Monday, June 28, 2010

The Dress Form - Mark II

You guys!
Please allow me to introduce Ernesta:

This weekend between G20 shenanigans (shenanigai?), brutal football defeat (my poor sweetie is feeling a bit schlumpy) and new potty excitement, I wrapped myself up in tape and held still for a while.
Ernesta is made of paper watercolour tape ( $4.99 for a giant roll from Curry's art supplies). She's pretty solid (even without stuffing). And she does all my stunts for me. So USEFUL!
I'm so excited about her that I feel like I need to make myself something pretty RIGHT NOW.

She's not actually the first dress form I've made. In fact, it's been a year and change since I made the last one. I've talked about it before here, but here she is in all her cringe inducing glory (and this is her flattering angle! From the back she looks like a badly parked dump truck wrapped in craft paper).

What's funny is that I never actually used her. Except as a tool to really SEE how I looked, and as an inspiration to eat less pie and do more exercise. I think I can finally get rid of her now.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


The football. Sigh.
Here's how Teddy feels about it:

How public opinion sways...

Well, MY opinion at anyrate.
I don't know if you caught any news coverage of the G20 protests yesterday. It's been a BIT messy out there (though we still managed to shop for a potty for the bear, have dinner with chums and go out for some drinkies).
Anyway, here's how my opinion sways...

This is shot from my bedroom window. Looking over to the southeast corner of Queen's Park. Where police used rubber bullets yesterday.

I was a bit cross. Rubber bullets seem a tad draconian and I wasn't too impressed with our chief of police labeling all protesters either criminal of naive. There were some important messages lost as the media fixated on JUST ONE MORE SHOT of those burning police cars.

BUT then I saw this shot from just around the corner:

Not the TIMMIES! Noooooooooooooo. You FOOLS! Where will I get my food-like breakfast sammich NOW?
Image from Citynews

Friday, June 25, 2010

OWNED! The Lilly Pulitzer Knock-off Rematch!

'Member the giant fail Lilly Pulitzer knock off dress I made earlier this week? This one? With the boob distortion and the shortness?
I've just finished the rematch and... SUCCESS! (It's not quite as cute as Suzanne's but I'm OK with that)

I hacked the dickens out of the pattern. Did a bit of swearing. Put the zipper in the side. Kind of fell in love with double layered facings (so tidy!). Did a bit more swearing. Wished fervently for a dress form. Realised I'd cut my lace too short. Did some SERIOUSLY filthy swearing (the lace actually cost three times what the fabric did. It wasn't SUPER expensive but you know... I'm cheap.) Pieced some sodding ggrrrr rashen-frashen lace together. Finished that sucker, then accessorized it with the cutest/weirdest dog I know.
And voila. I don't know it I'll be making this again in a big hurry. But I think I'll be wearing THIS one a bunch.

Oh and hey, Ian and Kate? I'm going to be dressing your dog up in a frock and making him have a tea party with me.
No. Really. I am.

Dancing with Dolphins and 5 k

Last week I was talking to Teddy as I was packing my gym bag, it went something like this:

Me: OK Bear... ready to go meet daddy outside the Y?
Teddy: Y? Y daddy?
Me: Yup.
Teddy (thinking): Mummy? Mummy dancing? Dancing in paddling pool?
Me: That's right baby, mummy's going dancing in the paddling pool!
Teddy: Mummy dance dance dance. Hop on a dolphin. Ride a dolphin?
Me (kind of nonplussed): Oh-kay... Yup? Mummy ride a dolphin.
Teddy (nodding): YAH!

I LOVE it. I kind of wish I could spend the day living my life as my bear imagines I do. With SUPER healing powers and dolphin riding.

These days I don't actually go dancing in the paddling pool with dolphins as much. Last month I realised that I wasn't really breaking a sweat or breathing hard in the classes I was doing. Which meant that it was time to do something harder. Which, you guys, was actually a bit difficult, mentally like.
I've never been a "WHOO feel the BURN HOOYAH!" type of person. AT ALL. In fact Deep Water Running/Aquafit was the only exercise I've ever actually liked (and thusly stuck with for more than a month). So doing something new was WAY out of my comfort zone.
But I sucked it up, put on my sneakies and took a spin class.

