Another Bridesmaid Dress: For Clare!

There's nothing I love to make more than bridesmaid dresses...and here's the most recent!
The gorgeous redhead in the middle of that pic is a sorority sister of mine (Theta love!), and when Clare contacted me about making her a custom bridesmaid dress for a wedding she was in, I couldn't say yes fast enough.  The bride asked her 'maids to wear gunmetal gray, and besides that, the dress was up to them.

I talked with Clare many times about the design of the dress, and we eventually decided on a hybrid of a couple of dresses from Heidi's wedding last year.  We took the bodice from dress #4 and combined it with the waistband and skirt of dress #3, and the result was picture perfect.  (And how much do you love the yellow shoes on all the girls?!).

Here are the details:
Pattern - New Look 6002 bodice and waistband; simple gathered rectangle skirt
Fabric - Dupioni Silk (go check it out!  It has the coolest black slubs running through it), lined with Charmeuse Satin (added the perfect amount of weight and warmth), both from Fabric.com
Time - 8 hours
Consensus - I wanted to keep it, Clare looks killer in it, so...WIN

If you're interested in a custom bridesmaid dress or a collection, please don't hesitate to contact me for info!


What Sandy Was Like In Washington Heights

If you've turned on the news in the past 24 hours, you've seen the mass amounts of devastation along the entire East Coast from Hurricane Sandy last night. We live in Manhattan, but far uptown from where all the major problems of flooding and power loss are in NYC. We are 100 blocks from Midtown and that dangling crane and 150 blocks from where the flooding and major power loss begins. We love our neighborhood, and we love it even more this morning for being a safe haven knowing how bad things are for our Manhattan neighbors and the other boroughs.

The above pictures were all taken out our window yesterday at noon, 4:00 PM, and 6:00 PM.  The crazy thing is the main part of the storm didn't reach us until after dark!

We decided to venture outside around 4:00 PM (a good four hours before the worst of the storm was here) just to see what it was like.  [This was also my first time outside in a whole week!]  It was insanely windy on the avenues; we took an umbrella out because it was raining, but there's no way it would have survived if we had opened it!  The winds had already gotten to some tree branches and a few more were hanging precariously.  We only walked around one square block and that was enough for me!
During the storm, the worst part was the wind making our building sway.  There were a couple hours were the wind was consistently at 50 mph or above, and I could feel the swaying so much it was making me motion sick!  Then Scott pointed out that all the clothes hanging in his closet were SWINGING.  Oh my gosh.  Unsettling.

We are, thankfully, not among the 7 million people without power, although the majority of Lower Manhattan apparently is.  Last night, looking across the river, most of New Jersey was also completely dark.  We never lost power or internet.  We also live on one of the highest parts of Manhattan, essentially atop a gigantic hill, so there's no flooding to worry about here. 

Basically, for us, the whole experience was pretty much like a bigger-than-usual rainstorm.  Considering the many pictures and videos of devastation shown all across the news, we obviously lucked out.

To anyone else on the East Coast, hope you are safe and dry and warm!  Let's send all our prayers to those recovering from devastation, those stranded somewhere, all of our servicemen and women, and the crews who will be coming in to help.  Safety to all!

P.S.  What it was like for us during Hurricane Irene.


Diary of a Surgery Recoverer: Day 15

Today's fun activity du jour was painting my nails!  Thanks to Heidi for sending me nail polish in a care package :)

Health-wise, I've apparently been pushing my recovery a little too hard, and I started having some pain.  After talking to a nurse about it, I need to scale back and go back to more rest.  No more walks around the block for me!  For now, that is.  So, my epic walking playlist is going to have to wait another week or two.

Other happenings:

- I completed all the "easy" crossword puzzles in my book, so I have now moved on to "medium"...which are quite literally impossible.  Some of them I haven't even been able to finish with the help of the internet!  Also, one puzzle had the clue "What each of the 10 abbreviations in this puzzle's answer stands for."  The answer to the clue was "Canadian provinces."  Fine.  But do you know what it meant?!  It meant that in 10 of the answers in the puzzle, TWO LETTERS that were the abbreviations for a province went in ONE SQUARE.  THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE.  It made me so angry.

- Happy Endings came back to television, and the angels rejoiced.

- I read only one more chapter of The Magicians, but managed to watch approximately 80 clips of The Ellen Show on YouTube.  So, that was really productive of me.

- Mrs. Jessica Timberlake.

- Scott's cooking repertoire is really expanding.  Now it includes:  cheeseburgers, frozen french fries, and brownies from a box.  All were delicious!

- I have lost all sense of what day of the week it is or the date.  It's almost Christmas, right?


