Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tie-dye Roses

I'm sorry for my absence! School's been pretty's a lot heavier workload than I'm used to. But anyway, I did make a couple little things during my 'break' from studying.

When I played around with tie-dye last week, I dyed just about every white scrap I could get my hands on with the idea of making roses. I made the roses last Friday, but hadn't done anything with them until today. I had my cousin in mind...she's about two now, and her mom has been requesting some hair accessories for awhile now. So I came up with this sweet little bow:

Kinda reminds me of Cinderella, haha.
Then I came up with this, which looks to me like a garter...but it's really a hairclip. Who knows if anyone would wear it....haha.

So maybe I'll have to make that for my wedding, haha.

What do you think, cute for a little girl? =)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Circle Skirt from Sheet

First day of school! How exciting...I spent the better part of my day getting familiarized with my online classes, and tomorrow, I have my first-ever classroom class (and lemme tell you, from home to school is a huge step for me). Just thinking about it makes me nervous.

I love circle's just something about the way they drape, and the vintage style of it. You can wear them high on your waist or low on your hips, belted or no. Lots of different ways to dress it. I'd wanted to make one for awhile...ever since my 'birthday skirt' - the purple flowered print. And I would have made that one a circle skirt, only I didn't have enough fabric to give it a good length. So I waited.

Then, on my vacation last week, we stopped at an antique store, and I found a pretty sheet for a dollar! It must have been at least queen-sized, and I liked the delicate. My first thought was to make it into the coveted skirt. And so, on Saturday, I meticulously folded, measured, marked, and cut the circle. Easy peasy. Then I got to the hem. wasn't so hard to do as it was time-consuming. I pinned (and let me tell you, there were about a hundred pins stuck in there) and sewed, and after a few hours of TV, I had the hem done. The waistline was harder (I have really got to remember and take pictures as I go), as it kept bubbling up on me as I sewed. But as soon as I added the elastic, it looked fine. And I was done! Relatively pain-free and easy. Perfect for beginners (like me...haha).

Haha, I look like I only have one leg in this pose...

And what's the best thing about circle skirts?

They're great for twirling!

Have a lovely day!

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

An Open Window today's been pretty exciting. Last month, I had entered a writing contest. It was really last minute - as I had only heard about it a day before the deadline, but I figured that since it was for fiction and I have so many short stories lying around, it would be worthwhile to just copy and paste one in. Until I found out that it had to be 1000 words or less. It's really hard (for me, verbose as I am...) to even get a plot started in 1000 words, let alone finish it. So I hmmed and muttered about the unfairness of it all, until *insert flashing light-bulb here* I had the idea of just submitting a part of a story. There's one that I've been working on and off on all year, based loosely on the idea of 'The Three Little Pigs', and the beginning part with the mother is almost a story on its own. I put it into a word counter, and found that I had space for another 200 words...and of course, I had to take advantage of that to add more detail. I ended up adding way too much, but I really liked the new parts, so I couldn't just take it out! I cut and shortened for about an hour until I got it down to 999 words. "Ooh! I could add one more!" But I restrained myself, typed in all my information, and sent it off.

A week went by, and I forgot about it. Now, almost a month later, I got a call saying that I had won: a $50 giftcard, and they were going to feature my story in a local newspaper, and would I mind them using my full name and a picture? Oh, YES. And so I've basically been dancing around the house like'd think I'd gotten my first book published! But it's a good start, I think.

Anyway, I thought I'd share the first part of my story with you. =) Enjoy!

An Open Window

The woman had a soured expression on her weather-beaten face as she crossed her arms across her ample chest. Her shoulders were squared and she stood tall and firm, imposing despite her small stature. The three girls, though they towered over her, stood meekly before her, heads bowed and hands folded. The woman withdrew a cigarette from her cracked lips, and leaning back her head, exhaled, three smoke rings rising through the air. Three. One for each girl. One for each of her eldest daughters.

She sighed as she looked at them, youthful and naive as she had once been. They weren't ready for this, and she knew it. But it was necessary, she thought regretfully, remembering the circumstances that had brought them here.

Her name was Maude Bagnold, widow of William Bagnold, bearer of twelve children; five boys and seven girls. While her husband was alive, Maude had been a good woman, altruistic in nature. She might even have been what some would call beautiful, though as we all know, beauty is only skin-deep.

The family was nicely situated; neither rich nor poor, but settled comfortably in-between. They had even been able to afford a maid. But William had itchy feet, and with all the talk of adventure in the West, he leaped at the thought. It wasn't long before the quickly-enlarging family packed itself into a prairie schooner to travel half-way across the country to homestead on a colorless prairie. Maude had cried to learn that their nearest neighbors were five miles away, and the town, even further, held only a handful of stores and was home to a wealth of drunkards. From their little home to the horizon, all that could be seen was that awful, cursed prairie grass, swaying mockingly in the wind.

