Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fixing Straps

One of the most common sewing projects I do is dress straps. I've added, removed, and adjusted straps. This post is about that.

I wore this dress to leave our reception on our wedding day. See me running away with my brand new husband thinking, "Bahamas, here we come!!!"
April 5, 2008
Young and Restless

This is designed as a halter dress. Halters are cute, but they can put quite a strain on my neck. I tend to hate this dress (and therefore, not wear it), because it's so uncomfortable around my neck. I decided to change that.

I decided to sew loops on the end of the straps and thread the back sash (at the waist) through the loops to create a cross back. I first sewed the straps to the dress, but it was way too tight, so I tried this looser method.

 Here's an extreme close up of what I mean. The print is kind of busy, but hopefully you can tell. I ended up moving the ends of the cross straps closer to my sides, so it created a wider X. However, I have no picture of this.

But I do have a picture of me wearing the dress on Friday night at the Booster celebration dinner with my fellow Central Florida wives. 
Love these girls. 

When it comes to garments (as with many other things in life):
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Redesign, Repurpose

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fancy-Up Your Tanks

Tuesday night I was packing to go up to Atlanta, and I couldn't decide what to wear on Wednesday. I pulled out this tank top that I've had for over a year, but it's kind of plain.

Here I am wearing it at The Big Texan.

I decided to spice it up with some of the lace my grandma gave me. I recently saw a similar sewing project on one of the other blogs I follow.
I measured it and pinned it down. 

Then I sewed it, which was kind of a beast because I sewed from the neck to the base. That means I had to sew it through the neck hole, which caused it to scrunch and freak me out that it would be crooked. Next time I'm sewing from the bottom up. 

I ironed it flat afterwards. There's my teal toenails in the background. 

I wore it on Wednesday! It took about 45 minutes to do the whole project. 

Plain to pretty!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toto's Africa - Parody Style

Last month I posted on our church blog about the well that our church financed in Kenya and the upcoming short term team we're sending there to dedicate it. Here's a snippet:

I’ve had Toto’s 1982 hit song "Africa" in my head all week as I’ve been thinking about our team going to Digoland in July. "Gonna take a lot to drag me away from you. There’s nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do. I blessed the rains down in Africa…"(I change the lyrics in my head to say, “God’s blessed the well down in Africa.” And He surely has!)

I didn't include in that post that I had rewritten the entire song! For the full effect you can sing along over Toto's original lyrics to the song here. Maybe someday I'll be cool enough to record my parodies properly to share. For now, I just sing over the existing lyrics. Enjoy!!

We hear the water’s flowing clean tonight
Esther’s well is waiting for a Heffelfinger dedication
They’ll travel on a summer flight
To see the Digo and share with them the good news of salvation
We’ll pray for them along the way,
Hoping to hear of gospel transformation in God’s people  
God has prepared their hearts for change, Hurry guys, they’re waiting there for you

It's gonna take a lot to drag us away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
God bless the well down in Africa
Gonna take some time to dedicate the Digo well 

The Digo cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some OGC-ers’ company
We know that we must do what's right
So we send our brothers over to celebrate God’s providence
The water’s pure and drinking it’s fine, God’s provided a miracle in this well

Hurry guys, they’re waiting there for you

It's gonna take a lot to drag us away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
God bless the well down in Africa, God bless the well down in Africa
It’s Esther’s well down in Africa, it’s Esther’s well down in Africa
God bless the well down in Africa
Gonna take some time to dedicate the Digo well.

What do you think? Variety Show material? Eh eh??? Too bad Zane and I already have an act prepared.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Up-cycled Skirt

When I was in college, I used to wear long flow-y skirts. They're not really as popular right now. From what I've seen, it's shorter, higher-waisted skirts that are in style. No problemo.

I started with this white skirt, which had a hole and a yellow stain on it. The elastic was crumbly, therefore completely shot. I'm estimating I bought it in 2006.

Sorry it's a dark photo. 

First thing I did was cut out the lining, but I forgot to take a picture. Next, I took in the side (eliminating the hole problem), and cut off the top layer of skirt (eliminating the yellow stain and bad elastic problems). 

From there, I trimmed the lining and pinned it back in. 

