Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fun News!!

Hey Everyone! I'm feeling exceptionally great today. You should see me. I have dirt smeared all over my face, actually, I'm dirty head to toe and I smell like a dog;) I guess I could take a picture...but I won't! and thankfully there is at least for now, no possible way to smell over the internet. Hopefully there never will be a way to smell anyone over the internet!!!! Could be a really bad thing:)) The weather has been so incredible the last few days, so I just couldn't resist getting out in my garden and starting my spring cleaning. Now if only the inside spring cleaning bug would bite!! Outside is always more fun.
As much as I like to talk about my garden, I do have something exciting to share with you, at least I think it is exciting. Rather than spoil the news here, I am going to send you over to the Sew News blog and let you read all about it there. Here is the link, http://www.sewnews.com/blogs/sewing/2013/04/30/guest-blogger-rhonda-buss-check-in-every-tuesday-through-may-for-a-tutorial/  
I'm really excited about doing this as I think it will be so much fun!
Hope you all are having a great day too!

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday Morning Inspiration

To my delight, I opened my Facebook page a few weeks ago and found a link that had been posted on my page. If you love fashion, especially vintage fashion, you are going to truly enjoy this link, http://runway.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/fashion-history-just-a-click-away/. I must warn you though, that you can spend hours on this site!!!
Here is a little about the history of the site, "In the 1930s, André Fashion Studios operated as a subscription-based sketch firm in the garment district. It sold fashion drawings to manufacturers in the United States and Canada to aid production, and over time, the library and F.I.T. ended up with separate parts of the studio’s work. The materials have been in the library’s collection since the mid-90s and were put into circulation in the early 2000s."
I've posted a few pictures that I enjoyed. Click here, and you will find the home page for this on line exhibit. From there you will find links to an incredible library of design. 

Thanks Jill for such an incredible find!
Have a wonderfully inspiring week.

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Night Reflections

Since my dad died, my family has been going through his boxes, organizing the life he left behind. With each opened box, I learn more about him.
More about his passions, like poetry, music, and flamenco dancing.
More about his compulsions, like keeping documents, no matter how unimportant, for over thirty years.
More about his caring, like letters sent from clients, thanking him for being there through difficult times.
More about how he loved us. Because in those boxes were cards we'd given him throughout his life and remembrances of his children's achievements.
And it was then, standing silent over those boxes, as tears and dust mixed upon my face, that I wondered what my children would find in my boxes when I'm gone.
Would they puzzle over the clothes that I used to wear on stage when I played in a rock band?
Would they argue over who would keep the blue plexiglass peace sign I bought at a garage sale?
Would they be amazed at how many pictures I had of their mom?
Would they remark at how odd it was that I loved writing, music and truth like my dad?
And most of all, as they looked at the stories I'd written, would tears and dust mix upon their faces as they realized how much I loved them?
What will be in your boxes?
                                                                                                                     Jim Warda

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Sunday's Soup

Today's soup marks number 21! A friend of mine is cheering me on to create 52 soups, one for every week of the year. Summer vegetables will start coming in soon, like tomatoes and corn. I've had a roasted corn soup idea floating around in my brain, but I want to wait until I can get nice, fresh sweet corn as I want to roast it in the husks and besides, fresh corn is so very good. 
Today's soup is a spicy soup and full of flavor. It's quite hearty, but still low in calories. It's,
Spicy Crab Meat Stew  
 The ingredients;
1 medium size yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
8 oz. of Baby Bella mushrooms, chopped
1 red pepper, fire roasted
2 good sized potatoes, chopped into cubes
2 zucchini chopped
1 bunch of green onions chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh minced ginger
2 tablespoons of Thai red curry paste(or to taste)
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 28 oz. cans of fire roasted tomatoes
 1 1lb. can of crab meat
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lemon sliced
salt and black pepper to taste
6 cups of water

Begin by roasting the red pepper. I talked about roasting red peppers here. It's best to do this first as the pepper needs to sweat for about 15 minutes.
While the pepper is sweating, add olive oil to large pot and heat. Add yellow onion and saute on medium heat until tender. About 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms. Continue to saute for another 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. If you are using whole canned tomatoes, break them up. Add sugar and the water along with the potatoes, zucchini, red curry paste, and minced ginger. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer until potatoes are tender, approximately 20 minutes.
While the stew is simmering, removed charred skin from pepper. Remove the core as well as the seeds, chop and add to stew.
Add crab meat and green onions, reserving some for garnish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat until crab meat is hot.
To serve, ladle stew into bowls, garnish with reserved crab meat and green onions. Serve with lemon slices on the side.
My husband is out of town, so I am here to enjoy this all by myself. Such a pity;) Actually, he'll be home soon and there will be plenty for him to enjoy as well!!
We finally had an incredible day yesterday and people were out in droves. Great weather makes the soul feel so good!
Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fabulous Free Pattern Friday

