Sunday, July 31, 2011

Giveaway Winner!!

Congratulations to....

the lovely Charlotte!!! I will be emailing you shortly for your address and be sending you a package this week!

I hope you all are having a fabulous weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Nautical or "Don't be blinded by the pasty whiteness"

As you may be able to tell from other posts, I love Vogue patterns.  They are just soooo pretty, and I love the possibilities of what these patterns could do for my closet.  I decided it was finally time to tackle one that I've had cut out for six months now.

Vogue 2859 - I fell in love with the blouse, but I may need to make the dress after seeing Kat's lovely version.

I decided to take my time (since this would be my first time making a Vogue pattern), use the simulated French seams again, and finish it properly.  Well, I got it finished and there was one slight surprise:
It shows a bit more skin than I had EVER anticipated.

I love the color, the shape, the details...but sweet monkeys in a basket, I did not expect to be showing my midriff!  Granted, I've been working out like a fiend for the marathon so I'm not too upset, but I'm afraid the glare off my skin might blind passerby.

I'm disappointed because I worked on this blouse for about nine hours, only to not be able to wear it for nine months out of the year here. 

If I made it again, I would add four inches to the bottom.  I'm going to blame the midriff factor on my bust being a bit larger than the 1930's norm. 

This definitely doesn't feel like a 1935 design.  Rather, I'm feeling more like Annette Funicello and I need to be rocking out on a beach somewhere.

I'm still going to wear it during the summer.  I'll just need to keep working out in order to wear it, so I guess that's a good incentive?

Disappointment mingled with joy that I conquered the toughest pattern I've come across yet.  Totally bittersweet.
On a happy note...Rob loves me.  A lot.

I did not realize how much until I came home and found that he had made me a cake.  He cut up a marble sheet cake...


...and made marshmallow fondant ... and transformed it all into a Tardis.

My awesome boyfriend made me a TARDIS! *SQUEEEEEEEE*  (I might have flipped out with joy)

We are taking it to one of my favorite restaurants tonight to celebrate my birthday with my friends (most of who love the Doctor as well).  Totally geektastic!!

Well, friends, if you are still interested in the birthday giveaway, there is still time to enter!

Have a great evening, all!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Birthday Giveaway!

Friends, it was my birthday last week, and I really love celebrating my birthday.  I want to share that joy with you because I really want to use my birthday present from Rob:

Meg the Grand stationery!  With orange envelopes!!

(It's like he really gets me, you know?)

Not only did he get me some fabulous stationery, he got me stamps!  With my picture on it!
This picture to be exact:

Love love love.  Need to start writing and sending some letters - stat.

Well, there needs to be something else in this package besides a letter from Yours Truly.  How about some fabulous vintage fabric?

Approximately 3 yards of electric green cotton with houses, birds, butterflies and giant flowers on it.  Totally 70's, and totally love it. 

I'm also giving away a golf bag sew on embellishment, a stick on Bugs Bunny embellishment, and some super crazy ice cream cone patches.  Aren't they wild?

Some large and small black buttons, two large white buttons and little rosettes...

as well as three yards of this totally brilliant fringe could be yours!

In order to win this fabulousness, you need to tell me in the comments what you would make with this fabric.  I have been holding onto it for YEARS, hoping I could come across the perfect pattern to show off the birds/houses/flowers, but nothing has come my way. 

This giveaway is open to all blog followers (including you lovely international folks), and will close Friday, July 29 at 11:59pm CDT. 

Have a fantastic day, all!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Hitchcock or "North by Northwest Ohio"

Friends, let me take you on a journey to the college town of Bowling Green, Ohio:  the home of Bowling Green State University.  And Campus Polleye's stuffed breadsticks: the stuff dreams are made of.  (Pineapple + bacon + cheese = !!!)

Below you will see University Hall, home of the two theatres that were used during my time at BGSU.  (Don't ask about the sculpture on the right.  It really is what you think it is.) 

One was named after Joe E. Brown, and the other...was named after the lovely alumnus Eva Marie Saint, seen here in 1943.

