Sunday, September 30, 2012

First look at In the Garden

Ta da! One week of working on this (including downtime on Saturday's long preparation for the showcase) allowed me to get the top of one of the arches of the background done. I know it's not much, but at least it looks more like something than insanity.

On my crochet front, during the week I finished the accessories for the snowman. I'll take a picture when he's fully assembled. I also started working on the gingerbread house. I have 3 out of 4 walls done.

Another hobby of mine is writing. I know I don't speak of it often. Probably because I don't do it as often as I probably should and it's not very easy to show. I bring this up because it is almost a month away from NaNoWriMo. What is NaNoWriMo you ask? It's a challenge during the month of November to write a 50,000 word novel. I've participated the past two years and completed the challenge. I have yet to edit those novels but one is currently in a more publishable state than the other. I'm tempted to attempt it again this year but have to narrow down possible stories and then flesh them out enough to get myself to 50,000 words. Both years I've run out of planned scenes and reached the end of the story before I hit the word count. Thus I scrambled to come up with filler scenes. Anyone want to try it this year? We can be writing buddies on the site.

Rose dress is done

I did the skirts last weekend. The underskirt was a lot of fabric and a little slippery. Monday I added the hooks to the neck and tried it on to get the placement for the back strap's hook.  While trying it on I realized the skirt was way too long. It looked like I had a mermaid style smooth gown on. I had a dress with that silhouette but that's not what I was going for.

So, time to chop off several inches, from the top of the skirts, hike up where it's stretched as much as possible and gather the underskirt where it attaches. I didn't want to lose the tendrils coming down from the roses so I cut around those and placed them over the skirt. I'm still not completely happy, but it worked for the showcase. I need to readjust two straps and maybe take up the front a bit more. After that I just need to stone it. I need a combination of light siam, indian siam, siam, fire opal, and sunflower crystal in various sizes.

Hollywood Showcase day

Yesterday, September 29th, was the Hollywood Showcase which I had been preparing a jive and my rose dress for. I woke up at 9am in preparation. Now keep in mind, although 9 is better than 7, I usually don't wake up until 10:30-11am. I ate breakfast and put the last few items, needle and thread just in case, into my bag that I packed the night before. Shortly after 10am I left my house and headed to Manhattan to the location of the showcase. The garage I had picked out earlier was right across the street and shortly before 11am I headed into the venue.

The location is the Martin Luther King Jr. High School Auditorium. One, I have no idea how the location was chosen, and two I'm curious to know how often they rent it out. Anyway, with my rolling duffel bag, and my dress hanging over my shoulder to keep the bottom off the ground (I did have it in a plastic garment bag my dress for the after party came in) I walked up a flight of stairs to the main entrance. I then proceeded down a flight, did a 180 and went down another. I went through a door and down another set of stairs and another door. I walked forward several feet and went down another flight which brought me to the main doors to the auditorium. I went down the sloping floor to the front of the stage, climbed 4 more stairs and finally deposited my stuff in the ladies dressing room. I took my phone out to check messages that I may have missed while driving and walking and found I had no signal. Then again, I was three stories below street level.

I discovered I was in the second act so after eating a small apple turnover that was part of the breakfast spread provided, I managed to sit down and look half asleep. I admit my brain was not functioning at it's highest capacity and it reflected on my face. At about halfway through the runthrough of the first act, I felt awake enough and pulled out my cross-stitch I had been working on. I got a few lengths of thread in before I figured I should get my hair and make up done.
Hair was easy. I bought a pack of Scunci Flexible Combs, essentially a headband with teeth, and put the clear one on. It pulled my hair back from my face but left it loose in the back. Considering how fluffy my hair was yesterday, it really looked wild which was what I was going for. Make up was black eyeliner, and purple and pink eyeshadow, and 'cherries in the snow' lipstick with some purple/pink blush. I waited until they started the run of the second act (which started about 2ish) to put on my dress.

After putting on my heels and attempting to do a few kicks I figured walking around the city for so long the day before was not a good things and my legs were tight and slightly sore. Marking through the jive backstage solidified that thought. My shoulders also hurt from carrying the heavy bags but that wouldn't effect my jive.

We performed it once, accidentally forgetting one part, but thankfully nothing critical came undone with the dress. Needle and thread not required today. Phew. I took off my heels, put my flip flops back on, watched some more routines and proceeded to relax. Food was brought for lunch. We went through the transitions. By now it's 6:30, showtime is at 7.

 The show went on, no hiccups as far as I can tell. I performed my jive and promptly downed an entire bottle of vitamin water within five minutes. The show ended at 9:14 and we all scurried to change for the after party. Got my stuff together, met my parents who took my bag and I headed back to the garage. As I finished crossing the street, I realized I left my dress hanging on the rack and had to go back to get it. Oops.

My GPS was hiccuping as I was driving down to the SoHo studio for the after party. It had the hardest time figuring out where I was. At one point I think it had me in Jersey as I was driving down 11th avenue. It finally got on track and I got there without a problem, even finding a parking spot around the corner from the studio.

