Friday, April 29, 2011

Dress Up Shoes

Phyllis works with my mom. She's an incredibly kind woman and she has a little girl in her life who calls her Aunt Phee. This lucky little girl has a very pink and purple tutu and matching ensemble given to her by her grandmother. Aunt Phee thought a pair of shoes would complete the outfit perfectly and commissioned me. Talk about fun! Let's get very girly, shall we?

I wasn't sure what I was going to do at all. I picked up two different kinds and shades of purple and couldn't decide so I got both. But, the pink, I wasn't sure what direction to take. Hot pink, sweet pink? Print, solid? And then I saw this fabric, for a buck, and it was so perfect I absolutely bought it and brought it home.

With the delicate silver and pink fabric it reminds me of tulle. It's a little sparkle and very confectionery. It truly couldn't have been more perfect. Makes me almost want to be little again.

And as for the flowers, I ended up using both purples and I like the effect. Neither one of them was up for the job alone, but together they were just right. My mom says she likes that they aren't so wild that she can't wear them for things other than dress up. I hope she's right. I know they don't go with everything, but I am sure she has another purple or pink item in her wardrobe.

Happy birthday, Miss A! Love Aunt Phee.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Little Something to Top It Off

So it was inevitable, really, that while making all of these pretty embellishments for my shoes and wrists and neck that they would find their way all the way to the top of my head. Come on admit it, you saw it coming didn't you? So in the last couple of days I squeezed in here and there, the time to make these three little items for hair adornment.

A la Billie Holiday

This one I love for its simplicity. It feels Southern. It feels feminine. It can be worn as a corsage!

A dual duty accessory, gotta love that.

Then there's this one:

Please ignore the orange vest on the couch.
It feels very vintage. And of course I love the color scheme. How can you go wrong with black and white? It's grosgrain ribbon attached to vintage velvet ribbon with just a little elastic at the back for comfort.
And then I made these little lovelies and sent them to the sisters as a little extra. I hope they like them. When Em gets more hair, she'll get a pair of them.

The ribbons in the center have a subtle and romantic pink and cream stripe. Lovely.

So there you have it, a little something for the top. What do you think?

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Mom and Her Girls

I just finished my biggest order yet this week. A lovely woman named Kelly, whom I have never met, trusted me to craft three pairs of shoes for her and her daughters. She chose the very popular Cozette for her girls and she allowed me to be creative for her shoes by asking for a bow in stead of a flower. I was so thrilled with that. And I love how they turned out.

I went just left of traditional with the bow and I absolutely love the results of it. It's so sophisticated and lovely. I had a tougher time finding red in my fabric stash than I thought I would, since it is one of my favorite colors. But, I did manage to find the absolute perfect shade of red to match this black pinstripe fabric.

I hope she likes them. I hope they help her to feel a little more beautiful when she slips them on her feet. And I hope that her girls feel equally special when the don their own.

Mom and her girls

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

McMaster and Storm, Seriously.

Maybe you're sick of hearing about them, but, this is literally my favorite store in all of the virtual shopping realm. I got my orders yesterday and it was the most wonderful experience opening that box.

First, let me tell you that their service is excellent. I placed two orders one from their online store and one from their Etsy shop when I learned about it, and they combined my orders and refunded the Etsy shipping.

On to the box. Giddy I tell you, I was giddy. You know it's going to be good when you open it up and see this

and then this

packaged like treats

and then THIS

It really IS candy.      

Eye candy.

Oh my goodness, they are as beautiful as I imagined. Oh the things I can create. And I tell you every detail these ladies put into packaging is simply elegant and superb. And as if that wasn't sublime enough, they thoughtfully stuck in these extras:

In case you didn't know, you can find them here and here. And they have a blog that you can find here.  They are not a sponsor, I am receiving nothing for this glowing report, I simply love this store and wanted to share with you, in case you ever find yourself in need of something pretty.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Meaningful Easter

Though the weather outside is frightful and more reminiscent of Christmas, Easter is quickly approaching. Easter is my favorite holiday. I love spring. There was always a new dress and sometimes shoes for wearing to church. I have fond memories of egg decorating, hunting said eggs with my brother and sister, and eating said eggs with hot cross buns and holiday punch. Then we would get all dolled up and head to church. And the day would be finished with a big ham dinner that would make any Southerner proud. I always relate Easter to the south, and the years we spent in Alabama.

