Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Really?  It's over already?  I remember talking to Elizabeth back in February about how we wouldn't have a day off until Memorial Day - weeks, months, practically years away!  And now it's over and tomorrow is June and ohmygod it'll be Christmas before we know it.  I'm not ready, I can tell you that much.

It was a fantastic weekend, though.  I worked from home half of the day Friday, after having meetings and meetings and meetings all week, which was a nice way to end it all.  I also decided while working from home that I wouldn't focus on cleaning - Nick will be home this weekend and can do it then.  Instead, 16 and Pregnant was my background music and I spent hours building spreadsheets and merging cells.  Sounds boring, but I kind of like that tedious stuff to clear my head.

Anyway, let's get cracking on what I did over the weekend:

Friday night after dinner (black bean tortilla pie), I set to work on an Oliver + S Ice Cream top for Miss Grace, using Heather Ross Far Far Away II.  Have I already posted about this?  I don't think I have.  Sorry for the poor quality; apparently my flash wasn't a fan.  Anyway, it's Sleeping Beauty themed, and the yoke is roses.  The back button is from a pair of Gap jeans I haven't worn in years.  I finished it in only a few hours, which was refreshing.

Saturday was a big day.  Here's a little back story: Montgomery County, Maryland, has ridiculous alcohol taxes.  You will easily pay $16 for a six-pack of beer.  Nick and I drink craft beers, so we're used to paying more, but it's completely ridiculous.  They're also upping the tax come January.  Ugh.

So we went to Total Wine in Alexandria.  We loved Total Wine in Jacksonville but haven't been since we moved.  The GPS must have known it was a beautiful day, because instead of taking us along 495, it took us on Clara Barton Parkway, along the C&O Canal, through Georgetown and Rosslyn and past Arlington Cemetery.  It was quite a sight, considering Rolling Thunder was in town.  Anyway, that second picture is of all our beer and cider from Total Wine--and it cost us about a third of what it would have been here in MoCo.  Sorry to bootleg, but we're on a budget.

After Total Wine, we went to District Taco in Arlington.  I frequent the DT Food Truck when it's here in Rosslyn.  They have awesome burritos.  This time I got a bowl and chips and a Boylan soda.  They don't have any Coke or Pepsi products, just Boylan!  Everything is also fresh and made right there, including the chips.  I can't wait to go back.

That last picture is of the Oliver + S Family Reunion dress for Grace, made with Anna Maria Horner.  I'm very happy with how this dress ended up, though I did have an issue with the hem facing.  The directions say to "cut 2 on fold," but there's so much extra fabric, I think that's a misprint.  I made it work--lots of easing and what essentially looks like an inside ruffle--so hopefully Grace won't think it's the most terrible thing she's ever seen!

Sunday...Sunday...what'd we do Sunday?  Oh, we went grocery shopping, which is always an adventure.  I also cut out the Colette Patterns Sorbetto top, which is free through that link.  We had decided to finally go see a movie together--the first in ten months of dating--so we went to Five Guys for dinner and saw Bridesmaids.  People, this movie is amazing.  If you haven't seen it yet, you must, as soon as possible.  I'm not normally a Kristen Wiig fan (based solely on her SNL characters), but this movie made me love her, Maya Rudolph, everyone.  Go see it!

Also, I asked Nick for that hot pink KitchenAid mixer seen above, but so far, it hasn't arrived.  It would look fantastic next to my blue mixer.

Yesterday, Memorial Day, we went to National Harbor.  It was a hell of an adventure getting there though.  I had to go to the Harley-Davidson store to pick up some presents for Aidan, Savannah's brother.  There was no way I was only showing up with gifts for her, and if I'd have made him clothes, he probably would have slapped me.  So I decided to get him a Harley shirt and a toy because he's obsessed with my dad's and his dad's bikes. 

