Saturday, February 26, 2011

Summer Sun, Somethin's Begun

When it comes to sewing, I have an incredibly short attention span. Even while working on one project, mentally cutting out the next, and hammering down the details for the third, I'm thinking about what I'm doing next season.

As you know, I'm currently working on this bag, McCalls 5822. Here's a sneak preview.

Then, I'll start on the Easter dresses in conjuction with my EvaDress Contest entry.

And I just realized I only have 15 days. ACK! For some reason, I thought it ended the 28th of March. Oops! Guess I'm skipping the muslin after all. So feel free to ignore the cherry print fabric and focus only on the the pretty paisley charmeuse. I might manage the little jacket but I wouldn't hedge any bets if I were you.

After that, we are moving on to some wonderful lingerie by Colette Patterns, Nutmeg and Cinnamon. I'll give up more details in a few weeks but I'm planning three sets, everyday wear in ivory and pale pink cotton batiste, a luxurious set in ivory crepe back satin with black lace trim, and a proper pretty set of dusty coral crepe.

Even with all that planned, I can't get my mind off summer sewing. The sun has been bright down south for the last two weeks, warm enough to roll the windows all the way down in my old car and fill the roads with Mick Jagger, much to the chagrin of other drivers, I'm sure.

No matter.

My love for Start Me Up cannot be contained. But I digress.

Summer sewing, yes, that's what we were discussing. For bonus points, aside from the necessary notions, we'll be doing some MAJOR stash busting.

Let's start at the bottom. I've not made either shorts nor pants before, aside from a handful of pajama bottoms. Cross your fingers that I don't screw up six yards of cotton twill when I attempt these capris and shorts, will you? Although, I picked up some in khaki, bluebell, and pale pink last summer for less than four dollars a yard at Hancock Fabrics, so if I completely jack them up, at least I'm only out my time and hopefully, I've learned something from the experience.

I own enough floral print, gingham trims, and solid knits to make up enough tops to get me through the longest Southern summers. May I resist the urge to buy more patterns since I own the following and they'll do just fine with all the various ways I could adapt them. With ruffles, pockets, lace insertion, dyeing techniques, etc, the possibilities are endless.

And then there are all the summer dresses. Add the cherry print above to a list that includes this, this, this, and this, and it's a cruel, cruel summer, leaving me here all alone with a sewing machine. My closet will love me and my husband should be satisfied so see my stash dimishing, though admittedly, he won't be pleased with all the works in progress draped over the couch and coffee table.

We Could Be Heroes!

Last night was movie night, and since pete was at a sleepover, pinky and I decided a girl movie was in order. Perfect time to introduce miss ma'am to the awesomeness that is Moulin Rouge. At first, the little woman and her short attention span remained unimpressed.

"Is this it, mommy?" she asked me as the curtain opened on Bohemian Paris.

Once the green fairy made her appearance however, I heard nary a peep from the child until Satine started coughing up blood and I had to explain tuberculosis.

For my part, watching this movie again only solidifies my sewing bucket list desire to make a corset one day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I watched Charlotte Gray with the always gorgeous Cate Blanchett last night while sewing. I have to admit that I'm a sucker for WWII stories but I thought it was very good. Or maybe I'm biased by how lovely everyone looked in their 1940's style clothing.

It's my favorite vintage era. I cannot get over how pretty and feminine women looked in fairly unfeminine fabrics and cuts. While searching high and low for the playsuit pattern of my dreams, I've come across a ton of these smart little suits and rejected them out of hand.

From Woodland Farms Antiques

A rather staid jacket, a skirt that's neither full nor slim, and what appears to be a blah, high necked blouse. To make matters worse, they were sewn up out of good, seemingly bland wool. No thank you, right?


Watch at the :30 mark and tell me she doesn't look faboo.

Who would have thought wool, knits, and tweed could look so delicate and pretty? Lucky for me, I have some wool/silk blend suiting and a yard of purple silk poplin in my stash that will make a lovely 40's style suit and shirt some day. Maybe come fall.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No, No. Not Me.

I am not a morning person.

I am not a Monday morning person.

As yesterday was President's Day and there was no school, today is my Monday.

This is as dressed as I plan to get this morning.

Don't worry. I'm not going anywhere. It's a stay in and sew kind of day. Maybe while watching The Town.

I'm a Big Girl Now

Few things make me feel more grown up than dealing with p&p's extra-curricular activities. This past weekend was pete's Pinewood Derby car race.

Poor kid.

