16 December 2013

Post-AGU Quick Takes

1. AGU went really really well this year! I gave my first talk and it seemed fine. The talk right before mine had technical difficulties in that all of his, mine, and the talk after mine slides had been removed from the network folder and replaced with talks from the previous day. Due to the AGU time constraints, he had to do about half the talk without slides until they were able to fix the problem. Thankfully, I did not have to do an interpretive dance about EMIC waves.

2. I love love that Matthew and I get to go to AGU together every year. I wish I could take him along to all my conferences.

3. I talked to potential future bosses while at the conference and instead of helping to limit my decision, it made things much more complicated. I'm confident I'll end up somewhere super awesome.

4. I made it back from San Francisco in one piece! The very very slow bus ride from Boston was a bit scary at times due to the heavy snow fall, but I was sitting next to a post-doc and our chatting made the time go by much quicker.

It really was a sea of white while driving.

5. After cleaning off the small layer of snow from the car and driving home from the bus station on Saturday, I woke up to this Sunday Morning.

6. Kitty butt was very happy to have me home. It is nice to be greeted by this little creature that sounds excited to see you. I dig it.

7. I made Chickpea Dumplings in Tomato Sauce last night for dinner and it was fantastic. The flavour from toasting the cumin, coriander, and mustard seeds was amazing and I liked the contrast of the sauce with the little dumplings. Since I was just cooking for me, I halved the amount of tomatoes and chickpea dumplings, but kept the seasoning the full amount and it was perfect for me. I was worried about the dumplings falling apart in my leftovers, but they held up like a champ.

06 December 2013

Pre-AGU Quicktakes

1. Let it Snow!

2. I made a delicata squash rice bowl based on this recipe this week and it was good. Very good. My changes - pan roasted chickpeas with salt, pepper, and chipotle powder instead of the tofu and no mushrooms. For the sauce, I omitted the lemongrass.

3. I have enough nice Me-Made clothes to make it through the entire AGU week. And then I can show off my threads to everyone!

4. Over the last couple of weeks, I lost two earrings while wearing them. Now I have two sad earrings without mates. I should probably procure more those plastic earring backing so I don't lose anymore.

5. Over Thanksgiving, we went to Philadelphia for our 3rd Honeymoon trip. We visited the Mütter Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary, Rocky Statue, Magic Gardens, and Museum of Natural History with animatronic dinosaurs and a behind the scenes look at how the animal dioramas are made. We also made it to Vedge (oh my goodness so much good vegan food), Miss Rachel's Pantry (okay vegan food), and Brauhaus Schmitz (not even remotely vegan food). We used AirBnb for our lodging and the apartment we stayed in was quite lovely.

6. While in Philadelphia, we went to Hats in the Belfry and bought a couple of cute hats for Matthew - fedora and page boy.

7. We also went to Fabric Row and I quickly became completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of fabric available! This is not your typical JoAnn's store which was exactly what I was looking for. Overall, Philadelphia was a fantastic trip.

27 November 2013

Archer Shirt

I made a button up shirt! I used the Grainline Archer pattern (all patterns are 20% off through Monday with the code GIVETHANKS20) and love it!

I cut a size 4 and used the 1/2 inch seam allowance everywhere except the side seams where I increased it to 5/8 inch. I'll probably still bring in the side to make it a bit more fitted. I didn't use the instructions provided with the pattern, but followed along on the Grainline Sew-a-long. I sewed most of the shirt in a few hours, but then the cuffs started confusing me, so I had to put it away until the next day.

I am a big fan and already have several other lengths of fabric designated for this pattern. The only thing I don't like about the pattern? Having to sew on soooo many buttons.

25 November 2013

Ghost Photos

A few weekends ago, Matthew and I went to a graveyard in town to take "ghostly" pictures. I wore a white dress I made and we used the Holga to take multiple exposed shots. The idea was to make me look like a ghost going through the cemetery. Next time, I will wear darker clothes - the white dress showed up a bit too well in all the shots. In the few Matthew was in, he looked much more ghost-like than I did.

