Saturday, July 28, 2012


My garden.

It's no secret that I love flowers. And I love gardening.  A few months ago, I found this necklace by Ann Taylor, called Electric Garden. I was absolutely charmed by it, and got to thinking.

With a little bit of this and a little bit of that from my own stuff, and a few other bits from Michael's, I started to lay out a design.

A coworker, who makes jewelry, said she'd put it together for me....just the way I wanted it. And after a few tweaks and little adjustments, here is my own vintage garden necklace:

I'm crazy about it.

We spent this vacation day thrifting and going to estate sales before laying around on the beach all afternoon. Could I have this life please?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

All this for under 20 bucks!

Okay, I love when this happens!

Dress: Walmart   $12.88  ( I really was going for contact solution, but seriously, who could resist this adorable little dress?)

Jacket: Thrifted. $1.99

Vintage Suitcases: Thrifted. $1.00 and $2.00

Necklace: Birthday gift from a few years ago. Free!

Bracelets: From my own collection...they're so old, they count as free!

Shoes: not wearing any in the photo, because I didn't have any that were under $3.00 that I could photograph with this outfit. (Not to worry, I did wear a cute pair of wedges that I found at TJ Maxx for about what the entire outfit cost!)

First night of vacation? JR and I slept under the stats on the upper deck at the cottage...what a dream!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vogue 1250...out of the pattern stash!

Before I dove into my summer sheath/shift dresses, I pulled out a pretty piece of knit fabric from my stash. I think I bought this one at Field’s Fabrics last summer when we were in Michigan. It’s a lovely weight, and I was crazy about that print. But I only bought about a yard and 5/8ths.

I had Vogue 1250 put aside for months…I thought I was the only one in the world that had not made this dress until I was reading Catherine Daze’s blog a few days ago and she thought SHE was the only person in the world that had not made this dress! So , together, we are the two people who are making Vogue 1250 this week….I left her a comment that we could very well start a new wave of Vogue 1250’s! Then I saw that Cennetta was also on the Vogue 1250 train, too! And she made a fabulous version.

Well, after some creative layout, which included cutting the bodice of the dress in two pieces instead of on the fold (creating a seam in the back bodice), I was able to squeeze this dress out of a yard and 5/8ths. And that even includes placing the pattern so I didn’t get two medallions where I didn’t need them! Good fortune was with me…there was just enough room…leaving enough for a back neck facing band. Barely!

Let’s see…this dress has been reviewed and re-reviewed and reviewed again, but I will bore you with the details of my modifications:

I cut an 18. Since it has such an interesting construction, I just wasn’t sure what would happen and didn’t feel like fussing around with FBA, a muslin, etc. I was hot and cranky and determined I would make this work. I really could have cut a 16 and drafted down to a 14 for the bottom of the dress. So, I took in the back (at my aforementioned back seam), took in the side seams, and took in the back skirt seam. I also shorted the back bodice by about an inch. And you know what? It worked!

Oh! I also forgot to do the darts at the shoulders…but that worked out fine, too. Gave me a little more drape at the neckline. And that’s okay with me.
And this is how I wore it to work today:
(can you tell I'm having camera issues?)

I really, really love this dress! I don’t know why I didn’t make it before this!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A little of this and a little of that:

JR left for Michigan on Friday, leaving me behind to take care of some work related issues. I'll fly out to meet him on Tuesday for a week of beaching, walking, antiquing and reading. My favorite week of the year!
Until then, I'm continuing to nurse a bad back. This mama has been uncomfortable for days, but I'm beginning to get some relief.

I got to see all of my kids this weekend, and most of my grand-kids. I love when that happens!

 (photos shamelessly saved from facebook!)

Saturday, Meghan and I met in our home town for coffee at  a really cute place called the Shirt Factory Cafe'.
(don't you love the ties hanging on the door?)

For nearly a century, this building was the home of the  Newell Shirt Factory, which made very high-end custom shirts for some of the world's most prominent citizens....Much like our friend Pam, who lives in a neighboring town! Hi Pam!

So, we had coffee and scones and a nice visit, then walked over to see Rebecca and Ben's new place. The three of us found our way over to a little fresh market and bakery on Main St.

I had some serious Sofia time this weekend, too....Friday night, after dinner and time at the park, when we were saying our goodbyes, she thanked me for taking her to the park, thanked me for taking her on a little walk, thanked me for singing songs, thanked me for having dinner.... all the while, Katie and Ray were in shock that Sofia discovered her manners! It was so adorable...a moment worthy of a tear or two. Next day after seeing Meghan, I stopped by for a quick visit with Sof and Baby Oscar,

and shocker of all shockers, she asked to come to my house! So, we spent the day the pet store,  playing croquet and making popcorn.

