Well it’s summertime–yay!! And temperatures are rising, baseball season is in full swing, and it’s time for lots of outdoor activities. Yep, time to put away the jeans and put on some shorts. I’ve been in a sewing mood lately, so I ordered some 100% linen from FabricStore.com (sadly, we do not have a decent fabric store in Lake Charles, so I have to either drive an hour to JoAnne’s Fabrics in Lafayette, or order on-line).
I ordered this fabulous linen in natural and a wasabi green. Here is one pair made from the natural, using Simplicity pattern 1165. They are so comfy, with a wide elastic waist and deep front pockets. There are also back patch pockets. These are perfect–dressed up for shopping trips, concerts, or even casual dining out; dressed down for the ball tournaments or other outdoor activities.
I have fallen in love with Style Arc sewing patterns (www.stylearc.com). The patterns are downloadable; I put in my order then print them out, tape them together, and cut them out. That may seem like a lot of work–and it is, I guess, BUT the patterns sew up so much nicer than the more popular commercial patterns do. The biggest advantage is that I get 3 sizes for each pattern I order; the patterns aren’t nested, like the tissue-paper patterns. They are more expensive, but the company loads me up with lots of free downloads for each full-price patten I order.
Here are two of the Style Arc patterns I ordered; the top is actually a dress pattern (Adeline) but I shortened it to blouse length. I used a linen blend (Robert Kaufman 60% linen-40% cotton) in denim that I ordered from Amazon. The shorts (Jennifer City Short) are made from black stretch denim (Telio Stretch Denim) that I ordered from Amazon.
What I like about this City Shorts pattern is the longer length, the zip fly front (which can be a challenge to get in right), and the front pockets. I can roll them up for a more casual look.
I’m ready for all my favorite summertime activities!!!
I had the fabulous idea of creating a Christmas mannequin instead of a traditional tree this year. Well, as usual, it turned out to be much more hassle and expense than I expected.
At the end of Thanksgiving weekend, after I had it almost complete only to have the stand refuse to hold all the weight and topple over, I hauled it upstairs and threw it in the corner of the storage room. But eventually, cooler heads prevailed and I hauled it back out, gave her a brush-up and shortened the stand to a steadier table-top height.
Here’s how I did it:
- I ordered a cheap ($27.00) wire manniquin from Amazon. I knew fairly quickly that the stand was going to give me problems, but I perservered.
- I wrapped the bottom of the form with chicken wire. The following week, I had to wear long sleeves to work; my forearms were so scratched by the stupid chicken wire, I looked like I’d been attacked (which, I guess I sort of was, actually)!
- I found the top section of an old Christmas tree and cut the branches off with a pair of pliers. I bent the wire at the bottom of each branch to form a hook and strung them through the wire around the manniquin’s waist to form her skirt. I stuffed one cord of lights in her bodice, and wrapped two more cords around her skirt.
- I found a scrap of burgandy colored velvet fabric in my stockpile, and made her bodice by wrapping and pinning it around her “shoulders” and waist. Long hat-pins left over from the wedding supplies worked great. I fastened a vintage Christmas holly pin at her cleavage.
- I wrapped a wide piece of white-on-white Christmas ribbon around her waist to give it some definition, then wired a bow made of several different pieces of Christmas ribbon to one side of her waist.
- I’ve had this deep purple hat for at least 20 years; I just love it. I hauled it out, dusted it off, and wrapped it with white netting. I then fastened a length of the same white-on-white ribbon that I’d used on her waistband to the crown of the hat . Again, hat-pins! Lots of hat-pins! I attached another vintage Christmas pin, a white snowflake, to the center of the crown and draped a string of pearls around the crown. I whipped up another bow from the Christmas ribbons and attached it to the back of the hat.
- I removed the cardboard tube from the center of a pant-hanger, and bent/wired it to the neck of my manniquin as a support for the hat. Then I took the end of the light string at her bodice and wrapped it through the ribbon bow at the back of the hat.
- This is where I stopped, put it up in frustration, cooled off, and dragged her back out again. I finished her off by draping green tulle ribbon around her skirt and hanging a few monogrammed ornaments. I did away with the middle section of the stand, making her table-top height instead, and set her up on my grandmother’s drop-leaf dining table in my foyer. Ta-Da!!
I had a seperate brainstorm to create a man to keep her company, but eventually gave that up except for the super-cool top hat. I may attempt that next year.
I added a couple of beribboned lantern-holders and decided to call it quits before someone got hurt.
Merry Christmas everybody!
I had a true brainstorm last December when it came time to assemble my Christmas tree. I wanted to do something different, so I was walking around the house and shop, looking for inspiration, when I spied some dusty, cob-webby big-horn sheep skulls that we’d collected in Sterling City, TX.
“AHAHA!” I thought, quickly followed by, “Hmmm, how’m I gonna talk Reese into using his precious collection as Christmas decorations?” And this was followed by, “Eww! These things are really dirty; it’s gonna be alot of work to clean all this crap up so I can bring it inside without unleashing a bunch of insects in my house.”
By the end of the day, and after much dusting, cleaning, and de-bugging, here are the results; what I termed “the tree of skulls.”