Archive for January, 2012

January 31, 2012

Something Worth Doing

This morning, the husband sent me an article by a woman who, a few  years after a major medical emergency, picked herself up and said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

All I could think to tell him was “thank you.”

Here’s my favorite bit:

I decided to up the ante and go balls-to-the-wall … I decided that I wanted to do it right now and not wait, because waiting is never a guarantee … I decided to become an ass-kicker, take no prisoners, say ‘Yes’ more, and stop pansy-footing around. I decided that fuck it, we’re damn worth it, and if you don’t stand up for yourself…well then who the hell will do it for you?

I mean, right?

What an inspiration to really just do it. Waiting is never a guarantee. Holy crap. How often do we do this? How often did I say “January is 5 years from the accident. I’ll try … everything … again then.” ?

I want to challenge myself … and all of you … to do one thing in February, that you’ve been putting off. Just one thing. Mine will be swimming (something I did competitively in HS and college). What will yours be?

Read her whole story here.

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January 30, 2012

Winner! Winner!

Good morning! Were you waiting for this post? ::winks::

First off, let me say … you all make me want to give EVERYONE things. All your stories and prodding and so one. Jeesh. As I told the husband, REPEATEDLY, thank GOD I didn’t say I’d judge on “best story”. Random drawings are LIFE SAVERS.

So for this, we went with the tried and true paper scraps in a bowl:

 

 

10 entires in all. One piece of paper for each of ya.

Swirled it around a few times, and the husband chose a scrap. And we had a winner!

 

Hooray!! Trisha! Winner winner winner!

So, Trisha, shoot me an email with your address, and your new fancies will be on their way to you tomorrow!

Thanks to everyone who entered. I had no idea how nerve-wracking hosting a giveaway could be … but you all (and your entries!) made it fun, too!

 

* After takeing photos I tossed Trisha’s entry back into the bowl and started goofing off, making the scraps of paper bounce around. After about a minute one of them went flying across the room. It was Trisha, AGAIN. Clearly, these earrings were meant for her.

January 26, 2012

Sisterhood – The Dress!

First off … you HAVE seen Jenn’s Grad post and Sisterhood post over on APW right? And her lovely blog about her partner, Brandon? If not, go do it. I’ll wait.

Amazing, right?

 

So now let’s talk details.

Jenn touched on it a bit, but the process of transforming this gown from “Rachel’s Dress” to “Jenn’s Dress” had many, many steps.  A few weeks after the handoff (where I’d offhandedly offered to alter it … and then freaked out about Jenn accepting), Jenn asked me to come over and see her try it on. She wanted me to gauge how much work I’d need to do to make it fit. Oh, and she had a couple ideas of ways to change it.

I still maintain that she looked gorgeous in the dress from day 1 … but we all know how important it is to FEEL gorgeous, too. So, holding my breath, I started opening the hem to see what we had to work with. Whoever’d done Rachel’s alterations … BLESS THEM. They’d used what I call a “theatre alteration” * (no cutting) and we had quite a bit of extra fabric in all the seams. So, that’s easy. Next it was the design.

Through some miracle, Jenn had found a ton of BEAUTIFUL ivory lace for ridiculously cheap. She’d been toying with the idea of creating a lace and ribbon sash. So we snipped off the bows and other adornments (carefully … we wanted to be able to put them back, should she change her mind), and carefully pinned the lace on. And everyone LOVED it.

From there we spent a few months going back and forth on the details of the plan … should the sash be removable? Should the ribbon be attached? Should we create a ribbon bow? What about the hem? Lace? No lace? How thick of a ruffle should it be? Should it just be flat? Should should should … designing is a tough, detailed (no pun intended) business.

 

Finally, we had a plan, and it was time to sit down and work.

The story is long and boring, so here are the details:

– Total sewing time was around 25 hours. Many movies were consumed during this time.
– The lace (all 8 yards of it) was gathered by hand, with the help of a long machine stitch. All other work was done by hand.
– I never ONCE stuck my finger during all this hand sewing. I did, however, have satin safe stain remover, just in case.
– The intensity of the gather and the length of the ruffle varied from short/loosely ruffled in the front to long/tightly ruffled in the back. Much pinning and repinning was involved. ::winks::
– The lace needed to be attached in two ways … first to the inside of the satin, and then layered with the lining. I only had to re-do one bit. I call it a win.
– The sash was basted on while Jenn (ever trusting) was wearing it. I still don’t think I stuck her. She may disagree.
– The ribbon was designed to allow for a clip adornment, should one be desired.
– 10 of the buttons needed to be removed and reattached. It was the easiest, yet most nerve-wracking bit of the entire gown.
– I finished the final bit while Jenn waited … so I was about 10 minutes over my deadline. Whoops!

 

 

All in all, I love how it turned out. And while I realize my opinion wasn’t the one that counted, I was pretty damn proud of myself. I’ve done a lot of designing and executing alterations, but never with so much riding on it. It occurred to me on the day of Jenn’s wedding that while I knew she loved how it looked on the dress form, I wasn’t there to see if she loved it just as much, once she was wearing it. And that, of course, was super, super important to me.

I’m not sure how I’ll be able to convince myself that she did (and she did, according to her post). But then again, you’re always your own worst critic. ** So, in the meantime, I’ll sate my pride by the involuntary catch of breath I get looking at the splay of lace on their overhead ceremony shots … and by the compliments Jenn received. Through that, I consider it a job well done.

