Monday, July 23, 2007

10 day update

My 10 day Master Cleanse is complete. I feel lighter, more buoyant, generally cleaner in spirit and mind. For a while there, I was so bogged down I was stuttering my way through the day. *NOT* a good way to build a rep with your new boss, let me tell you. The experience is interesting because today was the first time in a very long time that I awoke with a truly clear head. I hadn't realized just how fuzzy my thinking had become in the past year. The combined stress, lack of physical activity, and general suck-i-tude I have adopted regarding Phoenix have left their mark. Not to overstate it, but I really do feel like I took a load off and returned to my essential self. My tummy has never been so flat, either! I think I dropped about 10 pounds in total, probably half of this was water weight, 1/4 cleaning out the gunk, and 1/4 fat/muscle loss. Now the trick is to maintain!

My metabolism has slowed, I am sure, so I have to keep up the physical activity to actually stay this way or else I'm sure I'll gain it all back plus a little extra for good measure. Today was a good day, being the first day back on a somewhat regular diet. For about 6 months I have been edging my way down the vegetarian road and I am now a little bit closer.

I am still planning on a grocery bag challenge, since I think it's an easy - and fun - way to implement additional eco-friendly habits to one's lifestyle. More updates on this later. For now, I am off to kick-boxing class!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A challenge...

I'm working on day 2 of my cleanse. My mouth feels all funky, but today is definitely better than yesterday and while I definitely don't feel full, I can't say I miss the food. Okay, that's a bald-faced lie. I admit my will has been seriously tested, but not from hunger. Actually, I haven't been all that hungry considering I have been drinking just the lemonade for the past 48 hours. Yes, I have been tempted, but only because I was bored or thirsty. This is not at all different than my normal eating habits :)

Although, yesterday it was rather difficult cooking for the hubby. Grilled chicken has never smelled so yummy, I tell you. And then I made him a roma tomato, vidalia onion and Bulgarian feta cheese salad (my favorite) and I was almost undone. I have always been the resident salad maker for my family, some would even call it my specialty. Not to toot my own horn, but I can really work the raw veggies tossed in some EVOO and vinegar. Okay, enough about food! Well, maybe not so much.

I had to do a little shopping yesterday and I keep on telling myself I have to make my own shopping bags because I can't stand the number of paper bags I bring home. Lately, there are some stores, Trader Joe you know who you are, that like to double bag, which drives me NUTS. If I had to walk a mile, sure, but the 10 steps from the trunk to the kitchen??? Please. Anyway, there is a lovely blogger out of the UK who makes even lovelier bags. You must all check it out. U-Handbags

Here's a peek at U-Handbag's reusable grocery bag for inspiriation and please, check the link out for the pattern and instructions:

In fact, I would like to propose a challenge! How about a reusable shopping bag sew-off? Who's game??

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Spring cleaning...

One of the things I love about sewing is that it is very holistic in nature. One must consider the whole while handling all the parts individually and the treatment of the parts overall effect the final outcome. Crappy fabric and your not likely to end up with a something you will actually wear, etc. I have found myself since moving to the Valley of the Sun seeing things in a much more holistic way than I had previously. In reaction to living in an unhealthy environment (constant sinus issues, skin problems, general lack of pep) I have found myself seeing out activities and habits that act as counterbalance to the toxicity.

In that vein, tonight I start a cleansing fast, also known as the Master Cleanse or the lemonade diet. It consists of a 10 day (ideally) fast of a tonic of fresh lemon juice, grade B maple syrup (like the extra virgin of maple syrups), and a dash of cayenne pepper in water. Lemon has long been known to have various health benefits, not limited to preventing scurvy but also helping in liver and kidney function. Maple syrup has high quantities of the B vitamins, calcium zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Both lemon and maple sport ridiculous amounts of antioxidants, as well. The cayenne pepper has some pretty major health benefits, too, like helping heart function, digestion, blood purification and production, and pain management. I am less versed in pepper but from what I have read, it seems kind of like a miracle plant.

Since I am congested all the time, I figured that early summer was just as good as late spring and so I begin my cleaning internally. I expect to have lots more energy for sewing and creativity and I expect to be challenged. Hopefully, my sense of humor will return as well. The past month I seem to be lacking, to say the least... I'm shooting for 10 days, but we'll see how it goes.

I squeezed my lemons and added my maple in preparation for tomorrow. The tonic is really quite delish! Good enough that I would serve to guests at my house for a little something different than your typical summer lemonade, gourmet even!

I wonder if anyone else out there has tried it or any other type of detoxification. If you have, let me know :)

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Summertime in the city...

It's barely July and it's already 115 degrees here in Phoenix. It's unnatural, I tell you, for people to live in the desert. Manifest destiny, the Wild Wild West, modernity, and imported palm trees be damned. 115. Degrees. Do you know what that feels like? Good for you if you don't. You cannot imagine it if you don't experience it, much like extreme cold. Although, a preheaded 400 degree oven does give a good approximation, I must say.