We might use this as our Christmas card photo this year.

What do you think?

26 October 2013

Photo Quick Takes

I went to Washington DC for work last month (right before the shut down!). Here are a few Holga pictures from that trip as well as some other photos.







Mendum Pond for the Physics picnic.


Creepy New England cemetery.

18 October 2013

Takin' Quick

Goodness, this week went by quickly.

1. Cocktail party tonight! We went shopping yesterday at the liquor store and I felt like such a lush buying all the booze. We shouldn't run out though, which would be a disaster at a cocktail party! And I get to wear one of my handmade fancy dresses!


2. Yesterday I was waiting for Matthew and saw this lovely spider hanging on the window (on the outside).


3. Last weekend, Matthew and I were grocery shopping and I was trying to decide on a wine to drink. The "plays well with" did not persuade me to buy this wine.


4. This was kitty butt being the most adorable cat this morning. My blog wouldn't be complete without cat pictures, right?


5. I made Squash Risotto last night for dinner and it was amazingly delicious. I used a combination of butternut and delicata squash and when I make it again, I will roast the squash in the oven while the onions are caramelizing. We didn't end up eating until almost 20:00 because I was using the same pan for everything per the instructions.


6. Matthew and I have been able to have short conversations in Deutsch, which makes me really happy. Wie geht es heute? Mir geht es so la la. Nicht ausgezeichnet? Nein, ausgezeichnet nicht. And maybe something about Frühstück as well.


7. I made the Verity Dress a few weeks ago from a cotton-polyester blend knit from Joann's. I am a big big fan of this dress. I am going to try to depuff the sleeves because they don't do anything for my broad shoulders and I bought both red and grey knits to make similar dresses. I cut a size small and the fit has been great. On my next go around I need to lengthen the sleeves and waistband by about an inch and the skirt by a few inches. I left the bottom unhemmed so I wouldn't lose any length.

12 October 2013

Takes, takes, takes, takes, takes, takes, takes

After writing "takes" so many times for the title, the word has lost all meaning.

One: I made a muslin for the Sureau Dress today. I am super excited about doing the real dress. I bought a grey super king duvet cover at Goodwill a few weeks ago that I am going to use as my final fabric - it is going to be a fantastic fall dress.

Two: We are having a fall cocktail party next Friday! I have been extremely introverted the last few months and haven't really called/hung out with anyone and I think it is now time for some social interaction.

Three: Today while I was sewing, I listened through a backlog of Slate's Political Gabfest episodes and decided I wanted something a bit lighter so I looked through the This American Life episodes I have downloaded. I started listening to Use Only as Directed about Tylenol and how unsafe it can be. Not the lighter kind of story I really wanted, but it was amazingly interesting and makes me want to not use many of the "very safe" over the counter drugs.

Four: It might be time to turn on the heater. I keep finding Frau Katze burrowed under the covers on the bed taking her naps.

Five: These Smoky Lentil Tacos with Kabocha Squash and Green Tomato Salsa are on the menu for tomorrow and are a perfect way to use up the some of the vegetables from our final CSA delivery.

Six: A couple of weeks ago, Matthew surprised me with starting a brew of kombucha! I hadn't used my SCOBY in maybe 6 or 7 months and it has been a bit slow going to turn this tea into kombucha. The new daughter looks beautiful, though, so I'm sure with just another week or two the batch will come out well and I can have a regular supply of kombucha.

Seven: With NSF shutting down the Antarctic research season, our instruments at the South Pole and McMurdo might be turned off. Silly government shut down ruining scientific research.

08 September 2013

In which I make another dress and a purse!

A couple of weeks ago, the box I mailed from Mom's House of Fabric arrived in New Hampshire. Among the goodies I selected was an autumn coloured striped cotton fabric.

