Pumpkin Fairy Jackie Lantern in Butterick 4434

Last year, I used McCalls 6238 for the Alice in Wonderland dress, it was a great little template dress, and when I went to look for it this year (because I cut out size S, and now need a L) it has gone out of print, and no JoAnns in SoCal had it.  I even checked the Palmdale desert JoAnn's.  That's commitment.

So, while I ordered it online to keep for a future project, I had to find a new little dress.  I wanted simple lines, raised waist, and lined.  There were a couple options, and I settled on Butterick 4434, even though I think their envelopes are kind of plain, I have very little of them in my stash, and tend to pick them last.  I'm shallow like that.

Enter the Pottery Barn Kids Pumpkin Fairy dress that I saw at the mall, and WANTED,  and found the $80 price a little hard to swallow:

It did go down to $69 on clearance.  But, it turned out that tulle is the cheapest fabric EVER, so I took my $80 to JoAnn's and spent $17 of it on supplies for this dress.  The end.

It ran large, according to the measurements, Mouse is a size 2.  But a size 1 fit her with few inches in the waist to spare.  I had read that on PatternReview, but tested it with a muslin, just in case:

Size 1

 The hardest thing about making a muslin is trying to get a child into it.  She's OK trying on 'pretty dresses' but it took a couple cookies to try this on, thankfully it calls for something like a 35" zipper.  Easy kid insertage guaranteed.

 I had a hard time sewing the placket in the McCalls dress, and it had come out less than perfect.  But, an invisible zipper on this dress worked like magic.  I think the pattern calls for a traditional zipper, but, invisible is just as easy.  I find each time I sew it, it keeps getting more and more invisible.  Skills, yo.

 Felt applique? Check.  Beads and Swarovsky crystal?  Check.  Hand stitching detail?  Check.  This dress has all of the hobbies I want to dabble in but don't have the time.  And, it was fun searching Pinterest for felt flower ideas.  Did you know that if you tri fold three circles and put them side be side they make a flower?

Like this 

I bought 4 yards of orange tulle and 2 yards of sparkle yellow tulle and the dress has 5 layers of tulle gathered on top of the skirt and treated as one piece with skirt.  There's a green tulle sash, behind the applique, but it's hard to see in the photo.  I used some silky poly for the body of the dress, and had to interface the top, or the middle seam would bulge through it, with all of its million layers of gathered tulle..
Mouse is pretty fond of her dress.  
When she's not wearing it, she carries it around and pets her 'pumpkin dress'

The dress was super easy to make, few hours including cutting time and tiny babies underfoot.  Although Mr Snork does an absolutely admirable job of keeping them out of my hair while I sew, which means keeping Mouse away from scissors and 'helping', two things she is completely obsessed with, both together and separately.

 Most of the time got spent hand sewing the applique, the felt eyes and mouth, and arranging them on tulle.  I think this is a great template dress, that could be embellished in various ways for a flower girl, a costume, etc.  I'm thinking about stitching on a spirl-y tendril..  Can you do too much to a pumpkin dress?  I don't think so.  

 The semi circle skirt is twirly and girly, and the zipper is hidden behind the lining in the back of the dress.  I used french seams on the skirt, and that with lining and invisible zipper makes it look like a RTW garment, which I like.  If you went ahead and lined the skirt, and used this tutorial for no-hand-sew lined bodice you could have a complete machine sewn dress.   
 Trick or Treat!!

As an added bonus, all the leftover tulle went into a 20 minute matching tutu for Littlest.  I have some red dupioni laying around, and I might use this to make Mouse a Christmas dress.  I have 8 million patterns, but when I find one I like, I just use that one over and over until I run out of size range.  Ha. 


San Onofre State Park Campground. Sardine Camping for the Seasoned Flea Market Vendors.

I imagine that's what it would feel like, sitting in your tent right in the parking lot, staring at the road and hundreds of other tents.