We set out to go to Old Glory HD in Laurel, about 11 miles away.  On the way there, my hubcap came off on the Beltway.  Thankfully it didn't kill anyone, but still--and now my car is pretty ghetto.  Anyway, so we get there, and it's closed for Memorial Day.  Oh, okay.  Considering, again, that Rolling Thunder is in town, we're pretty surprised.  So I call Annapolis HD--it's closed too.  I finally call the National Harbor HD, and thankfully they're open, but my GPS doesn't recognize the address.  We got lost no fewer than five times in NE Washington, D.C.  Interesting, let me tell you.

Anyway, so we went there, I picked up a few things, we ate lunch.  The above pictures are from National Harbor; the first is "The Awakening," a huge statue that used to be at Hain's Point in DC, where I had seen it ten years ago when we first moved here.  The second is the Peeps store.  Yep, Peeps, those little marshmallow dudes my mom loves so much.  I'm not into them, but the next time my mom's up, we may need to go there.

I also sewed together the Sorbetto top, which I'm less than thrilled with.  It's a free pattern, so I'll go with it, but it's very short.  I have the shortest waist known to man--how does this look on normal people?  I made it with some cheap gingham I bought at JoAnn's Saturday.  Nick likes it, I'm more "meh."

I also cut out another Ice Cream dress from Sherbet Pips for Grace.  I'd like to get that done tonight and tomorrow so I can pack it up with her other outfits.

So it was a busy weekend!  Sorry to bore you--hopefully I didn't.  This week is busy, and the next few weeks are full with family and friends.  And before I know it, it will be July.  Oh my god...

Friday, May 27, 2011

My First Taste of Heather Ross

That title sounds wrong, but it isn't.  Sorry to get your hopes up.

It's been an insane week.  Long days at the office, running running running everywhere, still making dinner and taking care of the apartment, and falling asleep on the couch.  Not necessarily in that order.  Now I'm exhausted and my belly hurts, most likely because of my week.

Monday evening I cut out an Ice Cream top and a Family Reunion dress for Grace.  This afternoon, once my internet cut out, I finally was able to start working on them.

That's the kind of week it's been.

This is the Ice Cream top, made with Heather Ross's Far Far Away II, featuring Sleeping Beauty and roses.  I bought it on sale last week at Pink Chalk and decided, while it's hell trying to get gathers to take (I broke each and every one of the tails), I love the artistry enough to keep using her fabrics.  I'd actually like more to make other things for Grace, and not just the upcoming Far Far Away III (with Snow White) but also the VW vans, the grasshoppers and the mermaids.

In summer 2009 when I lived in Savannah, my mom visited me and we went to Fabrika, an indie fabric store a few blocks from my apartment.  She bought some Mendocino prints and I don't believe either of us knew just what it was, but we knew we loved it.  She eventually made a Serendipity Studio dress out of them.  Now?  They're $40 a yard, or something equally as ridiculous.  I should've invested.

Anyway, back to the top.  So the gathering was less than fun.  Because it's a heavier, linen/canvas-type weight instead of quilting cotton, the gathering stitches just ripped right now.  But I tried to do what I could and then ease in the rest, and hopefully no one thinks it's too godawful. 

The button on the back is from a pair of Gap jeans I don't even have anymore, but I found the extra buttons a couple weeks ago.  I thought it went well without being too cute or taking away from the HR design.

Also, it only took me like two hours to make this.  Usually it takes longer than that to gather everything up, but I guess because I cut everything out, it gave me a headstart.

On another note--it's Memorial Day weekend!  I plan on buying and drinking beer, seeing Bridesmaids, eating Five Guys, getting ready for Florida and sewing.  I have the Family Reunion dress, plus the free Colette tank pattern for myself, as well as anything else for Grace I can fit in--maybe her Sherbet Pips Ice Cream dress?

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!  See you next week!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Me Tired

It's been a crazy week so far, and it's only Wednesday, but I wanted to pop in and tell everyone, yes, I'm still alive, though I'm not sewing because I just don't have the time or energy.  Though I do have two outfits for Grace cut out and waiting! 

