15 February 2011

One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick

I feel good today! Not only have I overcome all but the last annoying remnants of a mucousy plague that ate almost all of my weekend, but it is 70 degrees outside! 70! 7-0, as in BEEE-Yu-Tee-Fuull!!!

Last Wednesday was Mardi Gras craft shopping day! One of my best girl's and I drove all over town, manically scratching fabrics, feathers, sequins, decorations, and other sparkly sundries off our shopping lists! We took a quick break to have some guacamole and iced tea at the Blue Tomato, which was really good (just in time too, as my frantic shopping was turning me into a zombie)!

It was a wonderful day!...but did I mention that my lovely, vivacious shopping partner was nursing one hell of a cold?.....duh, duh, duuuuuuuuuh...I was down for the count by dinner time, and didn't resemble a living organism until about mid-way through Saturday...

My sickness set me back on sewing and housework, but I did manage to pull myself out of funkiness on Saturday night just in time for some out of town guests! One of my best girlfriends and her rocker boyfriend drove down for a show, and we got to tag along! We decided to take a cab, since the performance venue was far away and in a neighborhood we were unsure of. The cab driver was wicked confused when he dropped us off at the bar...can you guess why?
The bar is new (hence the no sign), and is called Siberia. It was appropriately freezing inside the bar, though it wasn't actually a cold night outside. The fun inside the show belied the stark exterior.

I know my friend took some fabulous photos of the bands with her snazzy camera, but I'll have to get those from her later. Our friend played with Oxford's own Unwed Teenage Mothers, and a Jackson, MS band we (Los Buddies) love played too! Two other bands played too, one of which had a group of 12 yr old (ok, maybe they were 21)hipster moshers....if you can mentally conceptualize that...But by that time, my dayquil-induced haze was wearing off, so I called us a cab and climbed into my cozy bed with a roll of toilet paper and an entire bag of Ricola cough drops...

Sunday, I enjoyed a little late brunch at Coulis with my friends before they headed north, and then spent most of the day ironing freshly washed Mardi Gras fabrics and shoving cough drops, pickles, vitamins, and orange juice into my face.

By yesterday morning (VALENTINES DAY!!!), I was feeling tip-top (aside from a little lingering mucous), and ready for a romantic date with my favorite archaeologist! We decided to take the streetcar downtown and scout out locations to take my folks when they visit later this week.

We started with oysters at Acme! Bryan even offered to order them on the half-shell (my preference) instead of char-grilled!

Then we walked down Royal, and paused by my favorite antique shop to get a pic of my FABULOUS outfit!!! I actually didn't make this dress, it was last year's one-time RTW purchase while I was in New York last spring! I had totally forgotten i had it, and am SO glad I found it again because I got so many compliments on it, it made my little face blush!
We wandered for a while, had dinner at Coop's Place, and finished the evening with my VERY favorite: A hot buttered rum at the Erin Rose!

Here's a couple of pics of us wandering around looking fabulous!

After work today, I've gotta get some housework done in prep for my fam's visit Thursday, but after that, I'll be sewing up a storm and hopefully will have updates soon! I hope you had a grand Valentines Day!

08 February 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

How could I resist the chance to post this historic meeting of two of my favorite things: Betty White and KoKo!!!

07 February 2011

Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods

This weekend, B and I drove up to the Arctic tundra known as Oxford, Mississippi to visit with friends. The farther north we got, the grayer and colder it got....good thing I picked up a Van Holten's Hot Mama pickle to keep myself cozy!

We've officially been gone long enough now that I felt like a visitor to Oxford instead of just a displaced resident. But of course, my friends treated me no differently, and I was so happy to see some of the people who made my ten years in Oxford so very excellent!

In addition to those folks and more, I saw some less welcome, though highly amusing people, places, and, well, mostly things!

I'm not sure who THESE belong to, but, really?

And, this girl was trying to kill this guy, why? Who cares?!?!?! This is the hands-down best photo of the weekend!

Oh, Oxford "fashion."...In addition to the usual mini skirt/ugg boot/diamond earring ensemble, the youth of Oxford have many overly priced boutiques where they can purchase expensive items made of flimsy fabrics...and they think it looks good. I'm calling this one "Little House on the Prairie Meets Foxy Brown while Trippin' on Shrooms at the Gay Bar."

Yesterday morning, we went to my favorite Oxford breakfast spot! Bottletree Bakery!
A Bowl of Soul, an Uptown (salmon cream cheese, tomatoes, onions, and capers on a sesame seed bagel), and a Ginger Scooooooooonnne (I really need to just start making these on a daily basis)!

And then, full of delicious foods and still slightly bleary-eyed from two crazy days of funness, we hit the road to head home. Home, sweet home. On the way back, I did make this gas station discovery, which would have made my friend, Pickle Freak, smile!

After work today, I needed a quick crafting fix, so I made up this pleated skirt made from a super fun circus print cotton! I'm calling it the "Greatest Show on Earth" skirt, and it's a tribute to Holly's (Betty Hutton) stupidly daring trapeze tricks in the classic film.

The skirt is soft and sweet like Holly, but one of these days I'll have to make something inspired by Gloria Grahame's slightly sluttier, grittier, elephant rider Angel (the true heroine of the film as far as I'm concerned)!

I have one more day dress and skirt to finish up this week, and then the next three weeks will be devoted to Mardi Gras crafts! Hoorah! I'd better get started, with guests coming in in only a few days, I've got a lot to do!

