Monday, October 27, 2008

Totally OT...Accutane

This is totally off the topic, but I am interested to know if anyone has used Accutane for their acne? And if you have, what was your personal experience with it? What was it like during the cycle, did your acne get way worse before it got better? How long until your skin cleared up? Has it lasted for you or did you have to repeat your treatment? What other side effects did you have? After you were off the medicine, did the side effects go away?

I ask this because I saw a dermatologist a few weeks ago about my acne (which is mild). I requested Accutane since my sister just finished a four month cycle of it and now has gorgeously flawless skin. We both have similar skin, so her acne was mild as well, but my skin is definitely oilier than hers.

The derm I saw wasn't too gung ho on prescribing Accutane, but since I requested it he said he would prescribe it. He said he's rather try other alternatives first such as antibiotics and topical medicines. I went in with the mindset that I wanted Accutane. I have tried all other methods without success and after 20+ years of dealing with acne I want to put an end to it. Well now I'm getting cold feet about taking it.

As a female, you have to wait 30 days before you can start it to make sure you're not pregnant so I'm in my 30 day waiting period. While taking the course, you must use two forms of birth control because it causes very severe birth defects. The birth defects aren't the part that scares it me, it's the other stuff such as the potential to have depression, bad headache, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, seizures, stroke, hearing problems, vision problems, lipid problems, well the list goes on. Then at the end it says, the common, less serious side effects are dry skin, chapped lips, dry eyes, and dry nose. I can deal with the common side effects, I'm just paranoid about the others. I realize if we all had to read a thick book about each and every medication we took that it probably wouldn't be so scary to me. My sister experienced the common side effects as well as had some joint pain that was minimized taking Advil daily. I had another friend who had the same complaints while she took it. I just don't know anyone else who has taken it and want some feed back.

If you'd rather not post a common, please do email me - noboty at

Thanks for any insight. I'm still deciding on what to do.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What I learned from Marta...

First off I want to express my most sincere thanks for all the wonderful comments left about my son's jacket. Truly heartwarming. :-)

October has been a busy month for my family, but taking the fit class just added to the craziness. My last class was on Wednesday and I will declare it here, I'm now a HUGE advocate for tissue fitting a pattern. I used to just wing it and just hope for the best. Well I'm here to tell you, I now think that "winging it" is a total waste of time (not to mention a waste of fabric too if you ruin your fabric. Some will say, make a muslin. True you can do that and surely there is still reason to do that on occasion, but honestly tissue fitting doesn't take that long and it helps you see exactly what needs to be done before you even cut your fabric. After tissue fitting if you'd like to see if there are any alterations that still should be made since different fabrics behave differently (for example dart ending placement), you can then pin the garment together to making sure everything looks perfect before you start sewing.

From class I learned many things about my body and how to fit it. Remember this class was only tops, dresses, and skirts and not pants. Things I learned about fitting myself:

1) I am a "B" cup and don't need an SBA! This was totally shocking to me. Shocking!

2) I wear a size 8 for tops and a size 12 for skirts.

3) I need a 1/2" broad back alteration. Every pattern I altered in class (that would be at least a dozen), I needed a 1/2" broad back so that appears to be the norm for me. If you have the FFRP book, it's on page 118 and I use method #2.

4) I don't always need a sway back or forward shoulder alteration like I thought. Trying on the tissue will tell me if I need either and how much. I needed a 3/8" forward shoulder on only two things in class and a the sway back was only a tiny pinch on two things.

5) Sometimes I need a broad shoulder adjustment as well, tho most of the time the 1/2" broad back will cover it.

6)I also learned it best to trace a pattern onto tissue paper for tissue fitting. I usually use Pattern Ease when tracing a BWOF or Ottobre pattern, but PE it's too heavy and stiff for tissue fitting.

If you have the opportunity to take a class from Marta, I highly recommend it. She's personable, helpful, and most of all super nice. She is filled with so much knowledge and is so eager to share it. She really wants everyone to be success and to love sewing and fitting as much as she does. The class I took is geared for local sewers because it's weekly for four weeks, but Marta & Pati also teach a four day fit workshop and people fly into Portland from all over the country.

Overall, it was well worth the $100 I spent. Last night I even tried tissue fitting a top I want to make by myself and I think I got my alterations right on the money. Guess I'll know for sure once it's sewn up.

Next up is the pants class which starts this coming week. It's a different teacher but also with the Palmer/Pletsch sewing school. I have one evening session and then all day next Saturday where we'll actually sew our pants in class. I'm looking forward to it and will be using OOP Vogue 2812; my fabric is gray stretch sateen.

In other sewing news, I have two Halloween costumes finished, one mostly finished, and one not started (tho that is the easy one and only requires some hot glue, spray paint, & a box. :-) I'm also working on a top for myself, Butterick B5101.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

First Prize

The little pilot jacket I made my son took first place in the Sewing for Babies/Kids contest on Pattern Review! The voting ended Saturday night and so Sunday when I checked my email, I had a wonderful surprise waiting in my inbox. :-)

The voting really was hard and the final tally was so close. There is such great talent on PR and so many gorgeous things were created - over 60 entries and each member is only allowed to vote for one item!

