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Saturday, June 23, 2018

A Children's Story Book.....

      As of late, I have been writing and working on sketches for a children's story.  The title is "A Lady, Her Dog, and the Most Exquisite Flower Ever". I am always amazed how experiences in life, whether we want them or not, helps us with our future projects.  My time in Asheville wasn't always the best, maybe because we were forced out of New Orleans with Katrina, but again, the mountains and surrounding environment left an amazing impression on it is not surprising that the book takes place in a mountainous town.  Here is the introduction:  

This is a story about a lady, named Clara, her blind dog, called Lucky, and the adventure both set out to discover and take the most exquisite flower ever known to exist. Clara, who is a commercial gardener, has a unique gift, she was born with a radiating light, a light so bright it keeps people from looking at her. However, with this gift she is able to grow plants twice as fast and is the most successful gardener on the East Coast. It is not surprising she wants the most exquisite flower ever for her garden. 

    Here are some rough sketches:  

"A Lady, Her Dog and the Most Exquisite Flower Ever"

"Mother Wolf Holding Bow and Arrows"

Of course I do need to mention, that these are original drawings and they should not be copied without my consent. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Beatrix Potter Exhibit

         Even though this post isn't exactly about painting, sewing or gardening, it is about painting, sewing and gardening.  For the month of April, I created a Beatrix Potter display at work.   With the recent movie of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", I really wanted to pay homage to Beatrix Potter, who was an incredible artist, gardener and land conservationist.  The lady had guts & when her little tales were rejected by various publishers; she continued on until Frederick Warne Publishing finally published her stories. 

     Check out the photo of the display:

Beatrix Potter Display, books in left bookcase

      Also, to entice the little ones to read, I created a wool felted Peter Rabbit and placed him in  a diorama; which will be raffled off to anyone who checks out a Potter book.  I used a shoe box to create the diorama and wrapped it in felt.  The diorama has a real swinging potting shed door, wood fence, wood wheel barrel, and of course the green watering can.  Also, I must admit,  I am addicted to wool / needle felting.  I love that you can make little miniature sculptures.  Little wool felted Peter Rabbit is only 2 1/2" inches tall!   Check it out: 
Wool Felted Peter Rabbit & hanging clouds in Diorama

 Ok so I thought it would be cute to place Peter in our little veggie garden:

Peter in our garden

    Beatrix Potter based her illustrations from the many  pets she had.  For ex: she really had a bunny named Peter.  Also, there is a well known photo of Beatrix with her little pet mouse Xarifa.  So it was only natural to wool felt a little mouse too for the display.  Check her out in her little mouse cage:

Xarifa- pet mouse

    Also, I did find this wonderful Potter craft book; which contains the pattern for a "Mrs. Tiggy Winkle pincushion".....check it out: 
Mrs. Tiggy Winkle Pincushion

Lastly, I did paint (a copy) of Peter in the garden from Potter's classic "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" .  It is not an exact duplicate, but close enough.  Yeah, I left out a white section of his chest....oh well.  Check it out: 
Peter Rabbit in the Garden

I thoroughly enjoyed creating and executing this display...........but even more so, knowing that people are checking out Potter's books!    

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

"M" is for Magic

     "M" truly is for Magic.  It has been a while since last blogging.  I recently changed my occupation and so far it has been satisfying.   I actually enjoy going to me that is magic. 

      So, what is all this magic about?!  About a month ago, I volunteered for our weekly Story time, since my co-worker had a conference. (background) I have never worked with children in my life, and have never done a story time, so I asked my co-worker what I should do..........Her reply was, "It is your story time, you do what you want."     Well, it didn't take long for the wheels to spin in my mind and a production is what I wanted.  

      The letter I chose was "M" for magic.  I found three incredible easy to read magic books (My favorite is The Magic Hat), and of course I would be a magician.   Every magician needs a cape so I decided to sew one up along with a magic hat. Besides, living in New Orleans believe it or not a woman needs a cape in a her closet!

      For the cape I chose Simplicity 1294 Pattern A.  Fabric:  Crepe back satin from JoAnn Fabric.

