Friday, December 28, 2012

100 Day Hustle Final Report

Thank you Kelsey for hosting the 'Hustle.'  I certainly wouldn't have gotten as much done without you.  

The final report.  Drum roll please!

Pillow for a b-day 

White Retro Blouse

Block of the Month for Oct, Nov, Dec
November is missing--but not for long!

Place mats for wedding gift

Jumper for white blouse
Not even started.  I may not want to start it at all.

Anise jacket 
Here is my progress on this one. I still have to put it together, add the welt pockets,  and line.

Not started.

Knitted and crocheted simple gifts.
11 completed!

Begin Starlet
When the other jacket is finished.  Maybe.  I might be sick of jacket sewing by then.  

If you will recall, I was planning on paying myself if I didn't start another project during this 100 days, and if I lost weight in the interim.  No weight loss and I only did one little project I wasn't planning on.  I made gift card envelopes for  my co-workers for Christmas.  

That is 14 weeks times 5 dollars a week.  70 dollars to spend on fabric.  But to tell you the truth, I'm a little sewed out! So I will keep the 70 for a time when I really want to do that fantastic project.  

I think I need to go read a great book and get away from the sewing machine for a while!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Anise Progress Report #2

Today I am posting all about the thrilling enterprise of bound buttonholes.  

I have two instruction books. The one that came with the pattern and the electronic version that I purchased for extra help.  Unfortunately, the books don't follow the same order and I had to unpick some of my progress in order to begin the buttonholes.  

First, I had to trace a tiny little template onto my fabric 8 times for the button hole, 8 times for the binding, 4 times for the facing, and 4 times for the facing binding.  Let's not forget six times for my practice button holes.

Yes, I said practice.  Having never sewn these little babies before, I wasn't about to cut into my fabric without some practice.  

Here we go on the practice using leftover fabric from this project.  

Not too bad for a first try.  One little mistake on the side, but I never made the same mistake again.  

On to the real fabric.

Here is my first bound button hole on the jacket.  It actually worked and looks fairly decent.  

This is my favorite part.  The instructions suggested that the button holes  be basted together while working on the rest of the jacket.  I felt so professional and seamstress-y doing this.  

I then sewed the front to the back at the shoulder seams, and that is as far as I've gotten.  I've added photos of the inside of the jacket for those of you who like to see construction details.  I love the princess seam in the back.  

I need a break now!  Those darn bound buttonholes took me forever.  Much, much longer than suggested.  Here's hoping next time around will be faster!

By the way, "button holes" or "buttonholes"? What do you think?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Anise Progress

The other night my friend Amanda and I were at a Christmas party together.  She said she'd been wondering what I've been working on because I hadn't posted any projects on my blog for a while.  "That's because it is taking me so dang long to finish it," I sullenly replied.  "Well, post your progress. I still would like to see what you are doing."  Okee dokee.  That sounds like a plan.  

(By the way here is my favorite post from Amada's blog. Don't mess with Amanda!)

Onward and upward on my Anise jacket progress. No, this darling photo is obviously not me but from the Colette Pattern Company.

I purchased this pattern months ago, and I am determined to finish it before I embark on any other projects.  Since this is my first jacket, I also bought the Anise Companion, a digital instruction booklet for help.

The companion booklet suggests dividing the project in to 8 days.  Sounds great.  A jacket in eight days.  No problem.  

Day One: Gather Supplies.  Completed over several days.

Day Two: Fitting.  Cut the muslin, baste, determine fitting changes if any, and alter.

Are you kidding in one day?  Not even close.

My first fitting problem was horizontal wrinkles across my lower back.  There were no instructions for that fitting issue in the Companion so I googled it.  It is called a broad back adjustment and the solution is to make the back one size bigger or more.  But since mine was only on the lower back, I just sewed the seam allowence smaller in that area.  It was great when I tried it on.  However, when I set the sleeves in, the horizontal wrinkles were now at the upper back, and it pulled across the bust.  No way was I going to do a large bust adjustment when everything was just one size too small.  So the solution, cut a bigger size all around. 