It's amazing to me that this place is booked often and hard to get into.  I was *lucky* enough to call when there was a cancellation, and booked spot #114.  Previously, Mr Snork had booked spot #94, but after paying we discovered it was a handicapped acc. spot, and you need to have a placard to check in. When I called to change the reservation, I was SO excited they had another spot that I took it, and considered myself lucky.  All the rest were booked.  Because, clearly, it's an awesome, super popular place.

Then I read some Yelp reviews.  (2.5 stars, I believe)   And then giraffy chanced upon some google images, and we started to have doubts that two tents could fit.  She has an 8-10 person, I think.  I have a 6 person with vestibule, so the footprint of an 8-10 person.   My other camping friend has a backpacking 2 person tent, so, presumably, she and her husband can camp in a tree if needed.  No concerns there.

The google image that tipped us off.  
It's a pricey site, at $35 a night, plus $15 second vehicle fee per night.  Plus, $8 reservation fee.  So, $108 for two nights.  But that's a small price to pay for two glorious nights by the ocean, and campfire.  I can't really hope for stars in our area, but I'll take what I can get.

Unless, I get this:

That's a drop off behind that picnic table.  

This is spot #114.  For comparison, this is my tent:

But let's rewind.  Spot #114 is actually one of the better spots.  Spot #113 next to it is the campground winner, with it's own little island of dirt and bushes.  And a faraway ocean view.  It could be bearable.

#113.  They have a spot for a tent that is not within 2 feet of the firepit.  Win.

#114 is definately jealous of #113.  And can use their firepit. 

But let's talk about spot #94, the original reservation.

WTF #94
That is a wall of dirt behind it.

A dirt wall that you can't climb.
And climb it you'd have to, to see any ocean.  Which is far, far down below.

The bench is a nice touch.  

 I guess the description does say you're in the bluffs.  But I feel the description should, somewhere in there say - "waaaaay closer to I5, and railroad (practically on top of) than the ocean.

I5 + railroad view from site.
 You would for sure not hear the waves.  But you do hear the I5.  And, I imagine passing trains.  The google images we had seen made it look bad, but you must realize that is actually much worse in person.

The depth perception is off in this photo.   It looks much larger than it is.  I'm standing maaaaay be five feet from the picnic table, and I'm touching the Dirt Wall Bushes.

I consider myself a pretty flexible camper.  I don't need bathrooms.  I don't need showers.  (They have flushable portapottys and cold outdoor showers).  I'm pretty excited when there's just a water spigot in the vicinity and a view of some sort.  And, I guess, a place for the tent.

So, back to spot #114.  Which, to be fair, has ocean view.  And instead of a wall it has a drop off, which I guess is a little better.  Unless you have a 2 year old to keep track of.  Which I do.   There's also one of may be 3 trees, in the whole campstrip, hanging right over the table.  Good for shade.

That picnic table there is chained into the ground, with about 6" of slack.  And is placed in the most inconvenient spot.   I *think* I could fit my tent sideways, in front of the picnic table.  Right in between the two fire pits. and in front of my car, possibly touching the picnic table and car.  There would be no room for a second tent of any size.  Or any room for Mouse to roam.  It was hard enough to keep her away from the fire pit at O'Neill park, with its vast space, trees, twigs, and pebbles (and passing horses)  to play with.  I'm pretty sure keeping her away from the firepit with only the immediate 5 feet of dirt around it available for play would be a weekend's job on its own.

I think what I'm really getting at is that you can't go there with children.  Once you pitch a tent, small as it may be, the play area is SEVERELY limited.  You're between a wall (if you're lucky) or a drop off, and the road.  With firepits everywhere.  And picnic tables.

 It makes me sad that the state is so greedy, they stuffed all these "camp" spots in this place.  Had they reduced the number of camp spots, it would still not be ideal, but at least, you could spread out laterally, pitch a tent not on top of the firepit, and have some space.  But California is greedy and has money management issues, so, they would rather stuff you like sardines into a dirt patch, and disclose very little about it online.  I notice other, actually nice places have things like thumbnail photos of each campsite.  San Onofre doesn't, because nobody would show up.  Instead, they have a very vague and inaccurate map, and advise you that "depending on size, 1-3 tents fit per site".  No site there fits 3 tents of any size.  They are liars.

