Sunday, November 30, 2008

Road Weary

Warning--long and pic heavy

I am so road weary, 14 hours and 5 states will do that to you (OH,KY,TN,ARK & TX). We had a very good trip, every year the kids say they’re not going back but by the time October/November rolls around again they’ve forgotten about the very long ride. I’m sure no one has ever heard of Atlanta, TX no I didn’t mean to say Atlanta, GA, my Father lives in Atlanta, TX and my Uncle Ronnie lives in Bivins, TX you don’t know country until you’ve spent time in Atlanta or Bivins, TX I’m talking dark like you’ve never seen, no cell phone reception, red dirt and satellite tv because there’s no cable kinda country. I thought my kids would lose it when they realized their cell phones wouldn’t work but they adjusted.

Here's a pic of my Father wearing the robe and pj bottoms that I made him last year. I'm going to make him and my step-mother matching robes this year. Since they don't celebrate Christmas I can wait and make them after the holidays.

The saving grace is my Uncle Ronnie’s house, it’s gorgeous, it’s a log home you can’t call it a cabin because although it’s only 3 bedrooms it is the best designed and well thought out log home I have ever seen. Uncle Ronnie designed and built most of it himself, he is a retired Army Lt. Colonel and after spending all those years in the military he said it was time for him to go to Bivins, TX, he bought up all the land so that no one could build a house close to him, the closest house is my cousin Sharon’s. There’s definitely advantages to country living but I don’t know if I could do it. My Uncle Ronnie has well water and I swear it taste way better than Evian.

He owns everything as far as the eye can see. I was trying to get a picture of the oil well horse, they were drilling for oil for years but no luck or I should say it was lucky because my Grandmother had sold the mineral rights to buy the land, so if they had found oil we still wouldn't be like the Dallas Ewings.
This is the second year that we’ve gone to TX for Thanksgiving. The food is outrageously good, Uncle Ronnie smoked a Ham and we also had turkey and a hen that my Aunt Vicky wouldn’t take responsibility for, the side dishes were too numerous to name, cornbread stuffing, oyster stuffing, greens, chicken spaghetti, green beans, corn on the cob, sweet potatoes and I’m sure I’m forgetting some, I drive all that way so that I can make german chocolate cake, 7-up cake and my Grandmother’s homemade yeast rolls. Vicky also made a whip cream pound cake which was awesome. I made two german chocolate cakes one for Uncle Ronnie and one so that Vicky’s sister could take one home, it’s both their favorite.

This is Gerred, Aunt Vicky's nephew bring in more wood for the fire.

Brandi with Aunt Vicky's great-niece.

This is the road to Uncle Ronnie's house as you can see you can't see his house, you have to drive about 1/4 mile to get to his house and you better know where you're going because you can't see it from the road.

Of course there was some fabric shopping done, their Wal-Mart still has a fabric department and had a really large selection of $1.50/yd fabric, I purchased these pieces and I have a few projects in mind but right now I’m too brain dead to go into details.

I do plan to make Christmas aprons for my friends with the Christmas pieces, my Aunt Vicky had one and I thought it was a really cute gift idea.

My Father doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving but that didn’t stop me and my step-mother from taking advantage of “Black Friday” at the local Wal-Mart and you know if it’s as country as I said Wal-Mart is pretty much the only game in town. We wanted the portable DVD player and the HP printer/scanner/copier, the DVD player was $49.00 and the HP was an unbelievable $29.00 so both were worth dealing with this crowd and waiting in line for over an hour.

Every time we go to Texas I buy my Grandson a cap gun because they still let the kids play with guns in Texas, in Cincinnati if you make the gun sign with your finger you can get expelled from school. As you can see he really enjoyed playing cowboy, my Dad kept calling him Two Gun Pete, which I’m sure is a reference to someone we’ve never heard of.

He was all into playing cowboy and really channeled that "Two Gun Pete" character.

