Feeling Myself: Leopard Print Wrap Dress

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When I found this leopard print poly knit on a shopping trip with friends in August 2015, I knew it HAD to become a DVF style wrap dress using my previously made Burdastyle from October 2011.

That time we bought all the fabric #latergram @rollingincloth @cubanitacose @karen.heenan

A photo posted by Renee (@missceliespants) on

It’s funny I was drawn to this, because I tend to avoid animal prints (I read a study in college about how black models were more likely to be photographed in animal prints and said ‘F that noise’). That said, I also LOVE this leopard print dress I made in 2012.

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Give me *all* the 70s

 

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I had this Burdastyle pattern cut out by the end of September 2015. But, life happens, I became obsessed with machine knitting and I lost my sewing mojo when a very expensive fabric order from Mood was stolen off my front porch (Yeah. Seriously.) We’ve had a string of package thefts and this one made off with $200 in dove gray wool coating from Mood. And, I’m sure he just threw it away.

Video Evidence:

Luckily, because it was purchased on my Visa, they sent me a check for the fabric (which I didn’t bother replacing). And, now everything gets delivered to my office:-/

After some time, I finally picked this dress back up to get it off my sewing table in March. And, I love it. I feel like a total fox.

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You can tell I am just FEELING myself.

Rather than sew facings this time (which I despised) I used a narrow knit binding treatment. The binding is cut 1 inch wide on the bias. It is then sewn on doubled, along the 1/4 inch seam allowance, and folded again creating a strong binding that is the width of the seam allowance.   **technique well explained and photographed in Singer’s ‘Sewing Activewear’.

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The fabric was a little thin so I underlined throughout (except for the sleeves) with black tricot. I underlined rather than lined as I wanted it to be treated as one piece. And, it was a terrible, terrible mistake. I tried to hem the dress. But, the underlining and fashion fabric hung differently making it a lumpy saggy mess. So, I had to hack off several inches, trim the bottom evenly and go with no hem. Overall it’s shorter than I would like, but again: FEEL. ING. MY. SELF.

After my last project’s failure, I ended up wearing this out for my birthday dinner in Santa Fe with Jordan. Rawwrr.

Not All Sunshine: Simplicity 8013

I don’t really subscribe to the Birthday Dress trend in the sewing community. But, I’m turning 32+8 next week and taking a little mini break to Santa Fe with Jordan.  I thought it would be nice to have something fabulous to wear to dinner. I chose Simplicity 8013 because it’s stunning. But, also because it’s a 70s pattern. I was born in ’76 I love a little joke whenever possible.

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The reviews for this dress aren’t extensive.  I noticed that several were baggy in the bust or low enough that people wore chemises underneath. With that in mind, I made up the 12 bodice (which measures 37 at the bust), made my 1.5 inch FBA and pinned it onto my dress form (which I padded out using these instructions from Dritz).

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Paper Fit #1

I felt pretty good about the fit and decided to make the lining first so I could test it out. After sewing up the the bodice lining (not shown) I decided to add  another .5 inches to the FBA  (this is drafted for a B and I’m a G/DDDD) and raise the neckline by 1/2 inch.

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Muslin #2

For good measure, I of course tried it on myself. Not bad, eh? I thought I’d raise the neckline another 1/2 inch to keep the girls covered and and another 1/4 inch FBA based on the muslin below.

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Muslin #3

So, I confidently cut into my fashion fabric and was rewarded with a hard slap in the face. What in the hell is this gapey mess? I feel like I’ve been betrayed.

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I don’t know what happened. But, once I cut into my fashion fabric the bodice was horrible. Too much fabric, yet not enough bust coverage and weirdly small bodice too.

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Gah. It looks like Sadness from Inside Out.

 

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Seems like this will be a Christmas 2016 dress rather than the milestone dress I planned. Luckily, I have just enough fabric to try again. But, I’m clearly going back to the drawing board.

On a positive note, my Chantelle bra matches my skin tone really well -_-

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Good lord that’s hideous.

 

Butterick 6244: In Which I Conquer My Fear of Plaid

I love plaid so hard. I have so much plaid in my stash I could open a kilt shop. But, I hardly ever sew plaid because I’m terrified of matching.

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Forgive my pigeon toes. Please.