With my other blogs, I tended to ignore them for months, and I'd rather not do that here, so this is my way of reminding myself to update, update, update!


Also, that guy up there is your friend.  Consult him frequently.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fabric Friday

I just wanted to share a picture real quick of the fabric I received today.  All fabrics were bought on sale at Pink Chalk Fabric earlier this week.  The Ice Cream Dress pattern was bought directly from Oliver + S on sale (it's the smaller size range), and the Puppet Show pattern was bought over the phone from Pieces and Patches in Lexington, SC, because I'm a freak and decided I needed it so badly.  So.  Badly.

I'm still waiting on some Sherbet Pips yardage from Sew Mama Sew, but maybe that will come this weekend.

God, I love shopping.  And sales.  Retail therapy at its finest.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lotus Pond dress

I finished my first summer dress last night, Simplicity 2584.  I modified it a bit, but all in all, I'm pretty happy.

The fabric is Kona Solids and Amy Butler's Lotus collection, which I've had in my stash for roughly four years and bought before I could even sew, holding onto the hopes that my mom would make me something (Ha!).  I never knew what to do with it--purse?  skirt?  shirt?--but finally it came to me after buying this pattern in February.  I think it's a light, fun print without being childish.

I made view B but modified it to be more like view D.  First, I omitted the sleeves.  Summer is hot, and if I want sleeves, I'll grab a cardigan.  I also omitted the tuck at the bottom.  I started folding to see what it would look like, but, with the patter, it would have messed up the flow. 

It's the length of view B, but I snatched D's armhole binding to finish the arms.  I also ended up taking it in even more.  Boxy isn't a good look for me.

Finally, I decided it didn't need a back zipper, once I read reviews that so many others were doing this.  After a quick Googling (just cut on the fold), I was done.

It took me about two days to sew, but that's because I was sewing between work and dinner, and still working on dinner in the mean time.  I'm a crazy multi-tasker, so I'd sew and press, turn on the oven to preheat, sew a little more, get the water boiling, sew some more, etc.  What do people do with only one project?

I have a ton of both materials left over, so it may become an Ice Cream Dress for Grace.  I have been all about the stash-bustin' lately, mostly to make room for all the Aneela Hooey, Anna Maria Horner and Heather Ross I just bought.  (On sale, don't freak.)  (Though I can't imagine why you'd freak unless you were Nick, and he's already heard about my process and still doesn't care.)

What's next?  I don't know.  I have a hard time making things for myself because, well, do I really want to face my measurements?  No.  No I do not.  Also it's hard for me to choose just one project.  So I have a pile of fabric for me and a pile of fabric for Grace and I'll go from there.  I have some new patterns coming in this week, so maybe that will jumpstart things.  Also, did you not see how much fabric I just bought?  Good god!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Zooey Deschanel is sending me mixed messages

Normally, any other day of the week, I'd say I really dislike Zooey Deschanel.  Remember when she was in Almost Famous?  That was awesome, and it's one of my favorite movies.  I also like Kate Hudson in it, and I really don't like her in anything.

But Zooey Deschanel, the singer?  No thanks.  Her voice makes me cringe.  How about Z.D., fashion goddess?  I mean, I guess, but for all I know, she just heads to ModCloth or Anthropologie and has a sales girl help her out.  I just find her mediocre.  She's the definition of "meh" to me.

