Friday, July 23, 2010

Painting Day 3 and 4

Today we completed our goal of having 2/3's of the painting job done. It took every extra bit of our time, we still need another gallon of paint and the baseboard trim, but it should really look nice when it's all done. I think another week should do it.

Here are some pics of what DS#2 and I have accomplished over the past 4 days.

Near our front door. I have to keep a piece of cardboard on the bottom of the wall until we get new trim. The drywall doesn't extend right down to the floor, and Jake is WAY too much interested in that hole!

Looking down the hall. I still need trim for the walls and ceiling of the entryway to the hall where the chair rail ends. The hall needs another coat, then sponge painting with the glaze.

The other main wall. I couldn't put up my main pic collage on the wall because the glass broke. Darn it! It's always something.


I really like the changes. What you don't see yet is the window wall. The paint, sofa, and loveseat match the draperies nicely since they are a wine/green color scheme print.

Time to go. We're under a tornado watch and we're all beat.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Painting Day 2

Every spare minute today was spent painting. Football camp ended early because of storms, I hurried at the gym to finish my workout, and the rest was with a paintbrush or roller in hand.
Here's the update...
DS#2 painting the chair rail.
Working ont the first wall:

Almost ready for sponge painting on the lighter part:

We almost finished the wall below but were too pooped to finish. I wanted to work with my sponge and glaze but know better than to do at at 11:30 pm. We're off to bed.


Tomorrow we will try to get baseboard trim at the lumberyard. We'll need to paint that, pry off the old, and nail in the new.

This is for Kim: Oh Kim...no one has ever complimented me on my home dec skills or lack thereof LOL. My sister inherited my gene in addition to hers and that's why she's worked in the Interior Decorating business for the past 15-20 years. All I know is, the color matches my living room carpet, it will be much different from what I've lived with the past 22 years, and I'll like it even if no one else does ;) . I remember the time my MIL told me she was painting her walls a peach color, and I was thinking, "Peach?!?!" But it looked great! She had a teal carpet and the color combo blended so well together. So much for my thoughts! All I know is I need some color in my house, and color I will get :) . I think tomorrow we'll have one wall finished with the glaze and chair rail so that will be a good preview of the overall look of the room.

Connie, I will be more than happy to send my son over. He would love to go on a Canadian vacation and might find farm life a lot of fun. He'll paint and do the manly stuff. He loves it. However, he needs to mow the lawn first ;) .

Thanks for the comments, everyone. It's keeping me going with my paint job until it's finished. I'm motivated to see it done!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interruption of Regular Scheduled Programming

For years I've been saying I need to paint my living room. The walls are horrible. The trim is just as horrible. Home dec has been sorely neglected since my kids took up so much of my time. So I was given a golden opportunity this week and said to DS#2, "Hey! How about we paint the walls this week???" He loved the idea since he loves working on home improvement stuff much like his Grandpa.

So, instead of working on my swimsuit, we went to Lowes today and picked out some paint. Then we went to the local lumber yard and picked out chair railing and new baseboard moulding at a fraction of the price Lowe's was chargin for it. My hardest worker is shown below working on our endeavor.

Tomorrow morning right after breakfast, he is applying the first coat of paint to the chair rails. I'll tape the chair rail line and paper below it while he's working on that so we can paint the upper portion of the walls when he's done. I spackled little divots and nail holes here and there during pre-painting prep, and tomorrow we'll pick up the moulding. Um...yes, I did wash the walls. The "dirty" area is from many years of little hands just above the couch line or when it was used as a play area for the kids. There's even an area near my front door that looks the same because of all four kids having used it as a timeout corner. I can super wash those areas and the darkness will never come out unless it's painted.

I'm using a lighter shade above the chair rail and will sponge the darker color on it. I hope it looks nice. Can't wait till DH and DD#2 see it! Here's to hoping it goes nicely with the new draperies I made and the slipcovers I purchased from Overstock.com. I was going to make the slipcovers but couldn't beat the price of the covers which were way cheaper than the material.

Painting this room has been on my New Year's Resolution list for the past 4 years! This is the year that it will actually happen, not just talk about it or wish it would happen all by itself.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Swimsuit: Round 2

Here's where I am on Round 2 of my swimsuit. Round 1 was last year when I did the muslin and halfway finished the "wearable" second try. Don't think I'll actually wear my second try, and it might be destined to become a second muslin. However, I'm learning much from my swimsuit attempts and will get it right. This is new territory for me, just like making bras and panties.

Here is the muslin I created in the Summer of 2009. It ended up being obscenely low cut in the front when worn. Totally NOT wearable. I made the appropriate alteration by raising the neckline. Black elastic would have been better too.

