Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lady Lisette has graced me with an award...

...Which I mostly humbly accept :)  Merci beaucoup, Lisette!

The rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:
1. Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post
2. Share 7 things about yourself 
3. Pass this award along to recently discovered blogs

Ok, here's seven things about me you probably didn't know:

1. I was a seriously ugly baby.  True story: My family and I were cleaning out my grandfather's house after he passed away and I happened upon a picture of a baby on one of the mantles.  I pick it up and begin to ask my father who they horribly ugly baby was, the face was all smashed up, and sweet jeezus, look at that mess of hair.  My father about peed himself.  He said, with tears rolling down his cheeks, "That's you."  That picture is now proudly displayed on my bookcase.
(This is not the photo, but you can see some of the craziness that was going on with my face).

2.  I have been obsessed with the BBC Drama "North and South" for the last two weeks.  No, not the one with Patrick Swayze - the one with Richard Armitage.  The first time I saw it, I broke out into a sweat during the train scene.


3.  I am crazy allergic to MSG.  Before I eat something that I don't recognize, I have to check the label (so that rules out some potato chips, boxed potatoes, frozen meals, Ramen noodles, Chef Boy R Dee, etc).  I'm careful in restaurants to avoid fish, peanut, and "special" sauces.  If I happen to eat some, the resulting headache will occur based on the concentration I've consumed.  I once tried a bite of my friend's Chinese food and it gave me a blinding migraine. I ended up on my bathroom floor in agony.  It's an annoying allergy, but I work around it pretty well.

4.  I grew up wanting to be a tornado chaser.  If money hadn't been an issue (oh, in-state tuition, you big silly you), I may have tried to get into a meteorology program in Oklahoma.  If this whole career in Human Resources doesn't pan out, I might just end up going in that direction.

5. I have a fear of escalators.  I blame it on Rescue 911 (that show also had a tornado episode...interesting).

6.  I may or may not be running the marathon ... my left leg is feeling pretty stabby, and I nearly wiped out today trying to run across the street.  I get an "injury assessment" tomorrow, so let's hope it's not a stress fracture, shall we? I can live with missing the marathon, but not the Princess Half Marathon!

7.  I love being on time or early for functions/get togethers/etc. My college professor said it best: "If you're early, you're on time.  If you're on time, you're late.  If you're late, don't bother coming in." I truly believe that and make every effort to be "on time" when I am going somewhere. 

Many thanks to the Lady Lisette for giving me an award (little does she know that I am going to hug/tackle her if I see her in NYC!!)

Speaking of NYC...


Holy wow oh jeeeez.

I've been randomly breaking out into laughter.  Rob thinks I am crazy, but I am simply imagining all the insanity that is going to happen and the resulting joy.  He totally gets it: I went to buy something (I didn't need) and he said, "That could be $10 you spend on fabric in NYC."  *Boom* $10 goes back in my wallet.  Love that man and his practical thinking :)

I'm looking forward to meeting everyone and having the most epic day ever!!

And for the lovely bloggers who I am passing this award on to...

House of Pinheiro
Jodi of Jodiewodes
Charlotte of Heart's Cottage Vintage Sewing
and Becky of Becky and the Beanstalk

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Autumn Palette or "The Epic Meltdown Pants"

This is the tale of the pants that almost weren't. 

I knew I wanted to make red pants for the Autumn, and after seeing all the famous ladies running around in their purchased versions, I was sold.  These pants needed to happen.  I grabbed McCalls 3935 and got to cutting on some fabulous red cotton canvas from the stash.  Eventually the pants were finished aside from the hook and bar.  I tried them on and saw that there was a major gap in the back. So, I took apart the waistband and started stitching and trimming.  TRAGEDY STRUCK.  I was taking in and cutting out the excess... in a side seam.  Not in the back.  I did not check to see what seam I was working on.  

Of course, I FLIP OUT.  Rob was completely beside himself, trying to offer me suggestions of how I might be able to fix it, while I could only focus on the fact THAT I DIDN'T CHECK THE SEAM FIRST.

(Insert epic meltdown here)

Eventually, I calmed down enough to use one of Rob's suggestions: Insert panels in the side to make up for what was cut out.

Both side seams now have triangular inserts that add the necessary inches so I can wear these pants without crying.

I cannot express in words how glad I am that these pants were not a fail.  I love them so much, and I'm glad I added the belt carriers the second time around.  The black belt on the red fabric is pretty striking to my eye.

I wore this outfit last night to a party, but didn't get any pictures there.  I blame the three bottles of sangria.

Since I'm trying to complete as many projects as I can before we move back into our apartment (IN FIVE DAYS OMGCANNOTWAIT), I whipped this cardigan up in two hours. I've had this fabulous multicolor knit in my stash for some time and I knew I wanted to wear it in cardigan form during Autumn.  Hello, NESA project!