Having spent great amounts of time on Eva's stage, you know I had to do a little tribute to the lady herself!  (No seriously, I must have signed the wall behind the curtain at least twenty times.  End of show ritual: sign the backstage theatre walls.  Ah, memories...)

Eva (I can call her that because we are like old friends, really.  I set up the green room for her once) visited campus to help fund raise.  Here she is below.  I remember the guy in the bow tie being really nice.  Dean of something or other. Look at Eva - total fashionista with that scarf.

But really, I think she was in her crowning glory when she donned this orange number (BGSU colors!) and ran around Mt. Rushmore in North by Northwest.  

Villainess?  Love interest?  Cary Grant?  This woman had it all!

...or I could be making that up because I am a bad alumnus and have never seen the movie.  Don't judge me.


Since I only have the patterns and fabric that I packed for our time in the sublet, I pulled out this pattern from the stash and decided view D would perfect.

I also pulled out some burnt orange fabric from the stash and got to sewing.  

The seam finishings nearly killed me.  I wanted to try something new for this dress and tried some simulated french seams.  The inside of the dress looks great, but I just finished it a few minutes ago.  I tend to be an impatient sewer, so this process made me really focus on what I was doing. 

I love the cut of the dress.  The bodice was a breeze to put together, as were the sleeves and their linings.  I flat-lined the entire dress to make the fabric less flimsy and see through.

I used lace as seam binding so the hem is not fraying.  Overall, the finishings and details make the dress feel sturdier and more wearable, so I'm glad I put the time into it, even if it seemed to drag on.

I'm super happy I have a new dress for work... and something to match my awesome plaid heels from Wal-Mart.

Have a fantastic day, everyone!  Giveaway post tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Album Cover Art or "The Bee Girl Grows Up and Flies Away"

Friends, when I was growing up, I loved to take dance classes.  I went to dance from Kindergarten until 6th grade, and I loved it so much, I took dance classes again in college.  Modern, jazz, tap, ballet - I did as many as I could.  I even got to choreograph a modern dance to Tenacious D's "Wonderboy."  Yep, that totally happened. 

Here is me in my first grade recital.  I'm the one with the really pasty legs on the left.  Wow.  They practically glow.  I never noticed that before. 

As the youngest of five children, and having siblings who were in high school and college, it was bound to happen that I was going to be stuck being compared to "Bee Girl" for most of my life.  It was a good song, so I didn't mind too too much.  It was better than "Megan the Mountain Lion," which came after I got braces. 

I often dreamed of joining other awesomely dressed characters and dancing in a field, so when this challenge came up, I jumped at the chance of making "Bee Girl" more accessible to the masses.

At first, I panicked because I thought my ideal fabric had been packed.  After much searching and hoping, I opened up a box and there it was!  I was so excited, Rob thought I had stubbed my toe again. 

I've only got so much fabric with me in our sublet and this fabulous piece had to come with us:

Great, fabulous - got the fabric and now... a new problem arose:  I had the fabric, but where was the right pattern?  UGH.  Some of my patterns went to storage and are lounging in a box while I long for them.  Those that are with me are ones I haven't used before (to expand my sewing skills and all those lovely ideas that sound so good at the time), so I did some thinking... 

Finally, I decided it was time to try Colette Patterns Cinnamon dress.  It's a slip dress cut completely on the bias.  Normally, that would freak me out, but the pattern on the dress lined up with the bias lines perfectly and it was a total breeze to cut!

Cutting is one thing, sewing is another.  Most of the seams call for a small zig zag stitch and the expectation is that you will be able to slip this over your head due to the zig zag stitches and bias cuts.  For me, at least, this was not the case, and I had to put in a twelve inch black zipper down the side. 

I didn't put a large hem in as it lays really well at my knees.  The dress flows beautifully, better than I had expected.

I love the double straps - it reminds me of Bee Girl's leotard and the sequin detailing.  It does make it harder to wear a bra with straps, but I've found I am actually comfortable without one in this dress (and that is saying A LOT).