His mama could sew up an entire uniform from scratch if he needed me to. You ask me to help him carve out and build a car from a block of wood and I suck at life.

Lucky for me, the kid's got a great spirit. His car looked good and he designed and built it himself with limited help from me. Despite coming in pretty much last, he was very proud.

Next year, his dad is building that damned car with him.

Rita Hayworth

When I was a kid copping a nasty attitude, my mama would always look me dead in the eye and tell me to "fix my face." I always hated that but as the story goes, try as you might, you can't stop yourself from turning into to your mother so I tell my kids the same thing.

Too bad I don't always heed my own advice.

I honestly don't remember if I was working some 'tude but that face doesn't suggest I was having a good time, does it? oops

It was a bright, warm day and green felt appropriate for the onset of spring. We probably have another cold spell or two before all is said and done but that doesn't seem like reason enough to keep dressing like Old Man Winter's still knocking at my door.

Here's a better pic.

I look so much better when I'm not mean-mugging small children.

You're My Obsession

For some of you, this post will hurt your brain. But I swear on the life of my vintage dressform that I will not rest until I'm able to sew up and wear one of these cute little playsuits, as they were called, preferably while wearing saddle shoes and tooling around on a very cute bike.

This bike actually.

What can I say? I watched both Pearl Harbor and A League of Their Own this weekend.

Speaking of Pearl Harbor, AMC it doing a 30 days of Oscar movie and they really did advertise PH as an Oscar movie. They also touted Ben Affleck as an Oscar winning actor. Now it may be true both have earned that award but somehow, I'm thinking Best Screenplay and Sound Edited respectively isn't exactly what comes to mind when you hear Oscar Winning Actor/movie, right?

Silly AMC.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Went to Night School for the Blues

Cause that's what this hat has been giving me, the blues. While the hat itself came together beautifully, I'm convinced the brim hates my face. It certainly hates my iron and my sewing machine.

Now, I'm not trying to discourage anyone. It's actually a pretty cool pattern. However, it, like most vintage patterns prior to the 60's, presumes that the purchaser could sew an entire lady's wardrobe with nothing more than a hand needle, a couple feed sacks and some buckram. It basically says, look, heifer, we gave you the damned pieces so figure it out your own damned self.

So far, I've figured out that the brim, at least the buckram part of it, really should be narrower. I took 3/8 off the outer edge, as instructed but I also ended up taking at least half an inch off the inner edge as well. Then I had to steam and press up a lip onto which I'll be sewing the hat.

Those yellow bits in the pictures are the pins holding together for a test fit. The brim isn't quite right but a couple go rounds with steam after everything is sewn together will fix that.

So here's the question of the day.

Can I wear hats? Or does my mama lie?

On second thought, it might be better if you don't answer that.

Putting on the Ritz

First of all, I promise I will not torture you with a daily recounting of my "beauty routine." But since I've hit a housewifery stalemate, I've decided to step up my game.

Now, I've been a good girl in that I've been getting up in the morning, getting dressed every day, helping the kids with their lunches and have drastically cut down on my half ass dinners. But that's not enough. I'm not knocking out sewing projects the way I should, the house is still a hot mess and a half and I haven't organized sh*t.

Now, I know you're probably thinking what in the hell does a beauty routine have to do with this.

In a word, everything.

Just putting a wee bit more effort into my days has really helped me to be slightly less of lazy. So if wee effort gets me slight improvement, maybe more effort will get me marked improvement. It can't hurt to try.

And so I tried.

This morning, I pulled out the rollers and got this look. Hawt, right?

Add a little make up and a pretty scarf and you get this:

Then it was time to put on dress.

And finally, let the hair down:

And wouldn't you know it? I actually feel awake and, miracles of miracles, I feel like cleaning something. I've already done the dishes.

Do you need a moment to recover?

I'll just be over here cleaning out the refrigerator.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Can't Help Falling in Love

With this book and I don't even own it yet. In just a few days, I expect Vintage Hairstyling: Retro Styles with Step by Step Techniques to show up on my door step chockabock way with modern methods for doing vintage styles.


Cause really? How can I claim to be a vintage style housewife without some vintage style hair.

Btw, check out the author's blog here, if only so you can listen to the site's doo-wop music.

And she's doing a make up book.


Straight from the Heart

I straightened my hair for the first time since the summer and it totally looks cute? Doesn't it?

