Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shirt to Dress, Part 3

Catch up with part one and part two, or just start reading here at part three.

I did a lot to this dress, but I was still having trouble with the neckline and bodice. It was flappy around the armpits, and uneven on the neckline. I pinned the neckline to be symmetrical. At first I thought I'd do darts for the armpits, but that didn't work, so I ended up cutting it around like so:
Pinned and ready to sew!


The final product:
Now, I promise I went out to dinner for my birthday in this dress, but I didn't get a picture at the restaurant.

When we got home, I asked Zane to take a couple pictures.

Dancing didn't end up happening, but it was fine, because Zane had been working out of town all week, and I just wanted to hang out with him. I guess we really are getting like an old couple (no offense, old people!), who just like to stay in and go to bed early on Friday nights.

Dress success!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Here's the Situation

Like Michael Scott and Weird Al Yankovich, I sometimes like to write alternative lyrics. My portfolio consists of gems like Taylor Swift's Now I'm Free and N*Sync's Hailey Bop. In the same vein, I'm always thoroughly entertained by parodies like the one by the Maccabeats.

Lately I've been singing Enrique's new "Tonight," because it's very catchy. I was in the shower - where all my best thinking occurs - and alternative lyrics just hit me.


Oooohhhhhhhh

In the beginning
There was nothing until He made it be
He made the whole world
He made the trees, the sneeze, the birds, and the bees


Here’s the situation – He’s author of creation
And there’s no end to all the things He can do
He’s not a pop-sensation, He’s Lord of every nation,
It might sound crazy, but I swear that it’s true.

He’s the basis of all truth!
Ohhhhhh
He's the only freakin' truth!
Ohhhhhh

So, next time you hear it on the radio, bust out these lyrics!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mature Living

I don't know if you knew, but I'm a published author.
I know you guys are more than familiar with this magazine. You probably have it sitting in your living room right now.

I submitted the article in summer 2009. They told me they'd hold it for consideration for a 2010 issue. In August 2010 it hit the press.

They even used one of my photos. You guys know my photography skills, so that's really saying something!

It's about Mac Hammond and his 20ish years of volunteering at the county jail.
He also happens to be my grandfather.
I didn't tell the magazine that until they accepted my story.
Published author!
Sorry I took so long to share this with you all.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's HERE!

Congestion, colored mucus, dry nose, itchy eyes, neti pots, a plethora of kleenex and anti-histamines...

Allergy season.

Rufio kept sniffing my face this morning, trying to determing the source of a strange noise which was my congested breathing.

At the sound of my trumpet-like nose-blowing, he nearly fell off the bed.

I did the neti pot this morning, but nothing can truly decongest me. By "nothing," I mean no mild medications. I won't take those crazy heavy meds anymore. Last year I got samples of a new prescription allergy medication from my doctor. Never have I felt such sever fatigue and dry mouth as I had from those. Sleeping didn't refresh me either. It just stole hours of my life.

I've got my tissues, neti pot, over-the-counter generic allergy medication, and lots of water. I'm armed and ready for that pollen-infested "fresh" air. April, come quickly!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Easy Peasy

Here's a story
Of an old pink Gap skirt
And how I changed it into a pretty dress

All I did was add a strap

Made of ribbon

And a belt around my waist. 

Here's a story
Of another Gap skirt

And how this one was changed into a top
It was tight around my bust
No need for ribbon
Just a belt and jeans 


So the one day when you go through your whole closet
You may find some Gap skirts of your own
Just think - you have a lot of options
It may not need to be sewn!



P.S. Sung to the tune of the Brady Bunch.
P.P.S. Thanks for bearing with point-and-shoot photography and disregard for rhyming.  

Due to China

My sister's moving to China. I've said that a lot lately. Today it's actually happening. She had to purge much of her closet, since she can't take it all with her. I was the recipient of many pieces, including these:

Some fit as they are. Some need alterations. Some I plan on changing drastically. Some I'll change only a little.

It was nice to add to my closet, but sad for the reason.

We said goodbye last night. I had already cried about it a few times throughout the last week, which helped me keep it together, although my throat hurt something fierce when I finally walked away. There were tears, but no sobs.

