Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Brave Little Heart

This weekend was a sad one in our little house.  Remember the outstanding little nest built by a couple of Robin's that I posted about several weeks ago?  Well, the precious mother and father robins layed 4 beautiful turquoise colored eggs that hatched into 4 healthy little chicks.  But, alas, the severe thunderstorms we had last weekend were no match for their strong little nest.  It was tipped up on its side (I can only presume from the weight of 4 chicks and the wind from this storm), and three of the four babies fell to their doom.  The mother and father tried desperately to save the fourth, tugging at the nest, snuggling up sideways, but, the fourth didn't survive the storm either.  I saw the mother perch atop the tree, and heave her chest out, over and over, while crying a lament over the loss of her babies.  She rested there a moment, then they both took off and haven't been seen since.  The sad little nest clung there on the tree until the rain let up. 

 Yesterday, my husband went out to remove it so we wouldn't have to stare at a dead baby bird every time we came out on the back deck. While he was doing this, my daughter Jane was watching.  Her comments broke my heart.  She said, "Momma, look!  The nest broke!  The baby bird is sick."  I said, "I know, Jane, it's sad, isn't it."  She said, "But I can help him get better.  Will you let me fix the nest?"  (at this point, there are tears welling up in my eyes)  I said, "Well, Jane, I wish we could help him, but the wind broke the nest, and there's nothing we can do now."  And her BRAVE little heart responded with, "Well, we can fight the wind!  Let me get a stick and I will fight the wind!"


What else could I say after that...  If only we could all live life so courageously and full of mercy...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Skunk Nose

My daughter was naming our noses tonight.....  she told me I had a "skunk nose"....   I'm not sure what to make of that....  but it's better than my husband's nose, because apparently he has a "pig nose".

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sewing the Round Gown together.

I was able to meet with Natalie (ZipZip's Vintage Sewing) at my Period Sewing Circle this morning, and we were able to map out the final construction of the bodice of Laura's 1790's Round Gown.  I won't go into details of how it was all done; I'll leave that for Natalie.  But here are a couple of pictures to wet your appetite and a link to my photobucket folder so that you can have a look at 2 dozen pictures I took during the process of pinning it all together.  Nothing is sewn up yet, just pinned.  But we are finally on our way down hill from this point on. 
This is a sketch of what we finally decided to do with the seams.

This is the back of the bodice.  It will be stitched up the back seam.

And the front of the bodice will have 3 drawstrings and tie together at the neckline, underbust, and waistline.

Here's the photobucket link:


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Update on Laura's Regency Gown

I wanted to update you on the direction of Laura's Regency Gown.  There is a lot of research going into this dress, mostly by my friend Natalie over at ZipZip's Vintage Sewing, here.  I'm part of a Period Sewing Circle that Natalie leads.  She is a treasure trove of historical knowledge.   

We've decided to try and make a 1790's Round Gown, which is VERY early Regency.  It will look something like this gown below.

The bodice will be lined, but the skirt won't.  You can see here the lining is cut out and ready to go.

The only difference between this picture and what we will do in the ende is that the straps will be cut off and sewn back seperately.  We've found this to be more historically accurate.
The center part of this layout is the back of the bodice, and the pieces on each end, are actually the front of the bodice, which will gather along a drawstring, and meet together and tie in the center front.

Here's the outer fabric cut out.

And a close-up of the back bodice.

As I said before, Natalie is doing a lot of the research.  She will be posting soon a much more detailed description of all of the research.  She's the historian, I'm just the student.  So, head on over to her blog and read about her research.  One thing I can say is that a couple of the gowns we are studying are in the books "Costume in Detail - 1730-1930" by Nancy Bradfield here, and "Cut of Women's Clothing - 1600-1930" by Norah Waugh here.

We made up a toile first out of cheap cotton muslin, and did fitting after fitting on Laura until we got it just as we wanted it.  I'm so excited that I am finally at the point where I can begin sewing the dress together.

MY mr. darcy

Well, I've finally finished my husband's Regency Shirt.  I'm extremely pleased with the way it turned out.  I used the Kannik's Korner pattern, which you can find here.  I have never used a pattern that was so historically accurate, and yet, very easy to follow.  I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to try there hand at reproducing a historically accurate garment. 

