Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pattern Cutting

I spent the weekend cutting out patterns!

We spent the weekend at my parents house while they were out of town enjoying the ac and cable. I spent Saturday evening and several hours on Sunday cutting patterns for tops. I now have 6 tops cut and ready to sew. If I get them all sewn this summer I will be really impressed! I do hope to though as I love all the fabric and patterns. Since I have been away from home so much helping my parents pack I need a creative outlet and sewing has become that for me. I am sewing up this pattern in a wearable muslin out of black and white striped seersucker. I will be a bridesmaid in a wedding this fall and plan to use that same pattern for the dress. I bought the navy silk last week for the actual dress and am just getting the fitting right before I cut into that.

Here are the projects I have ready to sew

six tops cut and ready to sew!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Making me happy

I have been trying to bring more house plants home and green the place up. I have a history of not doing so well with house plants. My outside gardens thrive, and tropicals even do well when they move out for the summer. There is just something about having them inside that doesn't work out for me. I take that back, in college I only had indoor plants and I had a lot of them, and they thrived. I don't know what happened!I found the above plant and had never seen one before. I looooove the sculptural quality of it. The plant is called Zamia and is my new favorite. Supposedly they like dry soil.

I'm trying out a couple of ferns, though they do like to stay moist, not my strong point. I also love birds nest ferns, and this little guy makes me smile.
I got a fern for my vintage pebble textured pot too.

I once had an obsession with begonias, and still love them. This one struck my fancy and I had to bring it home. I hope I can keep it looking so healthy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My new summer top

I have had this pattern cut out and ready to sew for a little while now. I even set up my sewing machine at home hoping that this and other projects would get done. Well, that didn't happen. I spent several days at my parents' house this week helping pack boxes for their upcoming move. In the evenings we found some time to sew and I was able to finish this project with, as usual, a little help from my mom. It is not that I can't do certain things, but that mom can do them more quickly and skillfully. I figure I should take advantage of that help for as long as I can!

This sweet top is Simplicity 4589, view B, with a modification to the sleeves. I used a cotton voile print from Anna Maria Horner, which I'm crazy about. The fabric is butter soft and really beautiful. This pattern is so popular that there is a flickr group dedicated to it, so I had a feeling it would be a good one. View B had flutter sleeves that are supposed to ruffle up on their own. Well, mine weren't ruffling, instead they flattened on top and had a hump in the front and back, not attractive at all. This surprised me since the fabric is so soft and lightweight. The sleeves may have settled down and ruffled properly with washing and wearing, but I wasn't going to be wearing them the way they were! Mom helped me take little tucks in each sleeve so that they would be tamed and to create permanent ruffles. I love the way they turned out, check out the detail shots below. I definitely plan to make more versions of this pattern.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My first art business

In the summer of 1990, the summer after ninth grade, I invited my friend Gretchen over to make purses. We had been friends in middle school, a tiny school with only about 40 in our ninth grade class, but had never hung out outside of school. Well, that purse making adventure turned into a lifelong friendship, and we have now been friends for twenty years! We have been in each others weddings and still have much in common, especially art. Gretchen is a talented printmaker and the art director of Pyramid Atlantic in Silver Spring, Maryland. We only get to spend time together about twice a year now, and unfortunately I have not gotten to visit her in Maryland yet. Gretchen is still one of my closest and bestest friends in the world. It made me so happy to find this article while going through my parents stuff to pack for their move. If you click on the image the article should be large enough to read. This was written up that summer in our small town paper. My first business venture and my first press! Love you G!

I have also found several of the purses that we made and will be sure to share those soon. They are pretty funny.

This article was also in the same paper. My family hosted exchange students from Japan twice for a weekend each time. They were wonderful experiences and I still remember how to fold and origami crane! Sorry this story is cut off at the bottom, but you get the idea.

Story about my family hosting exchange students

Good Friends, Good Times

Sunday evening we had our good friend Alley and her five year old daughter Lulu over for dinner. We had a wonderful time visiting with these friends who have just moved back to Texas. Lulu is a natural performer and she sang and made up songs on the spot while Frank accompanied her on guitar. For someone who has absolutely no musical talent or inclination (me) it is wonderful to see such a creative young girl have fun with music. Alley and Lulu also brought us these beautiful Gerber Daisies. We are so thrilled to have our friends back home in Texas!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Before and After Painted Desk

This Ethan Allen desk was originally my paternal grandparents' and went with a set of dressers. My brother had this furniture in his room growing up and the desk had been in my parents' garage for several years. When mom had a garage sale a friend of hers bought the dresser and painted it and added new drawer pulls. That got me thinking and looking more closely at the desk. I saw potential in it and decided to paint it. I looked around for new drawer pulls, but decided to paint the original ones tomato red. I like the shape of the drawer pulls and the cute feet on the desk. I'm really please with how this desk turned out!

