Sunday, June 29, 2008

McCall's 5353

I fell like I haven't sewed in soooooo (seeeewwwww?) long! My niece turned one in May and good aunt that I am, I never got around to making her birthday present. Since I will be seeing her next weekend, I thought I better step it up!

Here is the the first piece of the three-piece ensemble. In addition to the dress, there will be a floppy hat and panties to go under the dress. I had planned on trimming all the way around in rick rack but decided it would be too much. Both fabrics are embossed cotton from Hancock. The pattern is McCalls 5353.

Hmmm, is it me or do those pockets look crooked? WAIT!!! Don't tell me if they are. I'm not moving 'em. And this way, I can just pretend it's the angle.

Summer of the UFO - Join me!

It's funny that I started this blog a couple years ago as a place to highlight knitting projects. But based on a myriad of events, my knitting is all but non-existent these days. Over the last few weeks I have been thinking that I need to re-organize my knitting and get some projects underway and finally last night, I sat now and assessed the existing projects, the contemplated projects and the stash to get a few ideas for next steps. Well, lo and behold, I woke up this morning to an invitation to the Summer of the UFO blog started by Ms. Allison herself!

Here is a synopsis of the "rules":

Sign ups for Summer of the UFO will be open throughout the summer. To sign-up just send an e-mail to UFOknitATgmailDOTcom and let us know your e-mail address. You will then receive an e-mail invitation to join. So here are the rules. This KAL is meant for us to support one another in finishing our UFO's so you are invited to do the following:

1. Post a list of your UFO's on your blog (requested but not required)

2. Post photos of your UFO's that you are now working on and let us know how you're doing.

3. Leave comments and encourage others to finish their UFO's.

It's that simple! We hope you will join us!

Wanna join in? I personally can use the encouragement!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Chocolate PB Smoothie

As I was cleaning out the fridge this morning, I came across the Chocolate Soy Milk that I wasn't fond of. I was going to dump it was hating to waste, I tried to think of something to do with it and remembered a smoothie Jennifer posted a while back . I couldn't find it again on her blog but I think it included peanut butter and chocolate milk. Here is my version:

1 frozen banana
4-6 ice cubes
1 cup chocolate milk (soy in this case!)
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 T peanut butter

Blend until smooth. Drink with a straw. Feel smug that you're drinking something relatively healthy that tastes so darn good!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Skirt Detail

Thanks for the feedback on melatonin. I took it two nights in a row and it worked wonderfully. I skipped it last night and ended up sleeping through the night. Woo Hoo. Hopefully, that means my sleep is back on track!

In spite of an absence of sewing on my blog lately, this post is sort of related to sewing. I saw this Banana Republic ad in a magazine and think the skirt is adorable. Just a simple pencil skirt but with some additional detail on the waistband that I like a lot. It looks like a little band that is buttoned on. I am going to see if I can find a pattern that has something similar. Or else, it would be easy enough to recreate, I suppose. I will make my skirt a wee bit longer! That model has some seriously LONG LEGS!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Melatonin and Soy Milk

Between the neck / arm pain I've been experiencing since January, a bit of personal stress and the excessive travel I've experienced lately, I have gone from sleeping soundly every single night to very bad sleep. I would estimate that since January, I have probably only slept through the night 5% of the time. That's not good.

After being awake almost 31 hours (not counting a two hour cat nap on the plane back), I figured I would easily sleep through the night last Friday. NOPE. Two hours asleep and then wide awake for another two. Dozed off and on for another two 0r three before giving up and getting up. Same thing happened Saturday night. Weird! I mentioned it to a friend yesterday and she recommended melatonin. she specifically likes Trader Joe's version. So I bought some and VOILA!! Fell asleep at 10:30 and slept all the way through until my alarm went off at 5:30. WOO HOO! SEVEN HOURS, PEOPLE!!!

Has anyone else ever tried this stuff? My mom isn't keen, "Bon, you know those things are unregulated. Never know what it's going to do to your body." I do know that but I'm more concerned with what I might do to the people around me if I DON'T get some sleep. Wound tight as a drum - that's me!

In another health related issue, I tried some chocolate soy milk. I hate cow milk and really, really need more calcium in my diet. I tried the Silk Light Chocolate. Ummm.... EWWWW!!! "Nuf said.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cincinnati Cicadas... Revisited

Like a bad horror movie, back in 2004 in Cincinnati, all we heard about from January to the beginning of May was the I N V A S I O N O F T H E C I C A D A S!!!!! (If I could play ominous music in this post, I would.) From the Cincinnati Enquirer: In 2004, 5 to 7 billion members of Brood X swarmed mostly to the west of Interstate 71.

In spite of months and months of warning; disclaimers of liability on potentially cancelled outdoor weddings, graduation parties, etc. due to cicada invasions; landscapers making a mint off of wrapping trees, shrubs, etc. to protect them; warnings from vets about household pets; when the cicadas finally emerged right around May 5th, it was like 'what-eva'. Very anti-climactic, in my never-so-humble-opinion. Except for my friend's "Cicada de Mayo" party (hilarious and very fun!), the cicadas were a non-event.

