Monday, March 28, 2011

Gypsy Princess Dress (for Baby Girl)

This is the birthday dress for the Birthday Girl!

I'm especially pleased because I "designed" it, and it worked out fine.  You see, last year at this time, I had just started "sewing" (instead of only "quilting") and was still flummoxed attempting to follow pattern instructions (I still struggle with that sometimes...). 

But I wanted to make a dress reminiscent of gypsies for Baby Girl, and based, also, on my interpretation of this look.  I have a very nice "Idea Notebook", and this is the page with my ideas sketched out, and the picture for inspiration.

Additionally, we have a week-long booking with our gypsy-themed rosinback act later in the year, and I thought it would be fun if Baby Girl had some outfits to wear to fit in with the rest of us! (Might as well indulge now... She might boycott dresses later on...)

So cute.  I have a thing for pinafores now.  I made this one extra full and shorter on the sides.  The dress underneath is just a basic elastic-necked design, with very full sleeves to "blouse".  And I added a panel at each side seam of the dress, so that the dress will "kick out" a bit, underneath the pinafore.  I dyed this "Scarlet". It did not turn out exactly as that,  but I'm just as happy with it.

The only drawback is that Baby Girl will have a hard time crawling in it. :-)



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Birthday Bunny

There's a birthday coming up at our house..not for over another month, but we are working on the "presents" aspect of said birthday...(I don't want to be just-finishing her present the night before...I'd rather be puttering around with her cake and just enjoying HER)

So, yes,  Baby Girl is having a birthday.  Her first one.  It follows her very first tooth.  So many's all coming so fast.

At any rate, this is Strapping Young Lad's present to his baby sister, a bunny made from one of my old sweaters.
(I liked this sweater. I got it at Goodwill.  I rarely wore it though, and one morning I came down the stairs in it and Hubby said pleasantly, "Oh, you look fuzzy." And I went "hhmmm", because "fuzzy" is not necessarily I look that I strive for, lol. It is angora and wool, and I think it's doing great as Someone's Bunny, now.)

I did not involve Strapping Young Lad in all aspects of creation, this time, like I do sometimes, but he did have the satisfaction of stuffing it (the best part).

I struggled with the face awhile to "get it right", but I think this Bunny looks friendly.

I love the tail; a last minute touch.

The over-sized ears are one of its best features.

I think this may actually be one of those toys that Baby Girl will love. (I want to sleep with it, it's so soft, and it's so great to hold onto it by the ears! Strapping Young Lad wants one for his birthday.)

So, Strapping Young Lad is all set with a present for Baby Girl.  And this Bunny doesn't need fed daily, just needs the occasional gentle, hand-washing... :-)

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's been a very ethnic week...

I only say that because we skipped around with meals this week, ending up with an array of main course leftovers on Thursday for an interesting, if not complementary, selection:  lasagna (Italian), Boeuf Bourguignon (French, of course), and a side of St. of Irish Soda Brown Bread.

I tend to cook large at the beginning of the week and by the end I ease off a little, due to all the food that still needs eaten. 

The lasagna was one of my better ones...made with spinach and homemade sauce from last summer.  I added ground sausage to counteract the healthiness of the spinach.  It is also one of our better sauces that we've made.  We've made some very non-authentic-Italian-red-sauces, BUT we keep trying.  Someday I'd like to take a lesson from a real Italian.

And the Boeuf Bourguignon...I thought, "Now seriously, how complicated can even the French make a beef stew?..." Ha! Let's just say I started the process immediately in the morning.  One last-minute-visit to the doctor and an errand later, plus the day caring for The People (ie kids), I was just finishing the stew before Hubby got home in the evening!  (I should have knownto expect this, when it took me and two of my friends 3 hours of chopping, roux-making, and etc. to complete Lobster Bisque on a New Year's Eve) 

And the Irish Soda Bread was made with the generous, helping hand of Strapping Young Lad.  I was skeptical of the concept of baking soda bread, but pleasantly surprised with the results.  It makes a very hearty, rustic bread.  It does require being warmed and buttered well for the best tastiness.

And there it is for another week...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Shamrock Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I have nothing particularly poignant to say today....

But as a nod to the Irish part of my heritage, I cranked out the quilting  of the Celtic Quilt.  Which was somewhat tedious, I must say.  But an expedited process, because when I quilt a quilt, it gets set up on the kitchen table.  This time it took me a week (due to the slow, echo quilting of the Celtic symbol blocks).  In my defense, I worked on it any spare minute just to get it out of every one's way. :-)

Now I just need to bind it.  When I do, I'll post the pictures and will include pictures of the backing I found for it, which is "just right."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Idea Projects for Vintage 'Hankies"

I have a lot of vintage hankies. 

My uncle bought me the jewelry box full of my grandmother's hankies that were being auctioned off at The Farm Sale....  My grandparents were "Plain".  Grandma S. would add a little color and feminity to her outfit by tucking one of her colorful hankerchiefs in her pocket.  (Feminine charm always find a way...)

 And I have some of my other grandma's as well (Mema).  The ones pictured in this post were hers. 

If you have any, here are two ideas of something-to-do-with-them:

Make a pillow. 