At this point there was no elastic. It was obviously not going to fit this way, but the length was perfect!

So I took the excess fabric that I had trimmed off the lining and made a drawstring.

I threaded the drawstring through the waistband. 

And voila!
Cute waist high with my shirt tucked in and a bow on the side. 

Cute hanging at my hips with my shirt on the outside. 

And cute waist high with a belt! 

All I do is win, win, win, no matter how I wear it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

Good Monday morning!!

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is a YA fiction by Andrew Peterson, the Christian singer/songwriter. Zane loves Andrew Peterson's songs. He requested his album for Christmas one year, and this book came with the album.

I'm often skeptical when a professional artist crosses into other areas of art, but Peterson really holds his own in the YA fiction world.

It's the story of three siblings who live on the edge of a cliff in a country oppressively ruled by evil Fangs of Dang (you'll have to read it to find out what those are!). There's something special about the kids and as they discover this, they find themselves in a dangerous adventure.

It's charming, whimsical and light. I loved it. It's not overtly Christian, so I'm pretty sure it would be acceptable reading in public schools too.

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness is part of the Wingfeather Saga. The sequel is North! Or Be Eaten, followed by a triquel (I made that word up), The Monster in the Hollows. I'd love to read them, but my library doesn't carry them. I guess I'll be making a request soon.

I hope you like it too!!

A little bonus: my friend shared this blog post of Peterson's recently. It's his wise perspective of Harry Potter and fantasy stories.

Lastly, I'll leave you with one of Andrew Peterson's fun songs.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Winning" Mario Brothers

You know how I always give up on video games? This story is about that.

Zane and I have been working on the New Super Mario Bros. for the Wii for two months. Friday night we decided to finish it. We were already at Bowser's castle, so we only had to beat that level. We played for three hours with a short brownie break.

Let me set the scene for you:

  • Zane wanted to quit at 10:30, but I made him keep playing until we won. 
  • We looked up cheats for how to get more mushroom houses to stock up on power-ups. 
  • We entered the castle with 20-something lives for each of us, and several different power-ups. 
  • The end of the castle involves a ginormous Bowser chasing you while breathing fire balls on a moving-platform obstacle course over a lake of fire. 

We kept dying at this part of the game. (It's a little further a long than the picture, but you get the idea.)

Finally at midnight, we plowed through. We had no power-ups left, so we did it without any extra help. I had just died in the fire, so my little Luigi was in a bubble. Zane made it to the giant button which ends the game, and I yelled, "Go, go go!!" He jumped on the button.

Then it was over. I felt weird.

I didn't get to hit the button. In the moments when Mario and the Princess were walking out of the castle, I realized how anti-climactic the end was, how I was unable to participate in the final blow, how we had played this whole game together, how it was the first one I was ever going to finish. But I didn't get to finish it. Zane finished my direction.

I don't even know if I can say I beat the game.

It was a depressing feeling. Zane felt horrible for not waiting for me, but I had been yelling at him to "Go, go, go!" It's natural that he would go ahead and hit the button. If I had been thinking more clearly I might have yelled, "Wait for me!!!" But it's too late. I inadvertently robbed myself of the satisfaction of winning.

I woke up Saturday reliving the excitement of jumping from platform to platform, escaping Bowser, but it felt unfinished. Zane said I still won, that we did it together, but it just doesn't feel that way.

I guess I should start another game.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Look At Me Now

My friend Ctina shared this with me last week, and I'm in utter awe. This girl rocks. She's making me love music.


I dare you not to be impressed. Check it out:

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fun with Nails

One of the reasons I quit piano lessons at age 16, was that I wanted to grow out my fingernails. You may judge 16 year-old Deborah as much as you like. I certainly do.

In high school I used to paint my nails bright, obnoxious colors. I also painted mini murals on my big toes, like flowers, palm trees or beach scenes. I'm an artist, so what can I say? The world is my canvas. Not really. But kind of.

Enough high school nonsense. Skip to present day.

Monday I got the urge to paint my nails. My coworker was recently sporting lavender, so I thought, "I'm going to go buy lavender nail polish too." But when I got to the drugstore, I saw this:

So I got them both:
I used to wear NYC nail polish in high school when I went all crazy on my nails. 

