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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Simplicity 1783, Cynthia Rowley

      Did I ever mention that I love Cynthia Rowley's designs?  Well I certainly love her designs, but sewing this outfit, Simplicity 1783, Cynthia Rowley was not easy for me.  (Although,it could be that I had a total brain melt.  Seriously, I was messing up on simple reading, comprehension, looking at the pictures..oh well.) So, lets get started, it is going to be a bumpy ride:

     Here are my notes for the  wearable muslin blouse:  Fabric used: a crepe de chine poly from Hancock in the value section, and for the neckline & wrist edges a crepe back satin from Hancock.  (Since this is a wearable muslin, I went for inexpensive fabric, and I am so glad I did because of my silly mistakes.)  Sewed with French Seams. Adjustments:  I omitted the zipper, and shortened the length of the sleeve.  Because this pattern had a lot of ease, I went down a size (cut size 14); however, I wish I would have better measured the bottom darts, cause after I sewed the blouse, it came out a little least more snug then I like. Also, mistake #1, I failed to gather the center section of the neckline....check out the photo:
Close up of fabric.  Notice: I forgot to gather the center section along the neckline.

    Moving on to the skirt:  A couple of years ago I picked up some cute Betsey Johnson embroidered black corduroy on sale at a local fabric store. 

"Black Embroderied Betsey Johnson Corduroy"

      I knew I wanted to make a skirt from this gorgeous fabric.  Of course when I saw this pattern....that was it. I cut a size 16 and didn't make any adjustments.  (I did read that some lengthened the skirt; however, I have short legs so I didn't have to do that.)  Now "Empress" that is my sewing machine, does not like corduroy, even using a jean needle.  So, it was a constant battle and I felt I had to push the fabric the entire time.  Initially, I wanted to line the skirt; however, once I started sewing I knew that this was not an option.  As for the construction, I ended up sewing the zipper and fly opposite  the instructions.  I cut my fabric with the nap facing one way and didn't have enough fabric to recut the fly zipper area, so I had to sew in opposite manner. ( I think the layout for cutting fabric was wrong?) Also, I felt the zipper could have been a smaller length.  Oh, did I mention I sewed the pocket openings the wrong way? Yeah, had to seam rip and re-sew.  (You know when you mess up right at the beginning, it will be a tough project.) Now one part of the skirt I like is on the inside.  I made bias tape from a cute cotton print  for self bound seams and also the inside waistband.  It makes me happy when I see it.  

"Inside skirt"

     For the hem, I hand stiched a narrow hem and used hem tape.   I did mess up when I hemed the front vent together.......but at that point I was so over it, that I said screw it............and I wear it "as is".  Check out the photos of the outfit:

"Completed Rowley outfit"
"With (already had) velvet jacket"

     Lastly, I do plan to re-make another version of the top in real silk  crepe de chine from Mood Fabric, but this time I will gather the entire neckline and give myself a little more ease at the waist line or loose 5 pounds.....which ever comes first! Ha!

     Oh, Glenn and I drove around last Sunday taking these photos.  I didn't include the photos of me in a 6' foot ditch (Glenn said it would make a great photo, NOT), nor did I include the photos of someones dogs stepping into the photo shoot with me!!!!


Twisted Redbud....Bluish Rhododendrons

   Yesterday the sky was blue without clouds, and thought it would be a great day to take some photos of my favorite blooming spring time plants. Check them out:

"Twisted Redbud"

     The "Twisted Redbud"  was one of the first plants I placed in the back yard.  Unfortuately when it was shipped the 2 foot top stem was broke in the box. So, this little tree should have reached 4' by now........but instead it is way more twisted and short.  Oh well, I still love it.   Now these bluish purple rhododendrons Glenn picked up at our local farmer's market.  Will, the grower, lives almost in the Pisgah Forest and grows all kinds of cool azeleas and rhododendrons.  Eventually, we want to get a few more of these beauties and visit his nursery.

"Bluish Purple Rhododendron"
Keep Planting!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Painting Donation for our local Literacy Council's silent auction.

     This is what I call a transition painting.  For me that means, after working on a series of paintings which had a certain look or theme and for whatever reason I branched out. 

      When I first began teaching myself classical style painting I wanted to try my skills at creating narrative pieces..........creating a story within the painting.  The Pre-Raphaelite painters have always held  a special place in my heart,  (Oh, there are women Pre-Raphaelite artists too!)  so I thought to myself let's try it out.  Well, I don't think I was very successful with that particular style; however, this transition painting came out of that period.  Title, "Autumn Fire Dance", oil on wood.  Check it out:

"Autumn Fire Dance"

     Also, this painting is going up for an annual silent auction for The Buncombe County Literacy Council which I try to help gather auction items and spread the word.  Speaking of the up-coming auction, the key note speaker is a national best seller......and we are all thrilled.  Stay tuned for more info.   Also, if anyone wishes to donate for the up-coming auction or purchase tickets, please let me know.   

Thursday, April 18, 2013

     Finishing up this  painting from the "The Language of Flowers" series.  The title, "Looking Up" is an oil on wood panel.  Fern: Fascination.    (Will touch up the edges of the painting and maybe soften the shadows under the neck. )  Check out the painting:

"Looking Up"

     Still have a few more paintings in the works from this series.  However, I will be taking a break and working on a brand new series............called "Walk Abouts".


Monday, April 15, 2013

The Language of Flowers

    About a year ago, I read a book titled,  "The Language of Flowers" .  Although, I thought the book was just o.k. .......the concept of the book left a deep impression on me. The idea behind the book is based on floriography, which was a Victorian-era means of communication in which various flowers and floral arrangements were used to send coded messages, allowing individuals to express feelings which otherwise could not be spoken.

   During this time I was in the process of teaching myself classical realism portraits.  I thought it would be a great idea to incorportate the portraits with flowers/plants. The flora was painted as a way to express the emotion of the model.  I have to admit, I love the use of symbolism in paintings.....I feel the hidden meanings add interest and intrigue to artwork.

 Ok so here are two images, 1st titled, "Burgeon", 2nd titled, "Eye(s) Open" both are oil on wood paintings: