All posts tagged: inspiration

On My Inspiration Board: Calico Gowns

It is hard to believe that a fabric which evokes simplicity, homey-ness, and (if you are me) Little House on the Prairie, has a very fascinating and international history.  Originating from Calicut, India, the fabric we know as calico gained popularity from it’s early 11th century birth and well into our modern age.  Known for a sold color on which a simply design repeats all over, calico has become a much used piece of fabric. An example of an early calico fabric Long used for a variety of sewing projects which ranged from dresses to quilts to kitchen linens, calico is easily one of the most widely used and widely appreciated fabrics around.  The other wonderful thing about calico is it’s very affordable price tag.  I love picking up yards of happy calico, even if I don’t have a particular project in mind, because of its versatility.  While not exactly known for it’s luxury, there are many examples of gowns constructed from calico.  In fact, Hollywood has some wonderfully fun samples of calico dresses, even …

From My Sewing Table: October

Nothing is as invigorating to my spirit as falling leaves and crisp air.  It is truly intoxicating!  As much as my fellow neighbors and I have enjoyed the warm air, many will state that their most favorite time of year is the Fall.  Their only complaint is they they wished, as do I, that autumn would stay around a bit longer. The fleeting nature of Fall led me to ponder the often fleeting nature of the upcoming holiday season.  Oh, I know that many of you cringe at the mere mention of the holidays, especially as it is still a fair amount of time away…. yet I am always rather disappointed when the season ends and I had not taken more time to savor and enjoy it. Just like the leaves themselves, it is important to remember that this time, and therefore anytime is golden.  Maybe it has not been your best week, month, or maybe even year, but there are precious moments to be carved out of any situation. I’ve begun embracing this mentality in …

Inspiration Board: Sky Blue Gowns

On a summer trip I took with my dad years ago, we drove across the midwest on an adventure that took us through some pretty unique parts of the Great Plains.  But one thing I distinctly remember was how large and blue the sky was.  If any of you live near mountains, you, perhaps unknowingly, have become use to the close, almost comforting, feeling of the sky.  Your eye pleasantly rests upon hills, forests, and mountainsides on a daily basis.  Transplant that same person into the heart of the plains, where the sky is a giant expanse above you, and you are amazed at the realization that the curve you see isn’t a hill, but the earth, and that can be quite overwhelming. That landscape was a unique freeing experience where nothing seemed to be in your way as you traveled mile upon mile.  But the sky…that sky was the bluest I think I have ever seen.  Not a baby blue, or a navy, but a true blue.  And that, in my humble opinion, is …

Designing and Decorating The Front Porch

Decorating and furnishing one’s front porch can be viewed, in my opinion, two different ways: coordinated and classic, or eclectic and refurbished. Both are modes in which the homeowner can portray not only their personal decorating style, but also can create an inviting space for family and friends. Mornings spent chatting with old friends, or afternoons enjoyed catching up on some reading or handwork, are all better enjoyed on a comfortable and colorfully decorated porch. Read on for some advice in porch decorating from 1920’s experts: “As you ring in the summer when the family living room is transferred out-of-doors, it means a great deal to have the outside so furnished that it is a pleasant place to spend one’s leisure hours. By furnished, I mean not so much the chairs, settees, or tables, but the accessories that go so far toward creating out-of-doors an atmosphere of sunny welcome both to the members of your family and to the guests who by chance come to visit your home. Because color is so much a part …

In the Kitchen: Colorful and Cool Desserts

Is it getting warm where you are?  It certainly is in the northeast of the U.S. and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I find myself craving watermelon, ice cream, and ice frappucinos most of the time.  I am a big believer that food, especially dessert, should reflect the weather and the temperature. I have collected over the years quite a few vintage cookbooks from as early as 1896 to 1980.  They are my pride and joy and each one I find is a cherished addition to my collection.  When it came to deciding posts for this month, I was nervous that my cooking ability would inhibit the beauty that this month is all about.  Therefore, I decided to just share the recipe I was planning on making of Rainbow Meringue Torte  from one of my 1950’s cookbooks, with the hope that you all might try it yourselves…without letting my, perhaps, poor attempt stop you. So whether you are sitting out on a patio, front porch, or chilling in front of the AC, I hope all …

Look Well to This Day

The manipulation of time may be, in my opinion, the one power that every human would want.  To rewind to the good days, fast forward through the bad ones, change past mistakes or take missed opportunities would be a miraculous gift.  If you add in the fact that I am obsessed with history and the future becomes an unstoppable source of frustration. Sometimes I think too much.  Well, most of the time I think too much, and I struggle with the overwhelming feeling of time slipping by and my life with it.  To try to compensate, I have made changes in my life both mental and physical.  There are so many things in my life that I have no control over, despite my, at times, desperate attempts.  But I know what I do like, what I want, need, wish and therefore all choices I make must be true to who I am.  Easier said then done?  Sometimes, but often, these choices are quite natural…therefore, easy. I am a stubborn individual.  I have had to be at …

In the Craft Room: Wrapping Paper Covered Books

Sometimes, I love the slightly worn look of books that I have gleaned from used book or antique stores.  Gently used edges, slightly ruffled bindings, and the faded artwork on the cover, all add to the charm of each book.  Yet, there are also several books with covers that… well let’s just say, have seen better days.  While the content inside may be timeless….many of the covers are not.  For such books in my library, I prefer to cover them in the nicest, prettiest, sturdiest wrapping paper I can find.  Not only does this help protect the cover and binding of these books, it also adds to the ambiance on my bookshelf.  Here is how I do it: Start by placing your book to be covered on top of the wrapping paper. Cut out a rectangle that is 3 ” longer on the top and bottom (6″ total) and 4-5″ wider on the sides with the book open (9-10″ total.)  Crease the top and bottom of the wrapping paper against the book.  Remove the book and press …

HSM: War and Peace

With a theme like War and Peace it wasn’t hard to decide exactly what I wanted to make for this month’s Historical Sew Monthly Challenge…especially since it tied in perfectly with this month’s theme.  Enter my 1940’s House Dress.  Very simple, very sweet, and very satisfying.   After last month’s ordeal, I was very happy to find something less stressful.  For the past four weeks, I can’t stop my obsession with house dresses.  Any kind, from any era, I am head over heels in love.  While it did take me a while to settle myself on a style and look, I wasted no time in picking out the most cheery calico I could find!  Add this dress with my 1940’s Hair Turban and the look is complete! I drafted this pattern out of two pieces then cut out the neckline facing and the lined sleeves.  The belt was made from the left over scraps.  I also added a little rick rack to the neckline and the edge of the pockets…that’s right, it has pockets!  While …