A fellow PR member pointed out to me how cool it was that a boy item came out on top. She said it's so much easier to make cute girl things with all the great patterns available (ahh, how I wish I could still make cute girl things), but when you have a boy, it's truly hard to find cute boy patterns. What a compliment, I hadn't thought of it that way. Tho in all honesty, I really owe Ottobre the thanks because they were the mastermind behind the pattern I chose. I adore the wonderful boy patterns they produce so my sons can look stylish in their mama made garments.

A big thank you to Deepika (the owner and founder of Pattern Review) for the fun contest and Sew Baby for their generous prize. Last, but definitely not least, thank you to my readers, your comments encourage me to continue to sew.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Zipper Storage

Last weekend I was doing some organization and came across my box of zippers. It was a steal I found on eBay over a year ago, but the problem since has been how to store them. Until last weekend they were all banded together in a box, but it's a pain to dig through when you need a zipper to find the right color. Racking my brain to figure a better way, it occurred to me to put them on a hanger and band them together by color. They can't fall off the hanger and now I can see what I have very easily.

My zippers are all the same length so I chose to band them together by color, but if you have lots of different lengths you could chose to do sort them by size or color. For now, all my packaged zippers (a bunch gifted to me by my neighbor) are banded (still in the original package) by length and style (regular, metal, & invisible).

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Words of Wisdom from a Fit Class Flunky

Okay, I'm not really a flunky per say, but I did goof up on my homework for this past week's class. First up, in case you missed the info before, I started a fit class last week is based on the principles in the Palmer/Pletsch book Fit For Real People. The four session class (3 hours each class) is taught by co-author Marta Alto. Following the book's teaching, she helps each student tissue fit as many patterns as we possibly can stuff into the class time.

Our first assignment, to be brought to our second class, was to bring in a top and skirt pattern cut in our size. During the first class, Marta measured each of us and then had us try on the fitting shells. Based on the information she gathered, she told us what size we need to cut for tops and skirts (no pants are covered in this class).

Since I mostly sew with BWOF and am trying to use the existing patterns I already have, I traced off a blouse & skirt pattern on Pattern Ease from my BWOF stash. I thought I was doing myself a favor using the patterns I typically use, but instead I messed up. My first mistake was not tracing them onto tissue. I learned from Marta that Pattern Ease is not the best medium to use for fitting. There isn't much drape in PE, so getting it to fit properly is a challenge. Ultimately the fitting session with my BWOF top told me one of my adjustments was a 1/2" FBA! I knew there was no freakin' way! Thankfully I took a Butterick pattern to class with me and cut it out quickly so Marta could fit me with that before class was over. After fitting that blouse, she compared both pattern pieces and they were very similar, thus proving the tissue is a much better medium when you're tissue fitting than PE. So lesson learned, use tissue if trying to fit yourself with the actual pattern pieces. And since tissue like the pattern companies use isn't readily available to buy on a roll, simply using gift wrapping tissue paper works like a charm. It's easily and cheaply obtained at your local dollar store. :-)

For next week's class I'm going to find a handful of patterns at Joann's this weekend during the $1 Columbus Day sale and have them 100% ready to try on in class. So this weekend I will be cutting patterns (which is totally against what I typically do any more, I always trace them off), taping necklines & arm holes, and pinning them together. I really want to maximize my time with her so I'm on the right track making the correct alterations for my figure.

My blouse alterations thus far are only a forward shoulder (the pattern I used this last class was 3/8", however this can vary based on the pattern), broad shoulder of 5/8" (very common in smaller size patterns), and then I needed to let out the waist about 5/8" (this came as no surprise because she had me cut a size 8 for my top and says I need a 14 for my skirt - I am thinking 12 for skirts, but next time I'll see for sure since I'll have that ready, in tissue, to fit). I'm taking a straight skirt because I think this is the hardest thing to perfect so if I can get that down, other skirts will be a piece of cake.

Lastly, coming up at the end of the month is another class called Fit & Sew Trousers. It's two class sessions, one 3 hour block and one all day block. By the end of the second class we're supposed to have finished pants to take home. I'm not sure if we can use any pattern or if we will have a selection to choose from. I'm waiting on the supply list from the instruction, but am very excited about making pants that actually fit! :-)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I don't mean to *Gush*...

but my hubby totally rocks! Actually I do mean to *gush*; we're back in business and it's all because of his handy work. Sure we could have hired someone, but no worker would care about our family's needs as much as he does. He pays such careful attention to detail and truly, without him, the cost would have been significantly higher. As it was, a new pump and all the paraphernalia we needed was over $1200 - ouch!