It's McCalls 6408, and while I didn't have enough fabric to make it longer or add the ties, I really love the look of it when I wrap it around me like so:

I didn't hem the sleeves (it's the weekend and I was feeling lazy), so I just rolled them up.  Voila!


It's been a little crazy the last few days.  I've been working on four dresses, along with the pants and cardigan, that I am trying to finish before the move/New York.  I don't know the status of the renovations in our apartment, if they are going to be done in the next five days or if I will even have a place to set up a sewing table.  I wanted to get as much done for the next several challenges as possible, and it looks like I might be caught up for the next three weeks!  Hooray!

I hope you are all enjoying the weekend where you are!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Great Gatsby or "Better Luck Next Time, G"

Friends, I would like to begin this post with something I like. 

In the past week, I've done several "pick me up projects" - just to get my mind off of the AWFUL top I made for the Gatsby challenge.

I made this fabulous Sorbetto on Monday (because I just cannot get enough of that fabulous pattern).  This Sorbetto was originally this skirt here.  Which was a pillowcase before that.  I definitely prefer it as this top.  The skirt was getting all twisted and weird when I walked, so it was getting neglected in the closet. I decided to remake it once again, and now it's my first garment for FESA!  It's fabulous for layering, and I have been wearing it all week.

Ok, let's talk about my Gatsby creations.  When I first saw the challenge, I knew I was going more along the inspiration route since I don't possess any vintage patterns from that time period.  My first stop in these situations is BurdaStyle, because the patterns are cheap, I can print them from home, and in the past, I've gotten great results.

I started with this pattern, the short sleeve blouse:

I thought the flutter sleeves, peplum, and buttons with loops fit the time period well, so I settled on this for the top.  For the skirt, I fell in love with the front pleated skirt and knew it had to be mine. The yoke is similar to those seen in the 1920s and 1930s.  Theoretically, these pieces were supposed to go together.

Well...they didn't end up going together very well. 

The blouse was a HUGE disappointment.  I probably spent 8-10 hours on this shirt, which seems a little excessive to me.  The pattern called for silk, and I used a silk blend, so I don't think my fabric was the issue.

When I finished the blouse for the first time, and put it on, it was enormous.  The sheer amount of blousiness in the front and the back made me look like a football player who hadn't taken their gear off.  It fit in the waist where the peplum begins, but I am convinced I could have fit two ten pound pumpkins in the top portion.

In order to reduce the amount of fabric in the front and back, I created two bust darts in the front.  At their thickest points, they take in four inches of fabric. To deal with some of the excess in the back, I took it in under the sleeves (again, four inches at the thickest point).  

I added red buttons because this blouse was meant to go with the red pleated skirt and they were available in my stash.

The blouse gaps terribly at the top and I think I'll need to find a way to keep the left front stabilized when the buttons are buttoned.

You can tell by my face how pleased these ideas make me.

Now, for the part of the Gatsby challenge I like...

In addition to the front pleated skirt, I made a camisole from the Colette Cinnamon pattern out of some fabulous pinstripe fabric I had in my stash. This was another "pick me up" project to get my mind off of the yellow Gatsby top above.  

The skirt is gorgeous wine colored satin.  LOVE.

I love the skirt with a hearty passion. This satin had been in my stash for quite some time and I was reluctant to use it for this skirt, but I am so glad I did!  Now if I could iron out some of the folds that ran down the middle of the fabric, I would be perfectly happy.  

I had to use a zipper in the camisole, but I love the way it turned out.  You cannot really tell from these pictures, but the stripes lined up pretty well!  It's comfortable and works well under a jacket for work.

I may just spin in this skirt all the time.  Or take a salsa dancing class.  That would be FABULOUS.

While I love the skirt, camisole, and Sorbetto, these are all shadowed by the disappointment in the shirt.  I was able to finish three other projects in half of the time it took for the shirt, and I don't know if I should attempt to save the shirt or not.

Friends, have you ever invested a large amount of time into a project, only to be disappointed in the results?  Did you accept the results or try and fix the project further?

Friends, I hope you have had a fabulous weekend, and a great week coming up!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: To Dye For or "The Doodles Dress"

This might just be my most favorite creation ever.

I've been holding onto this fabric for about a year now, ever since my lovely friend Juliet sent it to me.  I was searching for the right pattern when I came across Simplicity 2219 during a Hancock Fabrics $1 Simplicity Pattern sale.  Yes, please!!!

Almost from the moment I started sewing this, I envisioned myself strutting off the plane in New York in my black boots and big 'ol sunglasses.   Knit fabrics + not being all wrinkletastic on the plane = winning.