Since we live so far from any family it’s always very nice to go visit my Father and Uncle and have a family Thanksgiving, it also helps that the food is off the chain. I met a cousin that I don’t ever remember meeting, my cousin Sharon’s brother was in town from Nashville, TN I think we had 4 states represented, OH, TN, CA and of course TX.
My Father gave me the best gift ever and now that I have the scanner I will be able to share them. My Mother died when I was 20 and that threw everything and everyone into a tail spin as a result I didn’t have any pictures of me or my sisters when we were little. My Father gave me some pictures that he said a neighbor of ours found in the alley and gave them to him so that they wouldn’t be thrown away. They are precious, I have to get a USB cord for the scanner and then I will post some of those pictures. I cannot thank Thelma and Ernest enough for rescuing those pictures.
I'm exhausted and have to do the laundry from the trip and get ready for work tomorrow. From what I've read on the blogs it looks like everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, now on to the big one --- Christmas.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fleece Jacket Wearability

First, let me say that I received so many compliments when I wore the jacket on Saturday, doesn't it seem like the easier the piece the more compliments you receive and when you make something really complicated it doesn't generate half the buzz. The jacket is really warm, I mean really warm when I got to work I almost had to take it off and I'm pretty sure I wasn't "flashing" (I know some of you know what I mean, lol) but it was great while I was running around, back to Hancock for more fleece, it was half off this weekend, my DD wants one and I think I'm going to make one for my friend Gwen for Christmas. All of my friends on my second job requested one but that’s more than I am up for before Christmas.

The only complaint other than it being almost too warm to wear indoors was that while I was making the jacket I had to keep my can of Static Guard handy, it was very staticky, I’m sure you seasoned sewers will gasp but I almost never pre-wash my fabric (I can hear you gasping) I’m sure that would have prevented that problem. I highly recommend fleece and I will no longer think of it as only robe or pj worthy.

The house is clean, top to bottom, floors mopped, toilets gleaming and now I have to pack. My Mother always cleaned the house before going out of town, she always said you don’t want to come home to a dirty house, I agree and when we get back I want to put up my Christmas decorations, I LOVE CHRISTMAS, you’ll see…..

I didn’t think I would have time to post so I am going to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving again. Enjoy and remember those calories don’t count.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My First Fleece

You might be surprised but this is the first time I have made anything out of fleece but I can tell you it won't be my last. This jacket was a breeze to make, I had a good time sewing this evening and this will probably be the last sewing that I will do until we get back from Texas after Thanksgiving so I'm very happy that it came out so well. And this also explains why I didn't want to stop until it was finished.

I will try to post some pics of me wearing it but I can't promise anything, I have a ton of things
to get done this weekend.

This is my next project, since I couldn't make up my mine on any tops I switched to jackets and so far so good but it will have to wait.

Lastly I will leave you with my personal motto, actually it's "live simply" but I found this at Hobby Lobby and thought it summed it up pretty well and it will also help to hide my projects that I have cut out and waiting on the shelf.

I hope everyone has a very blessed Thanksgiving, eat way to much and worry about it later. I know I will.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Dress

I've had this pattern for over ten years and I just wanted to share the story that goes with it. I had planned to make this dress for a Christmas party all those years ago, it's been so long I don't remember which party but I had the pattern laying on my sewing table and a woman (who shall remain nameless) that use to keep my kids after school FOR FREE (this is important) saw it while dropping the kids off and insisted that I make it for her. OH THE HORROR! I was out done, I couldn't say no and jeopardize my free child care but I most certainly did not want to make the dress for her and then have someone with the same dress, I tried subtle hints to let her know that I had planned to make the dress for myself but she wasn’t picking up on the fact that I really, really did not want her to have the same dress as I would so I made her the dress and it was gorgeous, she choose a dark blue velvet with the coordinating satin trim and wore it to her husband’s Christmas Party and of course I never made it for myself. Since that was oh so many years ago and the offender has moved away I am considering making this dress for the many upcoming Holiday Parties. I had planned to make it in the green color that is pictured on the pattern. So what do you think? Should I just get over myself and make the dress or find another pattern that doesn’t have bad memories associated with it?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday Night

Pay it Forward, it was my friend Anita’s birthday yesterday so I took her gift bag to work today and she cleaned up, she kept telling everyone that she taught me how to make the gift bag and she’s right she is responsible for starting our little birthday club.

