Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Sewing

As soon as the October calendar goes up in the front of the classroom, the children are squealing with delight.  Halloween is almost here!  The 31 days to wait is nearly torture for them!  The fun little Halloween shirts and outfits have been showing up in my kindergarten classroom for the last two weeks.  The children delight in wearing clothing featuring ghosts and spiders, pumpkins and witches.  This week my class will be making tie-dyed Halloween pumpkin shirts to wear to school on THE BIG DAY next week.

This year I am making a couple of little dresses using a pattern that is new to me but I am not ready to share those with you yet.  So I went through my files and found some things I have made over the years that I don't think that I have shared here.

The large candy totes above were made for a friend's daughters.  Each one was a little different with pictures I cut from a Halloween panel appliqued on each side.  The lining was another Halloween print.  (You will see that lining fabric again later this week as I finish these two new dresses.)

The dress below has that same print as an attached apron paired with a blue plaid and some ribbon trim.  The doll's outfit was made to coordinate.  I used my 'go-to' pattern "Annie's Sundress and Jumper" by Primrose Lane and made a little lacy peasant blouse to wear under it.
 The dress below is made with the same pattern but  trimmed differently.  I made this one for my godchild Cassidy.  For her sister Ashlyn, I made the patchwork skirt below the dress.

 Here the girls model the dresses.  They aren't this little anymore!  Ashlyn is now in middle school.  Time moves on whether we want it to or not!

 This purple skirt was made for Marietta, another friend's daughter and a former student of mine.  The favorite color for both mama and daughter is purple.
 This one was made for another teacher-friend's granddaugther.  I do love that bright fabric!  You will see that fabric again later this week in another dress, too.
Here is a little ditty I sing to my students every year.  I have no idea where it came from!  Sung to the tune of "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush":

Sometimes I like to walk in the dark.
I like to shout and scream.
I sneak behind somebody I know.
"BOO!"  It's Halloween!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Costumes for Girls and Dolls

 What adorable witches!  September was in my kindergarten class two years ago and her little sister Jannon was in my class last year.  Their grandmother, a friend of mine and a very frequent volunteer in my classroom, asked me to help with the costuming  when September was in kindergarten.  She made Jannon's costume and both hats. I made September's skirt, vest, and blouse.  September won a local costume contest that year!
 After making the costume I was inspired to make an outfit for another friend's daughter's American Girl doll.  I winged the skirt pattern and used patterns from for the corset, hat, and blouse.  Fun!  I've always liked making doll clothes!

A teaching friend shared the following song with me and we sing it in our classroom.  It is sung to the tune:   "One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians".

Three Little Witches

One little, two little, three little witches. (Hold up 1,2,3 fingers)
Fly over haystacks, fly over ditches. (Make flying motion with hands)
Fly over moonbeams without any hitches. (Make flying motion with opposite hand.)
Hey, Ho, Halloween Night! (Clap)

One little, two little, three little witches. (Hold up 1,2,3 fingers)
 Flew over barbed wire and tore their britches. (Make flying motion with one hand, then turn and show your "torn britches")
Had to go home and get some stitches. (Pretend to sew)
Hey, Ho, Halloween Night! (Clap)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pink Tea Party

"Enjoy life sip by sip, not gulp by gulp"  The Minister of Leaves

 My sweet daughter has enjoyed tea parties all her life.  When she was in preschool she had them every day.  She'd set up one of her little tea sets and then get whoever was around to sit and enjoy a cup with her.  She would carefully and very seriously hold the lid of her teapot and pour a cup of pretend tea all the while chatting away.  It always made me smile when it would be her daddy sitting on the floor and holding a tiny cup in his hand.  Sometimes her younger brother would be the one sharing tea but it was usually the result of a trade:  when the tea party was over she would have to play cars with him.  It used to frustrate him, though, because her idea of  'playing cars' didn't match his.  She would turn the cars into mommy, daddy, and baby cars.  Poor Logan wanted to line them up and race them!

Victoria-Rose hosts at least two tea parties a year at our home.  One is her birthday tea party that is Christmas holiday inspired and the other is just before school begins so that the girls can get together one more time before they leave.                                                  She often hosts small tea parties at college, too.  She recently wanted to make scones in her little dorm kitchen but didn't have a mixer.  That didn't stop her!  She mixed it all with her hands!  Needless to say, I sent her back with a mixer the next time she was home.
This time Victoria-Rose asked her friend Lyda to spend a few days with us and they prepared most of the savories for this party together.  Both girls enjoyed working in the kitchen.  They made curried chicken salad sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, and strawberry sandwiches with herbed cheese.   I had pinned a picture of cheese filled tomato 'tulips' and Lyda was anxious to make those.  She also made the most beautiful strawberry 'roses' to decorate the strawberry sandwich platter.

 The girls filled little pink bags with candies for small party favors.  Each guest also received a fun pink or white feather boa.
The brass bell in the background of this picture was my grandmother's.  She used to use it as a secret signaling device.  (She was too much of a lady to call us to come in from play.)  One ring out her window meant 'look at me', two rings meant 'throw kisses', three rings meant 'come in now'.

