Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Lily Beth Purse

I'm up in Berkeley visiting my sister. This is the purse I made for her bday yesterday. I'll post more pictures and give you details when I get back home. For now you should know that the pattern has you make the front and the back exactly the same and that is not a pocket in the front. I'll let you know how I made it into a pocket. Very easy and didn't make the back the same as the front. Also, very easy. The pattern is available on etsy at artsycraftybabe's shop.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Banana Nut Muffins

1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 stick butter
1tsp vanilla
3 mashed banana
1/2 c chopped walnuts
Makes 9 biggish muffins

Some people are particular about the order in which they mix their ingredients. Dry first then the wet ones then add the wet into the dry. I don't care. I give them all a very, very quick mix with the electric mixer, add the bananas and walnuts last and mix those in with a fork. Good stuff.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fun times!

I had a lovely, lovely, lovely lunch date with Ms. Carlita today! I have to admit that I was a teensy bit nervous/anxious the night before, but also giddy with excitement over it. What if we didn't hit it off?

Well I needn't have worried at all. I saw her beautiful smile right off (and I noticed that she's a lot smaller than she appears to be from her blog pics) and we hugged, ordered our food and sat down. And my little bit of anxiety wore off right away. We just fell into it all nice and easy, as if we were old friends. We talked about marriage and men and kids and being friends with exes and a little bit about yarning (she knits, I crochet) and sewing and being pattern devotees and being scared to venture off into a project on our own. True beginners LOL. We talked about blogs we read, other blog people we've met and just life in general. I tell you, if we'd have stayed any longer we would have started talking about our menstrual cycles LOL. The date would have ended perfectly if I hadn't had to go back to work. But I did and was grinning the whole way back like a fool. I'm still grinning now as I write this. She gave me 2 cds for me to enjoy too! How sweet is that?

I don't meet knew people very often, and when I do, I don't go that deep with them. I mean, it's hard enough trying to keep a conversation going. Well for me anyway. I'm an introvert by nature, and unfamiliar social settings make me a little bit uncomfortable.

And this wasn't new, new because we'd been communicating via our blogs and emails. But that doesn't mean that you're going to like someone once you meet them face to face. But that online connection was there en vivo! (Hey, this must be how those online dating services workout lol). And now she's leaving and I'm a little sad but really, that's what prompted us to finally meet face to face. And now we've made another date sometime in the near future to go to the movies to see a silly girl movie. Fun times!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Four pieces.

Here are 4 pieces I put together in a week. 2 of them were made on Sunday start to finish! Now that I know that I can put together 4 things in a short amount of time with no kids around, I'm going to calendar in a wardrobe contest for next year. Maybe it'll coincide with them going to my sisters again. Look at me! Already making plans. My sister might be telling me "Never Again!" when I pick them up this weekend LOL!

Okay, here we go. This is from Ottobre kids 2/2005 #40. Wrap skirt that didn't turn out to be as fast and easy a project as I wanted it to be. But it's done. I used Cotton Twill. I think I will make it again someday. I'm not much of a skirt wearer.

These are shorts made with a polyester fabric with a very nice drape and feel. I thought I was making pants. I was really excited that a pants pattern only needed 1 1 1/8 yard of fabric! How, I wondered. Turns out I was looking at the fabric requirements for the shorts. So shorts it was.
Here's a side view. They were super duper fast and easy to make. I will be using this pattern lots. I really like how they fit. They're not too baggy despite being pull ons. I want to make pants next.

This is Simplicity 3742. It has patterns for tops, a dress and a pair of pants. This was easy to make, however, I'm always suprised at how long easy things take to make. This took me about 3 hours start to finish. I wore it last night to a wrap party with Kevin. That's right! I was out on the town! At a Club even in Venice. Well, not a club in the traditional sense as they're was no dancing going on. But you know, there was a bar and lots of people and it was in a club.