Day Three:  Cutting Underlining and Interfacing

No way.  In one day?  First of all with all the linings and interfacings, there are 30 pieces and that doesn't include the muslin that was previously cut.  

I had everything cut out in the course of several days.  I learned how to apply fusible weft interfacing by dampening a press cloth and using a hot iron to adhere it to the fabric.  Fusible weft isn't stiff so it stretches a bit and I had to be careful when pressing.  I used pattern weights to hold it still on both the pattern and the interfacing.

Once that was complete, I basted the underlining, a medium weight muslin, to the main fabric.

Over a month later (not three days like the pattern suggests), I am ready to sew the outer layer of the jacket together.  

To be fair, the month consisted of a few days here and there.  Sometimes I am a bit jealous of speedy sewists who seem to get projects done and posted on their blogs in an instant.  But then I remember that I actually enjoy the slow, relaxing process of finishing a project, and if I don't take it slow, I don't enjoy it and I make too many mistakes. Volume is not my goal.  Finishing a beautiful project is!

More progress posts to come.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw with The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert

I was so lucky to have received tickets to the dress rehearsal of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert with Tony Award Winner Alfie Boe and award winning news anchor and author, Tom Brokaw.  Tickets for the concert are a highly prized possession, and are given away for free by a random internet selection.  The concert in held in the beautiful 21,000 seat Conference Center in downtown Salt Lake City.
Alfie Boe was incredible.  Fantastic.  Inspiring.  I will sappily admit that his emotional rendition of 'Bring Him Home' brought tears to my eyes.  Which is why it is so unfortunate that whoever designed the program had him also sing the 'Home Alone' song and 'Home For the Holidays.'  A British tenor of that caliber really shouldn't be singing about Dixie and being down home in Tennessee.  It just didn't ring true.  

Tom Brokaw was amazing as well as he recited Luke 2 and told the story of the Candy Bomber in World War II.  In the middle of the story, candy connected to handkerchief parachutes fell from the ceiling of the Conference Center. To our surprise, the Candy Bomber himself, Gail Halvorson, was introduced to the audience.  He was pretty spry for 92 as ran down the stairs to meet Tom Brokaw.
I don't think I have ever called an organ piece delightful before, but when Richard Elliot played the 'Sleigh Ride' on the organ I was delighted.  Every part including percussion parts of the wood blocks and the whip were included and played by the organist.  It was amazing.  His feet went quickly over the pedals without one mistake. 

There were only a few elements that were distracting from the otherwise tremendous performance.  During the first number, my husband and I both noticed that the amplification for the Choir had a slight static sound.  Perhaps it was only from the speakers where we were sitting.  Also, the dancers were more distracting than entertaining.   To clarify, the children who danced as part of the Candy Bomber selection were a great addition to the part and added a nice touch.  

The orchestra and the bell choir should not be left out as they played a fantastic performance as well.
Gail Halverson
 I can't wait to get my tickets for next year!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Dinner: The Bohemian, Movie: Lincoln

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary.  Having been there before, we chose celebrate at the Bohemian Brewery in Midvale.  The restaurant is decorated like a German hunting lodge, and we were seated by the fire and the Christmas tree.

The appetizer a baked flatbread with feta and a sweet balsamic reduction.  It was served with hummus. It was fantastic and we looked forward to our meal.

   Unfortunately, our experience at the restaurant went down hill form there.  We waited.  The couple seated right before us ate their meal and left.  We waited.  A couple that was seated 10 minutes after us ate their meal and left.  The waitress came out and apologized and said our order was after a large group. However, we had already ordered long before that group was completely seated and long before their order was taken.  

We decided we would wait 5 more minutes before we left since we would be late for our movie.  Our our food came just in the nick of time.

I had the lamb chops with spaetzle. My husband had perogies and bratwurst. 

Was it delicious?  I don't know because I was too busy cramming it down my throat so  I wouldn't be late for the movie. I don't know about you, but I really don't enjoy going to an expensive restaurant and not taking the time to savor the meal.  This is so disappointing because I really enjoy this type of food, and I was looking forward to the spaetzle.  Instead all I can remember is the lamb appeared to be quite tender and the spaetzel was greasy. 

