Tuesday, August 27, 2013

One of Those Outfits: Fancy Pants in the Classroom

Yesterday was somewhat of a big day, which required my second pair of big pants! :)
I went back to teaching yesterday, which is technically my second semester back but this time around, I'm tackling two classes!  ESL Speaking and Reading, to be exact.  What makes this a bit different this semester is that I'm gone all day long meaning I'm away from Rio all day long.  This also means we don't nurse in the middle of the day anymore and we rise almost two hours earlier than before.  I was worried about how those changes would go over but so far, so good!  My mom graciously watches her for me so I can start to earn a real income again and so I can put my smarts to use! :)  It's also nice to have an extended baby break for a bit twice a week!
This semester, our department in the college has made some changes so our enrollment numbers have practically doubled which means lots of classes, lots of need for teachers and lots of amazing diversity!  After meeting my students yesterday, I learned that I have students from Syria, Vietnam, China, Mexico, Peru, India, and Iran to name a few off the top of my head.  Love it.
Since we're rising so much earlier in the morning, I chose my outfit the night before so I wouldn't waste anytime blankly staring at my closet.  I went with simple and comfy - big surprise.  Like I mentioned before, I freaking LOVE these pants.  The only issue I have with them is that as Rio is wanting to walk more, she tends to pull up on my leg which means these elastic-banded pants don't necessarily want to stay up.  My baby depants me.  Hilarious to all.  With such positive feedback regarding these pants, I'm thinking of whipping up a few more pairs to put in the shop when I get a little downtime.  It will be hard not to keep them all for myself though!  Addicted.  

Pants - Self Made / Sparkling Tank - Target Clearance / Cardigan - Target Clearance / Earrings - Antique Enamel found in Czech Republic by my Dad / Bracelet - Flea Market / Shoes - Target Clearance

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Power of a Potholder...And Marie

Remember the wishbone collection hanging on my kitchen wall?  Those wishbones came from the home of my Great Aunt Marie, my Great Granny Cleo's sister-in-law.  Marie (pictured below) was a woman who wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty and was constantly working on something, much like myself.  In addition to cleaning bones, hunting on the land, feeding a tribe and being a general bad ass, Marie sewed.  
We have a mighty handful of beautifully handmade baby quilts that I used when I was a child made by Marie but more often used are our potholders also made by her. Marie made epic numbers of these potholders and any person in any close proximity to her during her life is sure to have at least a couple.  
Here's a crazy story for you.  When I went to college, I shared a dorm suite with four other ladies, three of which I knew before I even went to college.  One day while I was dining on my chicken noodle soup, holding my hot bowl with one of these potholders, one of my roommates suddenly stopped what she was doing and asked where my potholder came from.  Ugh.  The question kind of stopped me in my tracks.  You see, Marie and her family really lived off of the grid and not many knew of them unless they were family, to my knowledge.  Well, turns out, my friend grew up in the next town over from Marie and my friend's mother dated my cousin (who lived on the land) in high school, thus tying her into our family.  It was because of these seemingly insignificant potholders that we realized our families were quite intertwined and there was great likelihood that we even played together as small children.
That random happening and using these potholders on the daily has really made me think about the legacy of our crafts.  Did Marie know that this stash-busting, small project would tie two girls together several generations down the line?  Did she know that she would be known for POTHOLDERS, of all things?  Did she know that these potholders would stand the test of time and wear and tear to still be used by so many that she crossed paths with?  Who knows.  I doubt she ever knew how much these imperfect scraps of fabric would mean to so many.  

Do we really know the extent to which our creations will travel through people?  I think the majority of people who make, who create, do so not to pay off the mortgage but to satisfy an urge to make.  Marie never sold one potholder but those who now have them wouldn't be able to put a price on them.  They are truly priceless.  They are part of her legacy.
The above pair was given to me by Marie when I left for college.  She passed away later that year.  
So make, create, DO whatever it is you desire.  You never know how it will impact someone else down the road.  Thank you, Marie for being an inspiration....and for keeping our hands safe when cooking :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lover of Summer

I always get so sad when the end of summer rolls around.  I know, I know, we still have almost a month left of the season but with kids running off to school, my school starting back next week and with this cooler weather, it just feels like summer already has one foot out the door.  Fall is a glorious season, no doubt, and this year will be even more amazing while we celebrate the one year birthday of that little girl but I'll always choose summer as my favorite.  Cleansing heat, blossoming gardens, sun-kissed shoulders, feet in the pool, sun up past eight...summer, you are grand.  
Slow down, will ya?  I'm not close to done with you yet.

Monday, August 12, 2013

One of Those Outfits: Monster Pants!