       I made a few adjustments to the pattern.  Instead of using gross grain ribbon for the front ties,  I cut  a 2 inch strip of my fabric, folded with right sides together and made my own ties. I used my handy dandy tube turner for this and all went well.  I did use a beautiful 2 1/2" trim for the collar (not venetian lace) and I omitted the feathers along the front.   I was able to sew the cape together in one day.  What took the most time was the 5/8" hem all around......which really wasn't that bad.

       For the hat I chose Simplicity 8361 View B. 

       Now, I did have to make some changes to the pattern  for my magic trick: which I pulled a bunny out of the hat.  Basically, I followed the sewing directions and once completed,  I added a second lining with a small opening. The bunny laid in-between the original lining and the second one.  When I showed the children the inside of the hat, with no bunny, I made sure the opening was covered by my hand, and then when it came time to pull the bunny out,  the inside of the hat faced me.  All they saw was no bunny and then a bunny. The children were over joyed and one said........."she really knows magic".  It was hilarious and fun.  Of course they helped me by saying the magic word, Abracadabra.

       Check out the photo collage: 

        Oh, I did want to share this little wool needle felted Minnie Mouse I made for my co-worker.  I forget how I found out about wool felting but as soon as I saw little animals wool felted on the internet, I decided I must do this.   Anyway, Minnie Mouse is only about 2 1/2" inches tall.  I found the teacup from a flea market, and  sewed her little skirt and bow. Also, I used pipe cleaners for the body so her arms and legs are moveable.   Enjoy! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Another Butterick 5951 in Gertie's challis fabric

       About a year ago, my Mom, my sister and I had to run up to Baton Rouge for an errand.  On the way back home, I mentioned that I really needed to stop in the "large" JoAnn fabric store so I could look at Gertie's fabric. (Yeah, our local store doesn't carry Gertie's fabric, bummer).  My Mom and sister know that I have a fabric addiction, and that I would pester them until we went to JoAnn's we did.  I ended up purchasing this beautiful Gertie"s rayon fabric for Butterick 5951  Currently both the bodice & skirt are ready to be sewn together.  Yeah, I took the extra time to line the skirt with black bemberg.  I mean if you are going to line the bodice why not do the skirt too!


       Here is my work in progress: 

bodice in Gertie's rayon fabric

      Please note: this fabric does run. So, make that muslin test first, because when you seam rip the fabric awfully runs.

      Oh, here is  little decorative pillow I did for a former co-worker.  Yes, I even did embroidery on the front on cotton, with trim, and home decor fabric from Hancock's on the back.  Now I just have to get it to her. Check it out:
front of embroidered pillow with the word "Autumn"

       Here is the back of pillow:
backside of pillow

    So, I still have a little time before work............I think I will continue sewing  my dress.  

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Simplicity 2215 Skirt Version & McCalls princess seam blouse

      What's a girl to wear?  This month I had to attend a Home & Garden Show for work and I really wanted to wear something light, comfortable and forgiving....especially considering I would be moving around all day. Also, I had to make sure I wore nothing low cut or too short.  I didn't want any distractions!  The choice was simple: a black and white gingham blouse with already adjusted pattern and Simplicity 2215 skirt version.

     The blouse was easy peasy since I had  just finished one.  The gingham fabric is 100% cotton and very lightweight.  I did use a special coarse sew in interfacing for the collar and cute pearl rose buttons.........I love decorative buttons.  Since the pattern was already adjusted, I sewed this up in no time. 

      For the skirt:  I choose a 100% cotton twill black fabric (From the stash).   I love how easy the twill holds the pleats, and again it is very lightweight.   I cut and sewed a size 16 pattern.  Normally I do a muslin test for a new pattern, but I  sewed it on the fly and did have to loose a front pleat and extend the waist band an inch so I would have a little more room. Fortunately the pleats are not evenly spaced, so loosing a pleat was no big deal.  What I truly love about this skirt is the pockets!  Side zipper pockets were a mystery to me, but  the pattern's instructions were really easy to understand.  Overall the pattern was easy to sew and went together quickly!  

     Check out the photo from the Show.  I wish I had put my hands in the pockets to show them off..........but I was working and this was quickly photographed.  Of course I would have straightened my blouse too!

