Cruise Prepping

I went to Ross to buy more capris and dresses to round out the cruise wardrobe. I bought 3 capris pants,a floral camp shirt, a blue polo shirt, a red cotton cardigan sweater, and a dress.

Back home I started trying on outfits. I planned 5 dinner outfits, 7 casual daytime ones and 2 dressy looks for the formal evenings. I decided which shoes I would wear and what sweaters to take. Once this was done I started deciding what needed to be altered. Two of the capris I bought plus one from my stash have to be altered. Also there are two long skirts that have been in my sewing room closet forever. Since they fit now they will be proper cruise wear, all I need to do is raise the hems. I had clothes lying everywhere, but it was organized chaos.

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I finished one pair of capris and the other two are almost done. Here I am modeling the altered pants before and after fixing the hem. I raised the hem about two inches. Looking at the picture now I realize the difference is hardly noticeable. Sometimes I think that maybe I’m too picky. I could have worn them just as they are and no one would have been the wiser. But even though it was a bit of work to cut the hem and reconstruct the vent opening on the side legs, I’m glad I did it. I like the way they look and feel now. I think they are a little better proportioned to my short self .

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I will have to finish all the rest of the alterations during the week. I still need to:

  • Finish the hems on the long skirts.
  • Make about 6 shoe bags
  • Shorten and hem my pink Happy Coloring T-shirt
  • Pack my art supplies.
  • Pack my makeup and jewelry
  • Yikes!

Working on the Pants Stash

Yesterday I worked on finishing the alterations on another pair of black pants from my stash. I have a pile of pants sitting in my sewing room. I seem to have a propensity for buying them, but unfortunately I don’t have the same propensity for fixing them. On these I took a little in at the back of the waistband and raised the hem to my length. Later in the evening I did the hand work on the hems and left them ready to wear to work this morning.

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Speaking of pants alterations.This alteration was easy compared to what I usually have to do. I almost always have to alter the crotch length on store bought pants. I usually remove the waistband and zipper. Once the zipper is removed I can cut down the front. Usually I take off about 1 to 2 inches right at the front crotch length and merge the cut back to the regular length in the back. Next I put the zipper back in and reattach the waistband. The pants always look kind of strange when I’m done with them, with the sloping front but that it the way I’m built and they always fit much better.

With my recent weight loss I have been encouraged to wade into the pants pile to see just what I have accumulated. I was amazed and chagrined to learn that I have about 25 pairs of pants, mostly black, and most with tags still attached. I blush to think of my inattention in mindlessly accumulating and then forgetting them over the years. Especially considering that my working wardrobe is sadly in need of basic black pants. My only excuse it that my dissatisfaction with my weight has kept me unenthusiastic about sewing for myself in general. Hopefully I will be able to maintain the weight loss which in turn will keep me motivated enough to slowly clear my sewing room of the stashed clothes.

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I received the package of workshop materials from Ann Kullberg in the mail today. I will need to pack this along with the rest of the art materials I have collected to take on the cruise. They mailed out the workshop supplies to all the workshop attendees so that they (the workshop organizers) wouldn’t have to haul a humongous amount of supplies on to the ship themselves.

Included in this package were the two cruise related items I ordered from the Ann Kullberg website, a pink T-shirt and a tote bag, both emblazoned with lettering that commemorates the cruise. I’m thinking that the tote bag will be just the thing to carry my workshop supplies. They will be nice keepsakes of the trip.

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Still Losing and Capris

Saturday morning I weighed in at 151.4! I was very pleased to see this and I immediately went to my sewing room to try on different items hanging in the closet there to see if they fit. The most exciting change was to see that I finally fit into two pair of capri style pants that I bought about 5 or 6 summers ago. They are size tens and I think when I bought them they were small but not impossibly so. I probably thought as usual that I would eventually fit into them if I could only lose some pounds. Instead I gained much more and wearing them became just a wishful thought. Now incredibly they fit and the timing is perfect because they will be great cruise wear.

I have some slight alterations to make on them but it should not be a lot of work. I want to take a few inches off the length so they hit just below my knee, just as true capris should. Right now they fall just about mid calf length. I was reading about how capris were first designed and worn and got some good tips on what the proper length and fit should be.

Capri pants were introduced by Emilio Pucci di Barsento in 1949 in his boutique on the Isle of Capri, Italy and the world had to have them. The Isle of Capri was the playground of the rich and famous. Everyone that was anyone started wearing his Capri’s. Not only were Capri’s comfortable, but the worlds most stylish and sexy woman were wearing them. Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, and teen Idols Annette Funicello, and Sandra Dee all had publicity photos taken in Capri’s.

Capri’s were a slim line pant that ended just below the knee most had a small v at the hem so you could move easier

New Year, New Projects

I’m still here, I’ve just been ignoring my sewing blog for a long time. But I’m back with some new projects to work on. Something else new for me is that I’m on the Nutrisystem diet. I started two weeks ago, just after the New Years day and it seems to be going very well. I’m down 5 pounds and my clothes are all fitting better already!

