Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fashion Plate: Flair for the Fantastic in Cameras

How perfect is this skirt for summer sight-seeing?  This is ModCloth's Flair for the Fantastic Skirt in Cameras.  The fabric is Michael Miller's Urbanista Cameras and I chose Simplicity 1369 for the gathered skirt.  The pattern has pockets!  Colette patterns Ginger has the perfect waistband for the ModCloth skirt, but the silhouette is wrong for the rest of the skirt.

Monday, July 28, 2014

FO: Lady and the Hounds

Just the Facts:
Fabric: 1 yard of pink cotton interlock from JoAnn's $6.00
Notions: Thread, clear elastic from stash
Pattern: Lady Skater
Year: modern ~2013
Time to Complete:  about 2 hours
First Worn:  July 25, 2014
Wear Again:  yes
Total Cost: $6.00 not including the pattern
  After I finished my Moneta, I lost the sewing mojo.  I didn't feel like making anything.  No projects sounded exciting to me.  It was weird.

I was cleaning and organizing again and I found this remnant of fabric I bought at JoAnn's a while ago.  I could use the same thread color as what I used on the Moneta, so off I went making this dress.  I might do one more pink dress before I change my thread.  Call me lazy if you want.

It looks like I'm picking underwear out of my butt in this photo.  I'm not!

I love this fabric.  It's 100% cotton and has loads of stretch.  The only bad thing about it was that my pins left holes in the fabric and I use silk pins for everything!  I ended up not pinning much after the sleeves were sewn on.

I only had enough fabric for short sleeves on this dress (barely).  This dress is definitely less formal and the short sleeves work.

Not much twirl in this skirt.

I think the best part is the stealthy print. 


The only change I made on this dress from my other versions was to make the neckband in two pieces.  I didn't have enough fabric to cut one long piece, so I measured out what part was the back and what part was the front, added a seam allowance, and cut 2 parts.  I actually think this makes the bodice look much cleaner and I think I will put this change on future versions.  Win.

This dress went together really fast.  The part that took the longest was cutting out the fabric.  When you have just enough, you have to be really careful and deliberate with your pattern placement and cutting.  I like that I can be so thrifty and make it work with very little waste though.  

Annoying hair in face.

This is a very versatile dress.  I wore it to work, then to a beer tasting, then to play goofy golf, then to play pool/billiards, and it never got annoying like some of my other outfits do.  The sleeves stretched out a bit, but that isn't all bad.  My knit sleeves are usually really tight on my triceps and biceps.  It's nice to have some room to move.  That's part of the reason makers make things.

 This photo is very 1920s German lady to me.

I'm leaving for Las Vegas in 9 days!  OMG.  It's coming up so fast.  I have so many decisions to make.  Rent a car at the airport and head straight to the Grand Canyon or get a hotel room for the early morning before heading out?  Where to get a hotel for my other 3 nights?  Should I keep the cheap rental car for an extra day for further sight-seeing?  Decisions.  Decisions.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fashion Plate: Beacon of Charm Dress

Happy summertime!  Here's a fashion plate for you that's perfect for strolling along the boardwalk after dinner.  I found ModCloth's Beacon of Charm dress quite adorable.  The fabric is Timeless Treasure Seaside Lighthouses available on fabric.com.  I chose a retro reprint, Simplicity 1459, for the pattern.  The pattern includes a bow belt option that you can make.

I just realized my last several fashion plates in a row are blue fabrics.  Can you tell I like blue?  I'll have to get more diverse with my color selections.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Houston Museum District

I'll start this post by showing a few more photos of the water wall, which isn't in the museum district at all.  It is how I started my Sunday last week though.

At one point, there was a different "scene" in each of the three arches.  The right is a dance troupe and the center is an engagement photo shoot.  I should have walked over a bit more to get a centered photo.  Sorry, not sorry.

 Incredible cascading water.

This is the Matisse back series.  

I think back 3 and back 4 are really interesting.  This is back 3--it is very Picasso-esque.

This is back 4.  You can see that Matise "devolved" into more geometric African carving style sculptures.  I took art humanities in college, but I can't think up these technical terms to save my life at the moment.

Even Matisse's signature changed over time.  This is the 9th of 10 for back 2.  (Matisse liked to do the same thing over and over, so you will often find 8-10 iterations of the same thing.)  I would date this bronze in the mid-late 20s.

