Monday, July 26, 2010

Beautiful Gracie in Her Petal Knot Dress

What can I say?  Gracie would make a paper sack look good!  Gracie's grandmother, my friend Karen, took these gorgeous shots of Gracie in the dress I made (details here).

These next shots were extras that Karen sent my way. Gracie's big brother Allister is towing her around in their wagon. Don't these photos look like they could have been taken 30-40-50-60 years ago? Timeless childhood fun!

This last one is my favorite!  Gracie is just about to kiss Chloe, one of Grandma's dogs.  Charming!  Thank you, Karen for sending me these photos.  I love them!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Chloe's Vintage Pillowcase Ensemble from 'Hazel's' Pillowcase

This little 12-18 month ensemble was one of the three sets I made to sell just before school let out for the summer.  I was thrilled when one of my co-workers purchased it to give to Kaye (the expecting Pre-K teacher) for baby Chloe (due next month).   I used one of a set of pillowcases that I found in an Antique Mall in downtown St. Petersburg several years ago.  The cases were snowy white and I don't think they had ever been used!
Just look at that beautiful crochet work and the hemstitching in purple!  The crochet work extends all the way around to the back of the case.  The fabric is a great cotton.   Some wonderful needle artist did that gorgeous work years ago and no one used it!  What a waste!  As I worked on turning this into a little outfit that will be used and enjoyed, I thought about this unknown woman and blessed her for having made something so beautiful.  I also thought of my maternal grandmother who knit, crocheted and tatted the most fantastic things.  I decided to give this lady a name:  Hazel, after my grandmother's original name.  (My grandmother changed her name in the 1920's to Elizabeth!)

So here's my made-up story about Hazel and the pillowcases:
Hazel was born in 1915 and loved to do the hand work that her mother and grandmother taught her.  She even enjoyed sewing the hems in her five brothers work pants and embroidering the monograms on their vests and large handkerchiefs.  When the necessary work was complete, she would work on the items for her hope chest.  She made lovely edged pillowcases, sheets, table runners, and even embroidered tablecloths and napkins!
Hazel fell in love with Tom, the boy next door, when she was 16 but had to wait until she was 26 (gasp!) to marry because times were so hard and work was scarce.  As the eldest child in his family, Tom quit high school to do odd jobs so that he could help his family out.  He eventually went to work for a carpenter who trained him to do fine cabinetry work.  They were married in 1941 and Hazel happily used everything she had been making for years to beautify her home.
Hazel and Tom were were very happy together and eventually had three strong handsome sons.  Hazel's only regret was that she didn't have a daughter to share her love of needlework with.  When the boys finished school they went into their dad's business.  They married well and Hazel loved all her daughters-in-law.  Unfortunately, they were all too modern for Hazel's old-fashioned needlework and she knew better than to make such things for them.  She continued to make lovely things, however, with the idea that maybe a granddaughter would like the 'old' things.  When variegated threads became available she had the best time making crocheted edgings like these lavender/purple edged pillowcases.  You guessed it....Hazel was the proud grandmother of 7 grandsons!  When she died the chest of lovely linens was sold for a song to an antiques dealer who knew the value of the pretty things.
This is where I come in and the story is no longer fiction!  I bought 7 of these lovely cases from the dealer who didn't even remember where he had gotten them!  Just that he had gotten them all from one estate.

 I cut the seamed bottom of the case off and used it to make the bodice of the little sundress.  I used a hand embroidery design that I found in an Australian magazine called "Handmade" that I found in JoAnn's.  I used a favorite pattern to make pant*ies to match the ties on the bodice top and a 1952 pattern to make the sun bonnet.

