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College Weight - Achievement Unlocked!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Now that I've figured out how to shed bodyfat, I realize I have done this before.

I was not overweight as a kid, teenager, or early twenties. I was raised in a meat eating family. Meat, veg, and rice or potatoes. We ate oversized portions of beef. I pretty much ate as much meat as I wanted. I used to order 6" Subway subs with double meat because I liked more meat on my sandwiches. And I stayed slim. I never paid much attention to what the dietary experts said about losing weight because I never needed to lose much weight.

I gained a lot of weight when I was 26 because I started eating oversized portions of chain restaurant foods. Chilis, Applebees, and Cheesecake Factory took the place of mom's home cooked meals. I became overweight, then obese, for the first time in my life. I figured it was 'slowing metabolism'. I started paying attention to the dietary guidelines, which said excess fatty foods makes us gain weight. So I cut back my protein portions and started a low fat diet.

I tried skim milk for the first time ever. Tasted like water. I switched to low fat milk and low fat cheese. I ate less meat. I did not lose any weight.

When I moved to Seattle right before my 29th birthday, I weighed 160lbs. I think my bodyfat was about 40%. Obese.

Once I got settled in Seattle with a new job, I decided that I was going to learn more about diet and nutrition. I learned about portion sizes, and how to properly prepare a meal. I made a few modifications to the dietary guidelines. I wasn't going to eat low fat cheese anymore. I was only going to eat REAL food. Whole veggies, whole meats, whole cheeses. I was going to control my portions.

I had success with this. I lost 30lbs. But I could lose no more. I stalled. Baffled, I again blamed too much meat and fat. I went "flexitarian", eating meat only for dinner.

The result? My weight stayed exactly the same, but I lost muscle and gained fat. I got fatter.

It turned out that I was eating too many grains and too little protein. Once I flipped that ratio - more protein, less grains - the fat is just melting off.

I eat 4-6oz portions of beef, chicken, or pork at almost every meal. Cheeses, eggs, and nuts for snacks. Plenty of veggies and salads. Fruit once or twice a day. Grain or starch zero or one meal a day. If I eat a sandwich, I order a half size with double meat. Exactly what I did in college.

I'm also doing exactly what the dietary guidelines say I should not be doing. I read an article on the CDC today about how the obesity problem is not an easy or quick fix. Well, if I had know all I had to do was cut back on bread, rice, and potatoes 10 years ago, I certainly would have done it with a lot less agony then suffering through skim/low fat milk and self esteem problems due to being overweight. 10 years of eating low fat diet with no success, versus 4 months on a low grain diet.

The result? This morning I am back at my college weight.


emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 8/16/2011 11:30AM


Farmers know how to fatten their cattle: pen 'em up and stuff 'em with corn and other carbs! Works this way for people too!


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THINRONNA 8/15/2011 4:02PM

    Great job!!! Congratulations! I have been wondering how it has been going...I'm glad you having such success. Whoo HOOOOOO!

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BLACK-SWAN 8/14/2011 3:14PM


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KAKIPOPUP 8/11/2011 6:55PM


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EVOLVEFISH 8/11/2011 6:44PM

    Great news! Congrats on getting to your college weight.

I'm finding the same thing to be true, diet wise. I stay away from grains, rice, and potatoes as much as possible. I feel much better, too.

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-HEALTHYAMY 8/11/2011 12:45PM

    I never had a weight problem either until after I got married 25 yrs ago and started eating "healthy". I was a vegan, vegetarian, on a no-fat diet, low fat diet etc. The only time I can lose weight is when I do exactly what you are doing.

Great job on your weightloss!

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PRANA_DANCER 8/11/2011 12:37PM

    Awesome! *high five*

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WOUBBIE 8/11/2011 12:36PM

    Awesome and insightful blog entry! (And you must be a gamer too, which gets a big thumbs up from me!!) Congrats!

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CHANGINGSAM 8/11/2011 12:18PM


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Low Carb Mexican? Yes!

Monday, August 08, 2011

When I first started doing low carb, I thought the idea of low carb Mexican food to be an impossibility. Tortillas, rice, beans - Mexican food is a land mine of grains and starches.

This was really distressing. I grew up in the southwest US, and southwest style cooking is one of my specialties. Bobby Flay is my favorite celebrity chef because his cooking style is right down my alley. He uses flavors and spices that I am quite familiar with.

Now that I have settled more comfortably into a 'low grain/starch' diet, I still enjoy many southwest/tex-mex meals without the tortillas or rice.