She also helped water Mimi's garden. When Sof found the garden gate, we walked through it and down a shady path and she exclaimed, "It's the Enchanted Forest! And it's so beautiful!"

We had some relief from the heat this weekend, which was really nice. I'm ready for November.

Got caught up on Project Runway...the first two episodes. I just love that Tim Gunn.

I finished Vogue 1250.
Started Butterick 5706. I worked this afternoon on the muslin, and cut out my fabric, ready to sew it up.

Is  this print going to be too bold? ...yikes. I found it on a clearance table and was thinking "skirt" when I bought it, so I hope it works out as a sheath dress.

We consigned several of our furniture pieces to one of our favorite antiques/decorating stores. The owner was super excited to get them, and has already sold some! So we have more projects in the works when we return! Time to re-stock the Annie Sloan!  That makes me SO happy!

And, I hope you had a restful and refreshing weekend, doing what you love to do!    See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Simplicity 1880 ....I want more!

Here it is. Finally! Simplicity 1880 Shirt Dress.

There's not much more to say about this dress than I have already said in previous posts. My modifications? To sum up:
a full bust adjustment by adding a dart.

Some changes to the back by eliminating the waist tucks and using darts instead.

Added an inch to the bodice length.

It's adorable, I am SO glad I took time to make a muslin, I wore it today and got loads of compliments, and I will make more. Terrific pattern, easy to make, and I love that there are oodles of options for design.

Thank You Sunni for all of your hard work and inspiration. This was a fantastic Sew-Along, and I really did take my time step by step as Sunni proceeded with great tutorials and helpful hints and links.
Well done!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ten on Tuesday...happy, happy

Ten things that make me happy:

1. After two years of debate,  I have finally won the battle of paint vs. natural between my husband and I.  We found a very cute little chest of drawers several years ago. It had mice living in it. It was covered with crusty old paint that was not “pretty, old and crusty.” JR worked for hours and hours getting that paint off…picking it out of all the little grooves and carved details ( the very grooves and carved details that I think will look spectacular painted, by the way)  So, just this last weekend,  he caved. With a compromise. The top of the chest stays natural.  I can live with that.

2. My grandchildren….every one of them. But  can I brag on just one of them right here and now?
First goal of the season, a fine assist, an excellent demonstration of concern for an opposing teammate and overall good sportsmanship. When I witnessed his first breath in this world, I had no idea the months ahead would bring news of a complicated heart defect, surgeries and NICU’s. When I see this bright young man able to play sports and demonstrating that he indeed has a very, very good, strong, loving heart and sweet spirit, it makes me happy.

3.Early morning coffee on my patio....


5. Old stuff. Auctions and sales. And knowing I can be a part of preserving a bit of Americana…a curator of history.

6. Colors... red.  Prints...bold. Basic Pattern...fabric from stash. Win, win! Happy, happy!

7. Waking up each morning with my husband at my side.

8. Ice Cream. In fact, discovering Lake Effect Ice Cream. A local business, started by two teachers. Their market continues to expand, and includes a store front located in an old building by the canal which offers flavors like Frozen Hot Chocolate, Salty Caramel, Angry Orange Sherbert and Nickle City Heat. I had the Red Velvet Cake. These boys also put together some amazing sundaes using known local bakery additions. Bonus? As you walk the sidewalk from the Erie Canal Locks, chalk drawings tempt you and encourage you along the way to the shop!

9. I found my camera!

10. I am free from some of the chains that have bound me, free from some regrets, free from some hurts, free to break the other chains that still bind.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Zippity Doo's a wonderful day!

I just love when a zipper goes in well!  It's like having your buttermilk biscuits turn out perfectly. Or having a good hair day. Or finding a bathing suit that fits....

 (hmmm... I would never know there was a zipper in this seam, other than the zipper pull...can you find the zipper pull?)

This is a good, basic tutorial for putting in an invisible zipper:
(Note how important it is to close your zipper after sewing up one side to mark where the bodice seam is. That will make life so much easier when you are ready to sew the other side of the zipper in place and need to match up your seams.)

 Isn't that the prettiest thing?

One additional thing I always do when sewing in a zipper is to adhere it with fusible tape like Steam-a-Seam.  Just for extra insurance against movement.

The other thing I do is hand stitch that last inch or so above the bottom of the zipper because I can never get close enough to the teeth with my zipper foot...trying to work around that pull is near impossible to me, so I came up with an easier solution, which guarantees a neat result.


So last night I hand hemmed the big circly skirt, got the thumbs-up-A-OK from my husband, and since tomorrow it's going to be 94 degrees, I just may wear this dress! Can't wait to show you!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The only thing worse than bra shopping...

All this week, I’ve been trying on bathing suits.
The only thing worse is trying on bras.