 Each guest was asked to pick a tea cup to use for the party.  I set out the ones from my collection that were the pinkest onto the kitchen table.  The tablecloth is a vintage one from the 40's and has a pale pink background.

Victoria-Rose's favorite cup is the white one with little pink roses.  It is Duchess bone china, made in England, and found in a Hospice resale shop.
The girls thought it would be fun to use different pretty sterling spoons from my collection for each place setting.  The other sterling is Delacourt by Lunt and was chosen by me in high school.  I received my first place settings as a graduation gift from my mother.  The gold rimmed china was my dear stepmother's.  The lace trimmed and hand embroidered top tablecloth was found in an antique store.  The pink one underneath is one I bought about 20 years ago.
Lyda did the beautiful calligraphy on the place cards.
 The lovely hand embroidered and lace trimmed napkins were a recent find in another antique store here in St. Petersburg.
 The pink glass tea cups and goblets were found at the Hospice resale shop.  I filled the cups with baby pink roses and baby's breath and the goblets with pink tea lights.  The pink glass candlestick holders are depression glass with etched flowers, another antique find.

 The 'tulips' were made using Marzano tomatoes from Village Farms and are grown in Texas.  Delicious!  Their 'stems' are just chives inserted into holes poked into the top of the tomatoes.

 I made several sweets for the party.  The (out of focus...sorry!) tray below displays the pink iced cranberry and white chocolate cookies and the raspberry cream filled chocolate cups.
This next photo (again, out of focus) is the almond cream and berry parfait that was the last course served.  Victoria-Rose and I chose three different teas to serve to the girls:  Teavana's Blackberry Mojito (green), Adagio's Apricot (black), and Teavana's Strawberry Pu-Erh (black).

 “The very act of preparing and serving tea encourages conversation. The little spaces in time created by teatime rituals call out to be filled with conversation. Even the tea itself–warm and comforting-inspires a feeling of relaxation and trust that fosters shared confidences.”
Emilie Barnes, If Teacups Could Talk

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Joy of Teaching Sewing

Victoria-Rose and Lyda with their matching pillowcases.
 Victoria-Rose, my college sophomore daughter, and her friend Lyda have recently decided that they want to learn how to sew.  Picture me mentally jumping up and down and screaming with joy but calmly and casually saying, "Sure, honey, why don't you invite Lyda to come home with you for the weekend?"  (I didn't want to scare them away!  I've been waiting for this day for YEARS!)

I spent the week before their arrival home planning and getting things ready.  I purchased Parts Gear boxes for them and filled them with a Singer sewing kit (12 threads, seam gauge, sear ripper, pin cushion, pins, shears, etc.), glass headed pins, embroidery scissors, needles, and small plastic containers of buttons.  I also purchased detailed Singer sewing books for them.  I decided that pillowcases with their straight seams would be perfect for beginning seamstresses.

On Saturday, the girls took my JoAnn's coupons, yardage amounts, and a gift card to JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts to choose their coordinating fabrics for two pillowcases each.  They were gone for HOURS!  Victoria-Rose later said that they were overwhelmed by the selections and distracted by all the goodies in the store.  She also said that she now understood how I could spend hours there!

The girls decided that their first pillowcases would be matching ones of dark green with a cream/green floral border and cream cluny-type lace.  Each girl also made another pillowcase with different fabrics.  Lyda's was a blue floral and Victoria-Rose chose a purple floral but changed her mind when she got home.  She then 'shopped' in my stash and chose the fabrics in the photograph below.  Her second case was made to fit a king sized pillow she uses at school.

The girls learned how to make French seams and overcast seams for clean finishes and how to attach lace edging using a tiny zig-zag stitch.  I was so proud of them and they were proud of themselves!
The girls and Victoria-Rose's second case.  Lyda had her other
one packed in her tote already.
They have already chosen fabric from my stash to make totes the next time Lyda visits.  Am I happy?  You bet I am!!!

 The photos below show a bolster I recovered and another small pillow for Victoria-Rose's bed at school.  The cross-stitching on the little pillow was from a set of ten pieces I found at the Hospice Resale shop near us.  Someone had done all the work for a quilt but then didn't put it together.  The colors went well with Victoria-Rose's color scheme in her dorm/apt. room.

