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!!!

A Few of My Favorite Things

#423 A Few of MY Favorite Things

I know. It’s been way too long since I’ve updated my blog. I have been working on this dress called, A Few of My Favorite Things and I’ve just finished it.

Making this dress has been the strangest experience! I felt as if a magic spell had been cast over me and I wasn’t able to put it down.  None of my other work, including a blog update,  got done. I was sewing until 1:00 A.M.- mainly because I wanted to see what it was going to look like.  I kept thinking, Oh I’m almost finished- might as well keep sewing so I can see-

You’d think by now, after having made close to 450 dresses,  I would know that what looks like just a small area  to finish, can take hours- sometimes days. You would also think that after making so many dresses, the thrill of seeing another one would have worn off. That most definitely wasn’t the case with this dress.   There is so much tiny, intricate detail sewn into this scene, that what seemed like it would take minutes to do, in fact took hours-  For example, if you look at a tiny head of cabbage, it seems like it’s so small, it should take only a few minutes to make one.

What happens is that yes, the area is small- until you picture the width of two strands of thread. It is the width, or thickness, of two strands of thread that has to fill that “small” cabbage space- a width probably about the same size as the width of one of the letters I am typing right now. In comparison, that cabbage space suddenly seems quite large. It takes lots and lots of stitches to fill up that small space- but then, it takes even more stitching to make it look like a cabbage.

If you look closely, you will see that the cabbage is stitched initially in a deep purple thread. Layered over that base is thread of a lighter purple shade to fill-in, and accent certain spots, giving the cabbage depth and more of a leafy look.  Layered on top of the two purples is some white stitching to better define the leaves. What initially looked like it might take a few minutes to complete, in fact, took a whole lot longer- There were many parts of this scene that required multi-layers and many hours, like the cabbages. But I can also say that although I felt  captivated by this dress, I thoroughly enjoyed creating it! I have just finished cutting out my next dress, again a size 4. This dress will be pink and I hope to get started on it this afternoon. I’m looking forward to working on it, but I do hope that I won’t be so captured by this one and will be able to work more realistically  on it, accomplishing other things in my life that need doing as well-

Last week Pascal had another grooming session which again inspired his “groom gloom” attitude and that reminded me that it has been my turn to talk for way too long. The next post is Pascal’s turn, so be sure to look again soon. I know there is a lot he wants to say!

With a Twist of Pink I don’t know what the weather has been like where you are, the past few weeks, but in nothern Ca. last week we had yet another week of beautiful spring weather and I was able to get some photos of the trees in beautiful full bloom. I’m not certain, but I think these trees on the left are plum trees, and the one on the right is a flowering crabapple-  Isn’t it gorgeous? This week it has rained all week which is wonderful because we really need the water, but I’m very happy I was able to catch photos of the trees before the rains came, because they probably knocked most of the beautiful blossoms off~                                                **Flowering Crabapple

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-

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It’s Raining, It’s

***Purple Pansy copy POURING ~ Good for flowers and ducks!!

I just came in from “taking” Pascal for a walk- only we didn’t walk; we went nowhere. Pascal wouldn’t move! He looked at me as if I was crazy, and argued with a “look” that said, ” I’m not going out in that!!”

So here I am, home early and ready to cut-out a new dress. If you’ve looked at my blogs before, you’ve noticed that I usually include one or two photos- usually of flowers or scenery.

I’ve just realized how I’ve come full circle, all of my favorite interests linking and supporting each other . I usually bring my camera with me when I take Pascal for a walk.  I love taking and looking at, pictures of flowers and pretty, and/or interesting, scenes. The photos and scenery from my walks have a heavy influence on what I embroider on my dresses. In addition to making dresses, I have a passion for gardening. This too, influences the scenes on my dresses.

In winter, the weather being not great for gardening, I concentrate more on dress-making, appeasing my passion for gardening by designing gardens on my dresses.  I realize that my four passions; walking with Pascal, gardening, nature-photography, and hand-embroidering the scenes on my handsmocked dresses, are all avenues that inter-relate and contribute to my creative processing that culminates in the one-of-a-kind, dresses that you see in my shop .

As I write this sentence, I realize that , for the moment anyway, it’s stopped raining. If I hurry, I think I can catch a few rays of sunshine and take Pascal- and camera,  walking after all!! I’ll be back soon~ with fresh ideas for my new dress!                                                                    Wind Ripples copy

Duck Circle copy

Work In Progress; A Peaceful Ending

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Good Morning!

As you can see from this photo, I finished the dress I’ve been working on! On January 25, and 27, I posted photos so that you could see how such a scene develops.

The scenes on my dresses are always a combination of smocking and embroidery. Smocking is wonderful for covering large flat areas, such as in the pasture, the hills, and the sky and for creating interesting  design patterns by varying smocking stitches.

Everything else in the scene is embroidered. I like to use embroidery because it allows me to add texture. Figures such as the lamb are almost three- dimensional. Tiny details like facial characteristics, become much more defined and realistic when they are embroidered. Embroidery allows me to work with thread almost as if it were paint.

