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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wonderland Blog Tour - almost finished!

Hi everyone,

can you say playful, imaginative, whimsical and just plain - gorgeous?

Yeah - this is new, gorgeous fabric collection by extraordinary talented Katarina Roccella, for Art Gallery Fabric. Colors are dreamy, designs are so fresh and whimsical and attention to detail and subtle touches of sparkle are just so, so beautiful!! Wonderland instantly took me into a world of little girls dreams...where everything is possible...  Those girls with big dreamy eyes!

I can show you pictures upon pictures of it, all of which I took the day my fabrics arrived, but I also have to get back to the harsh reality... :(
Harsh reality is that due to perfect storm of work crazy-ness (read: 10-11 hour days often) and quilt construction obstacles (read: me not planning properly...) with a dash of sewing machine troubles - I didn't finish my Blog Tour project to show you today.... (insert very sad face here...)
So, for today, here is a story so far:
You see, it all started so well - I had million ideas in mind and then one day one came in the middle of my lunch break at work and felt just right - here is my sketch!

Middle will be a watercolor-y type of collage with all these cute Alice girls, with some nine-patches scattered...and then there will be a "wonderland" around - some lantern-looking blocks, some flowers...
Started with some strips in all the yummy colors,

Made some strip-sets to make random 9-patch blocks,

Placed some Alices on the design wall,

And after some playing, here is a watercolor-y collage,

I really do love it and am so excited to bring the rest to life!!
Now the blocks and settings that come after this is what I need to work on a bit more. First improv-style didn't quite work the way I wanted. Hence - my unfinished Blog Tour project... (sad face again).

I probably should have known better - improv is not my forte, this science girl needs to plan and calculate and have a road map... most of the time. At least for this one - I can see it in my mind and nothing but that vision will do, so back to the drawing board, EQ7 and some good old math...
I just realized that most of my "improv" play and fun actually always comes in QUILTING! When I get my hands into those Machinger gloves, set that FMQ foot and thread some yummy Aurifil - that is when I let loose! Ha ha!

Well, what can I say - I can't wait to get to that point and bring my Alice in Wonderland to life! Soon, very soon, my friends, bear with me!
In the meantime, if you didn't already - go check all other amazing, beautiful projects made in Wonderland!! You can find them all at Katarina's Recap Blog Post.

And of course - tell me what would you make from this fun collection? What comes to mind first?
I have so many more ideas....

Have a fun, lovely Wednesday,

Monday, October 19, 2015

Love and stitches - the story of the wedding dress

Hi everyone,

I am back from a sort of a sabbatical, if I may call it so.
Our daughter's wedding was at the end of August, on wonderful Topsail Island, NC, where they live. Oooh it will take many words to describe the beauty of it all and all my emotions, but right now, I feel the need to tell the story of the wedding dress.
I made it.
I loved every minute of it, even the ones full of anxiety and fear that I am not good enough to do it. It was all just amazing, such a gift.
I did start a bit of this story a while ago, you can see it HERE .
She envisioned it, one of a kind, and we worked together to bring the design to life. No one pattern was going to do it, so a mock-up dress had to be made from one close pattern and then changed...
Remember these lace choices I showed you long time ago?

At that time, we just ordered several pieces over on Etsy that looked good on the computer (that was kinda the hard part!) and once they came, fortunately they were all just as good in reality! And another unexpected thing? - these four above ALL made it into the dress (or "shoes", you will see later!) and went so well together, even though they were all different/unrelated pieces! I was really surprised with that. 
So after the base of the final dress was made, here is our first version of lace placement for the bodice and shoulders:

Lovely, right?
And it really was, except that my beautiful future bride woke up the next day, looked at it and had "that" face... You know, "something is not quite right" face. It didn't help that few nights before I had exactly that kind of anxiety - what if, after we are all done, she is just not thrilled, just not happy?? Yeah, I did. I couldn't sleep almost all night. But I guess, it is kinda normal? To be expected?

So that morning, my nightmare was almost coming to life, but fear not - my girl and me, we hugged, we paused, we put the dress back on her and said - WHAT is it that doesn't feel quite right? It was the shoulders, the lace on the shoulders. It just felt like a bit too much? Too heavy? Too many beads and stuff... This was the lace from the lower left corner of the lace photo above, and once we decided to use it, I ordered more and when it arrived, it was actually a bit different - not in the actual lace part, but it had a wider base, more fine tulle extending from the lace part then in the first version. That tulle was just folded under in the first version of shoulders and not cut off (fortunately!!).

So - in few minutes of pondering what can we do, she went and just pulled the sleeve caps down, sliding the lace lower and making the TULLE be an actual cap sleeve...and VOILA!!

That was IT!!! I also very carefully cut off the outer most few scallops of the lace and she loved it!! It just looks more delicate and lighter - HOORAYYY!!!

Then it was time to get the long skirt on and work on placement of the lace around the hips.
Yes - you heard right - the LONG skirt. That is because the dress itself was a short dress and then it had a long skirt that went over it - making it a..."convertible" dress? Is that what you would call it?
My creative bride to be wanted to have a long flow-y dress for the ceremony, photos and dinner and then fun, short dress for all the dancing! And you know what? - when you are making it, you can make it whatever you want!! :)
This is the long skirt made from silk charmeuse and its final fitting.

Then on, was the chiffon overlay, that would have the lace appliqués on the hips... (Ignore the wrong shade of satin ribbon around the waist!)

