Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review

Click to visit Gillian's/Crafting a Rainbow 2015 Top 5 Round-Up Post

Warning: VERY photo-intensive post. I'm doing a huge photo dump here of my last year since my blogging pretty much went south and unless you follow me on Instagram, this will all be new to you. I understand that not everyone is going to be interested in my mundane, boring year but I'm documenting it as much for my own recollection as to catch you up. Feel free to scroll down and move on. I won't be insulted :-)

All in all 2015 wasn't terrible and overall better than 2014. But it started out crappy because the house in the city I started renting in April 2014 turned out to have a major slumlord as an owner and I hated everything about it. I've never lived in such a horrible place and it really took a toll on me. (First world problems, I know.) But once I found a new place, moved, and (mostly) settled in, my mental state did a 180 and things have been rolling along ever since. (I'm still in the city, with a 7-minute morning commute. It's awesome!) Even the sewjo has returned and now that the holidays and my related travels are pretty much in the rear view, I expect some serious output to start happening. If for no other reason than I NEED NEW CLOTHES.

So here's some "highlights" of my last year, sewing- and family-wise, at least those moments documented via cell pics.

I think this is the first thing I started and finished in 2015. I still wear it (which you'll see below in the December pics).

My "baby" Alex turning into a man.

A visit to The Tattooed Moose and the Marine in Charleston, SC.

At the bar at Parris Island. Quite a different experience from boot camp there.

And then I wrecked my car on the drive back to Florida. No injuries and the car is now good as new. The damage was mostly plastic and the radiator and looks worse here than the bill reflected. Thank heaven.

Seeing the Blue Angels practice over Beaufort, SC on my trip back to pick up my fixed car.

Another sewing project. I wear the HECK out of this. It's comfortable, flattering, and professional looking. It's the Muse Jenna cardi over a Simplicity pull-on tank dress with an elasticated waist. I'm too lazy to look up the pattern number.

A work bathroom selfie and another Simplicity dress and I'm still too lazy to look it up. It's the faux wrap that was popular a few years ago, which took me a while to get around to.

One of the MANY reasons I moved house. Yeah, it's what you think it is. OMG.

A long weekend get-away to the beach with Alex, his then-gf, and the pups. Much needed.

Just sitting and chillin' at our fun little rental cottage.

Isn't it cute? We could walk everywhere, and did.

A quick maxi tank dress I made for the beach trip and which subsequently got a lot of wear over the summer. I think this is the last of the cheap rayon knit from

A rare (for me) blogger meet-up. Mr. Celie's Pants was there too but he was holding the camera. This was so much fun and I'm glad Renee and Jordan have an excuse (her dad) to return sometime. I want a repeat. They are SO nice!

Still enjoying my job and still very thankful to have it.

We "found" pup #3, Charlie, in July, the week before we moved. He's a Chi-Weenie and is adorable. I still can't believe I have 3 dogs again. Alex is a mean negotiator and it's all his fault. And they all love him more than me.WTF

The herd.

The new place, as of July. It's a lot smaller than my previous houses and I've had to get rid of a LOT of stuff, but I'm of that "downsize" age anyway and it's nice to not be tied to housework and ... stuff. Plus, it's so bright and pretty inside and I'm happy.

The new small sewing room. It's mostly unpacked now but it's very small and my cutting table lives in another room and my pattern cabinet and much of my fabric live in the garage. I'm slowly moving some of the best stash inside and will eventually get rid of the unloved remainder but for now, it's working.

New kitchen before we hung shelves.

The Great Tampa Flood. That's my street.

We spent a lot of time (and cash) at Ikea those first couple of months after moving in. That's Alex pushing the cart in the warehouse.

I bought Alex a new BBQ/smoker he had been eyeing and he's been perfecting his wings and ribs since. We've had delicious food pretty much every weekend since football season started. Momma knew what she was doing buying that BBQ.  ;-)

In November, we saw America at the 2015 Ribfest in St. Pete. A bunch of "old" people my age (hahaha) enjoying them and the Doobie Bros and Santana tribute bands. It was a great day with great music, but Alex makes much better ribs.

A treat for myself (and Alex) from Black Friday and the proceeds from selling so much of my crap that didn't fit in the new house. (Have you noticed how bright every pic of my new house is? Sigh.)

The Cook men, minus Alex who stayed home with the pups, from when I went to see Tyler's performance 2 weeks ago in a church Christmas production in SC. This was the first time seeing my ex in 4 years. It was ... interesting. We all just ignored him and had a good time. I'm not kidding. Hahaha.