I like to think that Hazel was smiling in heaven when she saw me embroidering the bodice.  I am sure she gasped when I cut into the pillowcase but I hope that she relaxed and smiled when she saw the finished product, knowing that a little girl will finally be enjoying the lovely case she made so long ago.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gracie's Petal Knot Dress

This little dress was made because I fell in love with a fat quarters bundle!  Yes, I know.  I shouldn't even look in that section!  I just loved the pretty pastel colors and the prints.  The little ballerina girls were so darling in their colorful outfits that I just HAD to buy the one and only bundle they had of these prints.  (Not like I don't have any fabric in my closets, right?)  As soon as I got home I had to see what went with it in my stash and I found the pretty mottled blue and yellow mini print pieces in my fat quarter stash.  
I knew immediately that I wanted to make another Petal Knot Dress (pattern "Claire" by Portabellopixie).  I love the planning process.  I love deciding what pattern to use, what fabric to use for what piece, what trims, etc.  The size of the fabric quarters pretty much determined that this would be a small size dress so I went with size 2.  I sketched what I wanted the dress to look like with the sections labeled with the fabric names, washed the fabric, and placed everything in a plastic bag to 'cure'  Really, I had so many more things to do and this wasn't earmarked for anyone special that it was just put away on the back burner.
Just before school let out for the summer I made a couple of things just because I wanted to and to see if I could sell them. I brought them in to school and all three items sold within 15 minutes! I was thrilled! My friend Karen bought this dress set for her youngest grandchild.  Gracie is little Emma's younger cousin.  (See Emma Models here.)  Photos are coming of beautiful Gracie modeling her new dress.  Karen takes wonderful photographs!
 Aren't the little ballerinas cute?

This knot is what sold me on this pattern!  I love the petal shape!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Skirted Diaper Sets for Charm and Chloe

In my quest to make sweet Charm some more modern, less fancy clothing I went to to check out the baby epatterns posted there.  I was delighted when I came across a darling skirted diaper cover in multiple sizes.  It is by Tie Dye Diva Designs & Monkeysbug Tees and is titled "How to Sew Skirted Diaper Covers".  The directions are clear with great photos and the little skirted covers come out just as cute as can be.  The only thing that I changed when making my versions was to apply the bias seam binding the way I am familiar with:  trim 1/4 inch off leg openings, open seam binding, place atop the leg opening right sides together, stitch in the crease of the seam, turn, press, and stitch close to edge of the binding.  (Leaving an opening at the seam of the crotch for the elastic.)
This time I took a onesie and tiny socks and just added bows and a button (very securely fastened!).  The pink polycotton  gingham, lace and ribbons were all in my stash.  I washed all the clothing and fabrics first to preshrink and to remove any chemicals that might harm a baby's sensitive skin.

The shaped and lined bidie pattern (burp cloth) was another 'find' on I liked the idea of shaping a cloth diaper and lining it in the outfit fabric. This pattern will definitely be made many, many times again!

Can't you just see this covering a sweet little diapered tu*shie? It's frilly and feminine but easy to put on, wear, remove for changes, and completely washer and dryer friendly! Using polycotton makes ironing unnecessary, too!
When Charm goes to preschool at our school she will have already made a great friend.  Baby Chloe is due to another one of our teachers next month.  She will have a 10 year old sister who is a friend of Charm's oldest sister Ashlyn and a 15 year old brother who is one of my son's best friends.  The little girls will know each other well by the time they get to school!  I made a few outfits for Choe's baby shower.  This little yellow gingham and lavender set is made using the same patterns I used for Charm's ensemble.

You can see the underside of the skirt section and the bias binding inside the leg openings in this photo.

 I think that I am rather liking this modern sewing for little babies!  The outfits are uncomplicated and faster to finish.  Nice for a change but I still love the more traditional clothing best.  I do love hand work like smocking and embroidering!  I even like to hand stitch hems (when there are no time constraints)!  Check out the You Can Make This website and have fun sewing!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Charm's Everyday Baby Clothes

I just love ruffles on cute little baby tu*shies!  I can't tell you how many pairs of pant*ies had ruffles, ribbons, lace, and rosettes added to them for my daughter when she was a baby!  Her play clothes were 'dressier' than most babies wear for everyday.  Well, when Charm's mommy said that she wanted 'less fancy' clothing for Charm (my newest godchild) I was a little stumped about what to make.  My typical frilly, smocked, lace-dripping things weren't going to 'fit the bill'.  I finally came up with some casual sets that I think Lauri will use for sweet Charm.
This is the first of a few sets I made and gave Lauri at her baby shower.  I took a pink baby undershirt and added a little hand embroidery.  Then found some easy-care plisse in my stash and made a diaper cover and a decorated 'bidie'.  (A bidie is what my family calls a 'burp cloth'.)  I think that the set came out cute.  I've embroidered und*ies before but they were worn by my daughter under her other clothing.  :)