Making Plans

This blog post title has a double meaning.  I've been making plans for what to sewing next...which I could also call plans for what to make..a.k.a. making plans.  Get it?!

I've had so much time to peruse the internet and think up new garments I want to make when I can be up and around again!  Daydreaming can be dangerous when it comes to sewing, so I've tried really hard to be very practical about it, and zero in on designs and fabrics that I am really excited about and will hopefully really follow through on (which is always the hard part!).

Burdastyle 7220
I have a top with an origami-like neckline similar to View B, and it's one of my absolute favorites.  I would love it in a dark plum like this crepe back satin.  I also love the hemline and neck keyhole on View A.

Burdastyle 10/2012 #118A
Swooning!  This silhouette is so classic, and frankly kind of unlike anything I normally wear.  My first instinct is to make it in gray like the dress shown on the model, but this multi-colored tweed is pretty sweet too...

Burdastyle 09/2012 #123A
I'm obsessed with this top exactly the way it is, so I'm just going to go ahead and copy it straight out, with some cream-colored jersey I already have, and some black crepe satin.

New Look 6148
I want to make every variation of this top because I think it's the cutest, but I'm going to start with this red heart-print crepe de chine in View B + the pocket, I think.

Salme Patterns Cropped Blazer
I've had this pattern for months now, but haven't yet sewn it up.  I think I want to do the jacket in navy twill and the lapel in black.

Vogue 8827
This dress is another one that's sort of unlike my usual style, but it just looks so darn classy and grown-up.  I want to do View B in some kind of wacky print, maybe like this jersey.

Now I need help:  when I can get to my sewing machine again, which one should I make first?


Diary of a Surgery Recoverer: Day 12

A weird thing happens when you are spending the majority of your day (and night, for that matter) laying in bed:  time passes really quickly!  It seems like it should be the opposite, doesn't it?!  Well, it's not.  I feel like I get up and take a shower, and then all of a sudden it's time for dinner.  I really don't like that!
But, overall, I'm feeling pretty good!  Over the weekend, I started to ambulate a little bit more (ambulate = a word that appears in my instructions for how to take care of myself after getting home.  As in, "ambulate as much as tolerated."  Except I didn't know what ambulate meant, so Scott explained it to me.  It means "move around!").  My body still feels sore after I've been up and around, but it also feels really good to move, so I'm going a little bit at a time, slowly and safely!

Anyway, for lack of anything more interesting going on, here's is what I've been up to:

 - I started a new book:  The Magicians.  My cousins sent it to me in a care package, and upon reading the back of it, I thought it sounded exactly like Harry Potter, so I started reading it right away so I could investigate.  Right now, it still does seem a lot like HP...in that the main character is a boy who is attending a magic school.  But, he's already older than Harry ever was (this school is a university), characters are saying bad words, and the back of the book promises "hedonism"...so I get the feeling we're going to veer away from HP territory pretttttty quickly.

- YouTube vortexes:  dangerous things.  In the past 24 hours, I've gotten sucked into two:
  • a Britney Spears one (I remain wholly convinced that if I could just talk to Britney for like an hour, I could straighten her out for good)
  • a Rent one (did you guys know that 2 years ago, they did Rent at the Hollywood Bowl, directed by Neil Patrick Harris, and starring Vanessa Hudgeons, Nicole Scherzinger, and Wayne Brady?  I didn't.  But now I have watched in its entirety by piecing together very clip of it I could find).
- Yesterday I walked around 2 square blocks - my current record!   The weather has been totally gorgeous (as observed out my window longingly), so today I'm hoping to take 2 walks and soak up some sun.  Get me some fresh air!

- In the past week, on two of the shows that I watch, someone has fallen over a balcony.  Is this a thing that commonly happens in real life?  Because it happens on TV all the time.  Another thing that happens on TV a lot:  people faking their deaths.  And when the big revelation comes that they are, in fact, alive and not dead, I've noticed that no one seems NEARLY shocked enough!  If that happened in real life, I feel like you would be psychologically scarred for life, right?

- I have completed 23 crossword puzzles, but only 4 of them have been with absolutely no help from Scott or the internet and no cheating.  Also, all of them were classified as "easy."  So I'm not really sure if that's a statistic I should be proud about or not...

