Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Old Shirt+Old Pants=?

My Kind of Math!

New Bag

Here is another recycling project. There are so many very gently used articles of clothing stored in my house and I decided to start getting rid of the items that are not likely to be worn again. I mean, if they have sat in a bag and no one missed them for over a couple of years, how badly can they be needed? Right?

I found the pair of  Express pants shown above. They showed absolutely no signs of wear and and I claimed them as my own to use in a recycling project. I decided to make myself a new bag for spring. 

I cut the outside of the bag and outside pocket from the twill pants, as well as the button hole tab. (no need to make a button hole--one was already made for me) I used 2 fat quarters for the inside lining. I removed the cotton lace from the shirt shown above. I wasn't completely sure how to incorporate the lace.

At first I thought I would make a fabric flower to attach and then found these other doo-dads that matched the fabric well. These would give a vintage look to the pocketbook. But then I realized that the cameo and rose had no shank on the back and I did not want to attempt using glue. So I scouted for more buttons. 

This is what I found in my stash. They are only pinned on as I want to go to Joanne's tomorrow to see if I can find something I like better.

This is a larger version of the Janice Pope bags that I have made in the past. I personally have three of my own, I have made three for my mother and one other for a friend. I love this pattern. I use my other bags all the time. They open up so nice and wide and I can find everything I need in the bag very easily--even my reading glasses and keys which always get lost in my other bags! 

                   It would be difficult to lose anything in here!

 I plan to make two matching pouches with zippers to keep my paraphernalia in. It helps keep me organized. That is quite a task some days!

Here it is hanging. I made the straps a bit longer as I like to sling my bags over my shoulder.

I am very happy with my new bag. So far, it has not cost me one penny, but there may be a small expense if I find buttons that I like better! Still very thrifty as far a pocketbooks go!

                 Old Pants + Old Shirt = New Bag!

Should you decide to construct a bag from old pants, I have one piece of advice to pass on. Be sure to inspect the pants all over for stains. When I cut out the straps, (which took nearly one entire pant leg length) I noticed that the bottom hem area had some soiling on it as though they had been stepped on by muddy shoes. So be aware--it would be a shame to complete a beautiful, custom bag with a stain on the straps or elsewhere.

             Click here for corduroy version of Janice Pope Bag.

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Little Candle that Could

Today I was tinkering. As I was typing my opening short sentence I began to think that maybe tinkering wasn't a real word or the exact word I was looking for. I decided to look it up on wikipedia. 

Turns out that not only is it a real word but it is the correct word. Wikipedia defines tinkering as, "attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.
That about sums up my day thus far.

I did recycle an old burlap gift bag for this project. I found two six-packs of votive candles on clearance for $3.97 and of course I could not leave the store without a bargain or two. These candles were just begging for a transformation.

So for today's project I gathered some supplies....

The votive, some lace that I had on hand, as well as some little pearls and the burlap bag.

I cut a strip of the burlap, glued it on to the glass (candle), added some lace, a string of pearls and a tiny off center bow. (I used fabric glue but a hot-glue gun would work just as well.)

Here is my "Little Candle that Could"

That did not take long. It came out so cute. These would make sweet little favors for a bridal shower or even a wedding.

These are surprisingly good-quality glass votives and good sized. Bet they would look so cute wrapped up in some tulle.

 Yup they do. (I think the rest of this post involves some heavy duty tinkering.)

 Then I got to thinking that this little candle might look cute sitting inside this little white lantern I have. It did look cute in here.

Then I remembered that I made a couple additional fabric blooms yesterday. (original flower making post Click Here ) I was given the piece of vintage lace (pictured above) and I would like to incorporate it somehow into a wreath for my back porch. Then I wondered how it would all look with some color. So I made another pale pink flower and began to experiment with colors and textures. (more tinkering)

The pale pink flower turned out to be pretty. I did not cut petals into each layer as I did with the beige and brighter pink flowers that I made last week . The more I tinkered, the more I was really beginning to love this color combination of beige and pinks. See all three below.

As I further tinkered, a clear image for a color palette to decorate my back porch was beginning to emerge. (in my mysterious mind)

This piece of lace was in a box of old sewing supplies that belonged to my late grandmother. It appeared to have been removed from something, possibly a doily or small pillow. Being a bit overly sentimental about such things, I wanted to reuse this piece of beautiful, ecru lace.

....and after some major tinkering, I now know how I will use it and the color scheme I will use.

Hard to believe I could become so inspired by a little candle. I shall call it, the little candle that could.....

But that is how my brain works folks. One thought leads to another thought and another.......and I was having some exceptional fun taking photos of such lovely textures and colors.

This is how I find my inspiration. From experimenting and tinkering with color, fabric, trims, texture, etc. It may not be the fastest or most direct route but I eventually arrive where I need to be. 

Where do you find inspiration for your next project? 

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One More Time Events Linky Party,  Share it One More Time . For some reason I could not get the button to appear even after several attempts. Will try later on my laptop.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Little Women Dolls

Many of us have read the novel Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and fallen in love with the story of the four March sisters, whose remarkably different characters/personalities leads them from girlhood to womanhood in their own individual ways.  

