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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Peak 10 peaks again (and see me chat about the program!)

So, we're back from paradise. We had a fabulous time! Heck, I even have some pictures to share. However, real life slapped me in the face pretty much as soon as we landed, so I'll get around to posting a real Hawaii update this weekend. Oh, and a Self-Stitched September update, too. In the meantime, want to hear about one of the things that made coming home a bit easier? Sure you do! ;)

Peak 10, round 3 officially started while we were on vacation, but I joined the group last Friday. Almost all of my favorite gym friends are doing this round, which is really exciting. Even my brother is joining me this time - Suh-weet! He has been slowly working out with me more and more until it became apparent that he needed to just get a membership already and that led to him joining the Peak 10 group as well.

The workouts are proving to be just as tough and fun as the first two rounds. Although, can I just say that taking a full two weeks off means that those few classes back in the game are just brutal. Like, haven't felt this beat up in months, brutal. I think by this weekend my body will start to feel normal again, at least, I sure hope so!

While round 3 was getting off the ground, the first two DVDs were officially released and are now available for purchase! If you'd like to play along at home, why don't you pick them up and join me, eh? Either way, you should check out the website. There are previews of both videos (you can see me jumping around in the Cardio Intervals preview) and if you'd like to hear what I think about the program and my results take a look at the behind the scenes video. ;)

Our core group of Peak 10 folks are all doing this round and I'd say that we're all pretty dang motivated to just kill it this season. I've got some pretty lofty goals for the next 8 weeks, but I'm so excited to try and reach them. Bring on the crazy!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

5 Years later

and I'm still having as much fun with you today as I did on our wedding day.

I love you Jim and am looking forward to many more years together.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burda 06-2010-133: Bright and Fishy

I really like wearing bright colors and prints when we're in Hawaii. Something about the ocean and the beautiful flowers and plants makes me want to drape myself in turquoise, pink, blue and any other bright shade I can find. So, when I saw this teal golfish print from Patty Young, I had to have it and earmarked it for a mini-skirt.

I loved the Take 1, Make 4 skirt section in Burda's June issue and since I'm trying to branch out from using McCall's 3830 over and over, I tried skirt 133, just a basic mini. I left out the pockets thinking I didn't need any extra stuff around my hips. I'm glad I did as I had to alter the hip curve a bit after cutting it out and the pockets would have just complicated matters.

I like that the straight size 40 sits below my belly button (M3830 sits higher on my waist), but still fits well through the hips. I used french seams on the sides, hem tape and bias tape on the remaining raw edges. After fixing the hip curve, this one is being added alongside M3830 as a TNT pattern!

I freely admit that this skirt is what some of you would call a "craft project." I mean, really, bright quilting cotton with huge goldfish on it is about as far from elegant and sophisticated as you can get. And yet, I kind of love it. It's so wacky and ridiculous that I can't help but smile when I look at it. I'm pretty excited to bust it out on our vacation while enjoying a tropical drink, watching the sunset. I asked Jim what he really thought of it and he swears he likes it. I figure even if everyone else thinks I'm nuts for wearing it, at least the cutie that I'm with is a-okay with it! ;)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Self-Stitched September: Days 2-6

As I mentioned in the previous post, I missed Day 1 because I wasn't actually planning on participating. I'm on track though, starting Day 2, although I didn't actually get a picture for that day since I hadn't decided to play along until Day 3. Heh. So here are the first few days. I figure I'll highlight the self-stitched pieces and then any other garment that I particularly love.

Day 2: DVF tank dress
Will make this picture up and add it later.

Day3:Denim straight skirt

Day off work, but lots of errands to run. This skirt is still such a workhorse piece for me. Expect to see it several more times this month.

Day 4: Madras plaid skirt

It was about a billion degrees today so it was all about staying cool and comfortable. This skirt is perfect for sticky weather because it is so light. Love it.

