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Back From China

14 Sep

Hello Everyone!

First, thank you for all the congratulations on my recent engagement!!! We ended up taking a las minute trip over the Labor Day holiday weekend to see my parents in Florida.

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Pass A Grille Beach in St. Pete, FL

Sitting on the lanai, (thank you Debbie Cooke, I had no idea what that thing was called) by the pool, we read every single comment out loud. There was a lot of squealing of delight on my part :-) It was so fun to hear from long time internet friends, real life friends and from those of you who delurked.  I am sincerely overwhelmed and touched by your outpouring of congratulations. Jordan, for sure, knows there is a whole community rooting for us!

Two weeks week ago (the Tuesday after Labor Day), I left for a two-week business trip to Shanghai and Xiamen in China. My colleagues and I were incredibly busy with work meetings and work meals.

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But, I had to get back to the South Bund Spinning Market while in Shanghai.

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Long time readers may remember that the market is mostly for buying custom made clothing.

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For instance, this dress is a knock off of a dress worn by Kate Middleton. Their price, pre-bargining, custom fit, $100.

This Burberry copy was $80

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But, I was focused on buying laces. My plan was to buy fabric in Shanghai and have it sewn in Xiamen. Prior experience told me construction prices would be half.

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These guipere laces are stunning at stall no 398. They are similar to Prada and Versace. And, after bargaining, $15 a yard. I may have overpaid. But, you lose perspective!

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They’ve been turned into three lace dresses (cream, red, and purple), one of which I will wear for my rehearsal dinner.

Here is the cream lace mid construction

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If I lived in China, I would have everything custom made. Period.

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I also bought several meters of each of these laces to make my wedding veil. For 20 yards I spent about $20. I want a finger tip, one layer veil edged in lace. I saw them going for $300 US. That, is bananas. I’ll use the savings for my shoes. The first and last are my top contenders. I will use the second and third to practice.

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I am now back home after 40 hours of travel from Xiamen to Shanghai, Shanghai to Detroit and Detroit to Baltimore and, incredibly jet lagged (hence my 4:00 a.m. posting)

I’ll get the four shirts, two suits and three dresses I had made on the dressform and post some about that process and the food I ate. Oh, China has changed since I went three years ago and I’ll bore you with my thoughts on that too!

Why Shopping Frustrates Me, Reason #134

22 Jul

Because I have been looking for a pale pink filing/ dairy crate for a month and have turned up bupkiss. Have been to Joanns, Stables, Wal Mart, Target, Container Store and PB Kids. Grrr.

I rode my bike to work today. It’s taken me well over a month to work my nerve up.  It was a harrowing 3.5 miles on Baltimore city streets but rewarding. Oh, and I was totally winded and plan to take the bus home because getting to work is downhill and I know my limitations. But, the entire time, the aesthetic was thrown off by this lime green milk crate.

Pale pink. I saw them EVERYWHERE last year. This year, according to the Wal Mart manager, all the new stuff is in brights. Bright lime, hot pink and orange. I couldn’t even find black or white when I went to my three different Wal Marts.

Sigh. See how difficult my life is? LOL. Seriously though, this is why I like to sew. I can make exactly what I want when I want it.

My Friend Trudy

15 Apr

I’m hoping this will make up for all the promised sewn gifts that I’ve never got around to making…..

So, my friend Trudy has gorgeous, thick, healthy, beautiful hair. She looks like she should be on the box of a perm. Actually, it’s been her dream to be on a perm box. And, now she has a chance.  Johnson and Johnson is holding a model search. She’s slipped from 30th to 52nd place and has to be in the top 48 to make the cut! Today is the last day to vote and she said to me “I think I’ll cry if I don’t make the cut”.  They threw out 600 of her votes because they couldn’t verify the email addresses.  Soooo, here I am to try and help her.


