Sunday, March 31, 2013

Life Renewed!

Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.     Luke 24:5

"On Easter, we awaken from the illusion of death into renewed life.  We are propelled into higher levels of consciousness and greater expressions of good."  Daily Word, Easter 2012.

Each day we awaken, we awaken to a new life, a new beginning.  We have the blessing of a wonderful 'do-over'.  All we have is now.  The past is just that, the past.  It holds no power over us unless we let it.  The future is a big 'maybe'.  We don't even know that we will be 'there' when 'the future' arrives.  
 We need to make NOW important.  We need to make sure that when we retire for the evening we can look over the day and find things in it for which we are truly grateful.  Each day is precious.  Each day is a gift from God.  If we did not smile or laugh, if we did not see or feel something beautiful, then we did not make the most of the day.  I read recently that we should live each day as if it were the first and the last day of our lives.  Finding 30, 15, or even 10 minutes to spend doing something that makes you really happy in each day is not too hard to accomplish.  Making sure to speak kind words to those you love each evening would be a blessing to them and to you.  Make today count.  We really only have NOW.

The following is taken from Daily Word , April 8, 2012:

"I allow the Christ Spirit to rise triumphant in me.  Boldly, I embrace a new way of thinking, an affirmative way of being, and a grand and glorious way of living.  Today I celebrate renewed life!"

Happy Easter and blessings for a wonderful day! 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Kitty Cat Pillowcase into Backless Top & Shorts Set

 As I was cleaning up my photo files I found several little things I've made that I haven't shared yet.  This one uses another little pillowcase.  The embroidery with the sleeping kitten was just charming and I loved the little yellow butterfly, of course!  The tatting on the bottom of this case was particularly beautiful.  I remember when I found this one in an antique store I was with my dear Heart Sister Jana in Georgia.  She always takes me to some antique shops when I visit each summer. I am looking forward to doing that again this year!
Please click on the pictures to get a larger view.
 I did this one quite differently from the pillowcase tunic I shared in my last post.  I used a commercial pattern for a little backless top and trimmed it with two different kinds of ribbon trim and sweet flower buttons.
 I used the part of the pillowcase that I cut off to make the bodice and the straps and sewed ribbon to those, too.
Back View

I believe the shorts were made from the same pattern with plisse fabric purchased at Jo-Ann's.
I really liked this little outfit and I will have to make a similar one sometime for my 'grandmother's hope chest'.  I took this one to show at school and it sold within minutes of being in the office.  That made my day!  One of the teachers purchased it for her granddaughter in New York.

I'd love to hear what you think about using vintage linens in your sewing/crafting.  Are you making anything for Spring/Summer?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Honeycomb Smocked Vintage Pillowcase Dress

 I dearly love vintage linens with beautiful handwork.  I am always on the lookout to rescue linens that some needle artist made in the past to use or repurpose.  Recently, I was going through my stash of lovely old pillowcases when this one caught my eye.  The pretty blue embroidery reminded me of the blue of Emma B's eyes and I thought it would be perfect to use to make something for her fifth birthday.   I decided to make it into a little pillowcase dress/tunic to wear over leggings or blue jeans.
 I used the "Miss Violet" pattern from The Handmade Dress (you can find the pattern HERE) and added an extra couple of rows of dots for the smocking.  With all the smocking I have done over the last 18 years, I must confess that this is the first time that I have drawn dots on the fabric and then smocked the honeycomb stitch.  (I have done honeycomb smocking over fabric I have pleated using a pleater but I had not smocked as I picked up dots drawn on the material.)  The smocking reminded me of the counterchange smocking I used on gingham fabric for a couple of dresses for my daughter and another for a friend's child.  It was done in just a couple of hours and looked perfect with the cross stitch embroidery on the bottom of the case.

I think that the lace on the bottom of the case is knitted in some way.  It clearly isn't crochet work.  Very lacy and pretty, though.
Miss Emma B loved the dress and her mommy really loved it as a long tunic over jeans.  Score!  (As my son would say. ;)  )

I hope that you are having fun!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shadow Smocked Easter Dress