And this one is Neue Mode J23145. This was easy to put together as well. I was having trouble getting the facing in. Well I re-read the instructions and no where does it say to interface the facing. I just assumed. So, after removing the interfacing, it went together smoothly. I wore it with jeans on a double date Friday night. Kevin and I had dinner and a movie with a couple of his pals. Yes, we're all kissed and made up.

So plans for this week: Start and finish my apron for the apron swap, make something for my sister's birthday, and make some pajama bottoms for my nephew.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Sally Finds

I went to Sally Fabrics today. It's in the Fox Hills mall. When I got there, it was closed! As in gone! I called the number to see if there might be a recording about where they'd gone to. Turns out they just moved up to the 3rd floor. Sally used to be like Joann's when I was a kid. I don't remember actually ever going in, but seeing a lot of them around town. Now there are only 2 in the L.A. area that I'm aware of. You should know that the people who work here sew. That's important. They also sell yarn, patterns, notions, lots of elastic, trims, and BUTTONS!

I didn't know what I was going to buy. I was in one of those let's see what I find kind of moods.
This is a polar fleece. Typically not something I get excited over. But do you see what is absolutely fabulous about it? It has Black kids! It is nearly impossible to find any kind of print that has Black kids on it. Any kind of kid featured on a t-shirt at a retail shop is white. When Omari was a baby and I realized this, I wanted to open a business that sold t-shirts with Brown, Black and Asian kids on them. It might still happen one day. Anyway, I had to get it just for that. There was also one for boys. $9.99 for 1.25 yds.

These are the knit shelves. Way more than you'll ever find at Joann's. Plus, they were mostly 100% cotton. Not necessarily the prints that a grown up would want, but lots of kid prints. Most under $5.

This I thought my sister might like and I think I'd like to turn it into a bag. Her birthday's coming up too. It's a nice, thick cotton/spandex. $2.98 yd.

And this for a top and some pull on pants. Both polys. The print is something a bit sheer and crepe-like. $3.21 for 1 5/8 yds. And the black I found near the poly satins. $6.92 for 1 1/8 yds.

OH, and look what came in the mail! Isn't it cute? This one's for Naiobi. She decided on a "unihorse" party. It will be turned into a dress.

More skirt problems

Well I went ahead and did what was suggested on PR but it didn't work. See here. I'm pretty sure this is what I was supposed to do. So after sewing the waist facing on the top edge. The fabric just didn't fit into it. And it is not a gathered skirt. So I ripped the facing off the skirt (it was only basted on) and the interfacing came off. And I thought hmmm, maybe if I take the interfacing off... and Voila! It reached! So that was taken care of. Now the hem.

This is how the hem is cut. With a rectangle missing at the bottom.
The instructions say to fold the front edge in, the bottom hem up and stitch.
But then that leaves a raw edge at the bottom.
If I fold over again. It still leaves a bit of a raw edge at the top. Do I have this wrong? It's easy to figure out, but why am I not getting this? This was supposed to be easy!

Friday, August 15, 2008

It's a bust.

Well, I shouldn't say that. It is afterall, only 10:30pm. There is still hope. Although it looks like it's going to be a fixer upper night.

This is the bag I'm working on. Very exciting! Everything going along smoothly. I stitch, double stitch then zig zag the lining to the outer fabric. That's the inside you see here. So what's the problem? I attached it backwards. I did not put the lining in so that the right sides were together. So with the patience of a, what?, sloth, I will have to unstitch the damn thing. I am still considering just cutting off the seam allowances and making the bag a little smaller. This project will have to wait.

Still working on the gauzy top. Looks like that one is going to work out.

And supposedly that facing there is supposed to reach to that marked fold line there. Hmm. So I guess I have to cut out and interface a new facing for that. Grrr.

And to top it all off, hubby and I had a disgusto. Kind of like disagreement except it's not. It's a very minor tiff I guess. And so on a Friday night when we are childless and could be out on the town, he is at the movies alone (as usual) and I am at home sewing late into the evening (as usual). Ugh. Not that I'm much of an out on the town type of gal. I was always the girl asleep in the car in high school when we were party hopping. I once left a club in Washington DC to go sleep in the cold car. Yup. I'm a home girl. A hermit. I think I'd be happy living in a cabin somewhere in the wilderness catching turkeys for dinner. Anyway, this week without the girls has enlightened me as to how much we hide when our kids are around. We are certainly on our best behavior. But with no one to put on a show for, what happens?