The first one was BRUTAL.
I couldn't hardly do it and I kind of wanted to barf in my hands. NOT fun.
And some of the other participants were a little different from an aquafit class. For example, nobody in DWR wears a shirt emblazoned with the legend "TESTosterone" or shouts "HUAAAAGH" at the top of hills.
But the second class I went to was better and I did my third class yesterday and I TOTALLY KICKED IT'S ASS HUAAAAGH! So that's nice.

The other thing is running. Now, my policy on running thus far has been NOT TO or, not to unless I'm being chased by something I can't fight.
It was working out just fine for me.
Then I saw this. It's Julia Jones 5K training program. I was curious, so I clicked through to the week one training plan, and thought Well HEY, that doesn't look TOO sucky. So I stuck my sneakies on and went to the running track at the Y (on a Sunday just before closing time when I knew it would be DESERTED).

It was... HARD. But OK, I guess.
Well until I got into the elevator at home and looked down to see my heels chopped up like raw meat and my sneakies covered in gore. You'd think I'd have noticed but I, apparently, am JOHN McCLANE.
So new sneakies and a burst of inspiration in the form of Erin over at HOWL who just did her first 5k in SUPER awesome style (snaps for her!) and the next run was faster and easier. It's almost as if practice makes for improvement... but that's CRAZY TALK!

So that's that. Exercise - maybe not "WHOO feel the BURN HOOYAH!" but like, "OK, I guess"

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Randoms...

A touch of the randoms,
Firstly of all, you guys! Did you know that you can put on foundation with a brush?
Turns out you totally can! Regular ol' foundation, and a biggish brush (I used an older blusher brush).
And it stops you (and by "you" I mean ME) looking all streaky like a part-cooked slice of bacon. So yay!

Secondly. We had AN EARTHQUAKE! in Toronto! It was my second but the first was in Japan where you know, earthquakes - to be expected. In Ontario, super surprising. The bear and the pooch both slept through it. Some junk fell off of my desk (which just means I have to tidy my desk!) but otherwise it was just "huh! AN EARTHQUAKE? In Ontario?"

And lastly, something that happened today that just slays me, we were out stomping the dog around, and there's a SQUISHED (really icky squished) Pigeon on the road. Teddy gave my hand a squeeze and stopped and said "Mummy fix it? Mummy fix pigeon?".
Yipe. Sniff.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Giant Lilly Pulitzer Fail

So close. And yet...
So the back story is that I saw this POST by Suzanne over at Adventures in Dressmaking and I was HAUNTED (haunted I tell you!) by how cute the blue dress was. Then a few days ago I discovered the Lilly Pulitzer Shop. And the glorious, lovely want want want-able dresses therein. Like ZEEZ:

See, a perfect storm of pretty inspiration.
So I picked up a few things, and spent this morning whipping up....

The theory is totally sound. And I actually like the pattern. Except for The Boob Issue.
Now, my boobs are... not so muchly. I mean they're there, but they could in no way be described as a rack. Le sigh.
BUT, this blasted dress fits everywhere but the boobs. Them it squishs. Really squishes. So I get pooch under the armpits and I can't barely breath. Booooo. Also I think it's a little short.
And I hate hate hate back zippers. This one makes the dress look like a 1980's British primary school uniform.
Giant fail.
But that's ok. I've got enough fabric for a rematch!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gratuitous Bear Post

Enough with the grumpy! Time, I feel, to post a bunch of pictures (in sadly UNchronological order) of my kid!
Things like:
Starring in Indian Jones -The Short Pants Years. "Snakes. Why did it have to be Snakes?"
Posing on "his" Vespa . (Vespa was in his first 20 words. I can't think why!)

Admiring incongruous alloys on a lovely lovely van (yes baby, mummy wants one too).

playing sticks with his best girl

manning the cannon
Driving Miss Mummy
Playing in the dirt

Looking like a hipster

Driving a REAL fire truck
Making some new giant inflatable chums (yay for Rainbow City in Queen's park and the Luminato festival and public art and Toronto's awesomeness and living downtown and everything ever!)
It's a been a lovely busy summer so far. Lucky US!

G(rrrrr) 20

It's only Tuesday and I'm already kind of g20'd out. Our local park is a protest rallying point, so no playing on the swings for us. And while I am a card-carrying wishy-washy liberal, halfwits "storming" Esso convenience stores makes me grind my teeth.

Dear everyone in this picture,
Seriously? Knock it off. You're making the cause look DUMB.

