Monday, April 30, 2012

My Childhood on a Plate

A month or so ago I was reading through a recently discovered blog, My New Roots and came across this post. While I'm sure the Banana pancakes are delicious it was the plate that struck me. That plate instantly took me back to my childhood around the kitchen table with my family, where we ate every week night. Those are my mom's plates. Dansk Blue Mist, I found out.


I had never given the plates much thought, they are utilitarian, pretty but plain and were just always there. After seeing this picture I inquired about them from mom. I knew she had registered for them and received them as wedding gifts. Here is what she told me about her china:
I registered for them when we got married. I didn't get a lot at first as they were at Sakowitz expensive by 1968 family standards. I was taking ceramics at the time was drawn to them because of that I think. My scout leader who could have afforded the whole set told the salesman that they looked like tin plates. He told me I was the first person who had registered for them at that store they were pretty "out there" for Gulfgate. Thanks for the memories.....

I was struck by the thought of these dishes being so different at the time.  I suppose in 1968 most young women were registering for plain white china or flowery prints.  I have no idea, really.  Mom has two sizes of plates and one size bowl.  I have searched and found some other really interesting shapes from this line. They really appeal to me, but as they are no longer made I will have to keep an eye out at thrift shops for pieces here and there.  Here are some that I really like.



These are Green Mist, but came in Blue also.
Source: etsy.com via Ashley on Pinterest


It's kind of ironic that these appeal to me because they are nostalgic and what I know.  While they appealed to mom for totally different reasons, because they were modern and different.  Never the less, I love them and hope to add some to my kitchen at some point.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Flowers, Flowers Everywhere

Two of our dearest friends had a baby boy yesterday morning. I'm going to meet him today before work. I made mama a bouquet with a giant Blue Hydrangea, pale green Carnations, peachy Spray Roses and this cool lavender Stattice that I had never seen before. I hope she likes it. Baby Bertorelli Flowers

Of course I made a couple of little bouquets for our house too. Baby Bertorelli Flowers Baby Bertorelli Flowers

I also just got two Hydrangea plants for our backyard. A tree in the neighbors' yard keeps getting bigger and shading out my garden, so I needed more shade plants. I have never grown a Hydrangea, but am hopeful that these will do well. Baby Bertorelli Flowers Baby Bertorelli Flowers

Here is my 1/4 circle skirt all cut out. I sewed it up last night and am letting it hang before I hem it so that the hem will be even. 1/4 circle skirt cut out

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thrifting Thursdays

I have re-discovered my obsession with thrift clothes shopping as of late. I was an avid thrifter in college and have never lost my love of shopping for cast off junk for my home but I have been out of the habit of thrift shopping for clothes for quite some time. Well, thanks to several awesome local thrift shops I am back in action. I just love the thrill of finding a great deal on an item that no one else is likely to have. Most of these items aren't vintage, but lightly used or sometimes even brand new pieces of clothing. Some require a bit of reworking like this skirt. Here it is before, in it's full circle glory. It was too big and too long. I didn't want to lose any of the beautiful print, so I had to cut the length out of the top of the skirt. I then turned it down and ran elastic through the waist in order to gather to fit. It is not as elegant as it was in it's circle form but I still love this skirt and will wear it a bunch.

 Circle Skirt Re-fashion Circle Skirt Re-fashion
I also love my new wedge sandals and nail polish.
Here is a color palette for inspiration. Color pallette
So just for fun, I think I will start sharing my thrifted clothing finds with you on Thursdays. Just because Thrifting Thursdays sounds good.

Oh, and this skirt got me wanting an actual circle skirt, so I found some tutorials and drafted a 3/4 circle and cut out a 1/4 circle skirt.  It should be a snap to sew up and I hope to make quite a few more.  I just love that you get the fullness from a circle skirt without unflattering gathers around the waist.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Impromptu Indigo Dyeing with Mom

I went up to my parent's house to help them pack up some stuff yesterday. They are in the process of moving to Wimberley and I am both sad for them to go and happy for them to live in the Hill Country. We were working on mom's sewing room and attempting to organize and pack what she didn't need for the next few weeks.