And then I saw this:

Damn you.  I will probably watch and enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things I Believe

I don't believe in much, but here are a few things I hold true:
  • Febreze or linen spray is an acceptable substitute for doing laundry when you realize the perfect cardigan or pair of jeans has been sitting in the bottom of the hamper for a week.
  • You want a man to fall in love with you?  Make him a cake.  From scratch.  No boxes.
  • The further away from your mother, the closer you come to turning into her.
  • Barnes and Noble on a Friday night > any bar or club
  • Men who brag about how much they spend on relatively worthless items can stop right there.  I'm not interested, no matter who you are.
  • Turkey is the superior lunch meat.
  • Pizza and beer is the spice of life.  I will always be happy with it.
  • However, the beer should be craft.  Don't settle for yellow water.
  • Tights and leggings never last an entire season.  Don't spend more than $5 a pair.
  • If you're having a baby, you shouldn't advertise it daily, weekly or monthly on Facebook.  Unfortunately, things can happen, and suddenly your grief is made public and cheap.  Same goes for weddings. 
  • Also because countdowns are obnoxious.  If I need a reminder of how long it is until you give birth or get married, I'm obviously not very close to you.
  • Candy.  That's it.  I just believe in candy.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Family Reunion Dress

I don't know if it's because I dove straight into sewing (and did relatively well, for never having extensive lessons) or if it's because I'm distracted, but I've had a hell of a time sewing lately.  There were all the fails a couple weeks ago, and then this past week, working on the Oliver + S Family Reunion dress for my cousin's daughter, I managed to screw up everything.  I missed an entire page of directions, tore out one of the sleeves four times, had messed up measurements, and a button that just wouldn't squeeze through the hole.  Overall, it looks okay, but it was a bumpy road.

Sorry about the wonky shape; apparently 2T clothing doesn't fit on adult hangers that well (who knew?).  I used Patty Young's Flora and Fauna collection in Hive - Lime, which was a scrap left from my mom's Amy Butler Domestic Goddess apron.  We tend to be a little obsessed with bees in my family, so I figured Grace should be exposed early.

I've also decided it would behoove me to learn French seams.  Pinking, while it certainly gets the job done, just isn't classy enough.  I'm making myself a dress this week, so maybe I'll try them out then.  And then I'll make Grace some more clothes, to make up for the pitiful state of this one.

How was everyone's weekend?  Make anything?  Buy anything? 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Kind of a Mess...

I'm over at Kind of a Mess today, talking about enchiladas, expensive dresses and my mom.  Interesting stuff, right?

Go check it out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wedding dreams?


As I've said, I have no grandiose plans of a wedding with an orchestra or center pieces or even guests, for that matter.  Because that's not who I am, and really, as much as Nick likes getting all handsome, he really isn't like that either.  We're much more introverted than that, and we live 800 miles away from our families.  We don't need that stress.

But I've been thinking more and more about us getting married, and I have these daydreams of it happening this summer, though there isn't a ring on my finger.  That doesn't mean a whole lot--we know it's coming, so why drag out the engagement, and I've already shown him the type of ring I want (at a very affordable price, hint hint).  But just let me have these thoughts, okay?  They're new and they're weird, but I enjoy them.  Hell, I've already become more domesticated than Eleanor, I may as well have the title.

Thankfully, not having a wedding also saves me from having to go wedding dress shopping.  If I've learned anything from Say Yes to the Dress, it's that wedding dress shopping is the most important thing you will ever do.  Ever.  If you mess this up, the rest of your life will be compromised.  I don't know if I'm ready to invest that much into a dress that probably won't fit right, so I would be willing to do just about anything to avoid it.  And seeing as how the fashion is strapless, and I couldn't wear strapless if my life depended on it (narrow shoulders, full bust, short waist--I hit the genetic jackpot), it will save me a whole mess of embarrassment if I just never have to deal with it.

However, here are a few dresses I would buy right now if I knew we were hitchin' this summer:

Shine Through dress from Anthropologie.  It has a great cut for me, and it isn't white.  I'm a pale redhead--white just makes me look even more so.  Plus, for summer, it's a great fabric--airy eyelet.  I could throw on a cardigan to show some modesty in the courthouse and wear my Marc Jacobs gold "I love you" necklace I picked up in Savannah last September.