As I said they don’t bake so I fix whatever cake they request and Anita wanted a German Chocolate cake. Of course she wasn’t going to share; this was her cake to take home so I made two chocolate sour cream sheet cakes to have at work. What is it about cake that makes people go crazy you would have thought I was giving away $100.00 bills the way they were acting, my cakes are exceptional but damn it’s still only cake.

I finished the jacket in time to wear it to tonight’s dance and if imitation is
the sincerest form of flattery then Sheila should be very flattered because I am totally copying her bottom of the stairs pose lol.

I was going to wear the jacket without anything under it but it's cold here and I found this purple mock turtleneck that I thought would work and I'm wearing suede pants (I got these for $20.00 at the Wilson's outlet, I ain't nothing if I ain't thrifty) and brown boots, yep working it with my I'm gonna sweat hair-do. I was worried about wearing the pants because it was raining earlier and I didn't want to be as Rob said "like a wet ball glove" but luckily it stopped and I didn't have to go with plan B's pair of jeans.

Now on to the festivities, first let me say that I love being “old school” I am 48 and proud of it and I love my people that being said I had a ball with my girls, Christine and Mo and some other ladies from my second job, we work hard and we play hard. How can you not have fun when they’re playing, The Miracles “You really got a hold on me” and The Temptations, “My Girl” and of course the God-Father of Soul, “Say it Loud I’m Black and I’m Proud” yes they did and we had a good time, danced enough to work up a sweat. (Can that count as my excerise for the day?)

The dance was BYOB but you know that also means BYOC

I just have to mention this, most of my friends are older than I am all are in their early 50’s but I was some what taken aback tonight when I was approached by a much older gentleman who requested my phone number, I was stunned to realized this is my demographic now lol.

Well that's about it, I really hope to have an update on the sweater, I'm so ready to be done with it and I've told myself that I have to stop sewing for myself and get started on my Christmas projects, last year I made 6 pairs of boys pj's, a gown for my friend Gwen and two many hat's and scarf's to count. I tried to get a jump on my hat and scarf sets but when I went to Chicago this summer I took several of them and gave them away, I really want to see if they can stand up to "The Hawk". I lived in Chicago for 1 year, one winter was all I could stand my little California bones didn't know what to do with that kind of cold. Cincy gets snow but nothing like Chicago. Once I get "the sweater" finished I am working on a toddler sweater to go with a hat that's finished and anything else I get done before Christmas will be a bonus. It's going to be hard, this is the first time since I started sewing that it's all about me and I'm loving it. Of course when my daughter was growing up it was all about her, she had a new dress almost every Sunday for church, so much so that one time we went to church and this little girl started crying, I asked her what was wrong and she said, "she always has a new dress" so I promised to make this little girl a dress much to my daughter's horror, she doesn't share well.
It's late and I'm rambling so I'm going to stop and go to bed. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

And Sew it Goes

I am like Erica B when she say’s that she likes her clothes to have a ready to wear finish and besides I’m just plain anal about most everything especially sewing. So even though this jacket will be lined I still serged the seams and I also used the fusible tape so that the seams will lay flat after the lining has been attached. I blame my Mother when she sewed for us she was empathic that all seams be finished and this was light years before sergers were available for home use so that meant a lot of fine zigzag stitching and French seams, etc. and she was sewing for 4 girls and her 3 sister’s because she was the only one that sewed, I think she would be proud that 3 of her 4 girls are very good seamstresses. In honor of my Mom I always finish my seams so that my garments look as pretty on the inside as they do on the outside.

The jacket is coming along nicely now, I won’t go into details but let’s just say I’m happy that I had extra fabric. I don’t know if you can tell on this picture but I’m trying to show how well the seams match up.

I want to wear this to a dance on Saturday, I hope to have it finished tomorrow night. I still need to attach the sleeves, complete the lining and I'm doing covered buttons.

Well, wish me luck hopefully there will be pictures this weekend.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall is Fading

When I went for my jog/walk, (I jog 2 miles and walk 2 miles) this very brisk Saturday morning I was rewarded with some beautiful fall colors, they're fading fast but it was well worth enduring the chilly conditions. I actually like it better when it's a little chilly, not that many people are out. I am fortunate to live within 5 minutes of this park and I love going there from Spring until Fall, I'm not one of those crazy people who are out trying to jog when there's 10 inches of snow on the ground and it's 10 degree's that when I switch to my DVDs.

