Happy New Year!

~*~ For some reason, the large photos at the beginning of my posts are getting distorted. Until I can resolve the problem, if you click on the photo, you will see it the way it is supposed to be. ~*~

Happy New Year!!! Our first day of 2011 has brought rain~ lots of it!  I love rainy days & couldn’t be happier! It’s a wonderful way to begin the new year. So far, this winter has brought us a good amount of rain; hopefully enough to ward off the possibility of a drought and water rationing this summer.  Already the hills have turned a deep, lush, velvety- green that promises beautiful photographs for this season’s  note cards. 2010 was a good year, bringing the addition of two baby boys to the family. On January 26, my daughter’s third child, Colton, was born; a little brother for Grace & Sam. Then two weeks ago, on December 17th, my son & his wife had their first baby, a little boy, Henrik! With the new babies my attentions went to knitting, one of my very favorite things to do!

I knit a sweater for Colton, finishing it just weeks before his birth and I’m about to begin knitting a blanket for his first birthday. When my son & his wife announced that they were expecting a baby boy I decided to knit a blanket for him. Though I’ve been knitting since I was twelve, I’ve always chosen a pattern to follow. I have never tried  making my own design before. I started Henryk’s blanket from a pattern that I chose, but when I got to the middle section of the blanket,  I began getting different ideas about what I’d like to see in the middle of the blanket. I realized that I didn’t have to stay with that pattern , just because I’d started with it, I could actually do whatever I wanted to do with the blanket, and so I  ventured out to create my own design. I had a great time creating my own blanket. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I would love to start knitting baby blankets for my shop; blankets that, like my dresses, would be my own designs & creations and would be, like all of my handsmocked & embroidered dresses, one-of-a-kind! It took a month to knit Henryk’s blanket, so I’m not expecting to be able to make many blankets, but when I can find the time to work on them, I would like to be able to have at least one for sale at all times. Knitting Henryk’s blanket really whet my appetite for knitting. With Christmas quickly approaching, I decided to knit scarves for gifts for family members this year. I enjoyed doing that so much that it wasn’t long before I found myself thinking that I’d like to be able to knit scarves to sell in my shop too.

While looking through knitting patterns I came across  a pattern for a toy, knit lamb that I thought was adorable, and so I knit one for Henryk based on the original “Fuzzy Mittens” pattern.He turned out so cute & while I was knitting him, my mind was racing ahead to different ideas & variations that I might make to this pattern. I am currently finishing one for Colton for his birthday, and then~ yep! I’d love to knit some more to have in my shop!

And so, the new year is going to bring lots of new items to my shop!  My handsmocked & embroidered dresses, were  joined last year by my photographic notecard sets as well as by a few, one- of -a- kind, hand-embroidered onezies . I recently added a new hand-embroidered  onezie outfit to the shop & this year and plan on adding more. As soon as I am able to knit them, I’m very excited to be adding several handknit items in 2011~ baby blankets, scarves, knit lambs~ and whatever else I feel like knitting!

And last, but definitely not least, I’ve resolved to make a very concerted effort to post in my blog no less than once a week. I know I have a bit of a dilemma here, in that everything I’m planning on making requires a substantial time commitment. I don’t yet know where or how I’m going to be able to find the time to do everything~ and that leads me to say that surely 2011 is going to be a year of challanges! I thought I’d add a few pictures of some of the knit things that I’ve mentioned here so you will have an idea of what kinds of things you can expect to be seeing in my shop over the coming year!

Here’s to a wonderful 2011 for everyone!


Spring~” Click, Click;” Catch it While I Can

Tree in full bloom

Spring! It’s everywhere I go, filling me with inspiration to create in it’s image;  things that are flowery & light as the breeze spreading its signature scent. Pulling weeds in my garden under the appletree, I was captivated by the subtle, sweetly-spiced scent of appleblossoms~ how to express that in a creation?