My favorite part of the whole dress, without a doubt, is the front bodice.  For this challenge, I knew I wanted to paint on fabric since dyeing clothes still scares me a little.  I cut out all the bodice pieces and painted on the front full bodice piece.  I just doodled until I liked it and considered it "done."  Once the paint dried, I stitched the bodice together.  My high school notebooks are filled with doodles like this - I like unpredictable curves and dots.

The side bodice pieces are gathered where they meet the front and back bodices.  I love the extra bit of detail this adds to the dress and how it draws the eye back to the doodles. 

I'm also a big fan of not hemming things.  I didn't hem the skirt or the sleeves and the fabric is not fraying at all!  Yay!

The skirt is gathered both in the center of the front and the back.  A strip of 1/4 inch elastic is encased where the bodice and skirt meet, making for a snug fit that required no zippers or buttons.

This is not a picture of the ceiling falling on me.  It's me doing my version of the "Party Girl" move from my cardio dance class.  From the look of it, I am partying hard!

I also got my hair cut.  I am so glad to have actual bangs again!  (My head also feels 18x lighter than before.  I am sure this will knock a full minute off my running pace.)

I absolutely love the end result of this project!  When I was little, puffy paint was all the rage and I was worried that this project might reflect my younger obsession with the stuff.  Instead, it has fueled a grown obsession with fabric paint ... it may start sneaking into more projects soon...

Have you ever used fabric paint?  Or the epic puffy paint?  Let me know - I'd love to hear how you used the stuff!!

Have a fabulous weekend, all!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dear Voice Inside My Head, I Win. Love, Meg.

So...eight days into this journal project and I am still going strong.  (We'll pretend like I didn't write six of those entries at one time, K? K.)

Yesterday's entry called for me to name my inner critic.  I was being encouraged to talk to myself, and I do that plenty, so I might as well give my inner, petulant self a name.  It only makes sense.

I named my inner critic Hetty King.

It was either that or Rachel Lynde... but I actually know people named Rachel and didn't want to be rejecting them in my head all the time.  It makes for unhealthy real life relationships, I think. 

I decided to try out this whole idea during my run yesterday.  Marathon training has about hit the peak - I run 18 miles on Saturday and 20 miles next Sunday.  Then my runs taper until the marathon.  (OMG IT IS ONE MONTH FROM TOMORROW).  My mid week runs have gotten longer too, which meant I was due to run 9 miles last night ... this after working all day and only sleeping for five hours the night before. As soon as I head to the gym and hop on the treadmill, Hetty kicks in.  "You could be done with this in five minutes if you just hop on the bike over there."  "Is that your knee hurting?" "Why is your toe asleep? Is it asleep? Maybe you should check on that..."  "You need more GU."

To each of these I responded, "Hetty, SHUT UP.  We are FINE."

I was shocked - it actually worked!  It was probably one of the best runs I have had in a really long time.  The voice made me want to go faster, push harder, and I did splendidly.  Treating my inner critic like an unhealthy friendship allowed me to reject my own negativity without talking down to myself. 

Have you ever thought about naming your inner critic??  I highly encourage it! 

Have a fabulous Thursday, all!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's Like Sarah Is In My Brain...But Not In A Creepy, Zombie Way

That Sarah over at Rhinestones and Telephones...she is one persuasive cookie.

I wasn't too sure if I should try my hand at the Sorbetto pattern, and then she was like, SHABAM

I just learned how to knit, and of course, would like to run before I learn how to walk, and I am certain she picked up on this.  That's why she is co-hosting a Newbie Knit Along for a most gorgeous sweater.  I was still resisting her crafty powers ... right up until I bought my yarn and needles last night.  (But the yarn is so PRETTY.  I feel like I am hugging an Alpaca.)

The final straw though, was when Sarah, with assistance from the Chicago weather, convinced me that I needed to do the Fall Essentials Sew Along

 See?  It's like she is poking around in my brain. 

Now, I can't be as awesome as Sarah and have a palette that is so lush and gorgeous, but I can live with that.  I am trying to bust through the last remaining pieces of my stash that I kept out of storage.  I have one more month to use up the majority and this Sew-Along will definitely give me motivation to sew like a fiend!  The Chicago weather suddenly dropping twenty degrees is a good motivator as well... since most of my warm clothes ARE STILL IN STORAGE (22 days til I am reunited with my things...but who is counting???).  I need pants and tops and layers asap

So, while I am ruffling through my fabric and patterns and making a Grand Game Plan, why not pop over to Rhinestones and Telephones and tell the lovely Sarah Happy Birthday???  And send her a cookie... or an embarrassing story of yourself to make her smile. 
Happy Wednesday, All!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sew Weekly Challenge: Mad for Plaid or "ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!"

Friends, the back to school season signals a very important time in the Grand family:


Get out the Terrible Towel, unwrap your Black and Gold jersey from the tissue paper, and prep the cheeseball because it is about to get CRAZAY.  Like, Troy Polamalu crazay.