Tyler at church practice the night before the Big Performance.

And the church band performing "Carol of the Bells," which you'll recognize as a Trans Siberian Orchestra tune. They rocked it, and the rest of their performance!

The infinity scarf I made (on request) for my soon-to-be stepdaughter-in-law. While in SC two weeks ago, my stepson Michael asked for this and also for my help in picking out an engagement ring!!! for his gf (and the mother of his son, which makes me a step-grammie OMG).

Here's me with the "boys" on Christmas Eve in St. Augustine ... it was about 400 degrees that night, so we felt as blurry as we look here ... and ...

... Michael proposed to Hannah (see her scarf heehee!) ...

... and Tyler filmed it all (bad language warning if you watch it).

Michael and Hannah's son, Dean, who will be 1 in January.

And, finally, the sewing project (Cashmerette Appleton) I started at the beginning of the month and which I WILL finish this weekend.

Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Enter Stage Right

Yep, I'm back. I didn't think I'd be neglecting my blog for so long but I'm finally sewing again and so I should be more regular here now. I feel like I have lots to catch you up on and I will over the next few posts or so. But for now, I'm just going to talk about the first finished sewing project to come off my machines in close to (if not over) a year. Although time has flown, I still can't believe it's been that long. And boy do I NEED clothes.

Here's McCall's 7254, one of the newer releases. Although I've been off-blog, I've still been buying patterns. :-) I cut out and started sewing it this past Saturday and finished on Sunday. It's a very quick sew and I can see adding at least one more to my wardrobe soon. I sewed a blend between the L and XL (the only two sizes in this envelope) and made no other alterations, and the only thing I'd change for a next time is to narrow the shoulders a bit. So nice to have a Win after such a long absence.

I sewed View C, which is the view on the left in the second row below. The instructions call for interfacing one layer of the all-in-one collar/front panel/peplum. I didn't for two reasons. First, LAZY. And second, it's a casual, unstructured knit jacket and I thought interfacing only one side of the panel would do weird things to the hand/drape of the knit. This was confirmed when I read some reviews, so I'm glad I left it off. My finished jacket hangs nicely and I'm not missing the interfacing at all.

Here's a shot of the inside. Seeing this, I'm thinking that with the right combo of two-sided fabrics, it could easily be reversible. My fabric came from Fabric Mart last year-ish and is not reversible. It's a textured knit which I think is part cotton, part synthetic. I had a near-disaster with the iron but luckily it was on the inside of the two-sided facing and doesn't show. Whew!

And the back.

I edgestitched the entire collar/facing/peplum piece and also the princess seams to hold the two-sided panel together better and to set off the seams (which shows more in real life than here in pics). The instructions don't mention either of these steps, but I would recommend at least edgestitching the collar/facing piece so it doesn't roll outward.

Here's a quick nighttime shot of where my machines are set up. Lots of windows in here but not enough room for a cutting table or fabric and pattern stash so I've had to spread out into other rooms and my pattern cabinet and most of my fabric currently live in the garage. It's still a work in progress but I'm slowly getting there. I'm hoping to get a good portion of my fabric into the house but I need to do some rearranging of armoires/shelving first.

Up next is the new Cashmerette Appleton dress. I was supposed to test this before its release but my lifestuff interfered. Jenny was very nice to send me a pattern (and fabric kit) anyway. I finished cutting it out tonight and hope to start sewing it tomorrow night. Stay tuned for a review on it soon.

After the dress, I'm wanting to make a long-ish black skirt. Once that's done, I'll pair it with the jacket and take some photos of me in everything.

Thanks to those who sent notes of concern and search parties. I'm doing great and happy to know you're still out there. I'll see you again here very soon!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Is this thing on?

I'm still here. I still haven't sewn a thing. Unless you count repair work on Mr. T-Rex. While this little video was all over the internet recently, the actual costume was balled up in my sewing "nook" (not quite a room yet) needing an armpit and shoulder re-sewn. It seems those little T-Rex arms truly are not meant for Ninja-ing. But they're good for at least one more stint now.

For long-time readers, the human behind the T-Rex Ninja is the same young man (Tyler's friend Reko) for whom I made the Renaissance Faire costume a few years ago. If you watch American Ninja Warrior, he's also the fire-breathing, mohawked, caped Ninja seen here:

In quasi-sewing news, I'm nearing the end of the moving-in/unpacking phase (OMG finally!) and this is now on its way to me. Sewing will commence soon-ish. And regular blogging at some point after that. I'm really Jonesin' and I really, REALLY need new clothes!!

