Girl’s Summer Dress

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Girl’s Summer Dress

While perusing the pattern books, there are so many adorable clothing patterns for girls (poor boys…). The benefit of kids clothes is that they don’t require as much tailoring in the hips/butt/chest regions as is necessary for those of us who were blessed with curves.

So, to escalate my sewing escapades, I chose a McCall’s pattern for a girl’s summer dress, and my niece selected the D version, the sleeved dress without skirt pleats. My niece also selected the fabric, which is a rather interesting type of fabric. The selection of fabrics from this collection is very bright and colorful, but the fabric itself has this strange beveled quality to it and feels thin but stiff.  After washing the fabric, it did feel softer. I also noticed that when you press the fabric, the bevels flatten out which can be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you were intending to do that.

I used a contrast color (from the yellow fat quarter) for the waistband instead of the main fabric. I also omitted the flower after my attempt to make it resulted in a hot mess of both pointy and curved petals. I added lining to the skirt portion and skipped some of the top stitching in the bodice.

Fun things I learned while making this dress.

1. Read the back of the pattern envelope. All of it. I neglected to do so and it required a return trip to Jo-Ann’s to pick up the contrast color and a zipper, and a second return visit to pick up a cotton lining. I suppose the purpose of listing all the fabric and notions needed in one handy place is so that you only need to make ONE trip to the store.

2. Read the directions. All of it and in order. I have a horrible tendency to skim directions rather than read them thoroughly. I made the mistake of adding on the liner at the beginning…only to realize I was supposed to add it at Step 6 or so. Yeah, I had to rip seams and start over.

3. Don’t drink and sew. I don’t think this one needs much explanation. You know that test where you make people walk in a straight line to test their sobriety? Well, that’s what my seams looked like.

The skirt length ended up being shorter than I liked, given that I know she’s probably going to hit a growth spurt soon. If I use this pattern again, I’d definitely add a couple inches to the length, just to extend the life of the dress as she grows. Of course, this is assuming the dress doesn’t fall apart by then!


Book Review: The Girl on the Train

girl on teh train

I’m currently on vacation on beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. The husband is here on business so I’m tagging along.  Poor guy,  he’s at work all day and I’m taking surfing lessons and reading by the pool.

Anyway, I joined a book club in my area and I’ve just finished the book for July, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. It starts from the point of view of Rachel, who talks about the things she sees on her daily commute via train to London.  With each morning/evening entry (corresponding to her trips to and from London, more is revealed about her rather messed up and traumatic life and the lives of the people she sees on Road, a place she passes on the train ride. Each chapter told from the point if view of one of three female characters, each with the own messed up story to tell.

The book is an incredibly quick read, I finished it in about 3-4 sittings. It had a very casual tone, like reading someone’s diary.  You hear their voice, their train of thought, and what happened without much pomp and circumstance. I thought the characters felt very real, experiencing feelings I could very much sympathize, if not empathize with. By the time I had sort of figured out the major plot line, the book did its reveal.  If anything, the first half to two-thirds of the book is really character development and the rest is plot. I think the author could have afforded to spend a little more time with the plot because I felt like the action unfolded, peaked, and ended rather quickly, as compared to the slow character buildup in the first half of the book. I also was a little frustrated at first when the dates jumped back and forth, depending on who’s POV you were reading from. But I understood why she did that and it becomes less confusing as the book progresses.

All in all, an interesting read. I’ll probably have to read it again to refresh my memory since my book club doesn’t meet for a few weeks.

PinTesting: 2 Ingredient Cabinet Cleaner

Pinterest…the utopia of weddings, food, fashion, and my favorite, crafts. Pressing “Pin It” is akin to saying “I can do it!” or “Yes! I can have that!” which is the sentence you’d find on page one of the “Common Phrases for Crafters.” Other common phrases might include:

  • “But I can make it for cheaper”
  • “Why buy it when you can make it”
  • “Do you think [INSERT NAME] would like this as a gift?”

I digress. I’ve recently come across a lot of pins for “easy and diy” home cleaning solutions. I have no issues with using store-bought cleaners but the ease of these cleaning concoctions looks so simple that I had to try it. Which brings me to what I hope is going to be an ongoing sub-series: PinTesting.

Let’s face it, Pinterest is where amazingly photographed achievements go to live and mediocrity isn’t given the light of day. This is supported by the birth of the meme “Nailed it” where people showcase their hilarious attempts to reproduce other peoples projects. For examples, I suggest this amazing compilation from Buzzfeed. So, to help further inject reality into the seemingly flawless world of Pinterest, I will share my attempts to reproduce Pins I find regardless of the results. Which brings me back to to home cleaning solutions.

I found a recipe for a 2-ingredient cleaning concoction for kitchen cabinets: vegetable oil and baking soda. It is advertised as a “gunk remover”…gunk being the years of layered dirt smudges left by our dirty paws on the most touched portions of cabinet doors.

Here’s what my cabinets look liked before.

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After mixing the solution, I quickly discovered that to clean all my cabinets, I was going to need a hell of a lot more of this stuff. I also discovered cleaning things with a toothbrush, generally sucks. Perhaps I should have mixed in more oil, but I found this rather difficult to work with because it was so chunky and didn’t spread very well unless I used my fingers to smear it on. BUT….here’s what my cabinet looked like after cleaning:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMugEnd results – PASS with reservations. It It worked nicely, it left my kitchen free of the chemically-smells you’d get from using store-bought cleaner, and my cabinets did look fresh. However, after an hour of cleaning my cabinets with this, I’m not entirely convinced I wouldn’t opt for a spray on cleaner next time.