Friday, February 27, 2009

Pied Piper

Aren't Fridays off work the best? This is the second Friday I've taken off in February. So nice! And since I went to the gym for an 8am class (not doing anything to hurt my back...) it's given me a large amount of time to "do stuff".

I finished my (most likely) lone entry for the Fabric Stash Contest over at SPR.

Full length view of Simplicity 3696 view F

I've had this Tweety Bird flannel since the summer of 1994! That's when I was seriously into Tweety Bird--it was all the rage that summer. I made a Tweety Bird dress out of some kind of poly/cotton and brought it with me to college. I had planned on making a blanket out of the flannel, but it never, um, materialized.

So now, almost 15 years later, I have made it into Simplicity 3696, a bathrobe with piping. My interested in piping was suddenly piqued by the outfit the members of the Netherlands Olympic team wore in the opening ceremonies.
Photo from

Some people really hated this outfit, but I was in love with it.

I wanted yellow piping for the bathrobe but JoAnn's didn't have any and time was running out since the deadline for the contest is tmw at midnight. So I went with black piping and actually I think it worked out pretty well--it mimics the outline of the Tweety Birds.

I worked on the bathrobe Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night, finishing it up before the Top Chef finale (so sad about Carla not listening to herself--lesson learned!). I used the directions in the pillow section of the Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing. The book also showed how to make your own piping--an idea I hadn't even considered, but I didn't have any cording to make my own and I wasn't about to go traipsing back over to JoAnn's to get some to make my own.
I wound up adding piping not only to the front facing, but I also chopped 4 inches off the sleeves (the pattern called for 3 inch hem?), attached the piping to the sleeve ends, folded the chopped bits in half, and sewed the sleeve cuff on.
Simplicity 3696 view F.  Isn't that piping sharp?
Closeup of the piping.
You can also see my short haircut.

Back of Simplicity 3696 view F
Back of the bathrobe.

This afternoon, I might make a shirt that I already cut out. Or I might make a wreath out of these fake forsythias I picked up at Michael's. Can you tell, I'm ready for spring???

Or I might just take a nap...

I have SPR'd the bathrobe.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The story that put Warrington, England on the map for Americans

That could be my hair, but Pete
doesn't wear hats like that...
Photo courtesy AFP/Andrew Yates

Whenever people ask where Pete lives, I usually say Manchester. I'm guessing most Americans know Manchester for its part in the Industrial Revolution or because of David Beckham and his former football (soccer) team, Manchester United.

But Pete actually lives in Warrington (where??), 20 minutes from Manchester.

And now Americans will know Warrington as that quirky town that prohibits kissing at one of its rail stations.

I actually have been at that train station, though I don't ever recall holding up any commuters due to kissing (or anything else for that matter).

Light sewing weekend, but I used my new rotary cutter and cutting mat for the first time ever today--it is AMAZING! I should have tried that a long time ago!

I'm making a bathrobe and I'm going to add piping to it--it will be my first time ever with piping--wish me luck! I've had the fabric since 1994--perfect for SPR's fabric stash contest which ends on Saturday 2/28. Do I have to pre-shrink the piping? It's store-bought piping...

There's a pillow I want to make with stash fabric too. We'll see if I get there in rotary cutter and mat should make it easy!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hey you're just too funky for me

I've done a lot of sewing over the past 9 days--I had energy at night to sew (although I had promised myself to never sew after work again after this mishap) and then I took Friday off from work.

Let's start the show!

1. Simplicity 4095, view A

Ok, so this one was kind of a mess. It's supposed to have these super cute side gathers, which are super cute side on.

Simplicity 4095: ok-ish from the side  when gathered
But head on, ugh.

Simplicity 4095:  Blah from the front when gathered

The problems began when I saw how small the pattern pieces for the 14 (my usual New Look size) looked. So I went up two sizes. I should have gone down one size. The finished garment measurements were on target. Lesson learned: Trust the finished garment measurements!

I wound up taking out the side gathers
Simplicity 4095: no-gathers-on-side version
I also pulled the right wrap over a bit more to take care of the gaping bust line.

See what I did there? Simplicity 4095
See what I did there?
This has been Sewing Pattern Reviewed.