I made pulled pork carnitas. Instead of eating with a tortilla, I stuffed it inside a bell pepper, topped with cheese. Served with two types of Mexican vegetable salads. Cucumber-lime salad, and a tomato salad. The tomato salad is made with salsa ingredients, but I left it with big chunks instead of a puree.

The other night, I had a craving for tacos. I love tacos. It was one of my favorite foods as a kid. I took some ground pork and browned it with taco seasoning.

Again, stuffed it inside peppers. A bell pepper and a poblano. Topped with cheese, and baked in a 375F oven until cheese is toasted.

For a veggie side dish, I put snap peas and carrots in a baking dish with chicken stock, lime juice, oregano, cumin, rough chopped cilantro and salt and pepper. Baked this along side the peppers in the last 15 minutes.

I don't have a picture of the finished product. I was so excited to eat it, I forgot to take a picture!

Muy delicioso!

So bell peppers and poblanos have mostly replaced taco shells.

I LOVE salsa. Are there any replacements for chips and salsa? Sure. Cucumber slices and celery sticks are awesome scoopers for salsa.

Do I miss tortillas and chips? Not really. I'm nearly at my goal weight, something I had almost given up on. If this was all I had to do to make this happen, it is hardly a sacrifice, in my mind. It's a matter of priorities. Fitting better in my clothes gives me longer lasting well being than the fleeting crunch of corn chips.

I can't say that I have eaten zero breads, grains or starches, however, I am a lot more measured about it. At dinner the other night, I had a single slice from a demi-baguette with butter. I left the rest of the loaf alone. It is not a test of willpower for me anymore. I've broken out of the cravings and urges. Food does not control me. I am truly able to enjoy a variety of fabulous food, without feeling guilt or remorse. I know that eating too much starchy carbs will send me spiraling into hunger and cravings. I don't like that feeling. So it is easier for me to avoid as a conscious choice.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHEFSOPHIE 8/11/2011 6:00PM

    I love the idea of using peppers instead of tortillas. Thanks for the idea. I could also do that with fajita fillings as well.

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DDOORN 8/10/2011 9:35AM

    One substitute for chips for use with salsa: the FlatOut Low Carb wraps. Toast 'em for just a bit till crunchy and break them up for salsa dipping.


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LAURIEANNIE1 8/9/2011 2:04PM

    I too thought I was going to have to give up Mexican when I went low-carb, but no. I just made tacos and my husband had his on a low carb tortilla (I do have one once in a while) but I just put my toppings on a wonderful bed of a mixture of lettuce/beet greens that I got from the farmers market.

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JUSTBIRDY 8/9/2011 1:20AM

    I am making zucchini chips for salsa, and must have perfected the recipe, because they get eaten faster than my dehydrator will make them.

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JUSTBIRDY 8/9/2011 1:19AM

    I'll have a corn tortilla every once in awhile, but it sure has been easy to ditch the beans and rice. Kurt Harris eats mostly game meats cooked chili or s/w style, with tomato, onion, pepper.

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GREYASH 8/8/2011 1:14PM

    LOL I made tacos for dinner last night. For the shell, I made cheese taco shells. Where you get a skillet put about a small mound of cheese into a non stick skillet, let it melt and become brown on the edges and it's got holes like lattice then you lift it out of the pan and drape over a paper towel roll and it will mold into a shell. OMG Sooo good. My husband LOVES these. I just made some shredded beef for the meat and topped with cilantro and raw white onion.

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SANDYJAKE 8/8/2011 10:58AM

    I ALSO love mexican and doing the low carb diet. and guess what? YOU CAN HAVE TACOS!In fact Im having tacos for lunch today. I buy whole wheat LOW CARB tortillas! yes there is such a thing. 1 tortilla has 5g net carbs. I buy Tam-x-icos brand but have seen other brands.If I want less fat Ill use ground turkey or ground chicken. These are found in the refridgerated dairy section. Good luck to you. and by the way....those pics looked good enough to eat.

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VHALKYRIE 8/8/2011 10:22AM

    PRANA_DANCER: It is so incredibly easy! I got the recipe from a Mexican guy at a corner grocery. We were both looking at the fresh cucumbers, and he asked me if I'd like a recipe. I said, "Sure!" Dice fresh cucumbers, squeeze half a lime (about 0.5-1 teaspoon juice), 1/4 tsp dried oregano, 1/8-1/4 tsp cumin , and salt. Mix it together. Let it marinate for an hour or more. Experiment with a little more or less oregano/cumin to your liking! I also sometimes add a diced jalapeno.