And then we tested if lace on the bottom of the train will look good...

Oh yeah - that was just right!! (Insert happy dance here...)

I made a quick little veil, just to get closer to a whole look... And we also agreed that fingertip length will be better (not this  elbow length) 

At this point she was really happy and excited and my heart was so full !!! 
All there was left to do is just - to DO IT all, see it all in place, some by machine, some by hand.
Lace at the bottom of the train was pinned with million pins... 

I remember this particular day so well - there was music in my sewing room, all this beautiful lace and clouds of chiffon... I was just SO HAPPY!! 

Carefully and slowly I was able to do this part by machine, since lace was completely hiding all my stitches! My 50wt Aurifil just melted right into it, yet remained strong while going through it all. 
Once that was done, some patient time of cutting away all the chiffon under the scallops and extra tulle above the lace was in order (yes, with favorite music and many memories of my little girl flooding my mind...). I just loved how it turned out!! 

All the lace on the bodice and around the hips had to be done by hand. Oh how I loved every minute of that! Such peaceful, relaxing time, again just full of memories and thoughts, with intense feeling of gratitude and humility. I am so incredibly blessed. 

I actually used my hand quilting needle for this ("betweens", size 9), and the same 50wt Aurifil - it worked so well! Needle wa a small enough to sometimes go even through some of the pearl beads that became loose. 

So stitch by stitch, through beads and lace, with memories and peace in my heart, it was all done and ready to travel to North Carolina! We drove and that was a great road trip, with our youngest son! 
We arrived Thursday night and as soon as groom to be was out of the house on Friday, it was time for final check!
I just love this photo (complete luck of snapping it so well as we tried the dress!)

Veil was done too...

Everything did fit, everything was just as she wanted and remember I mentioned lace for "shoes"? Since she was going to be barefoot for the beach ceremony, this is what she made from one set of lace appliqués we got: 

I just loved it!

As I said, it would take me a whole another blog post to describe all the loveliness of that whole week - magical wedding day and all the fun time spent with both families (we were all together in one big house, on the beach, for a week! Can one ask for anything more?), but I will leave you for now with just few more photos...
She wanted us both to walk her down the isle (beach)...

Beautiful, happy couple...

The bride...

First dance...

The whole wedding party (with two super-cute flower girls!!) 

Oh it was just so very perfect. <3

With promise to be back soon with all the quilting and sewing, wishing you all beautiful, happy autumn days, 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Today is LEON DAY!!

Hi everyone,

So do you know what Leon Day is?

Would it help if I write it like this: leoN day

Yup, if you read it backwards it is Noel! So... if you didn't know, here it is:

I will be completely honest here - I did not know this before!

Until, as always, I found it through the magic of social cyber space! Then I  decided to join the folks over at Patience Brewster in celebrating Leon Day! WOW! Another amazing place I didn't know about! Patience is an artist and designer of unique handcrafted ornaments and figurines. And when they say ORNAMENTS - my friends, they mean business! If you like whimsy, original, unique, funny, cute to no end - you need to go visit and see for yourself!! I was blown away and simply love, love, LOVE them! 

From whimsical Santas, like this Dash Away Nicholas Santa...
(photos used with permission!), YES, a most adorable pair: meet George & Janet, Christmas giraffes!!! 

How super-cute are they??

And just about any other fun animal and anything whimsical in between!
(and standard truth here: no I am not affiliated in any way, I just really LOVE them!)

So back to the Leon Day - LET'S CELEBRATE!! 

And just how would I celebrate? - by making something out of fabric of course! Surprise, surprise....
Hey, I always, always wanted to be one of those amazing people who start getting their presents or projects just about at this time of the year, quilters who start making presents... so HERE IS MY CHANCE!  And thanks to Leon Day, I did it - hooray!!!

At first I thought I will go to my stash of Christmas fabrics and start cutting something new...And while I still may do that is days to follow, this time I stumbled upon these leftover blocks and light bulb went ON - lets challenge myself and make something Christmas-y looking out of these!!

Hmmmm... challenge indeed!

 I started with pairing two of the same to make a Flying Geese looking block...

Then I paired them up and - TREES? Christmas Trees? Are you with me? :)

Well, it looked OK, but I think these little red birdies (inspiration from that teal fabric!) made it so much better - do you agree??


It's kind of a non-traditional, whimsical Christmas! Just like all those Patience Brewster ornaments that inspired it all!!

Decided it will be a pillow!

What do you think? YAY or NAY?

Of course I will continue tonight (after really gets in my way!) to celebrate Leon Day by giving these little trees and birds some life with some quilting!

How about you? Will you celebrate today? Will you start something new in your sewing room, some lovely handmade present? 

Hey, I might be able to help you there some more - long time ago I posted a whole bunch of tutorials for different (small and big) holiday fabric projects! Like this one:

You can find a complete tutorial HERE

Or this small one (ornament or a gift card holder):

Tutorial HERE

Or maybe a fun and VERY easy table runner?

You will find a tutorial HERE

And the rest of them are all under that "Tutorials" tab on the top of the page. Thanks to newly found inspiration of Leon Day - I might just go and post some more tutorials soon - stay tuned! :)

So, go ahead and celebrate Leon Day!
Today or any other day until...THIS comes along:

Vujcic family Christmas morning...

It will be here sooner than we all think - AS ALWAYS!!

Wishing you all HAPPY LEON DAY and peace and joy EVERY day,