- I am currently 462 blogs behind in my Google Reader.  I'm trying my best to get caught up, but if everyone could just not post for like a day or two and give me a chance, it would be much appreciated.  :)


Diary of a Surgery Recoverer: Day 8

One week ago, at this exact moment, I was waking up from surgery!  I was in the recovery room in a little curtained off area.  Scott was there (yay!).  My throat hurt.  There was also a girl next to me who I could hear through the curtain moaning a whole lot and saying "It huuuuuuuuuuuuuuurts!  It huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurts!" over and over.  I mean, I felt bad for her and stuff, but it was honestly making me feel kind of sick to my stomach thinking about her pain, so I really just wished she would be quiet.  A doctor came over to talk to her and asked her to rank her level of pain with a number between 1 and 10.  I found her answer to be hilarious.  She said:  "Five and three-quarters."   HAHAHAHAHAHA!  First of all, the way she was acting, you would have thought her answer would be 11, and second of all, the fact that she decided to be that specific with her number and not just go with a 6 is hysterical to me.  But then I laughed, and it hurt, so I was mad at her again.

Anyway!  Here I am, just laying in my bed some more!  Yesterday, Day 7, I had gotten up several times and did some walking and even some light picking up of trash around my bed (mostly consisting of candy wrappers...people love to give you candy when you're healing!), but I was starting to feel a little pain and discomfort in my back and legs, so I halted that activity immediately.  I was told that I could do whatever I wanted to do as long as I took it slow and it didn't hurt, so I think I went a little too far and it's time to scale it back.  So today, I'm returning to just laying down and taking it super easy.

My main focus today is going to be Elle magazine, crossword puzzles, and the last few episodes of Season 2 of The Walking Dead.  Grueling, I know.


Diary of a Surgery Recoverer: Day 6

Today is Day 6 of my recovery!  And I'm bored out of my mind already!  Here's what I've done so far today:

- Watched 12 Emma Watson interviews on YouTube (obsession fueled by this magazine that Brittany brought to me, which I have read cover to cover)

- Walked up and down the hallway for 9 minutes.  Gotta get these muscles moving!

- Watched last night's 90210 and Gossip Girl, both of which threw me twists that I did not see coming!  Good job, CW!  Also, for anyone else out there currently watching the third season of Downton Abbey via sketchy internet means...please e-mail me to discuss.

- Ate two pieces of cinnamon toast, which for the rest of my life will never stop tasting insanely good to me.

- Read the first chapter of The Girl the Dragon Tattoo, which left me insanely bored and not desiring to read any more at all.  Judging by everyone in the world's deep love for this series...it gets better, right?

- Took my second post-surgery shower!  Yes, if you do the math...that is one shower every 3 days.  My excuse is that I'm not supposed to get my incision spot wet.

- Made a semi-dramatic playlist for my future hallway walks.

Tune in tomorrow for more recovery adventures, if you think you can handle the excitement.


Weekend: Surgery

The best party about having surgery:  everybody you love sends you flowers and candy and magazines and a million text messages!

The worst part about having surgery:  everything else about having surgery.

Last Thursday, I had a procedure done to fix the herniated disc in my back I've been struggling with for the last year and a half, and it all went (mostly) really well!  Now I'm home again, with a husband who is taking care of my every whim, and I'm ready to get some serious recovery underway!

In the past 5 days, I've had many firsts, including:

My first overnight stay in a hospital.
My first experience in an operating room.
My first time laying down for 24 hours without moving - much easier said than done.
My first time watching 5 episodes of Secret Life of the American Teenager in a row (which I do not recommend to anyone)
My first time eating a dinner that Scott made without any help from me - and it was delish!

My life is going to be a teensy bit boring the next few weeks because I can't do much while my back is healing up, but since blogging is one thing that's really easy to do from bed...you'll still hear from me :)


Lots of Goodness to Look Forward To

Currently happening:
 I'm getting my poor aching back fixed for good!
(Immediately followed by 2-4 weeks off work to recover.  I'm okay with that)
Maybe I'll be able to do this again:

In 19 days:
I'm going to see Cousin Matthew from Downton Abbey, except he will not be Cousin Matthew, he'll be a different character in a play on Broadway called The Heiress, but he will be there IN THE BLUE-EYED FLESH

In 22 days:
My dear friend Lynn comes to visit and run the IMG Marathon!  I will be cheering so loudly from my spot on the curb in Harlem when she passes me!

In 30 days:
Scott's finally cashing in his birthday present:  a helicopter lesson! 
He gets to fly it himself, and it is going to be awwwwwwesome.

In about a month:
We'll find out where we're living next year.

 In 2 months and 9 days:
We head home for Christmas!
Weather permitting, of course (come on, Northeast, save your blizzard for January, please!).
OK, so this is actually us in New York at Christmas, so it doesn't make much sense, but still.  It's Christmas!
In 5 months:
I'm going to turn 28, and there will be no more denying the fact that I'm in my late 20s.

In 7 months and 11 days:
Scott will graduate and I will be a Mrs. Dentist.
This is what comes up if you google "Mrs. Dentist."
In 1 year, 1 month, and 12 days:
Catching Fire comes out!
...really?  That far away still?  That's not even worth getting excited about.