I was inspired to make this waterfall coat for two reasons. I have too much coating fabric that’s not getting sewn (eight cuts and counting). And, I saw a very cool Burberry poncho that I couldn’t afford. I made my friend Sheryl go to Burberry with me to try this on. It was flawless. I also tried on a duffle coat and had small tears in my eyes when I put it back on the hanger.

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Said poncho is $900

This fabric (ostensibly Burberry) was $5 or a yard during my ‘trench coat with wool liner’ phase about five years ago. I never made that warmer but the fabric remained. I in fact have it in a second camel color way (that will hopefully become a poncho next season).

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I sewed this coat in bits and pieces over two weekends. Which is really good for me. It allows me to not mind techniques taking a bit more time. I thread traced my darts instead of just marking (or eyeballing) them with chalk.

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I actually did all the flat fell seaming with my terrific Bernina foot.  And, for all these small touches, it made a big difference in my construction process.

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It was very windy

Because I don’t sew Butterick often I wasn’t quite sure what size to go with. Based on the finished measurements, I sewed a 14 grading to a 16 in the thighs. I did baste the side seams to make sure I had a fit I could live with. I also decided to forgo an FBA because the coat isn’t meant to closed and there’s a ton of drape / ease here at the front. Overall, it’s got a very modern blanket coat vibe and I could have probably gone down one size.

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I made only one alteration which was to shorten the shoulder seam. Of course, I shortened it after I’d sewn in the sleeve:-/

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One main sewing tip if I may. If you have a walking foot, use it. I think nothing will ruin the lines of this coat more than waves / wonkey narrow hems. Plenty of steam and a walking foot will keep the bias under  control.

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I’m feeling pretty accomplished that I sewed a revered plaid coating. I didn’t get the plaid quite right at the front (sad trombone). But, I figure in movement it’ll be hard to tell.

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l’escargot bleu scarf and Butterick 6244 WIP

I caught a glimpse of the (free)  l’escargot bleu scarf by Escape Tricot while on Ravelry. If it’s mostly stockinette with stripes, I’m totally in to it. Plus, this works as a blanket scarf which everyone seems to be wearing these days.

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This scarf is shaped like a snail (although the typo in the directions read ‘sail’ which also made sense to me). I copied their colors and made one of my own on my standard gauge knitting machine. I’m still using super inexpensive acrylic from Michael’s (Loops and Thread). I made two of these. The one on Ravelry is straight stockinette. But, the one here has a 1×1 ribbed border. The original uses garter stitches at the end.

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On a knitting machine, you can make ribbing by latching up on the main bed. Or, by using a ribber. Luckily, both my machines came with ribbers. And, I finally tried the ribber out and it works! I’m terrible at it (loopy edges, blech). But, it works.

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My next knitting project should be a garment. I promised Jordan a vest and I’ve been practicing the techniques. I’ve ordered some yarn from Colourmart and expect it next week. I am of course terrified.


 

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My current project is sewing related. After two hours on the floor matching plaids, I’ve cut out Butterick 6244 the Lisette waterfall coat pattern. I also think I have never actually sewn a plaid garment before. And, I LOVE plaids. But, I’m terrified of matching. But, I bit the bullet and dug into this one.

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There’s a helpful sew along on Lisette’s website that I’ll follow. And, I can’t wait to use my *awesome*  8mm flat fell foot on my Bernina 830.

Here’s hoping I finish this while it’s still winter!

Bali: Surfing Lessons on Kuta Beach

Jet lag is SO REAL! We got back from Bali on Monday morning and I can honestly say it’s taken me the last five days to recover. I was a zombie in the offie Tuesday and Wednesday and finally started understanding the spoken word again Thursday and Friday.

Oh. Hey. #instatravel #travelgram #bali #indonesia #baliwestin

A photo posted by Renee (@fussbudgit) on Jan 23, 2016 at 6:29am PST

 

I have a ridiculous amount of things to say and photos to sift through of my trip. Especially the fantastic textile tour and awesome cooking class I took. But, there’s laundry to do, braids to take out and post-snowstorm stuff to manage (you didn’t know? It snowed two feet while I was gone! We need new gutters and some other work on the house thanks to ‘Jonas’).

For now, I will first leave you with photos from my surfing lesson along Kuta Beach. Umm, no one told me surfing was HARD. While I don’t like playing sports, I was always pretty athletic and decent at them (without trying hard) and picked early on for teas. So, I felt like I was athletically inclined. Turns out I AM NOT.  Surfing felt like learning to walk.

These photos pretty much sum up my surfing.

