Saturday, March 28, 2015

Project Run and Play for Myself.....since I missed the deadline to enter

March was not particularly busy. I did have a visit from my sister-in-law, and St. Patrick's Day was crazy (see previous posting), and my mother was in town for a week. In addition, there was the general craziness that is school for the kids, chores for the house, errands for the family, etc. I had it completely under control. And I proceeded to thoughtfully put together my latest entry for Project Run and Play. It was sitting 95% complete on my ironing board and I knew it would only take another 15 minutes to complete it and then a photo shoot with my little one. But I had the dates completely wrong in my head and now that my dress is finished, the deadline for entering has passed. I can only reflect on what an idiot I am for blowing the deadline. I struggled mightily with this design and the end result is not precisely what I had in my head, but it would have been fun to be included in the mix once again. Lesson learned. But since I did finish the darn thing, I still thought I could write a post and show off the work that, despite the linen, I am still proud of.

The challenge this month was to rework a knot dress with a peephole back. I tend to not like peepholes - I think they look a little messy (at least when I do it) and I find that on adult clothing, they read kinda trashy - so I skipped it entirely. I thought the knots at the shoulders were clever and cute so I kept those. I finally decided to make a simple wrap dress with ties at both sides of the waist. The fabric is probably the only designer fabric I own. I bought it when we still lived in Alexandria at a little fabric store that is run out of a house (Del Ray Fabrics). The grey and yellow patterned fabric is Charleston Farmhouse by Felicity Miller. And then I dug up a small ton of this pretty yellow linen. I loathe linen. I dislike the way you wear it for 5 minutes and by the time you either emerge from the car or stand in a lightly humid breeze, you look like a crumpled bag. I will never sew anything linen for myself so I decided to put it to use for this challenge.


The dress has basic even gathering and I included a top-stitched trim of 3" along the bottom edge just to give it a little more structure. I top-stitched the gathers down, too so it wouldn't be so fluffy, but there is probably a tad bit more fullness in this than I was anticipating. 

 And I guess I have a reversibility problem, because I absolutely insisted on figuring out how to make this
one completely reversible, with nary an exposed seam to speak of. On the reverse side, the linen is featured and the grey makes a nice accent trim.

YEAH! Mama made it reversible!


 And as I suspected, it is a crumpled, rumpled mess. But it is soft and comfortable and versatile. Rae was a ridiculous little beastie during this shoot. She refused any hair or make-up. She wouldn't stand near the pretty greenery but insisted on draping herself closest to the ugly cement, mulch and playground equipment. And she wouldn't give up the bunny crackers or the pink Crocs.

I do like the end result. It stinks that no one will see it because I play an idiot in my free time. And to top it all off, Rae kinda hates it. I officially need a new model - not only must she have snacks during her photo shoots, she's just a plain old diva.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

I Mean....Wow.

So in my other life, I participated in community theater productions. On stage or backstage, dancing, singing, acting, designing, sewing (or trying to do all of those things). My experience with community theater was fantastic and I hope to get back into the game once we settle in a bit more. But years ago, I was cast in a lovely production of the musical Kiss Me, Kate. Lots of singing and dancing and frilly costumes - just up my alley. Putting a big show up involved several dedicated weeks of work, first learning the music, adding the large dance numbers, then layering in the staging and scene work. So much fun, but lots of work. One evening, our director asked for the gentlemen to take the stage and attempt to run through a scene which had never been pieced together before. He admitted it would probably be a mess, but to just keep going no matter what happened so he could see what needed to be fixed. I sat quietly in the dark theater and observed the chaos ensue. First of all, even the best theater boys are - not that good at remembering their choreography. They just aren't. And the music started and some were moving, some were not, some were singing, all off-key. Lines were forgotten, someone slipped. I think a shoe even went airborne. It was nothing short of a train wreck. The play is indeed a comedy but this was just a bridge too far. I didn't realize that my friend had taken a seat behind me and I heard her utter three, oh so meaningful words.....I Katie was stunned. I looked back and saw that she really had no other words for what she had just seen. Her mouth agape, her eyes wide, her hands at her face. For her, I was saying "That was awful. That needs work. That was actually not great, and the show opens in 10 days." We began to use this phrase for anything that occurred that had no reasonable explanation. Much of the rest of our experience with Kiss Me, Kate necessitated the use of this phrase. The show opened, but barely, after a rare Virginia hurricane blew through, wiped out power for our tech week and forced us to hit opening night without a single complete rehearsal. We were jubilant during the opening night party because not only did that previously mentioned train wreck of a scene occur without a missing shoe, the entire show was a hit. I think we may have even won a few WATCH (Washington Area Theater Community Honors) Awards for our efforts. Katie and I did several shows together. She continues to be a very bright star in the theater community while I continue to use her now infamous utterance.
So I guess I'm a bit of a pack rat....I found this letter among my theater things. Proof that this phrase is not my own!!

