Pajama Pants Resizing

I made my gentleman friend a pair of pajama pants for Christmas.  Due to an oversight on my part with the amount of fabric I bought, they had an extremely low rise.  And they were a bit too short.  He ended up with floodwater pajama pants that exposed half of his butt while also being too big around the waist.  I could fit one of me in each leg, because they were also huge.   Better luck next time, eh?  I finally resized the pants to a better fit — a better fit for me, that is!  Now I get to wear soft spaceship flannel pjs — I’m wearing them right now, actually — and I’ll try again for him with new fabric.

There’s still extra material around the waist because I simply made the elastic smaller and narrowed the legs without changing the amount of fabric at the waist, so now it’s just more gathered, especially in the back.  I added some of the scraps to my new and growing ball of fabric strips, which I will one day turn into a rag rug.

January 31, 2010. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Please-Don’t-Run-Me-Over Vest; also, Half-Marathon!

At CrossFit I usually wear black shorts or yoga capri pants and one of my five black tank tops.  We regularly run outside on the quiet back road without a lot of streetlights.  There are rarely cars on the street so it’s pretty safe, and at the same time the lack of traffic means drivers aren’t expecting a runner on the side of the road.  During this half of the year it’s dark during my usual evening CrossFit session and my workout clothes don’t help with visibility.  Yes, my pale pale white skin helps a little, just not enough.

I finally made myself a please-don’t-run-me-over-with-your-car vest with reflective tape on the front and back to throw on before running in the dark.  Better safe — and supremely stylish!!! — than sorry, eh.  I’m sure any parents reading this approve.  I refashioned it from an old long-sleeve t-shirt.  The stripes are neon yellow iron-on tape from Joann; you can’t tell that they’re yellow because they’re reflecting in the flash, just like they should.

Getting an ok picture of the back view was surprisingly hard.  Either the flesh at the back of my shoulder and armpit area was too fleshy and doughy, or the backs of the arms themselves were thin and stringy with Madonna-esque zombie muscles (how could my arms look soft and doughy in some pictures and thin and stringy in others?), and then when I pretended to run for an action shot it just looked like I was sticking my butt towards the camera and holding my arms weird.  “How does this look, is this better?” I asked as I tried a few poses.  “It couldn’t hurt to try,” he said.  “It’s not like it’s going to be worse!” and we both laughed because it was true.

There’s another reason besides CrossFit that I made a vest to wear when running at night (or in the wee hours of the morning, but let’s not kid ourselves here): I’m now in training for next January’s P.F. Chang’s Rock & Roll Half-Marathon.  That’s right, a half-marathon, 13.1 miles.  Sometime in the next few weeks I’ll attempt a full mile without walking, for the first time in about 15 years.  Yep, I’m pretty sure middle school was the last time I did a full mile, and I’ve never done much more than that.  I have almost a full year to add 12 more miles to this first one.  There’s a 4-hour cutoff for the half-marathon, which means an 18-minute/mile pace.  One of my CrossFit friends said her grandmother has done it, mostly walking, so I should be able to finish.  My current uneducated and naive hope is that I’ll be able to aim for 3 hours (~13 min/mi).  As the months go by and I get a better idea of how I’m improving and what my walking pace is I can adjust my objectives.

January 29, 2010. Tags: , , , . Pictures, Words. 5 comments.

Swap party success!

We had seven women at the swap party on Friday and it was a success.  Everybody went home with at least a few items, and three people left with a stuffed garbage bag of new clothes.  They made out like bandits.  My best items are a jacket and some jeans.  The consensus is that I wear my jeans too loose in general and too baggy in the butt specifically.  I can’t find the new jeans to take a picture — I think they’re in the bottom of the laundry pile — and I’m told they’re much more flattering.  They’re definitely tighter than my usual pairs, at any rate.

I turned a weird maroon crochet below-the-knee skirt with a fringed scalloped bottom hem into a nice skirt to wear to the office.  I hadn’t even tried it on during the party and tonight when I picked it up to put in the Goodwill pile I felt that I should give it a try.  I chose to listen to my intuition, if you want to call it that, rather than the rational thought that I was considering keeping a weird maroon crochet below-the-knee skirt with a fringed scalloped bottom hem.  (Thanks, Jonah Lehrer interview on NPR last Friday!)  I didn’t take a Before picture, unfortunately, to show what it looked like before I cut off six inches plus the fringe.  I also snipped into the too-tight elastic waist to make it a little more comfortable.  The crochet overlay and black lining don’t appear in danger of fraying, so I might not even have to deal with hemming.

I took a black Asian-style  dress with the tags still on that looked pretty terrible on all of us in unique and special ways.  I plan to cut it apart to make a top for one of my friends who looked great in it on the upper half, and then use the extra material to make a purse or clutch.

Here’s some of the aftermath of the swap party, which I finally got around to cleaning up a little today.

January 25, 2010. Tags: , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Words. 5 comments.

Quick Jewelry Display Board

I’m having a swap party tomorrow and I wanted a way to display jewelry.  Five or six friends are coming over with clothing, shoes, and accessories they no longer wear and will get to go home with an assortment of new (used) stuff to enjoy.  It’s basically a garage sale where everything is free, and you get to drink wine  while examining the wares.  We’re all close enough in size that shirts should be fairly interchangeable, and there will multiple people with the same size pants too so it should be fun.  I’ll provide multiple full-length mirrors, several rooms available for changing, and snacks and drinks.  We’ll probably listen to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” at some point, and when somebody honestly asks “Do these pants make my butt look fat?” the universe will collapse in on itself while “Sex and the City” spontaneously starts playing on all electronics in the house.

I made a display board for jewelry using pieces of corrugated cardboard, scraps of batting, a piece of pretty fabric, and tape.

