Sunday, September 23, 2007

Almost finished projects

The most unfinished project is actually me! My day on the scale yesterday was ok, as I lost 2.4 pounds, but that only brings me to a total this time of 7.6 pounds, which is less than an average of 2 pounds per week at Weight Watchers. Still, with as much as we ate last weekend when Meg and Jon were with me, I'm shocked that I lost at all! A big huge thank you goes to Loraine who suggested that I continue the pleated satin ribbon on the bottom of this dress. It really sets off the trim on the sleeves and though you can't see it in the picture, also draws in the blue bottons on the bodice. My skirts are usually 4 panels of 44-45 inches width, I made this skirt 4 panels too, forgetting that the fabric was 62 inches wide! Yikes. This dress has one really heavy skirt, and that was a huge amount of ribbon to pleat, pin, and sew. Still, it seems to be worth the work, it really looks nice.

Here is the paletot I've been driving myself nuts working on for the past 2 weeks. It has an layer of wool batting (made from some of my own fleeces) quilted into the lining. Quilting that batting in took forever, and with having a fully lined anything you are actually making a whole 2nd garment! Still I will be the one at the Remembrance Day parade in November that is toasty and warm under my cozy coat. I found the fabric online at my favorite wholesale source, the lining at Joann's with a 40% coupon, and the velvet ribbon I got at about half price at another fabric outlet. Good thing too since it took about 20 yards of ribbon and about 5 yards of fabric and lining to make the coat. Mark is out getting buttons for me right now for the coat so I should be able to finish it tonight.
I had enough ribbon to add these decorative "keyholes" to the trim stripes. I really like the way they look on the sleeves. I've been thinking about adding one to the center back as well, coming off the line of trim that goes across, but so far I haven't decided. I will probably leave well enough alone and save the extra velvet ribbon for a dress or something else. Next up in Civil War era sewing, I'd like to make a taffeta (silk probably) ball gown for the November event. I'm not sure if I'm going to do that or make another dress as I've been selling my old ones and I actually have room in my closet now for another. :) Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A sunny day at Hyde's quarry

It was a rainy morning and chilly Saturday when we got up to go to weight watchers. We attended our meeting and then headed to our favorite farm market in Pennsylvania and then went home to get the gear and the kids for a day of diving at Hyde's Quarry. Meghann is working on getting enough dives to start her Dive Master training over Christmas. The day ended up clearing and was sunny with a bit of a wind and an air temperature of about 62 degrees, the water was in the 60's above 15 feet, then probably around mid 40's below that.
Getting together all the dive gear after so long proved challenging but we managed to find everything. I'd forgotten just how much work it was just to get everything together and get suited up for the dives. I'd taught scuba in the pools at the 2005 National Scout Jamboree with Mark, but we used their gear and all I needed of my own was my warm water wetsuit. I haven't been in anything deeper than the pool in a little over 4 years. I had done a lot of diving in the past so I have a lot of wetsuits in a lot of different thicknesses and varieties.
This is me while I chilled for awhile on the surface in between dives. They've added a school bus, car, sailboat, concrete culverts to swim through, and some other little things to look at in the water. As you can tell from the hood and the thickness of the wetsuit, we were at a cold water location. Since the water above 15 feet wasn't too cold, the thick wetsuit was plenty warm for that area, but as soon as you dropped below the thermocline, you knew it immediately by the temperature drop, no need to pick up the depth gauge and look!
Meg has an underwater housing for her digital camera and took this good picture of Jon underwater. He hasn't been underwater for the same 4 years I had been away, and he did fine getting back into it. His comfort level seemed very good and it made me proud. Jon and I took our initial diving classes together back in 2001, and we were both apprehensive in some ways back then, we helped each other a lot, I had been very apprehensive about learning to dive and he even held my hand when I needed it. It's hard to believe that's been 6 years ago already!

The fish at Hyde's quarry are trained to come around when there are divers in the water, especially to the training platforms. When I was doing assistant teaching and safety diving, we always used to bring ez cheeze to feed the fish so that the divers on their check outs would be distracted and get comfortable with being underwater while using the fish as a diversion. The fish followed us as we swam to and from the various things underwater. You can see us swimming ahead. That's Mark in the lead, with Jon to my left, and I was on the right wearing Jon's blue fins for this dive. Here's a good one of Meg after our two dives as we were unsuiting and getting the gear unhooked and put away. :) Diving is definitely a gear intensive activity and it took awhile to get organized. It was nice to have 2 cars there to carry everyone and everything. I used to leave the tank mat in my jeep all the time and my gear pretty much stayed accessible all year long. But those days have been replaced by the business and Civil War reenactment and all the other things that we now do when we used to be diving.
Here's Jon switching dive shoes with me. I'd been using my good fins and big boots that I had when I was diving every week and my legs were hurting. Jon and I traded fins and boots and I was a lot happier the second dive. The good fins take much more leg muscle strength than I had after being out of the water for 4 years, I guess I'll have to use my split fins like Jon's the next time I get into the water until I build up my legs again. I ended up getting horrible leg cramps while I was diving, probably from lack of activity.
This shot is photographic evidence that my son was being a pita underwater, riding on my back as we dove. (And yes, it's harder to swim with another person on your back! Meghann got this one so I could prove that Jon was doing this even once we got out of the water and he started acting innocent. I did so many dives as the "watcher of the students" that pretty much nothing phases me, so it was no big deal, but Jon thought he was really doing something evil.
Here are Jon and I sitting in the back of his Element eating our lunch between dives. Diving makes you hungry and tired and after id had been so long, it really kicked my butt! It was so much fun though, and I'm glad that we went all together, it was nice to dive with Mark and Meg and Jon again. It had been way too long.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The salt of the earth

