08.18.11 | bee in my bonnet

So here is a little sneak peek at what I’ve been embroidering lately. This cute bee motif is based on a gorgeous 50s skirt I saw on Etsy a bit ago, but as usual was too small for me (what’s it with all the really adorable 50s circle skirts having teeny waists?! lol.). But I was so inspired by the cute bees that I couldn’t resist making my own version—that fits my waist no less! So I’ve been tinkering away on this (and will have details during the course of the sew-along). I’ve done eight of these bees, and it’s been a lot of work, but very much worth the effort!

08.18.11 | bee in my bonnet

In other news, the sew-along countdown is beginning: the first post will be going up August 24 with the announcement, schedule and buttons. I know it’s been a long lead-up to this (apologies!), but I’m trying to get my ducks in a row (skirts in a row???) prior to launching it—hopefully this means I can give individual attention and troubleshooting as needed. I’m getting so excited about doing another sew-along with y’all!

August 18, 2011 · 55 lovely thoughts
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08.05.11 | sore fingers

Prior to and during my break from blogging, I was inspired to take up a form of needlework I hadn’t spent much time with: embroidery. Between this lady’s cute pin ups she’s been working on, and my love of vintage embroidery transfers, it was only a matter of time before the stars aligned and the siren call of creative exploration could be resisted no longer.

Let me just say: I’m head over heels in love.

I dare say that embroidery will be somewhat like knitting and crochet for me: a craft I take up off and on to occupy my hands in the evenings and at odd moments. It’s not at all like sewing or knitting (and crochet) for me though: my brain isn’t as engaged as it would be with the other crafts. When embroidering I fall into the zen-like state I remember being so pleasant when I used to paint. It’s quiet and allows me to just enjoy the process, colors and design. Sure, there is a technical aspect to it (as with painting), but it’s more about creating art than precisely following directions.

08.05.11 | sore fingers

Funnily enough SH thinks this newfound mania is rather amusing, and keeps watching me while I stitch each evening with sidelong glances. I think the lack of utility about embroidery (as opposed to sewing or knitting) is what confounds him—it just doesn’t seem as practical as most of my handcrafts; it’s far more decorative. Though I did assure him that if I become confident enough in my stitchery, this could be used for making Christmas gifts for the mothers (just forget I said that if you’re reading this, Mom!). A good use, I think!

The first piece I stitched up was the little sailor on a hand towel. (Pattern here.) It’s currently gracing the front of the oven in our kitchen and making things look a bit more cheerful (and breaking up the beige…). I also started on a pretty 40s “southern belle” last week as well (pattern here). She’s going much more slowly, but I’m having a great time on this. I’m just stitching her on a piece of cotton, which I plan on framing for the guest bathroom once it’s done. Or maybe she’ll go near my sewing space? I don’t know!

08.05.11 | sore fingers

Do you embroider? What sorts of items do you like to embroider on? Clothes? Household things? Pieces for framing? Paper?

Don’t forget the giveaway for the vintage Dritz bound buttonhole tool ends this evening!

August 5, 2011 · 56 lovely thoughts
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30 day photo challenge | day one

Day One: a self portrait; inspired by glamor photos of the 40s. A bit hard to do when holding a camera above your head though!

You may have already seen me mention this on Facebook, but I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon for another 30-day challenge! (Am I possibly obsessed with these little creative challenges? Yes!) This time around it’s a photography exercise hosted by White Peach Photography, which I first spotted on Pinterest. I love photography. I admire talented gals like Anja, Emerson, Abby, Anna and the countless photographers I favorite on Flickr. I dabbled a bit more in photography years ago, and seem to have let it slip to the wayside to focus on other things. Which is sad because I did enjoy it and the process of learning to see things in a more nuanced way: noticing details, how the light is falling on an object, or even just random little bits that my eyes normally skip over.

So for the next 30 days, I’m hoping to revamp things a bit–and maybe get back into the groove (hopfully!). I love how the challenge has fun assignments like “what you wore today” to ones that I haven’t tried like bokeh (which I’ll have to Google to figure out how to do!). I’ve put the little list graphic that Mary of White Peach Photography provided on my desktop–so I can’t miss it! Funnily enough it’s the really simple ones like “clouds”, “something pink” or “hands” that I’m looking the most forward to. I’ll be posting each of the results of the day’s exercise on my Flickr if you’d like to follow along (I’d be tickled pink if you did!).