Last year, I was petrified of sewing patterns.  They made no sense to me and I only used them for their imagery and never really foresaw myself using them to sew yet I would still grab them at estate sales.  Nowadays, I look at them with different eyes.  I look at them as things that I CAN make!
So, these pants.  Yes, they are pants.  I came across an early 90s pattern for these oversized pants that I knew I HAD to make.  Obviously they require a lot of fabric so I pulled out some fabric that I had a plethora of - this bright business that I snagged at the flea market a while back.  Dig it.  I cut out all of the pieces, did some pinning, sewed it all together and stood back to admire my work...but they didn't even resemble a pair of pants.  They were a sight.  I was slightly frustrated.  My reaction was a sight.
So I unpicked the whole damn thing which took forever and got thread everywhere and started over completely, ignoring the 'simple' directions and just sewing where made sense.  Attempt two went over SO much better than the first go around.  Oh, and there are pockets.  Huge, deep, beautiful pockets!  I'm thrilled to now know how to install those!  :)
When I was done with them, I quickly fell in love with them.  Like major love.  Hours after finishing this pair and minutes after a certain someone went to bed, I made a second pair from some more subdued fabric that I also have a crap load of.  Obsessed.
I suppose something else that is somewhat notable about this post are the pictures.  No, they're not groundbreaking but they are a hair different than what I normally post.  You see, I wore this outfit to the baby shower I mentioned in my previous post while the mister was out of town at a golf tournament.  When I got home, I had a sleeping baby, good light outside but nobody to take my photos so I set up the tripod and did some self timer shots!  Now, normally I do these in the middle of the yard but without someone with me, I got a little embarrassed that the neighbors would see me (Hi Megan! ;) even though I know they wouldn't judge but I went ahead and set up shop on the side of the house...and although it was strange taking photos alone, I love the way they turned out!

Pants - Self Made / Tank - Target Clearance 8 years ago / Earrings - South African Gift from my Dad / Shoes - Target Clearance a few years ago

Side Note:  Haircut happening tomorrow.  Finally.

The Mabel Quilt

A few weeks back I completed my fourth quilt.  My fourth!  I hadn't shared it yet because it was a gift for a dear friend of mine and didn't want to spoil the surprise in case she happened to look here :)  She's due with a little girl right around Rio's first birthday (!!) so when I first found out, my brain immediately started thinking of all of the little girl things I could make for her.  I definitely wanted to spend some time making a special quilt for her first though.

Before I make things, I often spend lots of time just staring at fabric.  I pulled out these two and decided to try my hand at a chevron quilt which looked to be pretty simple.  It was.  The colors of the fabrics just screamed my friend's name so I knew they were the ones. 

When I pulled out the fabrics to start cutting, I was surprised to find that the gold fabric was actually THE BACK of a multicolored floral design!  I guess when I folded it to store it, I folded it gold side out and never thought twice about it.  Meant to be, I guess. 

Construction-wise, I believe this is my best work.  I took extra time to focus on my bias tape and mitering my corners (easier than I thought!) which seemed to pay off.  I also tried to use my quilting stitching for more than just functionality, I wanted it to also play into the design.  It's only about 3' x 3' which I think is perfect for a tiny baby blanket and is right about the same size as Rio's quilt

I'm so happy with it and couldn't wait to pass it along to my friend and her bump!  I'm quite enjoying making these little quilts for my friends and their little ones :)  My brain is already dreaming up the next ones...now just to find the time.

Friday, August 2, 2013

One of Those Outfits: The Feed Store Dress { A Refashion & An Homage }

I took a bit of time away from tiny clothes and baby gifts to work on a growing pile of things for myself!  I LOVE vintage shift dresses that zip up the front and snag them up when I see them for a good price.  A few weeks ago, I found this one at an estate sale for two bucks.  Mine.  The problem was that when I got home and tried it on, it was HUGE.  Into the someday pile it went.
Someday came sooner than I anticipated and I got it taken care of in a snap!  Believe it or not, with as much sewing as I've done over the past few years, I've never sized something down like this.  All I did was put it on inside out, used a seam gauge to mark how far I wanted to take it in, pin it accordingly, try it on again with the pins (ouch!) and then serge up the sides!  I probably took it in five dress sizes and saved all of the scraps for some kiddo stuff :)  I then chopped off the sleeves the same length as another similar dress, serged those edges, folded them under and hemmed them.  Easy peasy!
When I first tried on the dress before altering it, the mister said I looked like a big picnic blanket.  Yesterday he retracted that statement and complimented that it DIDN'T make me look like a picnic blanket anymore! My dad referred to me as Betty Crocker but I take that as a compliment.  I've been calling it the feed store dress though.  Why?....
Because of this.  

Remember how I'm scanning pictures like a maniac?  Well, this was a slide that I finally figured out how to scan.  The man pictured below was my Great Grandpa Sangster, Cleo's husband.  He died one month before I was born so to me, he's always been a man I've known through prideful stories and now many photos.  The day I scanned in this slide (two days ago) would have been his 98th birthday.  He is the original namesake of where my sister adopted her musical name, Sangster.  At one point in time during my great grandparents' life, they owned and ran this feed store.  How amazing is this photo, capturing that moment in time?  In color even!  That truck! That typography!  That hat!
 This dress obviously reminds me of the Feed Store photo because of the red and white pattern but it also makes me think of my Great Granny and Granny thanks to my memories of them and the outfits they don in the images I'm so immersed in.  
Everything feels so connected lately.  Everything.
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