Monday, April 25, 2011

Lick Observatory Drive

I noticed in our paper "The San Jose Mercury News" yesterday, was an article about great freebie sites to see in the bay area.  Just the previous day, The Hubby and I had completed their #1 choice of adventures to do. Yes, we had driven the 20 ish serpentine miles up the tall Mt Hamilton and through some very beautiful canyons and scenery to the Lick Observatory.
Looking back toward San Jose, we felt like we were way out of the city,
Yet we were just over a hill or two.
 And around some gnarly old oak trees.
Driving a skinny, winding road,
and sharing the road with noisy biker dudes, and intense biking enthusiasts, we thoroughly enjoyed the drive. The observatory was closed, and I don't know if they just use it to view the night sky, but maybe we'll investigate that side of life on another day. For this day we were not concerned with going into the big domes. I also can't imagine driving that road in the dark, although at that point it wouldn't be shared with bikers and scenic observers.
The back side of the mountain is equally winding and beautiful.  (the word windy BTW is confusing to use in this situation, because it was not a breezy, blowing windy day, but rather a turning, twisting, curving, windy road. Can someone tell me if I'm wrong to use windy?)
There are huge pinecones on the sides of the road, more majestic oak trees, fields of flowers, and many small ponds left over from our wet spring rains in the back country canyons.

We stopped in the beautiful downtown area of Livermore at the back side of our adventure, and had a great Greek lunch at Demitri's.

Great way to spend a Saturday morning. I can't believe it took us 17 years to drive that road.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter Sunday

Enjoy your day and keep the reason for it in your heart and mind.
I received a cute little email from my friend about the Easter bunny. It starts and ends with the Savior, but the middle is all fluff. I like it anyway.

All I need to know
I learned from the Easter Bunny!
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. 
Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.
There's no such thing as too much candy.
All work and no play can make you a basket case.
A cute tail attracts a lot of attention.
Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.
Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.
Some body parts should be floppy.
Keep your paws off of other people's jelly beans.
Good things come in small, sugar coated packages.
The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.
To show your true colors, you have to come out of the shell.
The best things in life are still sweet and gooey..
May the joy of the season fill your heart.
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

And 10

I saw a similarly designed dress in a catalog as the one I wanted to make for my 5 year old GDaughter, so here is my attempt to copy this.
When I made all the girls tutu's last winter, I ordered an extra roll of mint chiffon to use for this dress.
Then I made a basic yolk dress with the neckline cut down lower than usual so she can put it on over her head.
There is a lot more color on this particular dress, so I just added a white sash instead of a mint, or pink, etc.  Hopefully that will make the dress not be quite so loud.
TERRIBLE picture taken out in my garden, but you get the idea. I lined the whole thing with white double knit fabric, so the colors in the floral pattern would really stand out and also that the chiffon itself would have something to give it some body.
She loves the ruffles and flowing fabric of this new dress. I will admit it is a pretty fun item to wear.
I hope her li'l sis doesn't feel slighted with the classic lines and slight boringness of her Easter dress this year. (previous post)
Pictures of the girls in their dresses to come. Honest.

Easter Sewing (9)

Mentioning a different dress for Lex made me think it's okay do do these posts out of order sometimes. I'm not quite finished with Lena's less casual dress, but the actual Easter day dresses for the two older girls are complete and so I will show them off now, one by one.
I went way off the cotton prints on this one. It is a linen with a fancy jacquard ribbon around the base.
Surprise!  The colors are my new favorite combo of turquoise and red.  (and pink, tan, sage)
Isn't that just the coolest ribbon you ever did see?  I purchased it while in SF at The Ribbonrie.

There is also a turquoise ribbon tie in the back of the dress that matches
 the hand stitched trim around the neckline,
and the waistline,
and the collar of the
matching jacket that can be worn with this simple, classic, little dress.

Easter Sewing (8)

Next in the Bliss fabric creations is a cute little number for the 5 year old.
This is actually not her Easter dress, because it is quite casual and she should be able to wear this skirt to school and for less formal occasions.

