Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 24

Oh I've been failing here, my original plan was to post frequently. I guess what happened was that I got addicted to catching up on a few seasons of Grey's Anatomy and big time slacked off on posting anything. I have been working though and I've got things to report.

I finished, finished, finished the dress. I completed the liner and went through the slow work of attaching the lining to the exterior. At one point I had arm holes on the inside of the dress not the outside, sad. It was a quick fix though, I had to remove the basting stitch and put the arm holes where they should be. Once the two pieces were together I tried the dress on and there was too much fabric up by the top of the zipper. Basically it did not lay flat on my back. I brought the dress to work to have my co-worker help me fix the problem. She suggested darts, which is what I had been thinking. She also said I might remove the bias from the arm holes and just try tacking the edge inside the dress. It was a bit bulky at the arms so I figured I should take that advice as well.

So that night I had to rip a few seams, never a good time, and I was a bit cranky. I added the darts to the exterior and the lining and that seemed to fit a lot better. Then I got to work on the arms holes. I removed the bias, added a zigzag stich, and tacked the edge inside the dress. It looked a little odd and that's when I realized I did not clip into the edge and it's circular which is why is looked "odd". I was exhausted and kind of pissed that I hadn't remembered that earlier. I tried to rationalize the situation by telling myself I was learning things here by having to put things together to take them apart and do it again. Regardless I was tired so I went to bed and decided I'd come back to it the next day.

The following day I undid the stitching and cut into the edge all the way around, I re-zig zag stitched around the arm hole and re-tacked the edge inside the dress. I repeated all of this on the other arm hole, exciting! So yesterday the only things left to do were the hem and the hook and eye at the top of the zipper. I sewed the hem of the lining and the exterior and I think the length is perfect. I could not find a hook and eye anywhere in my sewing notions so I attached a cute button instead. Then my dress was done. It always feels less climactic than I hoped but I think the process is really exciting and finishing it just means I'm on to the next project. But I am proud of what I've created and I've done quite a bit since Walker has been away.

Tomorrow I think I'll compile a list of all the things I have managed to accomplish.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 16

I'm glad to say that despite having made plans to see a movie last night I went home instead because I was so excited to work on my dress.

Before I got pulled out the sewing machine and all my notions I figured I should finish my market bag since it was basically a bind off from being finished. I think it turned out wonderfully if I dismiss the fact that I was supposed to switch to smaller needles for the top ribbing. Either way it looks super cute with a few books stuffed in it like I just got back from the library. I pranced around the living room with it and look a couple photos.

After I'd eaten dinner I got to work on the dress. I had already installed the zipper so I finished the back seem and began working on the front panel. I attached all three front panels together sewing and breathing slowly as I went around the bust lines. I then deciphered how to attach the upper bodice pieces, decided on the placement of the belt loops, and the front panel was in one piece.
So at that point I had a front and a back panel that needed to be one. I carefully pinned and then sewed the two halves together and there in front of me was a dress! Of course the edges were all raw and there was still a lot to be done but I had sewn a dress! I could, and did, try it on for size and let me tell you the fit it just about perfect! Very, very exciting!

I did a minimal amount of sewing on the liner and called it a night, a very successful night.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 15

I guess the days are going by a little faster now, it's been 7 days since I've last posted. I'm happy to say it's not just because I forgot about it, I've actually been pretty busy.

Let's see...

So last Wednesday I finally finished both of the pillow cases I was working on. Other than a few minor details here and there that could have turned out a bit better, they look great!

Thursday I had drinks with some co-workers after work and didn't feel up to a whole lot of crafting. I did do a little knitting on my market bag though. I don't really think of that as crafting, just keeping my hands busy while I watch movies.

Friday wasn't all that productive either. I stopped by Walker's after work and watered the plants and checked on his mosquitoes (they are trapped in a glass). At home I read quite a bit of Bonk while laying on a pillow in front on the kitchen of all places. I did some knitting while I re-watched Julie and Julia with my roommate who wasn't up to much due to the removal of a few teeth (ouch). It was pretty early in the evening and I was exhausted (still trying to shake this sickness) but I was determined to stay up as long as possible. I was hoping Walker would get on line before he started his mountain trek. I made it until 12:45 with a tiny nap and no word from Walker before I gave up.

