Wednesday, December 30, 2009


As this year ends and a new one begins my mind sifts through all that has happened in this last year. I find myself counting my many blessing more than ever. So my wish for my blog friends is that, I hope you have more to be thankful for, than sorry for, and that the New Year brings you and yours many blessings and joy.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day of the Dead Party Skirt

I am not a big fan of wandering crowed shopping malls, looking in store windows at cheaply made, over priced clothing. Over the years I have grown tired of coming home, empty-handed, after hours of grumbling over the decline in western fashion. This is one of the reasons why for the last 30 years I have done the majority of my shopping out of second-hand stores.



I was given this skirt last year and it has sat in the back of a closet every since. It is covered in a delicate floral pattern.



This skirt came from a thrift shop



This short velvet skirt is also from a thrift shop



I loved this festive skull image, but the shirt it came off of was a 3X and did not fit me.



I cut the elastic band from the long black skirt, serged the raw edge, put in gathers and fitted it inside the skirt with the flowers.



The floral skirt has decorative cutouts with an underskirt that peeks through. The cotton lining had been washed so much that it had shrunk. I cut the underskirt out.



I cut the skull image out of the tee-shirt and appliqu├ęd it onto a panel I had cut from the short black skirt. I attached the decorative panel onto the front of the other two skirts.



With the leftovers I made ties and attached them to the back of the skirt(s) .



Women’s aprons of the 1940’s are often covered in flowers, sweet little song birds and geometric designs. This skirt pays homage to the apron with a modern, slightly morbid flare.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Midwinter Gifts

Every year at Midwinter Solstice I gather with a group of women friends. I have always tried to give affordable handmade gifts and this year was no exception. This summer my family spent several days at the ocean. While there, I gathered jasper from the beach. I got some of the most incredible stones. Jasper comes in a wide variety of colors. The beach where I gathered these stones tend to be covered in red jasper, but I also found yellow and green. After a light polishing, the stones natural beauty shone through.



I wanted to make little drawstring bags to put the stones in, so I went digging through my immense supply of fabric. Years ago I saw this fabric and fell in love with it. I bought several yards of it hoping that I would someday find a purpose for it.


After some cutting and sewing I transformed the fabric into little bags that were the perfect size to hold the jasper.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Come Follow, Follow Me...

In July I was treated to an amazing 40th birthday celebration. We flew down to California to spend 5 days with some very dear friends. While there I got to spend several days romping around the lovely coastal city of San Clemente, wander around the Getty Museum, have drinks in the artsy Laguna Beach community and most amazing of all, I got to attend the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball  in Hollywood. The night was magickal. I created this painting to honor my very dear friend, Deidre who set the trip up. She had the most marvelous costume, which she created herself. I titled this painting, Come Follow, Follow Me… after the poem The Fairy Queen. The writer of this poem is unknown, but the words were very fitting for a night of beauty and magick. The Fairy Queen also accurately portrays the fay goddess Deidre, who spreads faerie dust where ever she goes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Our Tree is Up

We got our tree up today.


After much debate we came to the conclusion that we needed to put up the little tree and save the big tree for another year. Over the years we have collected enough ornaments to decorate several trees, but we toned it down this year for our 19 month old son. The tree this year is a combination of vintage and new ornaments. My mother-in-law cannot help but buy every ornament she sees for her only grandson, so this year our tree is decorated for him.






There are bubble lights, the angel moves her wings and the tree spins.


Many of the ornaments were made by my husband and his brother when they were little. Under the tree is a small collection of houses that light up.


While the little one napped his father and I raced against the clock to get everything decorated. Neil was filled with wonder and delight when he saw our efforts.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Starting to Feel a Lot Like the Holidays

With the holidays fast approaching I have decided that I had better start decorating our home. Keep in mind that there is three of use living in 855 sq feet, so this year I am only putting up one tree. Yes, we have two trees:) One tree is traditional and the other is a Star Trek/Star Wars tree, we know, geek comes to mind. And the snow village will stay packed away this year, my son will miss it, be we just do not have the room. I LOVE vintage ornaments, wreaths, gaga and anything that screams tradition. I have been holding on to a box of vintage silk thread covered apples for years. I have tucked them here and there over the years but they have finally found a more permanent spot. An old beat-up wreath, some ribbon, lights and a vintage elf who has been in my possession for many a moon and Neil now has a wreath all his own.



We also added a new addition to the holidays this year, an advent calendar. I didn’t what something that was thrown away after all the candy was eaten. I wanted to be able to fill the calendar with tidbits of my own and have it be something that Neil could look forward to every year. I searched high and low for a nice, higher quality advent calendar. I looked all over town and when that was a bust I started searching the internet. I found a hand-crafted one made in Germany, but $600 didn’t sit well with me. After months of looking I found this one at Costco. Let’s just say Neil LOVES it, and I am happy with both the price and the quality.




Now off to do more decorating.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Black Velvet Jacket

I have owned this dress for several years. It is dated, but I could not convince myself to throw it out.
Just last week I found another dress made out of the same fabric at a second hand shop for a quarter.


I removed the collar and cut the front open

Here is the collar. I used it later to make a loop and button closure.


I serged the raw edges. This gave the garment a finished look without hemming.

I used the other dress to make the sleeves.

Two part sleeve

Button closure with rosette

Fabric covered buttons


I finished this in time for the annual Mother Daughter Tea hosted by my mother-in-law. By-the-way, the total cost to make this jacket was $6.55

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pinecone Hunting

I took Neil to the ranch to go pinecone hunting. Grandpa, Neil and I walked up through the old cow pasture. It was a cold clear morning and we had an amazing view of the valley.

Here is out booty, pine needles and all



Friday, December 4, 2009

New Skirt

After a disappointing shopping trip I decided to pull out my 1960’s Singer sewing machine and have a go at making myself a skirt. My father bought my trusty work horse sewing machine at a yard sale in the 1980’s for $15; she has never let me down.


I brought out patterns and looked through some old catalogs (kept around for just such an occasion) hoping for a bit of inspiration. In a catalog I spotted a pair of traditional Taiwanese Fisherman’s Pants. The waist of the Fisherman’s paints is two sizes too big, but they are folded to fit around the waist, tied, then the top part of the paints is folded over. I always thought they looked comfortable, but that a skirt design was needed instead. I took left over fabric and in about an hour I had a new skirt. Now I am off to work on a matching top.