Food, friends, dancing was abundant at the after party, although my feet were hurting a bit. Unfortunately I get stepped on while I thought I was out of the way, I could see it bruising underneath already as I got into better lighting. Some ice and a band-aid later and I attempted to continue, unfortunately, it was extremely tender to the touch and directly under my shoes buckle. So flip flops it was. It still was a little tweaky so I decided to go home but not before I got pulled into two more salsas.

Got to my car around 11:45pm and proceeded to Canal street. Somebody was parked in the right lane with their hazard lights blinking causing traffic to back up as everyone had to merge to the left lane to get around it. While sitting at the red light at the intersection to go to the Holland Tunnel, an accident occurred. I'm not sure if another car hit this one or they ran into the barrier of one of the islands in the intersection, but the entire front bumper was off and the horn was constantly blaring. There seemed to be a little smoke too. But the person in front of me put their hazard lights on causing me to get into the right hand turn only lane to get around. There was some beeping involved as I sat still during the signal as going through a red light may prompt another accident, this time involving me. Got to the west side highway, with heavy traffic nearing the Lincoln Tunnel before it cleared up and I managed to get home in one piece. I went to bed about 2am.


Monday, September 24, 2012

DWTS season 15: week 1 performance

Woo hoo! New season stars tonight and I'm back to blogging about it. I'm writing this from Dance with Me NJ's kick off party. So I'm dancing, or watching others dance, in the commercial breaks. It's also projected onto a red wall so everyone is really orange.

Here we go.

Joey and Kym. High energy, not bad with the footwork, could've used more hips to make the cuban breaks more fluid. Technique wasn't right for the locksteps. Kym's outfit's is a bit odd. I'll agree with the scores.

Shawn and Derek. Song is not a foxtrot. It's a cha cha. Dress is an off length, what my rose dress looked like before I shortened it. Too fast for a foxtrot. danced well but just odd as a foxtrot. Carrie anne gave too high a score.

Sabrina and Louis. I like her dress. Very sharp. Although I didn't see a lot of hip action. Everything was very up on straight legs with no settling although it was hard at that speed. Seems like a very 'Louis like' routine. I'll agree but maybe a little high.

Helio and Chelsie. Much better music. Better then I remember him dancing last time. Unfortunately his last season sours it for me a bit. Nice fluffy dress. I'll agree with the scores.

Pam and Tristan. She looked like she forgot the routine a bit and was not very good for what she did do. Was really the most tentative performance so far. I'll agree with the scores, for someone who also did the Israel version she's really not that good.

Melissa and Tony. Little hoppy in places in hold but I'll blame that partially on the music. She makes me need to work on my flexibility. A little low in the scores.

Apolo and Karina. Entertaining but no hips again (I don't know what Carrie Anne's looking at). locksteps are the best I've seen so far. I'll agree.

Gilles and Peta. Very smooth, nice rise and fall. I'll agree with the scores, could've been higher though.

Bristol and Mark. Much better than last time. I felt like they were dancing to a different song though. The shimmies didn't work for the music. A bit soft for a cha cha though. I'll agree with the scores.

Drew and Anna. He's very stiff. Foxtrot should be smooth. Like Gilles. I like the top of Anna's dress but the bottom is odd. Maybe a tad high for the scores? But ok given the other scores.

Kelly and Val. Very good. Nice mix of sharp and hold. Could have more hip action. Low scores.

Kirstie and Maks. Song is not a foxtrot and what's with the drum rhythm? Not bad, could have been smoother. Good lines, left hand was a little odd of an angle at one point. Too low.

Emmitt and Cheryl. Entertaining, some footwork could have been cleaner. Other than the body rolls, could have had more hip action. Made a tad high but I'll agree.

Pam can go home tomorrow, she was the worst of the night.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Last bit of insanity...

For a while anyway. All the green is starting to wear on me.

I mentioned in my last post I bought DMC floss for about 12 projects. Here's a picture of the pile. I sorted the majority of it into the kits and the remainder will go into my main system.

I have cut my fabric and sorted all my floss for the next cross-stitch project, In the Garden. I'll be starting it right after I post this.

On another front, I picked up this black and white abstract knit. It's thin and stretchy. I'll figure out something to do with it.

Picked up the following patterns as well.

I'm almost done with the rose dress. I tried it on today and after a little tweaking on the top, I'm sure it won't fail on me at the showcase next week. The skirt's a little long so I'm going to have to hike it up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Kitting up

I'm sure you all remember my chart stash I bought the other week. Well, I got almost all of the dmc thread needed to kit up 12 designs. Yes, 12. Two of which were already in my stash. I figure I'll have enough of some colors left over for later charts as well.

As there is a bbq at work friday, I'll probably be let out early so I can make another stop at Where Victoria's Angels stitch for specialty fibers and fabric. Then I hurry home and finish the skirt of my dress. I ned a test run of it Saturday.