Just in time too because Hubby and I are going on cruise next month and I have to put together a nice cruise wardrobe. I’m thinking of pulling a lot of the clothes I have sitting in my sewing room and fixing it. A lot of this stuff is new, with tags on still. Some of them just need small alterations like lifting hems, shortening sleeves, etc, but most of them are stashed here because they are just a little too small. Now that the weight seems to be coming off, I’ll be able to claim them for use.

It’s a seven day cruise along the Mexican Riviera, so I think most of the clothes should be casual, cool things. There will be two dressy evenings so I have to think about that.

We signed up for this particular cruise because it features 3 color pencil workshops for the three days that the ship spends cruising between ports. One of the workshops is headed by Ann Kullberg. I am subscribed to Ann Kullberg’s online magazine called From My Prospective, and learned about the cruise there. I love Ann Kullberg’s colored pencil work and have been wanting to take one of her workshops for the longest time. We also wanted to take a vacation, so the cruise combined both purposes very nicely.

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Work Wardrobe Update

I’ve been lazy about my work wardrobe and have taken the easy way out by wearing mostly jeans and polo shirts for the last couple of years. Since I work a lot in a clean room environment and have to wear a smock and hat when I’m in there, I can dress as casually as I like. After all, no one knows what’s under the smock. It’s funny, sometimes I’ve worked for months with people in our labs and still don’t recognize them if I run into them outside, without the hat and in their normal clothes.

But then every so often between test phases, we are back to working at our desks and a regular office environment. This last time for me I’ve begun to feel that the jeans should only be for actual work on the test floor. So what better excuse to revamp my wardrobe with some dressier blouses and pants!

I know I should sew everything myself, but realistically with my work schedule, that would take months. So I did the next best thing, I went shopping at Ross and picked up a bunch of blouses. I’m beginning to think that maybe I should have named this blog Mostly Alterations since I don’t know when I’ll have time to sew something from scratch. I am still hopeful that once I work my way through a lot of old stuff clogging up my sewing room I’ll be inspired to start sewing up the new stuff. Anyway, here are my Ross selections and my plans to make them fit better.

This blouse is made from a stretchy polyester and nylon blend. It’s a bit snug which is the main drawback of buying from Ross. Great prices notwithstanding, you’ll be lucky to find multiple sizes in any piece that catches your eye. Most likely what you see is what you get. This size was a medium and my best size would have probably been a large. Still I like the clean lines and unfussy look and which tempted me into buying it. The fact that it has some stretch also influenced me to give it a try.
The only thing I will probably do to this is remove the side sashes that wrap around to tie in the front. If I was a slender young thing I would probably leave them, but as it stands, I don’t need any more details to call attention to my midriff.
This simple blouse with a scooped neck and 3/4 length sleeves caught my eye with it’s pleasing blue colors and lightweight easy care fabric. This one is ready to wear! It’s a rare occasion when I don’t have to do alterations on store bought garments and I’m happy when they really are RTW.
This one is too small too, but I like it! I fell into the “it will fit in 5 lbs.” rationalization again. But it really has deep darts in the back which I will can let out. So hopefully it will be comfortable enough with the fix.
This and the next are my black striped finds. Fortunately they both fit well.
This one, I may shorten just a bit.
This grey T-shirt and next white one are the same brand and style, just different sizes. This is a medium and the white is a large.
As you can see, they grey is tighter, but the sleeve fit okay. This large sized one is probably the best size for me, but the sleeves and the hem are definitely too long. It’ll shorten them eventually.

So the bottom line is that I did score at least four dressier blouses. I’m not counting the T-shirts and the blouse that is too small at the moment. But I can throw out at least four of my old polo shirts in exchange.

Pillows & Stuff

I haven’t been too productive the last few days after work. On Tuesday I did manage to work a little bit in the sewing room. I did the finishing details on the new zipper for my olive capris. These capris have been hanging around my sewing room for years. I bought the zipper long ago and I started installing it a few weeks ago. I also added some material to the waistband since they have always been tight in the waist. I finished everything off finally. I don’t know why I invested so much work on them. They are a little worn out and are not made in the best material or color. I probably should have just thrown them out, but I suppose I just wanted to finish something I started so long ago.

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I also cut the fabric for my little throw pillows for the sofa. They are a very easy design, just simple squares to cover the pillow forms like a closed pillow case. I finished all the raw edges with my serger and sewed them together for a first look at the fit. They were kind of big, so I stopped there. Next time I will just take a little more in the seams and finish them off. No zippers or closures to worry about. I will just whipstitch the opening after stuffing the pillow forms inside.

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I ordered some new shorter legs for my ottoman about a week ago, but I haven’t received a shipping notification yet. I’m beginning to wonder about that order. I should have know that not being charged shipping was too good to be true.

