Sunday, April 28, 2013

National Poetry Month

In celebration of April, National Poetry Month, here is a brilliant, blithe poem and a quote.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
--William Wordsworth
"Everybody who has ever lived in the world and could string two rhymes together has written a poem on spring. It is the most berhymed subject in the world--and always will be because it is poetry incarnate itself. You can never be a real poet if you haven't made at least one poem about spring."
--Lucy Maud Montgomery in Emily of New Moon 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY Cherry Pie Shirt

I am really amused by food print clothing, particularly anything involving cherry pie. Therefore when I saw these wonderful items I got very excited:

These two novelty print dresses are from Modcloth.
This fabric is from Vivian Ducas' Spoonflower shop C'est La Viv. She is one of my connections on Spoonflower and her designs are fantastic!
 I originally saw this cookie print dress on another blog. Unfortunately, I don't remember which blog I saw it on or who the designer is, but whoever created it is seriously classy.
So, for the past little while I have really been wanting to find a shirt with cute little cherries and cherry pie slices on it! When I can't find exactly what I'm looking for in stores (which seems to happen frequently), I resolve to make it! I figured I could paint some fabric similar to Vivian's myself, and I remembered that I had red and yellow tubes of fabric paint and a black fabric marker lying around. Unfortunately I didn't have a suitable shirt pattern or fabric for what I envisioned. Then, one night I was looking through a laundry basket of off-season clothing that I have in my closet and I discovered one of my dad's old white t-shirts. It was too big and pretty boxy, but as I held it up in the mirror I realized that I could use it as the base for my project. I got right to work with ambitious painting and cutting and sewing... hence the fact that I have no actual "before" picture to show you! But I suppose a men's plain white shirt isn't too interesting anyway! The first thing I tackled was taking in the side seams up to the sleeves to make it my size. I cut off the excess fabric from the bottom, sides, and sleeves. I drew the crusts of the pie with the black fabric marker, and then used the red and yellow fabric paint like water colors to make the cherries. It took quite a while. The t-shirt's thick white collar band looked rather disproportionate, so I folded it under and sewed the bottom edges of it to the shirt. It created a nice, slightly raised, scoop neckline. This is how the shirt turned out:
 Like most DIY projects, this shirt was an experimental and time consuming (but very satisfying!) learning experience!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vintage Handkerchiefs

At parties in the 1800s, because of the strict social structure, men and women were not always permitted to talk to each other. Instead, they used handkerchief sign language. These were aspects of the language:
Drawing handkerchief across the lips: I would like to meet you
Drawing handkerchief across the eyes: I am sorry
Drawing handkerchief across the cheek: I love you
Drawing handkerchief across the forehead: We are being watched (!)
Winding handkerchief around forefinger: I am engaged
Winding handkerchief around third finger: I am married
Twirling handkerchief in right hand: I love someone else
Then, jump forward into the 20th century when handkerchiefs took on new purposes and appearances. They are brightly displayed in The Printed Square by Nicky Albrechtsen, a great book filled with the history of handkerchiefs. To entice you to read it, here are some of the detailed designs of the useful fabric squares featured in the book. I wonder what the inspiration for each unique design was... 
This one reminds me of this 50s d├ęcor diner
...And this handkerchief of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night
This makes me think of the cover of Animal Farm and an oriental rug
...And this one of Tulle skirts and peonies
What do these handkerchiefs remind you of? Today, handkerchiefs are more often used for art than for functionality. However, like any other vintage item, they are very functional in giving us an idea of what life was like in the past.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Springtime Tea

I found this pretty 1956 photo on myvintagevogue's photostream on Flickr. 
 Spring (although I use that term loosely right now given current local weather patterns!) seems like a great time to have a tea party, so I decorated a tiered shelf in my room accordingly.
My grandma, who taught folk art painting classes, painted these houses.
 I made this satisfyingly thick slice of cake out of paper scraps, topping it off with a fabric flower.
...And of course there needed to be some pretty tea cups involved! The chair was made of wire and a bottle cap and was given to me by my friend Willow, along with the small tea cup. The bunny was also painted by my grandma. Now warmer weather just needs to roll in so that this flowery pastel embellishment doesn't seem so out of place!

Friday, April 05, 2013


Spoolery shall be the name of this fashionable DIY. I have, in one of my boxes of random craft items and junk, a bunch of little wooden spools. They are about 1cm in length, and I knew I could make some fun jewellery out of them that would represent my love for sewing, color, and fashion. I used some nicely hued embroidery thread and clear elastic cord as well. 
I wrapped and tied the thread around the spools and then pulled the spools onto the elastic cord.
...and this is how it turned out! 
I also painted a few of the spools and twisted some wire through them to create a pendant for a necklace. My friend was amusingly thrilled by the result, and she bought this white one and a purple one at a craft sale I was in! Spools really are a great way to display a burst of color--always look for beautiful potential in unsuspected places!

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