Comment edited on: 8/8/2011 10:58:41 AM

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PRANA_DANCER 8/8/2011 10:16AM

    Those look fantastically tasty! How did you make the cucumber lime salad? It sounded fantastic so I tried to look it up and all the recipes have lime gelatin in them.

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BEARCLAW6 8/8/2011 9:19AM

    Very nice. I've been wondering how to enjoy stuffed green peppers without the rice, and I now I see the solution is so very easy! I have a bunch of pork in the fridge that I was going to freeze, but I now see that I need to turn it into pulled pork (or tamale filling, without the masa harina) to eat with veggies!

I bet I can even use the crock pot to cook it!

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BTVMADS 8/8/2011 8:57AM

    I found Mexican to be one of the easiest cuisines to enjoy low-carb. I use romaine leaves instead of tortillas, or *GASP*, just enjoy my fajita fixins with a fork. Of course, since I never liked rice much to begin with, skipping that has never been a challenge.

People just want to make low-carb seem difficult so that it's easier to dismiss. All it really has been for me is an opportunity to get creative!

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BILL60 8/8/2011 8:41AM

    Well done. I too enjoy mexican food. Will try to follow in your footsteps. Thanks for sharing.

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NCPRINCESS7 8/8/2011 8:35AM

    I eat a lot of mexican food on low-carb. My fav is chicken fajitas without the tortilla. Your food looks delish in these pics!

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Dress Fitting Shell Complete!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I finished altering and sewing my dress fitting shell.

This is roughly how a dress fitted to me should look.

The front is a little bunched up because it is pinned, not sewn. Also drapes a little differently on the dressform than it does me because while I got my shape pretty close, it is not exact. I also made an error when transferring my pattern markings. I did not mark the waist line clearly enough, so I had trouble getting the seamline right when attaching the bodice to the skirt. I'll know to make better thread markings when I make the real thing.

I made all of my adjustments for the bodice just by transferring my measurements to the pattern. When I sewed it, I got it almost perfect! Very little adjustment was needed on the fabric.

My waist/hips, on the other hand, did not go so well. It was just as I suspected - my proportions are very different than "standard". I had to let out 2 darts, and still had to fiddle quite a bit to get the waist cinched in, and hips taken out. I really admire those of you who sew without a dressfrom. Getting the waist/hip alterations made was really tricky. I don't know that I would have been able to do it without the dressform. All of the alterations had to happen in the back. It was challenging WITH the dressform. I might have got frustrated and quit.

I didn't add the sleeves because all of the dresses I plan to make are sleeveless. It is currently summer, after all! I'll work on the sleeve adjustment in the fall.

All of my adjustments are recorded on paper.

This should serve as a 'blueprint' for my form. I should be able to put this over another dress pattern and see which adjustments need to be made. The alterations were definitely the most amount of time I spent on this, especially since I deviate from the 'standard' in several ways. Hopefully these adjustments I've done ahead of time on a very basic pattern means it will shave off time on future alterations. I got to learn a lot about how to alter a fit.

I just got the gemstone for the necklace I'm planning on making, so I may switch gears to work on jewelry today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TAICHIDANCER 8/7/2011 8:40AM

    Wow. I don't think I'm gonna start sewing my own clothes any time soon, but yours are going to look fantastic. Way to go.

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CHEFSOPHIE 8/6/2011 4:57PM

    I'm impressed.

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KAYOTIC 8/6/2011 3:33PM

    I'm glad you all can figure this stuff out! Looks good, and quite ambitious!

Comment edited on: 8/6/2011 3:34:00 PM

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JOAN_HEO 8/6/2011 2:39PM

    NOICE!!!!!!! You do good work, chicka!!!!

I'm not sure if those pattern pieces are on fabric but remember your sleeve piece will need to be turned a quarter turn so it's on the same grain line as the top and skirt pieces are. If you have enough fabric and especially if your fabric has a nap (like corduory), a plaid, or a non-repeating stripe, the pattern pieces all need to go the same direction. For instance your sleeve piece would need to be turned 1/4 turn to the right. Does that make sense????

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Fitting Dress Patterns

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I'm learning quite a bit about clothing alterations. Mostly about how my figure deviates from the fashion industry 'ideal' in almost every way!

I bought a pattern for a fitting shell. I'm attempting to make a base template that I make the majority of my alterations on. This should be pretty snug and form fitting. From the adjusted pattern, I should be able to put it over the top of any other pattern I buy and see what alterations need to be made. The shell pattern pieces should serve as a 'blueprint' for my body shape. That is the theory, anyway.