My only dilemma is which to start first? As of right now I can start In The Garden as I'll be using the bolt of 18 ct aida I have. May also be able to start Stroke of Midnight, Celestial Dragon, Garnet Fairy, and Fantasy Triptych if I use the 28 ct fabric insanity used to be on and not get new 32 ct or a different color than antique white. In current order of calling to me they are: In The Garden Garnet fairy Dragon carousel Celestial dragon Tropical dream A dragons Best friend Fantasy triptych Happy ending Dragon dance Stroke of midnight Legend of the dragons Legend of the spell casters Thoughts or suggestions?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Small progress and a finish.

Once again I don't have much progress on insanity. It's lots of color changes with small spots of similar colors. It takes a little under an hour to do 50 stitches on average.

I spent most of Sunday working on the rose dress. I also accidentally cut my right index finger with my rotary cutter. It wasn't very deep but it still smarted so I started crocheting the snowman.

I realize the picture is rotated wrong but I don't feel like trying to fix it at the moment. I worked on this Monday night as well. I figured out Tuesday that was a good idea.

I've started bringing smaller travel friendly projects with me to work on during my lunch break and the time I have between dinner and the start of dancing on Tuesday (thus the pumpkins getting done so quickly.) I brought lil jack + the kitty to work this week. Poking my finger with the needle was not fun. I learned by Wednesday to get around that or it had healed enough not to smart. But I managed to finish it. Ta da!

I made my snowman's arms and started the hat on Thursday. Friday night I spent putting the thread requirements for my new charts into my dmc spreadsheet and made a list of the specialty threads and beads to get at a later date. While working on the hat, I had an interesting dilemma. The skein of white yarn (yes it looks blue. I blame my daylight bulb for that) started out like this:

It unwinded to this:

This proceeded to get knotted and twisted and almost unworkable. So after a little internet search voila: 

My own center pull yarn ball. Isn't it cute?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Update on rose dress

I spent the majority of Sunday working on this dress. I hemmed the bodice and put the elastic in. I also created the collar and straps. I attached those and the bra. I also trimmed the excess fabric from the bottom so I could actually dance in the dress but not enough to cut the rose design off. This caused it to be higher in the front than the back. I'm really tall for a latin dancer so I managed to not have to cut any of the printed design off. I'm not sure how this design would've fared with a shorter dancer.

Now I just need to make the skirt and attach the hooks to the collar and back strap.

Something odd I noticed when I went to put the dress form on the pole, the knob to tighten the screw to hold it in place broke off. It's not thin plastic either. I need to figure out how to fix it before I make a smooth dress.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Eclectic update and more stash

Another busy week coupled with the fact that I spent the majority of my free time over the weekend working on my dress caused me not to have that much done on insanity.
I did however manage to finish my three pumpkins this week (and had a full ball left over) and also started the snowman tonight as my brain was too tired to deal with insanity.

Although I haven't managed to work on certain projects as I would like, I got more stash. I had to go to joann's to pick up thread for my dress last week. While there, I have a tendency to rummange through the other departments to see if anything catches my eye. Although the cross-stitch section isn't all that great, I did find the following:

Sebastian and Sebastian rose by Design Works. I was tempted by two other designs featuring a white cat and a leopard purse and one with a leopard shoe, but I prefered these for some reason, maybe Onyx had an influence. They came as a pack. While looking for the pictures, I came across one other in the series Jasper:

He may be added to my stash at a later date.

Due to a wedding in NJ on Friday night, I stayed over at a hotel and then meandered  my way to Where Victoria's Angels Stitch. I picked up the following:

Bent Creek's Lil Jack + the Kitty
Mirabilia's January's Garnet Fairy and embellishment pack

Patricia Allison' Dragon Carousel (signed) and A Dragon's best Friend

Black Swan Designs' Dragon Heart

Kustom Krafts' In the Garden

Dragon Dreams' Dancing Dragons and I'll Make my Own Happy Ending

and TW's Carousel horses (all 4), Tropical Dream, Legends of the dragons, Four Season's Faeries, and The Best of TW's fantasy collection (vol 1).

The last one leaves me with an extra copy (and slightly updated version) of The Castle which I may sell if anyone's interested.

Monday, September 3, 2012

New dress started

I have begun my next dress, which I have names 'roses' in the labels. I have less than four weeks to complete it. Thankfully due to labor day I had an extra day so I got a fair amount done.
First, I shall present the pieces that came in my fabric set. I received 3 pieces of the following shaded fabric. The bodysuit and skirt will be cut from these:

Next, I received four pieces of organza for the underskirt (2 were extra), pre-cut into circles:

This piece of the same material as the first three, but with the added roses, are for the main body of the dress.

The coiled wad is horsehair braid printed with a similar pattern to the fabric for use on the bottom of the skirts. I have eight 7 ft pieces. The fabric on the right is the pattern printed on nude mesh for the gloves. When I'm tan for competitions, there will be an illusion of the leopard being tatooed on my arms.
The last piece is for bracelets and the collar.

Finally, we get to the actual construction. Sunday, I finished the elastic on the bottom and have the general form of it. This is one place that needs to fit right from the beginning. I cannot play with it later.

Today, I cut and constructed the main part of the dress. Below you can see the placement of the roses. I have since taking this picture, basted the dress to the bodysuit. My next course of action is to trim the excess fabric and test for fit before adding the elastic to the edges.