Is anyone else participating in this? Have you done a similar photography-based challenge in the past?

June 2, 2011 · 25 lovely thoughts
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With the restriction on clothing items for this month (plus a few other projects I’m working on that are taking up sewing time), I’ve become interested in creating my own accessories. I’ve dabbled here and there with jewelry making, but am by no means proficient or consistent about it. The box of supplies comes out only when I am struck by an idea or see a tutorial that appeals; which I don’t usually go looking for, so it rarely happens. Over the weekend I found a series of tutorials for jewelry making that I became quite excited about: a large selection of tutorials for Anthropologie-inspired pieces. I don’t know about you, but the accessories at Anthropologie are often what catch my eye when I’m in the store, but rarely fit my budget. So the idea of making my own versions is quite appealing!

I picked out this necklace to make Sunday afternoon, since I had all the supplies on hand. I varied the design a bit to suit my own aesthetics though; I do prefer a bit more simple pieces of jewelry devoid of things that are too “twee” for my own tastes. (I find these details darling until I put them on, and decide I just don’t like them on me! So frustrating! lol.) So mine is pared down and also has the twill tape necklace swapped out for a simple chain. For the “ribbon” to string the wood beads on I found a bit of vintage bias binding with a sweet floral print. It gets a bit lost, but the subtle difference in colors at the knot points mixes things up.

I’d really like to make a couple other Anthropologie-inspired pieces, as well as this darling flag bunting necklace I spotted on another blog (I’ve got some leather scraps and paint lying around…). I think maybe a foray into earring-making might be in order as well; I really do not have a lot of earrings at all. Which is getting a bit frustrating as my necklace and brooch collection continues to grow, but I’m stuck with the same 10 pairs of earrings I’ve had for years! (Guess that shows you where my accessory-buying priorities lie.)

Do you have any favorite resources for jewelry making? Tutorials that tickle your fancy? Pieces that you’ve crafted up yourself?

April 12, 2011 · 24 lovely thoughts
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Besides dress refashions, I have lately been on a bit of an accessory-making binge. They’ve proved to be the perfect things to squeeze in on rainy evenings or pick up while we’re watching a movie (since I tend to get fidgety). Plus there have been plenty of little projects popping up ’round the blogsphere that have begged me to make them!

First up is a necklace crafted using Tilly’s tutorial. I knew as soon as I saw her guest post, I had to make myself one. But instead of a complete fabric necklace, I decided to attach it to a length of chain. A sort of mixed-media look done by simply stitching the edges of the fabric tube to large rings, and then attaching those to jump rings and then the chain. The floral fabric is scraps (leftover from cutting out) of this dress.

Did you see all the lovely posts Charlotte had for her jewelry theme last week? This little 1950s style pin is one of the projects she posted, and as luck would have it I had all the supplies on hand! I love how it turned out; so adorable (and perfect for springtime showers, no?). It’s one of those novelty style pieces that I love to wear. Can’t go wrong with red and white stripes either!

Last, but not least, is a hat I made using Lauren’s 30s sporty toppers pattern (view 3). I took the time to make a muslin mockup, and I’m glad I did because I made a couple tweaks before cutting out the linen (a medium weight, slightly stiff weave that I’ve had in the stash for years). The way the white linen pops is something that drew me to it and the idea of making a white hat (which may be the most foolish thing I’ve ever done, knowing my klutzy ways!). The ribbon is a gorgeous 40s plaid rayon ribbon I bought last year on Etsy; I absolutely adore the colors!

The pattern was a dream to work with; it went together quite easily and wasn’t confusing at all. Which was my chief fear since hatmaking is something I’m still learning about. The only changes I made were to reduce the peak of the crown a teeny bit and interface the brim (I also lined the hat as was an option for this view). I found this really helped keep it from flopping awkwardly and gave it a crisp line. I’m thinking about making the sunhat view a bit later in the season from a snappy print!

April 5, 2011 · 50 lovely thoughts
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