I DID sew it all by hand, as the pattern recommended, though I suppose you could use a machine.  But, I have to encourage you to try hand sewing if you haven't.  (I can't believe I'm saying that!)  I found hand stitching horrible when I first started doing it last December, because I was always so impatient, and wanted to see the end results right away.  But, now, I've come to see the fine differences in the way the fabric drapes when the garment is hand sewn; it simply looks so much more authentic.  There is also a certain amount of pride of work that comes into play when you hand stitch an article of clothing.  It really didn't take as long as you might imagine it would.  I sat down for about an hour each evening after work, and a couple of hours on the weekends, and it only took me about a week to finish the shirt.  I could have easily finished it in a couple of days if I wasn't teaching during the week.

Forgive the safety pins.  I'm waiting on an order of Dorsit Buttons to come in the mail.  Once the buttons are here, I will attach them, and the shirt will be complete. 

Also, the white fabric I have around his neck is NOT the official cravat. It's a temporary fix for the photo op.

My husband needs a shave, but other than that, I think he makes a FINE Regency Gentleman...even if he IS being seen in his "undergarment" right now!

Monday, April 12, 2010

more bags

Even though I've been working on my husband's Regency shirt (which I will post about later), I was able to make a few more bags this weekend for the up and coming arts and craft fair. 

The first one is made out of an old skirt.  I love using old skirts to make purses, they give them such character, and I was really pleased with the look of the braided handle.

The next two are what I like to call "Twin" purses.  I've used the same fabric for both purses, but switched the lining and the outer fabric for each purse.

outside purse #1

inside purse #1

outside purse #2

inside purse #2

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I found out about a contest that Bloomingdale's is having.  You get to design your very own recycled shopping tote, and then submit it to try and win a shopping spree.  I gave it a shot, and though I am not expecting to win, it was a lot of fun playing around with the design.  You can go to the sight and vote for my tote if you want.  The tote with the most votes is the winner.  Or, you can go and design your own!

Blooming: "

This was inspired by my favorite fabric designer, Anna Maria Horner. With the use of bold colors, and almost block-print like designs, you can't help being reminded of the deep beauty of this earth, and what its meant to cultures past and present."

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mr. Darcy's Shirt


Will soon be this....


I wish someone would warn me...

...when a book has a tragic ending.

I used to LOVE meloncholy stories, where the hero/heroine falls in love, and then life gets in the way and reality kills off one of the main characters or separates, indefinately, the romance.  (strange, I know)  For instance, a few of my favorite books in College were
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (pretty much anything by Hardy),

and The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

But, the older I've become, the more of life I've seen, the less I can tolerate the tragic endings in stories, and I'm prone to want only idealistic ones (though I like it still when tragedy enters the story somewhere...I just want good to triumph over evil).  I guess I get too wrapped up in the characters, and don't like nursing a broken heart over them.  I tend to like anything from the likes of Jane Austen or Juliet Marillier these days.

Well, I recently picked up a Historical-Fiction at the library, set in Medieval Wales, during the reign of King Richard.  It's called "The Fools Tale" by Nicole Galland. 

I typically love Historical Fictions, but I must be desperate to find a good book these days, because I should have seen the ending coming from the description of the story.  Here it is...
Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis.
Through strength of character, Isabel wins her husband's grudging respect, but finds the Welsh court backward and barbaric, and is soon engaged in a battle of wills against Gwirion, the king's oldest, oddest, and most trusted friend. Before long, however, Gwirion and Isabel's mutual animosity is abruptly transformed, and the king finds himself as threatened by loved ones as by the enemies who menace his crown.
A masterful novel by a gifted storyteller, The Fool's Tale combines vivid historical fiction, compelling political intrigue, and passionate romance to create an intimate drama of three individuals bound -- and undone -- by love and loyalty.

The characters were very well written, the setting was fabulous, plot good (a lot of Camelot undercurrents) ......but, for the love of all that is good, please, someone warn me when the ending is going to be more like Braveheart than Robin Hood! 

Friday, April 2, 2010


I stumbled upon the fabric designer Anna Maria Horner, and let me just say, if I had a billion dollars, she wouldn't have anything left to sell.
Here's a slideshow of one of my favorite collections of hers.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Make all the mess you want...

...because I've got you covered...

I've even got one for your littlest mess maker...

These are the fruits of my Spring Break Labor.