Cotton-silk faille Blakely dress from J.Crew.  I love a ruff--who doesn't?  And the aluminum color is nice because it's light without being too feminine, and also serious, but the ruffle makes it less office-suited.  I could wear either my purple Isaac Mizrahi for Target heels I've had forever, or my pink open-tow Mary Janes (also from Target) I got three years ago on sale.  This is much more feminine, yet I still look like myself.

The Iza dress from J.Crew.  I think this is an actual wedding dress, but it's gorgeous and fitting for my situation.  The same bodice cut as the Anthropologie, but much more streamlined.  It has great texture and the white isn't bleached-out.  I'd try to offset it with either a colored cardigan or heels, because I can't imagine white heels in a city in the summer.  Ew.

I imagine I'd grab a bunch of peonies or tulips from Whole Foods and we'd hire a photography student for a couple hours, taking us from the courthouse to lunch or dinner.  I know weddings aren't always the stuff of dreams, but I'm going to keep these images in my head for a little while.  Just the two of us, off somewhere where no one knows us (even here, because I think we know two people in the whole city), deeply in love and making it official.

What are your wedding dreams?  Are you the opposite of me and think I'm crazy?  Don't feel bad, a lot of people are, and do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Frappucinos make me ill

I don't think I've had coffee in at least six months and then I went out for Frappucino Happy Hour this afternoon.  Let's just say, I feel like slamming my head against a wall.  I'm nauseous and light-headed and just overall bleh.

Because I'm feeling particularly lonely, I'm just going to say I wish I had some friends or coworkers I could really connect with.  It's hard being away from everyone you know and love, besides your boyfriend, and today, for some reason, it just hit me hard.  So yeah.  I don't want to be a downer, but there it is.

Erica Cone, found on Artist a Day a million years ago
However, the weather is gorgeous, and I have two projects cut out and waiting on my sewing desk.  I need to make a stop at Hancock's or JoAnns this weekend (along with a million other places) for buttons and some contrasting yardage, but they're waiting.  

Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and maybe I'll even have an inspired post.  Something other than sewing?  But whyever would I want to do that?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Warm Weekend!

Hello folks!  It's finally warm here.  We've gone through a week without temperatures getting below 65 as the high, so I think we're in the clear.  I hope so, anyway.  It's been absolutely gorgeous here, but apparently the pollen isn't going anywhere, because I'm dying.

Nick and I went to Secondhand Story books in Rockville yesterday.  I thought it would be like my beloved Chamblin's in Jacksonville, where everything is neatly organized and there are some fun things hidden along the way (jokes about Dali or Yankees, etc.), but, um, not so much.  First of all, it's pretty much a warehouse, which is fine, but I feel like that isn't the best storage option for books?  However, I'm not the professional, so what do I know?  And there are mostly antique books there, not as big of a current selection.  I got a few books, though, and some pictures, which I also edited on this newfangled Picasa/Picnik team.  Technology, friends.

That last picture is of my loot.  I'm not really reading much fiction anymore, and haven't since I graduated college a couple years ago, but I've been meaning to read Cross Creek for a while.

I also started and finished the Ice Cream dress for Savannah this weekend.  Previously, I had cut out the pattern wrong and given up, but Friday afternoon I cut out the last panel and started stitching it up.  There were a few setbacks along the way, mostly due to my ignorance, but it's done now!

Savannah is seven, but she wears somewhere between a 4 and 5, so I made a 5 and lengthened it 1.5 inches.  She and her brother are tall, skinny kids.  Hopefully it won't be too big, and hopefully she also won't think it's too cutesy.  That girl has sass running through her veins, so I always worry she won't think anything is cool enough for her.

It's also Mother's Day, and I am far, far away from my mother this year, so I hope she has a great day.  I've already spoken to her a few times but it isn't the same as being there.  I can't wait to see her and my dad next month.  I don't like being this far away.

