Thursday, September 29, 2011

Image Is Everything - PPR#9

The challenge -  create a look for the rock band, the Sheep Dogs.

Rather than rough and tough, denim and leather rock star, I went for an upscale rock star look; kind of country turned rock.

The band was on the road so Summer modeled the look that I created for their lead singer. 

 Heidi liked the bling on the jacket.
 Michael Kors liked the fit of the pants.
(I was pretty impressed myself!)
Nina liked that it was a little different; not the same old, same old.... and there was no embroidery floss to be seen!


See the rest of the designs at the ProjectProjectRunway Flickr page or at Just Crafty Enough.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What Women Want - PPR#8

This week we had to work for a client that wanted an outfit for a significant other or a friend.  Karen requested something for Col, a school teacher, that she could wear to work and would still be appropriate for heading out with colleagues for the evening... dinner perhaps. We had to make the client and end-user happy but not lose ourselves.

Colleen was much too busy with her teaching duties to have time for the runway, so Summer said she would gladly model the outfit.  They look pretty similiar except Col's hair is a bit darker and her feet are daintier than Summer's.

The outfit is a below-the-knee skirt with a little fullness for ease of movement in the classroom.  A loose fitting sweater in tea-dyed oh-so-very-soft fabric is on top, with a braided belt to pull it together.  Of course the belt is from embroidery floss - that's the me part.  And there are strands of shiny gold running through the belt - that's for Col - we all know she likes her bling!

That Summer just can keep her shoes on!  Not a good example for the kids!

Heidi yawns.
Michael Kors says that it's appropriate for a teacher but thinks it could be found at any store. (Not with that belt, Michael!)
And if Nina liked Oliver's pet store challenge top, she has to love this one, so that should keep me in the running 'til next week.  

I'm starting to realize I'm not fashion designer material... shhhh.... don't tell.  

Head over to Just Crafty Enough or the ProjectProjectRunway Flickr page to see the full Runway show.

A Mixture of Success and Failure

Three days into the SNAP Hunger Challenge my attempt to eat on five dollars a day crashed and burned.  A simple invitation to taco night at the local bar (with good friends that we don't hardly ever get to see so I wasn't going to turn it down!) ate through almost two days worth of my food budget.  Prior to that dinner I had been managing, but just.  

So if making it through the entire week determines the success or failure, failure it was.  However, if the point is to gain a better understanding of the challenges of eating on a very tight budget, it was a huge success. 

I approached the week thinking that being careful and making good choices would be all that was needed.  But it was much harder than that.  I was mildly hungry a good part of the first day but the newness of the challenge carried me through.  I ate dinner v e r y  s l o w l y so I'd feel full at the end of it. Even with a half cup of ice cream the day ended with a surplus of fifty cents and I thought "winning!" 

The second day breakfast and a mid-morning snack cost more than the same for the previous day.  I finished my lunch of salad and a scrambled egg and it should have been enough, but a leftover from before the challenge of half a bacon cheesburger practically screamed my name.  Rationalizing that it wouldn't be right to throw it in the garbage, and really how much could it have cost?  I ate it.  And two cookies (it was only two little sandwich cookies, and generic ones at that!)  Then I figured the cost.  $0.99  Geez.  That meant only tea ($0.04) for an afternoon snack.  I finished the day with a penny left over.  And hungry.

The third day went okay until dinner.  Done.

This lunch of one piece of whole wheat bread with PB&J, half an apple, plus two little cookies cost $1.02 and is sure to leave a person looking for a snack sometime in the mid to late afternoon. 

The knowledge that healthy food is more expensive than nutrionally deficient food became reality.  A piece of whole wheat bread cost $0.30. I could have eaten bargain white bread and had two slices for less than that.  Eating enough fruits and vegetables seems nearly impossible.  At $0.80 an apple, just half had to suffice.  Bananas proved to be a better choice at $0.25.  But I want both!  At who wouldn't want and need both?

I learned:
Creating an inexpensive, diverse, healthy menu is hard.
Beans would need to appear often on the menu. 
Cooking from scratch is a necessity, not an option.
One serving is all you get. Seconds? What's that?
Prepared foods are a costly treat.
DQ? Forget it.

Writing that check to the local food bank got a whole lot easier.  And the check got bigger.

A Bumper Crop.... of Quilts

Sunday, September 18, 2011

SNAP Hunger Challenge

While researching local food banks trying to find the best place to donate money for hungry people, I discovered Feeding Illinois.  It just so happens that September is Hunger Action Month and part of that is the SNAP Hunger Challenge.  In Illinois, if you qualify for monetary assistance to feed your family, you are provided with $5 a day per person.  As an exercise in awareness and empathy, the challenge is to eat for one week on just $35.  I'm accepting the challenge!