I found this dress on Pintrest a few weeks ago and I was inspired to make a dress with my striped fabric.

Via Pinterest from Ace & Jig.

I was undecided as to what I would use for the pattern, when I decided to go with a pattern that I knew fit and was sitting right next to me - the Washi Dress. I have made it twice before and loved the outcome.

Washi Tunic and Washi Dress

The two previous makes had been made with thrifted tablecloths and curtains, respectively, both of which are pretty heavy material. This time around, I used quilting cotton fabric. Next time I wear the dress, I'll wear it with a slip because the fabric clings to my leggings and rides up my legs in a funny way when I walk.

The fabric is a bit stiff, which I hope goes away with some washing. I lined the bodice using the videos posted here. The videos show a very very clever way to finish off the arm hole sleeves with the lining.

Because the pattern consists of three main pieces, I was able to match up my stripes reasonable well. The shoulder seams have a neat chevron effect from where the stripes match up.

I received several compliments on my outfit today and it is always fun to tell people that I made my dress.

Another thing I made this past week is a purse! One of my old roommates from Austin recently started a sewing blog and is hosting monthly sew-a-longs. This month, she chose the free Buttercup Purse Pattern.

For the fabric, I used an old pair of Matthew's shorts and some flower-y fabric from my newly acquired Mama stash. I was going to put a button closure on it, but decided to leave the top open. I did add a pocket on one side of the lining. It is the perfect size for me. It can hold my wallet, phone, keys and that is about it. I love it.

23 August 2013

Quick takes!

1. Sunday marks five years of Matthew and I being together! He picked me up from the airport after a two week graduate school tour and we have rarely been separated since that moment. It has been nothing short of amazing.

2. This picture was taken when I was in the Wisconsin part of my grad school tour and hanging out with the Milos.

Photo by Cousin Lisa.

My hair was so long and red!

3. We decided to make tasty dinner tonight to celebrate our 60/12 year milestone.

We made Thai Tofu Cakes, Grilled Maple Rum Glazed Panzanella Salad, and chocolate chip cookies.

4. I made a new dress last night. Every time I told someone that today, they were very surprised. It is another Washi, but made into dress form unlike last time. I used a pair of blue curtains I purchased from Savers. I love the weight of the fabric and this dress is amazingly comfortable.

I thought it would look good with the belt around the waist, but I think it is much better without anything holding the dress back. It needs room to breathe! This time, I cut a small again and shifted the dart straight down by 1.5 cm. The dart now hits at the exact right spot. I also extended the length of the bodice by about 1.5 cm, so it now ends at the bottom of my ribcage instead of just under my breasts. It has pockets!

The necklace I am wearing is one of the necklaces I received from my Grandma Trudy and it goes perfectly with the blue of the dress.

5. The cat wanted to go outside tonight and I decided to take pictures of her while she was checking everything out. She didn't want to stay put for the entire duration of the exposure.

6. The cat was very lounge-y the other night. She is adorable.

7. My next sewing adventure is the Elisalex Dress. I found some shiny muted mint green curtains at Savers that I think would be perfect for it. I am planning on the long sleeved version, but I might make it 3/4 sleeves if the long sleeves seem too overwhelming for the dress. I am also planning on making the skirt several inches shorter. I am going to attempt a full bust adjustment for the first time!

21 August 2013

The things that I have made.

In my last post, I showed pictures of the top that I had made, in this one I'll have pictures of all the rest of the things that I have made since buying my machine in March of this year. Matthew and I had a lovely photoshoot today after work when the light was beautiful.

In roughly chronological order:

Miette Skirt. I cut a straight size 2 with the pockets. The fabric is a linen tablecloth from Savers. You will be hearing a lot about tablecloths from Savers. This is a wrap skirt where the wrap is in the back instead of in the front. It is quite a nice pattern and for my first pattern, I think it came out pretty well. The hem is a bit wonky and I didn't press the ties as well as I could before turning.