Pascal (my dog,)  and I, walk daily. Camera in hand, we alternate between downtown, with its beautiful fountains & planterboxes, and Heather Farms- ( several local acres of designated open space that’s been set aside as a wildlife preserve,  with walking trails, gardens,  ponds, meadows and a duck-filled canal.) Spring being such a short season, my camera clicks tirelessly as we walk, attempting to preserve the beauty Spring has scattered in its wake~

Currently, everything  I make reflects my experience of Spring.Bumblebee on Blue Looking at my photos I immediately Rose Garden, Heather Farms want to make notecards~ I’m excited!  Here in my hands, the  pictures enable me to hold onto Spring,  long after it has passed. On the trees, the wind & rain can destroy the beautiful blossoms, but  here on my notecards, they are saved;   preserved  in all their beauty – How wonderful to be able to have Spring always within reach!

As with the notecards, my handsmocked and embroidered dresses reflect my experience of Spring-  One  recently finished dress, A Dressful of Blooms, was totally spring inspired. Looking at it,  I recall the spicy-sweet scent of the apple blossoms on my tree. Perhaps looking at it , you too will have a sense of  the flower-scent~?        IMG_2747Dressful of Flowers

Today on our walk at Heather Farms, in addition to all of the new spring flowers, resplendent under water drops left by yesterday’s rain, we witnessed a very special spring addition~

**Duck & babies copy

Walking down the path beside the canal I saw what looked like something moving in the grasses on the far side of the canal. I stopped to see if I could tell what was there-  At first I saw the mother duck. Her dark coloring blended in so well with the hillside that she was difficult to discern at first.  She was standing very still looking back at us. Incredibly, Pascal didn’t bark! Watching her, I suddenly saw movement in the grass behind her and watched in awe as 5 tiny ducklings shuffled awkwardly to get close to her. After watching us for a while, I guess she decided we didn’t pose much danger, because she started walking down the bank towards the water, the 5 little ducks following close behind~ in one straight line! Down the hill they stumbled & into the canal,  gliding on the water, mom & her 5-  in one straight line,  swim masters already!

Mom & babies, crossing the path~ in one straight line We followed them a short way down the canal and then stopped and watched again as the babies followed their mom out of the water, up the bank and across the path towards the larger pond~ in one straight line!

These pictures, along with others taken that day will be available on sets of notecards in my shop. Spring passes so quickly that I’m so happy to have caught at least a bit of it before we move into summer~ which I know, is lurking just around the bend~

Where Did Summer Go?

Enlightened Looking at all of the beautiful flowers in everyone’s gardens, it’s hard to realize that we’re mid-way through  the last month of summer! Where did it go? It seems like it was just spring and everyone was excitedly anticipating the arrival of summer-  I remember as a child, I thought the year was divided into summer and winter and that each was an equal amount of time. It seemed as if summer vacation was just as long as the school year! I don’t enjoy the heat and my favorite seasons have always been fall and winter, but there’s no denying that with summer comes gardening and all of the beautiful flowers that I love so much. Each of the seasons brings its own special beauty and even though I  have my favorites, there are things I enjoy about all of them. Right now, it seems like I could use at least another run-through, (’cause that’s what it does,) of summer to get my garden in shape!

Lately it seems like every day I hear people talking about being ready for winter and Christmas! My brain is still filled with flowers and sunshine and water~ and summer, yet with all of the daily reminders, I realize that fall and winter really aren’t far off. At least the calendar says they aren’t-  So it’s with a lot of difficulty that I’ve forced myself to realize that and start putting long sleeves on my dresses. In all but the extremely cold places the short-sleeved dresses are wearable year round, since a sweater or coat along with a pair of tights can always be thrown on for outside. A long-sleeved t-shirt can also be slipped under the dress for added warmth, but I know that some people prefer to wear long sleeves in fall and winter.

