Monday, December 16, 2013

More Pictures of the Young Victoria Violet Dress

Enjoy some newly posted pictures from the photographer's blog when my Young Victoria silk reproduction dress was at Blenheim Palace last year! The lovely model is Claire, my client who started me making the violet silk dress.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Maternity Dress Refashion

I've always wanted to delve deeper into the world of thrift-shop-finds-refashioning, but never had much time to do so. I did manage to squeeze in one small refashion earlier this fall.
Apparently being pregnant comes with a few challenges - one of those being you rather suddenly can't find anything to wear. Either it doesn't fit period or its very uncomfortable.
Sooo....I bought a terribly comfortable pink t-shirt dress with just the right sort of empire waist to accommodate the bump. The problem was it was a bit low in the neck, so had to be layered, and it would be more comfortable if the skirt was a bit longer, because all my slips peeped out a bit.
So, one afternoon (right before a big town trip) I was inspired to cut up another dress, a knit pink print maxi dress sent to me by Mom, that was very long, floor length on me. So it easily spared a good amount of skirt which I used to make a neckline insert and a hem panel on the solid pink dress.
Turned out very comfortable and swingy. Ideally I would love to have a closet full of simple, comfortable dresses. It would be so much nicer than having to match separates all the time.

Friday, November 29, 2013

1870s Bustle Dress

I had a darling sewing commission this fall - an 1870s bustle dress sized for a small girl. This particular client I have been making items for since she was two years old, and its always a pleasure. (both her and her mother have great taste, and I always enjoy their requests so much!)
This time it was a bit different from anything I had done before, never having ventured into the bustle era before. Starting with a basic 1860s bodice, I did a few modifications and a lot of research pinterest-ing looking at other bustle dresses and the bodice shapes. Turned out very satisfactory.
The little girl picked out the fabric herself - a lovely pink and tan rose ticking stripe. The trim was rose pink shot silk taffeta with pinked edges overlaid in tan vintage cotton ribbon. Lots of time, and lots of gathering, but very enjoyable.
My biggest dilemma was over the bustle itself. Because this was a costume I wanted it to be easy to get in and out for a child, so back opening would be better I thought,  - but how to attach the bustle to a back opening dress??? (the buttons in front are centered on a faux opening for looks, it really fastens with hooks and eyes in back.
Finally my dilemma was solved by realizing the answer was actually quite easy: attach the bustle to a separate but matching silk belt! Thus, the dress can be worn with or without the bustle!
The bustle gathers are held up with rows of twill tape underneath.
 I found this article and video very helpful.
A decorative rosette in front is the final touch.
A couple of pictures of the lovely little lady herself!
Adorable or what?
I don't think the 1870s will every be preferred over the 1850s/60s for me, but it sure was an interesting and challenging project! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Printing Autumn Leaves

I had never really seen fall colors before living here in Tennessee, so it was a neat experience to see the leaves change and get brighter by the day. Recently I had been introducing to the really simple but very beautiful concept of Hand Printing from Nature from a book by the same name that I borrowed from my mother in law. (read her homesteading blog here)
Basically you collect objects from nature and ink or paint them and press on to paper to make beautiful designs. I've tried both ink and paint and find that calligraphy inks work very well and bleed together beautifully when doing multiple color designs. One good tip is to use a separate piece of paper or a magazine to press the object down to keep it even - (not your hands).
The book is well work a look, and the process was very fun and easy. In the pictures above I was at home alone one evening and decided to try out the technique with fall leaves on a stack of thank-you cards on which I needed some artwork. I love the way they turned out! The best part to me is how each one is always a surprise!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

First Baby Picture

Our first baby picture! We had a sonogram done in October just to check up on everything, to make sure we didn't have to plan on any emergencies. The baby looked fine and healthy!
I think he/she has a cute nose.
Jordan and I had both agreed long ago that we did not want to know the sex, so we didn't find out!
It will be fun to be surprised!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Log House Progress

Our log home is making progress! Over the last few months we've had family and friends generously give of their time to help us get the house more winterized and finished. Hopefully you will notice lots of changes from the last pictures I posted back in the summer!
One of the biggest outside changes are the attic ends being sided in and the windows put it.
Aren't they cute!!?

The upstairs outside chinking between the logs has all been completed as well. Big step forward!

The chinking is dark in the pictures because it's still drying, when dry it is light grey like in the first floor.
Front view. It's a messy construction zone, but we are moving forward! :)
Three views of the inside of the 2nd story. One big room right now, eventually it will be divided into three rooms: The west side will be the master bedroom, the east side will be divided into two
Insulation is stuffed between the layers of chinking and wire. As of now we are getting very close to getting all the inside chinking finished as well! More pictures soon! So excited to get moved upstairs and start fixing it up. :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Best Wal-Mart Ever??

     On Monday evening last week Jordan and I made a quick road trip to get baby's ultrasound. Afterwards it was quite late and dark, but we still had a few errands before we could head home. One of these was to procure some fabric I needed for a little historical dress order. Just a simple pink cotton print. I hoped that we could happen upon a Wal-Mart that had a fabric department,  since that might be all that was open at this late hour.
     So, we looked it up on our phone and found the nearest one and headed there. When we arrived it was less than promising. A very narrow, dark, and rather creepy parking lot first of all. Second, it was the the smallest and most run-down Wal-Mart I have ever seen. Third, when we against our better judgment walked inside, everything was....strange. All the items were odd old-looking brands we didn't recognize,  things were rather disorganized and dingy. So...feeling very doubtful I asked the first available person if they carried fabric. Pointed into the back corner of the store, we were in for a big surprise. 
     Would you believe it? Greeting our eyes was the biggest and brightest fabric department I think I have yet seen in a Wal-Mart. I very soon found exactly what I needed, then began to notice there were actually quite a few lovely and quite historical cotton prints. The prices were even lovlier. (Many were two dollars a yard) I ended up walking out with four extra lengths of fabric including a brown checked cotton gauze/voile. Imagine! Finding a suitable historical sheer fabric at Wallyworld? I think I might faint.