As I grew older, the meaning of Easter made it all the more dear to me. Easter is the culmination of the gift given at Christmas. It's the ultimate definition of the victory of life over death, love over sin. It's humbling to be reminded of the price of my sin and to also be reminded how much God loves us all.

When we had our first baby, I began to ponder, what can we do when celebrating Easter to ensure that our kids understand it's about more than candy and eggs and bunnies. So when he was old enough, we decorated eggs making sure that one egg was died a deep red, representing the precious blood that was spilled for us. I like the additional symbolism of searching for the blood of Christ, and I pray that each of them will find it in their lives. 
First year dying eggs
 We also continue the tradition of hot cross buns in the morning. Only I make my own, ensuring they are fresh and yummy. The cross on top reminds us that Christ's death on the cross, while gruesome and heartbreaking in nature, makes our lives sweeter because it was a gift given in love.
Easter Breakfast
 Before dinner we have communion taking a moment to pray and to meditate on what the day really means to us. And for dinner we always have lamb. It's the only time in the year that we have it. And it has taken me a few years to come up with a recipe that we can all enjoy and that will not break the bank. The symbolism is important to me, we talk about passover and how Christ became our sacrificial lamb by choice.

(In case you are interested, we have landed on maple glazed lamb meatballs with zesty horseradish sauce. Economically friendly and delicious.)

Do you have any special traditions for this time of year?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Once Upon a Thread Inspired Shoes

One of my favorite bloggers, Katy from No Big Dill, did an ingenious series of projects inspired by children's books. And she set the bar high with her first posting, a jacket inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon. Seriously, mad genius. You need to check it out here.

I was mulling it over one night and wondering what book I would choose if I were to try a project like that. My family loves reading. My grandfather would read three books at one time, and the women in my family all share his love of books. Now, in my own little family, books are a treasured way to spend time together. But, of all the books that I love, what one book would stand out enough to inspire a project?

Well, my second son, Monkey Boy, who usually doesn't have time to settle in for a book was suddenly obsessed with the book Are You My Mother? The copy we have is the one my mother used to read to us. It's battered and torn and utterly perfect. And it's one of the books I distinctly remember my Mom reading to us, over and over.

My Mom would give characters voices when she read. She would make the story come to life. I remember that about this book. I also remember being so very frustrated visually by all of the brown and lack of color in this book. I hated brown. So the mother bird's polka dotted kerchief became a beacon for me. I was so drawn to it because it was the one pretty thing in the pages and pages of brown. I know, I was a strange child.

Ah, the Snort.
Monkey Boy's favorite part.
As a mother now, I just love this.
This was it. And I knew exactly what to do. It had to start with the mother bird's kerchief. And I am pretty sure this book is where I got my love for the combination of red and turquoise. And feathers, there had to be feathers.

Are You My Mother Mary Janes
I had a beautiful dress that was always too tight in the arm's. It was, however, a perfect match for this project. And a leather jacket I have been using for soles was the absolute perfect little brown bird shade for the feathers. But, how to make them? So super simple. I forgot to photograph it, but I can tell you.

Cut out your feather shape in the leather, then sew it onto a larger square of vinyl by sewing straight down the middle. Then cut out the feather shape again and snip a few places along the sides. The "feathers" will curl naturally, have body and just look plain adorable. I promise.

My baby bird.
They turned out so bright and cheery. It almost seems like her feet have wings, and in a way I bet she does. One day all three of my little birds will fly from the nest. That's why I have been obsessed with their feet from day one of my eldest son's life. Their feet tell me how far they will travel from my side. Tiny little baby feet? Safe in my hands while I nurse them. Chubby little toddler feet? Learning to walk then run on their own, but they don't travel far and always come back. The bigger those little feet get, the farther they roam. Until one day they take flight.

What books were your favorites growing up?

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Monday, April 11, 2011

More Vintage, Oh How I Love Old Things

Okay, next and soon, I promise I will be posting a project that I got done before we left for Maryland. But, I have to show a few more of the vintage loveliness that has graced my life this past week.

