it can't be considered truly genius until a proper application is found.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Dancing flower Girl

I finished up the flower girl dresses much as I'm going to do before I get to Utah anyway. I'm hoping to put them on the girls once to make sure they fit before I do the little things like close the elastic casings and put on the closures. No sense in doing things twice.
Zizza's fits though. She put it on this afternoon and gave me a sneak peak of tonight's dance recital with her bed as the stage.
I did make her stand still for a little minute while I took a few boring shots

She rocked those foamy rollers all day in preparation for her big show.

See, isn't it more fun to dance?

There was the Hawaiian number with music from Lilo and Stitch. It was definitely the favorite.

The arm that's out of the frame here is swinging an imaginary lasso, that's right folks a cowgirl dance. She was absolutely tickled when I dug out my Dixie Chicks CD so she could listen to her cowgirl dance song in the car this week. She was observed wriggling her hips and swinging her "lasso" in my rear view mirror on numerous occasions.

And of course there was a classical piece.

Which led to a demand that I photographically document her knowledge of her positions.


Three (I've only ever heard it spoken of in hushed, dismissive tones but Baby Girl faithfully inserts it between second and fourth every time)



So there you have it, a massive amount of sewing reported complete, a mini recital and a ballet demonstration, all in one post.

Look forward to an account of the actual recital in the coming days.

I should mention the blue writing here and there on the dress. When You're constructing six dresses at a time it's fairly easy to get bits mixed up and find that the sleeve meant for the size 2 wound up stitched to the size eight bodice and the size 5 skirt. Not such a good idea. For this reason I label each piece with a fabric marker as I cut it. I haven't gotten around to labeling the dresses less conspicuously as of yet, so each dress has it's size emblazoned across each piece in that trusty blue ink.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Silver linnings

Friday afternoon found me in my kitchen, busily massacring this recipe. I stared out by burning my onions. When it came time to add the broth, I started pouring and though "my, my ,that's awfully dark for chicken broth" and it was. You know what it was the color of though? Beef broth. Makes sense, since it was beef broth. I stopped pouring, put the beef broth in the fridge and poured in the chicken broth.
It was about that time when The New One started fussing a bit and the phone rang. Since nothing was in danger of burning, I answered the phone and made my way up stairs to investigate the fussing.
When Zizza saw me coming, she started yelling something about Enzo and cups. The New One, rather than pinned under her big brother, as I expected her to be based on her whimpers, was playing with toys on an uncharacteristically dark portion of carpet. Bits of popcorn, the remains of the afternoon snack, were strewn about the room.
The effort of taking all of this in and trying to make sense of it impaired my conversational skills such that my friend asked "Do you need to call me back?" Thats when Enzo came down the hall clutching his popcorn cup to his chest. He stopped, there in the hallway, and dumped.
That was the part of the scene I's missed before. Suddenly, it all made sense. "My two year old has been dumping cupfuls of water on the carpet" I said, laughing. I turned and took another look at the New One, the dark cast of the carpet around her now perfectly logical "and on the baby. I'll call you back"
I put Enz in time out, picked up the New One and stripped off her wet clothes. I really did have to get back to my soup though, lest it be subjected to further damage. THe mess would have to wait. Just a few ingredients remained to be added. When all was compounded and safely simmering. I went back to deal with the mess, the fugitive, and the Zizza who didn't see fit to share the news of water dumping until I was about to discover it myself, putting her in danger of shared blame.
"I cleaned it up Mamma" said she as I entered the room. "I had to use a lot of towels though"
The best part is she really had cleaned it up. That is how she avoided a long and detailed scolding about the difference between tattling and telling me things I need to know.
I finished off the afternoon by over simmering the soup so it was more the consistency of a casserole and scalding the bottom of the poor injured dish.
The best part, in this case, was that it was still so crazy good I couldn't wait until the next day so I could eat it as leftovers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I, along with the Mr and some friends, ran a 5K at the Zoo yesterday morning. I learned a thing or two during this, my first race.
1-Hills are a pain
2-I'd prefer never to run in the light of day
3-I'm every bit as slow as I thought I was.

The real miracle of the event was finding a babysitter who was willing to come at 6 am. Granted, her mother accepted the job on her behalf, but she insisted she didn't mind.

I was challenged to wear the race t-shirt for the rest of the day. Mind you, this was not the shirt I wore to run the race, but the t-shirt that came with the entrance fee. So, there was no stinking or lack of personal hygiene involved in the challenge.
At least, that was the case until moments before this photo was taken.

What the photo doesn't tell you is that sandwiched between the New One and myself is a healthy slathering of baby vomit. I snapped the photo quickly as proof of my having worn the shirt and removed my self from that puke soaked thing in short order.
Before you wonder what kind of wussy mother I am, not even able to abide a bit of spit-up on my cheap ugly t-shirt, let me just point out that the spitting child in question is nearing eight months old. During the past weeks as she's begun eating more and more solid foods her chief exports (poop and puke) have grown increasingly smelly.
I'm counting the minutes until she reaches the stage where those exports naturally decrease in frequency.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


As I drove to Joy School today I caught snatches of the soliloquy Bestest was delivering to a bored faced Zizza.
It went kind of like this.
"I'm going to the prom with my boyfriend.....prom...boyfriend...boyfriend...boyfriend...prom...but my mom said "No" I can't go to the Prom...I couldn't find a dress in time. I looked and looked for my dress and I couldn't find anything....and the puppy ripped it all up...It ripped my dress into little tiny pieces.....Pieces every where.....and I'm not going to the prom with him anyway....was going with my boyfriend but now I'm going with someone else...the PROM! I'm talking about the PROM!!...the prom will be in my room and lots of people will be coming....not my boyfriend....someone else...Don't tell ok? Don't even tell your mom....And don't tell (names all of the kids in Joy School) Ok? Ok? Don't tell ok?"
Zizza says "Fine, I'm not going to tell" and they hop out of the car.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I've been thinking

about this.

