Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dress Up 2011...July!

Welcome to July's Dress Up!  Please add your link to your below!  Also, please leave me a comment!  I can't wait to see all your wonderful Folk Art inspired dresses!


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

July's Dress Up Theme Is...

In celebration of Independence Day, July's Dress Up theme is Folk Art!  According to Wikipedia : "Folk art encompasses art produced from an indigenous culture or by peasants or other laboring tradespeople."

Basically, this means that Folk Art is different than Fine Art because it is (and was) made for utilitarian purposes rather than "just to look at."  Wikipedia also says, "Folk art expresses cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics. It encompasses a range of utilitarian and decorative media, including cloth, wood, paper, clay, metal and more. If traditional materials are inaccessible, new materials are often substituted, resulting in contemporary expressions of traditional folk art forms. Folk art reflects traditional art forms of diverse community groups — ethnic, tribal, religious, occupational, geographical, age- or gender-based — who identify with each other and society at large. Folk artists traditionally learn skills and techniques through apprenticeships in informal community settings, though they may also be formally educated." Folk Art exists in all cultures, but I typically think Americana when I think Folk.  I guess that's because I am an American.  Here are some examples of Folk Art:

The first example is obviously a portrait painting.  The second is a quilt top made during the U.S. Civil War, and the third example is stitch needlework.  I chose this theme to celebrate the American holiday, which is Monday, July 4.  This doesn't, however, mean you must complete your dress with Americana in mind.  You may use whatever Folk Art is indigenous to your neck of the woods...Brazil, South Africa, Canada, etc.!  If you want to base your design on American Folk, you can find a lot of examples at the American Folk Art Museum.

I can't wait to see all the dresses! Don't fret if you haven't finished your June dress (or even May's ), just click the months and link up. I'll post the Simply Linked tool this Friday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

A Summer Knitted Scarf

I hate unpacking!  I've spent my evening unpacking from my vacation.  Three loads of laundry later, I'm writing this post.  My vacation was great.  It wasn't, however, low-key as originally planned.  We were on the go nearly the entire trip!  It was a lot of fun, but now I'm afraid I need another vacation just to recuperate from this one!  

I had planned to get in some sewing on my vacation and even brought my sewing machine with me.  Alas, I didn't get much done other than these few bag pieces, which I pieced and machine "free" embroidered.

I will use each piece as the "fronts" of zippy bags.  I didn't get the bags themselves completed, but plan on working on them, and others, as soon as I get my trip "stuff" organized and put away.  I did accomplish one goal on the trip.....I finished knitting the scarf I started months ago!  I worked on this scarf almost every time I rode in the car and finished it during the ride home yesterday.  Here are a few more views.

I still can't remember the name of this lace stitch, but it was pretty easy...just time consuming.  I wrote a post detailing the pattern and the yarn I used in March.  I think it turned out really pretty and the organic yarn is scrumptious.  I am also really pleased that I actually finished this project.  Here's a secret....I am notorious for not completing knitting projects I start!  Don't tell.

The dryer is buzzing, time to put another load in.  Keep in touch...I will be posting the details for July's Dress Up.  Here's a hint:  Think 4th of July!  Oh, and I will post some more vacation of them may even involve me and a hula hoop!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Giant Rooster? Oh Yeah!

Last year's first vacation post photo was of an Elvis impersonator.  This's a giant rooster!  Welcome to Branson, Missouri!

We went horsebacking riding yesterday.  It was awesome.  Charlotte's horse was named, Abby.  Mine was called, Rebel and my husband had, "Arnold."  The ride was terrific.  The trail was rugged, but the horses knew what and where they were going.  We walked along a stream..and crossed it.  Rebel even trotted a bit.  Perfect.

After the ride, my husband dropped me off at a huge quilt/fabric shop.  I was in heaven.  I bought a book about embroidery and one on painting on fabric.  I also bought some really cool fabric.  What made it even cooler, was that it was on sale!

  After the quilt shop, a giant flea market!  I didn't buy anything here, but did find a few interesting pieces.

Bird Vase

Tea Brewer (that's what the tag said)

Sewing Basket

Just because.

The pool is calling, too!  Tootles for now!

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Embroidery: Hand vs Free Motion Machine

I am officially on vacation again!  Pretty cool getting to be on vacation for two weeks then go to work for a week and then get to be on vacation again for a week!  I plan on soaking up the sun, spending a lot of time at the pool, thrift and antique mall shopping, and sewing!  I am taking my sewing machine on vacation!  Weird?  Maybe, but I want to continue working on "stuff" for my soon to be opened Etsy shop!  

I've been making more embellished image transfer bags like this one:

A little wrinkly, but I hope you can see the hand embroidery I did in order to embellish the ladies.  Speaking of embroidery, I've been experimenting a bit with free motion machine embroidery.  Here is one bag I completed:

There will be plenty of internet access during this vacation, so I hope to post great photos of my travels and whatever cool stuff I come across!
In the meantime, I hope you all have a fantastic Father's Day!  

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fabulous Flea Market Finds

My vacation/stay-cation ends tonight.  Boo.  A few more hours and then it's back to work.  Yuk.  I have had a very nice time these past two weeks.  I have camped, canoed, eaten s'mores, and swam.  I've gotten tan and a few bug bites.  I've also gotten to hang out with my family and I've loved that!  I also got to sneak into a few of my favorite flea markets and junk shops.  That's where I found the Singer Sewing Machine Book.

