Friday, December 30, 2016

Sewing Recap 2016

 Well, 2016 was a year I sewed a work.
(That is a good thing, I like my work)
However, I did get a few very special pieces made for myself and friends,
with a smattering of other fun projects as well.
Here we go...
 Sewing Recap 2016
 Projects for Friends
1. Alterations on Emily's Bridesmaid Dress.
 Let it be known that I do not normally jump at alteration work on formal/bridal dresses. But for my sister, I make exceptions. She found a navy chiffon David's Bridal dress while thrifting, and paid $10. Lisa loved it too. We just had to hem it and create a strap of some type. Em looks great in Grecian type looks, so I created a pleated, one shoulder strap.
 BEFORE                                                     AFTER
2. Lisa's Veil.
Not much to say other than it was such a treat to make this for my friend. Talk about a beautiful bride! 
(Photos Courtesy of Christina Delle Walborn)

3. T-Shirt Quilt For Emily.
A Christmas gift just finished within the last two weeks, this quilt documents Emily's 4 years of collage. From a t-shirt she made when she turned 18, to internship and honor society t's, it has it all.
 4. Cross-stitch for Samantha.
I know it's small, but I'm stinkin' proud of the Disney sampler I made for my friend's birthday.
Projects For Myself
1. One of the most time-consuming things I made was my Plaid Civil War Dress,
with removable collar and Swiss-waist belt. I was so proud of how it turned out. I sewed this thing while we were running a show at work; so I was sewing at work, rushing home, and sewing on this. I got it finished in time for a reenactment.

2. My India Dress! Ah, I love this thing so much.
The piping, the recycled paisley fabric, and the little cap sleeves, all combined to make it so special.
3. Sequin New Year's Dress.
Just off the chopping block, and quite the adventure to sew!  I am not fully satisfied by how the inside looks, but I am very proud that I finished a decent looking dress out of such difficult fabric. A full post will come soon on this project. 
4. Folklorico Dance Practice Skirt.
This project has been completed for so many months, tis a real shame I have not shared it yet.
A post will be coming in the  next month. I was immensely happy with how this turned out!
5. Chambray Pocket Skirt.
On the list of "so-so" projects, this one comes up. Don't get me wrong, I love this skirt. I adore this skirt. But after washing it, I realized what a pain it is to iron. I would wear this thing every week, if it were not for the fact that it wrinkles so badly. Ah well, good lesson for next time: no more 100% cotton everyday skirts.

6. Pink Jumpsuit.
My friend Laurie cut this fabric out (from a pattern she borrowed from me ironically) to sew a romper for her daughter. She ended up giving me the project when she forgot to make an adjustment her daughter needed. I sewed it up, but will need to adjust the bodice to make it smaller. Super cute, hope to get it reworked by spring. (It has pockets!)
There ya have it readers. Hope you enjoyed this.
I did not think I got much done this year in terms of sewing, but looking back, I am happy with what I made. More than that though, I am glad I branched out and worked with fabrics I previously did not touch. Sewing sheer ribbon on Lisa's veil, hemming Em's chiffon dress, and using stretch sequin, all made my skill-set grow a bit.
What is your favorite project?
Let me know!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Memorable Books of 2016

Merry Christmas, belated, and Happy News Years, early.
I was sick this holiday season, and am still recouping, bit by bit.
 I wanted to recount some memorable books I read during '16. The amount I was able to read went up this year, and I have so enjoyed it. There is nothing like a good book to bring you a bit of peace, or inspiration, or distraction even. I got a GoodReads account in November to boot! Hopefully I will be able to better remember the things I have read this upcoming year, as I was having a hard time recalling the titles I went through during early winter.
I am happy to say, that this means the ones listed truly are MEMORABLE! 

In no particular order, here we go:

2016 Memorable Reads

1. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity
 by Nabeel Qureshi
This book, while an autobio and testimonial, also touches on matters of Christian apologetics, and the basic history and practices of Islam. I learned so much through this book, and was inspired by it to learn more on my own. I enjoyed getting to see how Nabeel grew up in a loving home, what he learned about Islam, and how he found Jesus in the end.