Saturday morning I was up at 6:45 am to see if I had gotten any e-mails. There were none, good thing I didn't stay up any later. I attempted to fall back asleep, I succeeded but not soon enough because shortly after my 8:15 alarm was going off.

I had made plans for the morning with my friend Lauren and I was committed so I got up got dressed and was ready before 9. She picked me up and we headed to meet her mom for breakfast before strolling around the farmer's market. Strolling soon turned into sitting under a tent eating popsicles because at 10 in the morning it was already quite warm.

After a bit of regrouping and cooler packing the two of us and olive, her adorable puppy, went to the greenbelt to enjoy some water and some more sun. It was a short hike and we were all glade to have a seat or play with other dogs as olive did almost immediately. When we had sufficiently settled in we found a nice spot in the water where I could cool off and my friend could wade. Olive wanted nothing to do with the water, bless her heart. We did bring her in once or twice so she could practice and get a feel for it but she mostly could not wait to get out.

A couple of other friends met us after a while and they had plans to go to a spot even farther down the trail. Normally this would not have been a big deal but I had not planned on much of a hike today and this would be another 20 minutes or so. Another 20 minutes of carrying a really heavy bag, taking turns carrying the cooler or the umbrella, and having to do it all wearing rubber flip-flops. I sucked it up though and about 20 minutes later and with extremely sore shoulders we made it.

Perhaps the water was deeper here but since I really don't spend all that much time swimming it really wouldn't have been necessary to hike all that way. But since we had come all the way I got in the deeper water and swam around just a but before going to the shallows to play with Olive.

We played around for maybe an hour and then decided it was time to head back. First though, we emptied that cooler which made the walk back so much better. I also tossed my sandals in my bag, at that point bare feet were better than anything rubbing up against the blisters that had formed on the sides of my feet.

After the greenbelt we all went our own ways and showered and got ready for dinner. What I really felt like doing though was passing right out. Instead I got in the car and met up with everyone for dinner and margaritas.

I had a nice time at dinner and really could have ended the night there. Instead I found myself in a car headed down to a dive bar to play air hockey and pool. This probably would have been more fun if my head hadn't have been pounding, my leg didn't feel like I had growing pains, and I wasn't so tired I felt like I was dreaming.

Despite all the "ailments" I had an ok time but I was quite happy to finally get home at the end of such a long, long day.

The next two days I pretty much spend at home sleeping, reading (finished Bonk), knitting, and starting to sew a dress.

Yes, I finally got the dress pattern in the mail so Sunday I ironed the pattern and the fabric and cut out the fabric for the exterior of the dress. Sunday I cut out the lining fabric and sewed all the darts for the back. It was still somewhat early in the evening so I figured I'd give the invisible zipper a go. I read everything very carefully and read a tutorial for attaching the zipper foot to the machine. With everything in place I carefully sewed on one side of the zipper. It looked pretty good for my first one. So I attached the other side and slowly sewed that one as well. Then I noticed the zipper appeared to be twisted. I was distraught, I had followed all the directions exactly. I sat on the couch deflated and tried to figure out what I would have to do to fix it. I turned some things around and looked at it this way and that and then I realized the zipper was exactly where it was supposed to be. I had done it! I had successfully attached an invisible zipper to the back of the dress! How exciting!

To wind down a bit I packed my lunch for work and did some knitting on my market bag which I think is just about done. I will probably just finish that off tonight.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 8

I got a text yesterday from my friend Lauren who's having the surprise party and she was overwhelmed by choices. I offered my assistance if she needed help getting stuff ready for the party. "Do you want to bake a cake?" she asked. I enthusiastically agreed to help.