I read in some reviews that spots 1-10 were the best.

You're on a bluff.  For real. 

I liked them.  The view is nice (note lack of dirt wall), you don't have drive far into the flea market - like jungle, but you do need a 2 person tent to pull it off.  And, as anywhere else on this campground, you have to cross fingers that yours or neighbors' fire pit sparks don't ruin your tent.

Some other considerations:  smoke -  you know how you end up shifting around campfire depending on where smoke is blowing?  Well, here you can't.  There's probably a tent, a picnic table, or a vehicle next to you.

The beach - is a hike.  It's pretty, and I bet it's great when you get down there.  Lots of rocks I hear.  Very little sand.

Noise - It's like camping with 90 people at once.  I can't even imagine.  The reviews agree.

Group camping sites were lovely.  With space, ocean view, and shade.  $225 a night as of Sept 2013.

Conclusion:  I think a couple spot in the place (1-10, 66, 113) could be nice.  For a couple, a small tent, a little getaway by the beach with ocean view.  Especially if you plan on going down to the beach for most of the day.  (Will people steal your stuff while you're gone?  Probably.)

 Most of the other spots are like a camping version of prison.  Some actually back up to chain link fence.  Which isn't a huge deal, but when your camp spot is 7 feet wide.. it takes away from the scenery.  Also, the park is a liar.  Their map is crap, and I feel they intentionally mislead people.  I hope that more photos of this depressing little dirt patch crop up on the internet, so that people know to plan elsewhere.

UPDATE:  Reserve America will apparently refund your cancellation fee, and your reservation fee if it turns out that you can not physically fit your tent in the spot.  Good.to.know.


Born to Run. The Disneyland Half Marathon.

It's been so long since I've blogged, (I've had time to grow a whole o t h e r human.  Not Mouse, a second one.) that I don't remember if I've mocked Mr Snork's reading and implementing tips from a book called Born to Run.  I don't even remember what the book was about, possibly a barefoot runner and a remote tribe of barefoot running people in Mexico - I can't say, but one thing that's come out of him reading that book is the title is forever stuck in my head.  As in, Mr Snork is most definately NOT born to run.  He's tried it barefoot, and with trail shoes, and with supportive shoes, ..  and no matter how he tries, stuff always happens, blisters, cramps, mysterious pains, sprains, etc.  Sometimes, he needs only to jog a block before one or several ailments nail him.  NOT born to run.  Not at all.

But, it's turned out that quite possibly, I WAS born to run.  I think if I was less lazy and less into Scrabble in high school, and joined a track team, I'd be really good at it.  As it is, I'm nothing special, except that, I can do it.  Barefoot.  In socks.  In Zems.  In New Balance Minimus, in Sketchers GoRun (favorite).  Once I got going, at the tender young age of 28?  27?  I've had very few issues with it.

Most recently, I took a year and a half off.  I think.  Littlest is 7 months.  So, 7 months of her being here, and last 6 months of the pregnancy I have done zero things related to fitness.  Eeeevery once in a while I would make an effort, but once you get out of shape, man..  it's just not there anymore.  And once you grow out of your fitness clothes you have nothing to wear to the gym.  Or outside.  And you can't go to the gym naked.

So, I embraced eating every kind of thing, and lounging.  And maternity clothing.  I love maternity clothing.  Pants that look like slacks but are actually elastic waisted?  Stop it.  Why wear anything else, ever.

And then, recently, I've been sort of trying to get back in shape.  ONLY because while I adore my maternity clothes, it's a limited repertoire.  And I have this whole giant closet of the "other' clothes.  And the Lululemon skirts.  I am pretty sure I can't afford to replace them all two sizes bigger.  And, if I decided to have another baby, I feel like stacking a pregnancy on top of a really out of shape body might inspire me to just quit ever trying.   Embrace my 5 month belly, and invest in eternal wardrobe of empire waisted things.

