Friday, December 6, 2013

Inspiration Strikes

I was reading this illuminating article from Fast & Co. on the realities of the Golden Age of flight (save you the reading: it was less Golden and more smoky), and I happened upon this wonderful picture:

Image: Flickr user 1950s Unlimited

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Disney: Day 6

Let the sadness flow. This was it. We were up before the crack of dawn to finish packing and get ready to check out, then head to the Polynesian for our breakfast reservation...which did brighten the mood somewhat.

Evidence: this was taken while we schlubbed our bags to guest services.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Disney: Day 5

The end is nigh. We woke up Saturday morning SUPER excited to be heading to Animal Kingdom (though it is a troubled relationship, I have loved zoos for as long as I can remember, so responsible, educational zoo + theme park? Win.) but we knew that we were leaving the next day, so there was a lot spring-semester-senior year feeling accompanying the thrill.

We left early - we figured the extra magic hours would give us our best chance to see the most animals up and about, not to mention the possibility of an extra ride or two - and we got there about forty minutes before the park officially opened.

Sorry, lady - I'm sure you would have smiled if I had let you know you were in frame.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Disney: Day 4

Hollywood Studios, as promised! Due to our hardy-partying (hearty-partying? I'm never sure which one applies in that phrase...) we didn't quite get the up-at-dawn start to the day that I was aiming for. It is even possible that I slept through my alarm entirely and didn't get up till after 7:30. SEVEN-THIRTY!! Travesty. But we did in fact get up, and caught the bus to make the five minute ride to the park (if my feet weren't so sad at this point, it might have been as fast to walk. But that's for seasons that allow for socks and sensible shoes.) We had a 9:00 FastPass+ for The Toy Story Ride, because I had been reading horror stories about the wait times. Even with the FP, and even at 9:05 in the am, we still waited. (In a truly wonderful queue, though, so it was delightful waiting. Tinker Toy trusses!!) We got packed into our little midway car, and off to the races! Or the video games, as the case was. We had a great time (and I redeemed myself, at least somewhat, in my defeat of Kate - hehhehheh), but I'm going to go ahead and say it: I felt a little oversold. Please, please don't misunderstand: it was fun. It was pretty and fancy and filled with 3D. But, umm, it's pretty much the same as the Buzz ride over in MK, right? Only with a pull string and less Zurg? I mean, I wasn't missing out on some intrinsic experience that everyone else has felt? I just don't see the motivation for the people waiting in the already 65 minute wait line...after we ate (the world's most delicious) blueberry muffins across the way, we spoke to the very sweet - and very new - CM helping manage all the strollers. She told us that one of her roommates worked the ride the previous Christmas, and there were 240 minute waits and a paper fast pass line that stretched all the way back to the sorcerer's hat. I don't get that.

Tin Toy!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Disney (Really): Day 3b

Magic Kingdom again!! At the strong recommendation of Kate's "Disney-Pro" friend Lindsay, we had gotten tickets to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and planned to dress in sort of Disneybounding costumes. So after the morning at Universal, we got back and rested and cleaned up and changed into our amazing/not so amazing costumes. Seriously, small children were gasping and pointing at Kate throughout the evening. She looked great. I had very purple legs.

Please note the perfect purpleness.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Disney (Not Disney): Day 3a

Universal, Halloween Kingdom and achin' feet

Day 3!! The day we got to go to Universal. It was really kind of amazing how different the energy was - we came in through the City Walk area (stopping at Starbucks - I was like to DIE without some good coffee - and Cinnabon (insert Jim Gaffigan jokes here, because we sure did)) to meet with our benevolent host by the lighthouse - all the while removing our magic bands and any other possibly Disney-themed paraphernalia...I still wish I had pulled the trigger on those Harry Potter bows, but I don't even know what house I'm in anymore..........<wails in existential angst>

The sky was gorgeous. No smart comment, just an observation.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quick Sewing Entry

Had to share my excitement this morning on some non-Disney related items! I had some yardage in my cart at for Christmas presents (I am kind of a maniac about getting Christmas done early - I like everything wrapped and ready by Thanksgiving. It doesn't ever completely happen, but I usually have most of it done by then.) and didn't want to buy it without earning the free shipping (CHEAP). I poked around some on the sale section and found this loveliness, which I had fallen in love with at first sight a few months ago, for less than $6 a yard. Thrills!

iHaus Organic Hexagons Yellow/Grey
Isn't she lovely? (Image via
I thought, this will be perfect for a little full skirt - something simple to be worn high waisted with a sleek little top and belted...I got about twice what I needed, but I have an every-growing stockpile of yellow fabric that I've fallen in love with, that will one day be the most beautiful, mustardy quilt in the world. 