With this in mind I cut out my first long-sleeved dress of the season yesterday. This dress will be a size 2 100% cotton with a deep-teal blue background and a print of white mini-hearts and leaves. I have no idea yet what I’m going to embroider on it, s0 you’ll  have to wait a bit to see, but I’m trying to think “winter” for the design. Hopefully I’ll have it ready for you to see in a few weeks! Until then, savor the last weeks of summer~ It’s going to be a long time returning!

sweetpeas**Beautiful copy

Say Baaaa!

“B”stands for Bark– and it also stands for “Baaa”~

Say Baaa

To Pascal and I the distinction is pretty clear, but you’d be surprised at how many people are surprised when Pascal “Barks” instead of “Baaas”-  Really!

Over the years, we have been asked so many funny questions~ If I could only get Pascal to say “Baaa” when we’re asked, it would be wonderful! I keep working on it, but so far, Pascal’s clinging to his  “Bark;”  loud and proud!

If only-   Here-  just the other day is a wonderful example of how perfect it would have been  had Pascal responded, “Baaa”-

We were driving home, ( Pascal buckled into his seat belt in the front passenger seat,)  and  stopped at a traffic light. My window was open just a crack; just enough for the nearby sound of laughter to slip in and grab my attention. Looking in the direction of the laughter,  I looked up into the truck that was stopped beside me. The woman next to the window was looking directly into my car at Pascal and I could see just the top of the driver’s head as she craned her neck amidst her laughter, to see over her passenger and into my car as well. I smiled, (their laughter making it impossible not to,) and the first woman motioned me to roll down my window . I did, knowing full well what was coming~

“Is that a lamb in the front seat with you?” she asked. They were still laughing, but I could tell they both were serious about their question.  As has happened so many times in the past, all of these deliciously fun answers began competing in my mind………. pick me! pick me! Just as I was about to tell “the big lie,” Pascal decided that he’d answer the question himself~  “Bark! Bark”   That made them laugh all the harder! “We thought you were driving around with a lamb in your front seat!”  The light turned green and we continued on our way,  their laughter echoing in my ears.09

I tried once again-  “Pascal, say Baaaa”-  He looked at me-  “Pascal,…… Baaa!”  I looked at him, he looked at me,………

“Bark!”

In my last post I mentioned that I intended to add notecards to my shop. I now want to officially announce that they are here!!! To begin with, I have two series of cards, the first is called The Language Of Flowers and contains sets of 4 blank, white notecards and envelopes, measuring 5.25″x 7.25″. Each card is mounted with a different, glossy, 4″ x 6″ photograph taken by me. Each card in a set is a different card, and each set differs from the other set, so be sure when you look,  to look at all four cards in the set. I have many more sets made up, waiting to be listed, so be sure to keep checking to see what I’ve added- This is the kind of picture you should expect to see in the series, The Language of Flowers~Standing Out in a Crowd

The second series is called Notes From Rabbit Whiskers. These notecards are basically the same as the first series, except for the subject of the photographs. To anyone who knows the handsmocked, hand-embroidered girl’s dresses that I make, these might seem a bit familiar~  and very unique!

The next series is one that I  haven’t composed yet, but will very soon, so keep looking! This series will have sets with photos of beautiful scenery!

I Love making these cards and can’t seem to stop. I’m very excited for you to see them, so please come and enjoy! They are listed in both my website, and my Etsy shop!!!

SPRING

Red FreesiaSpring is officially here! Many of the bulbs in my garden are in full bloom right now, like these Freesias. If you’ve ever smelled Freesias you know how wonderfully sweet they can make your garden smell.

With flowers, gardens, and spring everywhere, comes the desire to cast off the heavy, warm, winter clothes, and slip into clothes that match the colors and feel of spring.

I have several dresses for children that are filled with light, flowers, and softness,  both in my etsy shop and on my website.

They are the epitome of little girls and spring.