Day 5: Navy jersey tank

I literally didn't leave the house at all today and couldn't motivate to really dress up. Hence, a basic tank and shorts. Good work around the house outfit.
The shorts are actually the first pair of RTW shorts I've bought in years. I couldn't believe they actually fit!

Day 6: Coral jersey tank

Yup, another basic tank. :) We're doing dinner with the inlaws tonight and then spending the night so they can drop us off at the airport in the morning.

Monday, September 6, 2010

KS3703: Preppy, Stripey, Summery

A few months ago when I was trolling Gorgeous Fabrics, I stumbled across this navy and pink rugby stripe cotton knit. I had no idea what I would do with it, but I needed it! Not only am I recently obsessing over all things striped, but the color scheme was made for me. After it arrived, I still hadn't figured out what in the world to do with it, so it's been sitting in the stash ever since.

Last month, it finally dawned on me - I could make a t-shirt dress! I think t-shirt dresses are so cute, particularly the striped ones that Lacoste releases each year, but I've never found one that fits me well. This was my chance to make a version that fit ME. I trolled the pattern sites and found Kwik Sew 3703.

The reviews from Pattern Review were good and specifically mentioned that it was more of an a-line style, which I thought would be more flattering for me than a form-fitting style. Based on the size chart, I needed an XS in the bust, but more like a M in the skirt. The online reviews mentioned this dress had a lot of extra ease through the waist/hips, so I opted for the S in the skirt. I know KS says not to blend sizes, but oh well. I used my grading rulers to make a smooth transition from the XS to S around the waist area and prayed for the best.

Guys, I LOVE this dress! It sews up in no time and the changes I made gave it a perfect fit! Nice and slim through the bust and waist with some extra room around the hips so that the skirt skims the curvy parts. This dress is so full of preppy goodness, I could just squeal.

Oh, and can we talk about how awesome my stripe matching is on the side and back seams? It was my first time working with a striped fabric and it went much better than I was expecting. I cut the bindings on the cross grain to add some visual interest, but I wish it had either been more random or matched up better with the stripes around the neckline. Live and learn, I guess.

This is such a great "throw it on and go" kind of dress that I knew I needed at least one more for Hawaii. I picked up some gorgeous rayon jersey at Mood that reminds me of the brillant sunsets we're treated to each night in Hawaii. This one went together even faster than the first dress as the pattern was ready to go and there was no stripes to be matched. This is going to a perfect casual dinner dress.

I know the pattern photo looks a bit meh, but this is the perfect t-shirt style dress for all of you hippy gals out there. Seriously, go grab this pattern and make yourself a fun and effortless little dress before the last bit of summer disappears. I just can't promise that you'll be able to stop at just one. ;)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

M6036: My first tank! and Self Stitched September

Can you guys believe that I've been sewing for over a year and I just sewed my first top for me last night? I mean, that's kind of crazy, right? I think my reluctance to sew tops has been that I've never had a hard time finding things that fit in RTW, so I was more concerned with sewing those pieces that were difficult for me to find in stores - namely skirts and dresses. I tend to gravitate towards knit tops because they're comfortable and can be easily dressed up or down. Over the summer, I figured it was about time to sew a top or two and have several planned for fall.

In the meantime, I wanted a white tank to wear on our flights to Hawaii, but struck out when I tried to buy one this weekend. I remembered I had a little bit of off white rayon jersey left over from a wrap sweater I made for a friend's mom (oops, still need to blog that!), which I had specifically earmarked for a tank and never got around to sewing. I pulled it out and thought I'd try M6036, the scoopneck tank version. The "crafty" parts of this pattern are sooo not my style, but the basic tank looked good.

I traced the XS and added 1 inch in length. I also sewed it up with slightly larger seam allowances to make it smaller all over, but eventually needed to nip it in a bit more through the waist. I used a twin needle on the neckline, arm and bottom hems to make it look more RTW.

