Monday, April 30, 2012

Carnival Triumph Cruise Day 2: April 15, 2012

This sea day was fantastic!  We had so much fun.  Didn't take many pictures though- too busy playing trivia!
Woke up and had breakfast on the Lido.  No trays, but plates are huge.  It is like eating off of a hub cap.
 Went  to movie trivia and the questions had nothing to do with movies for the most part…  Fun, but we didn’t do too great (Kevin may have been top 3?)  The host was “Irish Bob” and he ended up doing a lot of the trivia with him.  We later found out he usually does all the trivia, but he had some other duties this week, so the girls had been helping out.  Since we liked all three of them, I was happy that they all traded around.  It wouldn’t have been as fun with just one trivia host all week.

After playing Monopoly yesterday, today's game of choice was Quiddler, and Kevin consistently kicked my butt.  I still love the game though.

Next up, we played Scattegories. Slighly different rules. She names a single category and letter and you write down 3 things. This was A LOT of fun, and I actually won with 24 unique answers, but didn’t get “the win” because a guy claimed to have 31 things- BUT it was 31 between his and his wife’s cards, and they had played separately! (So instead of writing three things down, between the two of them they wrote six.) He said he only took 3 from each, but of course, he decided on which three AFTER hearing what others had. Boo! I was sad, but didn’t say anything.

Then, due to a crying baby next to us, we wandered for a bit, bought Kevin some gin and scotch from the shops, and came back for “On Your Mark, Get Set, Draw” this was a lot of fun, and our team won (the other team had a girl who was amazing in the quick fire round!) sadly, no Ship on a Stick (SOS) because it was two large teams, but it was a lot of fun!

Our room was on deck 8, and I felt that we did NOTHING but climb stairs the whole time.  This picture illustrates what I look like (exaggeration...) after coming up from Deck 3...again...   It really illustrated to me we are better off in steerage!  We spent all our time on Deck 3, 4, and 5.  

Next, we went to lunch where I had THE BEST California roll, and a good vegetable fajita thing.  Kevin had carribean pepper pot soup and a crab/shrimp baguette sandwich.  We sat a large table with 9.  The woman next to Kevin had no idea what a California roll was, but ordered it anyway, and refused to try it when it came, poking at it a bit while we explained what it was, but never even giving it a small bite.  Then, her steak salad came out and she didn’t even try it either, she said she expected a steak and then disappeared, presumably to the Lido deck.  Her friend said “she’s a picky eater” – must be, as she turned things down without even tasting them…   (The steak salad had some slices of beef on it.  Not sure what she expected...)   Already, we fell down on the job, forgetting to take pictures of the main courses. 
After that, we went to find out how much the wine tasting costs and it was a reasonable  $10 but they wouldn’t let me sit with Kevin without paying.  I don’t drink, so we didn’t go in.  Instead, we went back to the room where I took a nap and Kevin read on the balcony.  At tea time, I was still full from lunch, so we skipped it, and then when I woke up, Kevin was asleep so we missed Last Man Standing Trivia- we caught the tail end and the questions were SO much easier than on the Freedom… he would have rocked it.   The ocean was gorgeous!

Next up was progressive Trivia where we met up with friends from yesterday and new friends from the drawing game today to form team LA ARIA (Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa). We did really well, though sadly talked ourselves out of two answers. I think we were in second place, but no SOS was given out for the individual rounds of progressive trivia (also different on the Freedom- as that was how we won ours!) I was joking with the trivia hostess about not being allowed to be overly competitive and said something about how I was “cheated out of my SOS in scattegories” (NOT complaining, at ALL) and she went over and gave me one, and said I earned it. I felt SO BAD. That was not my intention AT ALL. I tried to give it back to her, but she told me to keep it. So, I did win one after all.

Then, the pack of us went over to sports trivia where we all did okay – sports trivia is hard! (we got 10, others I think got 12) chatted for quite some time and went our separate ways.

Next up was dinner.  I wore my new dress (love it!) and we had the “alligator” fritters (no alligator, he said it was conch) and stuffed mushrooms.  I ate Indian again (thought about lobster but changed my mind) and the portion is just TOO big and Kevin had a fish dish.  We shared bitter and blanc for dessert and it tasted like a warm cookie.  The “show” was excellent- That’s Amore as always, but just a single singer featured and he was FABULOUS.  Possibly better than the show singer, actually.  The rest of the waiters just sang back up at the very end.