Thanks, Jenn (and Rachel!) for letting me feel and play a tiny role in the big picture of the Sisterhood!

 

All photos by the amazing Jenn Link Photography. Go. Hire her. You won’t be disappointed!

 

* You NEVER cut out the extra fabric when you’re altering for theatre. Especially in school settings and lower budget productions, that costume may very well be used again … so you need to be able to let it back out for someone else. Same with hems. You have no idea how many times it’s saved my butt.

** For example … it kills me that the lace pattern didn’t match up on either side of the buttons down the back. I know it was out of my control, but GAH!

January 24, 2012

Share the Luck

So … when you have an instance of good luck, it’s always best to share it with others, right? Pay it forward, if you will?

 

 

At least, that’s how I operate.

For example … way back in the middle of wedding planning, I won a package from betsywhite consisting of a custom logo/monogram, thank you notes, napkins, and stickers. I paid it forward by bugging my sister to enter a wedding photography contest and begging for votes. You guys rocked it … and she won! She’s paying it forward by setting up a giveaway for some wedding services … she’s working out the details.

It’s always good to keep the luck going around, right?

Well, today’s that day!

In December, I entered a bunch of daily prize contests (sponsored by Rent The Runway) in an attempt to rack up entries into a grand prize trip. I didn’t win the trip … but I DID win a daily prize! A tote bag and a few accessories from Sachin+Babi! Fabulous!

A couple pieces were immediately sent off to various important ladies as gifts, but I’ve saved a bit for you … after all, you’re pretty important ladies (and guys!) to me. So, let me introduce you to the Triev earrings:

 

 

I apparently also give you crappy photos. There’s only so much I can do with my phone, you know. ::winks::

 

 

Also known as the Rorschach Fringe earrings, the Triev* are sterling silver. They hang 3.5 inches from tip to tip (about 3.25″ from post to tip), and weigh .05 ounces each. Perfect for that formal event you have looming on the horizon … or for adding some badassery to your every day attire, am I right?

Anyone interested?

If so! Leave me a comment, letting me know! I’ll leave comments open through Friday, and announce the winner (chosen through random drawing) Monday morning. And yes, all you non-US located lovelies are included. =)

So how about it? Fancy earrings for you? And we can’t forget … you’ll also receive this lovely linen bag I may or may not be obsessed with:

 

Blurry fingers not included.

Hooray!

 

* In the interest of full disclosure, these earrings retail for $295, and I paid nothing for them. This giveaway is sponsored by neither Rent The Runway nor Sachin+Babi.

January 23, 2012

A TRIUMPH!

A triumph, I tell you!

 

That’s what I kept yelling from the kitchen last night. And that was even BEFORE tasting them.

After being inundated with Red Lobster commercials for the past month, these have been on my list to try and make. Thanks to a lovely link on Pinterest from the best, I had a recipe! Now, just to find the time…

Yesterday, the day was … icy. So we stayed in, and stayed in, and stayed in … until the prospect of yet another poorly written disaster movie (2012 anyone?) was enough to drive us both to shower and run out the door for dinner. Our destination? Cafe Rio. Is there one near you? Have you been there? If you answers are yes and no, respectively, run there. NOW. You’ll thank me.

So out the door we headed, into the ice and foggy breath … only to arrive 4 minutes after closing. 4 MINUTES. The husband pouted for the next 10. And as we contemplated what else we could eat, a little voice in the very back of my brain yelled “CHEESY BISCUITS!” So, I offered to take him to Target, and to make dinner myself.*

Target, a place that is guaranteed to cheer him up, is also a freaking drain. We went in for Bisquick, and a possible boy-cheering something or other, and left $68 later. Take note, this is NOT how we save money.

But! On the positive side, I had my chance to make the biscuits! And kids … they. were. so. easy. So easy. As in I-will-make-these-for-snacks-when-I-don’t-feel-like-cooking easy. So let’s get to it.

*** NOTE: These biscuits are soft, not flaky. That’s how I like ’em. If you’re going for flaky, sub the Bisquick for flour/baking powder/butter accordingly ***

 

You’ll need: **

2 cups Bisquick (I used original. If someone tries the gluten-free, let me know how it works!)***
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the Bisquick, cheese and garlic powder.

Add milk and stir until JUST combined.

Drop spoonfuls (about 2 tablespoons? I didn’t measure) onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter, and stir in parsley and garlic salt.

After 10 minute, brush the butter/parsley/garlic mixture on the biscuits.

Return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Serve hot … they’re best that way!

 

See, what’d I tell you? EASY.

One thing to mention though … these had a distinctly salty taste. Being a lover of all things cheese and salt (please see my Handi Snacks addiction), they were perfect for me. If you aren’t a fan of the sodium, sub more garlic powder for the garlic salt in the butter mixture. Problem solved.

So … what are you waiting for? GO MAKE ‘EM!

Have you cooked anything fun recently?

 

* Me cooking dinner is not an out-of-the-ordinary occurence. But for me to offer, at 8:15pm, on a Sunday, when we haven’t planned anything? He was excited, to say the least.

** This recipe is for 14ish small biscuits. I halved the recipe and it fed the two of us, along with pasta and salad.

*** DO NOT be seduced by the Bisquick “Garlic Cheese Biscuit” mix. NOT THE SAME, I tell you!