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Later as I read the email verification of my purchase I noticed that they have an unusual policy when it comes to handling the charges. They charge for the merchandise immediately when ordered and then supposedly come back and charge you for the shipping once they know how much it will be. Hmmmm… I should have paid more attention. Now I just hope that the charges that come through for the shipping are reasonable. It seems like a convoluted way to do things.

This is the place I bought them from online.

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Hopefully I’ll hear from them soon.

On a health note, I’ve been eating wisely this week and tonight I did my 45 minutes on the treadmill. I’m proud of myself because it was very warm in the house this evening. We haven’t been turning on the air conditioner lately, just opening the windows when we get home from work and letting the breezes cool everything off slowly. It does take a while to cool off the house though and the only way I managed the treadmill walking was to set up a fan so it was blowing on me the whole time. I really enjoyed the cool shower afterwards.

Ottoman and Pillows for the Sofa

Now that we’re using the sofa more I thought it would be pleasant to have an ottoman too. I toyed with the idea of finding a old ottoman and reupholstering it. This is a great plan but I couldn’t seem to locate any old footstools at any of our local thrift shops. Even a great bargain on ebay for furniture gets eaten away when you have to pay for shipping and handling so I didn’t even look there.

I did come across this one at furniturecentral.com, which was on clearance. It was discounted from $175.99 to $49.00. The clincher was that shipping was only $10. They had an added discount of %20 at the moment which basically took care of the shipping. So my price out the door was about $52.

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As pictured on the website it is a little too tall, but I thought I could replace the legs and that would bring it to the height I needed. I ordered it and it arrived a few days ago. It is just what I wanted!

I have enough of the sofa slipcover fabric to cover it. Making a slipcover for it will be very easy and fun!

I also bought pillow forms and a bright coordinating fabric to make a couple of throw pillows, another easy and fast project that should go quickly!

Catching Up

I had a great time at Moonridge Zoo. We visited the animals, got an autograph from my favorite TV star, and supported a great cause. Here are Marty and I keeping cool under our sun hats.

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But what else have I been doing since then. Well, mostly working it seems and what little free time I have has been diverted recently to my other favorite hobby, art. I have been studying a digital art tutorial CD I bought a few months ago and practicing Photoshop digital painting techniques. I bought the tutorial online at www.digitalarttutorial.com. It’s a series of quicktime movies that take you through the creation of the picture on the cover of the CD. Though its kind of hard to follow at times, I have gotten a lot of valuable tips and techniques out of it. It also assumes you have a good working knowledge of Photoshop.

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Here is my attempt so far at applying the techniques to my own art work. I started with this sketch.

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Then I started picking out sections to fill with a flat color. The colors in the hair are really just place holders, that is why the colors are so bright. I forgot to take a snapshot when I finished all the flat coloring. This shot shows when I started rendering the features of his face.

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The rendering of his face continues with some experiments that change the tint of the skin color. I also change the hue of the hair and darken it to give me a better feel for what the color of the skin should be.

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With more detail on the face it starts to look better but there is still a lot of work to do. That’s where I am right now. It’s slow going but I’m having fun.

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Moonridge Clothes 2

I finished hemming the bermuda shorts today. My work schedule of late has me working in the evenings so I have only a few hours in the morning to sew and tend to all the other daily stuff of life. I cut it pretty close finishing the alterations on my Moonridge outfit since our trip is tomorrow.

Here is a fuzzy picture of me modeling it. The blouse is still a big snug but it is wearable. I like this blouse so much that I’ll just take it as more motivation to keep losing the weight until it fits perfectly.
 
Hmmm….Now I just have to figure out why the camera focused on the mirror and not on my image

Moonridge Clothes

We’re getting ready to go on our yearly trip to Big Bear Lake next Saturday. In preparation I did some shopping at my favorite store, Ross, to look for a few summery items to wear. I found a few things but as usual for me, they need a few adjustments. So now I get to do a few (hopefully quick) alterations to complete my trip wardrobe.

We are going to Moonridge Animal Park in Big Bear so the attire is definitely casual, shorts, cool blouse and sun hat will do. But in the evening we will probably head to a nice restaurant and I wanted something, still cool and casual but a little nicer.

I found the perfect thing at Ross, a pair of long black shorts in a dressy fabric. I guess they could be called bermudas.
Unfortunately with my short legs the shorts look like they were going for capri length and didn’t quite make it. I have to take about two inches off the length to get it above my knee.
Also needing a few tweaks is this cool shell. I loved this blouse the moment I saw it, unfortunately I only found one in size medium. Some mediums fit me, this one was right on the edge. I decided to buy it thinking that hopefully it might fit me soon. I’ve been losing weight ever so slowly, so I have hopes for a lot of slightly small items in my closet, what’s one more.

When I got it home I noticed that by letting out a small bit in the back darts and lowering the points of the front darts I could probably get it to fit well enough for use at Moonridge. I set right to it.