Today is the first day.

So far I've had:
a bowl of cereal with milk for breakfast 
5 generic Ritz crackers with the slighest smear of butter for a late morning snack, 

I still have to figure out the cost of coffee with milk and sugar, but I think I'm up to about $0.85

It's now lunchtime and I'm hungry! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Why Can't We All Get Along?! - PPR#7

For Challenge #7 the Project Runway designers had to work in teams again (ugh!), create their own fabric, and each create one look for a collection.  Their inspiration had to be drawn from the city.  They did NOT all get along.  Joshzilla and Baby Bert clashed and clashed.

Since the Project Project Runway designers would be working on their own, only one look was necessary.  We were, however, admonished by Just Crafty Enough to try to get along with ourselves.

In any city in the summer time you can find kids playing with chalk, creating art on the sidewalk, and playing hopscotch.  I was inspired by the colors and the relaxed, fun feeling one gets when playing with chalk.

I made two fabrics . . . . .

One is brown zigzag stitches and straight line stitches of orange and green in chalk-like shades on a background of gray.
The other is strands of embroidery floss in chalk-like shades of pink and blue, zigzag stitched with pink thread, again on a background of gray.

My mini-collection, Sidewalk Chalk:

Dressy enough for a lunch date but casual enough for a pick-up game of hopscotch! 

Heidi:  I like that Summer's dress is tight and shows off her figure.  Lizbeth's skirt is almost short enough.
Michael Kors:  What is that on Summer's dress?! Is it a cowl? Is it a collar? I don't think I like it.
Nina:  I like your inspiration and your "collection" is cohesive.  I wonder, though, if you aren't a bit "one note" - we've seen embroidery floss on nearly everything you've made so far.  You really need to step it up!

Sounds like I squeaked by again.

We did all get along.  I think the girls had fun. Lizbeth was happy to help out and be modeling again. Summer really enjoyed herself and even picked up some chalk and doodled a little . . .

Extra points to anyone who can guess her last name and her true love's name ;)

Check out the rest of the designs at the ProjectProjectRunway Flickr page.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Art of the Matter - PPR #6

Project Runway designers paired with art students to create a piece of artwork that would be the inspiration for an avant garde garment.

Since we can't go to Harlem School of the Arts and create artwork with a student, Just Crafty Enough gave us Project Project Runway designers the option of using an existing piece of art for our inspiration.  Bad enough that I show my lack of fashion design here - I'm not about to show a piece of what could not by any stretch be called art.  So off I went in search of someone else's art.

I chose this art photo of a mountain stream . . .

Dee Parniske

After soaking up the essence of the photo, I sorted through my stash. Though the colors in the photo are more in the greys, greens and whites, I felt a brown batik I had with swirls of turquoise conveyed the feeling of the water. 
 Texture Magic was stitched to a large square of the batik, then steamed to give it the texture that imitates the rise and fall and rush of the water over the rocks. The back of the garment has shredded fabric for a flowing feeling.

I was tempted to string some blue ribbons through Summer's hair but I kept hearing Michael Kors (channelled through Karen) say "too matchy-matchy" so I resisted. 

It won't be the best on the runway but here's hoping I can slide by in the middle again!

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Half of Scott's siblings came down for a visit today.  The oldest.  The youngest.  And a couple in between. It was a great time! 
 Lots of food, some yummy cake and brownies, and so much good talk and laughter. There is something about family history that makes the laughs flow freely.

 Two of his brothers brought new friends.... lovely women.... so glad they all found each other.

Joeanne's Michael came, too, with Trevor.  It was fun to have a little one around and nice to see Mike being a dad.  Just wish I had remembered to get the camera out before he and Trevor left.

Thanks for visiting y'all.  It was a wonderful time!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Off The Track - PPR Challenge #5

Heidi Klum has a line of New Balance shoes.  Who knew gym shoes could be fashionable?!  I never think of gym shoes when I think of fashion. I guess that just shows how much I know.  The challenge for Project Runway, and so for Just Crafty Enough 's Project Project Runway, was to make a look to go with Heidi's shoes. Think fashion and not just gym.... a dress, a suit, classic with a twist.  Denim or suede must be used for at least part of the design - they are materials used in Heidi's shoes. 

Now that I don't hang around horses, I wear gym shoes just about every day.  And I don't think I've ever worn anything but jeans with them.  Okay, maybe occassionally a pair of khaki shorts.... but I always feel like I have the wrong shoes on.  So I'm not sure about a dress with sneakers, but that's what I made.  It took three tries but finally one worked.  Sort of.  I'm hanging on by a thread here. 

Summer is going for a walk in the park and then to the mall.  She wants to dress up just a bit but needs to be comfortable for all that walking.