It's a first for me: sending my sister to the other side of the world for who knows how long. Three years at least, until she's back in the states. The world will be different then. Just look how fast two years flew!

Although, last time I thought my world would be different in two years, it was very much the same. I shouldn't set too many expectations.

All this to say two seemingly unrelated, yet actually related things:

1. I will miss my sister very much. Her presence had become a weekly (at least) staple for the past three years. I'm very grateful to the Lord, because I believe that we bonded more in that short time than we had our entire lives prior to that. Growing up does that to siblings, I think. The Lord gave us a gift of close proximity before whisking her away across the globe. We may never live close together again. Oh, life.

2. I've got some sewing projects coming up, which means sewing posts.

P.S. She's flying to China today - so please pray for a safe flight! It's a long way!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Late Night Thoughts

By the time this posts, it'll be my birthday.

I just got home from acting class. I'm always pumped from the extrovert-time, and it's impossible for me to fall asleep when I get home, even though it's late. Zane's always asleep, and I want to tell him all about class, but I can't. He has to get up really early.

He's sleeping now. Tomorrow he leaves at 6:00am. I'll get a goodbye birthday kiss, hopefully.

My sister moves to China this week. Do you know how far away China is from Florida? Half an earth away.

I'm turning 20-something old. I know all you old people (no offense) are saying that 20-something old is not really that old, but I think I'm finally to that point where the next age is less like a trophey and more like a dentist appointment reminder postcard.

Except that I still want to be celebrated, and the dentist isn't really celebratory.

Tonight I did a high-comedy scene. I had gotten comfortable with the filmic stuff, where I just show up and act myself. High comedy is not acting myself. It's hard for me. I didn't get it right off the bat. 

Next week I'm doing another comedic scene...from Clerks 2. I haven't seen it.

Next week we're hosting a Japanese student. Actually, for most of March. I'm going to buy frozen food, because cooking's not my favorite.

Last time we hosted a Japanese student, I cooked everything from scratch and then I scratched my eyes out.

My eyes are starting to itch. Pollen is on the hood of my car. I've been contemplating what kind of defense I'll use this year against allergies. Local honey was a bomb. Allegra-D is too intense. Generic over-the-counter meds seem like the best option.

I need to get some lotion for my nose. It starts to peel from all the required nose-blowing of allergy season.

Still no casts or callbacks. I keep telling myself, "I just wasn't a match for the role." But I'm also telling myself that I've got issues with auditioning. I sit on impulses. I hold back.

I'm in the valley of discouragement.

We watched a teen English film called Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, where the lead girl said she was in the valley of [fill in the blank] many times. Humiliation, embarassment, etc.

The Fullsail students always comment on my lack of experience. It discourages me. Helloooooo, that's why I'm here!!!

I don't say that to them.

Today's my birthday. It's official. Happy Birthday to me.

I'm in the valley of celebration. Well, not really. Not yet. But hopefully I will be soon. I'm going to breakfast with my mom and sisters (including the one going to China).

I'm a year older. I feel the same.

I'll go to bed now.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Two Years

In December 2008 my dad told me about a writing course that his cousin was going to take. I had been working on a novel at the time, so the course seemed like a good fit for me. I was feeling inadequate and unequipped to write professionally.

The course is designed to span over two years. My fear was that I'd have a baby in that time and be unable to finish (because your life stops when you have kids, of course). Hah.

I decided to plunge in, figuring that I'd be able to deal with a writing course and an infant, which ended up being a non issue. In January 2009, I started on my first assignment. This past Tuesday night I submitted my last assignment. Just like that, two years of my life passed.

Just look at my deadline sheet - two years, whoosh!

I have at least one post coming that will show you a little bit of fruit that came from this course.

Two years - whoosh!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Positives

I tend to write about my negative emotions a lot, (which actually represent some of the most popular posts on this blog). My insecurities, my depressing feelings about infertility, my mixed feelings about my sister moving to China...

Oh, I haven't blogged about that last one yet, but you'll probably see one in the near future.