Firstly, oh my heavens. This steal of a deal quilt. It. Is. So. Gorgeous. It is in remarkable condition, no huge stains or tears. It is hand stitched. It was $48! For those of you who know quilts, you know that is a crazy low price for a handstitched, well cared for, lovely to look at quilt. Wanna see?

Monkey Boy can't resist it either, or a chance to ham it up.

I just love, love, love the prints.
Now on to things more sentimental and not purchased. My mom and I went through the hope chest to make certain I had possession of the dresses from my childhood that Emmy would fit into within a year or so. What a walk down memory lane that was. I brought back a whole bag of items, but I won't bore you with them all, just a sampling.

Love the romantic lightness of the fabric.
Very Shirley Temple...
Clean lines and simple design, have to love that.
My fur muff, it's so tiny and warm and I loved it as a girl.
Not to be outdone, though, I bought a vintage dress of my own at this incredible store in Frederick called Venus on the Half Shell. It's been years since I had been there and I thought they'd gone out of business, but recently they moved to a better location and I am so glad I got to check it out again, because there I found this loveliness:

Full length, red cotton. Pure beauty.
It's the only thing I tried on that was a perfect fit. I loved it for that alone. But, also the color. And the cotton. And the print. And the back. You have to see this.

See that pleating? That is a wateau back a la Marie Antionette. I have loved wateau backs since my days studying the history of costume in college. There was no way that I could walk out the door without this dress. I can't wait to wear it!

Okay, two more items related to my grandma and then I promise, I'm done. We won't mention the pewter peices I added to my collection, or the vintage cookie cutters.

So, I thought it was a little ridiculous to travel to Maryland with my sewing machine. But, I just needed to work on some things while I was there. So, my hubby graciously packed it into the already full van. How much more ridiculous is it then, that we came home with not one but two sewing machines? I can explain.

My "new" machine.
My parents were going to get rid of my grandma's machine. My dad's mom was a creative woman. It's one of the... well it may have been the only thing that we had in common. So when I saw this box with her machine and all sorts of her sewing paraphenalia, I just knew I had to bring it home. Plus, I reasoned further, I could get a sewing cabinet cheap and keep one machine hidden away upstairs out of the reach of the children and I could have one machine downstairs in my sewing area. Options are always a good thing.

And then, I rescued this from the literal trash. My mom was finally going to get rid of it after all of these years. It was originally a purse, made by the same grandma. It has her handwriting on the buildings. What's more, the buildings are from Savannah, the place of my birth. Yeah, not trash. Absolutely not. It's now a handy box for sewing supplies.

Have any treasures like these graced your life lately?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Vintage Inspiration

I am out east visiting my parents. I love it out here. There is so much history hidden in these hills, national, familial, and my own personal history. For a girl who grew up in a military family, this is the most like coming home to me. My grandparents lived here and now my parents. I love making memories here with my children.

This week has been chock full of vintage inspiration. When we got here, my parents gave me the navy blue wool Woolworth coat they bought for Emmy in Amish country. It's so utterly charming. It's a 3T, and I am hoping against hope that it truly will fit her next winter.

I love the red trim.
While here I must always, always go antiquing. I have my favorite spots and they rarely disappoint. Yesterday, we went to my favorite antique mall in downtown Frederick, MD. While there we saw these beautiful antique shoes.

Antique elegance

Aren't they gorgeous little things? I can just imagine the dances they attended. And while we were there, we found this beautiful little darling priced at an incredible $10, so of course we had to bring her home with us, she was just Em's size and so darling.

How could we refuse this face?

She loves it and it really is the perfect size for her. I love the colors on it. The soft blue, the incredibly pale pink, the vintage cream, the black and red. I just adore her.

And while there, I also found these incredible shoe forms. I couldn't resist. Not only were there wonderful adult forms, there was also this sweet baby shoe form. I scooped them up. I'm sure they'll make an appearance in a photo or two.

We're going to another huge antique mall in Emmitsburg tomorrow (that is if it isn't closed like two other places we have tried to go to this trip) and I went through my mom's hope chest and have a stack of clothing from my babyhood to take home with me. So I'll have another post like this coming up, I am sure. In the meantime, enjoy your family and the small pleasures in life!