This is the beginning of a makeover of this area in my house, which will be my new office. This is the front room and my studio is on the left side of the room out of view here. This space around the non-working fireplace has never really been utilized by us. I had a chair in the front corner at one point, but no one ever sat there. I plan to paint the room to the color of the trim and desk. The space above the mantle and shelves may be a different color, I'm thinking gray. I am mostly using pieces that I have or that my mom is giving me. I'm on a tight budget as usual, and the only new purchase may be pendant lamps for either side of the mantel.

This will be my desk chair. Frank picked it up on the side of the road years ago and I have always loved it, but am not in love with the skin colored vinyl. I'm leaning towards using this green cotton ikat to recover the chair. Keep in mind the walls will not be green anymore. What do you think of this fabric with my red drawer pulls and maroon tile on the fireplace? Frank is not sold on this fabric, but I'm crazy about it and determined to use it somewhere.

My other idea for fabric for this chair is this print
Opinions please!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Kool-Aid Dyeing Workshop

Saturday morning was my Kool-Aid Dyeing workshop. Last summer I presented my Kool-Aid dyed yarn babette to my sister-in-law for a baby shower gift. Two of my mom's friends were interested in learning and we finally got around to doing this workshop. It was just the four of us, me, mom, Lu and Michelle, but we had a blast! I had made this Kool-Aid yarn color chart last week and really had fun with that.

We each tried painting skeins and dyeing a solid skein. Here are two of the painted skeins that I did.

I have one more painted and my solid that were still drying at my parents' house.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Flowers in the Hill Country

Last Friday Mom, Kathy and I toured two lavender farms and the Blanco square, all part of the Blanco Lavender festival. The small farms that we toured were beautiful and smelled delicious. I love that there is so much going on in that part of Texas.

We also happened upon the blue barn with a fresh cut flower market inside, part of Arnosky family farms. We briefly saw the proprietor, but she had to run out and said the market was self service that day, where can you find that kind of trust these days?! I'm jealous that mom will have access to Texas wildflower bouquets right down the road. I can get the same bouquets grown in Blanco at our local gourmet grocery store, but somehow it doesn't seem the same. I noticed that they were also selling goat cheese, one of my favorites, from another local farm. There are many more farm tours to be had in the area, I'm sure!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An up close look


I photographed these fallen sticks laden with lichen at my parents new place in Wimberley last weekend. I found the details in the lichen to be endlessly fascinating. You can see much more in these macro photos than with the naked eye. I love the shapes and textures and can't believe how much variety there is in these little mini epiphytes. I feel the urge to investigate these plants further.

me on the property

Our airstreams' new home-ready for guests

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A baby shower gift

I shared a peek at this baby gift a couple of weeks ago. I was so excited about the blanket that I just couldn't help it. These gifts were made for my mom's best friend's daughter who is expecting her first baby in August. I chose this granny ripple pattern which was a breeze and is now going to be my go-to baby gift. I finished the blanket in two weeks but could have finished faster. The yarn is Crayon from Knit Picks and is soooooo soft and comes in lovely colors. The only think that I didn't like about the yarn is that it is hard to see your stitches with the texture. The pattern I chose was perfect for this yarn though as in a granny stitch you don't really have to see your stitches!

After making the blanket I decided that it needed a pillow to go with it. I drew out a pattern for a standard pillow size. I cut out the sun from hand dyed quilting cotton, ironed on interfacing to the back, clipped and turned under the edges about 1/4" all around. I then ironed the sun to the backing fabric and top stitched it with the sewing machine all around the edges. I used a light box and a wash away marker on the fabric to trace the clouds and lettering and then hand embroidered those. I sewed it up with the little green ball trim and I think it is so cute! I'm really happy with the results and I think it will be a well loved gift by both baby and parents.

The pillow on my bed after I finished

The gift recipient and host of the shower showing off the blanket and pillow.
In the baby room

Monday, June 14, 2010

Learn to dye with Kool-Aid!

I'm teaching a Kool-Aid yarn dyeing workshop this weekend and there is still time to sign up. If you are in the DFW area and are interested check out the evite for more info. I do need to know asap so that I can order the yarn, so please let me know if you want to join us.