Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurricane Irma - Damage and Clean Up

So, we have survived Hurricane Irma and have been busy cleaning up after it ever since! I've lived in Florida my whole life, and this was certainly an enormous storm, but at the same time I knew everything would be ok. In reality very few people die from hurricanes in the US, so while I knew we may not be super comfortable (when power and water goes out, if your roof blows off, etc), I knew we would all be fine in the end. And that is just what happened :) I live on the East Coast of Central Florida, which is where a great deal of the tornado activity came through. Thankfully none of my property was effected by the tornadoes, but I know several people who were and it's pretty crazy damage. I figured I would show anyone interested what we've been dealing with in my neck of the woods. 
Just after the storm passed us, we went to check on my house. I was pretty sure that some of my huge oak trees would fall on the house, but thankfully they stayed up and just littered my yard with debris. We had some pretty large limbs, but nothing fell on my house :) Super lucky, guys. I had some shingles blow off, but nothing that was any big deal.
My husband and I both (separately) worked on our yard over 2 days and this is the pile of debris by the road. And there is still more! It seems like my trees are held together with Spanish moss because it covered every inch of my grass, and there was still plenty more up in the trees. Crazy. After rubbing blisters in my hands from raking so much, I just didn't have the strength to carry all the piles from the back up to the front, so this pile will get bigger this weekend. Phew! I am still trying to sell my house, so now I can say this place is majorly hurricane tested :) (anyone want to buy my house? lol)
Next we went to check on the condo I'm living in while I try to sell my house. This is on a barrier island and my unit is bottom floor directly on the water, so I was under a mandatory evacuation. When we drove back up, this was the first thing we saw - the car port was everywhere. These are pieces of solid sheet metal that are peeled back like a tuna can top. The sheets were everywhere - attached to the port, up in trees, on the sidewalk, etc. Some people who didn't evacuate left their cars parked in their spaces and their back windows were busted out. Even a week later this place is still a mess of metal.
The other big bit of damage to my place is the dock - it's gone! The waves beat the dock so hard that it ripped off large sections and pulled back the parts that didn't come off. Even the land next to the dock is missing in some spots - we're talking major erosion. It even sucked the sod off and all in some places. The other end of the dock is still attached, but it curves about 4 feet away from the land in some spots. The pictures above are just out my back door. The bottom left picture shows something else pretty interesting - look at the 7th floor balcony - someone's porch is completely gone! I was extremely fortunate that there was no damage to the inside of my condo. My porch flooded, but no water got inside. Such a miracle considering what was happening outside.
These pictures are of what the car port looked like last night. It makes for some creepy sounding wind chimes, particularly at night. Thankfully my space was just fine and I'm able to park, but most others have had to figure out parking somewhere else.
Another happy incident involved my eye. I have no idea how, but Monday after the storm I burst a blood vessel in my eye :/ It's been a full week and I still have a ring of blood around the center of my eye.
And after cleaning up with my family all week and moving back to my condo, I went out with others from my church yesterday and helped people in the community. We went to 3 different cities with chainsaws and we took out trees for people who couldn't take care of it themselves or who couldn't afford to have it done. We chopped up 5 huge trees and cleaned 7 yards. We were hot and dirty (I was scratched up and sun burned too), but it was all worth it to see the relief in the faces of the people we helped. I got a great big hug from one woman, and we had several people in these neighborhoods come and thank us for helping their neighbors. It was a pretty good day. If you have a disaster come through your area, be on the lookout for out yellow shirts! We will surely be there :) Gotta love the Mormon Helping Hands.

So that's a little tour of my week. I finally got power back on Wednesday and water back on Thursday. I'm still on a boil water notice, but it could be so much worse. As this storm was coming towards our state, my area was being told to prepare for the worst category 4 or 5 and a direct hit. With the way the storm shifted and entered on the west of the state, we only had a category 2 when it arrived here. It was crazy to watch - my mom and I sat on her screened front porch at 2 am when the worst hit us and watched the wind. I know I keep saying "it was crazy", but I just can't describe it any other way. Sorry for my less-than-interesting writing style today, I think my brain is still recovering, lol. I'm glad we came through ok and that we were able to help others in the process :)

Were any of you effected by Hurricane Irma? How did you fare?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Be Back Soon - Hurricane Crossing!