The top picture shows us starting the dance break for "Too Darn Hot" at the top of Act II.
Katie is front and center, playing the role of Hattie. I am 3rd from the left, with the very odd, very red wig. This dance number
brought down the house. 
And that leads me to St. Patrick's Day. I'm not Irish, but I love a good green beer. So I headed out with my favorite sister-in-law and best drinking buddy Emma who is visiting for the week from Jersey. We Uber-ed (that must be a verb now, right?) to downtown Burlingame and hit the Irish pub first. Met friends, then went for dinner. Left friends and hit the only dance club in Burlingame, where even on St. Patrick's Day, there were only 12 people in the whole place. But the music was hopping and the drinks were abundant and we found our home. We danced and screamed and made new friends who danced and screamed with us. And of course we drank! And drank some more. It was absolutely entirely too much fun. We returned home at 5AM, but not before we closed down the dance club and stopped at a 24-hour diner for breakfast, though I have few words for those last few hours since I was ASLEEP AT THE TABLE. Sitting up. Emma has a photo that I won't share but - I mean, wow. And on Wednesday, which still follows Tuesday, even if you have been drinking, I had to get up and get the kids off to school and try to function. It was not my finest day, but I have lived to tell the tale. And all I am left with is - I mean, wow. I'm probably a bit too old to stay up so late or drink so much. I'm pretty sure that my muscles ache because of the 4+ hours of dancing, and it surely took me 15 hours to recover. And Emma, who is half my size/weight and matched me drink for drink - had no hangover whatsoever. We have decided that while I was snoozing, she was drinking lots of water. She also claims that because she is European, she can handle her alcohol better. I call bull pucky on that one. She took care of me on Wednesday. And my kids, too. I mean, wow.

Emma and I with new friends (and new hats) at the dance club.
Every once in a while, you just gotta let it all hang out. California has been such a turbulent journey for me. But on St. Patrick's Day, I didn't feel lost or sad or unhappy about the move. I didn't have to think about it, and then I really couldn't think about it because I was too blotto....but just the same, the pain of moving subsided, and it felt good. I am fairly certain that I will need to find a way to cope with California that doesn't involve 10 drinks, but I have no regrets about my wild and crazy St. Patty's Day. I mean - - wow.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

And Then There Was the Science Fair

I have been a sewing machine! I completed 4 additional dresses for my Etsy shop. I made a baby romper for a friend. I darned socks, replaced buttons and even patched holes on pants that were sitting on my sewing table for so long, my son can no longer even wear the pants. I set aside patterns and fabric for the next 5 projects in line. I started a pretty terrible looking pair of pants for myself. But who cares that they are terrible, I am SEWING! And it feels great. I have been trying to devote just one hour a day to some project in my little sewing cave. I cue up the latest show I'm watching on Amazon Prime and I shut the door and all is right with the world. Currently, I'm all caught up on The Good Wife so I'm attempting to get into Extant, the futuristic series with the very dreamy Goran Visnjic and the so gorgeous she makes the world suicidal Halle Berry. The jury is still out on whether it is decent sew-along background entertainment. But, I digress. It had been a tremendous two weeks of sewing. And, a not so bad week in dear old Burlingame. I continued to boot camp. I found a walking buddy for the weekend mornings and we have a friendly step competition with our Fitbits going. I had coffee with new friends and dinner plans with another new acquaintance. A very kind person commented that I might try looking "forward" and I think creating social engagements is a part of that. We've also had some more adventures in the city, like visiting the iconic Coit Tower and gasping at the beautiful views of the city. The hand stamp was our admission. Not my admission yet, but cute.

And then it all came to a screeching halt. My son's science fair project was due this week. Now what would that have to do with ME, you might ask? He is only six, so HIS project is really MY project. What I thought might be a fun activity quickly became a bit of a nightmare. I thought we were right on track, each day devoting just 15 minutes or so to doing something. Two weeks ago was Ski Week - another ridiculous invention that explains why California schools bite - and even though we didn't have school, or ski, for that matter, we accomplished NOTHING with regard to our lovely science project. My son was not worried at all. Happy as a lark. Skipping from here to there. I was totally freaking out. If I wanted to do it myself, I could get it done in a few hours.....but it is HIS project. I made him write out his sentences and layout the design and even type. Oh - the typing. It takes about 20 minutes for him to type one sentence. He loves it. He smiles after each letter lands on the screen. I fell asleep watching him.

The project is done and we have the medal of participation to prove it. My son Ben is one of the few people in the world who truly appreciates my OCD nature. It was his idea to put the stripes of color, and when I suggested that he use a ruler, he was ecstatic. A ruler! Cool! He had the ice cream cone idea, so I made a template for him, and he spent an hour cutting them out and adding drips of ice cream. It was evident that I had a heavy hand in making sure the final product was legible and straight, and I think folks at the fair assumed that I did the whole thing. It really wasn't all me. It was Ben. Well, he is pretty much all me!

Sewing is such a thrill. Science is....well....not that high on my list. But spending time with my son and helping him enjoy the wonder that is typing might rank higher than even sewing. This week will be an attempt to get my sewing mojo back. I have a feeling that I will look back on my sewing hiatus and wish for more of them, provided they are filled with hours with my little meticulous Ben. Wait until I teach him to sew....