Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why I'm not friend the electric chair

Yes I have a friend, the electric chair. Nooooooo, not THAT one;

this one! Except this one has about 300 times more padding than the one I have.

The chair part of mine looks more like this with a 1/4" pad on it. Uncomfortable for sure!

It is all part of the ongoing rehab of my shoulder. Here I sit for 4-6 hours each day, along with three times a week for physical therapy as well as the home program exercises I have to do. It is taking up way too much of my time. I have things to do.

I have stitched a tiny bit, don't tell the physical therapist, she will have a fit. It is not the best smocking I have ever done but you can tell what it is so I will call it successful. Baby boy's birthday is fast approaching. I am hoping to get this done and in the mail this week. Wish me luck since his sister's birthday box never made it there.

I hope you are taking the time to stitch faithful reader.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SAGA Convention 2012-Part II

First posted by Terry C on Facebook

The above shot is from the Annual Banquet that is held on Saturday night. Isn't this a beautiful view? I didn't take this picture but I love it. The Annual Banquet showcases the installation of the new Board of Officers for the coming year as well as announcing Viewer's Choice awards and recognizing Artisan achievers. All of that may be the purpose but it is safe to say that the highlight of the evening is the raffle baskets! You should see 300 women become fools over baskets of sewing notions, accessories, dolls with smocked wardrobes, gift certificates, tuition to workshops and this year a gourmet dinner of fresh lobster just to name a few.

This beautiful basket of silk sewing accessories was wished for by many.

Even more fun than the sewing bag was the fun phone case! I think I need one of those.

In a former life, I breezed right by those doll baskets. Not. Interested. At. All. All it took was one small baby girl in our life to change that! And don't think my friends didn't point it out. Princess would have loved this Bitty Baby complete with heirloom wardrobe and cradle. ::sigh:: Alas, she did not come home with me.

Another little cutie was this teeny tiny baby doll in a sweet smocked bishop. How cute is she tucked in with a collection of scissors and other treasures? This is just a small sampling of the baskets available. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of my own chapter's basket! Bad member. It was a collection of sewing room accessories. I featured my contribution to that basket here. Another sad note is that this year not one basket came back in my car. Oh well, there is always next year.

Back to the real reason for convention, classes! My Friday/Saturday class was this beautiful baby dress with Madeira collar and gorgeous embroidery across the pleated front by Susie Gay. I love this project. I am a person who chooses classes based on the project. I have a much better chance of finishing the project if it is something that strikes my fancy. This little dress reminds me of the children's clothes made by Imperial of Portugal. They were always my favorite baby clothes when my children were small. I can't wait to finish this one.

Another highlight for many who attend convention is the retail market on Friday afternoon. Sorry I was so busy writing checks that I forgot to take pictures. If you live in an area that does not have a shop that carries smocking and heirloom supplies this is a delight to the senses. Many vendors from around the country with kits, fabrics, laces, patterns, books, threads and scissors. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Great fun. I did my part to support the economy.

Friday evening after market, several of us went out to dinner. Two doors down from the hotel was a place aptly called Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint. Great company, great music and great food. We had a ball! And we had moonshine. Now how many times can you claim that in polite company? If truth be told, I think the only moonshine in our drinks were in the soaked blueberries. A wonderful cap to our day.

If you are still able to stand vertical and gather your supplies, convention ends on Sunday with morning classes before everyone heads home. My class was this little smocked treat by Barb Meger. I love quick project classes on Sunday. You are so tired by then, your poor brain about can't take in much more. This is just the ticket. Mine is almost finished. It only lacks one beaded row of smocking and then it is ready to construct. It shouldn't take more than an hour to finish up. Hopefully I will have pictures soon to share.

This brings this year's convention report to a close. I hope if you have never attended a SAGA convention, you will consider it next year when it will be held in Frisco, TX. Don't be intimidated, there are classes of every skill level and the people are so friendly. You are sure to meet new friends and learn so much while having the best time.

Until later, faithful reader.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SAGA Convention 2012

The 2012 SAGA Convention has come to a close.  It was a wonderful time again this year. For me it is a toss up as to what is the best part of convention, the classes or the people. I get so much from both. I will share the convention info over the next few days. I would have liked to post while I was at convention but that was one of the few drawbacks, very little internet or phone access in the hotel.