It was very cold by the lake.

Do you hear, "all the leaves are brown and the sky is gray"

I finished the top and I'm very happy with the way it came out, now on to my next project, the McCall's jacket (B4347) the colors in the fabric are very fall like, that's probably what drew me to it.

I showed you the layette set but I needed something to go under it and I searched and searched and bought way to many onesies that weren't quite right so I finally just bought a pack of plain white ones and added the embellishments that I wanted and I'm very happy with it now. I added white eyelet lace and ribbon and a rosette, very simple but I think it's exactly what the dress needed.

I swear I have had this bib for about sixteen years, I know it's been that long because I initially made it for my friend Gwen when she had her son and he's sixteen almost 17 now, the reason I didn't finish it was I ran out of snaps lol, but I put the snap on and will give it to her daughter with the layette set and all those onesies I bought. The front is a very soft infant blanket fabric and the reverse is terry cloth.

I'm glad that I finished the trim on the onesie and all I have to do now is wash everything and make up her gift basket, she's not due until next month but you never know and I want to give it to her before we go out of town just in case the baby doesn't wait.

I don't have any updated pictures of my DD's sweater but it's coming along, I had to frog the sleeve but she finally has two sleeves that look alike and I'm working on the hood which isn't going so well, I've missed my deadline so I'm not going to set another one but hopefully it will be done soon.

Well I'm off to make brownies for dessert and fold the mountain of laundry that's been waiting for me all week. I hope everyone has a great week and happy sewing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

YES WE DID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I thought it was New Year's Eve instead of election night, I guess you've figured out I live in a predominately African American community. Obama signs were everywhere.

We had Obama burgers and Biden fries for dinner in celebration of the pending victory.

YEAH OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!!!!!!!!!! VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I was so excited on the way to take my son to school we passed a polling location at 6:40 and the lines were around the building, the polls opened at 6:30, it made me so proud. I mailed my ballot in to avoid the lines but it felt so good to see all my people out in force, my daughter will have to go to the polls and vote and you can bet I will make sure she does.


Monday, November 3, 2008

This should be simple, Right!

I made this top to go with some vogue high waisted pants I made. The pants came out great but the blouse I had in mind just didn't work, so I went to the fabric store and found this very cute fabric which goes with the pants wonderfully, well it was a remnant so I didn't have enough to make what I really wanted so I settled for this, and this is why you should never settle. The sleeves are too tight because the pattern (Butterick 5372) specifies stretch knits only. I didn't listen and paid the price by having a top that I can't wear and I still don't have a top to wear with the pants, I wore them and got compliments but the top wasn't what I wanted.

So I'm trying it again with this stretch knit fabric I got at Hobby Lobby for $2.00/yd, it's coming out good and I don't think I will have any problems getting the sleeves in and hemming it but it doesn't go with the pants, it's a just a casual top to wear with jeans. We're going to Texas for Thanksgiving so I'm trying to whip up a few quick tops, the cows won't be impressed with my high waisted pants lol. I will post the completed top over the weekend. It just goes to show, you can't always get away with what you think you can and sometimes you should go with the "suggested fabrics".

I did get my jacket cut out but I won't be able to start on it until the weekend, wish me luck.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All About Obama

So far this weekend has been a blast, I’m on a roll (literally, you’ll see in a minute) on Halloween I was so hoping that I would get some trick or treater’s this year, I live at the very end of a cul-de-sac and none of my neighbor’s give out candy so it’s a battle to get kids to come all the way down the street for my lone little beckoning porch light but I had high hopes this year and I had spent the previous evening making up Halloween treat bags, 25 to be exact and of course I had bags of candy ready, I did get one group of kids and my GS and his cousins so I was able to get rid of the bags; then I only had one other group of trick or treaters, two kids whose Father was really, really grateful that I had candy.

I can't explain why he's turning his little butt up at me.

Then Saturday started with some baking, I made my not so low-fat apple spice muffins I changed the recipe to 1 cup sugar instead of ½ cup, added a little extra butter, a little vanilla and a ½ teaspoon of baking powder because they didn’t rise enough to me. Of course my girls were very happy, my friend Anita said she was praying that “Tanya’s gets up and bakes” because she didn’t have time to stop at the bakery.