Below is the swimsuit I originally intended as wearable (no elastic inserted into the openings yet). I learned a few things along the way while making this second one. I drafted my own bra lining. Um, let's just say I alotted for length and width but no depth LOL. The lining was too short. I cut a second lining. Again, it could have been even longer because of the shape of the bra cups. Another thing about bra cups. The U-shaped ones that are inserted like an upside-down U into the lining are shapeless. Let's just say I was wondering where my C-cups went LOL. Luckily, I bought three pairs of nice, padded swimsuit bra cups along with the generic ones last summer. Guess which ones I will be using from now on.

Also, I bought swimsuit elastic for the openings and also used it at the bottom of the bra lining. This does NOT work for me. It's just too darn stretchy and narrow. Really, do I want what I've got to fall below the bra shelf elastic??? Yes, it's that flimsy for a bra lining. Fine for other areas of the garment though. Check out a quality swimsuit or a tank with a built in bra shelf and you'll know what I mean. The elastic is about 1" in width. Same with sports bra elastics that go around the torso--about 1". I'm just going to use good quality 1" elastic for the bra lining bottom edge. It's not like I'm going to be swimming all the time in my swimsuit 'cuz I don't love to swim. The swimsuit will see minimal water wear.

Also, I nixed the high cut legs. I took a really good look in the mirror today, a REALLY good one! It was a day of reckoning for me. Nix the high-cut legs! Once upon a time I could do high cut well. My figure is still good, but it's not *that* good. The moderate leg openings will look better. Also, I'm still tweaking the bum coverage.

So back to the drawing board so to speak. I made more alterations to my swimsuit pattern. Raised the neckline even higher to accommodate the shaped bra cups better, redrafted the lining yet again, and gave the leg openings a more modest look. Here's the pattern so far:

Last but not least, here's the KS pattern I'm using and a Threads mag as a reference. Very typical for me, the KS pattern ran HUGE when using the measurements closest to my own. I had to alter from the M down to a S or XS in certain places. I know some people love KS for fit, but not me. The KS patterns always run so darn big on me.

That's it for now. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have something to show for my effort. The second "wearable" one will likely end up unwearable. I can't get past my mirror experience today with the high-cut leg openings 'cuz I'm not 23 anymore.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Swimsuit (UFO) Update

Sorry, again no pics. But I pulled out my swimsuit UFO from last year. I did a muslin, then was working on the real deal. Tried it on today, but the bra lining wasn't long enough. Last year, I must have accounted for length and width when creating the bra lining piece, but the depth issue eluded me. I seam ripped out the basted bra lining, recut a new piece with the bra cups adding a bit more length, and will try it on once DD#2 gets out of my bathroom.

DD#2 needed a new swimsuit because she's going to beach for a softball tournament soon. Most clearance priced bathing suits were at least $40! What a ripoff. Isn't it wonderful we sew!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Public Service Announcement: No More Acne!

For the past 3 or 4 months, I've been looking in the mirror every morning very pleased with what I see. Or actually, what I DON'T see LOL.

Someone once asked me when I find the solution for adult acne to share my secret. I don't profess to know any sure solution, but what has worked for me has been nothing short of amazing. My adult acne has cleared up 95%.

Here's the story in brief:

Last Fall the personal trainer and I worked together to make slight tweaks in my exercise program. It was the yearly complimentary "birthday" session that my gym gives to its members. While going over my program, the trainer asked me about my eating plan which he was very pleased with, but not at all pleased with what I drink. About 2 cups of half-caff coffee a day, and about one diet soda/day. He wanted me to drink lots more water, get rid of the soda and coffee, but I thought I'd float away with tons of water and spend a lot of time in the ladies' room. I told him, "This is my once vice. I can't kick it." He commented that after 40, we start to dry up and shrivel up.

After my car accident in January I was plagued with post-concussion syndrome headaches also related to severe whiplash. In March, my chiro asked me if I was getting enough fluids. I said, "Sure!" and proceeded to tell her what I told the trainer. She issued me a challenge. Rid yourself of diet soda and the artificial sweeteners. At that point I had also lost all my taste for coffee due to the accident, along with artifically sweetened bottle waters, and bagels with cream cheese. Yeah, very weird.

I told her I didn't think I could do it--was a VERY tall order. She said to try it for a week. And here it is 4 months later and I've been diet soda, artificial sweetener, and caffeine free for that long. It's hard. Very hard. I still crave soda and think I always will. But now I drink tons of water. My taste for coffee has come back about 60% but I only drink decaf now. My sweetener of choice is Stevia. Not Splenda, not Nutrasweet.

