Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sewing Gifts

I recently inherited several boxes of vintage (1930's through 1970's) sewing paraphernalia from a Great Aunt who was down sizing from her current apartment to an assisted living environment.  She no longer has the space nor the ability to do all of the crafts that she formerly did. And when I say "crafts"...plural...I mean it. 

She must have tried nearly every craft out there.  I, humbly, received box after box of surprises.  Most of it was organized into labeled plastic boxes.  Some of the items were tucked away in adorable little vintage tins, like the one below.  Aside from sewing supplies, there was everything from tatting supplies, to crochet and knitting supplies, to beading and applique.

There were boxes of beads, glitter, buttons, pins, needles....

.....yarn, thread, lace, elastic and twill tape...

....an entire basket full of vintage rick-rack....what am I going to do with all of this?...

One of my favorite surprises in the lot was a collection of vintage crochet and knitting magazines dating back to 1939!!!  I used to crochet and knit, but since I've gotten into sewing, I don't do it anymore.  No matter though....the photographs in some of these magazines are gorgeous!!

This one is from 1974, and features articles and afghans centered around the Old Sturbridge Village, which is a Living History Museum in Massachusetts covering the years of 1790's through 1830's.  The pictures in this magazine are so much fun!  It makes me want to go there.

There are funky, fun ones from the 1960's.

Some adorable ones of little cherubic children in the 1950's.

Some patriotic ones from the 1940's.

I just LOVE the glamer in these photographs!

Last but certainly not least were these beautiful fur collars....I'm guessing from the 1940's, but I am not an expert and can't be sure. 

I only hope that I can preserve this special gift and pass it on to my daughter when I am no longer able to do my craft.  Thank you, Aunt Jean!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Our First Tomatoes

This spring we planted three tiny little tomato plants that were only about 6 or 7 inches high.  Now, those little babies have grown as tall as me.  I staked them up, but they are still sagging under the weight of about 40-50 tiny green tomatoes.  (I foresee canning in my future!)

Today, I went outside to find one cluster of them ripe and ready to eat.  They didn't turn out all that big.  Each tomato is only about 2 inches in diameter.  But they sure are tasty...juicy, acidic with a slight sweetness and deliciously fresh!

We sliced them up, drizzled a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on them, sprinkled them with a little sea salt and fresh torn basil from our garden, and gobbled them up like candy.

The only issue I had with them was that some of them had little cracks in them (as you can see in the pictures), almost as if they were outgrowing their skin.  We cut off the cracked bits and the rest of the tomatoes were just fine, but I would like to know what is causing the cracking and if anything can be done about it.  Do any of you know what might be the culprit in this case?  If you do, please enlighten me...I would like to save the other tomatoes from such a terrible fate if I can.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Working on a new project...

I am in the beginning stages of a new project.  A lady that I know needs a dress to wear to her son's wedding this Fall.  The modern day inspiration for her gown can be found Here at Nordstrom's.  She wanted the gown to be silver/gray, with a deep purple sash.  So after picking out the fabric, which is a cotton/poly blend that is so soft it feels like butter in your fingers, and after her first fitting yesterday with the muslin mock-up, I've finally started cutting, draping, pinning and sewing together the bodice. 

  The gown will have a cross-over bodice front, fully lined, with a deep "V" shaped neckline in the back (where there will also be a hidden zipper.)  There will be a 2" band around the waistline, and the skirt will be pleated and floor length.  Also, I will put in some short, fluttery sleeves.

Even though the modern day inspiration is lovely....you know me....I am not satisfied unless I am diving back into the past and finding inspiration there too.  So without further adieu....enjoy some antique and vintage eye candy!



(I know...it's a stretch...but I thought it was so pretty I couldn't resist!)







*sigh*...I really could keep going further back...but I have a dress to sew, so I won't.  If you haven't already found out about these great antique and vintage fashion sites, please check them out.  Your mouth will be sure to drool...

Thursday, July 22, 2010


It's so hard to decide.......what do you think of this background???


Still playing with background designs.....

Background Construction???

I was using "The Cutest Blog on the Block" to supply my background, but I got a notice yesterday that my background would expire Friday.  So, I decided to give "Hot Bliggity Blog" a chance.  I found this neat looking background that I'm using now...and while I DO like it, I'm not sure it speaks of Jane....  I was hoping to find another blue or green background, but I didn't like the design options that were given in those colors.  I like the design of the background you see now, but I'm not sold on the yellow.  It coordinates with my Title Image of course, but I've never really been a yellow kind of girl. 
What do you think? 
Any thoughts?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2010 Jane Austen Tour

I found out about something called the "Jane Austen Tour" over at Feelin-Feminine.  And since I've been overloading everyone lately with Austen such stuff, I figured I would join in on the fun contest.  But, I'm only going to recap some of the Austen-type posts that I've recently made.  Feel free to look back on them with nostalgia if you wish. I will let the judges decide which categories my entries fall under.

