Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hats Off (Hats On!)

After much waffling, moaning, fiddling and fumbling, I've finally completed the 1883 hat for Tess.  It is loosely based on this vintage hat (also 1883).

Seems that I picked one of the most difficult shapes of hats to start with.  I agonzied over buying some 3/16" millinery straw to make this hat.  There was enough out there on the Web to choose from, just not enough cash to make it happen.  I was also worried about making a complete mess out of expensive straw.  Intead I found this 3/16" middy braid (cotton/poly blend) in my sewing machine stash draw.  Who would have thought I'd have a full package of red right there waiting for me.  It took two attempts to get started, but once I got going it was rather smooth sailing.  The use of a hat block is essential.  Fortunately I had fashioned a bonnet out of stiff "straw-looking" scrapbook paper a few days ago. 
Intially this was to be the finished bonnet whichI was going to decorate. Turns out it made the perfect hat block as I was able to pin down the braid trim directly to the stiff paper. 
The brim was a bit of a challenge.  It was to be a 90% angle to the main crown of the bonnet and also have a pointed peak in the center. 

The braid was quite pliable and very forgiving and has maintained the shape I had finger-pressed it into.  I think I may add a bit of fabric stiffner just for stability.  I am very pleased with the results, even though the stitching is a bit large (and anxious- looking).
Perhaps the bright red was not the most authentic Period choice, but it does match her bright outfit.  Now I have a full package of white braid calling my name.  I wonder what time period is next.  I feel a bit like Dr. Who!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Talking Around the Pictures

My computer has been such a total @#$%&  lately that I'll just chat away and hope the photos upload while I'm writing.  It's hard to believe I am nearly at 200 posts.  I'll have to do some sort of prize/give-a-way for that post.  That's if I survive THIS ONE!  I would love to blog everyday.  If not update my own blog, then leisurely browse through all my favorites and make meaningful comments on each one.  It's just so frustrating that such an enjoyable task would take me several hours to complete.  Trudging through the error messages, blank screens, random disconnections and programs that simply do not work at all.  For the last month I have limited myself to checking my Etsy "activity status", Facebook, my e-mail and my blog.  Rarely do I write or share photos anywhere.  What was once such a joy has become a tiresome burden.  I really miss my chats, comments and conversations with my friends far and wide.  I literally feel "disconnected"!
So as I plod away at my keyboard, waiting the endless amount of time it takes for my photos to upload (if they actually will) I will tell you about my other pursuits.  I've been knitting socks of course.  They are my little stress-reducing tool.  Round and round I go on the double-points.  The repetitive movement combined with the nice little math issues involved make this a very relaxing and productive activity.
Only one left!

Coal and Roy

 I went to the Warren County Arts Festival yesterday, much against my own vow to boycott due to the fact that the committee rejected my work as not being "artsy" enough to suit them.  I actually went at the very last moment to help my friend disassemble her booth.  There were some beautiful items there, but it seemed like the same old stuff...tons jewelry, photography and quite a few booth just advertising various art or ballet schools.  Not to be vain, but I think my items would have been a unique addition to the usual fare.
I can feel my self slipping into my "bitch and moan" habit, so I'll change the subject.

A few new garden ornaments.
 Tonight is a beautiful Summer night, even if the temperature does not quite scream out "Summer".  I like the moderate temperature though.  Nice to sit outside without dripping with sweat.  We had a long period this morning of continuous  gentle rain, which my garden appreciates.  A question for my fellow gardens.........What's up with the lettuce topiary? 
This is just run-of-the-mill red lettuce purchased in a plastic tray of four plants from the local Wal Mart.  I don't understand why they ended up like trees!  They are also rather bitter tasting too....more like arugula then regular lettuce.  You can see in the background that the cabbage is quite normal.  It was so wet in the early Spring that I opted for these planters in order to get the plants growing as soon as possible.  Maybe that's the reason for the Giant Redwood-like lettuce.
Oh look, there are all my photos.  Rather disorganized, but at least I managed to put together a post.  Maybe by mid-week I can come up with something a little more cohesive and interesting.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How To Make Use Of A Yard Of Fabric Part II

A lovely piece of floral print cotton from my stash has been amusing me this past week.  With limited Internet access and having to download a completely new (and rather annoying) photo resizing program, I wonder if I will be able to show you my results.  The little sun hat is finished, but the doll dress still needs some work.

 Draping things, even the lightest of satin, is a bit of a task on a 16" doll.  Getting it to lay just right has been my goal for the past 2 days....hence the numerous pins in the photos.  A least all those tiny little buttons (beads) are on and I do love the color combination. I wasn't too thrilled with it at first.  I thought it was a bit too bright for the time period.  I've spent a little time browsing around an amazing vintage fashion website, DefunctFashion, and I see my color choices really aren't that outrageous.  I need to add some pleated red trim to the bottom of the skirt and fashion a bustle of the yellow satin for the back.  Then I will name it Summer in the South of France 1883.
Ok, the server just "rejected" one of my photos.  Time to get away from this machine before I smash it to bits!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Starting From Square One

My computer has had a complete and total breakdown.  Once again my husband has brought in a mysterious "friend-of-a-friend" to repair it.  After three days of tearing the computer apart, trips to Best Buy taking several hours each time, and many "pieces that just wouldn't fit back in", I have a somewhat shaky and sporadic connection the Internet. It takes three or four tries just to get the thing to start up, the mouse frequently gets stuck and Facebook totally refuses to acknowledged that fact that I have Windows XP, so no Chat.  As for photo uploads, well there are no photos left in my computer to upload.  EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, is gone.  Photos, e-mail address, passwords, favorite websites.  I'm beginning to think this computer guy is related to the friend-of-a-friend who worked on our plumbing.  We now have a garden house that only expells hot water.
So in a way this is a totally useless post.  More of a test or an experiment rather then anything of real substance.  Time to press the "publish" button and see what, if anything, will happen............................