I'd made a comment about enjoying a neat house while they were gone. Well, this is the messiest my house has ever been. And how do 2 people dirty so many dishes? See? My kids keep me in check. Anyway, I got home and turned into a mad woman. Vacuuming, Pine Sol mopping and Clorox wiping everything. Aaahhhh. The dishes well, who said they're my chore? I will drink straight out of the coffee pot until SOMEONE washes them. Who am I kidding? It's going to be me.

Well, Carla sent me an email that she was about to start her workout and I guiltily admitted that I hadn't done my routine yet either. So at 9:30pm I started whipping myself into shape. Literally. I have a rubber jump rope and MAN does that thing F&*#n hurt! Well, at least the evening has had 1 positive outcome! With all that endorphin rush I'm sure there's more good stuff to come.

Name Change

I changed my display name to Elbee, which are my initials. Why? Well, because I did a google search for myself and found 2 other people with my name. Isn't that cool? One in San Diego and one in San Marcos. But if I could easily find myself via google, then so can my employer. As I am in the process of looking for another position within my department, I figured I should change my display names on my internet accounts. They don't need to know what kind of undies I wear to bed. It would be great if it would actually go back over the internet and replace my old name with my new display name. The way I found myself was through posts I'd left on other's blogs. Some display my full name and others just my first. But they all link back to here. I was also suprised that the PTA has minutes posted online. I found my name there too. But it's okay to be associated with the PTA.

I stayed up until 1am watching the Olympics and started a messenger bag. The outer shell is now complete. On to the insides today. I also stripped off the interfacing from that piece that was giving me a problem. I didn't actually see if this was going to help or not. I'll pin in on today and see what it happens.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Daycare Good-bye Gift

I was uploading my pictures and came across this. Here's a quick and inexpensive parting gift I made for Naiobi's daycare buddies. Upon our return from Berkeley at the end of the month, she will be starting preschool. You could also use these as a party favor. Her birthday is at the September which makes for great birthday party buys as school supplies go on sale in August and candy for Halloween goes on sale as soon as September hits. The markers were on sale for 89 cents at Target. This is just a picture I cut and paste into the Microsoft Word labels option created as a document and printed on 8x10 label paper so it's sticky on the other side. I'm sure there are fancy programs where you could do this more nicely and without having to cut and past the picture and move it into position 8 times into the label space but I'm a pro at this.

A Lazy Girl

Okay, so I thought that with my kids gone I would be rushing home every evening, setting up my sewing area and going at it until 1am when Olympics coverage is over. But I have been so lazy! Well, except for keeping up with my exercise which Carla outted me on and so now I absolutely must stay on top of. I have managed to sew one measley little 15 minute item. These sexy undies are from Jalie 2568. Super Duper fast and easy. Really, 15 minutes. I also have an orange lace for them. Now, I have a bit of a big booty and let me tell you, 6 inch stretch lace trim is simply not sufficient for coverage. I say I'd be good with an 8 inch lace. But for the amount of time they're actually going to stay on, it's not a big point of contention. (wink).

I haven't been reading PR reviews lately either. It would just keep reminding me of what a lazy cow I'm being, seeing all those productive people.

I have been reading all my favorite blogs. And a new one too. Violence Girl is Alice Bag's online autobiography. I knew Alice back when I was in my wee 20's, having no idea of who she was before she became a member of Las Tres, a Los Angeles, folksy, Chicana girl (woman) band. No idea. I loved Las Tres when they were around! I used to sing in a band back in my wee 20's as well and that's how I met her. Anyway, she's hoping to find a graphic artist to make her autobiography into a graphic novel. Cool huh? I'm enjoying the story, relating to growing up in a Latino neighborhood and cringing at the violence involved. If you're not wimpy about those things, check it out.