Her original email below:

Dear Family and Friends,
    My years-long dream is to be on the cover of a perm box. And now, I have an
opportunity to make my dream come true.  Please help me. You can vote once a day until
Tax Day (April 15th).  If you have already started voting, thank you so much and please keep voting.
    You register to vote here:    Your email address and password need to be accurate. You only need to fill in the blanks with an asterisk (*). After you register, click on the vote link next to my picture and make sure you get the message that you have successfully voted.
    Please forward this to everyone you know. Thank you so much!

So, what do you say? Today’s the *last * day!

Party Dress

2 Apr

Hey Chicas,

First, thank you immensely for all the good thoughts on how to manage my time better and next steps with sewing and boyfriend management.

Second, we were off today for Good Friday!! And…. I’m totally sewing! Well, right now I’ve traced and cut, and I plan to sew all day tomorrow and Sunday.

I had two great deliveries today. First leathah….

I took advantage of FabricMart’s awesome 35 percent off sale and scored this gorgeous piece of black pigskin. JustGail said,

“Vegan, huh? My question is – will this affect your fabric purchases?? Is this the end of silk and wool for you? And what about the stash?”

I didn’t even think of that! Well, I didn’t ask and I’m not gonna! I will happily eat and cook seitan, tofu and tempeh without batting an eye. But, I’m not even going to get into fabric. Because, he would lose.  I did ask Leslie if this counted as a fabric purchase and she said its lack of grain means it is NOT fabric and I have not stumbled again on the 2010 Fabric Fast. I’m desperate for a bag and think it’s time I graduated to leather.

My second delivery was totally unexpected:

From the Vegan. Because he’s awesome. And I fear I may become one of those annoying women who talks all. the. time. about how great her BF is. Ugh. Well, at least I don’t have the smartest kids in the world to talk to you about ;)

So, what am I sewing??

I’m going to a nice dinner in two weeks and have nothing to wear :) I blessedly have Friday off and no plans this Easter Weekend. I like this #107 from the May 2010 Burda Magazine.

I’m going to make it up in this orange and white striped denim / twill. Sigh. It’s been so long since I sewed, I forgot to make a swayback adjustment for the first time in like two years.

I’m sure it’ll all be fine. And, if not, I have enough extra for a back skirt piece!

NYTimes: Feel Ragged? Renew at This Cafe

18 Mar
Apparently, I read more about sewing these days than actually sewing.
Feel Ragged? Renew at This Cafe
Published: March 17, 2010
SWEAT SHOP, a tiny new cafe near a trendy stretch of Paris, had barely opened its doors last week when it faced its first fashion emergency. A young woman brought in a teddy bear that had been worn to pieces.

Single Girl Quilt at Pottery Barn?!?!

2 Apr



Sisters. Emily just sent me this bit. Pottery Barn is carrying the Single Girl Quilt by Denyse Schmidt! The twin is $299. Queen $349. Sham, $69.

If you recall, I’m working on my very own with Anna Maria Horner prints from Which, is not taking as long as I thought it would. This is a great kick to pick it up again this weekend!

Oh, and speaking of Anna Maria, she has some REALLY cute new patterns out (clothing too!) including this free quilt download .

And, haircut a great success. No photos yet. But, I’m sure over the weekend. I also didn’t have time to make up new pants and I had to turn in the pattern today. And, next week is spring break. So, the new muslin will have to wait for another week.

Next Year’s Christmas Gifts

7 Jan

After reading Lindsay T.’s post on the $975 sewing kit, I decided to google ‘sewing kits’ and see what came up.

Imagine the pitter patter of my little heart when the ‘Sew Perfect’ plaid sewing kit came up! Burberry like plaid and a sewing kit.

It’s pitched as a wedding favor and at $1.50 each I want a box to give out for Christmas next year to co-workers.

Christina said I should change the label/tag to ‘Hem your own damn pants’ and hand them to anyone who asks. I won’t lie. I laughed so hard I had to clean coffee off the computer.