This was the signature on back 1.  I can't tell what number it is, but I think the plaque said 1908-1909.

This is the Houston Triptych.  Yes, I'm missing the sphere on the other side.  Couldn't quite get the range to take a wider photo.

Decanter by Frank Stella  It looks like pasta to me.  Or maybe I'm hungry.

I was quite taken by this one.  It's not just art.  

It's a triangle with mirrors set inside.

I have no words to describe how I feel about this piece.  It's incredible.

Dewitt Godfrey, Untitled.  This is a rebar mushroom.  Pretty cool, huh?  

Aristide Maillol, Flora, Nude.

This looks like beehives on an old lamp post to me.  It's called Exhaling Pearls.

I love this one.  This is Adam by Emile-Antoine Bourdelle.  The facepalm expression is like, "Eve, why did you eat the forbidden fruit?"

Not a detail is missing.

Auguste Rodin, The Walking Man I doubt this one is the original.  Rodin encouraged reproductions of his works.  Consider The Thinker.  There are a few dozen copies of that one all over the world.

After I walked through the sculpture garden, I drove a few blocks over to the Houston Holocaust Museum.  This museum used to be free, but now it charges $12 a person.  I'm sure locals are not thrilled with having to pay, but I think it helps the mission and that's a win.  I got to the museum at 1pm.  A guided tour was just underway.  It was led by a Holocaust survivor--Dr.  Anna Steinberg.  From what I gathered from her talk, she and her family fled to Russia from Poland.  She was in a Russian labor camp, where she met her husband.  Her parents were sent to a different camp in Poland (I believe) closer towards the liberation.  Anna said that her parents were stuck in the camp for about 3 years after the liberation (remember that scene in Band of Brothers where they wanted to free everyone in the camps but were told they had to lock everyone back up for safety--that resettlement period.)  Anna and her boyfriend (turned husband) went to Frankfurt to study medicine while her parents were hanging out in the camp.  Anna was just as lighthearted about this time as I'm being now, just so you know. 

This represents the family names of people lost in the Holocaust.  Perhaps a brother or parent of someone who emigrated to Texas before the (a proper word escapes me--the Holocaust didn't happen in a day and I don't know how to call it) incident?  Tragedy? Massive loss of nearly an entire population was known to the public at large?

Though there is anguish
deep in my soul
What if I must search for you forever?
I must not lose faith.
I must not lose hope.

"I was lucky because I jumped into a snow bank."

An example of one such German railcar.

This is a Danish fishing boat.  Because of the Danish king's quick thinking, about 99% of the Danish Jews were saved by being sailed from Denmark to Sweden in fishing boats just like this one.  Anna said that when the Danish Jews came home, they came home to houses BETTER than when they left.  Their houses were freshly painted.  The community planted flowers and a vegetable garden for them.  In contrast, when the Jews from everywhere else came home, the people said, "Oh.  We thought you were dead.  We thought you weren't coming home.  We have been profiting off your inventory and your business.  We've been living in your house.  You want us to leave now?  This is our home now.  You need to go somewhere else."

In the center is a camp uniform.  The man who wore this was a political prisoner.  He was someone who was trying to protect the Jews or was otherwise dissenting against the government.  I can tell this because of the red tab.  Jews wore purple tabs with a yellow Star of David.  Jehovah's Witnesses wore only purple.  Hitler didn't like them either.

This is a preconstruction map of the Dachau camp.  That's all I'm going to say about that.

I'm glad you can't see much detail in these old pictures.  One of the "pastimes" of the SS Army was to kick the laborers back down into the quarry.  This photo in the right corner shows a victim of that assault.  He was made to carry heavy stones from the quarry to the top and was kicked down and killed when he reached the top.  Like Anna said during the tour, more people were killed by bullets during this time we now call the Halocaust than were killed in the concentration camps.  Bullets were becoming too slow and they left too much evidence behind.  They came up with the Zyclon B/Crematory combo as the fast answer to the "final solution."

I absolutely adore this sculpture.

I was talking to one of my friends (who happens to be Jewish) about how captivated I was with this museum and the 3 hours I spent there.  Knowing that she had family affected, she said she just couldn't.  Couldn't go there. Couldn't see that stuff.  Couldn't hear about it.  The biggest lesson for me is that humans are terrible students.  We don't learn.  Since the Holocaust, there has been attempted genocide in former Yugoslavia (1991-1995), Rowanda (1994), Darfur (2004), Cambodia (~1975-1978), and now we have this nonsense going on in Syria.  Why do some people have to think they are better than others?  Why can't we all just get along?

