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Monday, August 24, 2009

Bon Bons

I've been madly working away to have some things for my Etsy store - I had intended to call my fancy batts, gumdrops, but after seeing Julie and Julia I've decided they will be called Bon Bons - many more flavors to develop -- this is just a small tasting! My "Confections" line will have lots more sweets added from curls to snippets to batts and whatever else I can whip up! I'll start putting these up by the coming weekend!

We are planning to have a monthly international dinner for our immediate family where I'll plan the menu and hand out assignments, we'll have music and even the children will be involved - September's event will be a "Julia" party - French cuisine, of course! When I was a stay-at-home Mom for over 20 years, cooking/baking was my hobby and Julia's book was one of my favorites! I love French cooking (and eating!). Growing up in Scotland, we had cooking class and learned many proper techniques - in fact there is one scene in the movie where Julia and Simone are setting up a table for a teaching session and that simple wooden table took me back to those days. For this class which took place during regular school, each of us had a cooking partner and we had to take our egg to school when it was our turn - can you imagine sending an 8 or 9 year old to school with her egg in hand??? The girls had one entrance to school and the boys another and of course they were waiting for us when we left with our "piece de resistance" to try to get some of our creation that we were allowed to take home!

Everyone in the family is really looking forward to our monthly dinners and it promises to be a great learning experience for the children making lovely memories (my job as a Nana) and an enjoyable one for the adults.

Mom's Birthday Wrap

My mom's 86'th birthday was last week and I made her this wrap with love - when she uses it, she'll be wrapped in a loving "hug." It has a heavier silk backing with periwinkle blue merino, pink silk, ribbon and pink BFL curls (one of my favorites). It's hard to see here, but it has nice scalloped ends.
My husband and I traveled with her to HH, SC, to visit our youngest daughter and husband who are the parents of the most adorable and good natured 6 month baby boy, Win! I'd love to post a picture with him wearing his cowbow hat, diaper and boots we took him, but after reading horror stories about some undesirable people on the internet using pictures found on the web, I just can't bring myself to put his picture on here - you'll just have to trust me when I tell you just how cute, cute, cute (and very clever!) he is!!

Felt Vest Finished!

I didn't have time to write before we went away but I finished the vest last week and I have to say it just fits like a glove! It was quite an interesting and fun challenge - a little nerve racking since all the pieces have to be cut out from the felt fabric just produced, each piece used to the best advantage so not to waste all that hard work. First I put together the basic pieces - front, back and sides and then had to determine what came next to make it special and since the fabric had leaves and I had repeated this design element further by stitching more leaves throughout the base fabric after felting, they seemed a natural to frame the neckline. It was just the touch it needed to bring it all together. The idea for the pin closure matching the deeper blue knit top that the vest will be worn over was my brilliant daughter, Jenni's - she has just the right fashion sense whereas, I would have had it be more matchy, matchy (and showing my age!). The pin and the deeper blue just added the perfect pizazz and I couldn't be more pleased!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Felt Vest Challenge - Work in Progress

A challenge to me, that is! It's so much fun making felt fabric and then incorporating the fabric into a garment. My body double isn't long enough for me to properly fit these longer pieces while it sits on a table; I'm going to have to figure out how to put it on some sort of stand for it to be functional.

It was really difficult to capture the muted colorways I used - the inspiration was some lovely coffee colored and robin's egg blue silks and matching wool. The idea was to cut the pattern so that the different but coording fabrics all have that really interesting pieced look. I began by stenciling some leaves on a lightweight losely woven piece of light colored silk and used that as part of the underlayer - what I learned: because the wool was brown in that area, it traveled through the fabric and hid most of my work. I also added leaves to a couple of places on the front and these turned out great!

I made two quite large pieces of fabric using a variety of silks, in prints, a little velvet and in various weights in the browns and soft blue. I slashed the plain brown silk in a few places and some blue wool peeked through so I made those into "leaves" and I added a little touch of soft orange wool curls here and there. After both pieces of fabric were well felted and the pieces cut, I added some machine needle felted flowers in the same soft orange to the area I planned to used for the upper back and some free motion stitching to the flowers and those slashed leaves. These pictures don't capture the colors correctly but when the vest is finished, I promise to do a better job letting you see the color and the detail.

When I walked through Nordstroms the other day, I got such a surprise - their Eileen Fisher display for Fall shows my color choice - Brown and Robin's Egg Blue! I hope I'm "in tune" with their next color predictions!

I found this nifty gadget at HomeGoods - it's a massage tool that works great for felting difficult spots too! Have any of you found neat felting tools that are meant for other things?

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Curly Confections and Cool Wool!

The previous "Confections" pictures just didn't do these fun curls justice so I've been trying to better capture their personality! They are really fun for adding detail when machine needle felting and my colorful collection comes from all sorts of wool locks lovingly produced all over our wonderful USA (some dyed by me). The Etsy store will be updated in a week or so with more fun things! - special fun Batts and perhaps some fancy "Snippets" from my personal collection.

I'm also working away like a Busy Bee getting my "Cool Wool" packs ready (natural wool variety). These will be available through Nancy's Notions retail catalog this Fall; instructions on dyeing your own using unsweetened drink mix will be included in the pack; great fun and easy to do!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Myfawny Stirling Felt Vest Class

What can I say except "the proof is in the pudding"
- we had the most wonderful workshop ever with Myfawny; she was so knowledgeable and inspiring. Class began on Day 1 with us trying on some of her gorgeous vests for size which gave us some time to think about our vest design ahead of time (always a good thing for me as I have to really ponder all possibilities and never jump right in - in other words, I'm usually a slow poke!). After some tips, we began laying out our felt. I had taken several pieces of fabric, and once I spied my friend Sharon's delicious reddish browns and pink hued hand dyed silk, I also sponged a little of that for detail - you can see it in some of the scallops on the side. I had planned on using mossy green wool but for some reason, the copper kept calling me. I began by laying down two pieces of a silk chiffon which I had planned to be the lining in different flower patterns but in the same colorway. The wool went on top and then the surface design was added. After felting, I fell in love with the floral side and so used it for most of the outside as you can see - it has the wonderful puckers that I love. One of the fun things that are difficult to see, is that there are all different underlayers peeking out; these are hand stitched in place with no seam line on the outside so it looks like another garment underneath in places.

On the second day we made our "bodies" and I laughed until I cried when Sharon and I had to carry them through the hotel to fit our muslin patterns - thank goodness we drove and didn't fly - would they have "frisked" our bodies? would the airline have make us get the bodies their own seat? or would they just sit on our laps? You can imagine the comments about the bodies hanging outside on the tree to dry alongside the felts! Each person's vest was unique - what an unbelievable and wonderful experience - I need to be 30 years old again to accomplish all the ideas swirling around in my head!