It is a pattern sold for the benefit of Nie Nie (a blogger who was in a small plane accident nearly 3 years ago and is still undergoing extensive treatments for burns.)
This little skirt has 6 layers of ruffles, and I did them in several Bliss types with a checked neutral thrown into the mix.

I then cut out 6 triangles of one flower in the floral fabric (called fussy cutting) and fused them onto the front of a ready made t-shirt for a cute match.

Friday, April 22, 2011

BeDazzled Hearts

When I was in GJC in February, I was fabric shopping (imaging that if you can) with my li'l sis and we found these cute heart panels to make into a quick wall decor quilt.

Mine is for Valentines Day and hers matches a bedroom in her home that needs a little something on a wall.
The fun part of this project was that we bought a heat tool for applying jewels to fabric and such. I never thought I'd have much use for such a hokey purchase,
 but it really does add a little needed sparkle to certain projects, and was pretty simple to use once I realized that all glued jewels are not created equal. Some 4mm jewels fit the metal heated tool designed for them and some 4mm's did not.
So I used a pin inserted into the provided slot on the tool to disengage the non fitters and went on my merry way.
I also tried out a new feature and attachment on my sewing machine (BSR - Bernina Stitch Regulator) to quilt free hand around all the flowers and hearts in the fabric. I was not so good at the movement of the fabric in the machine at first, but I got the hang of it by the end. No one is going to look that closely at the stitching anyway, right?
Hearts, Hearts, Hearts. (Can you tell I'm stalling on finishing up my Easter Sewing projects, in favor of non urgent posts.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Sewing (7) - The "Bonnet"

For the past posted dress I made a big flowery headband that I thought I'd pass off for an Easter Bonnet.  The traditional bonnets that we used to wear in the 60's were usually of the straw variety and white. This fun, long established custom was probably a left over from the Catholic church and having all women's heads covered when attending.
I still have a couple of Camille's and my hats from our childhood somewhere up in my most uncomfortable to crawl into, probably rat infested attic.
They look something like this.
 I couldn't find a picture of myself. I think my parents have all of them still, but this is how we all looked going to church on Easter Sunday.

Move ahead in time to 2011 and here is my updated version of this ritual a la stuffed bunny.
I made up 4 different types of flower bows and attached them to a felt base with needle and thread, then I placed them on a headband and glued the felt to the headband with another slightly smaller piece of felt on the back side of the headband.
The red ribbon is tied in a traditional two sided bow with a small gathered ribbon and button in the center.
The turquoise bow is a 2.5 inch double sided satin ribbon that is sewn (basting stitch) in a running line down the long center of the ribbon and then pulled up tight and made into a ruffly flower.
The pink felt bow is 7 or 8 same sized cut out circles. The bottom one is flat and all the others are folded in half and then halved again. The center points are then sewn onto the bottom one at a time filling out the entire carnation type flower.
Lastly is the fashion fabric that goes with the dress, and it is ripped into a 1.5 inch strip by the width of the fabric (45"). This strip is tied in a knot in the center and then the strip is folded around the knot and turned every half inch or so to make an interesting flower. Tutorials for this abound on the internet.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Sewing (6)

Moving on to the second youngest little granddaughters dress, I am still using the Camille Roskelly and her mom's designed fabrics called "Bliss".
Here is the main floral fabric pattern of the dress.
This dress is smocked on the entire bodice and is a typical square yolked dress. Using a white pique for the collar and sleeve cuffs gives the dress a little flare.
The baby cord piping around the collar and cuffs is a sage green/white checked fabric
and I also put a little ruffle of the checked fabric around the bottom of the dress.
There is a built in slip with an eyelet edge on the very bottom.
The smocking is done in aqua and red with a few rows of blank pleating that is back smocked (smocked in straight rows on the wrong side of the fabric) so as not to lose the shape of the pleats on the front.
Notice also the little red flowers hand stitched on the collar.
The double sided satin bow is the pretty aqua color and ties in the back.
Here is the finished front.
Happy Easter "E." Send me a picture!!!! Go here to see the girl wearing the dresses.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Easter Sewing (5)

Moving onto another person's dress. This one is for my DD, the mother of the baby from the previous posts.