This dress was an unexpected surprise.  I liked it at first, and then was thrown off by the double straps and weird bodice, but came back to liking it again after trying it on.  I did not expect to have it skim over my curves and fit so well the first time! Ah Colette Patterns, I'm sorry for ever doubting you.  This pattern will definitely be used again - I highly recommend it! 

Thank you for all of the lovely birthday wishes :)  You are too too funny!  I ate some cherries in your honor. 

Giveaway coming soon...I'm just waiting on a few more things to come together. 

Have a fantastic day, all!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dear Michigan, thank you for feeding my cherry problem. Love, Meg

Friends, my dress based on this album cover is going to be a little bit delayed:

...because it is finally my birthday... which I spent picking cherries in Michigan. OMG CHERRIES.

There may or may not have been tears of joy :)

Now that we've returned to Chicago with our cherry wine, cherry trail mix, cherry ale, cherry soda, chocolate covered cherries, cherry jam, cherry sour patch kids, and finally, our four pounds of cherries that we picked... we are relaxing and eating like kings.  If kings only ate cherries.

Have a fantastic day, lovelies!

PS Birthday giveaway coming soon.  Everybody gets presents! (But not cherries...sorry.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Confession: I have a Pinterest addiction.

Hello Lovelies!  Happy Tuesday!

Thank you for all of your sweet comments about my red cut out dress!  I cannot wait to show Mama Grand :)  You guys are the best followers ever.  Bloggy hugs all around!

I'll be glad when the move is over and I can get back to sewing regularly.  Rob and I had a conversation much like this last night, but only over a bottle of Vermouth.  We don't drink Vermouth.  

I DESPERATELY want to take Gertie's online sewing course.  Seriously.  I may just give in and buy it as another birthday present.  I have no shame.

Speaking of birthdays, do you want to know what the bestselling books were the week of your birth?  Check it out here.  Witches of Eastwick was in the Top Ten for me.

Since we're moving, we haven't been grocery shopping.  Breakfast is now like an adventure so when my coworker, Lady Coppertop herself, brought in a blueberry tart for me to try, I was all over that bad boy.  She brought me a chocolate chip pecan cookie today.  I quite enjoy being a guinea pig.

Yes, it is as good as it looks.  You can grab the recipe here and then make me some more :)

Lastly, I have developed an addiction to Pinterest.  Since we're moving and I tend to hold onto magazines FOREVER, I've been going through these magazines and then virtually pinning those articles/books/recipes I found interesting on Pinterest.  Organizing everything in one place in the virtual world has made it incredibly easy for me to throw the magazines away, put them in a mother's room at work, or pass them onto my friends who would love them. 

I'm a person who wants to be organized, but have been overwhelmed many times in the past by the millions of sources of inspiration that flood the Internet.  I love sites like Craft Gossip that post ten tutorials an hour and seeing all that I could possibly achieve if I had the right supplies.  I've even emailed myself with fifty links in an email and sent it with the subject "Crafts."  I've been deleting those slowly but surely (there must be at least twenty), and it feels so good.  It's also making me look more logically at my time.  What can I achieve with the time I have?  All of these ideas are great, but there is not enough time in my life to do everything.  Some I will chase, and some are just pretty to look at.  I am working on knowing the difference.  Instead of emailing myself all the Christmas gift ideas for my family along with those tutorials, I can pin them. 

It's been very refreshing.

If you are on there and want to track me down, or would like to be sent an invite, just leave me a lovely message in the comments.  You can find me here : Meg the Grand

I hope you are having a fabulous day where you are!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: American Apparel or "I'm Moving and This Wasn't Packed Yet" Refashion

Friends, I hate moving.  I hate packing.  I have serious Girl Scout anxiety because I know life is unpredictable and I want to be prepared.  With options. 

Will I need to go to a cocktail party during our time in the sublet?  I need four appropriate dresses. 

Is Chicago going to hate on me and snow in September?  Pack all cardigans. 

Am I going to have regular access to a washing machine?  Oh jeez...just pack everything.