We baked the cake in my kitchen so her fiancee would not see it. The plan was to make a space looking cake, space being the theme, with 4 layers and fondant stars and planets. I think making the cake have 4 layers is where we went wrong, or right depending on how you look at it. I only have one rack in my oven and we just barely fit all 4 pans. As they took their deformed shape we got to work on the fondant.

Neither of us have ever made this stuff before but we assumed it couldn't be that hard. We made a 1/3 of the recipe because we really didn't need 3 pounds. We added the correct amount of everything but it was still really sticky, it's not supposed to be sticky. We kept adding powdered sugar and then finally just settled on a lump that seemed to be nearly right. It was not until today that I realized 2/3 of a cup is not 1/3 of 2 pounds, pounds being what I did not pay much attention to. Obviously we needed to have added more powdered sugar because the fondant was still sticky and practically melting in our hands as we made shapes.

When the layers had cooled somewhat we started to layer and frost and layer and frost and layer and frost. Upon setting the last layer on the top the first 3 layers stared to slide to the left! I quickly grabbed some bamboo skewers and stabbed the cake is various places to keep it in place. We finished the frosting, oh did I mention it was some shade between brown and black and blue and green, and set it in the fridge to set or perhaps transform into a beautiful creation? Wishful thinking.

Once everything was put away Lauren went home and I was excited to get back to the pillow cases. I cut out 13 hexagons from paper, cut fabric and sewed it over the paper, and started sewing the hexagons together. They looked really great! I sewed about half of the hexagons together before it was time for bed.

I heard from Walker today, he sent an e-mail and we got to chat in g-mail. He had fun in Zanzabar and he's soon heading to Arusha to begin acclimating to the higher elevation before he climbs Mt Kilimanjaro on Saturday. So exciting! If feel better knowing what his plan is for the next few days.

The space party was fun, the birthday boy was quite surprised and perhaps a little disappointed he wasn't going to a fancy restaurant for dinner. The gag gifts were pretty great, I like to think my knitted poo was the best of the bunch. I had just the right amount of fun and went home with about a half hour to sew some more hexagons together! Yippie!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 7

I did not do a lot of sleeping this weekend as I had hoped. Both Saturday and Sunday I was up by quarter to 8 and almost immediately had to check my e-mail.

Saturday I just sort of flitted around the house in a somewhat listless state. There were a lot of things I wanted to get done but I just couldn't sit down long enough to concentrate. I got a call from Walker's parents asking if I'd like to have dinner with them to share in our worries for Walker's travels. We set the time for 6:00pm. Soon after a friend called and invited me over for movie watching. So the night was planned! That still left the afternoon so my roommate and I headed to REI for some outdoor gear and their biggest sale of the season.

I knew that I was going to buy a sleeping pad and they had a couple on sale I was checking out. After lying on the floor of REI on various sleeping pads I chose the Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus a 4 season pad. I also noticed the patagonia thermal underwear on sale and I couldn't resist, I got a top and a bottom. This seemed like a ridiculous purchase since it was about 90+ degrees outside but it will be perfect for my camping trip back home in September.

The rest of the night went as planned. When I got home I checked my mail again, still nothing, but I saw an invite to a surprise party where gag gifts are encouraged. I started roaming around my favorite knitting site, Ravelry, and I came across this. Perfect, knitted poo, I got to work right away.

The next morning I was up at 7:45 again and I finally received a message. It sounded like he was having a good time and was safe, so I took a deep breath and finished knitting the poo.

I did a bit of gardening later on. Watered all the plants and picked a few of the chocolate cherry tomatoes I've been growing that were finally ripe! I was so excited. I also cut a bunch of my basil to turn into pesto later on. It smelled so wonderful I had to put little bunches of it in shot glasses all around the house.

In the evening I was settled enough to do some crafting, I worked on my market bag and while I was doing that I was thinking of pillow cases. I finished the row I was working on and immediately went into designing pillow cases, ironing fabric, measuring and cutting. Time went by very quickly and all of a sudden it was 10:30-time to get ready for bed. I can't wait to get back to it, I think they will look really nice when they're done.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 4

So today is Ride Your Bike to Work Day here in Austin. If it had not been for a lucky string of coincidences I would not have discovered this and all the wonderful things that have followed.