Fast forward to mid-May 2008... I overhear someone in Kroger talking about cicadas. Next day, I overhear someone at my son's school talking about cicadas. I decide to Google it and finally read that Brood XIV (only 2-3 billion in this brood) is fixing to invade our lovely city again! Talk about caught by surprise! Me, the chick who is online most waking hours in addition to reading the newspaper everyday. How did this slip by me??

Anyhoo... in my part of town this cicada emergence is HUGE!!! The sound is literally deafening in mid-late afternoon. A radio station played the "song of the cicadas" over the radio and it was LOUD. For people spooked by bugs, it is a scary time to live in the northeast section of the city, but for me, I kinda like them. I love that sound. Surreal, almost. My dogs have definitely been eating them but so far, no ummm, regurgitation. Just some minor coughing. The biggest downside is sweeping them off your sidewalk / patio / driveway. You DON'T want to see that!

Where .... in the World.... is.... Bonnie Sandiego

I just returned from seven days on the island of Saipan, which is in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). Remember that show from about ten years ago? Maybe fifteen... Where is the World is Carmen Sandiego? I think it started as a computer game and turned into a tv show. Or maybe vice versa. Anyhoo... that always pops into my head when I return from Saipan because everyone always says, "Where is that?" when I tell them where I've been. The red arrow on the map above (from Geocities) points to the location of CNMI.

It's not that easy to get to, let me tell ya! Approximately, 26 hours travel time. For those of you who live on the East coast who have taken a trip to Hawaii. Long flight, right? Well, it's the halfway point to Saipan. LOL.

Based on the questions I frequently get asked, here are a few interesting facts about Saipan (excerpted from Wikipedia):

Saipan is the largest island and capital of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of 115.39 km² (44.55 sq mi). The 2000 census population was 62,392.

Located at latitude of 15.25° north and longitude of 145.75° east, about 200 km (120 mi) north of Guam, Saipan is about 20 km (12.5 mi) long and 9 km (5.5 mi) wide. It is a popular tourist destination in the Pacific.

Besides English, the indigenous Chamorro language is spoken by approximately 19 percent of the inhabitants. The island also has many other large, strongly defined lingual and ethnic groups because of the large percentage of contract workers (60% of total population, as of 2001 from China, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. In addition, a large percentage of the island's population includes first-generation immigrants from Japan, China, and Korea, and immigrants from many of the other Micronesian islands.

It is interesting that CNMI is a US Commonwealth but almost no Americans (myself included until I went there) have ever heard of it, let alone know it's part of the US. The residents are US citizens (similar to Puerto Rico and Guam although they are Territories not Commonwealths - don't ask me what the distinction is!) The islands played a big role for the US in WWII. The Enola Gay, the aircraft that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, departed from the island of Tinian. More WWII history here if you like that kind of thing.

So enough babbling... I didn't take very many pictures but here are a few:

Excuse the wrinkled dress and stupid pose (my colleagues made me pose like that. Seriously!) This was taken at a lovely golf course on the east (I think) side of the island, atop a huge cliff.

And speaking of lunch.... Japanese food is very popular on Saipan and I just think the Bento boxes are so pretty. LOL! Almost looks like play food, doesn't it?

This very unflattering shot of me (could I look any more huge??? and whatup with that hair?) was taken at a little beach restaurant that my clients took me to one evening to enjoy a sunset Happy Hour. We shared some beers and I sampled one of their favorite dishes - Chicken Kelaguen (some Chamorro recipes found here). It's a very simple dish but so delish! On the morning I left, my client was so sweet - she stopped at the market and purchased some hot peppers and island-made hot sauce so I could make it authentically once I got back home!

Although I always enjoy visiting Saipan (I can't say enough about how friendly every single person I encounter has been on each trip), it is nice to be back home. I missed my kids, my dogs, and my sewing machines a lot.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A couple of quickies

Wanna win an apron perfect for those Fourth of July parties? Go check out the Apronista's latest contest!

I posted a recipe for Strawberry Cream Pie on my other blog. It's a recipe that takes advantage of the delicious strawberries floating around

Thursday, June 05, 2008

To you smart bloggers

As evident to anyone who has stopped by my blog once or twice, I am a novice blogger. I don't have any interest in learning html or designing my own blog. I love that Blogger exists for a lazy blogger-wannabe like me. But I have a question, why is my blog so skinny? Is that just the format Blogger allows? Or did I somehow make it that skinny? And can I change it without doing anything drastic? (in other words, taking no more than 30 seconds to make the change.)

Bookshelf Widget - How fun is this?

Check out the cute little bookshelf sitting on the right side of my blog! Marji pointed it out to me and it looks like a fun way to keep track of books I've read or maybe want to read. I don't have time at the moment to populate it but it only took 2 minutes to set up (no exaggeration). If you're a reader, click on the "Get Your Own Shelf" button and add one to your own blog.

I've also updated my blog list on the sidebar. Ther are some FABULOUS blogs listed over there. Incredible knitters and sewers but more importantly, some overall wonderful women! Go check them out. It is only a partial list of those to which I subscribe via Bloglines. If I missed you, drop me an email and I'll add your blog.

Sunday, June 01, 2008


I made the second of the four bathrobes just in time for yesterday's baby shower. The pattern is Simplicity 3711. I made the matching booties from the pattern but didn't like how they turned out so I threw them away.

Here is a better picture of the first one, which I made one size bigger.