The hankerchief I used for this side of it, is actually white and rather flimsy; it has a blue flower embroidered at the bottom right corner.  I backed the hankie with a blue floral print fabric to add a little interest and machine-embroidered them together with blue thread.  I like that you can see the floral print fabric, through the hankie.

I kept the blue palette going, and used a pale blue hankerchief that has white crochet at the edges.  I also backed this hankie with another floral fabric.

So you see, it doesn't matter if they're "matchy-matchy", and/or the exact same size, you can make it work just by tacking on a piece of fabric behind the two hankies, which also makes a sturdier pillow.

Second Idea....

Frame a Hankie

For mine, I chose a small hankie with Mema's initial and paired it with two neat old photographs of her as a Sweet-Young-Thing (and how we all stay in our hearts, even though our bodies betray us).  Throw in a fabulous Dollar Store frame and you have a very unique memento.

At some point, I plan on making a very colorful, hanging  chain-of-pendants (of hankies) for Baby Girl.  Aside from that I'm out of fresh ideas, for now. 

 Anyone have a good spin on other ideas for hankies?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Upcycled Dress

This was a long shift dress in a very nice, breezy cotton.  It's my Mom's.  A thoughtful friend saw it somewhere at a good price and got it for her.  We both like this color for her and the fabric is very nice.

Since this picture, I have rendered it into two pieces....  a top (that required very little changes aside from my modified "crumb catcher" addition with the aid of elastic thread)

The Front

The Back

The "Crumb Catcher"

And a swingy skirt.  I made a wide waistband for it, sewed the slits up for modesty, sewed in an attached slip with crochet trim, and tacked on a pleated ruffle.

I'm especially pleased with the ruffle because it is the selvage (which I usually cut off and throw out) from this fabric (pictured below).  Also, in it's favor, it didn't need a finished hem on it.

AND let's not overlook the "buttons."  They used to be clip-on earrings.  With Hubby's help (and the help of his drill), they are now buttons.  I also painted them with my favorite moon blue nail polish. :-)

The Back

So, now I can see my Mom serving cold, iced tea to her friends on her porch, in this skirt...rather than cleaning her house in it (thanks mostly to the ruffle, which I feel added the little bit of "special").

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Toothbrush Phenomena

Not too long ago, I included this picture in a post.  (ie Strapping Young Lad's suction-cup toothbrush positioned in his place of choice)

It seems that Ours is not the only household with suction-cup toothbrushes and the luxury of choice, regarding placement thereof, the said chopper-brushers.  My sweet sister-in-law sent me this picture of her two boys' toothbrushes.

And in her words: "Guess which is whose?  Type A son is blue; Free Spirit is orange..."


I will sorely miss finding a little toothbrush in random places, when Strapping Young Lad is too old for such trivialties.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My No Sew Project

This, with the help of Hubby and his power-tool skills, is my latest project...a vaulting barrel.  To practice on and keep in shape, without always having to get a horse out and/or someone to run my horse while I practice.

It is 1 and a half barrels welded together.  I've been meaning to have it welded for about 2 years, and the other day and I finally packed The People (ie the kids and the dog) up in the truck, dropped off the barrel at a local welders..and the next day... Voila! I picked up my new vaulting barrel.

I covered it with 1" thick neoprene padding AND (wait for it, wait for it...) the blue cubicle fabric.  Yes, amazing.  It is now dominating part of the living room, and that certainly was not the original plan.  But I asked Hubby if he minded if I kept it in here for a few weeks (so easy to snatch 5 minutes here and there on it; and already my movements have the-ease-of-movement that one can only attain through repitition). 

And Strapping Young Lad spends a lot of time on it, aside from his now-daily practice.

I have informed Strapping Young Lad that if he continues to practice, I will include him in any rosinback bookings that we take.

This leads me to "music selection", which is almost as important as the actual performance.  Everyone and everything here seems to have their own song.  For example, my horse Satchel, whose job is western trick riding, doesn't just have "a song".  His  music is anything Led Zeppelin.  And "Rock n Roll Train" by AC/DC  And "Louie Louie" you get a feel for his character by the music that suits him?  We roll into a rodeo to perform with him, and as we take him off the trailer,  he's like, "Heeeey, Man..." (he's chill)

And our Percheron draft horse, Pucchini, is majestic and powerful.  Sometimes very naughty.  His music thus far is:  VooDoo Chile (the Stevie Ray Vaughan version) AND the best song for his noble side is "Samson Et Dalila: Air et Danse Bacchanale" by Saint-Saens.  The latter has a reoccurring theme that builds and is a little gypsy, mysterious, and beautiful; the best part is the end of the song (if you care).  Though, I practice with Pucchini, mainly with background music of Waylon Jennings, because it keeps us both laid back. And Waylon has the perfect rhythm, in keeping with Pucchini's rhythms.

Now back to Strapping Young Lad and his music selection for his part of a performance...he chose "Requiem Mass: Dies Irae" by Verde.  Go listen to it; it will make you laugh as you keep in mind that Strapping Young Lad is a fuzzy and tender four years old.  If you listen to any of the songs in this post, you HAVE to hear this one.  This is NOT the song I would have chosen for him. I mean, this song is typically what you hear playing in the movies during gruesome, medieval battle scenes...  But for now, I play it for him while he practices and he finds it highly motivating... (Men...)

I'll have to come up with something more appropriate for him.  Something stalwart, but lighter.

Any ideas?