I have made a few observations: 
1.       I love that manufacturers are making cup sized swimwear tops. That’s a step in the right direction. But please!!! Tell me , if you make a DD cup, why on earth you pair that with thin stretchy spaghetti straps or thin stretchy straps of any kind!  Note to manufacturers: If a girl needs anything above a C cup, she needs the added support of wide straps that lift and lock the girls in place. Seriously!
2.       I love that manufacturers are doing separates in swimwear…BONUS is separates with cup sizes. My particular issue is big boobs, no butt. Butt, can we please make a basic bottom that has a nice wide waist band that is not a hipster, bikini or anything else that would create more rolls where we don’t need them? And as far as the tankini tops go, see #1 above.
3.       I’ve considered some on line options, but what a pain! Ordering, returning, return shipping..ugh.
4.       All of this swimsuit shopping has me wondering if I need to make my own! No…I am not EVEN going there.
5.       So, if I can’t find anything that would meet the above issues, I do admit that there are some VERY cute cover-ups out there! I have actually come home with two of them and no bathing suit yet!

So, maybe I can just lounge about the Michigan beach in cute cover-ups. Just cover-ups. Floaty, caftan-like-hide-everything cover-ups.

It's been just too hot to sew. But today, I am determined to finish my dress. And cut out a few more. Because I have a giant roll of kiwi colored outdoor fabric with which to cover my patio cushions. Which I'd like to do before summer is over.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dresses, dresses

Well, I’ve been creeping along on my shirtdress…finding a few minutes here and there to stitch a seam, set in a sleeve, etc.

As I was reading some concerns of others over the blousiness of the back of this dress, it got me thinking that I really don’t need that kind of pouf on my dress, in that place. I am wanting a sleeker, more fitted look to the back.
So, here’s what I did: 
WARNING! These are not pretty pictures! My actual final pattern piece looks much prettier!

I eliminated the tucks at the waist. This is easy…I folded in one of the and eased it to nothing along the length of the back. Then I created a dart about the depth of the last two tucks, and added it at about where the center tuck was on each side.  At the same time, I reduced some of the gathers under the yoke, pinching out some of the excess to nothing toward the mid back.

I still have a good amount of ease through the back, which is important, but I have eliminated some of that  excess fabric. I'm certainly no expert in this sort of thing, and I do tend to make some modifications by intuition...but what I ended up with is this:

And the back of my bodice looks like this now:

Tomorrow, I may set in the zipper and my dress could  be ready for a final fit!
My Two in One Sewalong Dress is nearly complete! I've gotta admit...this is a pretty cute dress.

So, here it is, the middle of summer and I  find myself wanting dresses. Simple, sheath dresses that are lightweight, cotton, and can be worn with a jacket or little cardi tossed over them for work. I can barely stand the thought of pants at this time of year, and the fact is, my closet is lacking in simple shift dresses…in solids and prints. Since I've recently done a major closet clean out, these would be good basics to have on hand.

I was totally inspired by Carolyn’s multiple designs of her “Peyton” dress, and Mary’s recent summer BBQ dress, and while browsing the pattern catalogs during my lunch hours, I’m noticing there is no shortage of simple sheath dresses out there. And how easy would they be to make up?

So, here’s what I’m thinking: 
A few patterns that have stood out to me:
McCalls 2401
New Look 6643
Simplicity 1883
Along with these from my stash:

A few fabrics from my stash:

And I should be good to go! I can breeze through the rest of the summer with nary a hot flash!

Monday, July 9, 2012

I kind of miss my stuff!

Ah, the show is over! Was it a success? I would say so. While the crowds were lighter this year than in years past, JR and I felt pretty comfortable with the amount of product we sold, and we still have some inventory left on which to build. It was exciting, and fun, and profitable, which pretty much sealed the deal for us doing this again.

The comments were all positive...lots of people seemed to enjoy our booth and share their excitement about us being a fresh new addition. We met so many nice people, too!  Best of all? Meeting Alaina...another blogger, and one of my best customers of the day!

The bad news? I lost my camera. Stink!!!! So, all I have to share from the show are these few shots taken with my phone.

So, this only represents a part of what we were able to jam into this 20X20 space, both inside and out.
There were a few pieces that I could have sold over and over again....but they had already been purchased and were waiting to be delivered :

A pair of curvy end tables painted a custom gray Annie Sloan mix:

A groovy 1960 sofa and a pair of black wooden outdoor chairs.

And a very, very cool, huge green industrial cabinet full of drawers....this is going to live in Toronto!

Oh, and I just want to thank our family and friends for being such a big support in these past weeks and the day of the show. Your encouragement and enthusiasm and hard work meant more to us than you know.

And for now? I'm glad to have my house back, I am missing my sewing machine, and I'm looking forward to finding more treasures to be loved by someone new.