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!

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

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

#419forpost copy

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