Friday, July 18, 2008

Sewing review: hotfix faceted rhinestuds

I worked on Ice Girl's competition dress two weeks ago. I again used Kwik Sew Pattern #2796. The small was a bit too tight on Ice Girl, but the medium (below) needed tons of adjustment.

The problem with Kwik Sew is that it's hard to tell where the waistline is on the pattern. Alterations are kind of hard when the pattern pieces contain no references to hip, bust, or waist measurements.

For this dress I wanted to do beading in a pattern, so Ice Coach came up with the beading scheme. I copied the pattern piece onto some stabilizer and Ice Dad drew the beading pattern onto the stabilizer. We cut out the beading pattern and transfered it to the skirt before I sewed it together.

I bought hotfix faceted rhinestuds instead of crystals this time. Seven gross cost me $25, including express shipping. Yeah. I was trying to go the cheap route.

The rhinestuds don't look bad, but they look better when mixed with the tiny crystals that I had left over from the pink competition dress.

Here's what you need to know about affixing rhinestuds: use the flat tip of your Bejeweler, not any of the tips with indents.
Rhinestuds are smaller and flatter than crystals. Using the indented tips will encourage the rhinestuds to stay in the tip and never leave. The
bit of glue will melt and eit
her ooze down the tip or ooze inside of it. Either way, it's not a fabulous solution.

The flat tip, however, is a great choice. Let that puppy heat up and place the rhinestuds directly on the fabric. Press down for maybe 15 seconds and the rhinestud is set.

Sewing review: I'd buy the rhinestuds again, especially if I were to make this kind of concentrated beaded design. Sprinkle in the little crystals so the design isn't too flat. Do not use the rhinestuds for smaller designs. The rhinestuds just won't show up from a distance.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

parenting: competition dress stain remover

Ice Girl is clumsy everywhere but on the ice. I'm not kidding. This is the kid who falls up the stairs, walks into walls, and tumbles out of bed at night.

Last weekend was the Milwaukee Open. We had to leave the house at 5 a.m. on Saturday and at 5:45 a.m. on Sunday.

Saturday night I made blueberry scones for Sunday's in-the-van breakfast. I left them on racks under dishtowels to cool overnight. Sunday morning I boxed them up and put them in the van.

I opened the box of breakfast earwig crawled out. Yuck.

Breakfast Plan B was at a little Greek diner after Ice Girl's 8 a.m. practice ice. It was good and pretty cheap: $5 for Ice Girl's big bagel sandwich with egg, ham, and cheese.

The grease that landed onto Ice Girl's new competition dress came at no extra charge.

I did this freak out thing because I had spent the last weekend sewing the dress and the entire last week beading it.

Ice Coach, calm gal that she is, said that she saw a hardware store on our way to the Kern Center. She knew that they sold this stain remover called Tech there. Her mom uses it and it can get out almost any stain.

We found the hardware store and the small bottle of Tech. Ice Coach blotted the dress using the Tech miracle formula and the stain was gone. I stopped freaking out, too.

Parenting lesson: I put the bottle of Tech stain remover in Ice Girl's bag right away. Now her emergency kit contains band-aids, extra laces, and the stain remover. Next time I think I'll also bring an extra competition dress, too. Duh, Ice Mom!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sewing: Serena's deadline figure skating dress

Isn't this dress gorgeous? Susan at Lifeskate blogged about this dress in a post called Serena Williams in an original Carrie Jones figure skating dress.

I didn't know who Carrie Jones was before I read Susan's excellent post and interview. I'm sure that folks who have been around figure skating much longer than I have know Carrie's work and Web site.

If you're into sewing, or your avoiding your next project, read Susan's post about how Carrie created the figure skating dress (left) that Serena wore in a photo shoot.

Carrie and her assistant took just seven hours to sew it, bead it, and ship it.

Seven hours! Geez. No procrastination there.

I am inspired. Right now I'm beading a dress for Ice Girl that is pretty much the same dark turquoise in Serena's dress. The dress took me two days to sew; the beading is taking forever.

Seven hours. I'm just so impressed.