In 38ish years:  retirement


The Dress I Totally Copied

A few weeks ago, I got a Lands End catalog in the mail.  Normally I just toss these things aside, but this time, I decided to take a little look through it.  And I saw this dress.  And I became obsessed with it.  And I didn't have $194 to buy it, so I just decided to make my own.  See?
Pretty similar, don'tcha think?  I really love my version, though there are obviously lots of slight differences between mine and the L.E. one.  Such as:
  • I used wool for my main fabric, while the other is twill.
  • I used pleather that actually feels sort of like suede for the "leather" accents, while the other dress uses the real stuff.
  • My dress has slightly different coloring, but still maintains the neutral (great for autumn!) palette, so I'm fine with it!
  • Mine is more awesome.
The details:
Fabric - Pleather and wool suiting fabric from Fabric.com
Pattern - Yoke borrowed from Salme's Yoke Blouse, the rest of the dress a major modification on Grainline's Tiny Pocket Tank (lengthened to dress length, pockets added, neckline extended to meet yoke)
Time - about 5 hours total
Consensus - Love!

P.S.  The last thing I made just for me was a dress way back in August.  Feels good to get to selfishly sew a little bit again!



I spent the majority of the last week (starting last Monday, all the way through today!) feeling under the weather.  The usual head cold, slight fever, headache, sinus pain kind of thing I get every year when the seasons change from summer to fall and again winter to spring.

So, in the last 7 days:

I have worn make-up twice.
I watched every single show in my Hulu queue.  Most of them in bed.
I finished the last few pages of my book.
I did not pick up a single bit of the mess in the living room.
I spent every evening in, on the couch, with Scott.
I neglected the internet almost completely.
I went through 14 Kleenexes in 3 hours one day at work.
I relaxed as much as I could and let my body fix itself.

I'm renewed and recharged for the days ahead.  Although being sick is the worst, it's also a reminder that our bodies are so amazingly made that they can actually communicate to us when we need to slow down.  Don't forget to listen!


Book I Read in September

The next four books I plan on reading/re-reading are all coming out as movies in the next few months, and I want to read all the books first!  Want to join me?  They will be:  Cloud Atlas, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Les Miserables, and The Great Gatsby.

This month, I only finished one of them, but it was a tremendous, dense, complicated one, to say the least.

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Scott read this one first and has been begging me to read it for the last year, and I finally did!  There doesn't seem to be a whole lot you can say about this book without simply giving up the intricacies that unfold as you make your way through the book, but I'll do my best:  Cloud Atlas is a set of six stories - completely different eras, settings, and characters - that are connected only by very (seemingly) thin threads.  As you read each section of the book, written brilliantly in completely and totally unique voices and styles, you get caught up in each of the individual plots, and then begin discovering connections between them all.  I truthfully didn't really know if I liked this book or not until I was well over halfway through, at which point I found myself thinking about it constantly when I wasn't reading it (always a good sign!).  The film comes out on October 26th, and critics and audiences have been having mostly really strong reactions - either loving it or hating it.  We're hoping to love it!  There is an incredibly epic, over-five-minute long trailer out there, but I think it gives a little bit too much away, so I'll leave you with this regular-sized trailer instead.


Weekend: Maker Faire

This weekend, Scott and I ventured out to Queens (like, third stop from the end of the 7 line in Queens...that is FAR) to the New York Hall of Science to attend Maker Faire.
Maker Faire was exactly what it sounded like:  a fair for people who make stuff.  But the stuff that they make is next-level-awesome stuff.  Such as:

Gigantic thumb war.
Avocado hot dogs.  (AKA sliced avocado covered in panko bread crumbs, fried, and served in a hot dog bun with a pickle, tomatoes, and mustard.  YUM-O)
Clothing made from Metro Cards, and also a matching, dancing robot.
Life-size Mouse Trap (remember that game?!).
Crazy body contortions.
Yankee Stadium out of toothpicks, which Jane Velez-Mitchell reports on. Chalk drawings that get washed away in 30 minutes of rain :(
Rockets.  (Just kidding, these were made a long time ago and are just in the museum, duh!)

But the main Maker trend of the fair was definitely 3-D printers.  Guys, I can't explain how it works or why it works or even what the heck kind of purpose these things would serve, but these are printers that make three-dimensional objects.  Seriously.  They are programmed to make them out of melted plastic, and it takes hours and hours of them very slowly building up the object until it becomes a real thing.
Like this owl figurine.
And this plastic ring.
And these adorable tiny robots!

Ah, Science.  Somehow you simultaneously intrigue me and bore me, but I'm glad to have spent a whole day with you.