Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Packaging

We finally felt good enough to decorate the house a week ago.  I haven't taken any pictures yet, but it is all sparkly and shiny!

Due to sickness, package wrapping was put off until the last minute... meaning that there was not great thought put into the overall packaging design which I really enjoy.  There are so many good ideas in the blog-sphere and in the online magazines this season too.

I started out with this Tiffany blue wrapping paper with white snowflakes (Target after-Christmas purchase from 2 years ago... I bought every roll I could find in the store!) and then found this great cotton string with silver in it.  The string was a yard sale purchase from I-don't-remember-when, and I found it languishing in a box in storage.  It looks very mid-century with the paper.  I brought out my box of tags and put blank manila ones on the packages.  (Everyone should have a box of these tags... so versatile!)  The packages looked good, but looked a little pale.

So I added a red stamp of a snowflake to the tags.... and it works!  You can see the spool of string in the background.  It might actually be yarn for weaving.  I have another spool which is much, much larger.  I think I will be using this for the next decade or so.

I do like red and blue together.

I have been in hyper-productive mode for the past three days sewing and knitting up a storm.  Unfortunately if I post my projects here, then everyone will see what they are getting for Christmas, so I will post after Christmas.  Another unfortunate thing... I didn't take pictures of anything before wrapping.  As soon as it was out from under the machine, into the wrapping paper it went.  I will try to be diligent on Christmas and snap some pictures.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bird in the Hand

Here is a little marzipan treat we made several weeks ago.  Miss E was having a friend over for a sleepover, and the friend brought a log of marzipan.  Many, many little objects and critters were made and eaten.  Then I was challenged to make eggs and then a bird!  This was the result... which, of course, has been eaten.

I have been Christmas-ing and sewing away in preparation for the big day... but have also been sick since Thanksgiving... hence the no-activity-on-the-blog.  I have been taking some pictures and will try to get some posts out soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Steampunk update

... so now it is raining heavily... Portland rain.... AND the wind is blowing, so there will be no fancy outdoor pictures of my Steampunk outfit until May.  I have this picture that my brother-in-law snapped and tweaked.

You can see the corset and skirt... and my fabulous vintage kid leather gloves in a TAN!!!  How unusual is that?!?!  Note the side arm that the spouse is carrying.  He made that himself.  The sepia picture doesn't show all the brass detailing.  At some point I will get around to taking some color pictures.

Here are some detail shots from the wedding:

This is the bride!  How gorgeous is she in all blue!  Even her hair!

This was taken shortly after we all danced the Timewarp.  It was a most fun wedding.

Friday, November 04, 2011


I was invited to a Steampunk wedding in October.  I spent most of the month constructing my ensemble as all guests were invited to dress in Steampunk style.  If you don't know what that is... click here or here.

Of course I needed a corset.  I haven't made one since college and was dying to test out my vintage pattern that I had ordered on line.  The pattern was a tracing of a vintage pattern... but the tracing lines were not straight and the person providing the pattern had added 5/8" seam allowances to everything (even where they were not needed) AND didn't provide a measurement chart.  After working through all of this... I basically re-drafted the pattern.  I made a muslin for test....

Each panel has two layers of muslin to stabilize.  If it stretches, it doesn't do the job as well and the measurements will not remain accurate.  The side seams were also pulling too far forward, so I adjusted that.  Many vintage corset patterns have seams falling in different places from modern clothing.  Some of my corset books have corset styles with seams wrapping from back to front or with very steep angles.  In this case, the seam that I needed on the side (or slightly in front of the side) was clearly on the front.  So I made a few pattern adjustments.  Things looked good, so I placed my order for the real stuff... including extra boning.  I ordered from which has the most amazing supply of things.  Even the general sewer should check out their items.  Very affordable and the shipping was very fast.

This is the black coutil flat lined with a black cotton sateen.  I couldn't find the twill tape/Prussian tape in black so I contrasted with red.

I purchased a vastly-superior-to-Dritz grommet setting tool and awl (which I love!!!) and went to work. Grommet setting is so easy... I need to make more things with grommets.

This is the first fitting of the final corset.  I don't have the top and bottom binding on yet, but the panels are laying flat.  I will post pictures of the full outfit soon.  I don't have any yet.

There is also a really full skirt that goes with the whole thing.

See!  It's a full circle!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pillow Project

Miss E had a birthday party a few weeks ago.  We needed some clever project.  She found Alicia Paulson's book that had a family tree wall hanging in it.  Using this as a departure point, we decided to make small pillow covers using beautiful fabrics, appliques and LOTS of wonder under.

This is Mister e's.  He did not want to be left out of the fun.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Where does the time go?

I have such good intentions of posting more regularly... but they always seem to fall through.  I have been working on projects, just returned from LA where I was meeting with a client and then shopping with a friend.  I have tons of interesting things to post, but just can't seem to find the time.

So I will leave you with these lovely pictures from Anthropologie... it makes me want to cozy up the house for fall/winter.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Safety Pin Bracelet

Miss E has been in a crafty mood lately.  A friend of hers was sporting a safety pin bracelet at school, so of course, just like any 4th grader, she wanted one too.  So off we went to the fabric store to purchase a large bag of safety pins and some stretchy fishing-line type of stuff.  Fortunately Miss E has a rather large bead collection (thank you yard sales!!!) so we did not need to purchase any additional findings in the bead department.