So now we have an abundance of water - hallelujah!!!! At about 8:15 last night when the water came back on, I was singing his praises! I immediately started the dishwasher, started laundry, flushed toilets, and brushed my teeth! Yes, I did brush my teeth that morning with a Dixie cup full of water. It reminded me of camping when I was a kid. Thankfully I could at least brush them, but brushing with fresh sink water is so much better!

Once the pump was pulled up nearly 200 feet, Mr. Fix-It could see the malfunction occurred because the connection between the pump and the motor became striped out. Thankfully all is *well* (yes, pun intended) now and we have a nice gushing supply to fill our needs. Thank you all for your concerns via comments, email, & phone - you're all so sweet to me.

So to make up for lost time, this morning thus far I've washed & folded five loads of laundry, made Chocolate Chip cookies, hard boiled (and deyolked) two dozen eggs for hubby's lunches the rest of the week, made two batches of Strawberry freezer jam, made one batch of applesauce (the chunky kind, my personal fav), and even loaded and unloaded the dishwasher twice...and it's not even 11am yet!

Now I must get my patterns traced off and prepped for my class. Still not 100% sure which ones I'm tracing, ack!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Life's gone to hell in a handbasket...

isn't that how the saying goes? Life has been nothing but boring around here for the past week. I, on the other hand, like boring. I like thinks to stay the same. No news is good news, right?

Well all the fun started last Thursday night when I was draining the kitchen didn't drain. I've had this happen before and just used a plunger to dislodge whatever the problem is. Well the plunger just didn't give way to whatever the clog was. Long story short, a bottle of Drain-O, a "snake" tool, and climbing up on the roof to check to see if the vent was clogged did nothing. More drastic measures had to be taken, so in the dark my hubby was on a very tall ladder cutting a hole in the sofit area of the house so he could get to the water pipe that was clogged (of course it couldn't be something easy to get at under the sink). Ultimately he had to cut the pipe open (which resulted in Drain-O gushing everywhere) so he could snake the clog (which was further down the drain) and then flush it with the house. Time taken, 3.5 hours (plus an hour of cleanup on the weekend) and $40 spend.

Well fast forward to this morning at 6am. My alarm goes off and I cheerfully (NOT) get up to take my shower. I just start to put shampoo in my hair and the water stops. I turned off the shower and turned it back on, it starts and immediately stops. I try the other nozzle in the shower, nothing. Okay, out of the shower with shampoo still in my hair I frantically call my hubby at work. I couldn't believe he answered the phone, I didn't expect him to be in his office because they have a huge maintenance day scheduled on Thursday and he was having to prep a bunch of stuff.

Our conversation:

Me: "I'm so glad you're there. We have a huge problem. I was in the shower and all of a sudden the water stops. I tried turning it off and on and nothing."

Him: "Can this wait until tonight?"

Me: "No, we have NO water, do you not understand I have shampoo in my hair, there is NO water".

Him: "Okay, go out to the pump house (we have a nearly 200 foot well that supplies our water that was drilled 8 years ago) and check to hear if the pump is running and see what the pressure gauge says."

So on the phone I go to the pump house in the pitch dark making sure I don't trip of Tonka trucks or the like. In the pump house I find the pressure gauge at 0% and the pump sounding like it's trying to pump water, but nothing happening. So the not-so-happy hubby says he'll be home shortly.

Fast forward to now (6 hours later) and little progress has been made. We had our well driller come out for some guidance, but it looks like something is wrong with the pump (thankfully just the pump and we're not out of water). So my hubby is working to pull up nearly 200 feet of 1.5" pipe out of the ground so he can get to the pump and diagnose the problem. A new pump is about $800, however the wire could get damaged as well during the pump removal process so who knows how much the final bill is going to total. Not to mention $70 call fee for the driller to come provide advice. And to make matters worse, a piece at the top of the well head fell into the hole and is causing trouble, so my hubby and his wonderful father are working to get that free so the pump will pull up. Now I just wait as I live without water and still have dried shampoo in my hair.

But hey, it could be worse - it could always be worse. So I'm optimistic that this will be fixed relatively soon and that I will be able to take a shower and actually rinse my hair clean. Never a dull moment.

On a bright note, I signed up for a fitting class taught by Marta Alto of Palmer/Pletsch. Last week was my first class. We discussed fitting and each member of the class tried on fitting shells (bodice and skirt) to determine the correct pattern size. Marta is super sweet and I think I'm going to learn a lot. I'm looking forward to my next class, but need to figure out what patterns I'm going to take to alter. I do feel like I knew most of what she said because I read her book Fit For Real People, but I appreciate that hands on approach and her help to make sure I'm doing the correct alterations for my body. I'll post how the class goes after this week's session. I feel so fortunate to have such excellent fitting experts so close to home.

Lastly, the voting for the Sewing for Babies/Kids contest is going on at PR right now (through Saturday the 11th), so don't forget to vote. I will warn you tho, you'll have lots of trouble deciding on a favorite as there are so many adorable entries! Here is the direct link to the gallery where you vote.