I was going to use staples and the stapler was empty, and then when I ran out of packing tape I used a lot of weensy dollar-store brand Scotch tape.  I stretched the batting around the taped-together cardboard pieces, anchoring it on the back side with as much tape as necessary.  (Hint: a lot.)  Then I did the same thing with the fabric.

A thin piece of pink ribbon to hang earrings is taped around the back and anchored on the front with pushpins.  I hung it on the wall using a long piece of wider ribbon and push pins.  The necklaces and earrings are hanging on straight sewing pins.  I’ll probably use a slightly less temporary-looking version after the party to hold my small collection of jewelry in the bathroom.

January 21, 2010. Tags: , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 4 comments.

Presents for me!

For Christmas my dad and his wife sent me a Harry and David gift basket that came in a stack of gift boxes instead of an actual basket.  I came home to an empty house from a dull day at work to find a box on my doorstep for me and it was a great pick-me-up.  I was probably as thrilled to see the pretty boxes and ribbon as I was to find the fruit, nuts, and chocolate inside.  I love pretty boxes and ribbon!  And fruit and nuts!  And chocolate, well, chocolate is alright, I could take it or leave it usually.

Yes, I realize could call my dad’s wife my stepmom, although I don’t really think of her that way because they got married a few years before I graduated from high school and I didn’t live with them so there wasn’t a dad-stepmom-assorted-stepsiblings-all-in-one-home-together situation.  It’s the similar to the way that, now that I’m an adult out on my own, if my mom marries or gets a civil union or formalizes a domestic partnership like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell I won’t think of her spouse as my stepdad, it will just be “Mom’s legally recognized man friend” or whatever.

At the end of last week there was another package waiting for me, this time from one of my friends from college.  She sent me One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins!  It’s 101 projects using just one yard of fabric (plus standard notions and supplies, like thread and buttons).  I’ve already chosen my first few projects, including one for Valentine’s Day that will remain a secret until then.  I excitedly showed the book to my own non-legally recognized man friend when he got home and he said, “Wow, that’s a perfect present for you!  She did a really good job picking out a gift!”  I appreciated his attempt at enthusiasm — about something he doesn’t care about —  because he knew I was excited.  I hope he does a more convincing job when he sees his Valentine’s present next month…

January 19, 2010. Tags: , . Links, Pictures, Words. 3 comments.

Classy black & white cloth napkins

I made a new set of 8 cloth napkins.  I told my gentleman suitor to choose four black and white fabrics and a solid color for the other side (the solid was limited to the less expensive, 100% cotton collection at Joann Fabrics).  I had originally been picturing a deep red and was surprised he chose a muted sea foam green.  I asked what he thought of the finished product and he said, “I won’t be embarrassed to use these at a dinner party with friends, unlike those other ones.”  He was talking about the floral napkins I made last summer.  These new ones are much classier.

January 16, 2010. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 3 comments.

Baby Quilt: Blue and gray, stripes and plaid

I’m delivering my third baby quilt for Maggie’s Place this afternoon.  The recipient of this one requested blue, gray, white, plaid, and stripes.  I quilted it in wide wavy lines to soften the straight edges; the man of the the house said it reminds me of the ocean, which was nice of him to say.  I also quilted down the seam of every other stripe to reinforce it a little.  I ran out of the cloud-like flannel backing so added in a bit of the leftover sailboat fabric, which works with the ocean waves theme.  The finished quilt is 65″ x 46″.  (I’ve been making these “baby quilts” larger than traditional crib size for versatility as the babies grow.)

I enjoyed piecing this one with a new technique I hadn’t tried before that doesn’t involve much cutting.  I snipped into the fabric at the edge then tore it the rest of the way with a satisfying ripping sound.  (Just like they do at Mood on “Project Runway”!)  Each stripe is the width of the yardage, which varied between bolts so I evened them up with my rotary cutter after I’d sewn them together.  I expect to make other quilts like this again; the next one will have narrower stripes and a shorter width, maybe 35″ instead of 44″.  I also have a gray-heavy stack of pre-torn strips I didn’t end up using in this one.

Ha, I just looked up from my laptop and realized this quilt matches the afghan my mom knitted for me in colors I chose before I left for college, ten years ago.

January 10, 2010. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 5 comments.

Repainted dining set



Between Christmas and New Year’s I finally repainted the table and chairs I bought from a friend last summer.  I waited until it wasn’t summer, both because it’s uncomfortable to paint outside when it’s so hot and also because it’s actually beyond the temperature range listed on the paint cans.  I was worried the semi-gloss wall paint wouldn’t stick to the white plastic parts and it didn’t seem to be an issue after I used a clear primer spray paint first.  In regular real life light, the table is a light gray with a blue-ish tinge, and the chairs are a dark gray with a slightly purplish tone.  I didn’t realize all the different tones of gray until I went to Lowe’s and tried to match the colors to two paint samples in a brand they didn’t carry.  Orangey gray and purplish gray aren’t at all the same, for example.

On New Year’s Day I was outside finishing up the table in my backyard, wearing jeans, flip-flops, and a bikini top while enjoying the sun, even getting a little sweaty in the 72 degree air.  My hometown in Minnesota would experience -28F a few days later.

I also painted a small waist-high cabinet a friend gave me that she was going to throw away.  I did this one the real way, actually taking off the knobs before painting rather than just dabbing paint around the handle and getting small bits of paint on the metal.  (It’s outside drying, waiting to be put back together.)  We use this cabinet next to the kitchen door leading to the garage to hold baskets of keys and wallets on top and kitchen towels, napkins, and all my aprons inside.

January 6, 2010. Tags: , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 5 comments.