We spent a few minutes watching Karaoke (girl from yesterday did Proud Mary again- it is apparently her signature) but the sound system hurt our ears (not the singers, at least not yet…) so we wandered a bit and went to the “Wonderful World” show.  There was one part that went on a little too long, but overall it was one of the best shows Carnival has done. I don’t know if it is because of the movement, or the wear and tear on the dancers, but Carnival dancers do way too much promenading, and not enough dancing.  There are moments that you can see in their movement that they are really really talented dancers, and the positions on the ship are so competitive, that I know they are- but the shows just don’t show it.  That said, one man did ala seconde turns, and the girls had a few moments to show off, but no virtuoso moves L   There were two parts where they weren’t in character shoes – which I think may be a first for Carnival… they wore jazz shoes and what I think are called ghillies for Irish dance (set to fake taps).  The singers were good (the man maybe a little hoarse, and the woman hit one bad note in Time to say Goodbye at the end- ouch).  Honestly, Time  to Say Goodbye is a really really ambitious choice for a show that requires a ‘pop’ performer.   So good on them.  The costuming was also great.

After the production show, we headed to bed.  Progresso in the morning!  And Chef's table tomorrow night!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Carnial Triumph Cruise Day 1: April 14th

We left  Austin at 7:15 and headed towards Galveston.   Even without speeding (we were going 60 most of the time because we couldn’t ever find a speed limit sign, later we found out it is a 70 zone- don’t worry, we stayed in the right lane, and no one ever seemed to be stuck behind us) we were making great time, so we stopped in Katy for some Whataburger.  I sure miss it in Iowa.  My nostalgia was bigger than my stomach, as I could barely finish a breakfast taquito, and I had ordered two!  Then we continued the drive” $4.50 in tolls later, we were in Galveston around 11:15. 
Not the prettiest port in the world...
Lighthouse parking was easy to find, and I won “first to spot the whale tail”!  (You can tell this is a drive-in port, as there were people everywhere with signs trying to lure you into the parking lot.  Lighthouse was very easy- we pulled in, they took our bags from the trunk to the bus, we didn’t wait for anyone (just us on the bus) and they took us to the Triumph, and got our bags off the bus for us.  A porter took our bag (shocked we just had one) and pointed us in the right direction to check in.  (I loved the floral shirts all the porters wore.)  We booked online, so parking was only $35 for the entire week.  We tipped the driver, but there was no pressure or hands out to do so!
Not the first view of the whale tail, but I have no pictures for this part of the story!
 Check in was a BREEZE. Short line for ID check, short line for security, quick beverage check (person in front of us had 3 water bottles make it through and one get taken for “not bubbling the same when shaken. That said- she didn’t notice our 12-pack had been doctored. Although we weren’t smuggling beer, Kevin had put Ginger Ale in the bottom row and glued it back together just to make it easier to carry. They poked open the perforation, but didn’t notice it had been opened. So that may have worked with beer…) Then it was upstairs to get sign and sale cards. It was about 11:45 and we expected to board at 12:30, but the signs said now embarking zones 1-43- so we hoped right on the ship. This was actually the slowest part, as we got behind a person pushing a woman in a wheelchair up the ramps…. Next thing we knew, we were up on the Lido deck and it wasn’t quite noon yet!
Girls only cruise shirts. And Paul- the sole man in the group.
We didn’t go get food right away, but instead met some new friends and chatted (we only saw them briefly during the cruise), and hung out in the sun- got a little burned on my forehead, despite sunscreen.  There was no live band- but the DJ was fantastic.  It wasn't too crowded up there, and I really enjoyed being outside.  Rooms were opened at 1:30, where we went and settled our carry ons and to our shock received our bag at about 1:40!  The port of Galveston is quick.

 Because this was a shorter cruise we got the balcony.  Per day, I think this cruise was our most expensive actually, but we've always done 8 day cruises before.  It was nice to have the balcony again, but I am just as happy in an oceanview.

Then we went up to the Lido for lemonade (YUM!) and our first pizza and ice cream of the cruise (yum again!) I tried another Caesar salad, as the one on the spirit was too fishy. Cruise Critic told me I must have got a dud, so I gave it another chance- verdict: too fishy.

Then, we wandered around the ship.  Kevin didn't get many pictures of the ship.  I'm not sure why- he tells me it is because he was worn out from chatting on the Lido deck.  

Some art near the wine bar

Oystered ceiling in the piano bar

Ghetto Map of our course.  This is one area the ship showed its age.