I was then about ten dollars short of the free shipping, so I rolled the dice on some black cotton jersey. I'm going to try to draft a long sleeve t-shirt (to be worn with the skirt, naturally). Allow me to emphasize the word TRY in that sentence...

But first I have to get the colorblock dress done! I've got the fabric washed and laid out in the dining room to be cut, but as excited as I am, I have a terror-block of actually cutting it out...the billion (okay, three) options on the pattern have me cringing. I have enough trouble getting the fit right based on my measurements (I either don't know how to measure - highly unlikely - or there is just way too much ease in EVERYTHING.) and since it has two additional fit options, I'm just at sea on the Decisions part of it. Sigh. But, I am not permitted to so much as wash this pretty yellow till I get crackin' on the dresses! (And ordering that zipper - you'd think someone would make a 32" zipper, wouldn't you?)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Disney: Day 2

Food, motion sickness and crowd anxiety

Wednesday was Epcot - namely, Wednesday was the Food & Wine Festival! Snacks from all over the world, a checklist of a billion new and fun things to taste? That's so right up my alley it might as well be running behind my house. (Tangent: I miss living in neighborhoods with alleys.)

We were up bright and early - 9:00 a.m. FastPasses for Soarin', which the Internet told me was The Ride of Rides at that particular park. After we hiked through the half mile of people-corral, we waited for a just a little while as they finished whatever magic they have to do to get things ready in the mornings. We were very much charmed by it - and yes, raised up our feet to avoid dragging them through the pounding surf. It being so early in the morning, we rolled the dice and hiked back through (seriously, the queue areas are INSANE! Everywhere, but it seemed particularly notable in Epcot.) and got to sit on the front row this time - no feet dangling in our faces - next to the sweetest family with three little stair-step girls. I think we watched their faces more than the video on the second time! Precious, precious girls - it was a little like being in one of the ads they run...they were just transfixed and completely delighted. (Which is point one in my completely childless opinion on How Old Children Should Be to Enjoy Disney.) We followed behind them (sweet family, but c'mon - it's rude to walk five abreast, even if three of them are tiny) on our way over to Livin' with the Land, which I found to be highly enjoyable. Again, I'm kind of an old person, and very drawn to dark and cool when it's more than 90 degrees outside. But I absolutely loved getting to ride through the greenhouse. I kept thinking, man, if only I could build a geodesic greenhouse in the back yard with lovely clinically-defined growing areas and twirling helices of lettuce and herbs...if only. But all that pining aside, there was lettuce growing in the shape of a Mickey head.

I know it's not the best angle, but we weren't allowed to stand up. And I am a safety rule-follower.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Disney: Day 1

Travel, Turbulence and Tears

I should perhaps give some background here, so you understand what a big deal this was for me. I am a Disney kid, through and through. Growing up overseas, we couldn't always count on English television, so we were set in the VHS department - and nearly all of it was Disney. The animated classics, of course, but also Flubber and The Shaggy Dog and Candleshoe and The Parent Trap (well, all the Jodie Foster and Hayley Mills movies) and the all Sing-A-Longs and the Ducktales videos and Classic Donald/Chip and Dale/Mickey/Pluto/Goofy/Daisy Volumes 1-5000...I might exaggerate with the last one, but my point is that I lived and breathed Disney. My first conscious career goal was to be a voice actor - and to this day my favorite daydream is getting to voice a Disney villain. I remember when my aunt Alice sent me a subscription one year for the Disney Adventures magazine - it was a whole other world...and then the Disney channel?! Forget about it. I was bought and paid for. But through all this, I'd never been to Disney - World, Land, Euro, none of it. It was literally the castle on the horizon - seen but never reached.