This book was copyrighted in 1954, but I believe it was given as a gift to "Eleanor" in 1957 because of the inscription:  

I just love finding old handwritten notes.  It's so personal, isn't it?  Besides this awesome book, I also came across some pretty cool purses:

This was my favorite:

And look at these shoes!

Were ladies' feet smaller years ago?  It seems like vintage shoes are all so small!  Hmm.

While this vacation is almost over, I have another week scheduled the week after Father's Day.  So, I guess I shouldn't complain too much!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Pretties

So I'm still on vacation; or should I say, stay-cation.  No primitive campsites, no pristine river water, no bugs and unfortunately, no room service.  I'm actually enjoying my time at home with my littlest daughter.  We've been hanging out at our neighborhood pool and playing on our trampoline.  Okay, she's been playing on the trampoline.  We even braved the heat and visited the zoo!  It was so hot and we walked our feet off, but we got to see a few of her favorite animals, including all sorts of different monkeys and even a few lions!

Her favorite animal is the cheetah, but for some unknown reason, they weren't out, so the next best animal was the leopard.  If you look hard, you can see him lying down under that tree.  She drew her interpretation of the leopard after we got home.  Did you know that leopards have brown spots within their black spots and cheetahs just have black spots?  Now you know!

In this, my last week of my stay-cation, I've made a few summer pretties for my youngest.  I made a simple halter using McCall's Easy Stitch and Save #5562.  Note to self:  Remember you hate doing ruffles.  Pick another view next time.  

I made View B, the ruffled top.  It turned out pretty cute, but the ruffle was a pain.  I figured making the ruffle would be less of a pain than sewing the bias tape on the bottom for View C.  I may have chosen unwisely.  Anyway, it's done and Charlotte loves it!

I've also made this halter type dress during my time off.  She actually wore this dress on the zoo trip, which was perfect since it was so hot.  I made two of these dresses.  One for Charlotte and the other for her friend, Halle.  They were little twins at the zoo!  

I hear the pool calling!  Tootles friends!
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Adjustable Fabric Strap Tutorial Update

It seems like ages ago that I wrote my first sewing tutorial.  It was actually in March last year that I posted a tutorial based on Nancy Zieman's adjustable fabric straps for purses and bags.  I hadn't realized until relatively recently that many crafters have come to my blog and some even became "followers" after seeing my tutorial on other websites and blogs, including Craft Gossip and Totally Tutorials.  So, I'm really grateful to those sites and others for re-posting this tutorial.  I'm also thankful to Nancy Z. Without watching her show on my local PBS channel, I'm not sure I would have even thought that I could make my own purse, let alone adjustable straps.  She is my sewing hero.

So why am I talking about this tutorial?  Well, over the past year, a few people have emailed me in frustration regarding the instructions.  I've tried to explain the steps via email to them, but I'm afraid these steps are best understand through pictures.  I'd actually like to make a video and post it, but I'm certain I'm not to that level of blogging just yet!  Carla is one of those frustrated emailers.  Instead of trying to explain the steps in an email, I've decided to re-do some of the steps that are probably the most confusing and write an "updated" tutorial here.  Please note that I have used fabric scraps and haven't even used matching scraps for the slides.  I also have not used interfacing here, which is actually really important for successful adjustable straps.  Please review the original tutorial for more detail regarding measurements, interfacing, etc.  Let's get to it!

1.  I first cut two pieces of fabric 2 1/2" wide X 18" long.  You will also make two fabric slides.  You'll want these a half (or more) narrower than your completed straps.  You'll need to make sure you make them long enough to cover the width of the strap plus 1/4".

2.  Next, I folded and ironed the long ends toward the middle.  I did this on both straps.  NOTE:  You would iron interfacing to the long pieces before folding if you were making actual straps for your bag.  Again, the interfacing you use here is really important.  Here's an inside secret:  I always use Dritz Perfect Waist Maker instead of regular interfacing for my bag straps.

3.  Now fold over your strap in order to find the middle.  Press to mark this spot.

4.  Now, just below this fold, open the strap and measure.  You are going to make your fabric slides about 1/4"  longer than the width of the opened (and NOT sewn) fabric strap.  In the second photo below, I'm pointing to where I will cut the green slide fabric.

5.  Now, on the right side of the strap fabric (brown), pin the slide fabric (green) cut end to cut end.  Sew the fabric slide to the strap fabric just where you see the pins.

6.  Once you have sewn on the slide, refold the long sides of your strap and press.  Now, with wrong sides together, fold your strap in half.  You will now edgestitch the strap.  Sew down one long end and when you reach the fabric slide, stitch close, but do not sew over it.  Then, sew down the other side of the strap.  I've used green thread for this step in hopes you can see the stitches.  In the last photo in this step, I am pointing to where I sewed across the strap near the slide.

7.  Repeat the steps in order to make the second strap.  It should look exactly like the first!

8.  Now you are going to "stack" the slides.  To do this, lay one strap with the top of the slide up.  Take the other strap and lay it with the slide touching the table surface, or down.   Look at the above photo and imagine the slide on the first strap was facing down.  This is the position you'll want in order to insert one end of one strap into the slide of the other strap.  Repeat for the other end.

If you've done this correctly, one slide will appear "upside down."  In other words, you'll see the backside of one slide while the other will appear "right side."  Now just attach your strap, which is now just one (you started with two), to your bag in whatever method you want!

I hope this all makes better sense.  Study an old purse or bag that has an adjustable strap in order help you get a visual perspective, which is sometimes hard with only photos and words.

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