Que mas? Oh, I'm meeting a friend from Junior High school today for lunch. We also went to high school together and I haven't seen him in about 6 years or so. We sang together in our Jr. High Christmas program. He was the dad and I was the mom in our little skit. Turns out he's gay. Kevin asked me if I had known. I told him no. He was a nerd, of the genius kind, and nerds aren't typically conceived of as sexual beings in one way or another, you know? -No offense John.- I think I would have been more suprised if he'd told me he was married and had children. Not because he couldn't be, but that seems to be information that still surprises me of people from my past. Eventhough I'm married with children, I get a trip out of other people being so. I just found out my sister's ex-boyfriend (long, long, time ago) is married and has 2 kids and I just thought it was so trippy! I guess folks I loose touch with just kind of stand still in my mind.

I'm really going to try and do SOMETHING today. I have another apron to sew for a swap that I haven't even cut into. I had been working on a gauzy blouse that's giving me trouble. It has an interfaced facing. Well, I think I should have used knit interfacing b/c now it doesn't reach. I don't even know if I have enough fabric to cut out another facing. So I tried turning and topstitching instead, but the gauze stretched all out of shape and got super wonky. I'm thinking somekind of stabilizer might work? Stay tape? Stitch Witchery? HELP! And notice how the pinned side looks fine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Review: Lula Washington Dance Theater

I'm posting this here because I'm certain it won't be published on the review site I submitted it to.
My 8yo attended Lula Washington for 6 weeks for Dance Camp. She was so excited. She was crying after the first day and hated every day that she went. The staff is disrespectful and inconsiderate. The Director herself is the most disrespectful, even to her own staff. Time is not taken to know a child and learn the best way to speak to them. My daughter learned early on that her best efforts were just not going to be good enough. There are no words of encouragement or praise given for their efforts. This may be fine for a child with tougher skin or someone very, very dedicated and ambitious in this art. However, for an 8yo just starting out, who has enjoyed dance in the past, this is not the place. My daughter wants nothing to do with dance now and I'm sorry I made her go through the program. A simple request would get most kids to do what is being requested. Harsh tones and humiliation are not necessary in most, if any, situations. In the end, we didn't show up for the Parent Showcase nor did I make her go the last week of the camp. The manner in which the parents were addressed the night before the Showcase made me want to get up, get my kid and walkout. I regret not having done so. My daughter learned alot in this camp. Unfortunately, it was not positive. -That concludes the review I posted. Now let me elaborate.

My daughter learned, that she is not important, that she does not deserve respect, that her best efforts are insignificant and most sadly, to hate someone. I have to say that this woman is the most hateful person, I have ever met. I am 35 years old. I've had plenty of opportunity to come across hateful, terrible people, but I have not. I guess I have been fortunate. I hope we can get into dancing again at some point in the future. But she is scared and scarred for the moment.

The night before the Parent Showcase, rehearsal was to be held from 12:30pm until 7pm. They were running behind and at 8:30pm the parent were called in. We were informed that OUR children, had delayed rehearsal by NOT LISTENING. That for the past 6 weeks, they had to constantly remind the children to be quiet to pay attention, to FOCUS! Now let me tell you, that she wanted the children to NOT MOVE. Not a hair. She wanted them to look at her in order for her to know they were paying attention. No tying shoelaces, no scratching your butt, nothing. And she was shouting. DON'T MOVE!!! SEE, THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. Yes, about 15-20 minutes of the hour was spent this way.

Now, I was involved in a large group activity from elementary school through high school. Ranging from 30-100+ in the group. You know how we got quiet and got everyone's attention? We'd hold up the peace sign. One by one, as we noticed that the peace sign was going up, we joined in. In about 3 minutes, there was complete silence. No shouting was necessary. So anyway, the next morning Omari begged and begged, to get out of going to the Showcase. I said, "They're counting on you to be there." But she disagreed. And she was probably right.