Hanging out on the balcony for sail away.  You can tell it is a little chilly- I have socks on.
 So then we unpacked, got some excellent sushi.  We really enjoyed the sushi on the Triumph.  It was fresh with good fish.  I remember it being "weird" on the Spirit- obscure vegetables stuffed into rice.  Here it still had a different take, but things we recognized.  We really enjoyed it this trip, and got it every opportunity, except one.

Sushi for two.

Oh, but there was a hair on the plate. That was gross.
Then we headed to the bar for sports trivia. That did not go so well, but was great fun.   We usually avoid the sports bar, but there was not too much smoking on this ship.  It is right by the smoking area of the casino, but we still went to sports trivia frequently.

This man did songs in the lobby each day. He was fabulous. He sang in all kinds of accents- the first time we heard him it was doing Johnny Cash- and we both thought "I need to see what that man looks like".  It was such a funny twang.

We ate dinner at about 6:15- super quick service, and very good food.  The maitre’d is hysterical.  He first started by welcoming us to the London dining room noting that the other “sucks” – then laughing and saying “they are pretty much the same”   He then introduced his staff, finishing up with himself and saying “I’m from Dallas Texas” to huge applause- then he says “no not really, I’m from Transylvania, but no one claps for that.”   Finally he informed us that no “motherbeaters” are allowed for formal night and got corrected to wifebeater and said “eh, I knew it had to do with domestic violence”.  Sure, jokes he does every week- but they were funny.
Didja- Ceviche

Spa menu fruit plate

Can't recall what this dish was, the table beside us was suprised to see it had pasta. Maybe Kevin will comment.

Plate one of Indian Vegetarian Dish.  Love it all except the "pickle".  Way too sour.

Plate two of the Indian Vegetarian Dish.  Was very yummy, but not really 'hot'.

Warm chocolate melting cake and cappuccino!
 Up next was movie trivia, where we did well, but the couple behind us did better.  I think this may have been when Kevin turned around to them and said that if they are frequent trivia players they should meet up with us the next day for Progressive Trivia.  And they did :)  More on that later.

Next was Karaoke, and it was surprisingly uncrowded so I actually sang: Jolene.  I sing faster than Dolly (probably because she can hold the notes) so I kept getting ahead.  The crowd was probably pleased I didn’t sing another song!  There were more bad singers than good though, so it was fun.  (It was also very uncrowded with almost no wait to sing!)
Kevin and I also brought card games to play and I kicked butt in Monopoly cards.  He wasn't very happy about that, but I can't help it that I have really good luck (and strategy?)  We played a few more times, but not much, as I kept winning and he wasn't enjoying that.  Cruises are about being happy and having fun.

Then we went to game show mania where we met the couple from movie trivia. It was awful- hard to hear any of the sound bites and they were out of date. I went up for the third game, and did TERRIBLY. The guy playing on my right rang my buzzer for me! On something I had no clue about. So I did the same for him on the next question before they played it! Unfortunately, I did not get any right…

Kevin went up on the next round, and he did just as badly as I did (we both played the “quick” games…we’ll blame that, fewer questions.  Surely we would have gotten some right in a long game...). 
 BUT you get medals for playing- so we are proud owners of Carnival medals. Our cruise goal was a ship on a stick, and if we didn't make it- we would be pleased with this.

 Our new friends then went with us to listen to Karaoke, then we went to the welcome aboard show (same as always, not fantastic), and called it a night.   The cruise director is pretty funny.  His best joke "What happens on a cruise..." Audience: Stays on a cruise!!!!!  Cruise director: "Shows up on youtube two days later."

The ship is moving a good amount- enough that everyone with a microphone at the show mentioned it, but it doesn’t feel that bad, at least not yet.

Minor complaint of the day: Our hallway smells like sweat. Yuck.

Spring Vacation: Day 3 (April 13, 2012)

If you've sensed the theme of this vacation is no rest for the weary, you'd be right.

We woke up early on Friday and headed down to Sea World!  Unfortunately, it was not a gorgeous day- quite drizzly...but we already bought the tickets and decided to make the best of it.

Now, we had a really nice day, but having been going to Sea World for over 20 years (since it opened!) I have to say: it isn't worth it in the spring.  There were only 3 shows: dolphin, orca, and pinniped.  Contrast to the summer when there is also water skiing, and then all the animals have a second night show, and then there is an "educational" show on the pinnipeds, it just seemed really expensive for a fairly short day.  So for us, a couple who has been there a lot- it was probably the most "meh" visit.  Maybe for kids, they don't see the difference.