The moral of the story? I guess you really can't judge from outward appearances, hmm?
And now I have some new additons to the stash. Planning a couple of 1860s and 1820s pieces. Excited!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Oktoberfest Yard Sales

Yesterday we had a fun day spent with friends - yardsale-ing!
Apparently it is a local tradition with two towns that the road in between them is filled with yard sales and vendors come the weekend of Oktoberfest every fall.
(I think I'm going to like this tradition very much...)
It was so big that there was no way in the world we could see it all in one day. Jordan said we probably saw about a third of it - and we put in a pretty long day! We would park and walk up a ways and back down then drive up a little ways more...
It wasn't long before we began accumulating a little stash of purchases. I had a list of small things, craft items, baby things, and such that I was looking for. Found quite a few of them! Jordan had a list of tools and items for the house.
Too much stuff to see!
Yes, a baby bump picture. Really starting to show - all of the sudden seems like!
Also been feeling baby kick and move this past week for the first time!
When we got home we spread the 'loot' out on the bed.
I came away with
-a few pieces of maternity clothes
-2 baskets
-2 lengths of fabric
-3 pieces of clothing to refashion into baby items and pillows
- a copy of 'Wild at Heart'
-5 little newborn outfits (we aren't going to find out if baby is a boy or girl, so don't draw any conclusions!)
-an antique style stone 'tooth powder' jar
I was tickled to pay scarcely more than a dollar for any of the items!
Jordan found:
- a vintage Stanley thermos
-some ammo
- an auger
-a potato masher and a strainer
- a wooden adze handle
and we both decided to get some apples and pumpkins from some of the produce vendors. :) I've got some soup and some pies planned from those good-lookin' pumpkins!
I am already rather looking forward to doing it again next year!

Friday, October 11, 2013

eShakti Fall $30 Coupon

eShakti gift coupon available for fall-
Use the below code to receive $30 off your first purchase!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My Kitchen by Lamp Light

      Just thought this was a pretty scene. Jordan is working late this evening in the shop.  I've been cleaning, organizing and doing laundry all day. Its nice to look around in the soft light as I putter around with getting a fire going and supper started. A few coyotes are howling in not too distant vicinity.  It's been a work day and a good day. Thank you, God. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Canning Tomato Sauce

This summer I did some canning. Nothing too impressive, but at the time it was a bit daunting as I hadn't canned anything in a couple of years, and I had never done any serious canning entirely on my own. Mom had always been there if I had questions, or more often we were doing it together. (note to single girls: now is a really good time to master somewhat tricky tasks like canning, don't wait!!)
Also, I was a bit nervous about canning in a kitchen without real running water, and keeping my little woodstove hot enough. But, read on and you will see that everything turned out, there was no need to worry!
I was able to buy two bushels of organic tomatoes from the local Mennonite community (much thanks to my mother-in-law for arranging it) So spent a good deal of one week this summer putting up tomato sauce. I just did plain sauce, as I always season the sauce as I am cooking the dish (chili powder for Mexican dishes, basil, garlic, olive oil, etc for Italian)
Jordan had obtained boxes and boxes of glass canning jars from a job last year that he and I cleaned and saved for our upcoming household. The first step was to get these out of storage. Of course they were dirty and spider-webby again. But, plenty of boiling water and scrubbing soon fixed that. All clean and sparkling!
Next I brought in the tomatoes from where they were laid out on newspaper on the porch, one pot-full at a time, to wash, remove the stem end, and chop into large pieces for the blender.
The tomatoes go into my wonderful Blendtec. By doing the 'whole juice' setting, I was able to skip peeling and de-seeding the tomatoes, as they were all pureed quite fine enough. I was a little afraid there would still be tiny bits of tough cooked peel at the end, but it was not a problem at all, quite smooth.
Juice goes on the stove, and cooks down until thick.
When thick enough, the sauce was ladled into my jars with a teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of vitamin C powder. (I read the C would up the acidity of the mix, and ensure no spoilage, so I thought it wouldn't hurt...)
I didn't get pictures of my canner, but they had to be processed 11 minutes at a certain pressure. Getting them up to pressure sometimes too a little longer than I would have liked, but once it was hot enough it was very hard to keep it from getting much too hot. Each time I had to set it to the back of the stove. But, over all canning on a woodstove was quite do-able, and only takes a bit more watching than normal.
At the end of the week, I ended up with 40 pints of sauce. Not a huge amount I admit, but quite a nice stock for a two-person household! :) I was very pleased with the texture and taste at the end, and hope to do more just the same way next summer!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Regency Bodiced Petticoat

Basically just a sleeveless dress, made from super-soft white cotton batiste.
I took my basic Regency drawstring dress pattern and lessened the gathers, lowered the neckline
 and narrowed the shoulder straps.
I made one for my personal Regency wardrobe,
 but I haven't had them available in the shop until now. If you haven't yet added a petticoat to  your Jane Austen ensemble - you will be surprised at how much it adds to the look of an outfit.
It's now available to be ordered in your custom size in the shop!


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