Then the fever came, infecting William and a handful of the children. Maude and the others had had it before and were therefore immune. Still, the air was rank with disease, and it affected them all one way or another. If they weren't sick, they were tired, if they weren't tired, they were hungry, as Maude gave her all to the nursing of her family. And then there was the hardship of seeing their strong father and siblings so weak.

The children fought through, but William was not so fortunate. Their closest neighbors and the reverend turned out to a dismal funeral. The stubbornly dry prairie had been drenched with rain, which drizzled down on the sorry group, and the air was filled with sneezes and coughs from the children who were still recovering. Maude watched, cold-faced and impassive, as two men, almost strangers, laid her husband to rest in the sodden ground.

And that was that. William had left her alone with twelve children and meager monetary support. Her relatives wrote often, pleading with her to return home. But Maude was faced with the bitter shame of what she had become. She was no longer the refined lady she had once been; that part of her had died - some in New York, while the rest had been buried with William. Maude had withdrawn into herself, become stony and cold. That was when she took up smoking.

For a long time, she would spend her days in a chair by the window, cigarette between her cracked lips, staring. Just staring. It was as though her soul had removed itself, leaving her body empty. The farm would have gone to ruin if not for the dedication of the older children, who wisely left her alone and went about their business.

It was guilt that brought her to her senses. Guilt that she was making her children's lives hard - forcing too much responsibility on them. And so she left her chair, and her window, though the cigarettes rarely left her lips.

A human heart still beat against her breast, and she did her best to raise her children into fine, God-fearing individuals. The children returned her love with all their hearts. There were times, though, late at night, when the air was filled with only the breathing of twelve children, that Maude wished she could have been a better mother, and her conscience troubled her.

The three girls were Anne, Mary, and Polly, all of them bright young women, whose only concerns should have been marrying a decent husband and starting a family. But such was not the case. The nearest town was miles away, and everything they needed was delivered. If there were any eligible young men, the girls didn't know about them.

Maude took another drag on her cigarette before reaching a hand into her apron pocket. "Hold out your hands," she barked, pressing a bundle of bills and coins into each girl's hand. "That's to get you started."

Anne, who as the eldest was used to speaking for her siblings, spoke up, her voice soft and lightly confident. "Don't worry, Mother, we'll be fine."

Maude's lips twitched at the corners; the closest she ever came to a smile. Roughly, she embraced each of her daughters in turn, watching as they left. The younger two didn't look back once; Mary had bowed her head to hide her tears, and Polly was counting the money in her palm. But Anne turned to wave, a reassuring smile on her face.

Leaning against the sturdy door-frame, Maude sighed again, cigarette dropping unnoticed to the ground. She had an uneasy feeling about leaving them to fend for themselves and worried about whether she had done the right thing. It had to be done, she told herself as she stooped to pick up her cig, stamping out the sparks that had risen. She had three less mouths to feed and would be better off for it.

Such was her hope. Wisps of smoke stretched their fingers to the sky, swirling in mesmerizing patterns. Maude watched them for a moment before stepping backwards and closing the heavy door, creating a wall between herself and her daughters. Now there was no going back.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tie-Dye...So far!

Gahhh....I know I promised these pictures yesterday, but I had school, then babysitting, then choir, was time for bed. =) Or reading in bed, anyway ("Phantastes" by George MacDonald).

But I'm putting them up now! =) So enjoy, and try to ignore my ugly gloves and too-small apron (necessities, you know!). ;D

Haha, everything is covered in plastic wrap, and I look like I'm kneading bread...

Pretty, right? =) It's comfy and fitted (used to be a large, so I drew around an old tee and cut it to size).

I also dyed some strips of fabric for roses, too, so I'll have to work on making those tonight. I promised a friend one for her daughter... =)

Have a nice night~!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tie-dye Experiment, or I'm BLUE!! :D

Haha, I was telling my sister I was gonna go join the Blue Man Group (or whatever it is they call themselves). But I guess I'm not THAT blue, just my hands, arms, and somehow I managed to get it on my neck. And I was wearing gloves and an apron (the kind that cover your entire body)! Probably just my luck that I always happen to get the leaky gloves (it happened with mosaics, too...). But anyway, I dyed two shirts (one for a baby and one for me) and all the white scraps I could find. So now I have no white scraps, but I WILL have some pretty cool headbands.