But then i found this

That would be nice too.
I wasn't even considering growing it out again, but it just looks so simple. A lot of work, on a good day it took 30 minutes just to blow dry, but it was simple.
What's a girl to do?


Did I tell you I made a wedding gown in February?
It was a lot of fun to do the Bridal thing again, It's been about three years since my last one.
Rachael was great to work with, knew what she wanted but open to suggestions, essentially the perfect client.
Thanks to Beka at Lowe Photography for the fabulous photos.

Lowe Photography,

Monday, May 4, 2009


My relationship with dogs/my dog has changed dramatically over the years. I discussed it briefly here, in my first ever blog post. Today, I'll delve deeper into the topic. Let's start at the beginning.
I was deathly afraid of dogs as a child. I remember standing in the snow, paralyzed with fear at the sound of jingling behind me. It could be a dog's license jingling. The dog must be right behind me! What on earth was I going to do? After a while I figured out it was the metal zipper on the back pocket of my snow suit doing the jingling.
I stopped wearing that snow suit.
In my adolescence, I was an honorary member of a dog family. I learned to be comfortable around their dogs. It was giant step forward. Of course, we'd had a dog for the first eleven (or so) years of my life, and I'd never been afraid of him. Even when a kind old cocker spaniel meandered toward me, and reduced me to a shivering pile of tears on the side walk while school bound, I was not afraid of our Spiffy.
In the instance of the spaniel, her owner, Sister Morgan, saw us from her window, (Me, weeping in terror. Her sweet dog, looking up at me confused as to the source of my distress and probably trying to lend comfort with her presence) and came to my rescue, calling her dog home and consoling me as best a kind neighbor can.
And so, I made it to adulthood no longer horribly afraid of dogs but not comfortable with them to say the least. I could hold myself together in the presence of a canine, but only just.
This was ridiculous, I decided and set out on a course of self analysis. What I came up with is: I learned my fear of dogs from my mother. She didn't freeze and cry when approached by wandering dogs. In fact, I have memories of her bravely telling those same, tail wagging wanderers to "go home!" when they approached us on walks. That's just it though, she was just as anxious for them to leave as I was. She wasn't afraid they'd "get" her like I was, but she was mighty uncomfortable having them around and I could tell.
Once I figured this out I decided that once and for all, I was going to get over my fear of dogs. If not for me, then for my children. It is no fun standing stalk still in the snow perchance your outerwear is actually a sneaking dog. Crying in terror at the approach of a friendly neighbor of the four legged persuasion is no way to start your day. I would learn to love dogs in order to spare my future children that pain.
So, I told myself I liked dogs, and that I wanted one. I spent hours researching breeds and pined away waiting until we were in a situation where we could have one. That's when Mouchoir entered my life.

Side note- This isn't the picture I wanted, but it's the best I can find. Gahh, switching computers is troublesome.

He was so itty bitty he couldn't climb the stairs on his own. We bought him some puppy treats, the smallest we could find, but he couldn't get his wee jaws around them. He did like Kleenexes, however. That's where he got his name. It's French for Kleenex.
We loved him and coddled him and spoiled him.
Then we had a baby.
I continued to love "Mouch" after Zizza was born. I took more notice of his flaws though. The incessant barking any time any object moved within sight of our front window, the failure to potty train, the attacks on my ankles whenever I ventured to leave the house.
After Enzo was born I couldn't take any more of it. We hired a dog trainer who helped immensely but pointed out that if we want him to behave, we have to put in the time working with him.
Here's the thing, I'm busy. I've got kids to look after and potty train, I only have so much time for the dog.
He is much better than he was two years ago, but I don't generally see that. What I see is him biting my ankles when I tell him to get in his Kennel and raising holy hell when people come to my door.
Bottom line, I don't love him anymore.
I've become my mother after all. I tolerate the dog in my house hold for the sake of the family at large.
I'm not her though, because I remember loving him and I'd really like to love him again.
I've been working on that this past week. I let him come in the car with me when dropped off and picked up from dance class and preschool. I invited him to sit by me and even patted him while he was there.
I thought we were making good progress.
This morning I was crouching, taking inventory of the quiet toys in my church bag. I smelled poop. I was confused, the Mr was up stairs changing a diaper but surely I wouldn't smell it at such distance. Then I noticed the dog walking by, "you stink, Mouch" I said, thinking he must have passed gas. Then, as I looked to my right I saw, not two feet from me, a fresh log of poo. (If indeed, a 4.5 pound dog can be said to produce such. "Twig" might be a more accurate description, but I digress)
"You did that while I was sitting right here?" I said to the guilty dog.
I stalked to the back door, threw it open and turned to order him out when something caught my eye. Another piece of poo. This one, smashed. But... how?
Then I looked at the bottom of my shoe.
I hadn't seen the second piece because as I crouched there, on my toes, he deposited it right under my foot. So when I stood. I squished it.
I've never been so thankful not to have carpet in my living room and I don't know where this leaves me dog-wise. I had really thought we were getting to be friends again.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

For Sophie

I got to make the dress for a baby to blessed in. That's what I took time off wedding sewing for.
Here it is


It's two pieces. The simple satin dress;

And the lace jacket


There's not much I find prettier than a neat and narrow rolled hem. The sight makes my soul purr.

And finally, because I like the insides of clothes as much, if not more, than the out sides.


French seams and quarter inch bias binding...brings a tear to my eye.