Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sweet Apple

Apple Blossoms by William Biscombe Gardner, England 1847-1919

Yesterday I was busy with mending and fixing some of my recent sewing. I added pockets and trims on some of them and cut out some solid color jackets.  I had this small piece of fabric from Walmart and wanted to make the stripes of color land a certain way when gathered up into a pumpkin or fruit, and this is how it turned out.

The apple was made by folding a piece of the fabric in half to make a square and then sewing up the sides, leaving the top open for stuffing.  I then used quilting thread for gathering the top.  The stem is a fragrant cinnamon stick, and I used some old floral leaves that I have in my little box of floral pieces that might come in handy someday :-)

The honeycrisp apple on the left, with the variegated  colors is what I was trying to make the fabric apple look like. I really of the Gala apple on the right, with the dark red stripes.

With this fabric I also tried to make one of those beautiful storybook pumpkins that has the pretty green and gold on it. 

I saw a beautiful purple velvet pumpkin at the grocery store today that was being sold for $13.00.  Also in the floral section of the grocery store, there was a bouquet of roses with faux diamond stick pins in the middle of each rose.

I used to be able to get one long stemmed rose for about $2.00 there, and when I asked if I could buy one rose with of the florist jewel pins, I was told they were not available like that any more. I could buy a bouquet only, but not a single rose, neither would they sell me the crystal florist pins.

I was in the mood for a fresh flower with one of these pins, so I took a dressmakers straight pin and glued craft gems on them with tacky glue (not Elmer's liquid glue, which doesn't work with this project) and pushed the pins into some fresh Zinnias from my garden. (My roses didn't grow well this year.)

Until I can get to Hobby Lobby or Michaels, I have substituted a piece of a straw for the one I put in the artificial rose.

The straight pims work okay in the fresh flowers.

I like so see the light from the window shining on these little gems.

I appreciate all your suggestions for topics to address on this blog, and I am thinking about them all the time.  I have an urgent sewing task today, as I heard my ladies are going to tour some public gardens and rose gardens at a historical house, and I am making a garden tour dress.

A good verse to think about today for homemaking:

1Co 14:40    Let all things be done decently and in order.

If you are interested in making apples for your decor, here are the instructions for this particular one. You can get more information online, as there are other ways of making these.  You can use any fabric you like.  I was interested in this tie-dye print because it has the color of apples.  

Take a rectangle of this fabric and fold it in half to make a square.  If using a print that you want to go vertically, you will need to experiment to see how it will work.  In this demonstration I have the stripes going horizontally on the apple.  The first one I pictures has vertical stripes because I wanted the apple to look like the real ones.

After folding it in half it should be a square.

Hand or machine sewn two sides, leaving the top open for stuffing.

Stitch around the top and pull up the stitches to gather, and secure the gathering by sewing into the fabric and then securing the thread in a knot.

Since it looks more like a sack than an apple, the pointed ends at the bottom will have to be folded over and stitched down.

Tack one side down and then the other to make it more rounded.

Insert a cinnamon stick or a piece of wood in the middle with some latex leaves. You can dab some tacky glue in the openning first.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Roses in the Hedgerows

A Still Life of Roses by Olaf August Hermansen, Denmark 1849-1897 

We had a most pleasant Lord's  Day worship service today and now I want to share what we ladies are wearing today.  These dresses are so comfortable in formal and informal situations that they can be worn to church and there is no need to change into something more comfortable after church.

One of the reasons I have so many sewing posts this year is that I had been buying pieces of fabric as I could afford it, and have finally got enough to make sets of matching dresses. For those of you who have not been following  my progress, I am making clothing for the home. These dresses are worn with  full-length bib style aprons at home,  or a coordinating solid color  jacket when going out.

Above: Dressing three generations; sizes 12 ladies, 8 girls, 10 ladies.  Though they look flat and droopy on the line (just like on the rack at a store) these clothes fit well and look very good on the ladies for which they were made.  

The name of this set of my "line" of clothing is Roses in the Hedgerows, made from another Fabric Traditions print, cotton lawn from Walmart.  The better fabrics at Walmart are now getting up to $8.00 or more a yard .

When looking at the pretty girls dresses in Costco, I sometimes hear other shoppers bemoaning the fact that similar dresses are not available in grown-up sizes.  These clothes are my attempt to use old patterns and pieces of new patterns combined (a sleeve here, a skirt there) to make easy-to wear clothing for the home.      

The garments are all cotton, roomy at the waistline, adding comfort  when sitting. Sometimes when you try on a commercial garment, it seems to be comfortable while you are standing up, but when you get it home and wear it while sitting, it is too tight or the waistline rides up. The dresses, above, are loose yet slimming.

Girls dress has low waist, an elastic band in the back to cinch in the fullness,  and is buttoned in front to make it easy to fasten.

Mother's dress has a Victorian waistline with a pretty V shape at the center of the waist, a gathered skirt and a fitted blouse.