It did drizzle all day, but I think that may have been a good thing.  The rain was  never bad- and there was never too much heat.  It was only chilly when we just got there.  So I think overall, a dreary day works for something like Sea World.
The best part of the day was definetly hanging out with C. and R. in a kid friendly place.  C. had a blast- though I'm not sure at the shows.  He loved the rides, and the kids play area.  The kids play area is built for up to 61", so I went up with him!  I'm only 60"!  That was SCARY!  I don't really like heights, and I would have been fine but there were some amazing bottlenecks in some of the hanging climbing elements.  I kept wondering what the max weight load was.  The problem:  there are signs everywhere that say "enter" and "exit".  The kids up there were mostly in the "I can't read yet" age group or the "I don't care to bother reading because I'm 7" age group.  Eek!   That said, it doesn't appear that anyone from Sea World was watching the area, so there weight limit must be massive.   I did have fun running around with C. on the giant Cargo nets too.

Kevin and Jill went on Sea World's two big roller coasters, but I got to go on a coaster too this time!  The Shamu Express with C.  We didn't pick our seats well, as Kevin got this fantastic picture of me on it :)  I promise C. is right next to me having a blast!

Other than playing with the kids, my favorite part of the day was watching the Sea Lions.  At one point, a pacifier got thrown in there, and the sea lion who found it was having a ball!  (They retrieved it pretty quickly- I think a ball can quickly switch to "choking", so they really aren't supposed to have it.)  I can't wait to go to the Galapagos!  My favorite small animal is the otter, and I love this picture.  Kevin took like a thousand pictures last time we went to Sea World, and since it drizzled all day (and he had done it before) he didn't take as many this time.)

The kids (and Kevin's parents) got tuckered out around 4:00, so that is when we headed home.  We caught a Shamu picture opportunity just before we left and then headed home.

That is when we finally got to go and meet V! We headed over to Kevin's brother's house and had a light dinner (thank you! This vacation was non-stop eating) of sandwiches and fruit salad and visited and played with the newest member of our family. She was such a doll, and totally worth 17 hours of driving!


When we got home for the evening, we packed for the cruise, and Kevin grouted the tiles he had laid, and then finally, after a very long day, we went to sleep!

Spring Vacation: Day 2 (April 12, 2012)

(Sorry no pictures today! There are some in the linked blogpost though.)

On the second day of our trip we started the morning with chores for Kevin.  His parents had asked him to tile a small area in front of their backdoor.  I suggested we take the kids (my SIL's kids stay with her parents for "daycare" each day she is at school or work) to the children's museum to keep them out of the way, but I don't know if the suggestion was misunderstood (that we do it later when Kevin could go?) or just ignored.  Either way, it worked out fine, because once told, the kids stayed out of the way. 

At some point, Nan had come over- and brought donuts :)  I didn't get to visit too much, as I was on kid duty.

So Kevin tiled, and I played.  C. and R. showed me their toys and we played music- LOUD.  C. likes to turn his music machine up HIGH, and I kept turning it down. The toy drum set we were playing on was loud enough, I didn't need the radio too!  Luckily it was a nice day so we went outside in the backyard.  They have spray bottles and we all sprayed each other.  R. (who is not quite 2) was really cute, as she couldn't get the strength to push the sprayer unless it was facing her!  We all got quite wet!  I was really impressed with C.  He is the only boy I've ever played with (he's 4.5) who didn't turn it into a gun!  I know he plays with guns (and lightsabers) so it was fantastic that we were able to have a water fight without it being a violent thing! 

Now that Kevin was done, we blocked off the tile area and played with play-doh until Jill stopped by from school.  Then we went out for my favorite lunch: Freebirds!

Unfortunately we were not able to stop by to see V. (the new baby) as her other grandmother was in town too, so we spent the rest of the afternoon at Kevin's parents, and then headed out in the early afternoon for our next event.

First, we stopped by our old high school and man has that place changed!  We visited an old teacher both Kevin and I had, and he told her about his PhD. (This was our chemistry teacher- without her, he probably wouldn't have gotten into chemistry- she was fabulous.)  Sadly, the theatre teacher was not there.

Then we made the treck up to Northcross mall (seriously Austin, you have too much traffic! It was only 3:30!) and met up with my Dad for a public skate.  I posted about that here:

After skating, we stopped by the Bernina store on Anderson lane and my Dad bought me a rolled hem foot.  Dad and Kevin also waited while I got a 5-minute demo on some machine, so I could get a free Craftsy class.  I have to tell you- I got a good deal on my machine.  This one was clearly lower end, not nearly the same function and no embroidery, and it costs the same as mine did.  Wow. 