B&W Gingham blouse with pleated Skirt


Friday, February 17, 2017

McCall's 6124 in Purple Cotton Gingham with Pearl Buttons

     Even though most of the country is dealing with winter; aka cold, & snow...down in New Orleans we are busy preparing for Mardi Gras in springtime weather.  Seriously our azaleas are blooming right now.   So the timing was perfect to photograph my newest blouse.....MCcall's 6124.

Look at those azaleas blooming 

      This particular pattern gave me lots of problems, especially where the back of the sleeve seam meets up with the back seam.  Although I did a few adjustments to the pattern, I still was unable to get those two seams to meet up. And after two years of adjusting and readjusting,  I said to hell with it.  However, I don't think anyone will notice, except for me or those sewing enthusiasts. 

MCCall 6124

      Fabric:  a beautiful purple cotton gingham from   
      Buttons: sweet little pearl buttons from my stash.

    Adjustments and sizing:  Typically I cut a size 18 for McCall and Butterick. Adjustments: shorten sleeves.......however, I did shorten them 1/2" too short, but   I already lengthened my pattern for my next blouse.  Enlarged sleeves for my upper arms. A little increase for the back.  I didn't have to do a full bust adjustment but I did have to increase by about 3/8". ( Also, the blouse is a little tight right now b/c I gained weight since sewing the blouse.  Yeah, got sick, a cold of all things,  for 3 weeks and now I am finally back on track with working out and dieting.  ) 

detail of button 

   Now that I finally got this pattern adjusted for a good fit, I am very happy to have it in my collection.  Already I am sewing a cute black and white larger gingham print in cotton.  In addition, I know I will continue to sew up this is a classic.

    Happy Mardi Gras!



Sunday, January 8, 2017

CC made treasures

         Now that the holidays over it is time to take a breather and start focusing on this years sewing goals.  Mostly, I plan on sewing more warm weather dresses and coordinating outfits......lets face it in New Orleans you may wear your beautiful sweater only three times a year.   (Although, right now the temperature is currently 29 degrees! today is one of those beautiful sweater days.)  

        In addition, I have containers upon containers of beautiful lightweight fabrics that I plan to sew first before buying new fabric.  Already, I have a cute black and white gingham cotton fabric cut, marked and ready for sewing.  I love having a pattern that has been already adjusted to fit me. 

      Moreover, before I start my next sewing project, I decided to do something dangerous....I unscrewed the top part of my machine and cleaned around the tension wheel and the parts in between.  I have never cleaned the top part of my machine, thinking that it needed to be professionally cleaned and after sewing with it for 3 years now I knew it needed to be done.  Yikes! It was filthy, and my fear of taking the top off is now alleviated........I know I can clean it without destroying it! 

     Now onto the little holiday treasures I sewed: 

    First up:   Simplicity 1441 . I made the butterfly rag pillow.   

Review:  This pattern is very easy. The sewing time was only about 3 hours. What took the longest was cutting all the pattern pieces.  Each pattern piece needs 3 to 4 layers of fabric. I used cotton flannel so I could only cut a double layer of fabric at a time.  If using flannel, I wouldn't suggest cutting all the fabric in a day, cause you might pull a muscle or bruise your hand.  Electric scissors would have come in handy for this project.  Overall I think the pillow came out cute. 
front of pillow

back of pillow

   Next up :  functional drink coasters, using Sweetly Stitched Handmades  book, by Amy Sinibaldi

front of coasters

back of coasters

 Review: First things first.  I love this book.  The photos are beautiful, and the author gives you wonderful tips at the beginning of the book.  In addition, the templates are in the back of the book. I will sew more of these lovely projects.

Sewing easy. Although, sewing the ric rac even on the coaster takes patience. In addition, the author suggested using interfacing in between the fabric; however, I used flannel.  I read somewhere that flannel sandwiched in between the outer cotton fabric will absorb moisture that is what I did. In addition, I added top stitching to the coasters.  

   Next up: pillow with hand embroidery.

You can check out the link to the last pillow I made. 


detail of embroidery 

      Last but not least, a little bib.  Again, Sweetly Stitched Handmades, came in handy. 


      Looking forward to sewing cute outfits, and blogging about them!