I wanted to begin the football season in a classy way, so I grabbed Vogue 8280...

... and the 2 fabulous yards of yellow and black plaid...

...and I made a dress fit for a preseason opener.

The skirt is shorter than the pattern called for, but I decided to risk that in order to match the plaid as best I could.  Since I have yet to work with plaid this year (or ever), I'm rather pleased with my efforts.  The front turned out better than the back, but I expect that's due to taking it in several inches on the side.

The fabric by the bottom of my zipper bubbles a bit, but if pretend I'm backing up like a school bus, you can't really tell.  I'm going to walk around like this all the time.

I decided to go with the sweetheart neckline instead of the straight neckline, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise when my pasta splattered and hit right about the V.  WINNING.

You can see my plaid matching efforts here.  The flanges needed to be tacked to the neckline, and actually over a little further than was called for, causing a pleated effect on the side.  I'm comfortable with the way it looks since it was an easy way to reduce the gap in the front.

I flat lined the dress with some pale yellow cotton and it worked out really well. It's less sheer now, which means I will definitely be wearing it more often.  I think it might be a great office dress with a snazzy black jacket and some Steeler earrings (why be subtle? The Bears and Steelers don't play this year). The only thing I would change would be the white zipper in the back.  It was the only one I had on hand that was long enough, so I figured I could live with it.  While I probably won't change it, I would rather it was black or yellow.

 We got to hang out with Rob's family today - uber awesome! I hope you are all having a fabulous Labor Day weekend where you are!!

Little known fact: I wrote a presentation about the Steelers for a Communications class in college and also  performed a piece on the Steelers for a Theatre Class...
Obsessed? Moi??

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The most geektastic bedroom of all....

Friends, before I get into my bedroom decorating extravanagaza...

Can we talk about the awesome NEW COLETTE PATTERNS?  My jaw hit my desktop and I might have drooled a little. 

The Jasmine blouse - I ADORE the tied collar.  I think this would look so pretty in a mustard yellow!

The Peony dress is just fabulous.  The cummerbund style belt would be great in a contrasting fabric and it is so flattering!

The only pattern I may pass on is the Clover cigarette pant pattern.  I have enormous calves (I have split my wellies up the back since I began running) and I don't know if a pant in this style would be very flattering.  I may have to wait and see what versions pop up around the interwebs before I commit to making a pair for myself.

My boyfriend's fabulous parents got my a gift card to LL Bean for my birthday.  WOO!  Since we are moving back into our apartment in 4 weeks (OMGYES), I wanted to redecorate our bedroom... which had been looking a little bit bachelor pad (not like the show, but like a single guy who is living on his own and has picked good furniture but the colors are all wrong.  Sorry, Panda).  With this awesome gift card, I picked this comforter cover in Flag Blue.  LL Bean says Flag Blue, but Meg reads it as:


(If you haven't seen Doctor Who, the rest of this post might seem a little boring to you... or you can keep reading to see how insane I am and what I talked Rob into...)

Now, before you get any crazy ideas, I want you to know that we (I) are doing "Classy Tardis Bedroom."  This is how I explained it to our mothers, who were both wondering why I didn't order an awesome Bed in a Bag from JCPenney.  There is nothing wrong with Bed in a Bag, I just want something that reflects us a little more than that.

Now, how does one make a Classy Tardis Bedroom?  Let's start with the walls.

Travel posters!!!

...and of course, artistic portrayals of the Tardis aren't bad either.

Via Pinterest

Some fabulous wall hangings will go on the smaller wall by the bedroom door, and we're planning on photoshopping some of our actual hanging photos of us and friends to include a small Tardis in the background, or a scarf fluttering at the edge of the frame.

 I would love to put this poster, "painted" by the Vincent Van Gogh character, on the largest wall in the room.  Rob and I are going to go over the brush strokes with paint, put it in an ornate frame, and hang it over the bed. 

I am learning how to knit, so if I ever get enough gumption, I might make this as a chair throw...
... and even if I don't ever make it, I am still going to need some pillows!! I don't know how Rob will feel waking up next to the Doctor every morning.  "Hello, Sweetie."

I might make some throw pillows with this awesome Spoonflower fabric...
...and even embroider some, too :)  Though I think cross-stitched pillows with Daleks and Cybermen might be better.  Or a fez.  Fezzes are cool.

We've already got the fabulous K-9 to guard our door...

I've got a whole Pinterest board set up for ideas.  While I WISH I could have furniture painted like the Tardis, someday I might change my mind and want a Gryffindor bedroom (because that was the other option, of course.  Rob did get to choose, y'all!)

There is one thing, though, that will NEVER go in the bedroom.

Thanks for geeking out with me!  I'll be sure to post lots of pictures of the process as we go along :)

Have a fabulous day, all!