2. Mountain of Spices
by Hannah Hurnard (Missionary to Israel)
Being the sequel to "Hind's Feet in High Places", this allegory follows Grace and Glory as she returns to the 'low places' to help the unsaved friends and family she left behind to follow the Shepherd.
Both books are along the lines of the famous Pilgrim's Progress, but I happen to like (and relate to) these better. They are great to read aloud to kids, but are so deep adults can benefit from them too, perhaps even more so. 

3. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
A classic for sure, one I had never read before, but am glad I did.
I actually listened to this one on audio while I was finishing some long sewing projects. It is so funny, and indeed a bit mad.

4. The Last of the Mohicans
by James Fenimore Cooper
A classic I knew the title of, but not much else until I gave it a go. Such an adventure story, with colonial kidnappings, two fair sisters, valiant Indian warriors, English forts, and a hardy scout named Hawk Eye. It is one of those books which you think will end after an initial skirmish, kidnapping and rescue, but then keeps going with more skirmishes, kidnappings and rescues. I was sad when it ended.

5. Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone
by Dene Low

This quirky and cute YA read follows a 16 year old British heroine on a most extraordinary adventure during the early 1900's. International intrigue, a bug-eating relative, a ruined coming out party, and the handsome James St. Claire (who calls her "Old Stick"),  swirl around to make a most comical read. I must warn you, the author wrote this as part 1 of a 4 part series, and was never able to publish the last 3 books. I am sad I can't find out what happens.

6.  Present Over Perfect: Leaving behind Frantic for a Simple,  More Soulful Way of Living
by Shauna Niequist
An eye-opening book, of which I highlighted most of the pages. This book challenges the idea that we have to do everything, be everything for everybody, and prove our way to feeling worthy. It makes you ask some hard questions about how much time you invest in things that do not matter. Written by a woman who almost wore herself to pieces building a life she thought she wanted but didn't, this book is a good reminder that it is okay to stop, say "no" and seek a restful life.

7. The Screw Tape Letters
By C.S. Lewis
I wrote a whole post about this one. It is seriously hilarious. And by that I mean two things-it is serious, and hilarious. Sobering and amusing. A classic. A must read. I will always be thankful I poured time into this small, but powerful volume. My review is here.

8. Across Five Aprils
by Irene Hunt
My third time reading this book. I get a sort of sentimental tingling in my chest every time I go through it.  With his older brothers, school teacher, and cousin off fighting in the Civil War, young Jethro Crieghton comes of age working the family farm, and reading the war news. This book basically gives the reader a birds-eye view of the entire Civil War by tracing the various friends and family of Jethro as they fight the war between the States. I will read this again.

9. A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
A book worth reading, a book that makes any movie adaption pale in comparison. Even better than reading this book, is reading this book during Christmas time. I cried at the end, as I know countless Victorians did when it was published, and as I know people will continue to do through the ages. The message of this story is not just about Scrooge changing and helping Tiny Tim, it is a warning against bitterness, and losing compassion for others when we forget the real reason for Christmas.

So...what have you read this year that made an impact on you?
Have you read any of the books above?
What makes a good book in your eyes?

Much love,

(Images from Goodreads, not all editions pictured are the ones I read)

Monday, December 5, 2016

Once// Historically Inspired Fairytales Review

Today I am thrilled to review a book written by some bloggers I follow.
 I first heard about this project on Hayden's blog some months ago, and jumped at the chance to be an advanced reader.

written by
 Elisabeth Grace Foley, Rachel Heffington, J Grace Pennington, Emily Ann Putzke, Suzannah Rowntree, and Hayden Wand.
"Once" is a collection of fairytale retellings, all spun with the twist of being placed in a historical setting. These short-stories are all standalone, and each taste of the distinct interests and styles of six very different authors. From a time-traveling princess who just wants to sleep, to a lonely girl out west surrounded by wolves, each story definitely has a feel of its own. There's a mystery during the Jazz age, and some steampunk misadventure that will keep you reading until the end. A 1940's tale of heartbreak and an Italian Renaissance tale of freedom share the common themes of war, fear and love. Each story seeks to view well known fairytales through a different lens, and there are sure to be at least a few plot surprises for everyone.