I really like this nail polish. It's cheap, but goes on pretty smooth. It takes two coats to get here:
Sorry for the blur. It's a bit difficult to take a macro picture of your own hand. 

After I painted them, I started realizing that my teal nails match a lot of stuff I own! Like this shirt:

Or my planner:
Wow. Let me tell ya, it's an amazing feeling to have your fingernails match your life. 

Can't wait to try the lavender!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Teenaged and Self-Absorbed

I've been reading through some of my old diaries this week, sharing the funny parts with Zane. Here's an excerpt to give you a glimpse of my high school self-absorption:

Friday 7-25-2003
[Our family] had a free movie ticket, but dad wanted it, but I don't have any money. Angela, Lyd and I were supposed to see a movie tonight and I was all ready to go, so I asked dad if I could have the free ticket, and he wouldn't let me. So Ang and Lyd went without me. But I'm all ready to go out on a Friday night, and I'm sitting in my room.

I don't see anytime in the near future that I'll be going out, because I have no money or friends in town, and my sisters bailed on me! I have done nothing this week. I'm all dressed up. Stupid dad. He doesn't need that ticket. He has money. I'm mad and sad.

Sorry, dad. I don't think your stupid. I'm sure there was a character lesson in this, like "Get a job" or "Parents are people too" or "You're not entitled to free tickets."

After reading a few other passages to Zane, he declared that I was incredibly shallow in high school, and there's no way we would have ever dated then. It took a few years for me mature [significantly] before I would meet Zane, let alone be a good partner for him.

Here's a visual for you from my senior year:
"Give me the movie ticket!!!!"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More Attempts at Gardening

In April, I attempted some gardening. Some of those attempts failed, some succeeded.

Let's look at the failures first:
I thought it would be a good idea to plant the pineapples and jasmine in this spot. 

Apparently it wasn't a good idea:
The right jasmine was scorched by the sun, and the left jasmine hasn't grown an inch. 
The pineapples didn't get enough sun, so I moved them.

Now for the success:
My Mexican petunia, before. Notice how close that amaryllis is.

You might not be able to tell, but the mexican petunia is now humungus. We have lots of flowers on it every morning. I had to move the amaryllis because it was getting overshadowed, literally. You can also see where I moved the pineapples to full sun. 

And lastly, my new attempt:
This area had been FULL of weeds. 

I was going to take a picture of the weeds to show you guys, but one day I came home from work, and Zane had pulled them all! Yay for Zane!! No before picture, but imagine that grassy weed stuff as tall as my hip. It was bad. 

We planted lantana and some blue flower plant. There's my amaryllis and a sago palm, which I propagated a few years ago. Based on the growth I've seen of it's brother plants, I imagine it'll be large and in charge in no time. 

My garden is a bit hodge-podge looking. I tried to give it some order, but I guess it just reflects my hodge-podge life. Here's hoping my flower bed will stay beautiful!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Perfect Gift

I'm not a very good gift-giver. In fact, gift-giving holidays bring me anxiety. Christmas is stressful, and I've often wished that it was a non-gift holiday.

Zane is an amazing gift-giver. He remembers all the little things that I mention throughout the year, so his gifts are always purposeful and meaningful. He puts me to shame.

A few months ago we were at World Market for the first time, and Zane wanted to buy this candy thing:
I said, "Do you really want this?" 
He said, "No, I guess not. I mean, it's not even a 1-up." 

When I was in NYC, we went to the huge Toys-R-Us, where there's a life-size Barbie dream house. There's also a ferris wheel in the store. 

In the candy section, there were a bunch of power-ups candy tins, including the 1-up:
So I got it for Zane!

You should have seen his face when I gave him this. He was pretty stoked. Yeah, we're nerds. 

For a horrible gift-giver like me, it was amazing. I triumphed in the souvenir gift, which is another source of anxiety for me. I'll be holding onto this memory for a long time. Hopefully it'll get me through the guilt-ridden after days of Christmas, when all I can think of is how everyone else gives better gifts than me. Not that I would ever compare myself to other people. I mean, really, who does that? 

In addition to the 1-up, Zane loves his NYC hat. Two scores. He also loves his I [Heart] NY shirt. Three scores. 

