8.31.2010

Perfection

I can't believe it's already been a week, but last Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of attending a book signing at Powell's. The author featured was the lovely and talented local blogger, designer and artist, Alicia Paulson. She is absolutely as charming in person as on her blog. Alicia's first book, pictured above, was fantastic.

Her second is equally good - just stuffed full of beautiful needlework projects. Alicia covers several embroidery techniques and her projects really runs the gamut from sweet and simple to intricate and traditional.

Alicia brought many of the samples from her book, all of which were beautifully embroidered and finished. Did I mention how extremely talented she is? Oh, and though I didn't get a snap of them, she also brought along a tray of homemade deep-dark chocolate cupcakes topped with cloudburst frosting and fresh blackberries. You can get her recipes here. Isn't that incredible sweet of her?


A closer, slightly blurry (sorry!), look at her samples. I was slightly tempted to scoop them all up and make a run for it. I resisted. But it was a close one.


Oh, and have I already mentioned the completely adorable dress she wore? Here it is. The sailboats on the skirt are embroidered, of course. She got it from this site, which has so many amazing dresses. And they are so very reasonably priced! I may have to indulge in one of their frocks for myself!

I brought along my copy of Stitched in Time and picked up a copy of Embroidery Companion and had a lovely chat with Alicia while she signed them for me. You can get a signed copy for yourself through Alicia's website, or unsigned copies from Powell's or just about any other online book retailer.

8.25.2010

More Flowers





We acquired some absolutely gorgeous flowers last weekend. Ryan very sweetly encouraged me to pick a fantastic bouquet of dahlias while at the farmer's market. I couldn't pass up this bunch. Don't you just love the bright pinks against the pale green? Gosh, I love dahlias! These seem to almost glow.

The next day, we stopped at the farm to buy some pickling supplies - more on that later - and saw these fabulous gladiolus. For only $3. Really, there was no point in resisting. The colors in the flowers remind me of butter, of daffodils, of cantaloupe.

8.23.2010

Sultry Silk Flowers

I recently completed this lovely little project, Lapel Pins by Leigh Radford. The "yarn" is Silk Gelato in blueberry - Yum! - purchased at Close Knit. The centers are made from Clover Wool Roving in Moss Green, picked up at Twisted, and embroidered with good ol' DMC floss. Can I just tell you how much I loved this?!

It was a snap to crochet the flowers, which were then washed and left to air dry. After, I sewed a felt circle to the back of each to make a stable backing, and then needle felted and embroidered the centers. Finally, a pin was attached to each. The washing really gave them the absolute best texture. I want to wear them every day...

8.20.2010

I Heart "Innocent Crush"!


Have you seen Anna Maria Horner's newest design, Innocent Crush? It is so sweet and lovely and will definitely be heading straight for the top of my "To-Sew" list. If only each pattern came with a pair of those completely adorable tights... In store this November - "Just in time for my birthday!" she says thoughtfully.

So, how are ya'll doing? Things have been busy busy around here. I can hardly catch my breath. Yesterday I crashed pretty hard. The day wasn't a total loss, though. I finished a sweater, swept the apartment, and did the laundry. Some times it's the small things, right?

As usual, my camera is full of images to share, and my head is full of ideas for projects. Hopefully I can get to it all soon. In the meantime, I'd love to hear how you lovely readers are planning to finish your summers, spend your weekend, etc.

8.17.2010

Finally...

The first of my heirloom hollyhocks bloomed! It is such a lovely, barely blushing pink. There are two others getting ready to bloom, too. Wonder if they'll be the same sweet color?

8.16.2010

I Made Pants!

I was still a bit high after finishing Anda when I started my next project. Simplicity 4097 has been in my collection for several years now, just biding it's time. And I've really been in desperate need of jeans. The thing is, jean/pant shopping is almost worse for me than swim suit shopping. My waist is generally a size or two smaller than my hips, which means than for a pair of pants to accommodate my backside, they usually gape at the waist. Then there are my short legs, which usually require me to cuff or shorten pants, leaving the pants looking slightly out of proportion. And, that's all if I can even find a style to suit my taste. So, I dug out my pattern and some denim from my stash, and went to work.

(What?! I know you wanted to see the back! Don't even try to deny it!)

