My good friend Laura has long accused me of being a snob. I'm sure you'll agree with me that it's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when it comes to the important things in life like chocolate or fabric. Admit it, given the choice you'd rather eat a yummy artisan made chocolate over a standard grocery store variety....wouldn't you?
Now onto the really important stuff.....fabric! I love fabric, always have, always will. When purchasing ready made clothes I am as drawn to the quality of the materials as much as to style. If I can't have both, I don't want it! So, when people offer to give me things I usually take it and then decide if it is up to my usual snobbery, er, standard. My dear friend Heidi Emmett recently told me she had a bag of fabric to donate to the cause and it was like Christmas...the anticipation I mean. When I did get the bag it held up to Heidi's usual standards, exquisite. There are several pieces I am anxious to get sewing with...thank you Heidi.
About sewing.....I am sewing, at every opportunity but for now it is on 4 flower girl dresses. Once those are done I can rest easy as my main task for the May 25 wedding will be completed. I have 5 special orders on my sewing desk as well as several gifts so I am getting to them in order (Melanie, your special order is 1st). I appreciate your patience and support more than I can say~
A month ago or so I began a very special project. It's deeply personal, sometimes painful but full of the "good" that comes along with painful circumstances. Our family is walking the very sad road of infertility with one of our children. So, since fertility is an expensive medical condition I have had the privilege of opening an Etsy store dedicated helping in that process. It is called RobynsBaby and on it I have a small offering, quite literally as I can get things made, of classically constructed children's clothing. Here is a sneak peek of things that either are or have been listed in my shop. Also, please take a moment to read my bio to learn more about our family's journey~
It's done, it's cute and I made adjustments with 1 more to go.
The gingham looks good, not as "mottled" as I thought it would. The adjustment made were:
cleaner finish on armholes- I just could not stand it so I covered the armholes with lace tape.
The pattern calls for the back to be closed with ribbon ties......I did a french seam and placket closure. I also finished the neck edge with a bias band rather than the folded over ruffle.
Finally, I think the armhole openings are too generous for a tiny girl so I plan to make a more snug fit with elastic. The classic smocking pattern is Baby Carriage by Mollie Jane Taylor and I used vintage buttons, a little over sized, for the carriage wheels. I think our little southwestern Grace will look sweet in it this spring and summer.
I loved that movie, would love to read the book. On thinking of it I was reminded that not only do I have stacks of recipes to try, I also have patterns that have never seen daylight. While I doubt I will ever get through the entire stack I am inspired to at least try something new. So, while searching for something small and sweet for a newborn baby girl I came across the "Sussex Round Frock" bishop dress by Evelyn Ewing Glass circa 1982.
I used a 1/8" pink gingham pima cotton that is lovely, feels like silk and has a great drape. However, gingham does not lend itself well to machine pleating. Let's be real here......if I hand pleat she will grow out of it before the pleating is done so I'll have to use a smocking design with good coverage. I'm already seeing that I need to finish the sleeves nicer than the pattern calls for but I'll address that when I get there.
I just checked in, as I regularly do, to one of my favorite blogs...Parisienne Farmgirl. I have long admired not only Angela's style but her passion to pursue the kind of lifestyle that is simple and yet so full. Since my only visit to France in 2004 I have been a firm admirer of the french Joie d'vivre.....the joy of life. I am hoping Angela's new on-line magazine interprets all there is to love about the french lifestyle. Check it out-
We aren't having the traditional dinner at home this year. We are headed out to serve at our local Hospitality House. It is good, we have done this before. With just my husband and youngest son home it makes sense to share the day with others, some less fortunate than us. Still, I love to cook so I am in the kitchen prepping for the weekend. When my daughter was in high school she took a cooking class and she shared with us that your taste "evolves" about every 7 years. That explains why I grew an affinity for avocados in my early 40's! Late to the palette is pears. Yeah, I never had much use for them before 2010, then it hit...Pears!!! what had I been missing? I began the search for a pear sauce recipe and found it, made it, loved it and have since changed it. My goal today is actually to sew but the pears were calling. I thought you might enjoy trying this out on your family.
Vanilla Bean Pear Sauce
4 large pears, any variety
1/4 C water
1 vanilla bean
Peel the pears and cut into 1" or smaller pieces.
Add water to large saucepan and add pears. Cook on med-low heat until pears are soft enough to mash, approx. 10 mins. Remove from heat and allow to cool 10 mins. Transfer cooked pears to food processor fitted with blade attachment (or use a potato masher to manually process pears).
Split 1 vanilla bean down center and with the blade of a small paring knife scrape out the seeds. Transfer the seeds to the bowl with the pears and process with pears until you achieve a smooth sauce...unless you want it chunky, it's your preference. Serve warm or cool, it's yummy either way. Don't throw that vanilla bean pod away! Place it in an airtight container with 2 cups granulated sugar and seal. Do not open for 2 weeks at which time you will have a vanilla sugar to sweeten your tea or coffee or add to a recipe. It also makes a great gift packaged in a pretty jar and given along with a couple of tea bags(may I suggest Harney & Sons Vanilla Comoro).
Enjoy your pear sauce in a bowl of vanilla yogurt for a quick snack. Or top pancakes with it but don't forget it is great just by itself. Happy Thanksgiving!
Our 5 Acre Wood is littered with black oak trees. Scattered among the abundant black oaks & pines are a few live oaks. As we were doing some fall clean-up last weekend I noticed beautiful velvet capped acorns. I had to capture this one hanging from the tree in our front yard. Gorgeous! Several years ago I was inpired by this natural beauty to create an acorn and oak leaf smocking design, think I'll make a tea cozy using this pattern.
In September I had the thrill of visiting the French General store in Los Angeles. If you have not heard of Kaari Meng and her lovely projects check out her website www.frenchgeneral.com. My daughter was with me and we were able to meet Kaari, have her sign our Home Sewn books and purchase a collection of glass flower beads to create a very sweet bracelet. If you're ever in LA on a Monday (the only day the shop is open) swing in and get inspired.
I am a wife, a mother and a grandmother. My journey into the enchanting world of classic children's clothing began when my first child, a son, was born in 1982. We welcomed a daughter and another son in the following 6 years. They were my inspiration learn English Smocking and to utilize the embroidery my grandmother had taught me when I was 6 years old. Through the years I have taught countless women Embroidery and English Smocking techniques. In addition I design and create custom garments which I sell to individual clients and in my Etsy shop. I am deeply inspired by old world techniques and materials. My main source of inspiration is the children who wear my designs.