I'm loving my new place, and the pain and sheer crappiness of yet another move this past July is finally starting to fade in the rear view. But it was totally worth it. The new house is so bright and cheerful and my whole mood has been brighter and more cheerful to match. I totally get how a doomy/gloomy environment can wreak havoc with one's mental health.

Anyway, I just wanted to stop and say hey. Hey!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New House New Dog

We made it! Still lots to unpack but we're here and I couldn't be happier. The new house is 100+ years old but brand new on the inside and very bright and cheerful. I've already met 3 neighbors and really like the feel of our new block. My commute to work is about 6 minutes so no complaints there either.

In other news, we're now a 3-dog family again. Alex convinced me to adopt a stray Chiweenie one of his friends took in. Charlie is his name and he's quite the cutie.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Missing In Action

I'm still alive but haven't sewn anything but wadders in months and thus the blog has languished. And now my sewing machines, fabric, and entire sewing room are boxed up because I'm moving house next Saturday.

I wish I didn't have to move but my current house is disgusting and my landlord is a pig. And that's being generous. Being in such a depressing environment has definitely zapped the sewjo.

But the home situation will soon be looking up. I've spent a lot of time searching for a nicer place in the same general area close to downtown Tampa and I finally found one a few weeks ago. It's a lot smaller and I won't have a dedicated sewing room right away but until Alex moves out on his own, I'll take over one of the formal rooms and we'll make it work. (It's not like we're hosting formal dinners these days.)

I'm also looking forward to lower rent for a nicer place and a cute back yard for the pups. By now I'm used to walking them at 6 am before work but it will be nice not to have to on rainy mornings.
The rest of my life is good. The job is still going well. I really enjoy my workgroup. My best friend moved back to the area a few months ago and I love having her nearby again. I can't wait to have her over to my new place.

And I can't wait to be sewing again because you know just as soon as you pack up the stash, the urge to serge (hah!) comes roaring back.

See you at some point on the flip side, and sooner on Instagram.

(Posted by phone so please ignore any formatting issues.)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


No, not me. I'm still an absent blogger.

But I did want to mention that the missing tutorials, etc. are back. I think I've fixed everything but if you find a missing image, link, whatever, please do let me know so I can fix it.

I really haven't been sewing much. OK, at all. Although I did start a project this past Sunday. We'll see how that goes. I also may have signed up for Netflix and binge-watched Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards. I'm hoping now that the seasons have changed my sewjo will come back around.

In the meantime, the biggest “news” is that while on my way back from my visit to see the Marine in SC two weekends ago, I hit a really big something on the Interstate (I'm thinking piece of semi truck tire but it was dark and rainy so who really knows) and wrecked my car. The wreck wasn't too bad, as far as direct front-end collisions go. No one was hurt at all, and I was still close enough to Tyler that I got two more days' visit out of it while my car made its way to the body shop and adjuster. But it had to stay in SC for repairs and I had to get back to Florida to work.

My car is fixed (yay! I miss it very much and while it's good I have a rental, said rental is craptastic) so I'm heading back to SC after work tomorrow for a post-midnight arrival. Tyler and I will meet up again for a Thursday-Friday visit and then I'll head home sometime Friday afternoon. I kind of want to drive back in daylight this time, just in case. There's a Blue Angels airshow at his base this weekend, which would be fun to see, but it means there are no hotel rooms to be had so staying through the weekend isn't an option. Plus, we may be kind of sick of each other by this point. Hahaha. Just kidding. I love you Tyler.

Up until the wreck, the visit to SC was fun. We went to Charleston, stayed in a fancy hotel, ate lots, drank more, and shopped a little. I did my first Uber trips around Charleston.

We visited boot camp at Parris Island which is just 10 minutes away from Tyler's base. That was fun for both of us. If you're a long-time reader, you may remember that I was sick as a dog when Tyler graduated boot camp 4+ years ago so my memory of that first visit was very fuzzy. And now that he's a sergeant, most of the Drill Instructors don't even outrank him so he strutted around this time like ... well.  a sergeant. Hah. Perspective is everything.

We even got to see the Marine Corps Band and Silent Drill Platoon back in Beaufort (Tyler's base). We still don't know why they were there, but they were and we had seats. OoRah!