Alas, there is a reason I rarely straighten it. Aside from my burned fingers two hours later, straight hair takes a lot of upkeep from someone with my golden glow, shall we say. I have to wrap it up in a kerchief every night or it will look lank at the ends and fluffy at the scalp. Wrapping is a technique where you use a paddle brush to get your hair to lay around your head in a flat circle.

Uhm, yeah. I suck at that. Instead, I put it in an elastic and tie it up with a scarf. Unfortunately, that creates a bump in the back of my head, similar to what you get when you leave your hair up in a ponytail all day. The alternative is to pin curl it with bobby pins. Of course, the story of my life, I can't find the damned things.

So I'm using spiral curlers tonight.

Cute, right?

And here's one with the scarf. I picked it up at a Goodwill a couple weeks ago for less than two bucks.

 . . . Okay so pretend there is a light purple scarf atop my gorgeous curls as my phone doesn't feel like cooperating.

Yay, right?


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

From the Woo Woo Feen.

I don't think you've been formally introduced. This is Lucy McWooWoo. She is a two year old Boston Terrier who is sweet as pie to me, mr man, and p&p but absolutely terrified of people. We're working on it.

At least she looks cute in pictures, right?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hot Like Wasabi When I Bust Rhymes

What shall I do this week?

  • Crockpot BBQ pork, mashed potatoes, corn
  • Potato soup with bacon
  • Frito Pie for Movie Night
  • Pork cutlets, rosemary roasted potatoes, green beans or asparagus
  • Teriyaki chicken, rice, and broccoli
  • Fajitas and Spanish rice

  • finish Heather's bag
  • cut 1937 Eva Dress
  • win the battle over the 1920 Cloche
  • look over the directions for V1160
  • continue knitting shawl

  • clean out pinky's room
  • bake banana muffins
  • give roo roo a bath
  • start going through master bedroom closets
  • clean out refrigerator
  • make next week's shopping list
  • kitchen floor
  • bathrooms
Movie Night
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks for the kids
  • The Town for me

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Random Thoughts

This is the first Grammy's I've watched in at least five years. I think I'm in love with Janelle Monae and Mumford and Sons. I still can't stand Lady Gaga and as much as Gwyneth Paltrow irritates the living sh*t out of me, she killed it with Cee-Lo. And ZOMG! Kidman's face totally moved when she was singing TEENAGED DREAMS, ffs! Meanwhile, John Mayer continues to be a grade A tool.

The Mayhem commercials from Allstate continue to make my life and not just because Dean Winters is a sexy beast.

CBS's PSA about testicular cancer, on the other hand, was the suck. I mean "Instead of the heart, protect the family jewels?????????????" ::GAG::

Wait, are you distracted by my Gaga hate? No, I totally get that she's innovative, new, in your face, or whatever. But the whole, "be yourself no matter how weird you are" message coming from a chick who only created this persona after the real, privileged Sarah McLachlan wanna be singer songwriter deal failed to make her money??

Bititch, please.

Plus, you can't tell me Elton John and Madonna didn't invent and perfect her schtick while this chick was in diapers.

On and just to make sure we're really fighting. Gwyneth did a better job than Gaga. LG totally sounded like Christina Aguilera before she lost her damned mind and looked a Cardassian wearing a cooked lasagne noodle.

I said Cardassian, not Kardashian.

Do you own this?

I bought it about three years ago but it's still available on Amazon, because Amazon is awesome like that.

This cookbook features every comforting dish you've ever met but overhauls them from the buffet table at Golden Corral to an art form that you just want to crawl into and live for all eternity. Lasagna, mac and cheese, ziti, chicken enchiladas, and all the American classics, including pete's Smothered Pork Chops. But lest you think it all standard fare, there are also recipes for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic from France, Moroccan Chicken Tagine, Italian White Bean Cassarole, Thai Curry and Irish Guiness Beef Stew.

The best thing about the cookbook, aside from the kick ass recipes, is all the detail the writers go into explaining how to choose the right ingredients, why you should use a shallow sided frying pan, how to chose a frying pan, etc. I dare you to try to screw up one of these recipes, even if adding cream of crap to rice is the extent of your cooking skills.

Now that I've yammered your ear off, here's the recipe for Smothered Pork Chops.