2. New Look 6762, redux.
I wear this shirt quite a lot (looks great under a brown cardigan, since the cardigan hides those awful shoulder darts while still displaying the ruffled collar, and brown and aqua is such a fab combo). The sleeves were just slightly too short. So I decided to lengthen them by adding an elasticated ruffle to the sleeve edges, mimicking the ruffled collar.
New Look 6762 redux
Pretty awesome!
This has been Sewing Pattern Reviewed.
SPR'ers are the nicest people! Here's Joan1954's comment on my review:
"I love your ruffled remake of this top. Maybe (for large cash) you should sell New Look the rights to redo this pattern your way. :D I'd buy your version any day!"

3. New Look 6828, View A
Inspired by Antoinette's refashions, I took a mock turtleneck my dad didn't want:
Here's what New Look 6828 view A started as...
And turned it into this gem:
New Look 6828 view A as a shirt
I love those gathers! I barely had enough fabric to make the shirt, though, and had to cut the back yoke against the grain.
here's what it looked like after cutting it out

But it all worked out and the pattern was quite fun to make. Because I paid attention to the finished garment measurements, I was able to pick out the right New Look size (10 for this one!)

Here's what the full garment looks like:
Full view of New Look 6828 view A as a shirt
The best part was not having to hem it, since I used the original shirt hem instead. Awesome!

This has been Sewing Pattern Reviewed.

4. New Look 6807, view E
I made this shirt again, this time in gray double knit!
New Look 6807 in gray!
I adore those ties in the back.
New Look 6807, super cute ties in back
You may recall, I already made this shirt in pink:
I love that cowl neckline!
So I was trying to add sleeves on to this gray one for winter. No sleeves were included for this pattern (even though other views have sleeves, those shirts have raglan sleeves; this shirt would require regular ol' sleeves.) So I tried putting regular ol' sleeves in, using New Look 6828 sleeves. However, what I failed to realize first was that the shoulder is not wide enough so the sleeves pulled on the neckline in their attempt to find some ease.
New Look 6807 with sleeves
So I took the sleeves out and put in armhole bindings instead.

This has been Sewing Pattern Reviewed.

5. New Look 6782, view D.
I really wanted to make a red shirt for Valentine's Day! This one I'm still not done with. I didn't like the look of the gathered "skirt" (bottom portion of the shirt) so I extended the midriff panel and cut out the skirt straight, no gathers. Also, the bust gaped for me (again) so here's what I did to fix it:
New Look 6782--how I fixed the gaping bust!

Here's where I'm at now:
New Look 6782 view D-esque
I mean, it looks done. But the hemline is one inch longer on one side compared to the other, which I definitely will fix before moving on to my next project. And I'm trying to decide if I should use the braided trim or not?
New Look 6782 view D-esque
It's just draped on in that shot (love my expression), and obviously, if I sewed it on, I would sew it on straight and finish up those edges at the end. There's also a braided belt that I could make too. What do you think? Braid or no braid?

This has been Sewing Pattern Reviewed.

Other sewing stuff
I cut out a bathrobe and another shirt to make. I'm going to be good now. No more crawling all over the floor cutting stuff out with my hurt back. Today I made a huge sewing purchase: a big rotary cutting mat, big enough to cover my dining room table. I got it at Michael's with a 50% off coupon. It is in three sections and can be locked together. When I'm not using it, it will be stored under my living room couch. In a few days, I will go back and buy the rotary cutter with a 40% off coupon. I'm hoping it changes my life! The mat itself was a bit heavy to carry to my car so now my back is letting me know that because I'm not supposed to lift anything--but I promise to be good the rest of the week with it so that it can mend, especially now that it's week 5 of my injury!!

V-day update: I forgot to mention, in addition to items in yesterday's post, Pete also gave me 2 scratch off lottery tix ("Love Bug" losers) and a Valentine card that I was going to give him but wound up giving him a different card. How funny would that have been if we sent each other the same card? (It helps that he bought it in Princeton before he left, and that we both like JoyCards so much!). He also made me a very cute video Valentine. He also says another gift is on its way.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Immigration update: On Monday we received the tracking number for our application! I found a website that shows that on Nov 30, 2008, USCIS in VT was processing apps from April 15, 2008.

