Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday in Austin

A lovely day in Austin!

First, brunch with "Leslie in Austin" and clever girl Antoinette and her son at Kerbey Lane Cafe, then a stop at The Common Thread, an independent fabric shop frequented by Leslie and Antoinette. We all came away with a little something--I found a favorite of mine, turquoise double knit fabric, and twin stretch needles which I adore. Leslie will soon be making wool pants from a gorgeous piece of wool she found, and Antoinette is making a lunchbox for her son.

Leslie, me, and Antoinette at The Common Thread, Austin, TX

Here is Jeanie, the owner of The Common Thread, with a gorgeous child's dress she is working on
Jeanie, owner of the Common Thread in Austin, TX with a beautiful dress she's working on

I highly recommend this shop for their selection of diverse fabrics and interesting notions, like bias tape that is light AND dark green all-in-one.  I've never seen anything like it.

Thanks ladies for a fun morning!

We hightailed it back to the hotel just in time for my work conference to begin at 1.  At the opening reception later that night I learned that two of my colleagues at other schools are also sewists and have read reviews on PR.  I asked if the dress that one of them wore last year during a talk she gave was one that she made (very striking with red polka dots), and she said yes, it was made from that Vogue knit wrap dress pattern that everyone's reviewed on PR.  I've made that dress twice and reviewed it on PR.  We talked about our machines, too.  How neat to meet fellow sewists at a work conference. 

Tomorrow I am speaking on two panels and leading a third.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday night in Austin, TX

I flew to Austin today. A guy asked me if I'd switch places with his assigned seat in first class so he could sit with his girlfriend in coach. Oh, that would be an enthusiastic yes! Here was first class lunch:
first class in 4F.

The hotel has a policy of no unregistered guests in rooms after 10:30, and said they check IDs at the elevator after 10:30. I had to sign my agreement to this policy. Wow.
The hotel is posh and has some cool Texas style.  Here's the chair and ottoman in my room.
Texas style

Antoinette, my favorite clever girl, picked me up at the hotel. We had dinner at the flagship Whole Foods store. Waaay larger than the one in Princeton, and super crowded for a Saturday night (in my opinion)! We also went to Parts and Labour, (where Austin crafters sell their crafts, a very cool place), Amy's ice cream, and the Hey Cupcake trailer.

me and the Hey Cupcake trailer

We also went to Zen:
me and Antoinette
and here she's modelling her cool hand art and men's shirt refashion:
Antoinette and her hand jewelry

And did I mention, I love her hot car!
Antoinette and her hot car

My work conference starts tomorrow afternoon. But we are going to meet up for breakfast with "Leslie in Austin" of PR fame. :)

Good night, y'all.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flowers, food, and underwear

hello spring!  daffodils outside my house
Mini-daffodils outside my house, in bloom!

chicken noodle soup from Cooking Light cookbook
Chicken Noodle Soup from Cooking Light.  Soooo good!  Fresh parsley, yum!  Whole wheat pasta.  Celery, carrots, rotisserie chicken, organic chicken broth, onions, pepper.

And now for the sewing...

before:  PEFF 2009 organic cotton t-shirt
Princeton Environmental Film Festival (PEFF) Organic cotton t-shirt, before

and after (made them tonight)
after, PEFF underwear with "champagne" elastic from Sew Sassy
I just love them!

Made these last night. I used a piece of ribbon on the front like a 'tag', like 'branded' underwear.  It's brown fabric with pink elastic.
bikini style (with a ribbon label)  with "pink" elastic from Sew Sassy

Anyone have suggestions on where to get fabric labels? I don't mean personalized ones, ones with different words on them, that I could sew on to the front of underwear.  Noile suggested etsy; I hadn't thought of that!

This was my first foray into "bikini style" underwear. The others I've made in the past are more "boy short" style.

The elastic is from Sew Sassy. The PEFF ones are "champagne" elastic and the brown ones have pink elastic.

The tutorial is, as always, Antoinette's fantastic "make your own undies" tutorial.

I'm on an underwear making roll.  More to come for sure, especially using the zebra striped fold over elastic I got.   MushyWear would approve.  I would have made uw using the zebra striped tonight but I didn't have any black knit fabric of suitable weight.  The black t-shirt I planned to use was too small.  :(

I really should be getting to bed.  I keep running out of time on the weekends.  And I have to keep reminding myself, going to bed early is a gift to give to myself, like eating better.

Good night!  Be well!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I want to tell you a story

wearing lei I made myself
Me at 25, wearing the lei I made myself for free at a nearby mall. Duke's statue, Waikiki Beach.