After much deliberation I decided to take off for convention a day early. It was a wise decision. I have had the same roommates for several years, so we visited, chatted and generally caught up before the craziness of the week started. After an evening of visiting and cocktails we went to bed and slept until we woke up. That alone was worth the trip. After a leisurely day it was time for registration and the welcome reception. Let the fun begin! I must warn you, I was an awful roving reporter this year. I wore the camera more than I used it.

I didn't get one picture of the precious fashion show that Peanut Butter and Jelly Kids presented. Their vast collection of heirloom dresses were modeled by some adorable little girls. I was so enamored by the precious models, that I never thought to snap a photo. Sorry.

Thursday morning brought the first day of classes for me (I did not take either of the pre-day classes offered). I took a class from Debbie Ambrose called M'Lady's Embroidery Keep. It is a project case utilizing whitework techniques. Very enjoyable. I will admit it might be several weeks before it is finished. It has about 7,000 granitos. Okay, that could be a teeny exaggeration but not much of one.

After class it was time to head to the Design Show and Show and Share. Another favorite of mine. I love seeing what others have created. Such inspiration. I am always floored by the ideas that others have entered in the Design Show. The concept of "original design" is still very new for me. I am getting better but I have a long way to go. The variety was staggering, there were adult garments that were gorgeous, contemporary and wearable. (No overworked adult peasant dresses with 12 yards of fabric that no one needs to wear.) Also featured were accessories, church vestments as well as the expected children's garments. Each one more beautiful than the last. The breadth of techniques and materials used is always inspiring.

Show and Share was just as enjoyable. I entered the flower girl dress into Show and Share. I could have entered it into Design Show, IF I had known I would end up using an original design in time to enter, but alas I did not. I was told by a certain person with a distinct accent to get my **** together! Wise words. There is always next year. But.....

The "Amy Flowa Dwess" as Princess calls it, did win Viewer's Choice in Show and Share. That was a thrill. I love the dress but I am not sure I thought it would be a stand out nor did I enter it with an expectation of winning anything. Often the elaborate christening gowns are the ones that win Viewer's Choice. My intent was just to share it so I was very honored even if I have wondered if my friend's stuffed the ballot box. :)

Another component to Thursday evening's event was a tribute display to Australian Smocking and Embroidery. What a delight to see so many garments displayed that have been featured in the magazine. The display took up half the room. SAGA member's have been busy stitching the inspiration featured in AS&E's 25 year history. No, I did not take the cherry dress, it is busy being worn in another country these days by Princess.

My friend Rachel was the brain child behind the display. Good Job Rach! Here she is with AS&E editor, Susan O'Connor at the banquet Saturday night. I will get severely scolded for posting this picture but I'm not skeered of them. Besides, it is better to ask forgiveness than permission. I know the permission would NOT have been granted. Two beautiful and talented ladies I feel honored to also call friends.

That is all for today faithful reader, I have a baby boy's birthday to smock for. Keep stitching.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Something for the Sewing Room

I am off to SAGA convention. The car is packed, the garment samples pressed and ready for Show and Share, class supplies gathered and sewing machine loaded. I have talked about previous conventions here, here, and here. These aren't the only posts devoted to convention but a glimpse into the fun. I know I have shared in the past about the raffle baskets awarded at the Annual Banquet each year. Our local chapter sends a basket each year. This year's contribution is a variety of coordinated accessories for your sewing room.

This is my contribution. A mat for your sewing machine. It has pockets along the front to keep needed tools close at hand. I didn't have a pattern, I just measured around my machine and went for it using photos around the web as inspiration.

I made one last winter as a gift for a friend. On that one I did some machine embroidery on the pockets and I see I rounded the corners on that one.

The embroidery designs I found at SWAK. They were a lot of fun.

The dimensions for my mat are 21" wide, by 17" long. The pocket is 3.5-4" inches high. I used two fabric layers and machine quilted them. You could also use pre-quilted fabric for a short cut.

