Saturday, August 27, 2011

Toot, Toot!

Yes, that is me, tooting a horn! I'm kind of excited here. For some reason, I am often mistaken for a person who can't keep a secret. Not so, Moe! I've been sitting on one for months! Months, I tell you!

I have had the honour (note my Aussie spelling there, LOL) of being asked to submit something to one of my favorite publications. Australian Smocking and Embroidery published by Country Bumpkin. Then to make the cover! Well, wowza! That was fun.

As the story goes, I was checking my email one last time before boarding the plane for Italy last fall. I was a bit surprised when I discovered a note from Susan O'Connor, editor of AS&E.  Upon opening the email, to say I was "surprised" is an understatement when I realized she was asking that I consider submitting something for the magazine. I fired back about a dozen questions before the plane even took off! I do remember one statement she made, "Don't let that word original scare you." She knew me well, it was the exact thing that made my spine go zing! It sure made that flight a tad shorter as my brain went into overload.

As I traveled through Italy, every painting, stucco and tile took on a new purpose as this impending project swirled through my head. Not that the submission looks like any of the above, but it did push me into looking at things in a new way. I would say perfect timing. I am not sure I would have had this new perspective as clearly at home in my own environment. Thank you Susan, for helping me stretch in new directions.

Here is a sneak peak at "Cherry Pie." I am not going to give you the whole enchilada! I want you to buy the magazine from either your favorite heirloom retailer or better yet, subscribe to the magazine. We want to keep our beloved publications in business to keep our creative juices flowing. Which in turn keeps us buying from our favorite retailers. We are all in this together. Watch your mailbox, magazines are beginning to arrive to subscribers down under. They should be arriving here in the States in the next few weeks.

I hope you like my inaugural submission. And if you don't, that is okay too. My hope is that it will help you think in new ways and with a new eye.

So to celebrate, here are a few more horns tooting. Seventy-six to be exact.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

To the Fair

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again, dancing a jig....

No, we didn't buy a pig, but we cheered them on while they raced!

The fair has come and gone.  We loaded up into the car went to the fair on Sunday, the last day, to both enjoy the fair and to pick up my chapter's fair entries.

The smocking division of the state fair had its most entries ever this year. Yay!! And even better, the Wee Care portion of the smocking division had the most it has ever had this year also. Double yay! It is great to see such great participation. As well as the inspiration. My daughter, the princess' mom, saw lots of things she would like to do or have Mimi do for baby girl.

I was very fortunate, the judges smiled kindly on my entries. I entered five items. Four of those were awarded blue ribbons. Two of the blue ribbons also received "Best of Show" for their divisions. The Best of Show entries were the baby's christening gown and my Old Fashioned Baby Circa 1920's French Handsewn Gown. The other two blue ribbons were the baby's coming home ensemble and her Christmas bishop.

My Wee Care gown? Nada, zip! Oh well. I received a lot of feedback though, which I appreciate. There weren't any critiques that weren't true, so I can't fuss too badly.

Baby girl had a good time I think except for the oppressive heat. Two weeks prior to this, when we drove over to deliver the entries, the weather was delightful. Last Sunday? Not so much. She does not do well in the heat. If we were outside, this is the most expressive she would get.

And don't even think she was getting close to those large animals!

Get her inside where it was cool and she perked right up! Here we are awaiting the draft horse competition.

This is not the best picture. You can't see how hard she is clutching my shirt, but you can see just how big a draft horse is compared to us regular folk! I'm 5'6" and I barely come to this horse's chin. She was overwhelmed to say the least, but they are magnificent animals.

Here they are after they were all dressed up and ready to strut their stuff.

So until next year....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Luxurious Vintage Smocking

Some things are just so glamorous, they never go out of style. I can see Jean Harlow decked out in this gorgeous vintage peignoir set from the 1930's. It is from silk chiffon and features honeycomb smocking on the yokes, shoulders, wrist and waist.

It is beautiful how the honeycomb smocking controls the fullness without being overpowering.

It is amazing the things that come up on ebay.

Just beautiful. Not sure how the color originally played, but this soft cloud pink is so dreamy. Just a peek into a vintage treasure. Click on the link below each picture to see even more of this wonderful vintage find.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Help..Have You Seen It?