Now, we have a lot of time for Toronto's Police, Teddy is a giant fan, and waves and says "HI off-is-er " to anyone in a uniform (including security guards).
BUT, thousands of bus'd- in, under-trained police who are unfamiliar with our city's political and physical geography make me a bit nervous. (I mean you Mr. Twitchy Peel Region Auxillary Officer, dropping the f-bomb three times in front of my kid. No water cannons for you.)
So yah. Roll on Sunday when this whole (BILLION DOLLAR!) circus will move out of town.

(image courtesy: Scott Metcalfe, 680News)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Year and a Day

Yesterday was an anniversary day for me. One year of Less Pie (and more exercise).
I don't do a LOT of talking about it here (I figure nobody comes here for updates on the size of my bum!) But I wanted to post a bit of YAY ME.

One year, 4 dress sizes, the fittest I've been in my whole life. So good job me, I'm proud of you (me? us?)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Emme and Jay... grab a button

I know I've written before about Emme and her blog, PTSD: A Love Story... but you guys... it turns out that I'm pushy. Who knew? (Everyone? REALLY? Oh.)

So, I hassled Emme into letting me make a button to stick on my sidebar. Because seriously, it's a story that everyone should read AND I think that it can't hurt to send a supportive squeeze out into the world. So maybe you'd like to grab a button too?
It looks like this
And the code is there in my sidebar (at least until Emme has it up over at her place)
If you're dropping by, say hi from me!

Sew What? Week Two bag and Tute

I'm seeing a pattern emerging here. The first week of the Sew What challenge I made a flamenco practice skirt. This week the challenge was a bag with words on it, and I made... a bag with words on it... for my flamenco shoes. The knit I used this time was a cotton t-shirt of my sweetie's that had seen better days.
Here's the finished article:

(And nope those aren't proper flamenco shoes. Those are my faithful beige Aldo's that I love love love. Proper Flamenco shoes are the next step).
The words on it are Dentro Y Fuera (inside and outside - and how you move your hands).

I slung together a tute, though I'm pretty sure you could work it out yourself! You could totally make this from a little person sized shirt and put little person sized shoes in it. Maybe a PINK shirt and maybe baby BALLET shoes. Maybe.

Anyway, the first thing you'll need is a t-shirt. If it has a cute graphic on it then so much the better.
Got it? Goodo. Now whack a few inches off of the bottom all the way around. Like ziz:

Take the piece you've just chopped off and ruffle it but good! Comme ca:

Next, take the rest of your shirt, turn it inside out and do this to it:

So you have a big tube shape.

Jam the ruffle between the two layers, then pin and sew:

Then turn it right-side-too and admire your ruffled bottom. tee hee.

Next is the step I forgot to take a picture of. But all I did was sew a tiny button hole (just one) about two and a bit inches down from the top of the bag.
So that when I folded the top of the bag to the inside (to form the casing for the ribbon) the button hole was on the outside: which is easier to see than explain:

Then I sewed the casing down (not worrying about the raw edges - yay for knits!), threaded the ribbon through the casing with a safety pin and a bit of mild cursing and VOILA!
A bag for putting my sweaty shoesies in after stomp stomp clapping.

Oh and the words (which I will totally admit were and afterthought), I added using the leftover scraps of a Colour Your Own T-Shirt kit that my bear has.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

C is for cookie that good enough for meeeeee...

You know your favorite shirt/skirt/underpants? The one(s) that give you an invisible cloak of awesomeness and make the day run smoother? Those guys are to be treasured right? Right.

Well apparently even two year olds know the power of a magic, favoritest, very best shirt. Teddy's is emblazoned with the Sesame St crew.
Now for a guy who's never seen an episode of Seasame Street in his life (because I am cruel) he has a DEAD ON Cookie Monster impersonation. "COOOOOOKIE". And if you ask him what shirt he wants to wear he will tell you "COOOOOOOOKIE mon-TAR". Every single time (the trick is not to ask).
Trouble is, Teddy is growing FAST. Now, I was cool with a tight-ish tee; he looked a little bit hipster-esque but that was OK. When I could no longer get it over his funny little head... then we had a problem. A heartbroken- sob inducing problem "cookietoosmall". Cookie was indeed too small.

So I ironed a bit of lightweight interfacing onto the reverse of the print, then I hacked out the monsters (does this remind anybody else of police mugshots?).

