Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Archer's Quilt

Being asked to make someone a custom quilt is, by far, one of the greatest compliments I receive in my creative world.  Recently, I was contacted to do just that and it made my month!

In the past, the commissioned quilts I have worked on have varied widely.  Some have simply told me what colors they prefer and what size they want it to end up being.  Others have told me to go wild and do what I will!  With this quilt, I was given some specific fabrics to work with and a twin size goal.  The recipient would be for a darling three-year-old named Archer.  Lucky kid!  His mom has great style so I knew it would be a fun project!
We met in 'my lair' and were able to pull supplemental fabrics to use, in addition to discussing a layout.  The focal fabric is from Gingiber and features these perfectly hand drawn woodland creatures.  I LOVE Gingiber's work (I even have one of her prints hanging in one of our bathrooms!), so working around her creations was very pleasing.  We decided to 'log cabin' around each panel in a random mix of fabrics that we pulled.  Doing a random pull in a predetermined pattern allowed me to 'assembly line' sew, which is a topic I'll soon be speaking about at the OKC Modern Quilt Guild!  Most of the time when I make a quilt, I improv piece so having a plan on this one was a different experience for me!  It really made it move along rather quickly and ended up making a beautiful quilt! 
We decided to not quilt the animal panels which gave them a more full effect once the quilt was washed.  Where I did quilt, I just did straight, grid lines.  I even marked some of them before quilting, which I never do!  I made the binding from a vintage, plaid sheet that I ADORE.  I absolutely love the way it looks as a binding!  The backing came from Owl & Drum and matches the front animals perfectly!
As a way to say thank you, I made a matching pillow cover to accompany the quilt!  I chose one of the fox panels to match the fox on the backing.  That little guy makes me smile.  :)
 The icing on the cake was getting to deliver the quilt and seeing it in its new home!  Heart swell!
Happy napping, Archer!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Me Made May, Take Two

Yes, we're well past the middle of June but let's talk about May.  Last year, I participated in #memademay for the first time.  Participated is a loose way to explain it.  Basically, you commit on your own to wearing something you've made every day of May.  You get no rewards, there are no prizes, and no one keeps tabs on your progress.  After taking part in this last year, I already knew I would do it again this year.  And I did. 

You're encouraged to share a photo of it on social media, but that's certainly not necessary if that's not your bag.  I enjoy the periodic challenge of consistent photo documentation, so I posted a photo each day.  One of my favorite parts of this year's challenge was that Rio was my photographer for all but six of my photos!  She was a fantastic photographer who allowed me to loosen up in front of the camera.  Basically, she would take 50 photos in one minute so I would just move about wildly for a minute.  After, I'd go through the batch and was always able to find several that I loved.  She had a blast being the photographer as well and knew why we were taking photos.  If she didn't remember a garment I was wearing, she'd ask to confirm if I had made it or not.  After the confirmation, she would comment that I must have made it when she was two years old because she doesn't remember anything before then.  Love her thought processes.

Last year's challenge was more, well, challenging.  This year, I had a plethora of handmade clothes that I'd been amassing so I had more options to choose from for my outfits.  It's amazing how much I've learned in regards to clothing construction over the past year and how many garments I had made!

My thoughts on ethical clothing choices have not really changed over the past year.  If anything, they have intensified and I have become more passionate in regards to the origins of my clothing.  It seems that desire is spreading, thankfully.
Last year, I shared my outfits without any order.  This year, I would like to group them together for you.

First, garments made from patterns by Yoshiko Tsukiori, specifically from the book Stylish Party Dresses.  I have a few other of her books but that one is by far my favorite.  The patterns take some great focus and time to trace out but I've made multiples from each of them that I've traced.  I also think the dart placements are a little odd, so that's something to think about if you attempt any of her darted garments.  I've added hidden and exterior pockets to each of these as well.  These dresses are BY FAR my favorites in my closet and I wear them ALL of the time. 
My second category is self-drafted patterns.  Or 'wing it' garments.  Many of these were made by trying to recreate some of my favorite clothing items, by attempting to create something from scratch, or simply refashions.  I think the results were pretty good!
Next up, vintage patterns, which includes patterns from the fifties to the eighties in this post!  Can you guess each decade of each pattern?  ;)  These are always a little challenging because the pattern sizing varies from modern clothing and because each pattern company seemed to have their own way of explaining how to do things.  Patterns with few diagrams or photos are my least favorite.  Also, I'm preeeeetty sure that I made changes to each of these patterns as I went through them.  The shorts, I actually learned to grade on and sized them up more than half of the pattern size!  That was magical.
Finally, modern patterns!  Compared to the vintage patterns, these are a walk in the park!  These include (in order as pictured) the Esme Maxi Cardigan, the Gallery Tunic, the Washi Dress, the Wiksten Dress, the Pearl Shift Dress, and a knit wrap that I can't recall the pattern for.
 And that's that!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