So here I am, 31 years old, tossing and turning like a four year old on Christmas Eve - I could not sleep to save my life. I had been packed for a week and a half, travel day clothes laid out on the back of my chair for at least three days, and hat with my precious Pinocchio bow afixed sitting on top of the pile. I was GOING TO DISNEY WORLD! Alarm went off at 4:30 (though I honestly didn't need it - was waking up every half hour or so, terrified that I was oversleeping) and I got ready in twenty minutes flat. My wonderful daddy left the house at 5:00 to drop me off at Kate's wonderful dad's house (who is always, always so kind to drop us off at the airport even at the most unholy of departure hours). M'dear Kate showed up in Minnie shirt and silver sequined mouse ears - her "fairy godmother" came to her house with a metric ton of Disney swag, so she was pretty much set. We chattered like squirrels the whole way down to Birmingham - the glee could not be contained.

And this was at 6:45 in the AM.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Just kidding, apparently, on the Disney posts - though I promise I'll get them up eventually! (Too many people waiting for the play by play, and I HAVE to do it before it starts fading from my mind...rephrasing, as it will never, ever fade from my mind: before my detail accuracy fades into a loving wash.)

But I do want to post my Next Project plans! I so enjoyed making my clothes for the trip, and I even more enjoyed being able to create exactly what I wanted, that I'm carrying on with it. Next up was a dress inspired by this simple lovely and a pair of mustard tights. I loved the dress on the hanger, but there were four different kinds of not-happening for me - I love sleeves, and those barely fit the name. I loved the color, but the fabric was a little wimpier than I want for winter. I love love LOVE the Peter Pan collar, but with my round face, it invariably looks too cute and I look six. And for the fourth, I knew without even trying it on that the cut would pull in the worst places and sag everywhere else. But I had those mustard tights, and, darn it, I was going to have something new and wonderful to wear with them.

So began the search. I ended up settling on Simplicity 1586 - a very classic sheath with princess seaming. I haven't actually worn anything sewn like that for a very long time - haven't seen anything sewn like that for a long time, not where I shop! - but it's so flattering, and I loved the potential for color blocking. And while it's available from the Simplicity site, I cannot bring myself to spend that kind of money on tissue paper - Hancock Fabrics had one of their amazing pattern sales, and I snagged it for $1.99, along with a Cynthia Rowley pattern for one-day-when-I'm-skinny.

(I'd say you can't beat it, but I did just a few days before - they had all their Butterick patterns for $.99, and I picked up seven costume patterns in varying sizes and one 40's inspired for me - my listed savings at the bottom of the receipt were $91.08. It was a good, good day.)

So, I had my pattern: now the hard part. Picking out a fabric. SIGH. So, so many options. The pattern lists pique, poplin, sateen, wool, crepe, silk, linen...and a whole bunch of other stuff that just boiled down to stable and sturdy. Well, I can do that! I decided a double knit was what I wanted - something with a little give, something that can get tossed in the washer, something with color options, and something CHEAP. Double knit it is.

I'm still finding my way around the world of online fabric shopping. I'm a dedicated, soul-sold Amazon shopper, so finding some of these sites that look like their hosted by geocites is uniquely terrifying - you're not getting any of my money, late-nineties time travelers! I have ordered from before with good results, so that's my starting point for any project. After several days of hemming and hawing, and going from one navy-with-black-polka-dots dress to one black and one color blocked (essentially my wearable muslin - I have a feeling I'm going to require a great deal of tweaking on this pattern, AmazingFit or not), I ended up with two and half of the last four yards of a solid black and this royal blue for the center panel piece:

Ponte De Roma Knit Royal
(Image taken from the site)

So that's the color blocked piece, which I know, I know - is exactly what they have on the envelope. I never claimed to be particularly original. But I will be adding sleeves to mine, because-gross. Scoop neck, just like the envelope...I'd be bothered by it, but it's going to be just so cute I can't care.