The I stuck that sucker onto a MUCH larger shirt with a bit of stitch witchery.

It looked... OK. but a little meh and thrown together. So I doubled up some plain old poly- cotton thread and whipped some chunky stitches 'round the whole thing.

I think it looks way more finished. And I kind of love it. Teddy REALLY loves it. So win win.

(oh and this looks EVEN better now it's been washed a few times, the edges have curled just enough. I'll definately be doing this again, and I might get all crazy and actually BUY supplies as opposed to rummaging in my stash drawer for whatever I had on hand!)
Here's to the power of lucky shirts or skinnies (you heard me England squad).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I, like The Prodigy, have THE REMEDY. The pulsating rhythmical remedy. Except not Pulsating or rhythmical. And also "Pulsating"?... kinda gross.

Wait, what was I talking about?
Oh yup! 'Member I had the yips? Where everything I touched turned to wet kitty poop? Well I CURED them. With a dress. THIS dress.

And it's a refashion, in fact it's a refashion of a refashion. And even the elastic I used was pillaged from someplace else. (jammie pants maybe?)
The bottom part started life last year as a smocked tube-top maxi dress. Bought for all of $3 in the Old Navy sale. I wore once but it was WAY too big. Just for the record - tube-tops + too bigness = a recipe for disaster.

So I made it into a wrap skirt. And it was... meh. So meh that I wore it once and then it sat in the refashion basket for a year.

The purple thing on top of it is a dirt cheap Old Navy ribbed tank that some genius (moi) splashed bleach on.
I whacked them together using Little Red Roost's awesome tute. And voila. I'm cured of the snausage-fingered foul-up-itis sewing yips . I'm also pretty happy with how it turned out and I predict a BUNCH of wear out of it.

Oh hey, I don't know it you've noticed, but I kind of like dresses. I was thinking about that because I've just signed up to do this:

And I'm having trouble getting fired up about sewing anything but dresses.
I THINK it's because dresses are my yoga pants.
Not that I do yoga in them. ( I don't do yoga in anything... wait... I don't mean I do yoga nekkid, I mean I don't do it at all!)
But you know how some women can throw on a pair of yoga pants and a tee and look adorable?
Me - not so muchly. I put on sweats and I look like I forgot to get dressed. I feel 10 lbs fatter and three inches shorter in yoga pants. And really. Who needs that?
This frock has the same kind of throw-it-on-and-you're-dressed thing as sweats but I feel DRESSED in it.
So that's that. Dress made, yips cured.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Ever have one of those days when everything you touch turns to stinky melty yucky poop horribleness?
I appear to have the sewing yips. BAD.
Two projects in two days. Pooched. Unsalvageably pooched.
I had this in mind:What I made was NOT even remotely close. Nor did it in any way resemble something a human might wear.

I'm hoping to just keep whacking away at it till I get my mojo back, but a spot of very pretty yellow cotton has already bought the dust.
Wish me luck?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Boot Camp

I'm not going to be posting too much about this, but today was the first day of boot camp. And it was... harder than I thought. And funner.
This was the assignment. I found it a bit difficult; I have a strict "if you don't have anything nice to say then shut the f*ck up" policy, only sometimes I don't apply it to myself as stringently as I would to oh, pretty much anybody else in the world.
Anyway, the word for today was IVORY. And these are my images:
First the official one I posted on flickr (which was hard, there's a lot of serious talent in the group)

Two shots, taken seconds apart, no meddling with exposure or colour. A reminder to keep my eyballs open.
And some other things I was playing with:

Friday, June 4, 2010

It Twirls!

So, I'm one down in the big Sew What Challenge. My chosen material for the month is knits, I have a bit of it in my stash (some from half-done projects that went catastrophically wrong), and it's crazy cheap at Fabricland right now too.

This week the challenge was a skirt for mama or child in your fabric type or denim.
I made a skirt for myself because my sweetie gets a little twitchy when I mention dressing Teddy in girl clothes.

It's a skirt for my Flamenco class; now PROPER flamenco practice skirts are long and SUPER SUPER twirly and sometimes ruffly (some of my favorite things) but as we are just learning we need to be able to see our feet and leggies in the mirrors. So this skirt is knee length. But it does twirl! See:

And I'm actually fairly happy with it. The back has an extra gore/panel for more swishiness and it feels like you HAVE to swing your hips and wiggle when you wear it.
But using knits is... an experience? I chose them because I was hoping to learn something through the process and so far I've learned why I generally avoid them.
That said, the finished project is much more forgiving than it feels like it's going to be when it's in progress (if that makes sense?).
I'm hoping by the end of the challenge I will have learned to love knits or at least learned some really good new swears.
Can't wait to see what those girls have up next!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sneaky Like... (Mama Don't Look!)