When we rushed out the door, there wasn't even anyone with whom to make a complaint.

The evening wasn't a total loss.  We were able to go see the movie Lincoln with Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field. 

Images from
President Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

Senator Thaddeus Lincoln

William Seward

"This is a profoundly thought-provoking portrait of 16th president and his drive to end slavery and unite the country."
USA Today
Claudia Puig

Every American needs to see this movie. Not only are all the actors superb, but the dialogue is thought provoking and well written.  Except for the opening scene, all the action takes place through dialogue, and yet, even for our ever decreasing modern attention spans, the movie never was boring or slow.  It is a look into the lives of all the main players in a way we have never seen before.  The personal story of the president tugs at the heart and one is filled with respect as he succeeds in doing that which seems insurmountable. 

Sadly, I was embarrassed for the woman behind me during the scene where General Lee surrenders at Appomattox.  As he surrendered she said, "Who is that man on the horse?"  I'm shaking my head in bewilderment at her statement even now as I write.

5 out of 5 stars
Five Star Rating Clip Art

The Bohemian Brewery 
2.5 out of 5 stars only because I went there once before and loved it.  This time the service was so poor, the rating went down. 
2.5 Star Rating Clip Art

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

image photo : Dragon eye

I have never been a big fan of Stephen King.  Years ago I read one of his novels, Misery, and while I admit that the writing was excellent, the book was too intense for my liking. So I was surprised that this book was recommended to our book club. 

This book was published in 1987 and is unlike any of King's scary, gory  thrillers.  He wrote it for his 13 year old daughter who didn't like the scary stories. It is a tale about a make believe kingdom with princes, kings, queens, heroes and heroines, and an evil sorcerer.  

I very much enjoyed this book.  Again, King is an excellent writer.  I loved the warm narration as if we were sitting by a fire, and the narrator was telling me the story like we were old friends.  I developed compassion for the characters, even the ones who at first glance didn't deserve compassion.   King's writing elicited emotional responses from me as I read.  I certainly was aware that King could conjure up emotion in his readers.  After all, it was while reading Misery that I actually had a startle response, jumping clear out of my chair.  In The Eyes of the Dragon I cried when the two princes, brothers, were reunited.  

This is an older book, one I had neither heard of nor would have attributed to Stephen King, but it is a great read nonetheless. I'm sure his daughter loved it.

image photo : Blue dragon
Open Stock Illutrations and Photos

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gershwin Gala with the Utah Symphony
Last weekend my husband and I  went to Rhapsody in Blue night at the Utah Symphony.  While we knew would hear the concerto, we were surprised that we would also be entertained by Broadway soprano, Lisa Vroman.  The evening was conducted by Jerry Steichen.

These two together were hoot and wildly entertaining, not to mention talented.  Lisa rocked her three gorgeous gowns as well.  Lisa's voice is clear, fabulous, and emotional in both opera style and Broadway belt.  I was delightful to hear her sing the well known songs as well as pieces I'd never heard before.  

Oh, and the performance of Rhapsody in Blue by Jason Hardink, wow! He's handsome to boot!

I am so familiar with this piece and yet the phrasing was different than any I'd  heard and I loved it.  There might have been a few rhythm glitches with the orchestra, but they passed quickly and I was left wondering if it was a glitch or if it was suppose to be that way. 

It doesn't hurt to have handsomeness twice. Thus, photo #2.

In some of the original 1924 reviews this concerto was called trite, feeble, sentimental, and vapid.  This either means those of us who love this concerto are trite, feeble, etc.  (I've been called worse.)  Or it means that the reviewers didn't know a great, new, modern masterpiece when it hit them in the face.  I prefer the latter theory.  

The night wouldn't have been complete without mentioning the fantastic clarinetist, Tad Calcara. It is not in many symphonic performances that the clarinet is featured, but with Gershwin the clarinet shines.  And Tad made it shine.  Rhapsody in Blue wouldn't start out nearly as amazing without that well played glissando at the beginning.

Tad even wore an official Artie Shaw jacket.  The conductor showed the certificate to the audience to prove it.  The jacket sealed the deal on an amazing clarinet performance.

Another 5 star evening with the Utah Symphony.