The back of the pillow with an 'envelope' style closure.  The bird will not be up-side down if the pillow is turned the right way up!
To Ponder:
A life well lived is simply a compilation of days well spent.
Douglas Pagels
Have a delightful day!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Pinafore Sundress Outfit From Vintage Patterns

I love vintage sewing patterns!  I love so many of the styles of years gone by:  full skirts, circle skirts, bonnets, butterfly sleeves, puffed sleeves, and beautiful embellishments.  I made this little ensemble in 2008 and sold it at the Women's Exchange in St. Augustine.  I used two very old patterns from my pattern stash to create this toddler outfit with vintage appeal.
The fabric was a soft muted yellow floral cotton that reminded me of fabrics in the 1940's.  The embroidered eyelet was some that I had 'mellowing' in my stash and was just enough for the butterfly sleeve treatment.  The buttons were from a button box passed on to me by a friend.
The pattern is one of those really old ones from the 1940's that had been ordered from a newspaper and had no written pattern markings, just different sized holes arranged in patterns to show what the pieces were for and how to attach them.  This was my first attempt at sewing with one of these patterns and I discovered that it wasn't difficult at all for someone with pattern reading experience.  The pattern called for a deeper hem but the style was already a short one so I opted for a narrow hem.  The little shorts were part of the original pattern and were obviously quite needed for modesty.

 The bonnet was made from a different vintage pattern from the same decade.

 The bonnet buttoned in the back making the bonnet much easier to wash and iron.
 The bonnet has a great brim for shielding delicate skin from the sun's damaging rays.
Someday I'll have to make these patterns again.  I hope you enjoyed them!

Something to ponder:
The game of life is a game of boomerangs.
Our thoughts, deeds, and words return to us
sooner or later with astounding accuracy."

Think wonderful thoughts, do kind deeds, and speak beautiful words, my friends!  Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A is for Autumn

Katy of No Big Dill has begun a new sewing series that is just 'right up my alley' as a kindergarten teacher.  She is 'sewing up the alphabet' this year and has invited us to do the same and link to her blog about it on Sept. 6, 2013 (HERE).  She made the most beautiful dress for her niece with a subtle 'arrow' on the skirt  for the Letter A that is simply stunning.  I couldn't wait to begin sewing!

Over the past two weeks, on my long drive to and from school, I have been fantasizing, mentally designing, and sewing dozens of outfits for this series.  Alas, I have sewn next to nothing.   In my head there is a pants outfit with ants embroidered on it carrying food away and another with hand embroidered redwork animals.  In my head....that is as far as I got.  

So... I have resorted to going through pictures of things that I have made in the past that I have not shared in detail on this blog, searching for things that fit Katy's theme.  I found plenty of apple themed dresses but I shared them in a post HERE.  Finally I found this little baby outfit that I named 'Autumn Frolic'.

The fabric reminds me of watercolor autumn flowers and I just fell in love with it when I bought it a few years before I actually cut into it.  Let's just say that I was 'saving' it for this project.   This little Autumnal ensemble was made for gorgeous Natalie back in 2008.  Her grandmother had commissioned me to make several little outfits for Natalie, her first grandchild.  

I used a Children's Corner pattern called "Hilary" in a size one knowing that it ran big and would be more like a size 18 months.  I decided to add a little smocking and loved how the fabric pleated up.  It was 'busy' already so I just did a simple cable and wave pattern without any extra embroidery.  

 The little appliqued 3D flowers were from a Primrose Lane pattern called "Baby Rose".  I sewed it to the ribbon and then pinned it on with a safety pin so that it could be removed for washing.
 I made and applied lots of tiny piping using a quilting calico and lined the bodice and sleeves in the same fabric.
 I love the closure on the back in this pattern.  It crosses over and buttons with just one button.  Lots of the tiny piping added here for detail, too.
 The bonnet was made using Simplicity Pattern #2908 but I changed it up a bit by adding a frill and another appliqued 3D flower on the inside of the brim instead of appliqued scallops.
 I made a pair of matching britches but I can't remember what pattern I used.
 The outfit looked just stunning on this beautiful baby girl.  The colors suited her so well.  Her grandmother reported that whenever she wore the ensemble she would 'stop traffic'!

Although it is still VERY hot and humid here in my part of Florida, the colors in this dress are making me think of cooler weather and the coming season.  It is also making me hungry for my husband's favorite pie, pumpkin!  I think I'll make one as a surprise for him today.

Something to ponder:
"Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.
Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness,
and a home to the stranger.
Be a breath of life on the body of humankind,
dew to the soil of the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility."
From a Baha'i Prayer for Peace

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Maddie's Tea Party Dress

 I made this dress early in the summer of 2012 but never got around to blogging about it.  I forgot all about it until I was sorting through photos on my computer recently.  It's a sweet little dress full of meaning and it was made with love for Maddie, the daughter of a teaching friend.  Maddie was eight years old that summer and loved a good cup of hot tea and tea parties.  Her mommy, Jenn, also loved tea and tea parties.  We began many a morning at school sharing a cup of tea and enjoying our friendship.  Jenn is now an assistant principal at another school and is sorely missed at ours.
 I did some vintage style hand embroidery on the bodice of Portabellopixie's Petal Knot Dress in colors that coordinated with those in the teapot print of the skirt.  I also did a little hand embroidery around the flower shaped buttons on the petal straps.
Here you can see the sweet little blue birds and butterflies flitting about the pretty teapots.
Something to think about:
"You are given a daily invitation to fill your heart with all the smiles it can possibly hold.  Douglas Pagels

Enjoy this day, my friends, and fill it with smiles!  Blessings, Karen
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