So, you guys can keep a secret right?
I made a giftie for my ma and I wanted to show it off on account of how it's the first proper crochet thing I've ever made that followed a pattern and wasn't brutally wonky.
I think I should be safe as my ma is EVEN NOW lounging on the Greek island of Rhodes. (Yes, I do have some envy, but she TOTALLY deserves some lovely sunshininess)
So here's what I made:

(No peeking mama!)

While I was finishing it I told Teddy that it was a present for his grammie and he wanted to
"Hep (help)? Hep? Teddy hep grammie bag?"
I gave him his own crochet hook and he poked it a bit then resorted to putting slobbery wet handfuls of kissies inside the bag. Which slays me.

The pattern I used is here and here ( there are two parts) and if I can manage it then anybody can! I used a few balls (are they called balls? heh... balls) of a poly-blend I happened to have.
This here is the official version.

I love that it's called the Provence Summer bag. Mostly 'cause we lived in Provence and I know that my Ma has very good memories of living there. Also Provence... le sigh et swoon!

I found the pattern via One Pearl Button, Alli's round up of Nice Things is something I totally look forward to on Fridays. If you're not familiar you should race over and check her out.

Not Needles...

See that dress? Doesn't EXACTLY look like a pack of ballpoint sewing machine needles does it?
I SWEAR I just went into Fabricland for the needles. But there was a sale. and I am the world's biggest sucker for a glazed cotton print.
Turns out I should just hand over all the cash in my pocket as I go in the door of Fabricland. Or maybe just pay them directly at the beginning of the month?

Anyway, I hacked the dickens out of New Look 6805; I added a sweetheart neckline and halter ties (it's pretty cute strapless too) and twitched the skirt pleats a bit. I'm fairly happy with it.

Do excuse the soft focus all over the picture. Yesterday was a VERY soft focus kind of day.
Like when I came in from rainy-rainy-rain-boot-puddle-stomping with Teddy and realised that EVERY SINGLE LICK of my mascara was smooshed over my cheeks and not one of the 6 or 7 people I had been talking to had mentioned that I looked like Baby Jane and Marilyn Manson's mutant love child. Le sigh. Well it's a look.
oopsies, forgot to say that these two Anthro dresses were the inspiration

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Still Alive... And PLOTTING!

I am I am!

I've been... slacking. And lounging. And playing out. And ignoring housework. And sipping martinis in our courtyard with my girl chums. and stomping to the parks. and sewing summer dresses (because I don't have enough of those nope nope nope). and watching my bear play with his new water table. And sitting in the sunshine with my brother. And eating icecream with my sweetheart (who is turning swoon-inducingly blond in the sun). And spotting new awesome street art projects to see with Teddy. and and and...*
It's sunshiny, see.
And cleaning the bathroom when it's sunshiny outside is like honking a spit in Mother Nature's eye.
That's my theory and I'm sticking with it.

Anyway. I have good intentions and there's rain in the forecast, so here's what's coming up chez my blooge over the next little while:

June is Sew What month with two of my favorite bloggers. Melissa of Until Wednesday Calls and the Cynthia (The Sewing Dork herself!) are running a challenge where you pick one type of fabric (linen, denim, whathaveyou) and stick with it for each project. I'm going with knits (because they scare me and I want to practice). You guys should join in, s'going to be heaps o' fun!

They other thing I'm doing is this

boot camp

Which is just what it says. It's a creative kick in the pants. Only without the kicking (or the... pants?)
It's free, there's no obligation to share if your don't want and a bunch of pretty awesome folks are on board. I'm going to be using my camera. And I SUPER excited about it. (and also maybe a bit nervous? but in a good way).
There's still time if you want to play along with either of these. And hey maybe we could compare notes?

*Wow. Reading that list back is funny. I don't mean to sound smug (Do I sound smug? Maybe? Little bit? Sorry if I do...) it's just that I feel like my life is pretty charmed and writing down what's good is a nice way of reminding myself.
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