Just a quick post to let you know I won't be able to post for a little while, lol. I'm located on the East Coast of Central Florida, so Hurricane Irma has kept me pretty busy this week. I live on the water, so I had a mandatory evacuation today, but I am hunkered down inland with my family and we should all be just fine. I made sure to pack plenty of yarn and patterns (and even some sewing stuff), so maybe I'll have something to show from this hurricane, lol. Hopefully I will be back next week reporting that everything is fine, but just in case I thought I'd put up a message that there may be a little blog silence depending on the outcome for my area. Who knows what will happen, but no matter what we will be ok :)

Thanks for being readers of my little blog, and I hope to be posting again very soon!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Summer of Basics: My Makes

Well, I managed to make these 6 pieces this summer, and they are my entries in the Summer of Basics make-along. The lovely part about a make-along like this (other than getting lots of very useful basic items to wear from it) is that there are prizes involved :) So I've organized my pieces by which category I will enter them in - nothing like the last minute!
First up is my coordinating pieces entry. This consists of my "outfit":
I've worn each of these pieces both together and with other things and they are definitely new favorites in my wardrobe :)

I also managed to make these 3 other pieces that technically go together, but I won't really be wearing 2 shirts at the same time. These have been well incorporated into my closet as well (particularly the black skirt).

And while I know it isn't the most technically advanced "pattern hack" around, I did hack the Renfrew neckline to be higher and did a different neckband treatment, so I'm throwing these into the ring as well.

Did you participate in the Summer of Basics? I'm really happy I did, and I hope this challenge continues each year because it really helps you make pieces that are very wearable. Yay for basic items!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

FO: Black Fly Front Skirt

I've wanted to make McCall's 7475 ever since it was released about a year ago. I'm not a fan of culottes (at all!) but the pattern showed a very cute skirt. It's been a long time since I used a Big 4 pattern and I was a bit skeptical of the sizing, so I searched out the finished measurements and went from there in choosing my size knowing I would have to alter the waist. I had to take a wedge out from the hip to the waist at the side seams, but other than that it went together well and I now have a nice skirt for the Summer of Basics challenge :)
The details that drew me to this pattern are still my favorites: the fly front and the patch style pockets. I love that this pattern is designed like a typical jean skirt but with a bit of a retro flare in the pocket choice. I made sure to top stitch everything just like a jean skirt would have to accentuate the details and get things to lay flat.
Since I didn't know how this project would turn out, I used a thrifted black twill fabric I picked up for $1 so I wouldn't be too heartbroken if I didn't like the result. Happily it turned out great and I have a nice basic skirt in full rotation now.. The only thing I don't love about it is that this fabric loves to pick up dog hair (and I have a very hairy dog), but a little lint rolling before I leave the house has helped me not look like a crazy person so we're good :)
I have a little bit of wrinkling at my waist line just above the pockets, but that may be from how I just took a larger seam allowance in that area (it's wedge shaped on both sides), so I will have to look up different ways to do that in the future. Since I knew a style like this would be washed frequently, I made sure to overcast all the inside seams before I top stitched them down.
The pattern offers the front patch pockets OR the back patch pockets, but I decided to go for broke and use both. I mean you can never have too many pockets, amiright? I know these picks are a little crooked (and blurry), but I'm happy with the pocket placement and spacing. I also am really happy with the fit of the back yoke - typically I have to make a sway back adjustment on every pattern I sew for the small of my back, but this lays nice and flat there. Woo hoo!
I also really like that this back pockets are such a nice size - look they fit my hands no problem! This may sound like an obvious thing a pattern should have but in my experience it has not always been the case - and no I do not have large hands. This is also my first time reinforcing the pockets by sewing the little triangle at the sides of the opening - they didn't come out perfect (and I know you really can't see the black on black in these pictures), but I'm fine with them since the fabric doesn't show this off anyway. So now my pockets are reinforced and no one will really know it's not perfectly top stitched.
I really love that this is a fly front and it just feels really professional to me having this in a skirt. After the trouble I had on my other fly front (the Sally skirt) I was concerned it would be tricky to figure out. I'm really impressed by the instructions in the pattern for the fly! I was able to just use the instruction packet and it turned out great. The only thing I had to constantly remember myself was to finish the seams before I stitched the fly, but that's not that big a deal. I used a vintage metal zipper from my stash and it worked out great. I did use a hook and eye in place of a button at the waistband and this was purely aesthetic. I have a full tummy, so buttons tend to just stick out there, plus I pretty much always wear my shirt untucked and it just looks odd to have the button poking out under my top. I liked that the hook and eye would make it lay nice and flat, so while it maybe seems less "store bought" this way, it works great for me. And why sew it yourself if you're not going to make little changes from how it would be in a store, right?
And finally my top stitching :) I'm pretty happy with my pockets all things considered. I knew I would like this style, but I honestly like this particular version much more then I thought I would. I've worn it quite a bit since I finished it - it's a nice basic, slightly casual style, and it's black so it goes really well with a lot of things. I will definitely be making more of this pattern with some of my stashed twill fabrics. Yay for a win from a Big 4 pattern, right?! And yay for a very wearable muslin!

Fabric: 1.5 yards black cotton twill (60" wide) - $1.07 (thrifted)
Pattern: McCall's 7475 - $1.99
Notions: Pellon SF101 Interfacing - $0.50, 7" metal zipper - $0.10 (thrifted), black thread - $1.00, hook and eye - $0.15
Time: 5 hours
Total Cost: $ 4.32