Sunday, November 8, 2015

Steampunk in Nantes

This is a follow-up on my Halloween prep. blog entry.  BUT it's not photos of the Halloween party!  We went to Nantes this weekend and I took advantage of the visit to reuse some elements from the Halloween costume and do a little steampunk photo session at Les Machines de l'Ile, a Jules Verne-based mini theme-park in the city.  You can check out their website at

I'm the photographer here, so you won't see my costume featured.  But I made the hat decoration, the jabot, and I spraypainted the waistcoat. ;)

The hat decroation took me the longest.  You saw the preparation in the last blog entry.  It took a while for the waistcoat to dry, but the spraypainting part was fast.  However, it really only looks good from far away.  Lots of to be expected from spraypainting an old waistcoat!

And the jabot was simply glued together (it was down to the wire, folks!) using bits of old lace, and then just folded to the appropriate width and pinned on the shirtcollar.

In front of the massive carrousel:

Now overlooking an old vessel in the Loire river, Nantes being an important port on the Atlantic.   I highly recommend visiting the city - there was some very cool stuff to see and do!

The model taking a break, with his very non-steam-based-technology cellular phone:

The only things sewed in this endeavor were some decorative buttons.  Oh the magic of glue!

I took so many photos it was hard to choose!  So I made collages to comprise.  OK, OK, one nice, last close-up:

Bisous from Nantes!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Preparations

Not doing much sewing for our Halloween costumes, but I have gotten up to some other craftiness.  Let's start with my materials...

 Which were transformed as if by magic by this product:

Et voila...

Combined with some trappings in my craft closet...

I made several design attempts...

with the help of discerning cats...

 before finally settling on something:

I think today's picture-heavy post makes up for last time.  Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The computer is dead, long live the tablet

Only, not really 'cuz I hate typing on my tablet! Reading is ok, but typing is a hassle. I just had to correct four typos in that last sentence, gah!

Anyhow, part of my blog silence is due to computer death. I still don't have a replacement. Its absence has showed me just how dependent we are. You need a computer to do so so so many things nowadays. You call a company for information and they tell you to go to their website ... and don't give you the info you need. Ok, end old lady rant.

So I still have no finished projects, unless you count coloring, which I've been doing lots of. So in lieu of a show and tell, I'm going to share with you my Halloween costume plans. I've decided to throw a Halloween party for the first time in France. It falls on a Saturday this year, can't pass up that opportunity.

I've decided to go steampunk. I'm using some things I already have in my closet: boots, stockings, a top, a skirt and some jewelry. So I need/would like to buy a corset or fake corset, a wig and maybe some accessories.  Plus we're doing matchy-matchy as the hosts, so my boyfriend needs a waistcoat and a hat and a shirt. He has some suitable accessories already and the pants and shoes are good to go.

We don't have time to fashion our costumes ourselves from whole cloth, so I am looking to buy some stuff. I discovered this French-based company - - which has cute stuff but is a little more than I'd like to pay. Incidentally, they also have rockabilly and swing style stuff too. An interesting site.

While trawling the internet I noticed that Walmart - Walmart!  - sells steampunk stuff. I guess I didn't realize how mainstream it is! seems like the costumes for guys are less elaborate. It's more about the accessories...

I have no pictures as of yet and in any case I'm having a devil of a time trying to load anything up here. Must be a slow internet connection. But I will leave you will a podcast recommendation:  About NYC history and excellent excellent excellent!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Looking Back at My Me-Mades: the Madras Shirt

Here's a bit of rambling wardrobe analysis, focusing on one particular item in my wardrobe...

I still regularly wear most of the sweaters and scarves and hats that I've knit for myself over the years, but most of the garments I've sewn have bit the dust.  I still (nearly weekly) wear two tops in spring/summer.  And in winter, I have two skirts and a jersey top that I'm faithful to.  But all the others have gone, baby gone!

So I wanted to take a moment to compose a visual ode to the most-worn garment in my wardrobe, a much-beloved version of Simplicity 2501 that I made two years ago, from some martiniquais madras that a friend gave me.

I noticed how often I wear it because it kept popping up in my vacation pictures!

A view of the back...

And here's another picture taken about a month later - the same outfit!  I'm sweating it out at the Nashville Tomato Festival:

I realize that I'm dressed in tomato colors...this was completely unplanned.  I could've competed in the "tomato" fashion competition I suppose, but it was too hot to do anything but guzzle water and walk listlessly around the stands.

This is frankly not my best quality work.  It was a rush job - I seem to remember needing a tank top before vacation because the temperature skyrocketed.  The hemming is particularly awful and I have to pay careful attention when I iron it so that the inside part stays inside!! 

But I love this top.  I think it represents a lot of my style and personality with the colors and the plaid and the big crazy glass buttons.  It has my two favorite shades of green!  And frankly it's really easy to wear - definitely comfortable, yet flattering (I think).

I can dress it down in jeans or dress it up a bit like I'm doing in these photos.  It is inconvenient in that I have to iron it, but I love it so much that I iron that sucker nearly every week!  Plus I can layer it with a cardigan when the weather turns colder.  This is just a BIG BIG winner.  And such sloppy sewing, ha!  I suppose I could redo the hem, but you know I'm not doing that!

I had just enough of this fabric to squeeze out a tank top and I certainly didn't expect to be wearing it this often.  I will be sad when I have to retire it!  What about you?  Any sewing surprises?  Anything you unexpectedly end up wearing A LOT?  Ever had a love affair with a shirt? ;)

I think this says it all about me and my shirt:

Enjoy the weekend!!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

No F.O.s ... but some dancing

July was a fail for blogging!  I have no finished crafting projects to share, but I have been doing quite a bit of this:

And there I am in my new red pants that I love (store-bought, alas!):


Even in the rain during the Joan of Arc festival (I'm the photographer):

Happy August everybody!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Another Embroidered Necklace from Red Gate Stitchery

Small projects are my friends.  I just completed another necklace from Red Gate Stitchery.  I may prefer this one to the other one; I haven't decided yet.

It's in "my" colors. :) Happy, bold, festive colors.

This is what it looks like worn:

Nothing much to say here.  No broken needles this time, but I had already figured out to reduce the thread count, so to speak.  I started out crossing over one way (following the pattern) and then switched automatically to my normal way of doing it after a few stitches.  Of course I didn't notice 'til the end.  As it's for me, I left it as is.  Can't be bothered!

Have a good weekend everybody! :)

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Quilt? In progress...

The idea of putting in the zipper for my shirt is daunting me.  But I have caught a sewing bug.  So I decided just to sew straight lines.  The best way to do this seemed to make a quilt!  I have lots of fabric scraps - time to use those suckers up!!

So, I have started what will be my first quilt.  I made a pillow once, like 20 years ago, but I don't think that counts.

I didn't want something complicated.  No triangles.  So I chose the Blissful Quilt by Pat Bravo.  It's all rectangles - perfect!

As I am sewing with my scraps, the color scheme is completely different to her suggestions.  Here's what I decided upon:

I'm having fun even during the cutting process, so that's a good sign!

I would've preferred to use the flowery fabric for one of the bigger rectangles, but I just didn't have enough fabric.  So I am forced to use it on a smaller piece, which I feel like is too bad 'cuz the beauty of the print is lost a bit on such a small piece.  Oh well.

Here are my first two rows assembled:

That's lots of brown, but I'm pleased so far! ;)  many many rows to go!