Tuesday, June 12, 2007

in the nick of time

Two blog posts in one day? What is the catalyst for such an event?

I finally figured out how to post a photo to my blog header. See above for proof.

It doesn't matter that the title looks lame. It doesn't matter that I don't have any photoshop skills to speak of to make a better looking header. It doesn't even matter that I don't like this picture any more. All that matters is I finally figured out how to do it. Thank you to random blogger, Ryanne, for making a screencast that was easy to follow.

And it's just in the nick of time because yesterday I was discussing with my husband how I was considering moving over to wordpress.com, just so I could upload a photo to my header easily. I may still move, but I can put it off for a little longer now.

the pelvic educator

A friend called me up this afternoon and said she needed a "kid fix" and wanted to know if I'd like to go to a coffee shop and have some time to myself tonight. What? Are you kidding? Are you sure? Um...YES. So while John went for his weekly pummeling on the basketball court, I had the pleasure of sitting at a Barnes & Noble for ONE WHOLE HOUR. BY MYSELF. Just me and my chai from LatteLand (I like their chai better...and I like to support a locally-owned coffee shop. Yes, I support locally-owned bookstores too, but none of them are open this late on a weeknight). This happens so rarely in my life that I almost suffered from decision paralysis of how to spend my hour. Do I take the new book I recently started? Do I peruse the shelves for a new book that peaks my interest? Do I search out a comfy chair in which to take a nap? I finally decided to pick up a copy of my new favorite magazine and just enjoy reading from cover to cover. It was awesome.

While at B&N, I noticed two things that I thought were slightly ridiculous:
1. A magazine entitled Girlfriend Getaways. Now, I'm all for getaways with your girlfriends. In fact, one of my dearest friends and I have talked frequently about trying to get a trip planned for sometime this year for several of our close girlfriends. However, I am not convinced there needs to be an entire magazine devoted to this endeavor. My prediction: it folds after 3 issues.

2. 2008 planners and calendars are already for sale. In case the folks at B&N didn't notice, we haven't even reached the halfway point of 2007 yet. Seriously, who already needs to know what day June 12th falls on? I can barely get my act together to make plans for next week, much less next year. Although maybe if John and I actually put a vacation on the calendar that far in advance, we might actually take one.

On the way to and from the bookstore, I began listening to a book on tape. I'm pretty sure I've listened to a book on tape one other time in my life. I think it was on a road trip with John to Oklahoma and I'm pretty sure we turned it off after 15 minutes. Too much concentrating for me. However, when I saw Stiff the other day in the library, I quickly nabbed it. It's a book about cadavers, which I have been terribly fascinated with since my days on the cadaver team during my sophomore year in college. I saw this title in the Dusty Bookshelf (my favorite used bookshop) several years ago and immediately wanted to read it. I can't remember why I didn't purchase it that day, but I'm sure it had something to do with promising myself (or my husband) that I would not buy any more books until I read the pile of unread books that was growing taller than my nightstand. Anyway, it doesn't matter because I think I'm enjoying the book so much more listening to it.

For example, the author was talking about the history of physicians practicing surgical techniques and medical examinations on cadavers when she mentioned the pelvic educator. It used to be that residents had to practice pelvic examinations on patients that were under anesthesia for other reasons (i.e. surgery), but now they have women who volunteer to receive examinations and then provide feedback. The author comments that she thinks this qualifies them for sainthood. I trust that they are not volunteers, but get paid a damn fine wage.

Friday, June 08, 2007

two shoes for two minutes of your time

The super-fun and hip folks at farylrobin are giving away 5 pairs of shoes to five lucky women who complete their survey. So, stop what you're doing right now and go try to win yourself a new pair of shoes.

If you're wondering whether you want to take TWO WHOLE MINUTES to try and win a pair of shoes -- YOU DO. Who doesn't want to win a new pair of shoes? Any shoes for that matter, but DEFINITELY a pair of Farylrobins. They are easily my favorite brand of womens shoes we sell at Habitat Shoe Store, and that's saying a lot because I love all our brands. So if the opinion of a shoe store owner is not enough to convince you then check out their new spring/summer collection at the link above. I trust you will find several pairs of shoes you wouldn't mind receiving for free...or might even be willing to buy. If that's the case, I know where you can get a pair or two (or three, or four, or five or six).

Hurry though, you must respond by June 15th.

Monday, June 04, 2007

first attempt

how about this smile mom?

Here's Margot in my first attempt at sewing clothing with a pattern (or sewing clothing without a pattern). I was inspired by Amy; she's made two outfits and a skirt from this pattern. After finding out it was a Sewing Patterns for Dummies pattern, I decided it might be a good place to start since I would definitely fall into the sewing dummy category. The pattern is Simplicity 4206. It was fairly easy, but I did feel like the directions left out a few important details. Here are some things I learned or would suggest:

- Definitely make the shirt longer; probably 1-1.5 inches longer. Amy mentioned this too, but I didn't feel comfortable just making it longer since I'd never sewn from a pattern before. This would be a fairly simple change that I will make if I try this pattern again. I will probably also take an inch or two off each side of the shirt as it seems pretty wide to me. This might be a little more difficult as I'm not sure how taking in the shirt would affect attaching the sleeves.

- I thought the most difficult part was the pockets, which I would not have guessed when I began. Pockets seem easy enough -- it's just a square you sew on, right? Well, it's not that simple. With all that folding over of fabric to get the finished look, the fabric starts to get thick at the corners, which then makes it difficult to sew on without looking all wonky. After attaching the first one, I looked up how to attach pockets in this trusty companion (a book I picked up because so many different craft bloggers recommended it) and it talked about the need to miter corners to reduce bulk. Funny that the Sewing Patterns for Dummies directions didn't mention anything about the need to reduce bulk or mitering corners. I think they decided to conveniently skip that stuff because mitering doesn't sound like something that falls into the dummy category. They don't tell you though that by following their over-simplified directions, it will be close to impossible to make your finished pocket look good.

- My next least favorite part was the casings for the elastic for the neckline, sleeves and waistline. All that folding over, and ironing, and pinning (sometimes) of 1/4" of fabric. Man, that stuff is for the birds. I can't believe I don't have more burn marks on my fingers.

- Linen is harder to work with than cotton. It doesn't iron up as easily (which makes all those casings and hemming that much harder) and it's more stretchy (which can mean problems if you pull your fabric too taught b/c it gets all out-of-shape).

- Making this outfit gave me a much greater appreciation for clothes in general and how much work goes into sewing something together. I realize the folks that sew clothing in factories have amazing machinery and can sew a lot faster than I can, but I still couldn't help but wonder at the details on most of my clothing that is much more difficult than the casings for elastic that were giving me fits at times.

All in all, I'm very pleased with the finished product (especially at the fact that I finished this in 1 week!). I love the fabric -- an Amy Butler print from her newest line and some linen that I thought matched perfectly. I would definitely recommend this pattern to even the most novice sewer. Up next: the super-simple smock dress (says Hannah). We'll see.