-The Mountain of the Wolf  by Elisabeth Grace Foley: a western-style retelling of Little Red Riding Hood dealing with the struggle between revenge and justice, set amid old mines and wild mustangs.

-She But Sleepeth by Rachel Heffington: a retelling of Sleeping Beauty woven with time-travel, broken glass, and cunning gypsies, set in Romania at the famous PeleČ™ Castle.

-Rumpled by J Grace Pennington: a steampunk retelling of Rumplestiltskin revolving around one rash decision, lies, artificial intelligence and slow love.

-Sweet Remembrance by Emily Ann Putzke: a heart-rending retelling of The Little Match Girl, set in a WW2 era Jewish ghetto, this story explores the concept of loving even after incredible loss. 

-Death Be Not Proud by Suzannah Rowntree: a mystery-style retelling of Snow White involving jazz music, moonshine, and a quest for truth, set around glassy waters in New Zealand.

-With Blossoms Gold by Hayden Wand: a Renaissance era retelling of Rapunzel, this tale about a girl in a tower shows that not all prisons are physical, and deals with themes of courage and faith.

Historical Elements:
I was drawn to this book for it's historical backdrop, and that is exactly what made the stories special.
Some stories definitely pull more on the historical aspect than others. Also, I did learn about some neat places, namely Peles Castle in Romania, and the South Island of New Zealand. Plus the description of a maiden clothed in Renaissance garb made me happy.

The romances were kept pretty clean, with kissing and embraces between couples.
There is a start of a chapter where intimacy is implied to have taken place between a married couple.
Overall I felt like the relationships were sweet rather than steamy.

Spiritual Elements:
These are fairytale retellings all written, (from what I understand) by Christian authors.
Two of the stories have a more fantasy/magic feel, while the others do not.
The last story in particular makes mention of Christianity and the power of prayer, and in some of the others there are subtle themes of faith and honor.

Overall Thoughts:
This was a delightful read, a real treat for someone who doesn't read much fiction these days *sigh*. I couldn't put it down over my Thanksgiving holiday. There were things in each story that I did not foresee happening, which kept it fun. At first I found it hard switching from one author to another, but in the end that is exactly what I appreciated most about it. If these authors ever put together another collection, I would pounce at the chance to get a copy.

I highly recommend buying this book, it is available for purchase on kindle!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Mod-Squad Outfit

                                                                       Hello friends!

                                  I went thrifting again and found some vintage-esque pieces.
                 Behold the burnt-orange 60's-style shift, featuring pockets and peter-pan collar.
I have worn this about four times this week.

 Since it is getting quite cold, I like to wear my fabulous bow sweater with it, see how nice?

I am sporting some mitts my friend Marie made for my birthday, and my new footed-leggings.
These brown "tights" are the thickness of leggings, and fleece-lined too. Very warm and super soft.

 Oh! add to my awesome squad, we got a new puppy in October....

Meet Rita. She looks innocent, but be ye not deceived.
She is quite the little rascal!
I had forgotten how much work a puppy can be. We got her for my mother as an early birthday present. She is super cute and we love her!

Anyways, I hope you all are doing well.
We got our first bit of snow the other day, but it is all gone now.
Off to fix myself a cup of tea.
(I am trying to prevent a sore throat from taking over my weekend.)

Much Love,

P.S. Has anyone ever watched that old TV show The Mod Squad? I only catch it occasionally on our re-run network, but it's pretty fun.
P.P.S. So tell me, what are you up this first week of December? Are you in full-gear Christmas mode, or just starting to ramp up to it?