Did I mention how the dress is gorgeous? Holy buckets. I'm in awe.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Parenting: Fear of Failure

Ice Girl is a figure skating nut. She waltz jumps down the grocery store aisles. She takes her spinner on sleep overs. She PIC skates at the park.

Ice Girl received a new 1 minute, 36 second program last Tuesday for her first big competition in Milwaukee. She received it with only two weeks to practice because we had a Basic Skills competition in Rockford two weeks ago. Understandably, Ice Coach didn't want Ice Girl to become confused.

Ice Girl practiced and practiced the program's elements, but the new music threw her. It's not really new music, but it's a different cut of the same long piece. It throws her.

I tried to be helpful and suggested that she play the CD in the van on the way to practice while she visualized the program and moved her arms as if she were skating. It's an old teaching trick and I'm an old teacher. I know that stuff works.

To my surprise, Ice Girl balked at the suggestion. I transferred the music to her MP3 player so she could listen to it and step through the routine on the back lawn. Somehow, that MP3 player just doesn't have batteries. Or headphones. Shoot. Someone might have stolen the stupid thing.

My frustration began to grow. I couldn't figure out why Ice Girl was putting off listening to her music and trying to time her program appropriately. I know how much the Milwaukee Open means to her and I just couldn't figure out what was going on.

Ice Girl sure wasn't telling me, either.

So. I put on my old teacher's hat (I'm now an education writer, so it's still a hat that fits, kinda) and tried to remember why some gifted students simply wouldn't put pen to paper. I recently did an interview with Allen Mendler, Ph.D., who wrote a book about motivating unmotivated students. He said that students aren't motivated if they don't have what he calls the three Cs: connection, competence, and control.

I knew Ice Girl had a connection with the ice. That's for sure. She and the ice have bonded.
She was clearly in control; she decided when and if to listen to her music. I don't want to force her; I want to encourage her. (It's a mantra I repeat all the time.)

It must be the middle one: competence. Somehow, Ice Girl was afraid of failure.

In the van on the way to Sun Prairie's rink last night, I talked to Ice Girl about fear of failure. It can paralyze a person. The task ahead seems so overwhelming, so unachievable, that a person becomes paralyzed and unable to face the smaller steps towards the goal. Is that what's going on, Ice Girl?

Big tears.

Ice Girl was afraid that she'd never get the timing right (she'd had the program one week) and that she wouldn't do well in Milwaukee. She's skipped up six levels in Learn to Skate and she was worried that everyone else would be so much better than she. Sob. Sob.

I told her I'd watch her and try to give her feedback. Let's face it: I'm not a coach. I'm not even a figure skating expert. I'm the driver and the seamstress.

Anyway, it was enough. We listened to the music in the van on the way there and we talked about music cues for different elements.

She got on the ice and had the ice monitor play, play, play that CD.

In the end, the program's pretty good. She's got a bit of a timing issue before her final jump, but it's nowhere near the disaster it was just yesterday morning.

Parenting lesson: Sometimes motivation is a funny thing. When my daughter doesn't do what she normally would, it's frustrating for me. I need to see past my frustration and figure out what's motivating her or unmotivating her. Stepping back is the tough part, though.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Newbie: I love Learn to Skate

I love Learn to Skate. I never want it to end.

Ice Girl has advanced so many Learn to Skate levels in the past eight months that Learn to Skate will soon come to an end.

I'm proud of Ice Girl, I really am. However, Learn to Skate is a great scheme.

I pay $90 for the six sessions of Learn to Skate. That's $15 per session, which is 30 minutes of coaching and 30 minutes of practice ice.

In the world of club ice, 1 hour of ice costs me, oh, $11-12/hour. That's not including the $35/hour coach, or $17.50/half-hour coach.

Yep. I did the math, too. Learn to Skate is a bargain.

It's really a bargain when I consider that Ice Girl is in Freestyle 4 and has a coach all to herself.

I can see the end of LtS on the horizon and it makes me a bit sad. Ice Girl's coach, Ice Coach, also runs Ice Girl's LtS program. Ice Coach said we can keep her in LtS for as long as I want.

We all know what "As long as I want" means to me: Ice Girl will be in LtS until she graduates from high school! :)