Hat trick. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Twihard Barbie

I usually do book reviews on Mondays. This isn't a review, but it is book-related. Sort of.

When we were in NYC, we visited the huge Toys R Us near Time Square, which has a life-sized Barbie dream house. While exploring the second story of Barbie's dream house, we found this:

Yes, Barbie has these three in her personal collection. 

The question is: Team Edward or Team Jacob? 

If that wasn't enough to knock your socks off, there's also this: 
Jane and Alice.

I wonder if Taylor, Rob and Kristen own the Barbie versions of their characters. If I had a Barbie of myself, I'd totally display that on my Mattel, I mean mantel. That's when you know you've arrived. 

Unfortunately, we didn't see any of these for sale, just display. Shucks. I might have bought Edward. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ninja Love

In college a bunch of my friends and I went to the same church, and we'd eat out after the service every week. It was usually a rotation between Denny's, Panera, and Cici's.

One time, after I started crushing on Zane, we all went to Cici's. He didn't like me (like that) yet. He sang some weird song about a Scotsman wearing a kilt, by which I was a bit traumatized. That's not the point though.

The point is that he bought me a little ninja toy from the $.25 toy machine.

I put it in my car's center console that day, and it's still in my center console today. It doesn't get much more romantic than that, folks.

Here's a visual of Zane and me the night I realized I like-liked him:
Relay for Life, Spring 2006

Four things about this picture:
1. I'm wearing that sexy uniform, because our theme was "War on Cancer." 
2. He made me that balloon hippopotamus. 
3. His hair was longer than mine. 
4. I can't explain my facial expression, but maybe it's a clue to why he didn't like me (like that) at the time. 

A few weeks after this photo, he gave me the ninja toy. He might as well have given me a ring, because I was a goner. 

Last night, we went to Cici's. I tried to buy another ninja, but the machine wouldn't take my quarter. I decided that I didn't need another ninja. The little ninja in my center console means more to me than any other ninja I could buy. 

I also just gave up on the machine. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Scraps Keychain

I've been following several new (to me) craft blogs. I get them all confused because many of them link and repost with each other, but at least one of them did a series on what to do with sewing scraps.

I was about to run out the door one Tuesday afternoon when I remembered that I needed to give my friend a spare key to our house, so she could get in while Zane and I were gone on our respective vacations. All the craft blogs I had been reading flooded my brain, and I decided to do a quick 7-minute project.

A keychain for the housekey with our surname initial. 

I wasn't going for fancy or neat and tidy. This is a scrap keychain in full definition, complete with frayed edges. Fifty points for anyone who recognizes the background fabric. 

The "K" was made from drawstrings that I had cut off capris a long time ago. 
I just saved them in my sewing drawer, because that's what I do. 

Go, therefore, and make pieces from your scraps.

Here are some of the craft blogs I started following last week:

Maybe you can find inspiration as I did. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Rose, Mosquitoes and The Wind

This week I spent time on the set of The Wind, directed by actor/musician/director, Al Mauro. Fantastic director. I hope to work with him again in the future.

July is part of the peak season of Florida weather annoyances. Sunday we suffered through muggy heat. I thought I might faint at one point, before a much-needed water break. Tuesday and Wednesday nights we encountered swarms of mosquitoes that left their marks on my feet.

Amidst the frustrations of the outdoors, we had a blast. This has been one of the most playful sets I've worked on. The small-crew environment provided room for spontaneous fun. Joking, singing, dancing. It was awesome.

I was privileged to act opposite AJ Nickell, who is so fun to work with. Watch for this guy, because he's got humor, emotion, and real skill.

I was the only female cast member during my shoots and one of few females on set (despite scary rumors of set moms, the moms on our set were easy-going and fun!). The guys were very gentlemanly, giving me roses and whatnot. Okay, fine, it was a leftover prop they let me take home.

Cool story about our crew - Alex, camera operator/producer/etc. is a DIY man. He created a completely functional sound boom from a fishing pole and PVC pipe. His financial savings were pretty significant. I told him he should blog DIY film equipment tutorials.

We had Garrett doing set photography for us. You should check out his work. Super talented and super fun to work with. I can't wait to see his production photos!

