Wednesday, June 26, 2013

fresh off the clothesline...

Is this TOO Betty Draper, Frauline Maria or Ellie Mae? Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I'm not sure if I care that it does channel some old fashioned goodness.

I am having a summer romance with vintage sheets and dresses. And it's going to continue.

because I've never felt more feminine or flirty

and that's a good thing.

When the working world around me does "business casual" in tank tops and capris, I'm wearing dresses.

I love making a dress for the cost of a pattern and an old flat sheet. This one cost $2.  And by the way, why haven't I thought of old sheets for making muslins?

This is a pure experiment. I used the bodice of a Simplicity Cynthia Rowley dress  and then added a gathered skirt with inseam pockets.

Does anyone else find CR patterns run small? I had to cut an 18 with a full bust adjustment. AND I had to add a generous 1 1/2" to the length of the bodice.

I've gotten lots of feedback on this dress. Many of those same ladies have asked me to make one for them.

Then I tell them it would be $80 and they look at me like I have three heads.  Yet they will gladly pay me $20 to hem a dress for them.  I've gotten lots of positive feedback from the facebook sewing group about pricing and they all agree that $80 is a steal. Do you sew for profit?

So I guess they'll continue to buy their fast fashion dresses that ten thousand other people are wearing.

And I get to be the only one with this cutie. And I will be happy wearing it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

the objects of my desire

Fit and flare dresses made from vintage floral sheets. Like these from Naughty Shorts.  So of course, I've been collecting vintage floral sheets.

                             I even have a picture of her dresses as my desktop photo at work.

I know this has been done in in blogland for a few years. But I have to make one. I can just imagine this dress with a leather belt and a little denim jacket. TOOOOO cute, too vintagey. Too ME!
So I have been collecting vintage sheets and there is  a dress for me in the very near future.
And I can't wait to get it done!

This bird pen that I begged from my boss. Well, actually I only had to admire it and she gave it to me!

This website:

Goodwill Fashionista

And speaking of thrifting, some of my favorite recent thrifting finds:

Those earrings! That belt buckle!

A very nice man who works at a local Salvation Army decided to give me a new pair of pajamas that I took to the counter after we had just purchased several pieces of furniture. Just to be nice. Now I am trying to figure out a way to repay the kindness. Maybe it will involve baking.

This pattern. I swear I made it when I was a girl! I love the elongated bust darts.

Simplicty 1609
 And this pattern. Seriously. What's not to love?

Colette Hawthorne

What are the objects of your desire these days? Are you sewing? Thrifting? Decorating? Please share, my friends!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

a little idea sparks a big project

Sometimes all it takes is a little something. And before you know it, it turns into a whole makeover.
So, my little something was a  collection of chandelier crystals that I have had for years...flea market and garage sale finds. I've kept a containter of them, just waiting for the perfect project.

Then, I saw my friend Lisa's outdoor painted chandelier. You’ve seen them on Pinterest, and in magazines. So, as luck would have it, I found the perfect little brass chandelier that only needed a new cord. I gave it a good spray of apple green paint ( the favorite outdoor color at my house) and hung some glass crystals on it....a perfect way to show off these sparkly pretties.

JR hung the fresh new chandelier on the front porch. So of course, that meant a dive into my stash to see what I had to recover cushions. I've been totally inspired as well by these Annie Sloan Paint Colors, which are new to our paint collection:

Then I discovered this loveliness:
As luck would have it, I found enough leftover outdoor fabric from last year’s patio furniture makeover to recover the rattan sofa cushion and a few pillows, including enough of a green batik print that I found on ebay years ago.

And to round it off, a fun stripe with the same colors. I scored that at a lunchtime Joann's visit. It has the PERFECT colors!

I love how a little spark of inspiration with a good dose of imagination and a lifestyle of frugality can give me a whole new look. So this week, I'm spending my evenings making cushion covers, pillows and other fun stuff for the porch.

Is this a throwback to the seventies or what? Is it me or am I seeing that old Avocado Green, Burnt Orange and Harvest Gold that were in my mother's kitchen?

Can you say groovy?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 favorite weekend trips

This morning, my daughter and I were talking about simplicity in life,  She is a stay-at-home mom. I wish that I had been.

Choosing that life means a  great deal of sacrifice, battling with inner conflict and a willingness to see the bigger picture...embracing a lifestyle that allows us to feel content with what we have, and  sacrifice the "things" that the world says we need so that we can enjoy and reap rewards of spending time investing in something bigger than ourselves.

And I know plenty of working moms that have to do the same thing. And that's okay, too.

For me, I've had to learn the hard way that it's not always the best to have the best. Many years ago, I began to cultivate a lifestyle of finding, repurposing, making and doing...mostly out of necessity, but now, it's a life that I believe in. I have to make it work for my whole wardrobe, cooking, decorating and vacations.

I don't need a fancy hotel and I don't need to budget a month's salary for a get away . For me? Camping is the way to go (not that I don't mind a vacation at Disney World or wouldn't love a romantic island get-away, of course!) Growing up camping meant the best memories. I regret that I didn't take my kids while they were young.  I am thrilled that they all love to do a camping getaway now, as adults.