West Coast Jaunting

I took a little vacation!  This past weekend, I boarded a plane for the first time in six years and headed to Los Angeles to visit my little sister and her mister.  It was a very short-lived trip, but much needed and wonderful all around.  While it's all still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recap the adventure.
One of the biggest reasons why I hadn't been out to visit her in so long is that I'd redeveloped a fear of flying since I had a child.  Through exercise and reflection, I felt like I was ready to get back in the air...and I did!  I almost cried from joy, relief, and pride on my first flight for getting back on a plane.  I, surprisingly, had missed it!

As you can see, I arrived in LA late Friday night after a delayed flight.  My sister's man, a quite talented man of mallets, was playing a show that night (and each night after), so I took an uber from the airport to meet them at the venue only to arrive after the show had ended.  We headed to another watering hole and grabbed some veggie tacos on the way.  Pool was played, stories were told, and drinks were had.

The following day started a little earlier than I think any of us had intended.  My sister had arranged a get-together at their place so I could meet many I'd heard about and vice versa.  They are a vegan household (and I've found myself living a vegetarian life as of late) so our meal was all animal free!  She slaved away for hours to create a vegan lasagna - delicious! - and a vegan blueberry/lime cheesecake!  I've learned much from my sister in regards to nutrition and ethical food choices.  Good stuff.
People came and went throughout the afternoon while we ate and shot the shit.  One special guest was my cousin who I haven't seen in a few years!  It was a tremendous treat to see her.
Without missing a beat after the gathering, Afton and I headed to a party with some of her choir friends.  I had used up most of my socializing energy for the day but did enjoy the ambiance and mild weather with friendly folks.  Despite being drooling tired, we moved along to our last stop of the night.  We found ourselves at a bar called The Barkley, which was a step back in time.  We watched Nick play alongside a drag performer, Bobbi DeCarlo, singing some old tunes and then were treated to some burlesque performances.  As many people as I've known to do burlesque, I've actually never seen a show in person!  It was quite entertaining.
That night, I slept like a king.

On Sunday, we took things *a little* easier.  I got in some bonding time with the kitties and we did some face timing with the pops for Father's Day.
 Speaking of kitties, look at this six-year difference.  
We had lunch at what one may call a 'hipster' restaurant.  I finally found a vegetarian BLT sandwich!  That's the one flavor combination I've really been missing.  We ran some errands, including visiting the most beautiful cemetery I've ever seen, and then hit my favorite part of the day, the city pool.  The pool officially made it feel like a vacation!  It was rejuvenating, even with a hundred kids swimming into you repeatedly.
I paparazzi-ed my sister and caught this photo that I love.  Her cute complex, her old couch, and her beautiful self.  The couch cracks me up.
That night, my last night there, we headed to the beach for one more show of Nick's.  I shared the long drive with the vibes.  I wasn't expecting to have as much fun that night as I did.  It was the perfect way to end the trip. 
For the past several months, Afton and I have been running together virtually.  On Monday morning, we finally got to run together in person!  I wish we'd been able to squeeze in a few more of those but am glad we at least did one!  It was another highlight for me.
My sister's birthday is coming up in a few days, so of course I had to come bearing gifts.  I made a few pillow covers for their new couch (and my bed) from some fabric I recently acquired.  I love the way they turned out!
When my sister was in town last year, she fawned over my juicer that I inherited from my Granny.  The day after I booked my tickets to come out, I went out and bought an identical juicer that I had recently seen.  It was quickly put to use.  
I wish I'd been able to stay longer but am SO glad that I was able to make it out at all!  It's always good for my spirit to see my sister and this time, it was extra special to see her in her world. Until next time!
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