The first time I went to Hawaii was July 2001.  I returned from a 2 week business trip in Osaka, Japan, and spent almost a week on my very first ever by-myself vacation, which just so happened to be in Waikiki.  It was on the way back from Japan, so why not?  I spent the first day in Waikiki sleeping off the jet lag and doing laundry, subsequently went to Don Ho's show, had my picture taken with him (he offered to kiss me, I declined), went to some Hawaiian tourist shops like Hilo Hattie's and the like. Spent a morning on Waikiki beach (with hundreds of people).  Made a free lei in a shopping center.  Took free hula lessons at the same shopping center.  Had my picture taken next to Duke's statue.  Went to Pearl Harbor and felt sad, discovered the North Shore (and a beach with 3 people) after somehow missing the exit for the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

Don Ho and me
Don Ho, RIP.

hunky luau guy
Me with hunky luau guy. He harvested coconuts from the tree and we all watched.  When he came down, everyone started to scatter.  I asked if I could get a picture.

One of my favorite memories was about four days into the trip, I'm on a bus headed to a luau on the western side of the island.  It's rush hour traffic heading out of Honolulu.  Bumper to bumper, stop and go.  Typical commuter stuff.  Only it's Hawaii, not the NJ Turnpike.  Paradise, not Parkway.  I'm from New Jersey.  New Yorkers, New Jerseyans, we're stereotypically aggressive. We want everything done yesterday.    We're impatient.  We're looking out for number one.    So the luau is about to start and we're still sitting on a bus close to that time.  By this point in my vacay I was mellowing out.  Starting to feel the aloha spirit.  The "hang loose" attitude.  We're all cousins.  So some guy who I pegged as a New Yorker yells out to our tour guide, "What's going on?  It's almost 6pm.  What about the luau?  What about the food?" or something like that and the tour guide says, "Hang loose.  We'll get there.  You'll eat."  I love that and I still do to this day, almost 10 years later. 

making little bracelet at luau
Making a lei bracelet at the luau.

After the devastation in Japan Friday morning, I was worried about Hawaii and the tsunami threat.  I love Hawaii.  I've been privileged enough to visit 5 times, once on my own, four times with Pete.  I've been to four islands.  It holds a special place in my heart.  I tear up thinking about pleasant memories of Hawaii.  So I was grateful to MushyWear for posting Friday on her blog that she, her family, and Maui were safe.  

I googled over the weekend to find out what was going on with the other islands.  I heard that Kona was hit with the tsunami.  Not Japan hard, but hard enough.   I found a news report of a three story house just knocked off its foundation and swept into the bay.  The person who lives next door, his house was destroyed, all broken up in pieces.  Watch his story here.  It's incredible.  He had started chemo for leukemia the day the tsunami hit.  He said he had to call his neighbor who was in California and tell her, it's her house out in the bay.  His family rescued the donkey after the tsunami.  But he really had that aloha spirit.  He said he felt lucky to have lived in that house on the bay that he loved for so long.  He wasn't bitter or angry, just seemed a bit sad but accepting.  He had that Hawaiian "hang loose, everything will be ok" attitude.
I have a lot to learn from Gordon Leslie about how to handle my health issues. 

good night sun.
Sunset at Waikiki Beach, July 2001.
Good night.  Be well.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy pi day! And some randomness.

Marguerite daisies
Gosh, it's been awhile I last blogged.  Carla's been kicked off of Top Chef! 

Today is mathematical pi day (3.14).  One of the eateries on campus had all sorts of pies for pi day, like shepherd's pie, chicken pot pie, apple pie, cherry pie, etc.

Spring is coming! The flowers above are Marguerite daisies from the supermarket. I love how non-conformist their stems are.

Outside, there are snowdrops in the front patch. Welcome!

I made more minestrone. I'm tweaking the recipe. It's now a hybrid of the recipe from "400 Calorie Fix" and "Cook This Not That".
minestrone soup from Cook This Not That

This is a yummy dish; Chicken Pizziola from Cook This Not That, but with breadcrumbs as in the Cordon Bleu recipe, and the chicken is baked, not fried.
A take on chicken pizziola from Cook This Not That
I topped it with generous slices of fresh mozz. Yum.

Sweet potatoes look smashing in a pedestal dessert dish, don't they?
sweet potatoes and Dr Weil

And Toll House chocolate chip cookies with walnuts from scratch for dessert. I gave 40 to a friend who is turning 40 this month. She said that is a good reason to grow older.
First Toll House Cookies of the year!

Books of the last few weeks:
the books of late
I am really enjoying the Dr Weil books. Lots of good info there and ways of framing your mind, your thinking, your being, and what you let into your life. If you only have time for one, read Spontaneous Healing. Excellent. I now follow him on twitter and he's in my blogs at the right. I'm also enjoying "Movement for Self-Healing". The first section of the book is the author's amazing journey from blindness to sight.

The Cooking Light book is one recipe after another but not many pictures. What I love about the Cook This Not That series is that every recipe has a picture!

And here's my parting shot for this evening, underwear made following Antoinette's fantastic tutorial. 
I sewed this on Saturday night.  I just don't have time to sew like I used to (or energy), but I have a lot of patterns in the queue.  I'm still healing from all my various ailments, but progress is being made!
spring underwear
Good night and be well!