Party Dress

Party Dress

Remember this dress?  I called it the “Nevaeh” dress because I had Nevaeh in mind when I was making it.  Turns out it’s the perfect dress for a three-year old to wear to her birthday party.  I couldn’t have found a more beautiful model!

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Finally…I’m back!

Finally…I’m back!

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of fun & excitement & exhaustion.  I’m arrived back in London early Tuesday morning after spending 12 days in the US (Pennsylvania, Boston, Cumberland, & Waterville).  I spent Memorial Day weekend in Pennsylvania celebrating my cousin Victor’s nuptials.  My incredibly talented cousin, Rachael, was the photographer (check out her photos) and my equally talented cousin, Myriah, was the florist and event coordinator/decorator (flowers & decorations can be seen in Rachael’s photos).  These women did an AMAZING job creating & capturing the beauty of this event.

In preparation for the wedding, I made myself this dress (believe it or not this is the best picture I have of the dress, try not to be horrified by my dancing).  I picked up the lightweight cotton print in Beijing.  This is my last “Dress a Week Challenge” dress.  I only wish I had added pockets.  I’m a dress with pockets kind of girl. While I wasn’t able to do any sewing when I was home I did manage, between yard sales, sales & my birthday, to acquire some FABULOUS supplies.  I can hardly wait to put everything to use!

The python sheds her skin – the video

The python sheds her skin – the video

The carpet python wiggles her way into a fresh new look.

What do you do with a shed snakeskin?  (aka snake shed)

If you’re me you would want to print with it!  But first it had to be unrolled, cut open, and spread out to dry.

8 foot long snake shed
Freshly shed skin - translucent & shimmering

This was her head piece. Look at the eyecoverings - just like little goggles
Pinned out to dry

Watch future posts for adventures in snake skin printing!

The Snake and the Singer (sewing machine)

The Snake and the Singer (sewing machine)

Snakes Alive!!

Just to keep things interesting at our home is now serving as a temporary holding place for rescue snakes – i.e. pet snakes that people don’t want anymore. We already have tree frogs, anoles, and some fish of our own, plus a few caterpillars that we are watching turn into butterflies in a container.  Two eight foot long snakes – a boa and a carpet python  –  are living in our den temporarily.  My husband, an amateur herpetologist and member of the Maine Herpetological Society, is now a snake rescuer.  I guess that makes me the den mother.  This guy posing on my sewing machine is a carpet python.

What do snakes have to do with sewing?  About an hour after our photo shoot this one shed his skin – amazing to watch. The shed skin is now drying in our dining room mounted on to cardboard with straight pins. Every nature printer’s dream – an 8 foot long shed snake skin!  Just imagine all the fabric that I can print with that!

I never had a sewing machine for a friend
His tail only needed a little mending
As a "carpet" python he has always been interested in fabric
snake with mouth open
Hey! I think I'll hang here for awhile
A Shout Out to My Mom

A Shout Out to My Mom

I’ve been thinking a lot of about weddings lately – hard not to living in London where Kate & Wills are boldly displayed in the windows of nearly every storefront.  My cousin is also getting married a week from Saturday (can’t wait!!), so I have weddings on the brain.  As such, I thought it was an appropriate time to reminisce about my wedding (ok, ok it was only eight months ago but still).  Specifically, I want to spotlight the amazing seamstress I found to make my flower girl dresses and my cathedral length veil.  Drumroll please…….MY MOM!

If you follow our blog you’ve already realized that my mom is an incredibly talented women.  She is a gifted artist, specializing in mixed media art (you should see her fish & nature prints, they’re brilliant!  She recently shared her passion by teaching a local class on nature printing).  A seamstress, you name it she can sew it.

Seriously, check out the dress pictured above.  It’s gorgeous. Should be on the cover of a magazine.  As mentioned in a previous post by my mom, the bodice and covered buttons are made from the lace of my grandmother’s wedding dress – a very special way for my grandmother to be a part of my wedding.  These dresses were part of my inspiration to start sewing infant/toddler dresses myself.  I haven’t taken on the challenge of sewing silk yet but it has been calling my name lately – I think I can hear it all the way from the Beijing Fabric Market.

She also whipped together my veil which to many would be a daunting task.  Not her.  After visiting a couple bridal shops and trying on countless dresses and a few veils she determined that she could make me a veil.  Sounded fabulous to me especially after catching a glance of the veils’ price tags.

It was just what I wanted, cathedral length & simple.

If you’re planning a wedding, take a minute to think about all (anything) the things you (or your mom/friends/etc.) can make to be a part of your big day.  It could potentially save you a bundle of money while adding a personal touch to your wedding.

Photos by Mikayla Anania
Bias Tape Makers starting at $6.50 – How to make your own bias tape

Bias Tape Makers starting at $6.50 – How to make your own bias tape

Sometimes I feel like I have been in a sewing time warp.

While I see those jazzy (and expensive) electric bias tape makers everywhere, I didn’t realize that handy little manual tape makers also existed. Why didn’t I know about these things? These gadgets go by the name of  “bias tape makers.”   I always appreciate a product that is named for what it is or what it does.

Recently, as I was rummaging through my yard sale loot box looking for a zipper I discovered that I actually own one of these bias tape makers. There it was NIB (new in box) just waiting to be opened. I  immediately had to try it out – without reading the directions of course – and was thrilled with the ease of making 1/4″ bias tape, not noticing that according to the package it was a 1/2″ bias tape maker. When I learned to follow the correct process I was even happier with the results.

Watch for future posts which will reveal where this bias tape was used!

This is a very easy and inexpensive solution for anyone who wants to make custom bias tape in short lengths.  Here is how it works:  cut your fabric 4 times the desired width of your finished tape.  If you want 1/2″ tape, then cut 2″ width.  Cutting on the bias (diagonal), of course. Thread the strip of fabric through the bias tape maker and then iron it as it comes out the other end. There is a little coordination factor involved requiring pulling the gadget along in one hand while ironing with the other. I managed to succeed without burning myself with the iron so most anybody could probably master this technique.

Googling “bias tape maker”  shows that Clover USA is a lead player in the sewing gadget world. Clover products include not only manual bias tape maker in five different sizes, but also a fusible bias tape maker (even more important to read the instructions), and a plethora of other sewing tools, gadgets, and hardware.  Clover’s  blog offers useful sewing tips and information of interest to sewists, knitters and quilters, in addition to the usual informercial aspect. Worth a look. (I’m not being compensated in any way to promote Clover – unfortunately.) Guess what Annie’s getting for her birthday from me?