Each safety pin was beaded individually... kind of like the friendship pins of the 80's that we all wore on our shoes so it looked like beaded tassels flopping along as we walked.  But this version has the pins strung on the stretchy line with a spacer bead between each beaded safety pin.  

The results are rather spectacular and it took about an hour to put the whole thing together.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Leotard Production for my Twirler

I thought I had posted these pics earlier this year, but apparently not.  Miss E is a baton twirler... or just "Twirler" but NOT "baton-er".  We had fun making her a competition leotard this spring.  I drafted a pattern just for her because what McCalls, Simplicity, et al had to offer was not usable even with your imagination.

Prototype and skirt layers

Final Leotard
Unfortunately due to the "Great Hard Drive Over-write of May '11"  I have lost some of the pictures of Miss E wearing it.

I need to enlarge the pattern slightly and make her a new one for this year.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Where have I been lately?  We have had a home repair project going on in the basement studio.  A few weeks ago, we noticed the wall mount bookshelves learning scarily away from the wall.  Upon closer inspection, we realized that the bookshelf was taking the dry wall with it.  It was not too bad so we didn't take immediate action.  However a week later there was a loud pop, some serious leaning, and a frantic unloading of the bookshelf.  I had to hold it against the wall and hand books to the kids.  They stacked the books all over the studio.

The white patch is where the hole was
The contents of bookshelves taking up my
new worktable space and the floor
and every other horizontal space
I have been working in piles and piles for a couple of weeks.  The semester started at the University, and I have a brand new freelance client.  The good news is that I could find my text books.  The bad news is that I cannot find an apparel industry reference book... and still can't.

 We decided to change the wall from its green to the same color as the rest of the studio.  We needed to bounce more light around.

New book shelf for the bottom and reinstalling the old shelving

We had several hundred pounds of books on the wall mount shelving.  Books are like an addiction for us.  I love books!  So we replaced the bottom couple of selves with a separate book case from IKEA that will hold the heaviest books.  Everything is back in place, but I need to take a picture of the final result.  
And did I mention that the spouse broke a florescent tube light bulb in the middle of all the this?  In the laundry room too!  The one room that is used daily in this house. That was a mess that took a whole day to clean up... as well as a lengthly trip to Home Depot to purchase plastic tube covers for all tubes in the light fixtures so this mess doesn't happen again.
I really want to work on some fun projects now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Grace Kelly Barbies!!!

Mattel has done Grace Kelly as a Barbie Doll! Grace Kelly is such a style icon. The dolls come with three highly recognizable and significant outfits.

Grace Kelly Barbies

I need to do some more research on her clothing. Her style was never over-the-top. She always looked so elegant. The blue on this dress is amazing!

Being the sucker for vintage sparkly jewelry that I am, I love her accessories in this picture.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sorel Fall 2011

You have GOT to watch the videos for Sorel's Fall 2011 Ad campaign. Amazing!

Sorel Fall 2011

Makes me want to decorate something.....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Knitting Socks

I love to knit socks, but haven't done any knitting of socks for a few years. Miss E outgrew the last pair I made for her and Mister e has been wearing them. So I dug out this luscious melon-pink sock yarn that I bought when Miss E's feet were much smaller. There was enough yarn to make two socks when she was 2 or 3 years old. Now she is almost 9, so we had to improvise hence the large red toes.

I was working on the second sock outside and thought the yarn colors looked lovely with the potted plants.

The quality of work on these socks is rough to say the least. Good thing I was using up yarn and not using some fancy new purchase. I need to practice, and maybe try another sock pattern. This one wound up being too chunky looking... or maybe my tension is too loose. Will have to get back to you on this.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Issuu Test

Look at this cool thing from Issuu? I used a .pdf from Debbie Stoller as the test material... but it's so cool!!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Very cool Vimeo video

Look at this amazing video!

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Click through to the other two: EAT and LEARN. So inspiring.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Table Blueness

The table is installed!

I think the top needs one more coat for 100% coverage, but it is beautiful!

We used it last night for dinner. I can't wait to put a vintage tablecloth on it and set up my outdoor office for an afternoon. Much better than the basement.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Fabric Goodies and Backyard Progress

A few weeks ago, I scored these two pieces of vintage fabric at the Portland Antique Expo:

They are each 4 yards in length... very narrow, less than 36"wide and never been used. The brown one has a fade line down the middle, but I think I can cut around it. The print quality is very high and they feel super soft after I washed them.

I am please to report that I no longer have a motorcycle parked on my patio! The screen behind the fireplace is also finished.

We still need to seal the screen, but the weather hasn't been really reliable. The white column propped against the fire place will go into the flower bed behind the wicker settee and will someday have a fabulous birdhouse perched on top.

And!!! the table has legs!!!

I sanded, primed and put on the first coat of paint today. Tomorrow I'll add the second coat and take pictures. It's been three years coming on this table, and I'm in the home stretch. I will post more pics on the cozy patio once the table is in place.