New Burdas

6 Jan

I am having slight heart palpitations over this new bag pattern in the 2009 Burda Collection. It’s #7684 and can be found here. I’m a little in LOVE with the red and brown bag. I generally do not get excited by sewn purses. But, I would make room in my heart for that weekender.

I’m also checking out knitting bag patterns. This one is #7674 and is pitched as a beach tote, but note the knitting needles in the side side pockets. There’s also an adorable cover up with this pattern.

The clothes are *ok*. I’d say a good third are from the magazine.

Trena and I have discussed before that Burda should include more accessories / bags with the magazine. Either of these would have been perfect!

For the love of purple

6 Jan

The Ravens are in the playoffs. So, City Hall is bathed in a beautiful purple for them. I don’t watch football. I don’t hate it and I don’t resent it. I just kind of ignore it.

But, I hope they keep winning so I can keep seeing this every day.

This is Wolman Building next door.

I’m making the ‘Irish Cable Scarf’ and I have frogged (ripped out) this scarf for the third time. I had a good 40 rows this time. Why? Only one of the three cables had actually cabled and I decided the rest was a hot mess (no photos of that). Saturday night I met up with about six women from work who are all avid knitters. They were working on the most beautiful gloves, socks, sweaters and accessories. Seeing their work kind of me made me start over because I want to feel good about my project.

Knitting has taught me so much patience for beginner sewists. But, I don’t remember being this slow and this bad when I started sewing in high school. Was I oblivious to my clothes? Or, I just care more now about handcrafts?

But, I also realized I couldn’t talk, listen, eat or drink while knitting. I have to think too much!

The Same Resolutions

4 Jan

I’m sticking with the same resolutions from last year when it comes to sewing. But, I’ll add this: No more orphans.

My personal resolutions are about the same every year, one is the same one since middle school. I’m also going to try and keep track of them here, which means to scope of my blog is changing. I was going to start a new blog related to resolutions, but, I am too lazy. And laziness, is what’s caused most of the resolutions below:

  1. Keep my nails manicured myself (unless I’m in Panama where it’s only $3 for a manicure)
  2. Stop eating out for lunch and cook more. Each year I do a tally and it makes me nauseous how much money I spend eating out. Especially for lunch.
  3. Spend money like I’m broke. I’m too old to still be admiring people who have fat savings accounts and wondering how they do it.
  4. Buy more local food. In Panama it was all local and so much better tasting and better for me. I think new jobs really come from small businesses that create jobs. So, I need to support the little man and think more about my food.

Yep. That’s it for this year and, I’m off to a good start.

I did my own mani for New Year’s Eve using an old OPI whose label has since worn off and a $1 polish from one of the many beauty supply / wig stores available in parts of the City called ‘Mardi Gras’. You can see it in the photo of the RED CLOVER SEAM RIPPER!!!! YES! I love my blog readers. Ginerva totally came through and they showed up this week! I have offered to name my first born Ginerva or Clover but she said that was not needed.

So, I have a dozen cookbooks. Half are Cooks Illustrated. I never fail with Cooks, so most of the recipes are from there. I’m not going to publish the recipes here because it’s in violation of the copyright. But, many many other people have done so. A quick online search and you should be able to find the recipe.

Food, Week 1:

Friday night. Butternut squash pasta from Cooks Illustrated, January 2009. It’s ok. I had to add a lot more pepper, salt, olive oil and parmesean to get the flavor where I wanted it. I also used whole grain pasta and penne from the shelf.

Saturday morning, cinnamon rolls (Baking Illustrated). I accidentally put in an obscene amount of butter. Still good. But, obscene.

Saturday night, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies to take to a ‘knit and knosh’. I am a terrible knitter. More on that later.

I’m making chicken tonight because I started to defrost it before I realized that the pasta was enough to eat twice a day for a week. And I think you can’t refreeze once defrosted, right?

I might have a skirt finished this week. Maybe even today. Very exciting