As you can see in the first photo, (from the post of Jan.25,)  Peace sort of blends into the background, as does the little bird in the tree above her. When I encounter that problem, a little “landscaping” usually solves it.

By the time of the second photo, two days later, I had embroidered lots of flowers and grasses surrounding Peace and she becomes more visible. At this point, the scene looked kind of pale and blah. It definitely needed color to perk it up and bring it out, so I added some bright, orange-red, flowers, and a bright- green line at the edge of the pasture defining the pasture as well as adding color. The Magnolia tree with the bird in it, seemed to be lost in the background as well, so I filled the entire area behind it with blue sky.

Once the scene was completed, I returned to the smocking across the bottom and top of the scene, to see how it might better be  “framed.” I added four additional rows of smocking to the bottom, using the pale yellow of the main smocked pattern, a row of white, and then finishing with a row of the same bright yellow that I used in Peace’s flower garland. The last row of smocking in bright- yellow,  finished the scene off nicely with an additional touch of color.

Later, once I put sleeves on the dress, I was able to use that same bright yellow to trim the sleeves and button placket and tie it all together!

Progress Report~ Spring just around the corner

09A Lamb Named Peace/ a work in progressWe’re getting there, Peace and I! I thought you might enjoy seeing an update of the dress I’m currenly working on. I was able to spend the majority of the day yesterday, working on my dress, and by last night, felt as if I’d made progress. I’m hoping by tonight to be able to say I’m ready to start sewing the dress together, but we shall see!

I just returned from taking Pascal on our morning walk. After a brief spell,(four days,) of minor amounts of rain, Spring has returned and everything is resplendant with sunlight! We had perfect walking weather- in the 50′s. It felt cold to start off with, but with a quick pace we warmed up quickly and the air felt wonderful! It was a nice way to begin the day. Walking by pretty gardens and fields filled with rich-green long grasses,  felt as if I were walking through the scene that I’m embroidering on the dress pictured above.

I carry this scene home, my mind filled with thoughts about the scene growing right before my eyes, and I feel eager to get to work!

Before I go I thought I’d leave you with a few “spring-like” images to hold in your mind today, especially if you are one of those people who have been looking at snow for so long, that it’s almost hard to imagine that the time is close when you too, will be walking in the warmth of the sun,  through flower-filled garden scenes.

Spring OrangeBits

The Sunny Side of the Street

Forty-two degrees out and windy!**Please can I have a drink Pascal and I choose the sunny side of the street to begin our walk this morning. At first it felt freezing, (I was glad I had put Pascal’s coat on.) But as soon  as we got a good pace going it felt wonderfully exhilarating!!

As I have mentioned before, I like to clear my mind when I walk and let the new ideas flood in. As this issue of the CPSIA law that I have spent so much time worrying about, was departing, and since we were “on the sunny side of the street,” I thought I’d leave the link to one last encouraging piece of information that I picked up in the etsy forums last night. It’s just a short paragraph, but it suddenly put things into perspective for me and I now know which direction I want to take- Take a look! It is very good information to have for those of you who, like me, are struggling with decisions!

I mentioned in an earlier post, that I now have an etsy shop as well as my website, where I sell my dresses. I have found, within the etsy site, some of the most wonderful shops of handmade items from all over the world. I plan to soon periodically feature some of these outstanding shops and their products. This will be happening shortly, so check-in and see. I think you’ll enjoy what you see!

Finally, I mentioned that I’m working on a new dress and I talked about it a bit in my post called, “1/20/09 -A Lamb Named Peace.” I mentioned that it is a size 3 and will have a lamb on it. “Peace” is happy to now be standing in her field of smocking, watching hillsides, grasses and flowers, blossom up around her. I’ve given her a little bird in a tree for company while she waits for me to complete her scene. I thought you might like a glimpse of “Peace” and to see what a work in progress looks like. Once I am finished, you will have an idea of how it looked in transformation. Have a great Sunday!

A Lamb Named Peace; New work in progress

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Another One!

Pascal and I returned to Heather Farms for our morning walk,  as “Spring” continues-  It amazes me to see that the hills are turning green. We’ve had so little rain! The grasses on the hillsides are getting long and, swaying in the slight breeze, they looked like feathery strands of green velvet; so pretty!

I spent yesterday morning and early afternoon embroidering the picture on my new dress; decided that I didn’t like it and spent the rest of the afternoon tearing it out! Once I had it all taken out it was a nice relief  to put the dress out of my mind and go outside and work in the garden.

I thought about the dress again as I walked this morning and decided to go to my second idea, which I will begin as soon as I’ve posted this. I can reveal this much about it to you; (this is what I know for sure, so far-) It is a size 3, (regular, not long,) and it is yellow and white, very Spring!!

I thought it would be nice to spread some of our beautiful spring-like weather around to everyone who is snowbound and tired of winter right now-AnnouncingSpring Cheer up! Look at this photo and know that spring is just around the corner~ Have a wonderful day!

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!