Well, the pattern pieces were definitely not made for me. The fashion industry makes the dress patterns for a model 34-24-34 and 5'9". I'm 5'0" and currently 34-27-37. (My measurements have changed again - I'm back to a pear shape.) My dimensions are closer to Shakira, Beyonce, or JLo than Giselle.

Shakira is 5'1 and measures 32-24-37. I don't have the super slim waist of Shakira, but I'm working on it!

Isn't that interesting? Shakira is not the 'ideal' hourglass, but she sure knows how to dress to rock her curves. This is what I was trying to say before about 'flattering' your natural shape. You don't have to be a natural hourglass to be beautiful and sexy.

I used the copier feature on my printer to make a paper copy of the patterns that I could alter. I took the time to do this simply because I tend to make mistakes - lol. I left the original pattern as the 'master'. I'm glad I did, because I did make a few mistakes in the cutting and altering.

I had to alter almost every single line on the pattern shell. Shortened bodice, redraw darts, raised waist, and adjusted bust/hipline. Now I'm having difficulty with the skirt piece. It does NOT fit my hips. The alteration instructions increase the waist along with the hip. So I'm having to figure out how to increase the hipline WITHOUT altering the waist. It's an interesting experience.

Here is the current paper shell. I fitted it on my dressform to roughly check that I got the alterations pretty close. Tonight I work on altering the sleeves. Then maybe at the weekend I'll cut fabric, sew it together, then alter the fabric form.

It is a lot of work, but I am having fun with it. I'm learning something new. I find the process to be parts drafting, engineering, and art. It's fascinating. I like figuring out how things work, and it never occurred to me how clothes work. By taking time to piece together the fitting shell, I'm hoping it will save me time in the long run when fitting other patterns that I want to make.

Like the wedding dress. ;) I won't be able to get to the wedding dress until after I get back from vacation. I want to make a dress for vacation, and I need to make jewelry pieces, so those are my priorities leading up to the vacay.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTTAGENT 8/5/2011 12:41AM

    It is so nice to see somebody does their own clothes sewing. I got tired of having clothes not fit decently and shirts constantly ride up the neck, so I got very serious about making my own clothes.
Are you able to put little darts in the dress to draw in the waist without taking in the hips?

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JOAN_HEO 8/4/2011 9:50PM

    I remember my mom telling me one of the best things about making your own clothes is that you will NEVER see anyone else walking around in your stuff. =)

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VHALKYRIE 8/4/2011 4:14PM

    I will share if it comes out well! :D :P

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CATLADY52 8/4/2011 4:09PM

    Patience is the basic skill needed in dressmaking or clothesmaking. With a little dollop of masochism. It can be liberating to complete a garment and wear it in public. Definitely we will want to see pictures of your dress when you finish it. emoticon emoticon

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VHALKYRIE 8/4/2011 1:04PM

    Karen: I think it is due to the mass production of clothes. They just sell volume. The result, very rarely do we wear clothes that actually fit us. In Asia, the altering/tailoring market is very competitive, so you can get most things fitted for about $5. In the US, alterations from a professional tailor is very expensive.

Comment edited on: 8/4/2011 1:49:07 PM

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ARCHIMEDESII 8/4/2011 12:49PM

    Shakira definitely knows how to dress for her height ! When I first saw her, I thought she was tall. I was shocked when I found out she was only 5ft1" ! Oh and she may attribute her slim waist to all that belly dancing she does.

I totally do NOT fit the so called industry norm. I'd like to know who are these women who are supposed to be representing my figure ! The problem with ready to wear fashions is that the fashion industry expects the person to fit the clothes. In the good old days, clothes were tailored to fit the person.

And don't get me started on women's bras ! LOL !!!!

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TWO_SPARROWS 8/4/2011 11:44AM

    I've never had a dress form. I've always used "me" as my form, but then again, I've been sewing since I was four. Sure would have saved myself some pin-pokes over the years if I had invested in one, though, that's for sure, hahaha.

As for "hourglass" figures, I have one as well. It's just that all my sand has run into the bottom. :oP Just a bit of humour I thought we could all use.

Anyway, regarding dressmaking being drafting/engineering/art, it is also a study in basic mathmatics. Sometimes you gotta divide a fraction into smaller parts (and I always stunk at math!).

You have inspired me to save up my sheckles and get an adjustable dress form for myself so that I can maybe ramp up my sewing practices and make gi for women. They don't always fit properly and I think making one WITHOUT all the darts and tucks would be a great idea. At least it wouldn't gap so bad at the neckline! I've talked with several "buxom" women at my dojo alone that agree that having a gi gaping at the neckline is a real discomfort.