I like movies as much as the next person. My husband and I go in spells to the movies. We might see lots of movies in a row, then for whatever reason, we don't go again for months and months. Most movies open on a weekend. For some reason "The Help" opened on a Wednesday. It didn't matter, I was determined to be there. It was worth every second!

I admit I was a bit nervous about seeing it. I wondered how this slice of time, place and lifestyle might be portrayed. There is no denying that many wrongs occurred and that even today the dark side of our humanity can take over in the ways that we treat each other as human beings. In ways that most would not be proud of. I also know that not everyone acted in hateful ways. No denying though, things needed to change. And this book/movie addresses changes that needed to happen. In humorous, uncomfortable, thought provoking, heart wrenching and yet heart warming ways.

I am from the Deep South and my mother had help when I was a very young child. Right smack in the midst of the time portrayed in the movie. When I think about it, that is kind of amazing really, because she was a single mother. My nanny's name was Ethel. I loved Ethel. She was my "Constantine," though she was much, much younger. She was the same age as my mother. I don't know why she stopped being my nanny, she stayed for a short time after my mother remarried. I was in the first grade when she left. I missed her very much. She was my soft place to go. I thought of her often while watching the movie last night.

I loved the movie. If you haven't been to the movies in a while, this one is definitely worth seeing. I am not sure which character is my favorite. I loved them all. Go see "The Help", you will laugh and cry.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Real Babies Wear Swiss

...while having a snack of cookies and juice. What I find comical is that Mimi has put a towel in the chair to protect the broken down chair but had not put a bib on the baby to protect her romper made from Swiss batiste and hand embroidered. She seems non-plussed by it all. I don't know if the cookies and juice came out of the romper,  I do know she was cool and comfy while having a snack in Mimi's sewing room.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A "Wee Care" Doll Dress

No, it is not a dress for a preemie doll. It is a doll dress to benefit a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) auction. So in a round about way, it is another form of Wee Care. The auction is part of "The Miracle Bash" benefiting Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund of Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children in Huntsville, AL. Visit their sites. It will warm your heart and give you a whole new appreciation for Wee Care.

I chose to smock a bishop using a cotton print of multicolored bubbles. The smocking design was what I call a "seat of your pants" design. I pulled colors, found the center front and started smocking. I didn't have time to get lost in the notebooks of plates or leafing through magazines to find a design. It needed to be in the mail! The neckline is piped in a green tri-check plaid.

The finishing touch is a precious pair of red Mary Jane shoes. Complete with lace trimmed anklets. I didn't take a picture of her undies I sent along in the package.

The heat wave has broken here in the Midwest and it is almost time for the fair. I hope all is well in your world faithful reader.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tiny Gown for a Tiny Boy

Every baby needs to be wrapped in love and prayers, especially when that baby is born too soon. I had the privilege of making a gown for a tiny boy, born long before he was due. We often stitch Wee Care gowns with no particular baby in mind. That in and of itself is a gift and as I said, a privilege. Like every Wee Care gown for me, every stitch is a prayer. That gift is even greater when you have a a certain baby in mind. As I finished this little gown, I offered many, many prayers for both he and his sweet mommy.

I used Swiss flannel, which is a yummy fabric. So soft.

The pattern I used was Book IV of Ginger Snaps Daygown series. I used the view that has four tucks on the front.

I wish I knew where I had purchased the "pointy" lace I used. Very manly for a tiny gentleman. Down the center are three of my favorites, sequin buttons. For the sleeve hems, I used a shell stitch again. It gives it a special touch without using lace.

Good news, I hear this tiny little man is doing really well. Growing just like he should. Prayers answered.

Don't ever pass up the opportunity to stitch a Wee Care gown, whether it is for someone you know or a baby and his family you may never meet. You will be blessed as will they.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Keep Needle Arts Alive

How many times have you heard, "I didn't think anyone did that anymore." It is because of that we need to keep stitching and sharing with others.I stumbled across this video on Anna Maria Horner's blog.

Lacemaking in Lefkara, Cyprus from Etsy on Vimeo.
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