Oct 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I love Halloween. It is one of my favorite holidays, next to Valentine’s Day. I think it is because of all the fun decorating possibilities. So, one would think our house would be decked in ghosts and goblins. But, no, we just have pumpkins on the front deck. Inside we have mini pumpkins, gourds and these beautiful glass pumpkins. These are made by Tom Stanton at Holy City Art Glass in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Every year the Los Gatos High School has an art glass pumpkin patch fundraiser. Amazing pieces! It is unbelievable how many women are in line to buy their yearly glass pumpkin. Last year they raised $17,300 for the school to use as they wish! Quite impressive!

Here is the beginning stage of Malena’s costume. She wanted to be a “hugging witch.” The dress is made with a black satin. I made a cape and sash with glittery black fabric on one side and sheer purple with fuzzy scared cats on the reverse. The glittery fabric I found as a remnant at half price! I love pinning the pattern to fabric. The feeling of the tissue paper pattern tautly pinned to the fabric brings back memories of my childhood. My mom was always sewing dresses for me. She always made our Halloween costumes also. It is so much fun to make costumes for my own children.

Lautaro is going to be a spider, again. Since we didn’t get a good picture of him last year, I am going to try again this year. I will wear a white dress and white shirt embellished with black ribbon to look like a web. I hope to have a good picture to post!

Unfortunately, the kids are home sick today, so we don’t get to go on the preschool walk in our costumes. Plus, since we are so far out in the country, there is nowhere to trick-o-treat and we won’t have any Halloween visitors. It is all retirees and vacation homes in our neighborhood.

Oct 24, 2007

Recycled Sweaters

I am currently working on this piece to sell (I Hope, although, I don’t know if I can part with it!). In its former life it was a Brooks Brothers sweater that I could no longer wear (I hope because it shrank and not because I have had two children!).

So, I threw it in the washing machine in a pillowcase while doing a load of whites (I don’t want to waste water in my craftiness) to full it. Next, I took scissors to the shrunken sweater and reconstructed it into a bag. I embellished the bag with a needle-felted pattern that is my take on a cross-section of an egg. I found these vibrant orange purse handles at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco that I think will work perfectly. It took me months to find the right handles. When you spend so much time to make an item unique you must be willing to spend the time finding the right accoutrements for it, right? (Or maybe it is just a good excuse for my procrastination?)
Anyway, I am waiting for the weather to cool (Will it ever? I think it was 85 degrees today out here in the Sierra Foothills) and I can start felting again. I am not sure why, but felting seems like such a fall and winter craft. I have a bunch of felt beads that I am also trying to finish to add to jewelry and hairclip pieces. All summer long, I have had a pile of thrifted wool sweaters sitting in my laundry closet. Now, I can finally get to work and revamp these holey sweaters into purses. So, c’mon autumn weather – I am waiting!

Oct 18, 2007

What we are snacking on this week

... Beautiful organic pomegranates! A mom at my children’s parent coop preschool is selling these delicious pomegranates. When ripe, pomegranates open to a most beautiful shape. At least that is what I am guessing because they were all open and I don’t see how you could cut the fruit this way. It is so fun for Malena and Lautaro (and me too!) to pick delicately each tiny pomegranate seed and experience an explosion of flavor when you pop it into your mouth.

Oct 13, 2007

I Heart Etsy

Here is a super-cool tee that I bought for my son, Lautaro on etsy from rockpaperscissorsart.

 It is so dificult to find a decent boy's shirt that doesn't advertise a licensed media character, a typical American sport or an ugly monster truck. Etsy seller miniblisscakes custom-designed London Double Decker bus tee for Lautaro and a sparkly purple mermaid for Malena. I plan on doing most of my Christmas shopping on Etsy this year. Soon, I will also start posting some of my handmade products on etsy, in addition to my website, www.orangepolkadot.com.

Quick Catch-Up

So, I am going to make a real attempt at keeping this blog current. Heck, maybe I can even get someone to read this thing…

Here is an updated list of my latest projects:

1. Minky Blanket – silk in an paisley pattern on one side (brought in Los Altos at Thai Silks and purple super-soft minky from Minky Delight). Both pieces were short ends, so I got a bargain! Minky is difficult to sew with though… I have read complaints about people being covered in fabric fluff while sewing, but that isn’t my case. The minky from Minky Delight, doesn’t seem to shred much. However, I can’t keep the two pieces evenly together. The minky streches so much, even though I pin a lot, by time I get to the next pin, the minky is bunched up. I would love any tips on sewing with Minky.

2. Malena's 4th Birthday Cake - Malena wanted a mermaid theme for her 4th birthday. I was this close to making a cake with a fondant mermaid on top. But then the reality hit that I only had a few hours in the middle of the night to decorate the cake. Thank Goodness! I made a two-layer cinnamon cake with cinnamon buttercream, at her request. I decorated with lime green fondant and handmade white chocolate shells. She loved the cake.

3. Mermaid Quilt – Based upon a Cuddly Quilt Kit from JoAnns. However, the original instructions were basically a patchwork blanket. That would have been fine, but I had to take in one step further and make it into a REAL quilt. I added a natural cotton batting, hand-quilted stars and a batik binding (which I made in the proper quilting technique). I bought those materials from Siri’s, who actually lives less than a mile away from me. I am lucky and can drive over to her house and browse her garage-turned-warehouse-store for fabric and notions. What a find out here in the foothills. I never would have finished the quilt in time for Malena’s 4th birthday. Oh, due to a cutting mistake, I had to replace some of the plush turquoise fabric for the center border. I found the perfect bright pink minky dot at Minky Delight as short end. I think the quilt turned out well for my first one. Although, I am not sure I am a quilter at heart. It takes considerable amounts of patience, mathematical skill, precision and dedication. I wish I could have all of those qualities! I don’t know how my Vava has made so many beautiful quilts. I can truly appreciate her work now!

4. Sundress for Malena – It is so much fun to sew for a little girl. So many patterns out there for cute little dresses and accessories. This summer, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to sew a sundress. I even tried making a version for myself. I won’t post the results of that project. Let’s say, I am just going to stick with clothing for littles for now.

5. Smock– This was a quick and easy project. The pattern instructions were very clear. It provided a great introduction on sewing with seam binding and had useful tips to improve the process.