I thought you might be interested in seeing a few of the dresses that I think are wonderful spring dresses. This first dress is one that I think every little girl would love to wear. It is a nice, machine washable, light-weight cotton, with an adorable bunny jumping rope, hand-embroidered in the center of the smocking. I’ve captured the essential elements of spring in this scene, complete with flowers in blues and pinks and even an early butterfly!

Another dress that I think is a good depiction of spring is this dress, again, a lightweight, light-colored, machine washable cotton. The scene on this dress is very “spring”, hand smocked with a hand embroidered spring scene of a little girl walking in the country with her puppy. The hills are a vibrant green with new spring grasses and wildflowers. To complete the picture of spring, I’ve added a little bird, perched in front of his house, talking to the girl and her dog- (I’m sure they’re talking about the beautiful spring day-) The sky has a few puffy white clouds to accent the blue, and if you listen, you can almost hear the nearby meandering stream!

These are just a few of the dresses I have for spring in my shops. I am constantly working on more, so keep checking back. I get the majority of my ideas from scenes that I observe on my daily walks with Pascal. I’ve just started a new size 4 dress that will be great for spring, but I think it will be even more suggestive of summer~ we’ll see-

IMG_8784 copy

New Ideas Happening

I took a brief respite from sewing to work on the baby blanket that I started knitting for my grandson a year ago. I was starting to worry that if I didn’t concentrate on getting it finished, he’d be ready for college and I’d still be working on it, so I’m  pleased to have finished it while he’s still a baby! I love knitting. I find it relaxing and enjoy  that it allows the mind so much free time to think about things. Knitting the baby blanket, having had all of this “free-thinking” time,  I’ve come up with a few new smocking ideas that I’m excited about trying and hope to begin as soon as I finish work on my dress order.

When I’m making a smocked dress I like to think of the dress fronts as my canvas which I  will design and “paint”  with embroidery floss. My favorite part about making my  dresses is creating the smocking design and the picture that grows out of it, (the little scene that I embroider into the smocking.) People often comment about how much they like the picture I’ve “drawn”, so it occured to me, why not do a wall hanging; a hand- smocked, hand- embroidered picture that could be hung on the wall?  I think that the scenes I’ve put on my dresses would be adorable on a child’s bedroom or bathroom wall. So you can expect in the near future to see on my website a hand smocked, hand embroidered picture that will strictly be for hanging on the wall. I have another idea for a smocked project that I will tell you about in my next post.

Smocked Dresses; Make a Winter Fashion Statement

You may have noticed how “in” smocking is right now. Woman’s fashions are featuring smocking in dresses, blouses, tunics, sweaters, and even jackets. With children’s fashion running parallel to adults, this winter it will be stylish as well as comfortable and warm for your child to wear her smocked dress, even in areas where the climate is colder. With the fashion being tunics and leggings and  “layered” dressing, the smocked dresses adapt easily.

Following the adults example, ( or maybe it’s the adults who are following the children’s,) the shorter dresses worn over leggings make adorable tunics.They can also be worn over a pair of long pants or jeans. A light-weight matching cotton or acrylic,  long-sleeved t-shirt can be worn underneath the “dress/tunic;”  toss on a coat for outside,  and your child is not only dressed in the latest style, but is toasty-warm as well-

Naturally, in warmer  climates this wouldn’t be necessary, but  you would have the option of two different looks from one dress. The dress could be worn as is with the matching socks, (or tights if preferred for winter,) on one occasion and on another, it could be worn as a layered outfit;  t-shirt, tunic, leggings- two different looks from the same garment!  Besides being fun to wear, the smocked dresses are really  very versatile.

The long dress, (size 3L and 4L,)  that I’ve recently added to my collection, is equally versatile and adaptable to colder climates. It can be worn exactly the same way as the shorter dresses. The only difference would be that when worn as a tunic with leggings, it is a long tunic-  again, very stylish this season. This is a dress that she will definitely have fun wearing all year long!