Anyway, glad to see how well you're doing! I'd LOVE to see a photo of your vacation dress, and maybe a peek at the jewellry pieces you're planning! You're such a crafty little thing, I love it!

Glad you're having fun!

Comment edited on: 8/4/2011 11:44:21 AM

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REBCCA 8/4/2011 10:26AM

    I enjoyed this blog and especially the way you are embracing the process of learning new options. It makes me wish I had not given away my dress form as you have inspired me to get back to sewing. emoticon

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RMREEVESOLIS 8/4/2011 9:18AM

    I need to learn how to alternate my clothes for my body type too. You give me hope that I can learn this myself! Pants are soooo difficult for me to find that fit right.

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Dressforms and Fittings

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My new dressform arrived yesterday! I got the petite form that more closely matches my dimensions. I spent all last night adjusting it so it closely matches my size and shape. I had my fiance take pictures of me at various stages so I could see if I got my shape right. It was amused when dressing it with my clothes so I could check that it drapes exactly as it does on my body. It was like dressing a doll with my real clothes!

Except it was a doll with all my flaws. Arg. At one point I got utterly depressed, as I was stuffing the foam padding on my belly and thighs. I have come so far. I have lost almost 2 dress sizes. My bodyfat range is supposedly in the "normal" range. But yet, all these extra squishy parts remain.

Maybe my expectations are too high, and I tried to remind myself to remain positive about my progress. I mean, I'm fitting in clothes I could not at the start of the year. I could not have imagined that was possible 3 months ago.

Never-the-less, I have a dressform that pretty closely mimics my flaws so I can disguise things I don't like, and fake it where I can't make it.

I think I have pretty closely mimiced my form. I had quite a bit of trouble with the bust area. I had to adjust the dressform dials to match my upperbust, but that made padding my bust line difficult. I couldn't pad the bust too much, because that altered my cup size. I guess I have a large rib cage. I had to do quite a bit of fiddling to get my back width, cup size, and upper chest size correct. I'm still not 100% happy with it.

I haven't done any sewing, and I'm eager to get back to my projects! I've got so many queued up.

Lastly, here's a new photo of me checking out my latest weight loss in a summer dress.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 8/4/2011 9:47AM

    Sorry my posture was kind of weird. ;) I was trying to figure out how to stand in order to compare to the dressform - LOL

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CAROLJEAN64 8/3/2011 5:45PM

    The pic of you in the summer dress is wonderful. As I looked at the picture at you from the side, the yoga wellness coach in me loomed up and said, "Her shoulders are slightly forward which probably rounds and broadens her back a bit. Practice shoulder rolls to pull the shoulders up straight... they are very close. Shoulder roll: lie flat on your stomach. Put your right arm straight out from your body at shoulder height with your palm on the ground. Aim your should toward the floor. Using your left arm and legs, begin to roll onto your back over your arm. Your body will quickly tell you when to stop. At the ultimate, you will have your hips on the floor, both feet flat on the floor and your right hand reaching backward to touch your left. (I'm not quite there yet.) Do both sides... hold for about 5 breaths. If you notice one side is significantly tighter than the other, do that side first and repeat it after the second side.

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TWO_SPARROWS 8/3/2011 10:47AM

    My husband said a woman is supposed to have one or two soft spots cuz that's what makes us so nice to cuddle :o)

Don't be so hard on yourself, Sweetheart. You're a lovely woman and your figure is something I dream of! It will firm up as you work on it. Think of how far you've come! As the song goes: "you gotta aaaaaccentuate the positive and eeeeeliminate the negative!"

Dress forms are fun...you can make them look almost like anything! You're going to be SUCH a lovely bride!

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    I love it - and you look awesome! And just think, when you lose more you'll get to pull padding out of the dress form too...!

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CATLADY52 8/2/2011 9:02PM

    Looks good and so do you. emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 8/2/2011 1:27PM

    Looking good!

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JOAN_HEO 8/2/2011 1:15PM

    Excellent!!!! =)

I checked out the pattern directions yesterday. Yes, it's complicated but if you read, read, then red them again, they will make sense and you will get it. I do like the white satin on the pattern envelope! It's beautiful!

I like the way they have you cut those three pieces like it's one giant piece. Then the grain will be correct on all of them. Someone was thinking!

You can do this! I have faith!

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CARRIE1948 8/2/2011 12:11PM

    I'm so incredibly impressed

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ARCHIMEDESII 8/2/2011 11:04AM

    Now, that is just TOO CUTE !! Glad your new dress form arrived. Oh and don't worry about those squishy parts. You're female. You're supposed to be a little squishy.


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