"To live in the world without becoming aware of the meaning of the world is like wandering about in a great library without touching the books.".....The Secret Teachings of All Ages

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yeah, I Got Bored

No, you haven't hit the wrong place. I've been wanting to change the colors of this blog site for a while now. Thought they were too dark, dull, boring. So, decided at last to liven things up a bit. Hence, new colors, brighter pallet, and a not so brooding blog face. Everything a bit more cheerful. That's why things look different...for now. Who knows, in a month or two, I may get bored again.

Shadows on Rainbows

If I time it just right, I can get photos of the rainbows scattered around our living room and dining room, made by early morning sunlight shining through the beveled glass in our front door. This time the colors were very intense, and the one under the dining room table was the best of the lot. So, of course, I had to whip out my camera and play around. Which resulted in this...my hand held between the light and the floor, where the prism effect was the brightest. Looks almost like a hologram, but it's just my hand, interrupting the flow of light.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tibetan Bolero — 2

Okay, here is what I got done yesterday.

After looking at the photos I posted, it occurred to me that the temple had a lot of rectangle elements-windows, wall sections, etc. When I saw that, the idea of adding rectangles to the shirt with strips of T-shirt material popped into my head. Then the idea of prayer flags popped in next. Then prayer flags held down with embroidery that vaguely resembles Tibetan script. Bingo! Decoration problem solved.

So far I have only done the back of the bolero. I will add a few more prayer flags to the sleeves, and front. I am also going to add rectangles sewn with just embroidery thread, as I want a bit more color, and I will add small gold beads when all the prayer flags are done.

BTW, the binding trim on the bolero will be the same color of green as some of the little flags.

Here are the little flags pinned in place.

Here they are sewn down with free-form fly stitch embroidery.

So, that's the latest update on the Tibetan Bolero.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tibetan Bolero — 1

The title sounds sort of crossed-ethnic, but I'm not talking about a Tibetan version of the sultry music. No, it is my second attempt at the Alabama Chanin bolero pattern from their book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin. The first bolero I did turned out fantastic, so I couldn't wait to try another. However, a lot of stuff got in the way, including that mounted archery shoot for which I made so many targets. Then I started the Riding Costume, which I am still working on. Also I needed to get a few more jewelry pieces up on my Etsy site. Bottom line, I am just now getting around to playing with T-shirts again. Also, since it is cold and raining outside, I figured if I made a summer garment I'd feel a bit more cheerful. Maybe.

I found this great dark-purple T-shirt at the Goodwill. I bought it because I loved the machine embroidered Tibetan temple on the front. I thought it would look super on the back of a bolero. So yesterday I dug the shirt out of my stash drawer and went to work.

Here is the front of the T-shirt, which will be the back of the bolero. I mark the center line and cutting lines with soap, which works really well on dark material.

The shirt looks more wrinkled in the photo than it actually was. Not sure why.

 Here are the front pieces and one sleeve drawn out.

This is how I mark the pattern on the fabric. Tuna and olive cans to hold things down, soap to mark the cutting lines. This section is what was left over from the front of the T-shirt after I cut out the temple design, which was enough to make the other bolero sleeve.

Here are all the pieces cut out and ready to sew. I haven't put any designs on the front or sleeves because, well, I just don't know yet what I want to do. Figured I could always add something later.

This is what is left of the original extra-large man's shirt. Two sleeves which I had cut off the shirt, the folded and sewn hem of the T-shirt, which I save to use as straps or binding over the top of things, and at the top of the photo, the pile of scraps that were too small to use.

And this is what I used one of the sleeve sections for. This stenciled piece will be sewn to a turquoise sweatshirt (also purchased at the Goodwill), stitched around the design, and then the design will be cut out for a reverse applique. The gold paint is Lumiere metallic gold. The stencil sheet I bought at Home Depot in the paint/home decorating section. More pictures of the sweatshirt project will come later.

So, that's the start of the Tibetan Bolero, and a teaser for the Turquoise Sweatshirt. The binding color on the bolero will probably be green, as I already have a T-shirt that color to cut up. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ice Princess Necklace

Newest item up on the Etsy site. This necklace is made up almost completely of recycled bits and pieces from vintage or near vintage costume jewelry. The pendant was an old brooch, I'm guessing from the late 1950s or 1960s. Not sure. The two light blue dangles were a pair of earrings. The dark blue dangles from an old necklace, and the powder blue beads on the links I made, were from a huge, multi-strand necklace my mom gave me...I think. It's been a while since I acquired it, so I'm not sure on that either. People give me stuff all the time, and it can be years before I finally getting around to using it. By that time I can't remember who gave it to me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Aqua Pearl Necklace

This is the latest necklace. The center medallion is vintage brooch. The clasp was broken, so I took it off. The necklace is made of aqua potato pearls, dark iridescent blue pearls,  AB clear crystals, small vintage gold-tone metal beads, brass heart spacers, and small blue glass beads.

As winter has set in, it is becoming increasingly obvious that I need to get a better method of lighting the pieces for photos. In summer, I can take them outside and photo them in natural light. A Facebook friend sent me a link to a site that shows how to make a light box. Pretty sure that's what I need. The photos I take, even with the best lighting I can come up with, still don't show the pieces to their best advantage. Especially the old brooch in this necklace, which has such a lovely patina.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another Book On Recycling T-shirts

While cruising through the book selection at the local JoAnn's Fabric store, I came across this little gem. I flipped through it and was instantly struck by what a good companion it would be to the Alabama Chanin book I already have. The clothes are made from recycled T-shirts, sweatshirts, and man's cotton dress shirts, all of which can be purchased at the Goodwill for next to nothing.

The cutting directions are a bit more complex than in the AC book, but could be simplified. Also, many of the items of clothing would be a bit skimpy for anyone over the age of, say twenty-five. But with those you could wear tank tops under the more skin-baring designs, or make the skirts longer, to make them more adult-friendly. I particularly liked a long coat made of sweatshirts, and a T-shirt with sleeves made from the cutoff sleeves of a cotton shirt.

Also, there is no ornamentation on these garments, but most would lend themselves, and be improved by, the AB treatment.

So, here it is...........Cut Up Couture

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Autumn Light

I took this photo about four days ago. It is soft morning light shining through the beveled glass window in our front door. Robert and I were sitting on the couch drinking tea, and I happened to look over and see how beautiful it looked illuminating the display on my antique washstand. So I jumped up, grabbed my camera, and took the picture. Within minutes the sun was smothered in clouds again, and that ethereal, magic moment was gone.