I know, I know, it's Saturday. I'm late!
A friend of mine gave me this beautiful piece of embroidery. Actually, lucky for me, there were two. Her husband's aunt had died and they had gone down to help in cleaning and while she was there, she came across a few pieces that she thought I might enjoy. I was elated!! What you see was intended for pillows.
When she gave them to me, I immediately saw a camisole, not pillows.
To prove that they were to be pillows, I took a picture of what was printed on the selvage edges. See, Bucilla Pillow.
 Along with, "Made In USA." Not anymore, sadly. I don't even know if this company exists any longer.
My final camisole.
Now, in all fairness, you are probably wondering where I think you are supposed to find a vintage pillow top just like this one. Well, that is probably impossible, but you can easily replicate this idea. If you look at the top above, you can see that there are basically 4 rows of gathering stitches. Cut a rectangle that is the length that you would like and 2 times your bust measurement. So, if your bust measurement is 40" and the length that you would like the finished piece to be is 20", you would cut a rectangle that is 40" x 20". Cut the rectangle in half, 20" x 20". The first set of gathering stitches would be about 1 1/2" from the top edge of your fabric. On this piece there are 4 rows of gathering stitches approximately 1/4" apart. Once those stitches are in, measure down so that the next set of stitches will be right underneath the bust. You can see this better in the picture below. Once these stitches are in, do the next 2 rows of stitches and then do the same for the back.
Along the sides I added a panel. If your hip measurement is larger than your bust measurement, and most of ours are, the side panel will need to compensate for the larger hip measurement. So measure across the bottom edges of your pieces and then cut the side panels so that you will have enough for the camisole to fit around the hips and add a little extra for ease. I was lucky as the pillow panels had extra fabric attached for the back of the pillow. I simply cut the panels away and then cut them to the measurement that I needed. In the above picture you can see that there are loops along the sides. I placed the loops along the edge of the gathering stitches and then in the middle between the stitches. For the lacing, I purchased ribbon because I did not have enough fabric to make ties, but I like the ribbon better anyway.
The final step is to add the shoulder straps. You can make these as wide or skinny as you like. I wanted mine wide enough so that my bra strap would not show. They are about 1 1/2" wide.
This would look very pretty in a floral cotton for the summer.
You would be surprised by how many lovely pieces like this that I have found in antique and thrift stores. Sadly, I think what happens is, a family member dies, their relatives come in to clean out their belongings and have no idea of what to do with pieces like these and they either have a yard sale or just donate them to the local thrift store. So the moral to my story is, shop thrift stores, you never know what you will find. I guess the other moral is to try and finish your projects. I know that I need to listen to my own words!!!!!
One last little thought. When I do finish something like this, whether I have finished it as it was initially intended or in my own interpretation, I always feel that someone is smiling down on me. In a very small way I've helped to put closure on things that were left unfinished. A nice thought anyway!

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

My Little Dog and Pony Show!

The day completely got away from me yesterday and so no Wednesday Showcase post. I do have two lovely ladies to introduce you to, so be sure and come back next Wednesday.
Do you ever feel that you're going through a strange period of time in your life? That's exactly how I feel at the moment. On Tuesday night, my husband took our two dogs out for their evening walk. All was fine until a rabbit jumped right out in front of them. For my big dog, this is just far too much of a temptation. My husband did not have hold of her leash as well as he should and with a strong jerk, she was off and running. Somehow, the leash of my little dog got tangled in the larger dog's leash and she was dragged on the pursuit of the rabbit.  My husband said that she was able to keep up for a bit, but then lost her step and was pulled on her side and back for quite a distance. Thankfully, she is fine, just a little sore. Between having surgery, sick dogs, flood water, and now this, I'm ready for things to be just quiet and normal. Hopefully the "normal gods" will hear my plea:)  
On Tuesday I shared with you that I sewed like a little demon over the weekend as I needed to prepare for a talk I gave this past Monday. 
You may remember the Faux Tiered Ruffled Skirt  that I did for this FFPF post.
Below is the skirt that I made over the weekend.
For the tiers of ruffles, I used this ruffle fabric pictured below. The exact same principle was used to sew the ruffles. What I did was cut the ruffles apart and left a 1/4" lip of the solid black fabric so that I had a little seam allowance to sew the ruffle in place. I rather like how it turned out. 
The next piece is the Draped Ballerina Top. You can see the original post here. The store where I spoke, Linda Z's in Arlington Heights(this is a suburb of Chicago), had this wonderful drapey fabric in lots of lovely colors. Everyone loved my top so much that they bought all of the fabric that the store had and signed up in droves for my class!! 
The third piece is the Perfect Travel Dress. You can see the original post for the dress here. For some reason I just love this fabric. Again, they all loved the design. I had to laugh a bit as the prevailing question was, "how do you think up all of these designs?"
I have something that I have been meaning to share with you about my design process and it was a story I shared on Monday. Some months ago I was sitting in a coffee shop waiting for my husband. While I was there, a few ideas came to me. Since I did not have any fabric or even a pen to jot down my ideas, I took napkins and tore them into what I was thinking. I brought  the torn napkins home with me and laid them on the kitchen counter. My husband proceeded to throw them away. I proceeded to have a heart attack!! Not really, but he has promised to ask before throwing anything away in the future:)
I have a fun little piece I'm finishig up for tomorrow's FFPF post. I think you'll like it too!!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Weekend Sewing Frenzy

