Thursday, April 21, 2011

Picture This

Ok, I've got a new idea. I know a lot of blogs out there have "Wordless Wednesdays" and such where they post a single photograph without words, but I LIKE words. In fact, I think the words can help describe the photo and really give the reader a more personal connection to the photo they are looking at. This is one of the reasons why I like scrap-booking, and captions, and those little thought bubbles in cartoons. So here's my version of the photographic showcase-

Picture This...

I got a new camera for Christmas, which I love, but I don't get to use nearly as much as I'd like. My husband (who is not a creative soul, nor a photographer) picked up my camera the other day and went outside for a few minutes. He came back in with this...

I have to admit, I was impressed. Even though originally I wasn't crazy about the idea of a pole full of martin houses being erected in my back yard, I've come to appreciate them over the years. That being said, I've never thought of that huge pole of gourds as beautiful until I laid eyes on this photo with the sun setting behind it. Score one for the inexperienced photographer.

Now, wasn't that a lot better than just the picture alone???


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Craft Project #6 - Poodle Skirts

My mother is a dance teacher, so I have been involved in dance since I was old enough to walk. This has been one of the great joys in my life and although I have not chosen to follow in her footsteps and teach dance, I still love it and try to be involved in her studio as much as I can. Both of my children take classes, and each year there is a recital at the end of the season. This year, the theme for the finale is 'Grease'. All the kids have been asked to dress like the 50's. So, I was in the studio a couple of weeks ago and one of the mothers told me she had a friend that was making her daughter a poodle skirt. This got me to start thinking about what my 4 yr old daughter was going to wear ( I am a bit of a procrastinator occasionally and, unless it is calling for my immediate attention, I usually put it off and forget about it for a while)

I had a poodle skirt that my grandma made from a long ago recital when I was 6 or 7 years old. I didn't know exactly where it was, but I was sure it would be too big for my little one. So since that wouldn't work the next idea was to search Etsy. I wanted to match the pink and black recital T-shirts we were ordering so I was a little picky about the color combination. I found a lot of poodle skirts there too, and most of them had the measurements for each size they sold, but I didn't find exactly what I wanted. I tried just a general Google search for 'poodle skirt' and found a blog with a very helpful tutorial on how to make one from scratch. I love the internet!!

Now, I don't sew very much and the only things I have sewn are fairly easy- a pillow, pillowcase, an apron, and minor repairs to existing clothing. But this was a great tutorial. It looked simple enough and it had pictures, so I thought I would try it. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought 1 yard of black felt material, some sequin ribbon and a poodle applique. I thought surely this would be enough for my little 4T skirt.

I got home and went straight to work. I got the measurements from one of the Etsy listings then checked them with my daughter height as well. The tutorial listed a formula to figure the measurements for cutting out a pattern. (I really made my own pattern too!! Yeah! So starting off like any other night, I had to work around all the normal interruptions from my children and such. Here's how it went: I figured my pattern size, went to start dinner, came back and got the paper laid out and measured, helped my daughter with her game, went back to check on my dinner, checked the measurements again and drew the pattern lines. My son needed help with homework so I did that before I finished dinner and got it on the table.
After dinner, I went back to my project and quickly cut two panels of the material using my new pattern. When I went to cut the third panel I realized I didn't have much material left.

YIKES! What did I do wrong?!?

I went back and checked the tutorial formula against my figures, and sure enough I added the wrong number to the wrong thing and ended up with 2 ankle length panel for my 4T skirt instead of 4 knee length panels. So, the next available day I was off to Hobby Lobby again for more material. This time, I got a little extra - 1 1/2 yards - just in case I had another distraction to mess up my figures, or some other unforeseen problem. I was determined to make my baby girl a poodle skirt!

I re-figured my numbers and made a new pattern then carefully laid out my new material for cutting. Hallelujah it worked! So off I went to sewing. I dug out my sewing machine that had been put away in a cabinet for years and set it up. Everything was going smoothly and, with the exception of having to rip out a few stitches and redo one little section, I think I did pretty well. I finished up my little project with a store bought poodle applique and some sequin ribbon which I hand stitched. My wonderful little girl was very helpful throughout my project by letting me use her for a model at least half a dozen times and she was very excited when it was finally finished.

Now I had lots of left over material, and since I now knew what I was doing (kind of) I thought I should try it again. I ended up making two more poodle skirts, but this time I had to draw a poodle pattern and cut out two pink felt silhouettes because I had only bought one pre-made applique. Each one is a little bit different but still very cute and although I am now all 'poodled' out, I have to say I am very proud of myself. I plan on putting the two extra skirts in my mom's studio for sale this week especially for the big recital in June. Keep your fingers crossed for me that they sell!!

Until next time ~