I probably should have ironed all the clothes before the pictures, alas, I did not. Get ready for wrinkly skirts!

Sorbetto top. This is a free pattern from Colette Patterns. I made a straight size 2. If I were to make this again, I would move the dart down, add a few more inches to the bottom, and use my own bias tape. This was my first time using bias tape and store bought bias tape is plasticly and not super awesome. The fabric was from Savers in the curtain area, but it is just a quilting weight cotton.

It does make a good comfy top!

Self-drafted circle skirt. This is another tablecloth find from Savers. I love love love this skirt. It is comfortable, fun to twirl, and I get a lot of compliments on it. Before I started sewing, my colour palette stayed in the browns/blacks/greys/blues. Very neutral tones. Now I pick up any fabric that looks interesting even if the colour is a bit out of the norm for me. I installed my first zipper on this skirt. Not very well, but I did it!

It twirls so nicely!

Two makes: Kirsten Kimono Tee and self-drafted x-large man's shirt to skirt. The shirt was my first time sewing with knits. I am glad that my sewing machine has a special foot that will do a zigzag stitch - it literally pulls the fabric side to side so my straight stitch machine will do a zigzag. For being a first shirt, I think it came out pretty well. In another incarnation (further down) I modified to fit me a bit better and next time I will modify it just a bit more. I cut a size S at the bust and graded to XS at the waist. I also did not add the missing seam allowance to try to make it a bit more fitted. I bought the knit at Joann's.

For the skirt, I used the seam ripper to take off the breast pocket and cut the shirt right below the arm seam. I used left over fabric from the top for the waist band and sewed on snaps to keep the top closed. This skirt is one of my favourite things I have made. It is comfortable and fun to wear and adds a bit more colour to my closet. I bought the shirt at Goodwill.

Refashion: Man shirt to tunic. I made this one morning when I woke up early before I was going to give a test for the class I taught this summer. I got a lot of compliments on it from my students, which is always fun. A friend and his family recently moved to California and in preparation for the move, they gave almost everything away. His wife and I were are almost the exact size, so I scored a few pretty awesome things from her and I picked out this shirt to see if I could do anything fun with it.

My measuring skillz were not super awesome that morning and I sewed up more on one side than the other, but I think the belt covers up a lot of that. There is a lot of fabric near the shoulders, so I would probably add a dart or two to try to take in some of that billowness. I also haven't finished any of the seam allowances and they are starting to fray, I should probably do something about that. Overall, it is fun to wear and I love it.

Butterick 5928 and another Kirsten Kimono Tee. I used this for the skirt, but I really want to make the Tunic of View B. I have a size 14, which is a bit big for me and being quite new to sewing, I haven't mastered tailoring quite yet, so this skirt is a bit too big. It was the first pattern in which I used my tracing paper and wheel which works quite nicely. I liked being able to trace the darts directly onto the fabric. I put this zipper in a bit better than the circle skirt. I had to use a regular zipper foot because I didn't have an invisible foot. This is fabric my mother sent me when I told her that I was teaching myself how to sew. The quilting fabric is quite stiff and not drapey like the linen tableclothes I used previously.

I think I was getting very done taking pictures!

For the shirt, I sloped my cutting in by a couple of centimeters at the waist and I extended the kimono sleeves by 2 cm which I think looks so much better than the black tee. The next time I make this shirt, I will decrease the amount of fabric in the front and back by an inch or so. There is significant gaping, especially in the back. I bought this knit from Joann's.

Refashion: Large woman shirt to skirt. I made this in about 10 minutes. The day before I made made a shirt from a tablecloth that frayed incredibly. I think there are still threads from that shirt and it has been nearly a month since I made it. The shirt is unpictured because it does not look great at all. I spent an entire Saturday making it and when I got up on Sunday I wanted something quick and gratifying which was this skirt.