I'll keep you guys updated on the film's progress as I know it. There's rumors of an Enzian premiere. *eye brow wiggle*

Did I mention that I love what I do?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hunger Games Parody

Yes, still obsessed. Here's a little parody gem that my friend sent me. It's been stuck in my head for days. It's based on book one, so if you're not finished with the whole trilogy, it won't ruin anything for you.

It's sung to the tune of Brittney Spears' "I Wanna Go."


Monday, July 11, 2011

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

One of the most memorable books I loved as a child is Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary. She's such an incredible author who writes like children think.

I received this book from my mom when I was eight years old, same as Ramona. My mom used to climb up into my bunk bed at night and read it to me. That special one-on-one quality time with her was more precious to me than I even knew at the time.

I remember thinking, "I do that too!" when we read about Ramona. I understood her, like how she flipped her pillow to soak up the coolness of the other side or how she reacted to her older sister.

She's a quirky girl with a funny way of thinking. There's a whole series about Ramona that follows her from preschool throughout elementary school.

I know it's not a book that I would recommend to adults, but I recommend every parent to encourage their kids to read it. There's a lot of great juvenile fiction out there, of course, and I think Ramona has no trouble competing with whatever the kids are reading these days.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Hope Deferred

It's been a while since I've written about our infertility situation. I know many of my readers are interested in that particular part of our lives, so I thought I'd give a little update.

We're still childless.

I write that with a smirk, not a scowl. God's been heavily at work in my heart, and much of the bitterness that ruled my attitude toward life has melted away throughout the past few months. I wrote about the possibility that God might be giving me a more rare, precious gift in acting, and I still find it to be true.

The favor I've received, the joy acting brings me, the opportunities that have come along - I attribute these things to the Lord, that He wants me in this field.

I'm beginning to believe that it's possible He has prevented pregnancy for the very purpose of placing me in the acting industry. Maybe this was part of His plan for my life all along. Maybe I'm supposed to be an actress before I'm ever a mother.

Some of my friends would call it the universe giving back to me. I would too if I thought God didn't love me, which I have believed several times in my darkest days of the last two years. Somehow, by His grace, I do believe He loves me now, so I say with peace and gratitude that it's His plan for me to have an abundance of joy in acting, and not a bundle of joy in a child. (At least for now.)

I don't like that acting and infertility are so intertwined, but I can't separate them. I wouldn't be enjoying my life of creativity if I hadn't suffered through infertility.

The suffering isn't over. It continues, but its sting has lessened significantly. Pregnancies continue to pop up, and babies pop out all around me. I still have wacky cycles with two-week late periods, causing false hope. We're still not investing in fertility treatment, a decision I'm ever second-guessing. But somehow, life is really good despite it. No, life is really good in the midst of it.

That is, God is really good in the midst of it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

For Harry Potter Fans

I'm not really a Harry Potter fan. I appreciate JK Rowling's creation, but I've only read four of the books. I can't explain why I don't care that much. I just have an apathy about it all.

I've seen all the movies, but I was super confused about the plot without having read the books. Luckily, there are enough die-hards to fill in the details for me.

As apathetic as I am, my brother-in-law takes the cake. A bunch of us saw HP7P1 (like that?) last year in the theater. Bro has apparently been living under a rock the last 13 years and hasn't read the books or seen any of the movies. Case in point: the film opens with a newspaper, all HP style with moving pictures, and bro turns to the group, saying, "Something's wrong with that newspaper." We think he should have waited to see HP7P2 as his first HP experience. Start at the end and work backwards.

Enough about HP apathy. Here are some HP gems I've found lately, in honor of the last movie premiering this month.

First, a little paper art:
This piece was created by paper artist Brittany Lee for a Harry Potter tribute show coming up.

She also created this fantastic piece:

Check out her blog for descriptions, close ups and more of her fantastic work! She has an etsy page too!

Second, a little parody:

I'm a huge fan of parodies. I'm also a fan of Hillywood, a pair of sisters who create fantastic short film/music video parodies of popular shows and movies. They gained popularity with their Twilight parodies, which are great. Here's their debut Harry Potter parody, set to the tune of a YouTube sensation song that we all know and love:

I plan on seeing Deathly Hallows: Pt 2 as long as I take an HP fan with me to explain it to me afterwards!