Monday, June 28, 2010

True Love

No, not the July issue of Burda, but my dear, sweet husband. We were running what seemed like a million errands today, and stopped home briefly.  When he grabbed the mail, and saw the July Burda, Mr. Wonderful snuck it next to my seat in the car.  As we left the house again, I saw it and smiled.  Big Time.
Isn't that sweet? I'm sure he'd rather me talk him up during the trip, but knows how excited I get when the new issue arrives.  I really am a lucky lady to have such a sweet and thoughtful guy...

This issue screams "Summertime!" and there are too many favorites to mention.  I love the cover dress (117), dress 124 is so sweet with a vintage vibe, and and the other knit dress with the ruching (111c).  The top version is also very cute (111b), as is top (114).  The leather jacket (118) is a dream, while the kids summer pieces are adorable.  I really think this issue is one of my all-time Burda favorites since I started subscribing (2 years ago).  I wish I could link you to all these, but the new Burda website is totally making me frustrated.  How do you say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" in German???

Meanwhile, I've been sewing odds and ends.  35 neck coolers for soldiers got done last Friday (tutorial coming), and my sister's swimsuit got altered, I'm nearly done with another knit border print dress for a secretary at school, and that leaves me the purple taffeta dress for the Queen of the Highlands and a tankini swimsuit for a co-worker.  Oh, did I mention hosting a birthday party this week for Little Miss Princess and her pals? Yeah, my cup overfloweth...

Love to all,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Official... Summer has Arrived!!!

The classroom is cleaned out, the grades are complete.  The pool is open, and the summer is off to a great start!  Now if I could just find some time to sew...

That my sound weird, that summer has started, but I'm too busy to sew, but it's true! The last week has been filled with a golf outing, a staff retirement party, a Sheryl Crow concert, and a camping trip.

Yes, those are our kayaks, we've found another hobby.  This is the Pinnebog River, which empties into Lake Huron at the "Tip of the Thumb" of Michigan.  Love it there...
So, today (after I make a few phone calls) will find me in the sewing studio.  I've got a skirt to finish for tonight's "Date Night" with DH, and a sundress for a former student.  This is a funny story...

Her mom entered her in a "Scholarship Program", but didn't tell her it was a beauty pageant for the Scottish Society.  When her application was approved and she made it to the "pageant round", M found out about the "interview portion" of the process!  Let me tell you about M... she's not a pageant girl.  She's beautiful, funny, smart, mature, bright, responsible, and a natural born leader.  I was not at all surprised that she won the scholarship and is now "Queen of the Highlands".  Her Royal Highness is now obligated to appear at summer fairs and parades, while wearing a tartan sash and tiara.  With the heat of summer (and the wool of the sash), she needs a lightweight purple dress for her "public appearances", so that's where I come in.  It will be pretty fast, since she picked the same pattern we used for her Homecoming dress, just shorter.  I'll have that posted in a few days.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting with my school sewing volunteers to make the "neck coolers".  I have to head to JA's and get the cotton, so I'd better run.  See you in a few days! Hope you're all staying cool and are safe.  There are some crazy storms rolling across the country these days...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mini Me and Swimsuit #1

I *love* me a mini-skirt...
I made this using the ever popular Burda skirt #104a   from the Feb. 2010 issue, and a yard of stretch cotton from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It's sold out, sorry you missed it! Doesn't it just scream "SUMMERTIME"!?!?
Super easy pattern, I've got another in the works and this will definitely become a TNT skirt pattern for me.  Center back (invisible) zipper, and basic pockets.  You can't go wrong with this pattern, all year long!
And here's my first swimsuit ever! Little Miss Princess is my guinea pig, and doesn't mind one bit! She's thrilled with the suit, and it was so easy!  The 1 yard that I bought from was more than enough for 2 suits! I lined the entire thing using white swimwear spandex from Joann's, and got the elastic and closure from SewSassy.  The next one I make I will probably do a smidge different (the bottoms are a tiny bit too high-waisted and keep rolling over), but for the most part, I'm really, really happy with it! The top is from KwikSew 2700 and the bottoms are from Jalie 2447.
If you've never done swimwear, you must give it a shot.  The fit is taken care of my the stretch fabric and the elastic (for the most part), and you only need a simple zig-zag stitch!  She's worn it twice already and is asking for another!
I have some "paying" jobs to take care of next: a knit dress, a cocktail dress, and some embroidery orders.  It's also the the last week of school, so my plate is pretty full!  I doubt that I'll have time to update you this week, so I'll just tell you the good news now: another 1.5 lbs gone, so I'm down to 18 lbs lost since Easter! Just 7 more to get to my goal weight, and I doubt that it'll happen by the 4th of July, but I know I'll get there soon.  Besides, I feel so great (and am absolutely thrilled with my new size), I feel like I've already won the battle!

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Easy Sewing for U.S. Soldiers

Amidst the million other projects I have planned, an email came to me yesterday from a co-worker that caused me to re-adjust my sewing priorities.

A group of students in my school recently did a donation drive to fill care packages for soldiers, which were wonderfully received in Iraq by a local unit from Michigan.  The woman that makes this all happen runs an organization called "Desert Angels", and she got a "Thank You" for the packages and a request for "neck coolers".  She emailed my co-worker (who organized the donation drive) looking home sewers that might be able to make them, and that's where I came into the picture.
I did a little research and found out that these much sought-after and highly appreciated "neck coolers" are thin cotton tubular scarves that are soaked in water and keep the soldiers cool in the extreme temperatures of the desert.  They contain a small amount (2 tsp.) of special absorbent beads that slowly release the water and keep the neck cool.  The scarves are "rechargeable" and can be rewet over and over again, and each only calls for 4" of 45" wide fabric.  I ordered the smallest bag of beads from the microsorb website, which is 2 lbs and is enough to make 100 cool ties ($19.95 including s/h).  The website also shows how to use the beads to make other helpful cooling items like vests and helmet coolers, and includes links on how to get connected with making donations.