It is stretchy shirt I bought at Goodwill. I cut off the sleeves and sewed up the arm holes. Done! It is very form fitting which Matthew likes very very much. The tie is left over from the shirt and I thought it was fun, so I left it.

Refashion: Woman dress to skirt. I bought a dress from Savers because I liked the pattern and fabric. The top of the dress was a bit small for my big breasts. The dress got the easiest treatment of changing to just a skirt. I cut it off right around the waist and added elastic to the top.

This skirt doesn't twirl as well as the circle skirt, no matter how hard I try. The elastic is just a bit too tight for me, therefore this skirt is a bit uncomfortable to wear all day. It isn't so bad and I still love the print.

Anna Dress. As everyone else has said, the packaging on the By Hand London patterns is beautiful! I like how they include a garment tag. I am calling this my wearable muslin and when I make my real version, I'll sew in the tag. I made the bodice of this dress three times to get it right for me. The first time I cut a size 4/8, but that was too small for my breasts, so I went up to the 6/10. I also had to a pretty substantial forward shoulder adjustment - approximately 3.5 cm at the corner of my shoulders. I didn't try to adjust the armhole after the adjustment though, so there is a lot of fabric hanging out that probably shouldn't be there. The fabric is another tablecloth from Savers.

Next time, I'll cut a 6/10 or 8/12 at the bust and decrease to 4/8 for the waist and hips. After making the bodice three times and not being super happy with it, I was debating if I should continue with the dress or not. I had just read Lladybird's post about she never has any "UFO's" or unfinished objects. I decided to just push through and finish the pattern because it was already cut out. When I put on the skirt, I fell in love with the dress. Things to change for next time: I need to extend the pleats on the bodice by about an inch to reach my waist line and I am thinking of changing it to a sleeveless bodice. I tried to extend the sleeves like the Kimono tees, but in this fabric it wasn't working as well. I feel like a football player. I was able to use my new invisible zipper foot for the zipper and aside from the bunching on one side, it went it well. When I put in the zipper, I hand basted down one side and sewed it in. When I went to hand baste the other side, I made it nearly to the end and realised that I had twisted the zipper tape and had to take out the basting. Instead of putting in more basting, I thought I would just pin the zipper in place and it shifted around quite a bit when I was sewing it in. I also didn't take super good care to finish my hems - I used used my rolled hem foot which is very unhappy about going over any seams. Next time! I wore this dress on Monday and Matthew's boss asked if I had a presentation or job interview to go to. Nope! The occasion is I finished a dress!

Latest creation: Shower curtain to skirt using Simplicity 6594. Another Savers find was this shower curtain with a black ribbon and fabric covered buttons. I don't usually wear pink, but I thought this fabric was fantastic. I bought this pattern off of Ebay and when I went to take out the pattern pieces, I discovered that I only had the front piece and no facings. I did have two sets of instructions, though. From the line drawings, the front looked very similar to the back, so I just used the same piece to cut both the front and back.

I added the back slit after wearing this all day and not being able to take a full stride. I didn't follow either of the instructions included in the pattern and just went my own way. The top of the shower curtain acted as my waistband and it already had built in button holes! I sewed up the sides until about 3 inches from the top. I left a flap open on either side that closes with a button and a snap to get in and out of the skirt. This was my first time trying to match up stripes/plaid and I think I did a pretty good job at the sides. This outfit prompted several people to ask if I was giving a presentation or job interview. Unless you are doing something important, people in physics don't really dress up at all.

Whew, that is a lot sewing and I am just getting started in my sewing career! I have a few more things to refashion including a 100% blue silk muumuu, a bright floral dress with a silk shirt, and an XL black sweatshirt. When I was in Colorado last week, I went shopping at Mom's House of Fabric and mailed a big box home full of buttons and fabric. I am looking forward to digging into my newly acquired stash. Thanks, Mom! And if I don't have enough fabric, I can always go to Savers.