The Jane Austen Festival, Louisville, KY 2010.  Post is Here.  I made all of these outfits. 

Tutorial of how to do a 1790's Regency Hair-do.  Post is Here. 

Recreating an 18th century Cheesecake, inspired by the cheesecake Jane Austen mentions in her letter to Cassandra.  2 posts Here and Here. 

The gift I was given from a friend who recently went to England... a c.1810, Regency area Royal Crown Derby coffee cup and saucer.  Post is Here. 

The Regency Gentlemen's outfits that I made.  Post is Here.

The Regency Ladies outfits I made.  Post is Here.

The Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Capote Bonnet that I made.  Post can be found here and Here. 

The Sense and Sensibility inspired peaceful moment.  Post Here. 

Tutorial on how to make Regency Men's Boots on a Budget.  Post is Here.

I'm sure there are more posts that would qualify for the Jane Austen Tour, but these are some of the most recent, and I dare say most applicable.  This should be enough Austen for even the most devoted of fans!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gowns for Orphans

Remember back in May when I was involved in the Art Fair?  If you don't, then you can read more about it in some of my former posts.  But specifically you might be interested in this post here because it talks about the Raffle for the Missionaries in Haiti.  You might also remember that the raffle didn't go so well.  So, here's my update on what is happening with all of that.

When I originally talked to the Missionaries in charge of the Orphanage, their thoughts were for me to make school uniforms.  But since I wasn't able to raise that much money, uniforms were looking to be a bit expensive.  So, instead of uniforms I asked if I could just make any kind of clothes for the kids.  All of the girls in Haiti wear skirts or dresses, and since I love making skirts and dresses I decided to do that.

I didn't have a specific dress pattern in mind, and begin searching, without success, for one that I liked, and I might be able to use.  That's when I heard about a young lady on the Sense and Sensibility Forum who was in need of a pattern tester.  She was in the process of making an e-pattern to be sold...and the proceeds of the pattern....well, get this...they were to go toward orphans in Africa!  You can read more about what she is doing on her Blog , called Heavenly Princess.  It couldn't have been more perfect or providential.  I contacted her immediately and she agreed I could be one of her pattern tester, and that I could use the dresses I make from the pattern for the Haitian Orphans.

So, I have finally begun sewing some of the dresses.  I have two done already.  My daughter has been my model...even though the poor little thing is nearly swallowed up in the yellow gown, because it is 3 sizes too big for her.

This one fits her a little better.  There are two different styles.  The yellow dress is a halter top style with elastic around the waist-band.  The pink and brown flowered dress doesn't have elastic at the waist and the straps cross over in the back and button to the waist.

When I get a few more dresses made up I will box them up and mail them to Haiti.  Hopefully the missionaries will be able to take some pictures of the girls there wearing the dresses.  I will update you and post some more pictures when I can.

It feels good to finally be using my sewing abilities for something worthwhile.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wildlife Park

My in-laws have been in town visiting this week, and since they don't live in our state, we wanted to show them around a bit.  There aren't that many things to do in our area....especially when the temperature is as sweltering as it's been lately.  But, we decided to brave the weather and check out a local Wildlife Sanctuary.  All the animals in the wildlife park are native to my state, and have either been born in captivity or injured in the wild.  Either way, they can't be released, and so, the state has provided a learning center, free of charge, to the public.  It's sort of like a mini-zoo.

Jane loved every bit of it, of course.  One of the first things we saw was a black bear.

The poor fellow had the right idea about the weather.  What were we doing out there walking around in the heat.  We should have been lounging in the shade like this guy.

But, no, we walked the paths on our way to discover more about Kentucky's wildlife.

We learned an interesting fact about Bison.  They had a special ability to choose the most easily traversed route when moving across the landscape.  Because of this, the old Bison paths often became highways or interstates once people started settling across the country.  You never know when you might be driving down an old Bison trail!

One of Jane's favorite parts of the day was visiting the Dragonfly Marsh.

Here she is showing her daddy all of the colorful dragonflies.  I couldn't catch the quick little things on film, but their colors were vivid and they looked like little flying jewels with the sun glinting off of them.

This little trail was awfully inviting.  I LOVE the woods.  But, we decided to save it for a cooler day...maybe in the Autumn?  I can't wait to find out where it leads.

The Bobcats also had the right idea about napping in the shade.

Here's a slightly closer view of one of the wildcats.  Doesn't he have beautiful fur, and those pointy little ears are so darling!

A lot of the nature preserve was devoted to fish and game. 

There were many kinds of local fish in aquariums to ooh and awe over.

They had a special exhibit on reptiles and amphibians, with lots of snakes, lizards, turtles and frogs.

Jane was even brave enough to pet a snake.  But the highlight of the day for her was when she got to hold a salamander!!  He was actually VERY cute and docile. 

Finally, we stopped to smell a few flowers, and then headed back to the shaded comfort of our home, where, incidentally.....we all took naps.