After work my friend Gwen and I went to-- you guessed it to Red Lobster, Saturday was the last day for endless shrimp and I went off and forgot my to go box, I was just being greedy anyway lol. Before we went to dinner we stopped by the Obama campaign office because Gwen didn't have a yard sign better late than never, she's going to the rally tonight. It starts a little late for me 9pm I'm getting ready for tomorrow work day.

My DD and I went to Skater’s for Obama at Skatetown USA and you need to get ready for these pictures but first a little history, I learned to skate on spark throwing steel wheel shoe skates growing up in Compton, CA, I’m sure most of you have never heard of let alone seen a pair of steel wheel shoe skates, let me tell you those things were treacherous, we would be flying down the sidewalk and if one person’s skate came off we all went down. After several months of begging I finally received the best Christmas present ever, my very first pair of “roller-derby skates” I will never forget they were metallic red and my Mother wouldn’t buy the required pom-poms for them so I used my lime-green drill team pom-poms to adore my skates, you couldn’t tell me nothing lol. We use to go the local skating rink in Gardena, CA and (I feel so old saying this) the admission was 25 cents, often that’s all we had was the admission price no money for refreshments so every week they held races and the prize was a drink ticket, let me tell you it’s true when they say need and want are great motivators because I broke my neck to win those races so I could get a drink ticket. My main competition was the rink manager’s daughter who I always thought had an unfair advantage being that she could go to the rink any time she wanted but I won more times than I lost but now I leave the fast skating to the crazy old men that think they still have it but because of all those Saturday’s spent at the rink I am still smooth as silk on skates. We had a ball, now for the pics, (sorry for the long prelude)

This first one is of me with Cincinnati’s ex-vice-mayor Alicia Reece and her family and a councilman or some big shot political mucky-muck whose name escapes me. Alicia sponsors several skating events and old school skater’s show up and show out.

This is me posing with some leftover Halloween decoration that was wearing a Skater's for Obama shirt. This is my I'm going to sweat hairstyle, if I start off with it looking like this it can't get much worse. I made this top over the summer, it's BDC (before digital camera) so I don't remember the particulars but it's a stretch knit top.

Now these two heifers, I don’t know what they were doing but I named one the pussycat doll wannabe and the other MaidofHorror I think her costume was supposed to be a French maid and this was not a costume event. I unsuccessfully tried to confirm if they were transvestites but I left not knowing for sure. What was even worse were all the men that were all over them, these hot messes took the cake for the evening.

My DD said that I should be ashamed of myself for being so fake, because I walked right up too these two and asked if I could take their picture, knowing full well that I was going to slam them on my blog lol.

Here is my DD stuffing her face, it was a catered event but I have worked very hard over the past months to lose some weight and I wasn’t about to eat all that heavy food at midnight some things just ain’t worth it. My DD was quite upset when the caterer gave her one rib, so I did go through the line and gave my plate to her, she's young she can eat like that lol.

Here are some other pics, my DD came up with a really good rule for shopping, she said that if the designer was born after you were you shouldn’t buy their clothes and I agree with her, Apple Bottoms are not for sagging bottoms and we should not be trying to RocAWear when we’re almost in a rocking chair. You be the judge lol.

There's a lot I want to say about this picture but she works down the hall from me and you never know who will stumble across your blog so I'll let you guys fill in the blanks.....

This ladies shirt was really cute, it say’s “Sista’s for Obama” and the earrings on the shirt were little rhinestones, I thought it was really cute.

I do plan to try and get some sewing done before this weekend is over, I saw this jacket on somebody’s blog please forgive me but I’ve forgotten where and I had almost cut out a ruffled shirt pattern using this fabric but I think the jacket will be really cute. On the last season of Project Runway Jerrell said that he buys the fabric and lets the fabric tell him what it should be, I totally got that and I think it’s very true. I’ve had fabric for years but until something just jumps out at me that’s when I’m most excited about a project.
I have to apologize for the lousy formatting, I tried to correct but I'm giving up now. If you can offer any formatting tips I would appreciate it.