Extreme confidence during the on-land group class (and loving my Jalie Swim Shorts. They asked me to wear their rash guard so it was easier to spot me on the beach/ in the water)

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Marked determination (and smug that I can still do a full-body push up)

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The painful reality that I can’t stand up on a piece of floating plastic.

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After 2.5 hours of lessons, I am happy to report I managed to stand up two times (out of 15 or so attempts)!

 

And you can see a video clip below

 

I posted some photos of my trip on my Instagram. And, will be reposting them here with more in-depth explanations before the weekend is over.

Surf’s Up/ Bottom’s Covered: Jalie 3351 Swim Shorts and Burdastyle Rash Guard

While in Bali (one week to go!)  I plan to take two or three surfing lessons (with a likely needed massage in between).  A friend who did Fulbright in Bali warned me to take a rash guard for lessons. After googling ‘rash guard’ I figured out it was just a tee shirt from swim fabric. I was always so confused when I saw people in tee shirts swimming. Turns out they are great for sun protection and you want a rash guard for surfing so your skin doesn’t get roughed up on the surfboard.

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Armed with this knowledge, I turned to the Burdastyle 7/2014 #113  bike dress pattern I used on my  biking honeymoon to the Netherlands. It has the look of a raglan / sporty style. And, is blessedly already altered for me. I say blessedly, because the last thing I wanted was to feel like I had an ace bandage on my bewbs and this was already FBAd. To make it a shirt, I overlapped the skirt portion and the bodice at the waist, and marked off an additional four inches into the skirt. I think for a ‘traditional’ rash guard that also provides full back sun protection, I needed an additional 8 inches.  Mine is a little too short and shows the white waistband I used on my shorts which tends to make it look like a maternity bottom.  But, for a few days of surf lessons and tubing on vacation, this will more than suffice.

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Alterations: I eliminated the center front zipper (don’t think I’ll need the venting) and didn’t have a more ‘sporty’ zip on hand. For the neckline, I skipped the one as drafted by Burda and used the fashion fabric to make my neckband. I needed this top to be a bit snugger than the cycle dress version, so I was just really generous in the sew line vs seam allowance. Oh, and I shortened the sleeves a bit from my dress version.

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I’m wearing a cup sized bikini top from Freya underneath (god bless you Europe and your 34F sized swimwear). I think I could also easily wear  a non-cotton sports bra and be fine too. Other than being a a little too cropped, I’m pretty pleased with this top. I think it’s also a totally legit coverup option too while at the pool or beach. And, being in a Muslim country (ETA: Bali is mostly Hindu. Indonesia is mostly Muslim) and not feeling 100 about my body, I’m more comfortable in this than my two piece.

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I am an unabashed lover of the Jalie  9796, Multi Sport Skort. I made several a few years ago when I biked to work and ran on a semi-annual basis.  When I knew I wanted to take a surfing lesson in Bali, I figured the Jalie 3351 swim shorts would be cute and coordinate nicely with a rash guard.

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I made a size Z at the waist and graded to a BB at the hip. As I’m really measuring for hip measurement at my thighs (where I am widest) I wish I had gone down one more size at the waist, slightly slimmer at the hip and made a sway back adjustment based on my muslin. But, for some reason I ignored it and just plowed on through. For my actual version, I did shorten the crotch length by 1/2 inch — possibly too much?

The shorts have built in, full-coverage briefs, which I made out of white (with the knowledge that in MILLION years I wouldn’t need the fabric to make a white swimsuit). The waistband uses elastic inside unlike the skort. So, it seems a bit more secure in the water (drag, water weight)

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Usually in shorts I get chub rub with the inner thigh riding up. I don’t have that problem with these. While I like the pockets, I can’t see myself using them for swimming. I suspect things would come out. But, as running shorts, those pockets are legit.  I would also make these minus the briefs as athletic coverups for poolside activities. I think this pattern is a real winner.  Together with the rash guard, I felt appropriate for a Muslim country,  good for water sport activities and doesn’t feel like I had on my mother’s skirted swimsuit from the mid 80s (it was HIDEOUS). Lord have mercy. I just realized I AM my mother’s 1980s age!! Sigh.

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I found myself looking at more swimsuit fabric online when I was done with this outfit. Then I remembered I’ve had this Roxy fabric for at LEAST five years.  My stash runneth over because I still have red, black and some gold swim fabric! That said, a good reason to keep a stash. You can have everything you need when you want it!

