Friday, April 23, 2010

Chiffon, Tulle & Satin

Last week I finished up this tutorial for Project Wedding -a flower hair pin made from tulle, chiffon and a tiny cluster of old glass beads. Click over to get the how-to.Cutting the half yard of muted pink chiffon, I was reminded so much of after-school-ballet. Of those enviable and airy wrap around skirts some of the girls wore. For weeks I anticipated the start of those classes, donning ballet slippers daily, wearing holes in them running down the rough asphalt street to the mailbox. The luster sort of vanished in a crowded little dressing room, right off the dance floor, where the hot air of California autumn stagnantly cycled through two awning windows near the ceiling. To my second grade self there and then, nothing seemed worse than an itchy pair of pale pink tights and an ill-fitted leotard in faded black. Needless to say I never became a ballerina, but I came to learn a few things. That life's not always pink satin pointe shoes, smooth and perfect. Not always gathered tulle, fanciful and featherlight. And that true passions, those most loved and cherished, require determination and sustain disappointment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Very Victorian

Brett's birthday was a few weeks ago, and since the wallet he really wanted was back ordered, I wanted to make him a little something unexpected to open in the meantime. But what? I decided to make a later-19th-century style ascot tie and matching packaging suite. Perhaps I've been watching too many costume dramas lately? In any case, Brett will be well equipped if time travel is ever invented.{Click photo to see it larger}
(1) I sewed the tie itself from brown dupioni silk (found in the remnant bin last fall) and some interfacing. It's presented with a cream colored paper band with "Livy's of Regent St., Haberdashers" printed on it.
(2) I made a label for the front of the envelope (a large image is at the top of this post), using the frame from this vintage sheet music page. I referenced images of old 19th century broadsides to get a sense of what the type should look like, and hunted for Victorian looking fonts here.
(3) The envelope is made from dark brown textured card stock, and lined with a beautiful William Morris wallpaper print, in keeping with the 19th century theme.
(4) A mini accordion book provides instructions on how to tie an ascot tie. Each illustrated step is presented within a golden daguerreotype frame.
Before tossing the book in the envelope I sewed it in between squares of vellum so that it would lie flat.
(5) I cut a circular gift tag out of the William Morris print, and printed a branded rectangular tag. I added antiqued metal eyelets to both and tied them around the finished package.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

In the Easter Basket

I hope everyone enjoyed this glorious Sunday. Here's a parade of pretty sweets from today!
Click here to see more!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Strawberry Picking

Whenever I think of strawberries I think of a particular red and white stand, not far from home. It sits on a dusty shoulder on East Street, just before the sign for Strawberry Hill Lane. A gradual slope rises beyond it, un-planted, overgrown with the wild grasses that are green in the spring and gold in the summer. On the opposite side of the road, furrowed land reaches up toward distant hilltop greenhouses.
Last weekend's outing took us to another stand. This one, by the coast and open for "U-Pick" in March and April. Its fields extend over acres of hillside high above a lagoon. If you drive toward it from the east, you can briefly catch the prettiest vista of field and water. It's particularly lovely with with a coastal haze and that warm light that comes just before sunset. But Saturday's trip was as clear and bright as spring break's closing weekend should be. Brett and I pulled up to quite a bustling stand, bought one giant bucket and headed to the designated patch right by the road.Sunny day, muddy shoes and the juiciest strawberries. Most delicious.