The water that we had in our basement threw me for a loop. I had planned to get a project finished that I needed for a talk that I gave yesterday. Well, best laid plans....didn't happen. Instead, as I told you, I spent the rest of the day cleaning and trying to get things back into some order. So, I missed my Sleeves on Saturday post, no soup was made on Sunday, but I did finish everything that I needed to finish! Today I'm sharing one of those pieces. I began with this Indigo Junction pattern,
and I made this coat. Look in the left hand corner of the photo and you can see the dress I wore on Saturday night!! I need to put that away :-)
The fabric is a beautiful piece of summer weight wool from Pendelton. I absolutely love this fabric.
It drapes beautifully, sews beautifully, basically did exactly everything that I wanted it to do.
The sleeves were redrafted. I did the sleeve that I did on the jacket below.
This sleeve was done as a Sleeves On Saturday post and you can find the instructions here, http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2012/03/sleeves-on-saturday.html
The pattern called for large snaps to be sewn in rather than buttonholes. I sat contemplating snaps versus buttonholes. I had the snaps, but I thought, "oh my, how tacky." Back and forth I went and then I finally realized that I would never be happy with snaps sewn in, so I got out my silk organza and made the bound buttonholes. In the time I spent contemplating the buttonholes versus the snaps, I could have had the buttonholes made!! In the end, I made the right decision.
This is the back side of my buttonholes. I must admit that I was rather proud of how the back turned out. If you would like to see how I did these buttonholes, here is a tutorial I did a while back, http://rhondabuss.blogspot.com/2012/10/bound-button-holes.html
The pattern calls for this jacket to be unlined, but as you can see, I lined mine. I just love the way it looks.
I'm not a fan of dropped shouldered sleeves, but the jacket looked lovely on. I wore it with a short straight skirt. There is enough of the plaid leftover to make a matching pencil skirt which I will make as I think it will make such a smart looking outfit. Sadly, I did not take a picture of me in the jacket. Once the skirt is made though, I will get a picture.
I have three other pieces that I made over the weekend. I'll share those with you on Thursday.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Morning Inspiration

Welcome to a new week!  
Last week, we took a look at some of the suits from the book, The Golden Age of Couture. This week, we'll see a few of the incredible gowns. If you have a chance, I would recommend taking a trip to your local library to see if they have this book. It is very well written, extremely informative and the pictures are such a delight to ooo and ahh over! You can also find the book here on Amazon for $28.    
 Below, Audrey Hepburn in a dress designed by Givenchy for the 1954 movie, Sabrina.
 This is a designer that I had not heard of until I saw this exhibit, Jean Desses. He was a French designer who opened his atelier in Paris in 1937. His dresses are so beautiful.
 Above, silk chiffon, 1953
I was so happy that I was able to show the picture below as you can see the incredible amount of work that went into these dresses.
 Red silk chiffon, ca. 1953.
Cocktail dresses. On the left, brown silk lace handkerchief dress, 1954-5. On the right, silk pleated dress, 1951.
Cocktail dress from Norman Harnell. Silk with diamante straps, early 1950's. From the collection of Princess Margaret. This was an incredible dress to see in person. The skirt is a series of pleats that form a scallop at the hem.
 Sadly, the above picture does not do justice to this dress as I felt that this was the most beautiful dress in the collection. The "bow" treatment is so lovely. There are panels of velvet on either side and are a part of the skirt. The bow has been inserted into slits. Christian Dior. The dress was given a name, "Black Swan." Autumn/Winter 1949-50.  
 I love the pleated detail on the bodice. Cocktail dress by Christian Dior, 1956.
Isn't this dress absolutely spectacular?!! Pierre Balmain. Silk organza with embroidery by Lesage, early 1950's.
 Cocktail dress by Robert Piguet, modeled by Dorian Leigh in Helena Rubenstein's apartment, Paris, 1949.
 Evening gown by Victor Stibel. illustration from Harper's Bazarre, 1952.
Balenciaga. Femina magazine, 1949.
Silk evening gown by John Cavanagh, modeled by Barbara Goalen, Autumn, 1954.

Next week we'll move on to another another book of beautiful dresses.
Wishing you all a lovely week.

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