The second one - the real one, destined to be worn with the mustard tights - I decided I needed to make black, as my February dinner show requires a black cocktail dress. As I mentioned, though, they only had four yards of the black that I was using for this, so I needed to find something else that was the same content. Of course, I'm just not that lucky. I DID find, though, a lovely (what I'm hoping is) dark grey chevron - a very fine line, tone on tone pattern. I would have ordered a swatch to be sure it was dark enough to read as black, but as I'm cheap and hate paying for shipping (let alone paying for shipping TWICE) I swung for the fences, bit the bullet, and just ordered it. Isn't it pretty?!
Shadow Ponte De Roma Knit Chevron Grey
(Image taken from the site)
The plan for that is to get one of those ever-so-trendy exposed zippers and run it all the way down the center seam of the back panel, and then! Oh, and then - I'm so excited for this - my fabric searches led me down some wonderful alleys, one of which was full of trim and piping and LEATHER PIPING. Black leather piping all down the princess seams on the front panel. I'm ever so excited - almost bigcited, but that will come after the tears of frustration when I can finally wear them.

I love having a plan, and I love having a project - I can't wait to get the fabric in and get to cutting!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Disney: Overall Thoughts

I was going to just jump in with my little trip report for posterity, but I wanted to give everything some context first. I studied and prepared for this trip, with the help of the Disney site, of course, and (which was an excellent resource in the parks, particularly), but also,, and - they are all experienced hands and had writing styles I could actually stand to read on a regular basis; two tests that lots of blogs failed miserably. <She said smiling.>

Even with all my months and months of preparation, I was in no way prepared for the breathtaking amazingness of it all. Every corner I turned, I was overwhelmed by the attention to detail, by the obvious care and concern taken, by the unanticipated emotional impact that it had on me. It's trite but true: it's really is a magical place, and I can't wait to go back again.

Coming up next: Day 1 report and pictures (hopefully...)!

Monday, September 23, 2013

To keep on a schedule, I'm going ahead and a placeholder for conversations of merit and pictures. Consider this white noise.

I'm getting ready for My Very First Trip to Disney World - seven days, eighteen hours and seventeen minutes as of this moment - and am kind of overwhelmed by the looming nearness of it all. I've been planning to take this trip for well over a year, and actively planning the trip itself since April. So I have months and months of blog reading and menu scanning and resort comparisons and must-sees and must-dos and must-eats rolling around my head...I feel I have consumed all the existing Magic (TM), but it's the week before I go so surely there must be something left to do! But there's not. It's just me, left to finally figure out how to finish the shoulders of that one shirt and piling items on top of my (brand new, steal of a) suitcase. Thankfully, I've piles of things to move and sort here in the office - my mother will be filling my chair while I'm out of town, so much straightening is required.

While I was talking to a friend last week, she told me her four year old described such feelings as being BIGCITED, which feels exactly right. I am bigcited for this trip, and I can't believe it's already almost here.

Monday, September 16, 2013

In an attempt to create something on a regular basis, I've been adding trials into my life. One of which will be finally picking this blog back up! In preparation for My Very First Trip to Disney World, and out of frustration at the way things in the store fit/cost so darn much, I've made several tunics this summer, and thought I'd share how that went.

First up, the positive review! Well, a two-in-one positive review. I want to heartily recommend Girl Charlee Fabrics to anyone who's looking for an online jersey source - wonderful selection, quick shipping and surprisingly cheap! You can only purchase full yard cuts, which led to some over purchasing on my part, but better too much than not enough.

For the second positive review: Burda 7603. Love it. What follows is an expanded version of my review at cheap and easy entry, right?

The pattern was surprisingly straightforward and very well drafted (especially compared to the Simplicity patterns I had also been using, which will get theirs in a separate post - and I MEAN IT). It's a ten piece pattern (since I didn't put pockets in the tunic length), which intimidated me at first, but it came together very easily. It looked just like the front of the envelope, which was a pleasant surprise (again, compared to the Simplicity patterns - grrrrrrrr).

My only complaint was the sizing. My fabric (a cotton/rayon blend) had about 30% stretch, so I was a little nervous about fitting, so I cut out my recommended size for the bodice and hemmed the sides before I cut anything else out. I am SO GLAD that I did. Ended up cutting three sizes down all over, and it fits perfectly.

I still have to hem the bottom and sleeves (which I cut to a three-quarter length - I don't care for short sleeves, but full length felt awkward for the tropical print), but I'll post fully finished images once completed.

Now that I have the sizing issues worked out, I'll definitely be making this pattern again; likely with the long sleeves in the dress length for fall. Aside from finishing, the actual dress construction took less than two hours. So happy with it! As a side note, cutting things out is awful and I hate doing it.