We plan three trips a year and look forward to each one....planning meals, hikes, games and books to read.

I can't imagine a better way for JR and I to have focused time together...problem solving (without him strangling me over where the tent should go and how I can never seem to figure out the pop up canopy. ever) , cooking together, staring for endless hours into a campfire and enjoying creation. 

Sometimes we don't have to have long conversations that mean anything....we just are.

And that time spent away from the business of our every day means something. We are investing in each other. And there are no regrets in that.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Simplicity 1666: made and re-made

Several days ago, while I was hobbling around the sewing room, I started what I thought was going to be a brilliant dress idea. I had it sketched out awhile back, and based on the whole print blocking and floral trend, thought I had a good thing going on.

After my color block version of the peplum top which didn’t work out so well for me because of how the princess seams were designed, I decided on a different style of princess seaming which I thought would be more flattering.

Then came Simplicity 1666. PERFECT!

I had the sateen fabric, and decided to put the black on the sides and the floral in the center front and back. It would be very flattering to have those black panels skimming off inches , I thought. Perhaps it would save me a few weeks at the gym or allow me extra ice cream. I had in mind a look something like these:

dress: BCBG

dress: Michael Kors
Well, maybe it was my state of mind after surgery, maybe it was just lack of concentration, but I cut the fabric wrong. I figured I would baste it together anyway because , really, how bad could it be?

This bad:

I have described this look as “My Secret Mennonite Life” or “I Didn’t Think it Would Happen but I Have Turned Into My Aunt Della”
It's All Wrong…it’s too big, hideously unflattering and check out the footwear!

So, I took that basting apart, and decided to just make a little black fit and flare dress. With something extra.

I cut a smaller size. I added some pretty checked bias trim (this is prepackaged Wrights bias binding).

How did I do it? I drew my center line and measured a half inch on each side of it, placed little chalk marks all the way down as a guide. I did some measuring for symmetry around the neckline, also. Then I carefully pressed the bias tape down with steam-a-seam. Last step was to top stitch.
Much, much better. Wouldn’t you agree?

I'm still going to try a sheath version of the floral print blocking like the designer dresses above. Maybe next time I'll get it right!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ten on Tuesday: gratitude

The Ten on Tuesday topic for this week is:  Ten times I felt grateful last week.

I wish I could name a thousand. Because that’s about where I am right now. Grateful and satisfied (while busy and some days overworked!) Last week, I was grateful for:

1. a successful knee surgery. My PT is going so well that I am named one of the top five knee rehabs in the office…in their history!

2. My son got engaged! And we love, love, love Rebecca to pieces.... we love the idea of Reba being part of our family, and look forward to a fun celebration of their togetherness.

3. The best husband EVER. I’ve said it a hundred times here, and I’ll say it a hundred more. He is a person who loves sacrificially…with his time, abilities and emotions. He is a man that can be counted upon to be reasonable, caring, forgiving and honest. And he took good care of me post op…a bonus!

4. My girls and their families. They are all raising great kids in a challenging time.

5. This growing business called Ellen J Goods. It gives us a goal to work on together, it has expanded our relationships in the most unexpected ways, and has created opportunity beyond what we would have expected. The most recent of which was just last week!

6. My church and church family…they teach me how much better I can be…on the inside, and then how to make that work in the real world. We had our second small group gathering to study, learn and share with each other. And it confirmed that we were put together for a reason. I’m thankful for that.

7. Lori, who keeps me excited about sewing and life, and who gave me some really good text laughs last week.

8. Grilling…veggies, shrimp, steak, chicken.

9. The peonies are in full bloom.

10. I am thankful that I can make things. I was most thankful this past week that I could use my brain to solve a problem and created a new dress!

More on that tomorrow!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Simplicity A1738: the vest version

Angela of Collected Yarns!  You have a pattern coming your way! Email me with your mailing address and I'll get that to you right away!

Goodness, thanks ALL of you for your lovely comments. I have to apologize for the delay in letting Angela know that she won the pattern. I had a little knee surgery on Friday and I've been sort of lazing around since then, not feeling much motivated to do anything.  Yesterday, I was hobbling around, starting to feel the need to accomplish something and decided to attack the other Simplicity A1738 "Jacket as Vest." Since this pattern goes together so quickly, it was a manageable feat to work on it  it bits and pieces throughout the day and before I knew it, by evening, I had this cute version made!

This one is a win/win. Jacket, Vest, a perfect pattern made even more perfect!  I love it styled with a simple tee top and this maxi skirt, Simplicity 1782  that I made last weekend. (under that skirt is a big ole' knee...peekaboo). The skirt is made from a silky print from Joann's. It's floaty and wafty. I like wearing it.

Or styled with a simple tunic and ankle pants.

              By the way, I finished the sleeve openings with bias binding and that worked just fine.
                                                     I do like this little knit vest.