Yikes. I gained this week. Weight watcher's was not a good thing for me this week, I put on .6 lbs. I know that it had to be salt, we had Mexican the night before weigh in. Oh well, tomorrow is another day. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One more night of work and it's done

This has been the project consuming me lately, and with one more night of handwork the dress will be done. It's made of a wool and silk and linen blend fabric that is slick as snot. It was so hard to work with, it's heavy and it's so slippery the pins were just sliding out of the fabric while I was trying to sew. There was a huge amount of hand work with the pleated satin ribbon and the hand sewn buttons on the bodice. But honestly, I like how it's turned out, and it will be warm for cold weather events.
I had thought about putting some pleated ribbon on the skirt, but I think that would be a bit of overkill. I think I'll live with it for awhile, I still have plenty of ribbon, but I don't know if I'll decide to add any or not. The skirt is already very heavy without it, though I think it would add to the contrast to the buttons and the sleeves.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

No, I haven't become a total hermit! :)

Ok, I've been working a lot. And I had a migraine for about 5 days. But after that was gone, I got down to work. I'd started this evening / dinner dress bodice in a class I took in August and I decided I wanted to finish it. I'd already made the skirt but I had a creator's block on the sleeves and trim. I drove up to my favorite fabric and trim outlet and found some wine colored velvet ribbon to finish off the bodice. The fabric, as you can see, is very busy so I didn't want to get too carried away with trim. You'll have to disregard the tee shirt and duct tape from my fitting shell in the cut away drop neckline. You can't see it when I have day dresses on the fitting dummy.
I just finished the huge amount of hand work on this last night, the entire inside edge of the tucker lace around the neckline had to be sewn down by hand, and the velvet ribbon also had to be sewn down. I still have to put on one hook and eye and it'll be ready to wear to camp dances at the reenactments like the one in Hanover last month. I hate to wear my silk ball gown to a camp dress outdoors so this dress is intended for those occasions.
Now, if I ever want to make baby stuff again, especially out of knit fabrics, please somebody stop me! I still have to put the snaps into the suit and finish putting the binding on the light weight blanket, but this is a suite of items that I made for the upcoming grandchild. Working on such small items is really difficult and challenging, and I've definitely decided that I'm not a fan of knits that stretch while you work with them. Still, it's all about the experience, right?
And today, while we were exploring the countryside, we found our way to the other one of those fabric and trim outlets. I was going to just buy some pattern tracing fabric and a little bit of taffeta when Mark walked through the calico and discovered that the same fabrics that the store in Gettysburg sells for $9 and $10 a yard in civil war era prints were $3.00 a yard. Needless to say, I got my winter sewing fabric both for my own dresses, and perhaps a few to sell on ebay. I already have 4 that I want to put up for sale in the spring to make room in my closet for more dresses. :) Tonight we're going to the Civil War informal dance which we do in modern clothes. :)

September 8th WW Update

Today's weight: 158.0. This week's loss: -2.4, total weight lost "this time" -5.8. Weight left to lose for personal goal: 18.0. This was a fairly good week, I cooked a couple of days, and was generally pretty good about tracking, portions, and choices. I did some sewing (pictures to follow in another post) which got me out of the kitchen, and took my total food for the days I flew. That's a royal pain, but if it gets me where I want to be, that's ok too. On to next week and hopefully another good week at the scale. :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007

This week's WW update

I need to make a correction first. My starting weight this time was actually 163.8. And my goal weight officially for Weight watcher's is 145, my goal weight for myself is 140.0.

Today's weight: 160.4. This week's loss: -3.4 Weight left to lose for personal goal: 20.4

I did ok this week. It was hard work, lots of cooking, planning, and extra time had to be allotted in the morning before work to get everything ready. But my uniform pants are already loosening up. It's so much easier to put it on than take it off, so my goal is not only to get back where I am comfortable, but to not gain it back again.