Twice, in my presence, my daughter was asked to stop doing something. First demand was to not touch the wall. Well, in my world, we would have said, "Please don't put your hands on the wall, it gets the walls dirty." This may seem a bit new-age, wimpy parent to you but that's how we do. In Lula's world, (I wish I could insert sound here) it was: GET YOUR HANDS OF MY WALL! DO YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN EVERYONE STARTS PUTTING THEIR HANDS ON THE WALL? THEY GET DIRTY! Of course, Omari started to cry. I was speechless. Now, maybe a non-new-agey, non-wimpy parent would have let her have it just then. I think my husband would have. But I didn't. I am afraid of what that represented to Omari. I hope she doesn't think that I wouldn't stick up for her in other situations. The 2nd request was for her to get out from under a bench that I was sitting on. Naiobi also had classes there on M and W nights for 2 hours. During those 2 hours, while Omari and I waited, we sewed or played games or read books. Omari had her legs sticking under the bench as she used the bench itself as a little table. Here comes Lula: GET YOUR LEGS OUT FROM UNDER THERE! WHAT IF THAT FALLS ON YOU? Why is the shouting necessary? Why not ask the parent to get the kid out? Or just simiply, ask? I mean, is it so hard? Now I have no idea how old this woman is and she probably falls under the "she's set in her ways" category, but really?

Perhaps others having raving reviews of the place. This was just our experience.

My girl is now relaxing at her Tia's house in Berkeley. She is picking pink-fleshed apples (yeah, they're a trip) and Meyer lemons off of her trees. She is pretending she is in an enchanted forest and that the boy cousin is the ogre trying to catch all the girls (not nice, I know). I am going to miss her (not yet though, it's only been 1 day) and my baby. But I'm happy that she gets to be blissfully happy the last 3 weeks of summer vacation.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Quick Trip

Real quick. Driving to my sister's in Berkeley to drop off the girls
then turning back around tomorrow and driving back. That's right. I
will be childless for 2 weeks. Now if I could also get rid of my
husband Just kidding but not really. We haven't been alone
together in a long time. I'm looking forward to dates without having
to worry about the time or who can watch the girls. It always feels
like we're imposing. Looking forward to getting out of the house on
time, my house staying neat and uninterrupted sewing. Big plans. I
hope they pan out.

My sister is a saint. I don't know how or why she enjoys having so
many people around her. All I can think If is how tiring it will be.
I'm going to have to warn her to add about 30 minutes to her getting
ready routine so she can do everone's hair.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Halloween Apron Swap: Look what I got!

Side A.

Side B.

Close up of Applique

Amy over at Raising Redheads (aren't those kids cute?), was my partner for the Halloween Apron swap that was hosted by Sherrie of Booming Aprons. And this is the REVERSIBLE apron she made for me. Isn't it Ca-UTE? It's reversible. Oh, I already said that. She got the idea for the crow face from the printed side. See the crows in there? Very creative, says Omari. Along with the apron she sent me a spatula, a recipe for Pumpkin Muffins (yum) and a nice letter. This was so much fun for me. Maybe because I just Love Halloween. I'm hoping you can see, in that 3rd picture, that she did some hand stitching too. She made a whip stitch? all around the applique. And though it looks like the eyes and nose are holes in the white and yellow fabric, they are actually black appliques on top of those fabrics. Very nicely made.

USPS says she's received her apron too. So, here are the pictures of the apron I made for her. Now, when I checked Booming Aprons, I thought I read that the mailing deadling was 7/30, which is why the pictures had to be taken with flash. But then I checked the site the next day and it said the deadling was 7/31. Oh well.

Anyway, I had fun making this apron. I embroidered the witch's face all by myself with a little bit of help from the internet. ---Hold on, I gotta take this apron off. It's too hot for it today.-- OK. -- I had to hand sew the lace brim because I hadn't really thought out how I was going to do it. My first thought was to attach it to the triangle that makes the hat. But then, the lace would have gotten in the way when she put her hand in the pocket. And since the pocket was already sewn on, I hand stitched it. So much fun. I have one more apron swap and then I'm done. I mean, how many aprons do I need?