Enjoy your Sundays, yall!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts

  • Does anyone keep a diary anymore?  Like a real, honest-to-God, paper-and-pen diary, not a blog or even a Scrapbook.  (I say that with a capital S because it differntiates between buying fancy stickers to decorate and simply putting scraps into a notebook for your grandchildren to remember.)  I ask because, Nicholas bought me Moleskine notebooks for Christmas after my mom recommended I keep a diary of our first year living together, something she regretted not doing.  But they just sit on my desk with all my pretty pens and other notebooks.  I have a problem with being authentic in a diary.  I've always had this problem, where I don't want to be embarrassed if anyone, including myself, reads it at a later date, so I tend to skip over anything that may not be hunky-dory--depression, angst, worrying worrying worrying--and instead just say "We had such a great walk today!  Here is a picture of a flower!" or something similarly benign.  Does anyone else have this problem?  Am I a crazy person?
  • I realized today my favorite things are cherry: cherry limeade, Cherry 7Up, cherry-dipped cones.  I blame the red hair.
  • Nicholas started work this week and I have turned into a working housewife, leaving before 7 AM (or even 6:30 AM sometimes) and getting home in time to make dinner and do laundry before he gets home.  What have I become?
  • When you have a really good idea for a business name, but know you won't have the resources to open said business for 2-3 years, when is too early to register the name so no one else steals it?
  • Letterpress business cards are expensive.  I wanna support the little people, but at nearly $1 per card, I gotta support this little person first.
  • I may join the 21st century soon and get an iPad.  Watch out world, Emily's on her way up!
  • I started buying clothes again.  I mean, it's only Target, but still, I haven't bought anything non-thrifted in months.  I must make sure it doesn't become an obsession though.
Hmm.  Some of these are more like Thursday's Questions instead.  What's on everyone's minds today?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chill out, girl


Oh god, I want a house so badly I can taste it.

(All pictures from Martha Stewart.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Week of Fail

I know I should be positive, but after the week I had creatively, I was completely disappointed in myself and my endeavors.  How did I go from spitting things out left and right the week before to ruining everything I touched?

So let's just sort some things out, shall we?

I decided to work on the Purl Soho Braided Handle Canvas Tote for me and my cousin.  This is what theirs looks like:

Beautiful, right?  Modern, clean, simple.  Even Nick liked it.

And these were mine:

Um...yeah.  Not so much.  The handles bunched, the corners came out messy, and the bias tape did not want to be sewn to that duck canvas no matter what I did.  It was a mess.  I gave up Wednesday night and left it alone until Saturday evening, when I decided just to get through both of them and move on with my life.  They will be sent to Goodwill.  Such a shame, but such is life.

Also I've apparently inherited the family curse for bread baking.  My mom can bake anything in the world--her pie crust is to die for, and her meringues are always perfect, despite living in Florida.  Yet, she cannot make anything bread-based.  Her rolls always burn, her breads don't rise.  It's sad.  But I thought I'd be safe when I attempted the Smitten Kitchen Braided Lemon Bread.  First of all, everything on that website is beautiful and wonderful and perfect.  Second, I thought, okay, doesn't look too hard.  I can do this.

Hers, in all its golden glory

Well, the dough never rose.  It just sat there in its greased bowl, looking more like cookie dough than anything.  I went back through the ingredients--nothing was missed.  I read the directions--I followed every step.  What happened?

I have no idea, but I threw it out Saturday morning, after over 24 hours of "rising."  It was so disappointing.  So I went to Giant, grabbed some Pillsbury bread dough from a can, and attempted to replicate it:

It certainly isn't the same, but I didn't want the filling to go to waste, so I had to do something with it.  Nicholas liked it, so that's all that matters.

Finally, I don't have a picture of this failure, but I'm working on the Oliver + S Ice Cream Dress for my parents' neighbor, and cut out her dress yesterday with the pattern going upside down.  Unfortunately there wasn't enough for me to finagle it and make it work, so I had to order another half a yard.

Can I get a collective ARGH! for last week?
Images by Freepik