4 slices of bacon, chopped
3 tbps flour
1 3/4c chicken broth
1 tbsp veggie oil (I used olive oil)
4 bone in pork chops, 1/2-3/4 in thick
salt and pepper
2 medium onions, halved and sliced thin
2 medium cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp thyme
1 bay leaves

  1. Fry the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat until lightly browned. Remove, leaving behind the fat. Hide the bacon in a safe place lest you eat it all before you're done cooking.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle the flour over the surface. Stir with a wooden spoon, letting the flour cook until it's golden brown, working out any lumps. Add chicken broth in a steady stream as you stir. Reduce heat to low, cover and keep warm.
  3. In a skillet, heat the oil. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels then salt and pepper generously. Add to the frying pan and sear on very high heat until deep brown. Turn and repeat on the other side. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Drop heat to medium and add the onions and a 1/2 tsp of salt. Stir as you cook, scraping up the browned bits, until the onions get all golden and soft. Add the garlic and the thyme and stir through. Put the pork chops back, covering them with the onions. Pour in the sauce, add the bay leaves and turn on low. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the pork chops and cover with foil. Heat the sauce and onions on high, stirring until the sauce thickens into an amazing gravy. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. Serve with rice.

Driving Slow on Sunday Morning

And I never want to leave.

It was one of those mornings, the kind where pulling yourself out of bed goes against every instinct in your sleepfogged brain. I woke up with my third cold of the year. This time it's just a head cold, lots of sneezing and kleenex. Knock on wood that is stays that way.

I missed Sunday school in my lingering so I'm sure you'll forgive me for the general "Over It" vibe of this outfit. That's the third shirt I attempted to wear this morning. The first one had some kind of weird substance not so hidden in the corner and I couldn't find the undershirt I usually wear with the second.

This is one of my favorite colorways. I mentioned before that I send to stick to three to four colors and this outfit sort of highlights why. The shirts I rejected were both in the same color family. I have a pair of turquoise shoes, which I couldn't find, and a handful of jewelry to match. I know if I buy things in that color family, I have plenty of things both casual and dressy to coordinate.

Right now, I work turquoise/teal/aqua, hot pink/fuschia/pale pink, and blue. Once I'm off my shopping moratorium, I'm planning to add purple.

BTW, those red shoes by Bandalino are easily the most comfortable pair of heels I've ever worn. I guess that's why I shoehorned them into this outfit.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stuck on you

You ever get so stuck on an idea that you can't think outside of it? And of course, it never fails that when you get an idea in your head, you can never find it in the store. But when you have no money, everything strikes your fancy.

Well, I found some things that strike my fancy. I know we *just* talked about it but can you stand another shoe post?

Because I just might be in love with these bad boys.

Now, I know what you're thinking. They do kind of look like something my greatgrandmother would have worn with a sequin encrusted velour tracksuit. Dial it back for me a minute and tell me they don't have a lovely vintage look to them, that they wouldn't look divine with a breezy cotton lawn that floats oh so perfectly around your bare legs in the summer sunshine. And at $39.99 they are right up my alley. Maybe you think black or tan would be better? Check them out here and tell me what you think.

I'm also in love with these, also from JC Penney. They are only $29.99 which is a much more affordable option than the ones I posted yesterday. They also come in a pretty goldenrod. But I can't decide if they would match my wardrobe. I tend to stick to three to four color palettes to avoid buying accessories and such that don't coordinate.

I'd still like a pair of flat lace ups though. I'm leaning towards saddle shoes but they just don't seem like they'd be very comfortable. I feel like they would either make my feet rather damp, if you know what I mean or they would slip around quite a bit with hose or socks. I guess I should try some on and test the theory.

Or I could just buy a pair of Chucks. Okay, so they wouldn't go so well with vintage dresses. But a t shirt and dark wash denim with a rolled up cuff?

You're killing me, Smalls!

Tradition, TRADITION!

Did any of you grow up eating Sunday dinner? We did, sort of. My mom would come home from church and make dinner for lunch. I always looked forward to Sunday, not only because I could never make food taste exactly like mom's, but because it was the one night of the week neither me nor my brothers had to cook. Mind you, I didn't care about saving my brothers a chore but I did mine not having to hear them complain about it or wait until the last minute.

I was the oldest so of course I was a secret squirrel micromanager, whispering furious instructions to my brothers where my mom couldn't hear. Or more like where I thought she couldn't hear. Now that I'm grown, I know why she came out of her bedroom and gave me the evil eye. Moms know so much more than you think.

So anywaaaaay, back to the point.

I miss traditions. I suppose I could wait for a couple to fall into place, but hanging out in bed watching House Hunters doesn't seem like much of a plan. P&p have gotten into the habit of having a movie night every Friday. Last week we watched an old school version of Alice in Wonderland. Tonight, it was Nanny McPhee. I'm thinking that's a tradition we need to keep.