No, I still have headaches that are minimal now. They didn't magically go away because of the challenge. But what DID happen is my skin has turned amazingly clear!!! Rarely is cystic acne a problem now, and it is a rare day that I have a zit. And they're not ugly ones either. My skin has cleared up 95%, and it's like nothing short of a miracle.

I'm still taking Retin-A. That's what my dermatologist prescribed to help reduce the acne, but it never worked as well as avoiding what's listed above. Still take Finacea for mild rosacea. But nothing has given me the beautiful, clear skin I currently have.

Just posting this because either caffeine, artificial sweeteners, or both appear to be the prime culprit(s) for my adult acne problem. Avoiding them has given me almost miraculously clear skin. For the first time since I was 12, I've had the longest time period of almost zit-free skin. If this can help someone else, it's worth posting.

Obviously, this won't solve the problem for everyone, but if it helps even just one person, then I'm happy. Excuse me while I take a swig of my water...

A New Summer Dress!

I finished my halter dress and am fairly pleased with it. Pics maybe today or tomorrow. I cannot find my one-and-only halter bra and am cranky about it so that puts me in a little pickle. Can't wear the dress without that bra so I will need to go on a hunting expedition today.

My only issue is that it turned out to not be as long as I wanted it to be. In fact, I left this ITY type of knit unhemmed and the edge was cut with my rotary cutter so it's not going to matter. IF I had my new serger, I would have just done a rolled hem on the edge, but a clean-cut, unfinished edge is similar to some RTW hems I've seen as of late.

Today highs are in the low 90's. I think I'll get out my bathing suit UFO from last year. Of course, I'd like to make an LBD and enter it into this year's local fair. Maybe enter both? We'll see. My lingerie set is a fine piece of work, and I'd like to enter that too, but it might be a little "racy" for the judges? I don't know. We'll see...

Pics are coming in a couple of days...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Progress on the Halter Dress

Progress is being made on my Amy Butler halter dress. These are pics from last night.
The front top and front skirt:

The back. No zipper as called for in the pattern because I'm using a very nice knit with good stretch. I did run clear elastic in a casing on the upper back edge to prevent "loose droop". I did this on my previous halter top from this pattern--a necessity IMO. Even with altering the back to fit, I think it still needs some elastic snugness to look and feel just right.

Here's a closeup of the edgestitching on the front. The knit won't hold a press well, so this stitching was a must.

I did get an hour's worth of time to work on it this afternoon. Right now I'm tweaking the side seams and may pull up more elastic on the upper back edge. It's pretty close to done, and I think I'm liking it. Don't know for sure because DD#2 backed up into my full length mirror and it cracked it several places. Gee...it was just months old! Not have a full-length mirror for sewing is the pits.

I'll leave you with pics of our sleeping beauty--Jake. He falls asleep in strange positions and has the neck thing going on in each one. Either falling off the edge or hanging down from his tube on his tree. His first birthday is quickly approaching, and we're planning a little party for him :) . Cake, special cat treats and cat toys.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Marriage of Pattern and Fabric

Yesterday I posted about my lack of sewing due to not knowing what to make with the fabric in my stash. But with these horribly hot temps in the NE, I have decided I need a halter dress! I'm going to take my already-altered Amy Butler Cabo Halter top and convert into a dress. The fabric I've chosen is the purple/cream/brown paisley print knit purchased a few years ago from Metro Textiles during a PR NYC Weekend.



Yes, the halter is for a woven, but I altered this pattern to work with both fabrics. The dress will be long, but not maxi length, and lean with a side slit. At least that was my original thought. It is possible to go with an A-line, but still leaning toward the long, lean look with this. Most halter dress styles I see have fuller skirts, however, my brain is geared toward a different look with the halter style.

Any input would be appreciated!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What to do next???

That question pretty much sums up my sewing the last month! I have a nice fabric stash and need to use some of it, but what to make??? That is the question.

Right as I typed this blog post title, I was hit with the notion of making a halter dress. It's probably because there was a lovely pic of Drew Barrymore in a summer frock with pretty heels in some newspaper, maybe a recent edition of one of the NY ones? So I've decided I want a nice summer dress. It's going to be a knit because I have a paisley print that's a possibility in my stash.

I'll try to run it by my Internet audience tomorrow. When I do, please tell me what you think about the style/fabric combo.

Of course, my bathing suit is currently a 14-month UFO! You'd think I'd want to work on that, especially when tomorrow might be the hottest day of the year with temps approaching 100 degrees!