I showed her this shirt on pinterest. She said it was dyed with indigo, a dye that she had recently used and experimented with and so we had an impromtu indigo dye session late yesterday evening.
Source: ofakind.com via Ashley on Pinterest

A sample that mom already had dyed. Indigo dyeing with mom

Indigo is from a plant. I don't know much about how it works but it was a really interesting process. The dye bath looks green and the fabric comes out green but then oxidizes to the gorgeous indigo blue. There is thiox in the mix, which is a color remover and you can put fabrics with color in the dye and they will retain some of their original color.  We wrapped and tied this piece of silk charmuese around a pvc pipe and dipped it in the dye bath several times. We unwrapped and ended up re-wrapping it to get more color. Indigo dyeing with mom

See how the fabric looks slightly green before it oxidizes? Indigo dyeing with mom

The end result with the silk. I think I will make a top from this one.
Thanks for the gorgeous fabric mom! 
Indigo dyed silk




























For the cotton we folded it accordion style and then folded the other way and clamped it together with pieces of plexi glass and rubber bands. I'm thinking pillow covers with this one.Indigo dyed cotton

A recent sunset over downtown Fort Worth that reminds me of the pattern on my indigo dyed silk. Sunset over Fort Worth By the way, is anyone else having trouble with the "new" blogger? Something switched over a couple of days ago and I am having so much trouble positioning photos and text where I want it. I had no problems with the old version, so I'm not sure what is going on. I'm off to the dmv and I'm not too excited about that. I'm rewarding myself with some thrift shop shopping after.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Knitting, Knitting, Knitting Away

There was a lot of this going on over the weekend. I'm getting faster.
Morning, knitting with coffee. Knitting
 Night, knitting with sleepy dog. Knitting Knitting Knitting
I've certainly been bitten by the knitting bug. While I was sick I spent days on the couch just knitting, knitting, knitting. I like it!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday My Love

Today is Frank's 39th birthday. We had a wonderful weekend. The weather was perfect. We did some junking, some cooking, some relaxing, a little yard work and some knitting (me) and mandolin playing (him). It was just right.
Franks birthday weekend
My parents came down Friday night for Main Street Art Festival, birthday dinner and cake. Franks birthday weekend Franks birthday weekend
We surprised Frank with a vintage Mandolin. It is really hard to surprise him, and this is what he asked for so I didn't think he would be surprised but he was. Frank's birthday surprise

Happy Birthday my love. I'm so lucky to have you in my life. Franks birthday weekend

What a nice weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ahhhh

It's been a long week at work but I actually have a proper weekend and I'm so ready to relax!
We are starting off Frank's birthday weekend by celebrating with my parents tonight.
The weather should be nice this weekend so perhaps we sill spend some time in the back yard.

The clematis looks better than ever right now.
Clematis vine on my arbor

Clematis vine on my arbor

Clematis vine on my arbor

Clematis vine on my arbor

Clematis vine on my arbor

Clematis vine on my arbor

And the Larkspur are abundant.
My back patio

We better enjoy it while we can!
There will also be some cake and ice cream consumed, some cooking out, some bike riding and or trail walking, some junking and who knows what else.
I hope you enjoy your weekend as much as I will.
xoxo
Ashley

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Baby Shower Cake

Since I'm getting ready to bake up Frank's birthday cake I figured it was about time I shared the baby shower cake that I made a few weeks ago. After testing two vanilla cake recipes I settled on Smitten Kitchens Best Birthday Cake. Glorious Treats Vanilla Cupcakes were a very close second. I did a double batch and made a two layer 9x13 cake. I should have made two individual batches of batter because the double batch just barely fit in my kitchenaid mixer! I also didn't get the batter exactly even so one layer was taller than the other, but not by much. I also made a double batch of Cream Cheese Frosting. I made the Owl decorations in advance from my Marshmallow Fondant and piped the rest of the decorations on. I was really pleased with the outcome and don't know why I didn't get a better picture of the cake.

Owl baby shower cake

Owl baby shower cake

Monday, April 16, 2012

Backyard Birding

There has been so much going on in our backyard lately.
I will start with the birds.
Right before I left for camp I noticed a Cardinal pair nesting right outside our bedroom window with three eggs in their nest.  They have been around before, I know because the papa only has one foot.