Parting shot: A little dose of cuteness. Princess has discovered tea parties.

And we can't forget Wildman.

Until next time faithful reader. I'll be back with lots of pictures to share the fun from this year's convention.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

For the Prince and Princess

The last of the wedding sewing. This is a close up of the bodice smocked for the Flower Girl. As mentioned before, I used fabric from the bride's gown. I was able to order it when I ordered the gown. The only glitch to that was, they didn't ship the fabric until they shipped the gown. Yikes! I can't guarantee I would have finished the dress any sooner, but I had good intentions. Oh well. All was finished before the bride walked down the aisle. I used an original design which is really a misnomer. I didn't use anything, I just sat down and started smocking! There was no plan, no sketch, no anything. I have a difficult time graphing a smocking design, so it does me no good to try and sketch it first. Plus I was under a time crunch, as usual.

Not sure you can see it in the picture, but the smocking is two step trellis diamonds that graduate in size as they progress down the bodice. At the bottom of the design is a border that was stitched to mimic lace. After several test runs, silk ribbon roses were decided upon.

For the pattern, I used "Powder Puff" from Australian Smocking and Embroidery, Issue #73. I made the size 24 months. Princess wears a size 3 in ready to wear, but the Australian pattern blocks run larger than our American sizing. A size 24 months was generous. I love the sweet little sleeve.

I also liked this pattern because it had more of an infant look to it with the high back yoke. She might be tall but she is just over two, so she is still a baby. I wanted her dress to reflect that. For the sash I used directions also from AS&E, "Princess Isabella" out of Issue 86. Since I couldn't find organdy that matched the fabric, I used ivory organza with white organdy sandwiched between the organza. Perfect color match. I did make a boo boo again in the fact that I ended up with two layers of organdy between the organza. That did make the sash bow a little unruly to deal with but it worked in the end. Wouldn't you know that in this picture the sash is perfectly even, not so much when the wiggly squirmy two year old went down the aisle. Oh well, she was precious no matter what her sash was doing.

The ring bearer's romper was also made from the same silk dupioni as the bride's gown, using Children's Corner "Wright". Next time though, I won't try a button-on romper on a ten month old that hates having clothes put on him! It was like trying to wrangle a greased pig. The bridal party is waiting for pictures and my daughter and I are working up a sweat, trying to get his clothes on him. Anyway.

The smocking design coordinates with the Flower Girl with the graduated trellis. Of course no silk ribbon roses for our little man, instead I threaded silk ribbon along the top as the design. I tried doing it at the bottom but the ribbon wouldn't behave the way I wanted it to; so scrap that idea.

The silk dupioni had a very soft hand so both garments are underlined with silk organza. The organza performed a two-fold job, not only did it give the fabric more body without stiffness, it also guarded against wrinkles. For "Hank dawilman" that was very important. I noticed somehow that the outer seam of the romper pants has come apart. Not the lining at all, just the outside for about a half an inch. I am not a bit surprised. The boy is on the move at all times. He was awfully cute though as his Uncle Ben carried him down the aisle.

The only other "wedding sewing" I did was to make a new ironing board cover. You don't start sewing on champagne colored silk at $50/yard with the nasty ironing board cover I had. I had visions of all of the unk that wouldn't come out transferring to the silk. And don't think I hadn't washed it, I had. Time and time again. "My name is Martha and I am a starch addict." Over time it will wreak havoc on an ironing board cover. Plus, I pin, hand sew, fray check, etc. etc. etc. over my ironing board. It was time for a new one! Now it is fresh and clean. Makes the whole room look cleaner.

I have bored you long enough faithful reader. I promise this will be the last post about the wedding. Well until professional pictures come in. Thanks to everyone who shared their pictures with me.

Onto convention!!! Can you say grown up girls slumber party? Until next time.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bridesmaids Gifts

 Not only was there sewing to do for the wedding itself, there was sewing for bridesmaids gifts as well. Back in the spring a fellow SAGA chapter member presented a program on making these cute luggage tags. I thought they would be fun to do as bridesmaids gifts. I chose a variety of fabrics featuring the color green, gathered my supplies and got to work. I also made a set for the bride to have as well.