Last night after work I took the bus down to my favorite yarn shop to find yarn colors for some Christmas stockings I've been commissioned to knit. This took all of 5 minutes and I was back at the bus stop heading home. As I sat there baking in the sun (of course I had to wear black jeans today) I saw a flyer for Grackle Fest. I made a note to look into when I get home.

Once I was home again I went to look up Grackle Fest and luckily clicked on this link. This is when I discovered that today, the 21st of May is Ride Your Bike to Work Day and as such free food would be given out. Lucky for me it was Thursday night!

So this morning I rode my bike as usual and stopped by Wheatsville for some free breakfast goodies! It was all really nice and I figured I'd wash it all down with some ice cold tea. Turns out ice cold tea and ice cold coffee look just the same. Again lucky for me, since I do not enjoy coffee, I had only poured about a inch into my little cup. I took a few polite sips before disposing of it. Very enjoyable morning none the less.

I has also read that Chipotle was giving away free burritos if you rode your bike to the downtown location. I called this morning to confirm so I wouldn't ride down there just to look like a fool. With this confirmed I rode down there just before 11 (when the free burritos were scheduled to start) to beat the crowd. It's about 2 miles from my office and relatively light traffic, both on the road and in the restaurant, that was surprising. I ordered as soon as I walked up and mentioned the ride down at which point my burrito was put in a bag and handed right over.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


It has been 2 days since Walker left and honestly it feels as if a lot more time has passed.

I spent the first day moping around. Going over, in my head, the list of things I had planned and not caring much about any of it. I figured I'd give myself one day to sort out my thoughts, figure out where to start, and then progressively get more productive. After a couple of hours had passed doing nothing but sighing every so often I pulled out my current knitting project and worked on that while I watched Mrs. Winterbourne. That quickened the night some, and by 10:30 I was more than ready for bed. I read a bit of my latest book purchase Bonk by Mary Roach (I recently finished Stiff another book by Roach which I found quite fascinating) during which point sleep quickly overtook me.

Yesterday I had watched a series of mini videos for taking care of succulents and I was feeling a bit better. I was especially excited about my plan to head to the hardware/garden store after work to look for mini pots to re-pot all my succulents that seem to be dying. As it turns out the succulents in question were gifted to me last Christmas by Walker so I would be super bummed if they died, especially while he's in Africa. So after work I rode to the hardware store and walked outside to the garden area and scanned over the pots at which time the outdoor attendant asked if I was finding everything alright, yes was my response. He then stood around watching me and I assumed he needed something near where I was standing so I moved and he walked to where I had been and awkwardly moved a large potting vase. From there he went and sat down in a chair much closer to me and facing my exact direction. Feeling a bit uncomfortable I walked to another area to take a look at some succulents and he pretty quickly got up and sat in another location very near me and facing me yet again. I was pretty irritated at this point and since I didn't find what I was looking for I left. I nearly asked if his job was to bore a hole in the back of my head with his eyes, because he was doing quite well.

I was pretty close to Walker's apartment where he had left his mail key so I figured I'd stop by and check the mail. Seemed easy enough but his mailbox has a very tricky lock which I could not, even after about 5 minutes, get into. I felt a little like I was trying to break in so I gave up and went home. Hopefully he can e-mail me the trick to opening it.

Once I got home I decided to trim up my succulents in a way that I figured was my last resort. I took them all out of the pot they were in cut off all the dead leaves and roots and I have them all lying on a shelf out of the sun to let the newly cut areas dry before I re-pot them. I'm crossing my fingers this will work.

Once the succulents were taken care of I decided the craft of the night would be a t-shirt rag rug. I thought it would be a better idea to start a new project than to work on one of the many piling up in my newly organized craft closet. Ha Ha. I dug around for a few t-shirts and got to work. It started out a bit rough with all the tangling going on ( I may have cut the fabric the wrong way because it was stretching out way too much) but I managed that and made some progress on the rug.