Well, here's a list of GOOD things for me to remember when I get frustrated, which seems to be a lot lately. In no particular order, here are some good things that happened in the last week:

1. Our azaleas are starting to bloom.
2. I successfully transformed a sheet into valances and (hopefully) a shirt into a dress.
3. My mom said that it was a special skill to be able to visualize that kind of sewing project.
4. Zane told me that my arms have definition when he was helping me fold clothes.
5. My acting teacher told me that I am able to do filmic sincerity well and that it was time to move on to other genres.
6. Rufio whined and licked my tears when I was having an emotional breakdown last week. The good part of that was the Rufio love, not the breakdown.
7. I finally got to see The King's Speech, which I loved.
8. I learned that my department at work has an accuracy rate of 99.07%, which reflects pretty well on me, since I do much (if not most) of the data entry.
9. I finished the my last writing assignment of my Apprentice Course, which began two years ago. More on that later.
10. Zane bought me a double chocolate donut. It was delicious.

I have to confess that it took me hours to come up with this small list. All the while I was discarding many negatives that popped into my head. When did I turn into such a pessimist? Optimist [Prime] Deborah, are you still in there? I need you!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Regal Rufio

If there's one thing Rufio loves, it's this:
He can't get enough of it.


The wind rushing through his sleek fur...I mean, I know how it feels. I love feeling the wind on my face, whooshing my hair behind me. It's like that scene in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice - where Elizabeth stands on a cliff facing the wind...yeah...just like that.

This was right after he said, "I'm king of the world!" I don't know how he knows that line, since I've never let him see Titanic. It's PG-13, and he's only a year old. Maybe he heard it from us.

Yeah, he's kinda the bomb.com.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Floral Signs

My birthday is coming!

You know how I know?

These:
Who needs a calendar when you have azaleas?! These are blooming outside our bedroom window.

Azaleas might be my favorite flower. When we were house hunting, I leaned toward the homes with azaleas. I think it's because every house I lived in as a child had azaleas. I always knew my birthday was near when they started blooming. Our destinies are intertwined. Like Arthur Clennam and Little Dorrit. Sorry, too much Dickens lately.

Another harbinger flower is this one:
I don't know what it is, but it grows on hedges. When I see this flower, I know that allergy season is near.

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a huge hedge of this plant. It was so big, you could play inside it. My sisters and I would play pioneers or boxcar kids and set up a home in the hedge. I couldn't play outside with them for more than 30 minutes until my allergies took over. I have a secret hatred (not secret anymore) for this plant. When I see it's white blossoms, I curse the ground upon which it grows.

But, let's not think of that horrid white flower. Let's think of this lovely harbinger of birthday and spring:

Azaleas.

P.S. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! Give your sweetheart an azalea! Or try this romantic gesture. It gets me every time!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shirt to Dress, Part 2

Update from Deb's sewing studio. Check out part one to get the full story of how I'm transforming a dress shirt into a party dress. 

I patched together a back for my dress! No more honkytonk badonkadonk peek-a-boo action. 
Here's the remaining fabric from the sleeves sewn together, which became the back of the skirt. 

I wanted to point out that I have used every bit of fabric from the original shirt. These buttons are currently located on the top of the back of the dress. Originally, they were the cuffs of the shirt.

Here's the new back. It's hard to take a picture of my backside, so it looks a little twisty. 

I still have the problem of the flappy armpit fabric, but I'll work on that this week and get back to you!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Shirt to Dress, Part 1

I got into the sewing mood yesterday with the valances, so I started another project. My birthday is coming up (February 22), and I'm going dancing. SO! I thought I could make a sweet dress for the occasion.

I bought this shirt in 2007 for a 70's party. I accidentally went as a 70's office employee, not a disco diva. Fail.
Sorry for all that extra space above our heads. I'm on Zane's Mac and I don't know how to crop photos. But look how cute we are! Young love. We still have it (our youth and our love). Oh, and it was during this retreat that we decided to get married. We asked/told my parents the next day. 

Anyways, when I bought that shirt, I knew I'd someday change it into something wonderful. 

Today was that day. 

Kind of. 

First I cut off the sleeves and collar. I turned it over (for the buttons to go along my back) and created a v-neck collar. 

Then I decided the v-neck was not going to work out. I cut along the seams of the sleeves and created a piece for the bodice.