All told, this was easily the simplest and fastest project I've worked on yet - talk about instant gratification! And the best part - I absolutely LOVE the finished tank! It is exactly what I was hoping for and wound up being cheaper than buying one from the store. There isn't anything particularly exciting about the pattern, but it's very similar to my favorite RTW tank top and I'm thrilled to now be able to make my own. I am so pleased with it that I permanently adjusted the pattern pieces through the waist and then whipped up a navy blue version and have a coral one waiting in the wings. While this tank will be perfect for traveling, it's also a great work basic that will look good on its own or layered under a sweater. I feel like I can never have too many basic knit tops. :)

No pictures of it on me yet, though. Why? I'm sure many of you have heard about "Self-Stitched September" hosted by 'So Zo...'. Several sewing bloggers that I follow had talked about participating and I was intrigued by the challenge, but really didn't think I had enough pieces to make it through an entire month wearing at least one garment that I made each day. Instead, I thought I'd do a mini-version while we were on vacation, since my planned dinner outfits all included at least one thing that I've made. I skipped September 1st, but on the 2nd and 3rd wore a dress and skirt that I had made without even thinking about it. I started reconsidering the challenge, added up the pieces I had to work with and realized that I probably had enough to make it through the entire month. :) Franky, I was pretty shocked. Don't get me wrong, it's still going to be a challenge, even just commiting to wearing *one* piece a day. The one gaping hole was not having any tops to work into the rotation, which you can see I sort of solved yesterday.

I think what I'll do is post my outfits up to this point tomorrow, then do one big post recapping the Hawaii days and then group the rest every 5 days or so. That way, it shouldn't be too many outfit posts throughout the month. I'm really excited by the challenge and hope I'm able to make it all work!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

KS2911 and M5740: Go Bruins!

Anyone who has tried to find cute and interesting baby/toddler boy patterns knows that it's damn near impossible. While you can find 275948759723 adorable little dress patterns, the boys typically get a basic t-shirt, collared shirt, shorts and pants. Okay, maybe there are a few others thrown in, but the pickings are slim. So shortly after T-dogg was born, I started scouring the pattern bins, looking for gift ideas for his 1st birthday. Yeah, it was early, but I wanted to make sure I came up with something good.

T-dogg's parents, MoP and Tre, are our travel and sports buddies. We share Lakers and UCLA tickets, we've traveled to Peru, Vegas, Hawaii and Palm Springs together and we really hope that our children (theirs real, ours theoretical) are good pals. Since we had already given T-dogg some Lakers gear, I thought it was time for him to start supporting our other favorite team - The Bruins.

I picked up some UCLA argyle fleece which I thought would be fun for a sporty zip up vest. In all honesty, this print is a tad big for a toddler garment, but I liked it and really, there are only so many years in your life that you can get away with wearing a bright blue and yellow argyle fleece vest. Heh. ;)

KS 2911 features 3 unisex fleece outerwear garments for toddlers that looks pretty much identical to things I've seen from North Face. Gotta love patterns that closely mimic RTW garments. This was my first time trying to match a large repeating pattern and after getting a few tips from my local sewing shop, I think it turned out pretty well. I made sure the UCLA was centered on the back and then again on the front upper right-hand side.

For the collar, I specifically cut the inner band so that "UCLA" was in the center - I thought it made for a nice touch.

This was such an easy vest to put together and the finished result looks like something you would find in a store - with a large price tag on it. To me, the swimwear binding is what really sells it and it was remarkably easy to attach.

To complete the outfit, I made the fleece pants from M5740 (now out of print).

I used a mid-weight polar fleece that I found at Michael Levine Loft. The fabric washed up well, but I wish I would have made the front pocket bags from a very light jersey instead of the fleece. As it was, when the waist was folded over to make the elastic casing, I was sewing through up to 6 layers of fleece in some areas. Ugh, not fun. Other than that, I really like the pattern and the resulting pants are basic, but with some fun details. I did leave off the side cargo pocket because I didn't think the fabric would lay well.

Paired with a long sleeve white t-shirt (thank you Baby Gap!) and some snazzy trainers, T-dogg is all set for evening football games this fall!