To start, I traced the pattern, grading the waist down 1 size from the hips. Then I cut out my pieces - only 4! - and set it all aside as I headed to Ryan's softball game. (To which I wore Anda and boasted about my new project. Shameless!) The next morning, I nearly jumped out of bed and started sewing straight away. In just a couple of hours, I had a pant-shaped garment needing only a zipper, a waist, and a hem. As I didn't have a zipper on hand, I again set the project aside. Before doing so, I tried on the almost-pants and was ecstatic to discover that they seemed to fit!
(This ribbon is really lovely. Bright summery flowers reminiscent of Indian Paisley patterns.)

The following morning, I was again out of bed and at the sewing machine, new zipper in hand. Slowly, I worked the zipper in (I really need and adjustable zipper foot!) and then finished the waist. The pattern omits a waist band, instead calling for twill tape to face and reinforce the waist. I decided to substitute this really cute grosgrain ribbon from my stash. After getting it all squared away, I decided that the zig-zagged edges of fabric didn't look finished enough, so I pressed the seam allowances under and stitched them down. Much better.

(I'm really proud of those seams, and of my darts!)

Finally, I pinned the hems in place. They're 3" deep, a testament to my short legs. I like the deep hem, though.
The pants sit just below my waist, and zip at the side, so no awkward bunching of the waistband or zipper. Don't you just hate that? As you can see, above, I didn't bother with pockets. Briefly, I considered adding patch pockets, but then discarded the idea. For once, I managed to resist my urge to embellish!

The pattern instructions were super easy to follow - Simplicity indeed! I'll definitely be making more of these in other fabrics. (And probably the jumper and blouse.) My success here also makes me more excited to try other pants patterns. There are several in my collection of Burda Magazines which have caught my eye, most of which are described as Marlene Deitrich-style. Also, I love this pair, recently featured on BurdaStyle, but am not sure the pleated pockets would be a wise choice for me. The button-fly and corset waist are fantastic, though.

Oh, and before we wrap up today, here is a gratuitous kitty photo. Holly likes to hang out nearby while I sew. Often, she settles herself into the sewing machine case. She can keep a good eye on my from there!

8.13.2010

Tillamook

The last day of our trip, we started with another morning walk along the beach. After packing everything up, we headed towards home. Before going to far, though, we stopped in Tillamook. At the Cheese Factory. It was huge, and it was mobbed.

We spent some time looking through the viewing window down at workers - ahem - cutting cheese and weighing the blocks. More interesting than you might think. Then, we checked out some of the history of the factory. We particularly liked the display of advertising campaigns.

"Good Eating on Your Ration Points."

"At last... a man's salad." (Top, right)


"I wouldn't be caught dead with a cheddar under two years old."

Ryan had to get a closer look at the knights jousting with the cow.

After peeking at the past, we enjoyed some Tillamook Ice Cream - boy, do they have a system! - and strolled through the gift shops. There was one shop dedicated entirely to food, and another to tacky knick knacks, t-shirts, etc. Delightful. We decided to get out of the masses of people before the calm and peace of camping was totally undone.

Have a good weekend. I'll be back next week with more adventures, and another sewing project.

8.12.2010

Cape Lookout, Saturday

On Saturday we went for two hikes. The first was a short little jaunt to a nearby creek bed. The Park service has recently undertaken to restore the creek and make it more salmon-friendly. Apparently in the spring it's full of water and young salmon, but we were able to walk along the dry bottom during our visit. The trail was full of sweet little flowers and magic spaces. (I think that if you click on some of these photos, they will open in a larger window.)








Before heading out on our next hike, we visited the beach again, where we saw this handsome fella struttin' his stuff.


Our next hike was 5 miles-round trip along the top of the cape. We drove a couple of miles to the trail head, gaining quite a bit of elevation along the way. It was a stunning hike, and not easy. There were shear drop-offs along the edge of the path. I tripped at one point on the way back, and Ryan nearly had a heart-attack. Oops! Oh, and the path alternated between being dry and rocky and wet and muddy. Nevertheless, as you'll see, the views were stunning. I had a tough time choosing which ones to share.


















After the hike, while I went off to take a shower, Ryan spotted this visitor to our camp site taking a shower of her own. Ice had frozen around our evenings dinner, so we set it out on the picnic table bench to thaw a bit. As it did so, water dripped down to create the perfect bird-size shower!