Then we went over to The Hills to meet my Mom and went out for sushi.  The dinner was good, but the best part was the appetizer: Kobe Beef Gyoza with goat cheese and a blueberry sauce.  OMG- amazing.  I could have licked the plate.  Afterwards, we headed out for my Dad's favorite: frozen yogurt!

Spring Vacation: Day 1 (April 11, 2012)

Day 1 started at 4:00 a.m. with the alarm singing.  The car was packed up the night before, so I had hoped to be out of the house at 4:15, but we didn't get out until 4:30.  My plan is always to hop up and brush my teeth and go, but Kevin is a little slower in the mornings, and there is always something last minute to be done.

I usually drive first, but I had slept horribly that night, so Kevin thankfully was up for it.  I did my best to sleep in the car (didn't work) and Kevin drove most of the 17 hours to Austin.  I did drive the Kansas turnpike, while Kevin "rested" in the passenger seat.  Kevin tells me he can't sleep in the car, but when I turned to him to ask for $6 to pay the toll, he was pretty shocked we were already to the end of the toll road!
The road trip is long, but we did pretty well this time.  We didn't resort to any car games like billboard ABCs.  This is one thing that is really great about Kevin and I: we drive in the car together really well.
Elsa does well in the car too.  She just sleeps and looks at us expectantly anytime we open up the snacks. (I usually let her have some.)  She loves getting out to walk at gas stations!  I love getting Subway in Emporia- woo BLT! (That is usually dinner too, we get a footlong and save it.)  We didn't have Sirius this time but Kevin put our entire computer onto a USB port.  I think on the ride down we listened (in alphabetical order) to the As, Bs, and maybe some Cs.  There is a lot of music on that thing!  While he slept, I listened to Roger Creager- so that slowed the progress through the USB down a bit.

This is our second road trip in the Escape and it is definetly more comfortable than the Civic was, but I don't like driving it as much- especially through Kansas where the speed limit is 75!  Of course, I always drive it in Kansas.  Usually I end up having to drive through Oklahoma City, and I hate driving the SUV in the city!  Luckily, due to my inability to not be tired, Kevin drove there too.  He was really the hero of the trip.  We don't get fantastic gas mileage on highway driving, as the hybrid engine mostly works under 40.  BUT it does one great thing for road rage: while sitting in traffic that just doesn't go anywhere, you get to watch the MPG gauge keep on going up.  This gauge is an average, not what we were getting at that moment- I think it got up to 36.  Very nice, FTW traffic, very nice.

We kept the camera in the front seat and took some picture along the way.  In Denton there was something going on (and I think there was a sign saying "Medal of Honor City"- so I think it had something to do with that.)  Every overpass had people with flags, and often fire trucks set up on them.  And then a parade of policemen, and then what has to be every area biker came through.  Thankfully, on the other side of the highway!  No delay for us.

We've always wanted to get a picture of this church in Fort Worth area.  Do they not see what everyone I've ever driven by with sees?  I don't think its members would like the nickname we gave to this church.

Finally- we reach Austin. We've given up on taking I-35 all the way to Ben White.  I-35 in Austin is possibly the scariest place in the world to drive (Kevin's driven in Los Angeles, I've driven in Houston and Chicago, and we've both been in cars in NYC.)  So we exit early and take Mopac.  You can tell we aren't Austinites anymore, because despite doing this over Christmas, Kevin takes a different route and it takes us a while to figure out how to get to Mopac (he did do it eventually).  We get to his parents house just about 9:30, the last hour or so listening to a live Roger Creager (my favorite!) concert courtesy of KVET, and are thankful we started so early.  Finishing the drive early definetly makes the early wake up call worth it. I hated when we used to drive until midnight or so.  Kevin visited for a bit, but I went to sleep!

Spring Vacation: Planning

The plan: Kevin and I have a new niece in our family and we wanted to be able to visit her before she was grown.  I still feel so badly we didn't see the twins for so long- we missed the newborn stage completely.  So Kevin and I decided we would go see our new niece ASAP.  Kevin was checking dates and found that flying in March or April is extremely expensive- I pointed out to him, that is prime spring break season, so a road trip was hatched.  We found a date that would work, and planned a trip.  I would still be in school, but I've been in school over visits before and can find the time for the work.

