Hello Again!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra set of arms & hands? So many times I find myself wishing for that. I could accomplish twice as much as I do now. That would be wonderful!

It’s been a long time since I’ve written~ too long! I feel bad about it. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to write, I’ve just been so busy with my work. Unfortunately I’m not one of those people who are good multi-taskers. There are so many things I’d love to make, but they all require a lot of time. In the interest of trying to get more items made, I decided to concentrate my efforts for a while~  and that’s why I haven’t been here. There is still  so much that I want to make,  so I can’t commit to a regular writing schedule , as I hope to be able to do someday,  but I intend to pop in more frequently and let you see some of the things I’ve been working on.

I recently finished a custom order Christmas dress for a customer that was probably the most difficult order I’ve ever worked on. It was a real challenge,  but I was determined to do it. I worked on this dress for a month, twice even staying up all night working because I had to see what it looked like~ and if I’d captured the scene pictured in my head.  In spite of the difficulty I have to say that I really enjoyed the challenge this dress presented. Creating it helped me learn a lot about perspective & how to fit a lot into a small space~

The order was for a Christmas dress in green fabric, smocked & with an embroidered scene that included a Christmas tree with colored lights, a little girl, a basset hound & a chocolate lab. Once the sides are smocked there is only about a 3 1/2″ x 3″ space left in the center to compose a scene. That’s really not much room at all. Most of my scenes usually have 1 or 2 major figures in them. That is usually what fits the most comfortably. This request was for twice as many figures as I usually have, so the major problem it presented was how to fit everything in and still have it look nice- and the figures be identifiable. When I thought about the scene, what appeared was an outdoor picture. When it came to actually embroidering the scene I pictured, I realized quickly that I was also going to have difficulty with the snow- and how to show that some of the figures were in front while others were further back. These were the two major problems that kept me up all night~ and taught me a lot. I have never been so totally engrossed in a dress as I was with this one,  and I’m happy to say that I was pleased with the results~ (the scene pictured in the upper left corner.)  If you look closely you will see that the string of tree lights begins in the little girl’s hands & extends down to the basset hound at her side. The basset hound holds a section in his mouth while the chocolate lab, having wound the lights around the branches a few times,  is standing behind the tree with his end of the lights held in his mouth~ and so the title, “Three to Light the Tree.”

Just before beginning work on the order for the Christmas dress I made a dress for my shop that is my personal favorite. When shopping for fabrics,  I like to buy cuts of whatever I see that I think would make a nice dress- without having any particular dress in mind. I bring them home, wash them & put them away until I’m ready to begin a new dress. That way I build an adequate supply of fabrics so that when I’m ready to start a dress, I can look at them & choose whatever I’m in the mood to work on. The fabric for this dress is fabric that I’ve had longer than any of my other fabrics. Every time I went to choose fabric for a new dress I’d pass this one over~ it just never seemed to “grab” me~ until recently. I think I even surprised myself when I opened the cupboard where I keep my fabrics,  spotted this and said, “Yes!” I never would have guessed that it would turn out to be my very favorite dress,  but that’s exactly what happened. Once I saw the fabric I knew exactly how I wanted the dress to look. It’s always a bit scary to me to combine fabrics as I’ve done here, with the collar & sleeves in white and the body of the dress in a small print, giving the dress a “jumper & blouse” look. It’s difficult to visualize which fabrics will look good in that style & which won’t. It’s definitely not fit for every print. This is only the second time that I’ve tried embroidering on the “puff” part of each sleeve, but I really like the way it ties the print of the fabric  together with the white sleeves, although it’s not an easy thing to do. In fact it’s very difficult to embroider from inside the small area that is available in the sleeve of a baby dress,  but I think it’s worth the effort and contributes to creating a dress that’s both unique and very special.

These are just a few of the things that have kept me busy in recent months. I’ve also been knitting, as I’m trying to build a supply of knit items for my shops as well, but more on that in my next post. I’m working on a new dress right now and I’m close to being finished embroidering the scene. I’m looking forward to getting to the part where the dress gets sewn together. I’m sorry to say that my sewing machine which has served me so well over the past 25 yrs. has finally said,  “enough!”  It’s replacement is sitting, still in it’s box, waiting for me to reach the stage where it will be needed. I’m anxious to see how it will work. Hopefully I’ll love it as much as I’ve loved my old machine and,  (whisper-)  maybe even a bit more!  I’ll let you know how I like it, next time I write~ must return to work now!

I hope you enjoy the beautiful fall weather that’s either just arrived- or will be arriving soon!  Fall is my favorite season, so I’m looking forward to cool, beautiful days!

Pascal; All Season Dog~ Fall

Fall Hat

Perhaps you are wondering as I am, where the time has gone~ It’s so hard to believe that Christmas will be here in a few weeks. It was just summer! Since we seem to be flying through the seasons, and I’ve been too busy to write until now,  I apologize for being a season behind in my Pascal stories. You may remember a story I posted in July titled, PASCAL; All Season Dog~ “all season dog” meaning, in Pascal’s case, no matter what season, he’ll find an excuse to NOT walk!  If you are wondering about the  photo above, I placed that large leaf on Pascal’s head one day while we were at the park to show him that leaves don’t bite; they’re really not scary things! Even more puzzled? Read on……..