So what do I do when my brain is at risk of boiling in my head (note the dark hair folks) and my scalp turns pink? I turn into a good little American consumer and do my part to propel the economy forward by raising the consumer goods index. I shop. Like all other Phoenicians, I seek refuge from the scorching sun in retail. My spending is usually aided by the brain melt down one risks on a daily basis here between June and August. Interestingly, while I am often forced to use cloth barrier (much like an oven mitt kept in the car) to grip the steering wheel until the AC does its thing, there have been occasions that I have left a preferred customer card in the sun and it was never too hot to handle. You could fry an egg and still be able to charge the iced coffee at the drive-thru.

So what did I buy? FAbric, patterns, and notions, people. Joann's had the sale I have been waiting a season for and I was able to get a tailors ham for all of $5. My husband was very confused by it. Even though I showed him how it works, he still somehow didn't understand.
I also picked up a number of patterns:



Simplicity 3684

Simplicity 3744

Simplicity 3867, but I bought the wrong size :(

V8202, a snazzy pair of jeans with an awesome back pocket

Simplicity 4097

So what does this all say about me? All this heat has me fantasizing about Fall... Except that I bought summery fabrics:

Top to bottom, from left to right:
  • yellow batiste that is sort of a watercolor wash over white
  • bottom weight (home dec maybe?) yellow with blue flowers that are shot through with gold..just enough of this in the remnant to make a swingy skirt!
  • poly/cotton blend in pink, blue, yellow, and oat Liz Claiborne home, that was the best plaid I have seen in a long time, even if it is pastels and meant for drapes or your sofa. I shall wear it.
  • Pink, oat, and sage plaid from Joann's prairie girl collection. I was sorry I had this cut almost as soon as I saw the other check but still I bought it
  • fashion jersey, acetate and lycra that feels like plastic but makes a surprisingly good dress fabric as it drapes nicely. Joann's clearance rack for $1.50 a yard. Can you believe this was originally $15? No wonder it was on clearance...
  • Coral gabardine in rayon/polyester from Hancock's that just drew me in with its freshness
  • Maroon stretch sateen, also from Hancock's, that hopefully has enough recovery to actually wear and keep its shape.
  • Not shown, but a clear vinyl 1.5 yd remnant I don't know what I am going to do with but was possessed to buy for $.93
I picked up some snaps and a little tool to install them, as well as a new seam ripper. A new deluxe seam ripper. Although, my old one was magnetized lightly, which is pretty handy when you want to remove pins from underneath your presser foot.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Why I love the internet...reason #2123

I've been busy working on my SWAP items. Next in line is May 2007 Burda WoF #112:
As I have never made a pair of pants from the Burda company, I figured it would be wise to make a muslin out of the 10 yards of $.50 black poly-cotton woven I picked up at Joann's 6 months ago at a clearance event. I was doing fine in the construction of said muslin until I came to the zipper insertion. The instructions referred me to pattern #110. Flip one page back and read 110. Shall I reenact what passes for instruction in the Burda world?

Press fly self-facings to the inside, on the right along center front, on the left 5mm before center front. Ahh, okay, I can do this. Measure 5mm, mark, pin, press, done. Stitch the zip under the left fly edge (underlap) (underlap?? huh? WTF?) stitching close to the teeth. Pin the zipper to the left fly edge and baste in place, knowing the stitches are going to have to come out as these instructions are nothing but trouble. Still, I persist. Pin the opening together matching centers. Centers are pinned. Stitch the loose zip band on the right facing, without catching in the trouser piece. Okay, are there separate pieces for the facing? What? Baste facing in place. Which facing? Right or left? Am I dehydrated? Topstitch the opening from the top to 3cm before the end as marked. Flod fly underlap (there it is again: underlap) lengthways, stitch bottom end together. Turn. Place underlap under the left opening edge, pin to fly facing. I am thoroughly lost now. Definitely need water. Stitch the fly facing to underlap close to the zip seam. Close fly again and topstitch to the end , catching in the underlap.

Are you confused? Cause I am seriously confused. I pulled out the big sewing book to reference fly front zips. They have great instructions but they are for separate facings, not extensions as are used in this pattern...I tried to make sense of it all and it made me seriously question my intelligence many, many times.

This, of course, leads me to reason #2123 why I love the internet. While, there is no one I can call at midnight for help, I can log on and search for both information and affirmation of my intelligence on line.

I give you a Video Tip by Sandra Betzina, curtesy of Threads Magazine. The tip for inserting fly front zips is easy, straight forward, and best of all, comprehensible!

Please, help yourself or someone you love:

Now, I just need a new seam ripper. Mine is duller than I felt trying to make sense of BWoF zipper...