For the skirt piece - I used the main part of the shirt, buttons on the back, and folded the top down (including the part I had already cut in a v-neck shape).
That's a piece of elastic from my fitted sheet that I used in the valance yesterday. I threaded it through the top seam (which is on the right of this picture, because this picture is sideways. I don't know how to rotate it because I'm on a Mac). 

Skip a few steps. I forget to take pictures when I get in the zone. I just sew and sew until my eyes pop out of my head. Luckily Zane came home and made dinner, or I might have inadvertently starved myself. The zone is dangerous. 

This is where I ended tonight. I made straps, attached the bodice to the skirt. 
Lookin' cute! I love that elastic waist!

This documents 4.5 hours of sewing. I kept running into problems and having to solve them. It was strenuous on my brain. That's what happens when you jump into a project with little to no planning. Story of my life. 

Though I solved many small problems, there were some that drove me to take a break:
1. Minor problem: I need darts in the bodice around my bust. You can kind of see it flapping around my armpit in this picture. Pinning the darts will be hard...I might have to get Zane to help me. Muahaha. 

2. BIG PROBLEM!!! The shirt isn't as wide as my hips! That's my badonkadonk. Though I do like that country song about a honkytonk badonkadonk, I don't want to be showing off mine on my birthday! At least, not in this way...I mean, not at all!

I have some extra fabric pieces (the forearms of the sleeves), so I'm planning on making a panel of sorts to go in there. It'll look amateur, but that's exactly what I am. I'm hoping the busy pattern of the fabric will help blend the weird patchwork. I might have avoided this problem with more planning...too late now!

But, I'm taking suggestions if anyone has a better idea of what to do here. I still have hope for this dress, and I can't give up now. 

P.S. I wish you a speedy recovery from the trauma of seeing my backside. I apologize, but it was a necessary evil. 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valance Victory

Lately I've been itching to be creative, to change something.

I considered painting our spare bedroom, but I hate painting. I bought the blue paint for it in May 2010, but still haven't worked up the desire to actually do it. I keep thinking it's time, but then decide I'd rather not. I may never do it.

I've also been considering window treatments for that bedroom since May. I've tried a few different options, but nothing really fit.

Until now.

You like how I spaced that to make it all dramatic? I'll do it again.

Until now.

*Shivers*

Today's project is comparable to my NYE dress project. I started with a bridesmaid dress and made window valances! Just kidding. I started with a full-sized fitted sheet.

Zane and I bought these sheets for our trip out west, when we were staying in KOA camps where you bring your own bedsheets (BYOB). I didn't want to bring our nice ones from home, so we bought these. They were cheap, and they are really rough. Not comfortable. Not worth remaining as sheets.

I chose to work from the fitted sheet, because I assumed we would have less use for it than the other one.

First I cut the elastic in the corners, so sheet could lie flat.  
 
I folded it in half longways. When I got it as flat as possible, I cut off the rounded ends. I made sure to keep it at least 60'' in length, which was the length I needed for the bigger of the two windows.

I measured the width of the sheet while folded, and discovered that I could cut it straight down the middle (longways) and have more than enough for 18'' wide valances (as in 18x60'' and 18x48'').

 I used my knowledge of how to make window valances from this valance project last fall. I could have used a pattern, but I like figuring things out for my own. Plus, I didn't want to leave the house and buy a pattern. This was kind of a spontaneous project. 

So here is phase one for window one. I thought it was pretty bland. You agree. Blando. 

I considered lace, buttons, or belt things to spice it up, but then I remembered I had this:
I bought this sweater last year and accidentally shrunk it in the dryer after wearing it ONE TIME! I was really really mad at myself, but I threw it in my sewing drawer instead of the trash. 

It's time has finally come. 

First I cut off the collar, which was incredibly thick (it looks like a hood in that first picture). The collar is what made that sweater so cute. Then, I cut it into four strips. I'll keep the rest of the sweater for another project. 

From there, I sewed each strip at the ends, to made four separate loops. 

I wrapped two loops around each valance and arranged it like so:

Tada!

Shades open.

Pretty cute, though I say so myself. 

From the moment I thought, "I could make valances today," to the moment I finished putting away my supplies, the entire project took three hours.  