My dress, above is from a very easy pattern with one piece for back and one piece for front.  When worn, the fabric falls into these nice folds that look like pleats.

Sleeves have been one thing I have not liked in recent years in manufactured clothing, because they are so flat and usually no more interesting than a tee-shirt sleeve and not very flattering to women's arms.  I have enjoyed giving sleeves various interesting touches such as gathers and tucks. The sleeves on these dresses are all gathered on the outside by a piece of elastic on the inside, stretched while sewing to give the sleeves a gathered and pleated look.

The girl's dress has matching rose shapes novelty buttons.

I wanted to show you the weights I am using, made of hardware wrapped in ribbon.  This makes sewing so much faster, because I no longer use straight pins and can skip the tedious pinning and up pinning of pattern pieces,  which can be backbreaking work.  No longer do I have to be concerned about dropped pins that someone might accidently run across.

There is a lot more to be said about the subject of dressing.  I am afraid many Christian ladies have adopted the attitude of the prevailing culture of not caring about clothes.  Even in religious circles there can be an attitude that it is vain or conceited to care about clothing, and that wearing something pretty and feminine is somehow ostentatious or selfish.  However, for the beginning of the Bible, God showed what He thought about clothing and it shows from Genesis to Revelation how important clothing is in both a physical and a spiritual way.

Clothing shows many things about ourselves but it also has an effect upon how we think and feel, on our moods and our outlook on life  and even our motivation or ambition.  When I consider purchasing fabric, I have to think about the mood it evokes when I picture it in my mind as a ladies garment. The roses on the blue background fabric in the clothes I have featured today make a lady feel happy and energized and in love with God's beautiful gifts of color and scent in the creation. I like the blue background because it seems natural to see flowers with a blue sky in the background.

Remember when dressing beautifully that there is always going to be someone who is against you and who will try to stop you from what you want to do.  They will use intimidating and demoralizing words to make you feel bad or make you feel you are not blending in with everyone else.  It takes a long hard journey sometimes for some people to overcome this peer-approval dependency.  

The most important peer-dependency is the mother-daughter relationship where little girls want to dress like their mothers and stand near them, hold their hand, and be just like their mothers.  The world does not like that at all and resents it because  when there is a loving mother and daughter relationship, some  people do not have a hope of controlling one or the other with their ideas or their clothing styles.

If you want your girls to be close to you, try wearing matching or co-ordinating clothing at home and in public.  It helps create a sense of identity, belonging and family cohesiveness.  

Sleeve gathered vertically down the middle with elastic gives a pretty pleated or smocked effect.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Pretty Pumpkins

These pumpkims are called Porcelain Doll. I plan to go and see them at a farmers market tomorrow, but if I find they are too pricey for me,

I have already made a pink pumpkin from the leftover pink cotton fabric I used on the ladies summer jackets shown in the previous post.  This is made by gathering a very large circle of fabric, stuffing it with fiberfill and gathering the openning, (leaving a small openning for the stem)with quilting thread. In the absence of pumpkin leaves added fake ivy leaves from a garland I got at the dollar store a few years ago, and then used raindrop stickers (I see I got some of them upside down) in various places. The stem  is made of three short cinnamon sticks, which make such a nice scent in the room.

There has been a rain storm and now it is bright and warm outside.


Col 4:5    Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


                  A Lovely painting by Russian artist Igor Levashov who lives in the Netherlands.

It has been several years since I have rearranged the furniture. Everything fits together like a puzzle here, and my attempts at shifting it all around a different way have not been successful, so the room had remained the same for many years.


I have always wanted to put the dining room in the living room and have put a small dining table in front of the window, with the view of the garden.

When I think of how many meals we have  in the same room at the same table, a change is really nice.  I am looking forward to our first lunch here.

                     The ottoman foot-rest you see on the right is a storage box with a lid. Sometimes,particularly when the house is clean, I feel like I am living in a palace in this small house.  The furniture arrangement has always been a close fit, and I do not like too much of it, but I need it all for the days when there are visitors.

It will be interesting to dine here when it is raining outside and watch the raindrops in the birdbath.

The tea cozy was made by Roxy from Living From Glory to Glory blog.  It is made of the tea themed fabric from Hobby Lobby.  I still have not used the piece of this  same print, but I have great plans to sew something.

I floated a few blossoms in the old birdbath just for something colorful to view from that dining area.

The morning mist had not lifted, so when I took these pictures there was not much light.

     Things are still blooming and our summer is extended. I am still hanging laundry outside. 

I do have a pleasant subject coming soon, but now I must go and get a few more things done. I abandoned yesterday's plans so that I could change the furniture around, and as every housekeeper knows, all things are connected and it is not a matter of merely moving furniture.  Sweeping, putting unwanted items into the giveaway box, rehanging pictures, and then the big pile that naturally ensues, takes an entire day.