Just click on the photos to enlarge them.
 Recently Janice of shared the gorgeous Easter dress she made her older granddaughter for Easter 2012  (see here).  (Janice is an amazingly talented needle artist who has smocked and embroidered for years and taught classses in heirloom sewing all over the world.)  I was enchanted by the beautiful work and by the trip down memory lane that her lovely dress afforded me.  You see, fourteen years ago I was entranced by the shadow smocked dresses made by Kay Guiles and showcased in Sew Beautiful magazine.   I decided to make the one you see above for my then 5 year old daughter, Victoria-Rose.  It was her Easter dress that year and her first piano recital dress.  She wore the dress many, many times over the next two years (church, out to Sunday brunch, a wedding, fancy birthday parties).  I washed it on the delicate cycle (I know, gasp) and hung it up to dry.  I also made a high yoked, full skirted slip to wear under it but that was literally worn to death and cut up for doll clothes.
 I store the things I made for my children that have been saved in one of two chests in my house, wrapped in acid-free tissue paper.  I usually take everything out and check them over every summer.  Climate stains and organic type stains reappear and must be removed as soon as possible.  I missed two summers in a row during my mother illnesses and my husband's health issues and I was very distressed when I discovered the horrible, large, ugly golden brown climate stains on the front of this dress and several other hand made things.  It took weeks of sponging with a Biz mixture.  I knew I couldn't put the whole dress in the Biz bucket because I have had silk ribbon change color on other items that I have soaked.  I carefully sponged just the stained areas and made sure the liquid did  not wick up to the silk ribbon embroidery.  As you can see, I was successful.  Thank goodness!  I have ironed the dress without starch so it looks a bit limp so that I can share the dress with you.  (I didn't use starch because it shouldn't be stored starched.)
Closer look of the backsmocking, feather stitching, and silk ribbon embroidery.
We closed the back of the dress with beauty pins.  I didn't space these well for the pictures but you can get the idea.  On this dress I used three pins.

Beauty pins closing the dress back.
I mitered a little lace on the sash tails for a pretty finish.
It has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to share this with the on-line sewing community.  This is one of my favorite creations!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Sundress for Delaney From Vintage Linens

Just click on the photos to enlarge them for better viewing.
 Here is the little sundress for Delaney Kate.  It is made from a vintage hand embroidered pillowcase.  Finding vintage cotton embroidered pillowcases in colors other than white is hard to do.  This was from a set I very happily found several years ago.  I made the other pillowcase into a sundress using the same pattern but in a smaller size ( view:  here) and used different trims on the bodice.

This was a lot of fun for me to make.  I love finding, using, and re-purposing vintage linens with beautiful handwork.  This one has both hand embroidery and a lovely crocheted edging.  I used "Madora's Sundress & Jumper" by Beaucoup in the size 4.  It is an old pattern that can still be found in heirloom sewing shops and on-line.   I added some cluny lace from my stash on the bodice.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Briar Rose's Dress-Up Cape for Delaney Kate

 My youngest godchild is almost three years old.  It is so hard to believe that time goes so fast!  It feels like I just made her embroidered onesies!  She is a beautiful little blond blue-eyed sweetie who is really into princesses and considers herself one.  So a princess needs a cape to go over the ball gown, right?

I made this one following the directions in the book Scrap Saver's 101 Great Little Gifts.  The book was published in 1994 and I found it in a thrift shop for $2.  The cape is sized to fit a child aged 2-6 but Delaney's 9 year old sister Cassidy is enjoying wearing it, too.
 I have next to no shiny/slippery fabric in my stash so I purchased a yard of each of these colors from Jo-Ann's.  The colors reminded me of Briar Rose's dress that the faeries in Disney's Sleeping Beauty movie argued over and kept changing.  The neckline casing has elastic in it and can be slipped over the head after tying for those many quick changes little ones want without re-tying over and over. It can also be worn with the blue side out.
I made Delaney a little sundress, too, that I will share in a day or so.  Have a wonderful, peaceful, and fun-filled Sunday!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Teapot Handle Cozy

 Yes, I made a teapot handle cozy.  You're reaction is probably one of these two:
                       *  Oh, my goodness!  Karen has finally gone around the bend.  Bless her heart!
                       *  Wow!  I like it!  My teapot handle gets hot, too!  I want one!
Needless to say, I am in love with it and I gave it away!  So you know, I will be making another one for me and one for my daughter, Victoria-Rose.  The friend I gave it to with the teapot chuckled and said, "Only you, Karen.  Only you!"

I am going to play around with the dimensions a bit to cover the handles of different pots a little less snugly.  If anyone is interested in me putting the pattern up here with a mini tutorial, please let me know in the comment section.

 I found the original pattern in an old Creative Needle magazine.  Their's was hand embroidered and embellished with French lace.  Mine is made from an old Madeira applique apron that was badly stained and worn, thin fusible batting, and some cluny lace.  Each side of the little cozy has a different design and it is lined in white cotton.
The vintage table runner the teapot is sitting on is a Hospice Resale find.  It is in perfect condition and has the most interesting floral design of pansies.  (One of my favorite flowers.)  I believe that it is a combination of Swedish weaving and traditional embroidery.  If you know if this combination has a specific name, I'd love to know what it is.

On a bit of a side note, I do LOVE tea and have discovered a lovely tea blend at Teavana.  It is equal parts Jasmine Dragon Pearls (green) and Sakura Allure (an amazingly aromatic herbal).  (You have to ask them to blend it for you.)  The tea smells heavenly and with a half teaspoon of sugar, tastes divine!  For a 6-cup pot, you will need 4-5 rounded teaspoons full in an infuser, steeped for two minutes.

Have a wonderful day and make time for fun!
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