So as to not end on a somber tone, have some photos of my food!

This is The American taco from Torchy's Tacos in Houston.  It's fried chicken, pineapple cole slaw, cilantro, and bacon!  It was delicious.

I actually liked this taco better.  This is The Democrat:  barbacoa, queso, cilantro, onions, and a slice of avocado.

The moon had a really cool orange glow on my way home and it had a cloud cover like Saturn's rings!

Houston was really really great.  I'm happy with how I spent my time and I only wish I had a few more days to venture out a bit further.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Houston Happenings

As I mentioned last week, I popped over to Texas for the weekend.  I was mostly there for a half marathon, but I did quite a bit more than that.

This guy was crossing the road at the campground. 

I had a pretty good location to set up camp.  It overlooked most of the park.  It was a pain to get to it and I thought the campground staff was rude.

A flock of ducks hanging out by the fountain pond.

The BBQ area was right next to my tent.  When I got back from the half marathon, these people had taken over.  It was about time for me to eat anyway--slight change of plans in that I would eat somewhere instead of getting an order to go and eat at the picnic table here.

This was delicious.  I wanted pulled chicken, but the place was sold out.  I ended up getting pulled pork and green beans.  The green beans were the MOST DELICIOUS vegetable I have ever encountered.  Unicorn tears, fairy farts, glitter, and bacon.  That's what makes these things good.  The sandwich was bigger than my hand!  Kickin Ash BBQ in Montgomery, TX A++ would eat again.

"On February 21, 1911 (that's my birthday!) around 1:30 in the morning, a fire broke out in the Capitol Drug store on Chambers (today North Main) Street.  The blaze was well underway before it was discovered and Northerly winds began sweeping the flames southeastward toward the railraod tracks.  The volunteer fire department had only one hose cart which was pulled by hand to fight the inferno and the lack of water pressure led to the fight being called off.  The post office, meat market, saloon, grocery store, and masonic lodge were among the businesses caught in the path of the fire as well as the homes of their owners who lived above their stores.  Sixty-five buildings, store inventories, and personal belongings were lost that early February morning, costing and estimate total of $150,000, Over 3.5 million dollars in today's money.  The following business day, the city council created an ordinance requiring buildings to have "fire proof materials the wooden structures.  A year later, the city council voted to amend the ordinance to require buildings to be constructed out of brick and stone.  The 1911 fire in downtown Conroe and the prompt response to its destruction by Conroe residents reflected the resilience of Texans as they settled, struggled, and prospered in Southeast Texas.  Despite the tragedy caused by the fire, the resurrection of stately brick business buildings provides current city visitores with a picture of a bygone era with buildings over a century in age.  It further echoes the town's nickname, "the town that faith built!"

These are a couple of those buildings that rebuilt the town after the fire.

I thought it was really cool downtown had these artsy benches.  Most were painted, but one was bronzed and another was glass-etched.  This one above depicts a bit of Texas history.  Beginning with ranching, adding ease of moving agriculture with the Houston and Great Northern railroad, and finally into oil production.

I think this one is WWI related.  I'm not really sure and I don't know enough about Texas' part in training and such to speak about it.

I was in Conroe to see Hairspray at the local theatre.  The Crighton Theatre has really fabulous architecture and is filled with beautiful antique furniture.  The show was amazing too.  I was wildly impressed with the local talent and the support the community showed the theatre by coming out.  Going to the theatre was a great (and relatively inexpensive) way to spend my Saturday night.  If you live near Conroe, I highly recommend checking this place out.

I went a little crazy with the photo collage thing today.  I took so many photos!  Most of these pictures were from Saturday.  I never even mentioned the half marathon.  Not much to say really.  It was miserable.  I was miserable.  I couldn't stay hydrated during the run.  The worst part?  At the end of my miserable run, I crossed the finish line.  There were no high-fives.  No cheers.  No finisher's medal.  No Gatorade.  Very little food (there were a few small slivers of watermelon left and some bagel quarters).  I was not pleased.  They did email me this, so wooooo.

I still have a whole other day to talk about.  Soon!