I love fall. It’s my favorite season. I love the way the air is crisp and seasoned with the delicious scent of smoke-curls wafting from rooftop chimneys. I always look forward to our walks in the fall and I was eagerly looking forward to the many fall walks we were about to be taking.

If you were to ask Pascal, I’m sure he would tell you that our walks for the first part of fall were wonderful. The temperatures were perfect for brisk walking and there weren’t many days that were windy. We had great walks down to Heather Farms where we could watch the daily  changes in leaf color- or I could. I brought my camera and stopped in awe every few steps, to take a picture. Pascal thought that was great because it meant that he could stop and sniff around while I took pictures- one of his favorite outside occupations. He was as ecstatic with this freedom as I was with the potential to “preserve” every minute shade of the color spectrum. Our walks were mutually wonderful~ until about mid-way through fall-

One day  Pathway to Fall 11/2009

we started walking down the sidewalk, and guess what happened? The leaves were  falling off their branches and were headed straight for US!! Yikes!!!  All of a sudden Pascal  darted  in front of me, straight out to my side.   I almost tripped over him. They were  coming to get us, those beautiful leaves!

Our walks became difficult. Pascal was convinced that we were under attack. There were a couple of really bad days. It got windy and the leaves became really aggressive-  and what was wrong with me, Pascal wondered as he sat down in the middle of the sidewalk with leaves shooting down all around him. Didn’t I see what was happening? How could I be so stupid as to consider walking at such a time. I called him towards me to make him continue walking, and gave a little tug on his leash. That only convinced him that I had become just plain lame and needed a more powerful message or we were both going to become victims of this ruthless assault from the sky- My second tug on the leash made him budge! He stood, turned around  so that his back was towards me and,  with all 18 lbs. of his little body tugged hard in the direction of the car. O.k~ I got it!

For the next two days I didn’t even try to go walking. The morning of the third day was sunny, warm, & perfectly calm. Great! A wonderful day for a walk. Surely the leaves must be off the trees now.  “Let’s go! I said, standing at the door with his leash in my hand. He came bounding to the door; unusual for Pascal- for a walk. He wiggled excitedly as I fastened his harness. All right, I thought. Two days without a walk. Now he really wants to go. I felt excited too. This was going to be a good one. I could feel it!

I just barely got him out of his car-seatbelt and he was off and running down the sidewalk, pulling me behind him.  This lasted just long enough to get us partway down the  block. Then he abruptly slowed to a walk. It was such a beautiful morning. The sky was sparkling blue and not a single leaf was falling.  They were lying in scattered  piles that covered the sidewalk. Like always when I bring my camera, I was looking  for the “perfect shot” and not paying much attention to Pascal.

As we continued down the sidewalk  I became aware of erratic little tugs from the other end of the leash. With the next tug I looked down at Pascal and saw one hind leg raised high in an attempt to hop over a leaf. I kept watching as we walked and when I saw what he was doing, I couldn’t keep from laughing. First it was one leg up high, &  then another. If he had been able to figure out how to do it, I’m certain he would have very quickly been airborn. As it was, he was doing what looked like a complicated jig down the length of the sidewalk, trying to avoid stepping on those evil leaves! Oh Fall, you most perfect of seasons, whatever has happened to you?

Looking out the window at the 5:00 darkness moving in to blanket bare tree limbs, I’m reminded that it’s Winter now! Somehow we made it through Fall! We actually survived our walks!  Now, I have a feeling, we are about to see how we fare with Winter. It snowed last night. It almost NEVER snows here-  We didn’t walk this morning. My decision. Too cold!  Hmmmm~!

Long Sleeves!

FullB

I have just listed the first of my long-sleeved dresses in my etsy shop and on my website. Two posts ago I wrote that I had decided to add some long-sleeve dresses to my shop and I had just finished cutting this one out, so I’m very happy to say that it is now finished and in my shops ready to go to a party, school~  or wherever your little girl would wear a dress.                                                          IMG_0493

I’m pleased with the way that this dress turned out. It reminds me of something out of Hansel and Gretel; in fact, I can picture Gretel wearing this dress! The embroidered scene in the center could be straight from the forest where Hansel & Gretel dropped their trail of bread crumbs. I can picture them coming upon this forest stream where a mother goose is teaching her two goslings to swim, and stopping to watch for a minutes before continuing on their way to the gingerbread house~ The eyelet trim on the sleeve ruffles dress the dress up a bit as well as tie in with the fabric’s design and the white, heart-shaped buttons mimic the hearts in the fabric’s design.

The addition of long sleeves  I think, besides being more practical for colder days, changes the “look” of the dress a bit. To me, the shorter puffed sleeves give the dress a cute, poised kind of look while the longer sleeves seem more relaxed and “artsy.” I like both styles equally well, but I find it interesting that something so simple as a sleeve length can change the overall look of the dress. It will be fun to have two sleeve lengths to choose from in my shops. I’m just beginning to cut out my next long-sleeved dress. It will be a size 3 and will probably be available in about two weeks- the time it usually takes to make one dress-  I plan on doing several more dresses with long sleeves so that you will have a nice selection to choose from, so be sure to check back occasionally to see what’s new in the shop!

Nov. Flame Fall is my very favorite season, so I’m excited that it’s just around the corner. I’m looking forward to the end of the hot temperatures and dry hillsides and the arrival of cool, breezy but sunny days, and brilliant colors as far as the eye can see!

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