Unfortunately a road trip to Texas is a pretty long ordeal.  A long weekend to see the family is too short for the long amount of driving.  Since we were just down for Christmas, we decided to plan a secondary vacation as well and booked a cruise.  We've never booked a cruise on such short notice and final payment was due less than a week from when we booked.  We got it all paid for, booked parking online, I researched excursions on  and we were ready to go.

That's when I remembered I'd still be in school (something we had already discussed going into the vacation...)  Oops.  I emailed the professor (the class had not started) asking if we could work around it, or if I should drop the class, and she said we could work around it.  Whew!  Thankfully the cruise came back on Thursday, which gave me 1 day to finish up the work on the Friday (this is the last week of class.)  The week before the cruise was a slew of planning and homework.  I had to do all of Week 7's homework, and turn in every possible assignment I could early for Week 8.  Thankfully, there was no group work on Week 8, and my Week 7 group were early birds- since we left on vacation during Week 7, and I didn't really want to do much checking in.

And so, the trip began.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Vogue 1208

Remember this dress?  I made it!  It doesn't look like that though... I think you have to be tall to look like that..

One of the things I really liked about it was the neckline. It isn't quite as elegant on me though. (Oh, and that pretty crystal headband- I put on all those stones yesterday too.  Almost a gross...super sparkly. I got the crystals on sale!)

I sewed this dress on Sunday.  It is SUPER quick (although I took some short cuts since I didn't really understand all the instructions).  It is bias cut so it has to hang for 24 hours, so I hemmed it today.

Front view:

This is a straight size 14 (for non-sewers, store sizes and pattern sizes have no correlation!).  My bust fit in 14, my waist in 18 and my hips in 16.  When I made it I planned on cutting a 14 and grading to make it bigger in the lower body.  Honestly, I wish I had made a 12!  I think the neckline is too big for my shoulders, and the whole thing just feels loose. It is described as "fitted" but NO WAY.  I have a huge amount of ease in the tummy, and I am many sizes too small for me! If I do make a 12 (which I don't have in my pattern envelope, so I won't) then I might grade out to the 14 for the waist, but this is plenty big.

Back view:

(The fabric is quite wrinkly- some fell out with the hanging but I could NOT get it to press out.  There is also so extra fabric in the back that I think a swayback adjustment would help, but I just don't get alterations.  I don't have the patience or the money to learn to make them... so I just cut patterns as is and hope.)

Here is a close up of the bow.  I didn't do the "knot" detail because it involved pressing pleats, and my fabric was having none of that.  Plus I think this looks fine.  Here you can see how the lining peaks out.  Since I can't get anything to press down, I don't know how to fix that. Honestly, it doesn't bother me. (Oh, and my bra won't peak out- I plan to wear strapless!)

Here is one of the short cuts.

I didn't understand the instructions to join the sleeves at ALL, so I turned the dress back around, sewed up the seams 1/4", flipped it out and joined them with 3/8 seams (instead of 5/8 since I used up 1/4).  You can tell I did this if you are a sewer and look at the sleeve view on the none bow side. It puckers just a bit.  But Kevin (who is super picky) didn't notice until I pointed it out, so once again, I'm not concerned- it's not couture.

Here is another short cut.

The hem is shorter than I intended (but I like it) because 1) I hemmed it before hanging, since I didn't see the instruction and had to cut the hem off since seam ripping black on black on fragile fabric was not working and 2) The first hem I did had over an inch in variance! Hugely uneven, almost purposefully aysmettrical looking.  Kevin helped me mark the current hem, and it looks MUCH better.  But, so it wouldn't be even shorter, rather than turning twice, I just turned once.  The black serger thread makes it so that you can't tell even if it flips up a bit.

So what does a formal dress for a cruise cost?
The pattern was $3.99
The black fabric, crepe back satin, $12.45 (4.98/yd) The bias cut wastes more fabric than it uses- hopefully I can find something to do with the remnants.
The lining $3.98 ($1.99/yd). 
So $20.42.   I could probably find a dress on sale for that, but you don't get that awesome- I made this!!! feeling.
(Notion used was bias tape I've had in my stash as long as I can remember, a new needle, and some coats and clark stash thread.  We'll call it $22...)

Quick question- does anyone know what understitching is?  It told me to understitch the lining.  Does that mean sew the lining seam allowance to the dress seam allowance?  I googled and still couldn't tell.  So I just didn't do anything.... 

Oh, one more question- do you think I should try to take in the dress a bit in the upper body, so it has more shaping and looks less like a sack of potatoes, or just leave well enough alone?  I'd do that after the cruise.  I am leaving this as is for now.