Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big News

I finally finished the embroidered cuff that'd been sitting on my desk for months.

Flowers and Knots

And here's the exciting photo:

Finished embroidered cuff

Between the lousy resolution, awkward angle, and questionable choice of brown elastic for the button loop, there's absolutely nothing exciting about this picture.  Except for that blue ring because I'm going to marry Fix.

Everybody's got an opinion, and I want to hear yours.  Wedding stuff on The Relaxolotl?  If you don't tell me what you want to see, I'll probably accidentally do the one thing you wish I wouldn't, so fair warning.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mystery Monday 8: Photos from the Past

 The last Monday of every month, I take a look at a Victorian jacket and skirt and learn a little more about it.  See previous Mystery Mondays here: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7

It's possible that there's a photograph of a woman wearing the Victorian ensemble that's neatly folded in a box in my closet. (Based on the age, quality, and evidence of wear of the pieces, I figure it was worn by an upper-middle-class someone in the 1880s)
While spending a couple weeks with my parents, I saw a photo album for the first time with pictures of my great-great grandpanents, great-grandparents, and my grandpa's early years.  (They were accompanied by a skeleton key to the family mausoleum in Brooklyn that has my last name stamped on the side.  I should have taken pictures!)

Hannah Ditzler Alspaugh (above) kept a detailed journal of the history of her clothing- including fabric swatches!
As I was looking at these pictures, first noticed the clothes-- how they were worn and the construction.  There is a portrait of my great-grandmother in a jacket similar to the one above.  I had fun guessing the time period based on cut and detail.

But what struck me was the different relationship people had to photography than we do today.  Then, the only way to have a photograph (mostly) was through the services of a professional.

My big question after looking at the album really is: why don't professional photographers wander around residential areas with carts drawn by large dogs any more?  Because that would be sweet!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two Projects

I sewed up a sunglasses case for my dear friend, who also likes dachshunds.  Drew the little fellow myself.

Sunglasses Case

In retrospect, I shouldn't have used so many strands for the dog outline, but I still like him.


This is also in progress.  Not sure what it'll turn into,  but it's good practice with fill stitches.

In Progress

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back From Vacation

...if staying with your parents for two weeks can be called a vacation.  Trying to get unpacked and settled and reoriented and started on a real job search.  But there will be posts.  Things have been made.  And one of the best parts of being there (besides seeing my friends and family and watching tv) was the kittens.


What a sweetheart with those just-clipped claws.  She likes to climb under blankets and into pillowcases.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

DIY Watering Can

DIY Watering Can

Growing cilantro, parsley, and mint.  Didn't want to spend money on a watering can, but couldn't just dump a glass of water onto little seedlings.  Solution: knives and recyclables!!

Lid, Inside 

If only "knives and recyclables" was the solution to everything.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Vintage Fabric, Modern Dress

A month ago, I was given several yards of a vibrant floral print in some kind of textured polyester with the instructions: "I'm not sure what I'll ever do with this, but you're so creative that you'll make something cool.  What about a dress?"

Floral Dress

My kind of challenge.  I used McCall's pattern M5927 and recommend it highly.  The bodice of the dress comes in different cup sizes, which meant it fit perfectly the first time I tried it on!  Had to make the top and bottom two different sizes, but managed to work that out with extra darts in the skirt.

Floral Dress (back)
It's comfortable enough for office work (and it has pockets!!!) and fun enough for a luau.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another Pincushion

A cactus felt pincushion.

Cactus Pincushion

I made the mistake of not putting anything heavy inside, so it's desk-bound.  I have the pattern, if anyone's interested.

Cactus Pincushion

All hand-sewn, but you could use a machine for a couple parts.  Has anyone else made a cactus-shaped thing before?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ohio Renaissance Festival


Went to the Renaissance Festival with Fix and a couple friends today.  I had a great time, partially because I decided not to be a snob about historical accuracy.  Instead, I appreciated the clothing and accessories for what they are: awesome (and not remotely period for anything or anywhere).


And everyone there is having so much fun!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Thrift Store Finds


This Monday, I had good luck at a local thrift store.  I found 5x7 frames for pictures I cut out of "Photographic Surrealism."  Some of the older frames needed a little help to hang, but for 49cents on 25% off Monday?  I can handle that.

This is my favorite guy.  The photographer's named Meatyard, so I'll assume he's French instead of pronounced 'meat yard'.

Untitled, by Meatyard
Another find was in their small crafts section: a pre-cut mat in the shape of a duck.

Pre-cut embroidery mat 

But it gets better?  The cross-stitch pattern it came with:

Cross-stitch pattern

"Do Thine Own Thing"