Pete was such a sweetie and sent me flowers for V-day!

Valentine flowers from Pete 2/14/09

Seriously, these are the best looking, most colorful and most hopeful (if flowers can look hopeful) bunch Pete has ever sent me. And seriously, that baby's breath looks like it was just plucked from the plant. Also, I love those flower picks, this one is especially impressive with a big heart & arrow, plus two cupids to boot!

Pete also marked my love of cupcakes with this shirt for the gym:
Vanilla Chocolate Cupcake shirt Pete gave me for V-day
Vanilla, Chocolate, Pirate

I don't know why I have that weirdo grin on my face, but I do like the shirt! Arrr, Mateys, behold the sweetness of the cupcake!

If you want, you can check out what I made for Pete, over at Pete's blog.

I've spent a lot of time sewing this week and weekend. But I think that post will wait til tomorrow.

In the meantime:
Things I love:
  • Pete.
  • Sewing.
  • Cupcakes.
  • Watching old George Michael videos on YouTube and eating Valentine candy while sewing.
Things I like:
Things that make me sad:
  • A Princeton University employee was killed in a car accident on his way to work 2 weeks ago.
  • A Princeton University employee was killed in that Buffalo plane crash Thursday night.
What can I say but enjoy every day!

Happy Valentine's Day, Pete! I love you!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Snowy day & more good news

Good news: The immigration lawyer received the documentation I sent her and she has sent it on to the USCIS. They must have received the pkg because the application check has been cashed! So now we wait for 6-8 months. In the meantime, we are thinking about budget, guest list, and reception sites. But that's one post (or 100) for another time.

There was a really neat snowstorm on Tuesday which left the trees with snowy flocked coverage for my commute on Wednesday.

Trees on my street in early morning sun
Love the morning light!

the sun's coming up!
Rise and shine!
Taken from inside my car while exiting my street.
At the end of my street

during the "crawl" to work
While crawling through Kingston, NJ

Almost all the way to work
Almost to work!

I can hear the ice sliding off the roof this morning so it must be warming up! Since Tuesday's newspaper is buried in the snow, I look forward to recovering it tmw when it's supposed to be 55F.

I'm going back to the doctor tonight. Fingers crossed! It's been three weeks since the injury and I'm not fully functional. Gah!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Our history in pix

photos for our visa application
Pete & Kyle, 2003-present

Well, the photos I sent to CVS to be printed weren't high enough resolution (my fault). So I got the high res ones together and sent them off again to be printed. Picked them up at the CVS on the corner. The quality of the prints wasn't the best. I think it's just their printing process since the second batch were definitely high res when I uploaded them. I raided my photo frames and picture albums to get some higher quality prints. I stopped printing photos after our Hawaii 2006 trippy bip, and I didn't have all photos from before then anyway, but at least half of them are high quality prints.

So here is our history in pix. Let's start the show!
Clockwise, starting in the upper left corner:
  • Sandy Hook Dec 2003 (our first photo together! That was when things were just getting started. Both of us had hair that was a lot longer then. Pete also had a lot of piercings at that time)
  • Hiking Diamond Head 2005.
  • On the London Eye 2006.
  • At the K&W in Myrtle Beach 2007.
  • On Kauai, Hawaii with yet another beautiful waterfall, Nov. 2008.
  • In my parents front yard while we "hug" a tree, Earth Day 2008.
  • At the Royal Kona luau on the Big Island of Hawaii, 2006.
  • With my PDB annotation poster at ACA, Chicago, July 2004.
  • Saying goodbye at London Heathrow airport in Jan 2004.
In the middle :
  • With King Kong at the Empire State Bldg, summer 2005
  • At the Sharaton Waikiki Christmas tree, Nov 2008.
So I'd say the combined amount of my time for putting my part of the application together was 8 hours. Pete also put a lot of hours in scanning his phone bills, itineraries and cards I sent him.

The complete app
Here's the completed app. I mailed it tonight!
I will hear back from the lawyer this week as to if this is enough. If it is, she will send it to the USCIS for approval, which takes 6-8 months.

I'm so excited and also very tired!

Coming soon: my "goals for 2009" post and my "wedding items of interest" post.