See the eggs?
Spring in the Garden

Mama wasn't happy that I was peeking out the window at her.
Spring in the Garden

Last Thursday I looked out and was surprised to see three babies.  I don't know when they had hatched but they were all stretching their necks up for food.

The next time I looked in the nest I was heartbroken.  One baby was hanging over the side and the other two were gone.  I checked outside under the shrub and found the two babies still breathing.  I put them back in the nest and buried the other one who was already gone.  I quietly checked on them throughout the day and noticed that one was moving and might make it.  Later I noticed that the other one was gone.  I think mama kicked it out because it had died.  I keep checking in on the one surviving baby and he still seems okay.  I think it was the wind that knocked them out originally because they are in the top of a nandina and it has been windy.  I don't think a cat could get up there.  It was really stormy Saturday night and Sunday morning so I was worried about the baby, but mama seemed to sit on him to protect him.  I sure hope he makes it!
baby cardinal in it's nest

cardinal papa

Baby cardinal

There is also a Mockingbird nesting in the top of my arbor.
I can't peek into her nest so I just watch her around the yard.
mockingbird in plum tree

arbor with mockingbird nest

I have a lot more to share from the yard.  This is the best time of year in Texas, in my opinion and I am really enjoying being outside.  I actually have a long weekend this week from work.  I asked off for Frank's birthday which is next Monday.  I'm going to make him a Vanilla cake with whipped cream frosting and coconut flakes and Caramel ice cream to go with it.  I can't wait for the weekend!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Spring Walk

My sweetie indulged me in a walk on the Trinity Trail last night even though he isn't feeling so hot.  Unfortunately I think he has what I had.
It was a lovely night with a gorgeous sunset and an impromptu bluebonnet photo session with our little goofball Lucy.
A spring walk

She is a good picture poser and even smiles for the camera!
A spring walk

A spring walk

A spring walk

I love daylight savings time because we get to take more walks on the trail and it feels like we get more done in a day.  I hope there are lots more walks before the weather turns to stiffling heat and keeps us inside. Off to cook dinner, see you next time.
xoxo
Ashley

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Some things I've sewn

I'm feeling much better but I think I did a little to much today. I took Lucy for a walk, went grocery shopping to two stores, cooked dinner and then went thrift and shoe shopping with Frank (score!). I'm a bit tired but expecting to be back to normal soon.

Since I had to get dressed and leave the house today and the weather was so nice I finally got around to taking pictures of a couple of my new pieces of handmade clothing.
Handmade skirt and top

The knit tank is from the Built by Wendy Sew U Home Stretch book.  I have been wearing it under cardigans all winter.  I made two other tops at the same time that I need to show you.  I love it.  I added the ruffle details, just three strips of fabric, gathered and sewed onto the top, easy peasy.  I want to sew more with knits and just can't find any that I like locally.

The skirt is view D of Simplicity 2305, a Cythina Rowley Pattern.  I made it much bigger than the pattern called for because I don't like skirts that sit on my waist, and it would have been way too short if it did.  Problem was I made it too big and had to take off the waistband and gather it up some more.  I love this skirt and pattern but am not happy with the fit.  What I didn't take into account was that the only fitted part is the waistband, so I could have cut a smaller skirt and had less gathers, which would be more flattering on me anyways.  I think I would like a wider and tapered waistband better as well. I really love the scalloped bottom of the skirt and though it looks like a special detail it was super easy to make. Over all I'm happy with it and will wear it.  I love the fabric, a cotton pique that my mom had given me  a few years ago. I will definitely be making this pattern up in more fabrics!

Here is a detail of the ruffles.  Ignore my vampire skin.
Handmade skirt and top

And, me being a total goofball.
Handmade skirt and top

So I still feel silly taking pictures of myself but if I want to share handmade clothes I guess that's the best way. I haven't been sewing much lately. I did buy and start a pattern for a pair of shorts, but am still having trouble with fit. I'm determined to draft my own pants patterns using Design it Yourself Clothes, a book that I have had for some time and not put to use. I bought some paper for pattern making and everything.  Wish me luck!