So, I've been attempting to run.  And it's sucked every time.  The second wind is not there, and the cardio isn't, and I'm bigger, so my knees complain, blah, blah.  Also, STILL lazy, and very inconsistent and it's hard to build cardio when you go once every 2 months.

 A little bit ago, Littlest turned 6 months, and I signed her up for the 24HourFitness KidsClub.   Paying for two kids now, is almost as much as out membership, so I make it a point to go at least 5 times a month.  To at LEAST break even.  Because it would kill me if 24Hour got $ for free, and after all,  since I checked out for the past 13 months (Mr Snork followed suit), really they made a great year off us.  No more.

So I've gone 5 times, may be.   Ran 3 miles each time.  Last week, I ran 4 with OCRunClub.  And this Sunday I ran a half marathon.  That's 13.1 miles.  That's 10 more miles than I've run anytime since more than a year ago.  In something like 3:08.  My Garmin says the actual 'moving' time was 2:49.  Initially, I was hoping to be able to speed walk it just in time to avoid getting swept off the course.

AND.  Not only did I do it, I only spent one day afterward feeling like my legs might actually fall off.   I put those thing on ice, and crossed my fingers.   Second day was just faintly sore.   Third day (today) I feel just fine.  And, a little bit great, because I'm so proud of myself.

 It was really hard, and I was going to walk the 'rest of it'  on and off from mile 6 on.  I walked all of mile 12.  And all, ALL aid stations.  Which, bless Disney, there were quite a bit off.  Just when you start to lose hope and faith in your feet, shoes, weather, and decisions in life, an aid station would crop up, with all the super nice people cheering and handing you water (or doughnuts), and all would be OK again.

At first, I thought I'd puke for sure.  But then, it was the best thing.  EVER.

The 'magic in every mile helps'.  Vintage cars, hip hop dancers, cheerleading squads, etc, perk you up.

Princesses along the way?  Check

Motivational posters?  Check.

Monkeys with cymbals?  Check.
  If you were to run a half marathon with no training whatsoever, the Disney one is definately the one.  I got to dress up like Piglet.  Because it was the Disneyland half marathon, and Piglets are welcome, and my friends were already Pooh, Eyore, and Tigger.   I sewed a Piglet shirt the night before, so, I got to run, sew, burn 1300 calories,  get an awesome medal,  and at LEAST (I lost count running through stadium full of kids) 30 "Go Piglet!"s.

13 months of lazy = lots of JoAnn's trips.  A bolt of sparkly Piglet fabric in the closet?  Check.

 Piglet tried hard to bail a few times on the whole running thing, but every time, the rest of the group would slow down, wait up, and I'd feel like I could run again.  Sometimes they'd trick me.  Like, "hey, after that light pole, you could totally run".  And it seemed like I totally could.  Weird.  Group running is key.  A lone Piglet would have veered off course around mile 5, found a nearest InnOut, and would have called her husband to come get her.

Piglet has no resolve on her own..

And now, I'm excited about running again.  Because it turns out, I still can.  I might slowly let go off the cookie dough addiction.  I registered for the Holiday Half.  (Snowflake medal!).  I got some Lululemon running pants.   (to hide the cookie dough thigh situation that's a thing right now...) and I'm looking up fancy running medal racks.   Because running is just not fun when you do it the cheap way.  :(


 I'm getting Mr Snork back into it with me.  He's amazing as pit crew (shielding me from children while I sew, getting all my stuff charged and ready, and showing up at the finish line with a McGriddle), but I love it when we run together.  Mostly, to talk sht, about how, he definately, was not born to run.  But, possibly, and in light of recent events, very likely - I was.  HA!

Best McGriddle ever had by a human being anywhere, ever.