In the middle of all this madness, I was trying to figure out how I could quickly finish last week's challenge.  I found this dress from Irina Shabayeva's Spring 2011 collection.  She was a Project Runway contestant, and her designs steal my heart.

This dress has cut outs....

...just like this wool acrylic dress my Mom passed onto me! 

Operation Condor, ya'll.

Close up of the cut outs.  I'm wearing a black bra because I am classy like that.

I took in the sides and chopped off the sleeves.  Due to the kimono sleeves, it was crazy difficult to take in the long sleeves on this puppy.  Eventually, I gave up because it was 2am on Sunday morning and went with short sleeves.  Overall, I'm completely pleased and think this dress would be great for autumn.  With knee high black boots.  And a black pashmina.  Rock star.

Eat your heart out, Joan Holloway.

Friends, I hope to catch up with you all soon once everything is unpacked! 

Have a great day where you are :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Big Thank You to All of You

Darling Friends,

I wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for your especially kind words regarding my post about my friend, Claire.  Your support and warmth was greatly appreciated and treasured, and it has kept me smiling throughout this week.  Please never forget the power of words, as yours meant the absolute world to me. 

If I could, I would hug each and every one of you because you are all fantastic in my eyes.

Thank you again and with great love,


PS. Have a great weekend where you are :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: My Most Difficult UFO

 This week's challenge was a difficult one for me. We were asked to complete an unfinished object in our sewing pile.  I've been carrying mine around since 2007 and only began work on it this year.

My friend, Claire, was, without a doubt, the best seamstress I have ever encountered.  She quilted, made corsets, petticoats, sheer dresses - you name it, Claire had conquered it.  I remember one time in the costume shop when she was commissioned to make a petticoat that must have had five yards of fabric that needed to be gathered.  She and I thought it would be fun to get inside of the petticoat before the gathering began and dance around in it.  While I have no pictures of this, it makes me laugh like hell every time. 

Our favorite activity was to clean the fabric wall and admire the thousands of pieces of fabric that waited to be made into costumes.  We loved handling and organizing it and possibly plotting what we would make ourselves if it was ours.  One day, I tied a larger piece of knit around my shoulders as a cape and told Claire to start running.  She started running across campus and I chased her, finally tackling her and pretending like I was biting her neck.  The other students never noticed.  Hilarious, ya'll!  I still have that fabric and whenever I come across it, I have to laugh.

Claire had the best laugh.  Believe it or not, it sounded like bubbles popping.

After college, Claire moved to Virginia with her fabulous fiance, John, where he was going to attend graduate school.  Before she left, she passed on some of her sewing projects to me.  One was a blanket, and one was a shirt.  Both projects had been cut out, but neither had been started.

While Claire was in Virginia, she was diagnosed with leukemia.  I would call her to talk about sewing, or her wedding planning, or how her treatments were going.  In June 2009, I got a call from John saying that she wasn't doing so well and they were going to get married in a few days.  I hopped on a plane the next morning and flew out to see my wonderful friend get married to the man she loved.  On June 14, 2009, my loveliest Claire Bear lost her battle with cancer.

I miss her all the time.

I decided it was time to conquer at least one of the projects she had given me.  I pulled out her shirt pattern, McCalls 4304, and the awesome plaid fabric pieces that were ready to be sewn.

I had to make quite a few adjustments.  The pattern was cut out two size smaller than me, so my seam allowances are itty bitty, and I needed to create a neck band and ties to finish the look of the shirt.  After much experimentation, I came out with this:

Rob was telling me jokes to get me to smile, because there were quite a few tears involved with this project.

I love this shirt, and I am glad it is done.  It reminds me of my fabulous seamstress friend, and how she always had a solution for any sewing the time I was costume designing Tortoise and the Hare and she made tennis shoes with frog flippers on them for one of the characters .  Genius, pure genius. 

Dear Friends, if you have read this far, I thank you for letting me share this emotional unfinished object story with you.  It has made me laugh, made me cry, and made me want to pull out my needle and make something awesome... just like Claire did.