PS: We had a “Latkes and Rum Punch” holiday party back in December and my tripod got swept up in the CLEAN EVERYTHING movement. So, selfie stick and cell phone camera are at work here.

 

Bali, Cosmo Dress and A Little Knittin’

I’m heading to Bali, Indonesia with a friend in less than two weeks. She’s going to Nusa Dua for work. I’m along for the ride and paid-for hotel room. Jordan will be in trial so I think he’s relieved I’ll be out of his hair.  Among the activities I’ve planned for myself, I’m most excited about an all day textile tour. Bali is home to batik, ikat and what we know as Dutch Wax Prints.

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It’ll probably rain most of the time I’m there. But, as long as I don’t get malaria or Hep A, I can’t say that I care.

I have a few things I’d like to sew before the trip (rash guard, swim skirt, rain bonnet). But, let’s face it. I’m not sewing much of anything these days. So, I won’t bore you with my whimsical ideas and will *maybe* have something to show from exotic locales when I’m home.

Any Bali tips for me? I’m going to take a cooking class, a surfing class and a spa day. We’ll also be doing some biking when she’s done working at the end of the trip. Any fabric store I won’t be able to resist? Tips on bargaining and what I should pay? Give me all the tips, please.

An Australian in my office told me to not act like a Bogan. That was his big tip <– If this is an offensive phrase, please tell me *now*.


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In other sewing news, my most made pattern, the OOP Hot Patterns Cosmopolitan dress is going to have a limited  100 pattern reprint.  You may recall that I have the silk jersey pre-treated and waiting for me to make this for the fourth? Fifth time? Reasons I love this pattern: minimal if any FBA needed, defined waist, great neckline for me… it’s the ultimate dress for an hourglass.


I’m pretty obsessed with knitting you guys. I’m working on a University of Michigan themed scarf for Jordan. And by working on it, I mean I’ve finally figured out the design, how to make fair isle and when to change colors on my machine  :-)  Here’s a photo of the swatch I worked up.  I won’t be able to look at this again until I get back from Indonesia. And, if that’s anything like my trip to Egypt or China, I’ll need a week or more to recover from aggressive food poisoning and jet lag🙂

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Public Service Announcement: Cheap PDF Printing in Baltimore

We interrupt this two-month blog break to bring you a public service announcement.

SpecPrint in in Lutherville-Timonium (Baltimore County) will print PDF patterns for .36 cents a square foot. Kinko’s charges $2. I had four different Copy Shop size patterns printed for less than $5. Before Spec Print, I paid $22 to print *one* PDF pattern! In addition to the cost of the pattern!

NO MORE TAPING EVER!!!

SpecPrint
7 W Aylesbury Rd
Timonium, MD 21093
(410) 561-9600

If you’re not in Baltimore, try looking for a place that does Real Estate, landscaping, architectural prints.

Now, I just need StyleArc to start selling ‘copy shop’ versions…

Revisiting Jalie 2908: Women’s Stretch Jeans (and Fly Template Winner)

I almost forgot about the Stitch Along Fly Front Guide!  The winner is JenL! I’ll email you for your mailing address.


I’ve been getting a lot of wear from my two-tone Closet Case Ginger jeans. I probably wear my pair three times a week at least. But, the underbutt wrinkles were making me sad.  Based on how much I like having hand crafted denim, I decided to revisit the Jalie 2908 Women’s Stretch Jeans of yesteryear. I really loved how the Jalie 2908 made my butt look. I just hated the front.

When I first made them in 2009, I sewed a size W. This time, I sewed a size BB based on my measurements. Well, first I sewed a size Z and felt like a sausage in a meat packing factory. Then, I went up two sizes to my *actual* measurements and made a BB.

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So, overall, I’m pretty happy with the Jalie 2908. I think I have fewer under butt wrinkles than I did with the Ginger jeans and that’s a great place to start.

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Alterations / Changes

I slimmed down the bootcut to something akin to a very slight flare. I can’t say I used any fancy metric to do this.

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Tapered the yoke to make a swayback adjustment and drafted a countour waistband from the included straight waistband. I will say on the first size that was too small, I used the Ginger Jeans waistband and it was beautiful.  At three inches, the Jalie waistband is most def too wide for my taste. For my next version, I’ve curved it a bit more and reduced the width for a 1.5 inches finished width.