The embroidery stitches were those I learned from my own godmother, Janet Hughes (my mother's sister) when I was a little girl and she would come to Florida to visit us in the wintertime.  These are simple stitches you can find in any embroidery book:  blanket stitch on the sleeves, feather stitch on the neckline, lazy daisy leaves and flowers, French knots, and pinwheel flowers.
The ruffles were a long strip of fabric gathered down the middle and applied to the back of a pair of bloomers from a favorite pattern. The fabric edges were just folded over and pressed, then rolled and whipped with a zig-zag on my trusty old Elna Diva.
More sets to come!  Maybe this will be the catalyst for some ideas for other casual sets for the modern mamas.  Let me know if you come up with others.  I will be happily sewing for sweet Charm for lots of years!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kaitlyn Models the Piano Recital Dress

My daughter and I are working on the blog banner.  It isn't finished yet!  It suits her 16 year old sense of design and style but not quite mine.  A little more fine tuning will suit my style.  Love the little drawing of the faery, though!
Kaitlyn's mommy sent me the photo of Kaitlyn at the piano at her church.  She played during the service!  Doesn't she look angelic?  I am so pleased that she has had so many opportunities to wear the dress I made earlier this year.  Besides this performance, she was in two recitals and also wore the dress for her first grade portraits.
I took the photos below when she wore the dress to school for picture day.  It made me smile every time I caught a glimpse of her.

Monday, July 5, 2010

100 Days of Positive Prayer

The photo above and those below were taken at sunset one evening during the summer of 2008 on St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. The water was clear and beautiful and my family enjoyed a picnic dinner on the sand and watched the sunset before we went home. We live 15 minutes from this spot. My heart aches for all the creatures who depend on this habitat and for the people who use, need, and enjoy it.
The members and friends of Unity churches throughout Florida are praying the following prayer for the Gulf for 100 days . Won't you join us?

(Invocation by Charles Fillmore)
I am now in the presence of pure Being, and immersed in the Holy Spirit of life, love, and wisdom. I acknowledge Thy presence and Thy power O blessed Spirit, and from Thy pure substance of love bring into manifestation my world according to Thy perfect law.
In a state of divine union with God, I open my heart to allow the energy of pure love and appreciation to flow from me to everyone and everything.
In the pure love of God, I am one with the earth, the air, the water, the soil, the trees, the plants and all their life-giving organisms. I am one with all beings on the earth. I honor, respect and cherish all living things.
In the pure love of God, I release all thoughts, behaviors, beliefs and ideas that are not in harmony with the highest and best good for all.
In the pure love of God, I make wise choices and take right actions to preserve our planet for ourselves and all future generations.
In the pure love of God, I hold all countries, corporations, businesses, organizations, institutions, and their leaders in prayer for harmony, peace, collaboration, wisdom and smart decisions for the highest and best good of our planet and its peoples.
In the pure love of God, I am united with all spiritually conscious beings. Together we hold the high watch for positive change for our world. In the name of all that is sacred, we daily lift our world family in prayer for health, peace, love, joy, wisdom, prosperity and safety. AMEN.
To the Gulf: I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sweet Baby "Charm"

This is sweet Delaney Kate at one day old. Isn't she just gorgeous?!
Here I am holding this darling bundle. I was privileged to spend several hours with Charm and her mommy Lauri at the hospital the day after she was born. What a delight!
The next photo is of Charm and her mommy seven days later in her pretty nursery. I put the 'cap' I made her on for the photo. (It may be the only time she wears it!) That was a yawn, by the way. She wasn't crying. Lauri had just fed her and she was worn out!

Charm and her sister Cassidy, age 6 1/2.

Charm with sisters Cassidy and Ashlyn (almost 10 yrs.).

I am looking forward to seeing my girls next weekend!
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