The story strikes a stronger note with me now than it did years ago prior to having children of my own. Similar to the March sisters, my three daughters have strikingly different personalities and have approached oncoming adulthood in completely different manners, yet they have all achieved success and continue to live their lives in their own unique ways.

 Quite a few years ago I took my two older daughters, (who were school-aged at the time) to see the movie. I was anxious to see the movie after reading the novel a couple of times myself. It was a wonderful film, but I suspect my daughters may have been a bit young to fully appreciate the story (I remember them becoming a little fidgety towards the end) but I sat there fully enthralled with the movie, every detail, right down to the beautiful 19th century clothing. I am convinced I was born in the wrong century!

This beautiful collection of Little Women dolls was handmade with love by my mother for my girls. Two of the dolls, Beth (pictured in red) and Meg (pictured in green) have a trunk containing additional hand sewn clothing. I will include photos of all of the beautiful clothing, painstakingly sewn with fashion details of the time period:  lovely tucks, lace embellishments, ribbons etc.

Warning:  this post is photo intensive!

First meet Beth. She is shy though very wise beyond her years. She becomes ill in the story and sadly dies at a very young age. 

Beth's portrait

I think that she is the character I most identify with. She is a bit of a homebody, adores her family and she loved her dolls. As a young child growing up, I played with dolls constantly and was a pretend ("closet") Thumbelina mom right up through 7th grade. (Don't tell anyone!)

Her dress is darling, her lace petticoat peeks out from beneath her dress and it has a stand up lace collar.

Below is Amy. She is the youngest of the sisters.

Amy's portrait

Amy's dress is very sweet too! I love the black ribbon trim on the green and black print fabric. She is a bit self focused and a tad materialistic.

Below is Meg.

She is a real beauty! She is the oldest of the four girls, very responsible and looks after her sisters. She takes on a motherly, domestic role in the family

I love her hair. 

This photo is my favorite. She almost appears to be modelling for us! Her dress is so feminine, edged with a delicate lace on the sleeves and a single rosette embellishes the collar of her blouse.

Back views

.....and last but not least, is Jo (Josephine)

Her dress is one of my favorites! The large lace shawl collar, the tiny lace edging around the neckline is just so pretty. 
Jo is strong-willed, rebellious and a bit of a tomboy. 

Beautiful lace!

Can you see her tiny little purse with a tassel? The purse is even lined with green fabric. The details my mother put into this collection of dolls and their wardrobes are extraordinary! 

Pardon me while I peek under your dress! Even her under garments are gorgeous right down to the fine little details of the lace edging and tucks in her slip. Look at those tucks!

As mentioned earlier in the post, two of the girls have trunks with nightwear and a change of clothing.

Here is Beth's.

Let's take a peek inside!

This trunk contains a beautiful mauve, moire taffeta skirt, jacket and hat. To the left you will notice little white circles of lace. They go under the sleeves of the jacket. (see below) Also included is a nightie, night cap and matching slippers, as well as a red velvet coat.

This outfit is amazing! Look at all of the details!

Her little pink, flannel nightie, night cap and slippers are especially
 sweet and reminiscent of nighties that my mom made for each of my daughters as they were growing up. This nightie also has a tuck and is adorned with plenty of lace.

Beth's red velvet coat is beautifully made inside and out! Fully lined, with a stand up ruffled collar, it matches the bonnet she is photographed with.

Here she is wearing her red coat all buttoned up.

Here she is with her coat unbuttoned to show off her matching dress.

Next we have Amy's trunk.

Her trunk contains a skirt, jacket and blouse, a nightie set and a green velvet cape.

This skirt is adorable with a real waistband and white trim. The white sleeveless shell has a lace ruffle.

I love this outfit too! I wish I could wear it!

Look at the matching trim on the jacket! 

Her green velvet cape matches her bonnet as well. This cape is also fully lined! detail left out!

Here is her nightie, cap and slippers! So sweet!

She was kind enough to model her green cape for us!

Beth and Amy--posing with their capes and bonnets.

Amy takes a moment to chat with Jo! Here we can see the back details of Jo's dress and hair. 

Some additional sister photo ops!

I was waiting for my camera to ask "did someone blink?" since Beth has her eyes closed, but that did not happen.

Anyways, I have been eager to show off these Little Women dolls that my mom made for my daughters. Though she made them quite a few years ago, I had asked her to keep them until the girls were a bit older. Other dolls that were made for my kids were "well played" with and I really wanted to keep these in mint condition.

I finally collected them and brought them home with me the day before yesterday! 

This is one of those extra special gifts that cannot be replaced or its value be measured. 
Hours and hours of heart and soul went into the making of each doll, each outfit, each little tuck here and there, each little embellishment of lace and rosebuds.
These little women will be cherished for years to come. Thank you mom for this wonderful gift--a true labor of love!

PS If anyone knows the name of the original pattern book I would love to find the book to complete the wardrobes. 

"...the love, respect and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy."
Louisa May Alcott
Little Women


I located the book of patterns that my other used to make these dolls. It is The Woman's Day Book of Soft Toys and Dolls by Joan Russell. My mother used several other patterns from the book as well.

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