01 February 2011

Pride is a powerful narcotic, but it doesn't do much for the auto-immune system

11th Hour Dresses: A Lesson in Sticking to What You Know:

Many of my friends are familiar with my 11th hour dresses. I usually make them at the last minute before a party or some other event for which I suddenly cannot possibly imagine wearing anything in my wardrobe. I become obsessed with having something new to wear, and I can’t shop, so I make quickie dresses. They generally take me about 4 hours.

Important things to know about my 11th Hour dresses:

1. Usually, I make these dresses out of cheap materials I have on hand, and use familiar patterns. I made this one a while back out of a 99 cent curtain panel from Goodwill with a pattern I'd used many times:

2. Usually, these dresses lack finishing details, such as overcast seam edges or slip-stitched linings. If I decide I really like the dress, I’ll go back later and finish up the details. If not, it goes back in the WIP pile to be transformed in the future. This red one was a one-time-only wear, but the purple one above has seen its share of nights out:

3. I put very low expectations on these dresses. They are exciting adventures, but I never delude myself into thinking I’m making a masterpiece…

What happens usually is certainly not what happened Saturday.

For a week, I’ve been daydreaming about a fluffy pink 50’s style party dress to wear to the Pussyfooters’10th Annual Blush Ball. The Pussyfooters are a sassy bunch of ladies who a) dress in pink wigs, corsets, and tutus, b) perform sassy dance routines in parades and at roller derby events, and c) raise money for important local causes. So, what’s not to like??? And, this year’s blush ball was our first New Orleans “function” as residents, so Bryan and I were stoked!

I had nothing suitable for this imaginary dress in my stash, so a few days ago, I walked down to Promenade Fabrics. This store is full of crazy beautiful fabrics and trims, but most of them are out of my price range. So, after sadly bypassing some beautiful pink silks, plaids, seersuckers, and florals, I settled on some good quality, baby pink Italian cotton shirting. I decided it needed some punch, so I also purchased some black lace to overlay sections of the dress. I had already chosen my pattern from my collection at home: Vintage Vogue 1172:

Remember, as of 7:30 Saturday morning, in my mind, this dress was going to be the most perfect party dress ever (already in violation of 11th Hour Dress rule 3 above). I had my doubts about the lace, but, hey, I could just leave it off if I liked the pink by itself!

8:00 – I cut out the pattern and fabric. There isn’t enough lace for the whole dress, but I’m ok with that! I decide to fully line the bodice instead of using facings. I start to sew.

9:30 – Bodice constructed. I’m starting to have creeping doubts about the lace, as well as the fit of the bodice….but they just look off because it’s not far enough along yet….it’s still very beautiful in my head…

12:00 – Skirt constructed. I’m frustrated at my time management, but I’ve never used this pattern before, and the Ball doesn’t start til 9, so I have plenty of time… I pin the skirt and bodice on Stella….du-du-duuuuuuhhhhhhhh:

I flipped and rearranged it every way I could. There was no hope for this dress.

Can I tell you how much I hate this lace! And the dowdiness is such that Michael Kors would blow an artery! Ugh! I store-bought the supplies! I had too high hopes and NO backup plan!......So, being in that obsessive state where there seems no other way….I started another dress at 1:30.

This one had more promise from the start. I used a super soft, buttery yellow, thrifted duvet cover ($4), and a simpler pattern I’ve used before. I cranked through it, relishing the adrenaline that comes from deadline pressure. I thought the bodice seemed a little roomy when I tried it on, but figured with a zipper and a little extra in on the darts, it would be fine…

6:00 - I finished all but the hem, added a raspberry velvet ribbon belt and an ostrich feather….not my dream dress, but it will do!...

…or not….The dress is SO too big in the bodice it’s ridiculous! I’ve used this pattern before, and (though I have lost a little weight) it should not have been this big. In my haste, I must have made a major (and completely amateur) error somewhere…Sorry, Pride, you’ll be ok…

Lesson Learned. The 3 rules of 11th hour dresses must be followed at all times. SOOOOO, after 2 dresses and almost 12 hours of near-constant creative activity, I had no fabulous creation, and wore the sailor dress I made last week to the ball…

BUT it was still the most fabulous of times!

AND, I did have one creative victory last week: My first ever man’s button-up shirt! Here’s Bryan sporting his new sailing shirt!

I wish I'd asked him to wear it out to the Marina last Friday, when we performed the renaming ceremony on his boat. I knew that sailors were superstitious, but this was my first hands on encounter with this old nautical tradition, which involves the invocation of water and wind gods, the sacrifice of (cheap) champagne, and the consumption of said (cheap) champagne while carefully following a detailed procedure!

Thankfully, my creative rut seems to be at an end. Yesterday, I put together a green buffalo plaid dress (same Butterick pattern that I used and loved a couple of posts ago). It's comfortable, and (though I wish I'd taken more time to match the pattern) I'm very happy with it. I'm wearing it at work today, but my camera died. I'll put a photo up soon!

I'm hoping to be more frequent with my blogging, as I'm embarking on several weeks of crazy adventures! Travels, houseguests, school projects, and, of course, the impending crescendo of Mardi Gras season! Here's to more successful crafting for me and for all of you! Tonight, I may have to invoke the gods of creativity and stamina with a little (cheap) champagne!