At the end of the day, I told Zane, "Ugh. I haven't done anything productive today." He said, "You made window things!" I guess I don't count fun projects as productive, but they can be!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Poopy Progress

When we first adopted Rufio, he had anxiety issues. He whined and pooped when left in a crate. He would fling it around in fits of anxiety from being trapped in a confined space.

Leaving him on the back patio during the day solved this problem. He could roam and poop at his leisure.

However, he still managed to anxiety-poop when he went to the groomer. I don't know what kind of life he had before our loving family. I deduce that the groomer caused painful memories to flood his delicate psyche, resulting in multiple poops throughout the grooming process.

I considered learning how to groom, so that I wouldn't have to deal with the embarrassment picking up my intestinal nightmare of a dog from the groomer. However, I failed to learn how to groom in the last two months.

There's just a lot of stuff to learn - anal gland expression, ear hair pulling, hair in the paw pads, nails, eyelashes, shaping the face...

So I took him to the groomer on Friday. I made sure he emptied his bowels before arriving (as best I could sans an enema). I brushed him for hours (read 30 minutes) a few days prior. I played with his ears and feet so as to desensitize him. But I've done this routine in the past before a groomer trip, all to no avail.

Until now.

It was not in vain! I'm proud to announce that he did not poop during his grooming! The groomer was very proud of him. I imagine I was like a parent receiving a good report from a teacher after her kid behaved poorly in class. Hopefully the behavior in question would be different in that scenario.

All this to say: I do believe we're poopy-free!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Joy All Around

Joy, joy everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

I don't have enough fingers to count how many of my friends and acquaintances are pregnant right now. Many of them struggled with seasons of infertility. Some did not. All of them are excited to be mothers. Praise the Lord.

In the purest, most selfless part of my heart, I feel joy and excitement for my friends. For the ones who have faced infertility, I feel an extra sense of hope for their babies. I'm proud that they have achieved pregnancy through God's grace.

But, after the joy settles, my mind returns to self. I grieve. I wonder why. I resent. I resign. I may even "hide" on Facebook.

If I feel the need, I cry. After that release of emotion, I pray. I pray for them. I pray for myself. I pray that I don't let this become a stumbling block.

I also preach to myself, as we all do. Today it's this verse:

"We also pray that you will be strengthened with His glorious power so that you will have all the patience and endurance you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father, who has enabled you to share the inheritance that belongs to God's holy people, who live in the light." Colossians 1:11-12

I may not be filled with a bundle of joy right now, but I can be filled with a joy that permeates pain.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ain't Trippin'

Yesterday I was in the shower, thinking about life, praying about having babies, shaving my legs (oh sorry, TMI). I remembered my shower prayer from a few months ago, and I thought I should just go ahead and pray specifically to have kids. I've done this before, but maybe being in the shower helps. There's more vulnerability...kind of.

Anyways, I started thinking about if I had multiples. I've always wanted twins. When I was a little girl, I wanted three sets of twins: identical boys, identical girls, and a fraternal set with one of each sex. I don't know why.

I also wanted to name my kids Sarah, Tommy, Annika and Pinnochio. My mom wrote it in my baby book as evidence. If you recognize the reference for Tommy and Annika, you get 50,000 points.

Tangent!

So, I was in the shower thinking about having multiples. I thought through twins, then moved on to triplets.

The bad news: My acting dream would die with the birth of triplets, as I would dedicate every waking and sleeping hour to their upbringing. Without enough breasts to feed them at once, I'd have to set up a rotation.  I don't know how I'd fit three cribs in one room.

The goods news: I could guiltlessly hire a maid because I'd have no time to clean my house. There are a number of cute coordinating triplet names. I could blog about my triplets and call it "I be trippin'!"

Triplets are interesting to read about! There'd be no shortage of fun stories to share on a blog. After I went through the logistics of how I'd organize my new blog, I eventually saw myself on the Today show. I thought, "My acting career isn't dead! It's just on hold until they're in school."

It all crumbled with the realization that I was exploiting my unconceived triplets to advance my imaginary acting career. I felt less like super-mom and more like Kate Gosselin.

After my shower, I told Zane about it. He didn't think "I be trippin'" was a good title. He didn't offer alternatives, so it will remain working title for now. The End.