The directions for construction were emailed to me from the Desert Angels, and are a little different from the microsorb website (easier, IMO).  I plan on using either muslin or tan/olive cotton, and I talked to the "home ec" teachers I work with, and they really want to participate (and do this as a student project next year!).  So, here are the links for the instructions that I received from Desert Angels (made by the Ortonville MI Sewing Group), but there are a number of others you can find online by Googling "neck coolers".
Page 1, Page 2, Page 3, Page 4, Care Labels to attach when finished.

I thought some of you might be interested in making some and sending them to our troops, so I'm sharing my information.  I will let you know how our "sewing session" goes, which is planned for June 25!  With a few sewing machines going and others helping cut and iron, we should have 100 made in no time at all!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Weight GAIN Wednesday

Yes, you read that correctly. The scale moved in the wrong direction this week, but it's really no surprise to me.  Not only have I had a lot of trouble making time to exercise with all the "end of the school year" craziness, but our camping trip made for a dieting challenge, too.

While we were smart to pack chicken breasts to grill, and healthy snacks like yogurt, bananas, and granola bars, there is just something about sitting around the camper that makes you want to eat.  At the campfire I had a couple of smores (but drank absolutely no alcohol), and at the beach I managed to stay away from the giant bag of Doritos.  For lunch we grilled fat free hot dogs (I skipped the buns) and munched on baked chips and salsa (that counts as serving of veggies, doesn't it?), but it was really hard not to eat for no reason other than to pass the time.  I'm still "soda pop free" since February, so I only drank water, but I didn't exercise the way I wanted to either.  I was planning on doing some great early morning running, but it was cold and wet, and I'll admit, that's a pretty lame excuse.

Live and learn, right?  Next time, I know what to do differently.  I'll pre-cut and pack bags of carrots, celery, cucumbers, and green peppers, so that when the boredom munchies strike, I'll be prepared with a healthy, low-calorie option.  I will bring along my iPod and make time for a run before I allow myself to hit the beach.  We also learned how to kayak this trip, so there's another exercise alternative.  As for the smores... well, it's camping, and that's just part of the fun!

So, I have major grocery shopping to do today (the cupboards are truly bare!) and I will get on the treadmill this afternoon. My running buddy has been out of town, but she's back now, so that will help a lot.  Friends from work are planning a bike ride Friday, so I'm looking forward to that, too.  So I WILL see you next week with a return to "Weight LOSS Wednesday"!!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What a Weekend!!!

No sewing went on, but it was still a wonderful weekend!  We took our camper "up north" to the tip of the thumb area here in Michigan.  While the weather wasn't totally cooperative (rain Friday night and Saturday night), it was a gorgeous day on Saturday!  There was just a small sand dune between our camper and Lake Huron...
DH and I learned how to kayak, while the in-laws watched the kids at their camper.  Then we all headed to the beach to build sandcastles, find shells, and relax in the sun.  It wasn't hot, but it sure was beautiful!  No one wanted to come home today and go back to school/work tomorrow, but it's just 2 more weeks until we're finished with all that stuff!
I've got 2 skirts to show you, and the swimsuit (which was amazingly simple like everyone said) is nearly finished.  Then I've got 2 paying jobs (a knit dress and a cocktail dress) to start working on.  This is my last full week of school, then next week is finals and a few half days... woo hoo!!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Weightloss Wednesday!

16 pounds gone!!! Woo hoo!!!!! 
Just 9 left to lose by the 4th of July, but whether I make the deadline or not, I really feel like I've already accomplished so much.  DH has lost 20 and is halfway to his short-term goal.  I really believe that the only reason we were both able to make this work was because we were doing it together, cheering each other on, and holding each other accountable.  We're almost there, babe... I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

I found a bag of summer clothes that I had packed away 2 years ago (and didn't bother to pull out last summer because they were too small), and everything in there fits.  Some of the shorts are size 10, which really makes me very happy.  Some of the clothes in my closet are now too big to get away with attempting to wear, so it's time to pack those up for Goodwill.  There are a few garments (some favorites) that I made but can't bear to pitch, so I think I'll have to figure out how to alter them.  They are easy items (skirts), so it shouldn't be too hard.

It's surprising (and great) to see how my appetite has changed, and how quickly I'm full now when eating a meal.  I've also developed a keen sense of thirst, and can tell pretty quickly now when I haven't drank enough water.  I also like that I've reached a point where I can reward myself with something yummy and know that I'll work it off and not beat myself up about it all day.  This past week was rather messed up, since DH was fighting a double ear infection and then I caught the flu Saturday.  We're both back to normal now, and trying to get back on track, where we were before all the illness struck!

And a big shout out and congratulations to Angie and Michelle who are playing along at home!  You two are working really hard and doing a great job, keep it up!!!  Angie is doing Weight Watchers and Michelle is doing South Beach, and both are making time for exercising and seeing the smaller numbers on the scale. Nice work!!!  I think it's really cool that the 3 of us are all using different methods, but all finding success.  There's a lot to be said for finding what works best for you, and sharing your strategies with your friends.  I so look forward to their updates and being able to share our successes and frustrations, thanks guys!