 For the "hangers" I used the hangers from some self laminating tag kits from Office Depot. I can't find a tutorial online that exactly matches these tags but I did find a pattern on Etsy for purchase that matches. I just used larger grommets.

The bride purchased "pashminas" for the girls and asked that I monogram them. I use the term pashmina loosely because in no way are these exotic cashmere wraps like the more luxurious pashminas to be found that hails from Nepal or Northern India. Think acrylic fibre from Taiwan. That being said, they are very soft and were just the right color. These came from a place called ABC Trading. A costume jewelry lover's paradise here in town.

I used a two letter monogram from The Itch 2 Stitch using a deep green for the thread. "Magnolia green" said in my best Julia Roberts voice. They were a big hit.

I am trying to bring some order to this house before I leave for convention on Tuesday. I leave you with this for a chuckle.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Monogram It!

If there is one thing our bride loves, it is a monogram. She was fortunate enough that one of her bridesmaids has a graphic designer for a mother in law. She designed a custom monogram for the couple. We used it in so many places; the menu cards, the napkins for the place settings, and even the center of the dance floor. I had it digitized in order to use it for some other reception accessories.

Pinterest can be a wonderful thing or the bane of your existence. Depends on the day and the perspective. The bride and I had found a monogrammed table runner on Pinterest for the cake table that she loved. It seemed like something we could run with. The reception was a mix of ivory, cream, whites, and silver. I chose ecru dupioni and a darker ecru thread color for the monogram. I also wanted it to be something she could use on her own dining table after the wedding. It is two layers of dupioni with a medium weight interfacing sandwiched between. I monogrammed both ends.

Since I was on a roll with the monogram and had enough dupioni left, I decided to to cover a hat box with the dupioni to use as a card box. After the wedding it can be used as a keepsake box for the cards, invitations and other mementos of their wedding day.

I used a paper mache box from Hobby Lobby that was a whopping $5.99. I did flub up a teeny bit and the monogram is a bit lower than I intended but I ran with it. It was easier to trace the bottom of the box onto the silk, add a seam allowance and stitch a cover instead of trying to snip, tuck and glue it on. On the inside it is adhered with double sided tape. I repeated the procedure for the lid. I was going to cut a slit in the top for the cards but decided against it. I felt like the longevity of the box's use would be better served in leaving the lid whole.

I hope all is well with you faithful reader. Life here is good, I still haven't brought order back to this house. I told a friend today that it looked as if King Kong had picked the house up, shook it real hard and set it back down. The place is a disaster.

Until next time, we will be rooting for these guys tomorrow. Let's hope they can repeat the magical performance of the 2011 playoffs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Old Lace and...

No arsenic but I did use old lace for a garter for the bride. A friend very graciously sent me the directions from an old Creative Needle. I knew I had seen a garter published somewhere but I didn't have time to go hunting for the directions. I would have become too distracted as I thumbed through dozens of past issues. I needed to focus!

The directions called for joining three different laces and beading. How lucky am I? I found a lace in my stash that was made to look like two laces joined to either side of a beading. Badda bing, badda boom! Done. At first I proclaimed that I was NOT going to use silk satin ribbon. You see how that turned out. It just is so soft with such a wonderful lustre, how could you not use it? I made a rosette in the center that I attached with a vintage mother of pearl button.

I have enough lace left to use at the bottom of a future christening gown. The beading is threaded through with blue silk satin ribbon for "something blue".

Little did I know that the groom would gift the bride with a gorgeous necklace with a blue stone as a wedding gift.

I'll return soon with more wedding sewing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We've Been to the Chapel

The wedding month is over. Everything fell into place. I adore this picture. I didn't take it, one of the bridesmaids did. I just lifted it off Facebook. Such a sweet moment. It was a wonderful weekend, the bride was beautiful, the flower girl and ring bearer precious, the weather glorious and the celebration was joyous beyond words. Over the next few days I will highlight different projects made for the big day.

I will leave you with a picture of the cake. Encore Baking Company made the cake. The fondant magnolia blossoms were perfection. Simply perfect for a southern themed wedding.

This was the recessional song.

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