Anyway, I will have pictures up, hopefully tomorrow, but to tide you over, here's some very cool dyed examples:

And these are all from Thaidye's website, if you wanna check them out...they have some really cool stuff, and I love that dress! I'm not one for super wild colors, but I am getting kinda into the idea of tie-dye. Mine don't look anywhere near this cool, but for a first try, they look pretty awesome.

Have a lovely day~!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Shirt Reconstruction...kinda cute, dontcha think? =)

I'm sick again...but I still managed to get some sewing done (kinda have to, in honor of national sewing month, hehe). At least it's only a silly cold...

Anyway! A few weeks ago, a girl I know left a ton of her closet rejects at the church for people to pick through, and I hadn't gotten to them until last night, where I basically went crazy pulling out stuff. The only problem was, she wears a large, and I wear a small. But they were all so cute! =) So I pulled out a few shirts I liked and took them anyway, resolving to somehow make them fit.

One of the shirts that I really liked had a super cute pattern on top of it, while the bottom was made of lightweight material that was falling apart. So I cut off the top part, then took a black shirt that I had found (amazingly in my size), cut the top off that, and sewed the two together.

It looked good, but something was missing. So I took the leftover bottom material, cut out some leaves, and sewed them on.

And I was done!

(apologies on the slightly strange shots...)

A practically free, very cute shirt. I now want to try it with some of my other's kinda simple, but I like it.
What do you think? =)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reimagined Sheet Music

I've shown a few examples of my collage work, where I tear apart old, useless papers and make them into hang-on-the-wall kind of pieces. My most-used medium is phone-book pages, but I had seen some other collages that incorporated old sheet music, and I had really wanted to try something like that. It had a very interesting look that I loved. So when I was on vacation, I kept an eye out for vintage sheet music. Normally they're a bit pricey, but I found some for a dollar apiece. Needless to say, I snapped that up. :D
Some of them even had pretty covers, which I would have just torn off and framed, but the ones I liked best always had tears or were faded or whatever. So I cut them up and tore up some sheet music and catalog pictures, slapped on some glue, and I was done. =)

I really love how it turned out...=)
I had to take pictures of the music before I tore it up...It has such a pretty tune! And I like the lyrics, too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beautiful Washington Sunset

I just got back from a (very) short vacation with my family...It was relaxing and stress-free, and pretty fun, actually. We found this fantastic antique store where we spent hours poring over all the oddities, then there was the little mall...needless to say, I spent far more than I should have, haha. But it's good to be back...=)

Anyway, one of the most beautiful things about it were the sunsets. Gold and orange, pink and lavender...completely breathtaking. Oddly, it's the only thing I actually took pictures of. And I'm glad I did.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Lavender Blue

When I went to the lavender festival last month, I got some great shots...and got myself covered in dirt while I took them. But I had fun...=)
Enjoy the photos~!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Rose by Any Other Name

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
-William Shakespeare

Have a lovely day~!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

No Strings Attached - Anthro Knock-Off

Remember how I told you about making a shirt for my sister? =) Well, I stayed up until one last night, I was so excited to have it done. That probably wasn't the smartest decision, but I think it turned out really cute. Maybe even cuter than Anthropologie's original...

To make it, I pulled an old shirt from the giveaway pile, along with an old tank top that didn't fit. The shirt already had the buttons, so it was good to go. All I had to do was add a few rows of ric-rac and ruffles. Then I cut off the top of the tank top, cut the larger piece in half, and sewed it together to make one long ruffle. Then I cut a few inches off the shirt and sewed on the ruffle.

And I was done!

I almost kept it for myself...only I didn't like the pink color. But my sister loves it, so that's great. =)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Anthropologie Loves...

Anthropologie has the cutest clothes, just my style, and just a wee bit out of my price range. They're my addiction, and if I don't get the real thing, I need a placebo to keep me happy. So I make knock-offs, borrow ideas from other people's knock-offs, and I'm happy as a pug on a rug (scuse my weird phrases...I'm in a strange mood, haha).

Today I spent the morning browsing all of my favorite clothing sites for inspiration. It wasn't sheer laziness this time...I was on a mission. I took a big piece of white paper and a ballpoint pen and went to work scouring the web for things to make. First was J Crew, then Anthropologie, Shop Ruche, Modcloth, and Spotted Moth (where DO they come up with those names??). I sketched everything that I liked best, making a collage of my favorite outfits. I found a few things at the other sites, but the one that offered the most inspiration was Anthro. They have the most creative stuff! Here are a few of my personal favorites (ones that made it onto my sketchpad):

That's not quite all that caught my eye, but a sampling of my favorites.
I've already started on a shirt for my sister, which I really hope she'll love.
Pictures of the finished product should be up tomorrow!