And I'm resurrecting Sunday Dinner.

Pete's requested smothered pork chops sounds like the perfect start.

P.S. If you haven't seen Fiddler on the Roof, find it and get on it. kthanxbi

Everybody's working for the weekend

Lulu looooves her some cheezits, which totally makes her not only my doggie but my mommy's granddoggie.

I'm not so sure my mama would approve of that title but there you have it. My mom passed on her love for the cheezits to me and I passed it on to my dog. Now if I could just get Lu to watch a Flyers game, we'll be one big happy family.

Here's Lulu working hard for the honor of earning a prized snack cracker. At the very least, she's praying I drop one as I make the kids' lunches for school.

Yook at dat wittle doggeh face!

You know, I never babytalked p&p but I totally babytalk my dog.

And here's what I'm working with today. Does anyone else have trouble with self portraits? I'm always doing something weird with my face. Or perhaps it's time to accept that my face is just weird, right? I'm just going to blame it on the crappy ass camera phone. The replacement cord for my Sony Cybershot should be here any day.


As for working, I'll be concentrating on finishing that hat, working on Heather's bag, and possibly cutting out my muslin for the Eva Dress contest. Pete's requested smothered pork chops for Sunday dinner so if you're lucky, I'll share the recipe.

Do you have plans this weekend? Share in the comments or I shall shank you. Or something.

I keep a stuff upper lip

This is buckram.

Once upon a time, this stuff was everywhere. All different kinds, too. Apparently, now there are only four, used mostly by milliners to make vintage style hats and Civil War era bonnets. It's the stuff that will be making the brim of my cloche hat nice and stiff.

Can you get high on Elmer's Glue fumes? Not that I'm trying or anything

The nice thing about buckram is that it's essentially a glue stiffened fabric. You can use a hot iron to and bend it the way you want and steam to get your fabric to stick to it.

But all the steam makes for waves of Elmer's glue sent all up in your face. I feel like I'm in the third grade again, spreading glue on my hands and waiting for it to dry why I pretended to care about my times tables.


You didn't spread a thin layer on your palm so you could peel it off, wave it in a boy's face and pretend it was dead skin?

I'll shut up now.

Look at the pretty hat in progress (and stop staring at me. The third grade was a confusing time in my life.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Putting on the ritz

I usually wear the dresses I sew to church on Sunday. But I have so many pretty cotton prints and simple summer dress patterns that I think it's time I went casual.

But with dresses like this,

From The Time Traveling Lark

From Vintage Skater

From Opal's Owl Vintage

my usual DCs and sandals just won't do. So I've been taking a look around the interwebs and I've come across a pair that might fit the bill from Aerosoles.

Too bad I'm too cheap to spend $80 bucks on a pair of shoes. Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll go on sale.

These ones are on sale, but only available in gray or black. Hmmmm

Would anyone like to spot me $90? This why I don't shop at Endless.

None of these are quite what I'm looking for. But I thought I'd share anyway. Anything to avoid the lists I'm supposed to me making, right?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

To all the girls I've loved before

May I present the women of the Snarktastical Household:

That frightening little blond who the devious look in her pretty blue eyes is pinkadink. Don't ler her fool you. She's a tricky one.

And that beautiful pupparone, that's Roo, our two year old Boston terrier whom you might remember from an earlier post.

If you're wondering what's up with all the crappy quality pictures, I have this beautiful pinky Sony Cybershot with a dead upload cord. I bought a new one on Amazon so hopefully I'll be posting clearer pictures next week.

I want a girl with a short skirt

I went into an Urban Outfitters for the first time ever on Saturday. I found a couple cute things I'll be waiting to go on clearance or for a good coupon code.

Pinky was even more inspired.

She wants this:

I apologize for the tiny pic. You can view it here at their website. It's a cute little summer skirt, isn't it? Don't worry, mom. I'll be adding a couple inches to the bottom to preserve pinky's tiny little girl modesty. Or at least the appearance of it. God bless little girls and their penchant for flashing their mundies at the most inopportune moments.

And yes, I just called the mundies. According to mr man, little girls don't wear panties because panties are sexy and little girls are anything but. However, underwear just isn't a very cute word either, so utilitarian for a scrap of fabric usually emblazoned with the days of the week, Hello Kitty, or Disney characters. So mundies is it.

Maybe sewing a pair of shorts to the waistband would be a good idea.

Made by Lena