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This is a Marc Jacobs denim from Mood . I kept thinking this fabric would be too light for jeans. But, I’m an idiot because it’s perfect.  The recovery in them is AMAZING. I’ve had them on all day and they haven’t really bagged out.  I bought enough to make four pairs from this cut. But, I’ll only get two as I made one too small and managed to miscut a LOT. I really need to not sew after 10 p.m.

Here are my changes for my next version:
I’m going to shorten the front crotch length. I have that unattractive fold of fabric at the crotch. I took a little fish eye dart to the finished jeans to see how it would look and the fold went away completely. I figured this out from Marji’s comment on my post six years ago!

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Make an ‘Inward Knee Rotation’ / ‘Knock Knee’ adjustment. I’m using the Sandra Bettina method from her book Fast Fit. There are several ways to make this alteration. I’m only doing 1/2 inch as I have NO idea how this will all turn out.  Hopefully give me more fabric length at the inseam and reduce those knee winkles. See how they are pulling up at the inseam? I talked about this with Mrs. Mole at Fit For A Queen.

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I’ll also curve the waistband a bit more at CB (it gapes a smidge) and reduce waistband width.

After my next pair (which are 75 percent sewn and from the same material), I’ll evaluate (and post here) and consider making the forward/ muscular thigh adjustment. I really prefer to make one alteration at a time so I can see what happens.

So, here’s what I concluded for myself between the Gingers and the Jalies. For my body, I like the front of the Gingers and the back of the Jalies. Jalie pocket placement for my butt are perfect.  The Ginger waistband is great,  the sillouhette (skinny) preferred and the instructions overall are fabulous. But, since my rear view is what I care most about, and the things I like from the Ginger are easier to transfer to the Jalie, I’m going with Jalie 2908 as my jeans pattern.

Pucci-like Panel Print Tunic: Burda 5-2010-104

I never really know what to do with panel prints. I think they would make great boxy tops. But, then I look like a billboard of fabric without some darts and waist definition in my life.  Enter, a remake of Burda 5-2010-104. I made this a good three months ago, but just never got a chance to take photos.
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Look, I know I complained about this looking maternity when I made it last summer, but I wore it a TON. So much in fact that I’ve worn it out. Still, I decided to sew it again using a stretch silk charmeuse panel print I purchased in China five years ago. I purchased three panels while there for about $15 total. I LOVE the colors of this top. It’s so summery and the blue is calming. That said, I think silk makes me sweat. Is that possible? Shouldn’t it breathe beautifully?

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I did a few things a little differently with this version.

  • I made a much bigger FBA adding another 1/2 inch in width and length for a total of 1.5 inches. Last time, I didn’t think my bust fit fully in the right spot.
  • I added a few more inches in length to the hem. Not enough to make a dress (I don’t really want a thin, white silk dress). But, long enough that it’s a little more flattering to my legs and still wearable with skinny jeans.
  • Took up the v-neck an inch or so. The bridge of my bra was always showing. I kind of didn’t care. But, fully recognize it’s tacky and I should care a *little* more.

I’m happy to report that the drapier charmeuse seems to have less of the maternity vibe too. I mean, as ‘less’ as a flowey, empire waist, ruched top can look…

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Now, I tried my best to match prints with this tunic. But, for the love of all that’s good, I just didn’t have enough fabric to do it well. Hard to explain without photos, but the circles aren’t balanced. So, I could get half of everything matched but not the other half.

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Plus, I managed to put two scoops right on my butt. I worked so hard to avoid this look on my bewbs that I managed to put two cheeks on my cheeks.

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Oh well!

I’m pretty pleased with this silky beauty. In large part because reading about my shopping in China brought back such good memories! Imagine, someone I’ve never met offers to take me shopping in a foreign country. That experience wouldn’t have been as great without them.

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I’m totally casual at work these days. And, I’m starting to like wearing jeans daily. But, I want to look a step above basic tees whenever possible. These jeans though. They are the PITS. You can see how worn they are at the inner thigh and knee. These are barely a year old. It’s okay. I’m still working on my jeans muslin. And, once I get it right, I’m going to make One Million Pairs.


Finally, remember a few months ago I was my friend’s photo assistant at a wedding in the Catskills? Well, the wedding photos are now up on her blog. Please have a look! I had an amazing time and bawled my eyes out multiple times during the ceremony. And, Jen was kind enough to include a couple of pictures I took too.  Jen and I were journalism students together in college. She was a brilliant reporter and now an incredible photographer.