We saw a very cute dress in the Anthropologie window and so thought we'd try to copy it.
I can't find it now because it was in the fall line and apparently it has disappeared from my knowledgeable view on the internet.
This striking dress that you can't see, was a cream colored lace over a light tan base fabric. The bodice was fitted and the skirt gathered into soft folds at the waist for a full skirt and 50's type of style. Somewhat casual for a lace dress, DD said she would like something like it to wear during the spring and summer.
So ... Katz and I went to Britex fabric store when we were in San Francisco one day and looked for lace and ideas for a similar dress.
Now Kathryn is not a fabric shopper by trade like her mother is, but she had to admit that this is a fabulous store. It is not a store to buy sale fabrics, and so I was prepared to just find great fabrics that usually aren't available from my national fabric chain store.  I was looking for some wintery plaids for next Christmas and found some amazing wool tartans. They are authentically made for Scottish family kilts, etc, and are quite expensive, but I bought enough for a little jumper, a childs skirt, and an adult skirt for Kathryn's little family of girlies.
We also found some grey stretchy lace that we both fell in love with and I thought I could make a spring dress for her out of it. The stretch was something I was worried about in the finished product, so it did make me a little nervous to sew up into a dress. We switched gears from the original light weight lace dress found at Anthro, and I bought an underlining fabric that had more heaviness than I normally would've so that the lace would have some body and not just stretch out into a big mess when being worn.
I decided not to make it gather around the waist, because the thickness of both fabrics together may not gather well, so I made the waistline fitted and then the skirt goes down in an A-line to her knees.

The bottom 1 foot is slightly gathered at all 4 seams so that the lace edging is even all the way around.
The underlining did what it was supposed to do and I then added a lightweight slip with a little tulle for some added fullness at the bottom of the dress.
 Here is the slip under the underlining. (Underlining is supposed to act like it is part of the fashion fabric when making up an item. Sometimes it is even fused or sewed together before construction is started.)
The sleeves are placed on the edge of the lace so that the cute little edging shows. I gathered in the center of the sleeve base to mimic the base of the dress.
I do like the look of an invisible zipper in a dress such as this. And it was easy peasy to put in with my new zipper attachment #35 on my Bernina.
Back of the dress with pink sash. You could wear a belt, or any color ribbon around the waist.
I also sent a 4" wide brown ribbon that has a self covering wrap in the center. Pictures of actual daughter in dress to come. She says it fits her PERFECTLY. (Which is A main reason to sew.)
Not a casual dress as originally intended, but a neutral color and classic almost 50's style that will be able to be worn for many years.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Easter Sewing (4)

To see the dress on the baby go to this site.
Finally a dress to go with all the accessories. This is a size 6-12 month dress.
 I used one fabric throughout the dress and did just 4 rows of smocking with some loops of cotton floss to put diagonal rows of ribbon through.
 This is a basic square yoke dress with little cotton white pique collar.
The back of the dress is the same except the placket that runs down from the buttons is out of a contrasting fabric that the panties were made from.
When we receive a picture of the baby in the dress (and booties, bonnet, & panties,) I'll be sure to post it here. Thank you for your cooperation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weekend for Family

 We were able to have a very nice weekend and funeral for our beloved grandfather.
All of our children in one place, with Grandma Hodgman in the center.
 Kathryn with cousin Tressa's daughter Madison.
 David stitching up Uncle Rod's dress pants for the funeral.
 Beautiful Mantua from Aunt Toni's front room.
 St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ogden, Utah
 The Hodgman Family
Jonathan, Michael, Stephanie, Vicki, John, Kathryn, David
 21 gun saluters
 Grandchildren as Pall Bearers
 All of GG and GPa Hodgman's posterity 
 Gracious Grandma Muriel
 After the graveside service.
(Thanks Stephanie for the pictures)