A piece a Week – A Pattern Remix

Sidetracked is what happened to me last week – in a mass of projects I saw this beautiful fabric in my project pile and thought what can I make with this? Then a flash of inspiration came – why not combine your favourite top and skirt combination and see what happens? So I used the skirt of a favorite dress pattern of mine. For the top was a fabric a good friend in Portland gave me last time I visited. I really wanted to focus on the super cute birds in the print and used the Geometric Top pattern from the Burda Sewing Vintage Modern book – I pretty much wear the black version of this top every week to ceramics class and it can be layered with long sleeves and with its interesting cut it sits quite low and does not creep up when I am working on the wheel. This dress makes me so happy as yellow is my favorite color. Currently I am planning my wardrobe for when we leave the country to visit Australia in 4 weeks and it will be winter 😦 at least yellow is a happy colour!
Vintage chick fabric
The front of the dress has pockets – which I love
A V at the back of the top with a yellow fabric I found in my stash 

This was going to be a Mothers Day dress but the day was far from what it is today, which is lovely and sunny! Yesterday by the beach in Pescadero the sun was hidden by cloud most of the day so I made this top in a wool to be worn as a layer. I like the way it turned out and it is a lot of fun with a short skirt and tights – an easy layering piece for a Sunday at the beach in California. 

The geometric top in wool suiting
We had organized to meet our friends from Oakland in Pescadero for Mothers Day for lunch at Pescadero Country Store and after a feast we walked down to see the goats at Harley Farms. There were so many baby goats, way too much cuteness. After our 1 mile cruising walk we decided to go and hang out at the beach for a bit before heading home. Lucky for us we were there in time to see a family of whales swimming by in the shallows. We could see their little fins popping up out of the water and the air from their breathing holes – sweet! While we were at Pescadero there was a parade down the street celebrating the Portuguese community check out the mini horse taking these folks for a ride! 
Dudes strike a pose – loving your mini horse! 
We wandered up to Harley Farms to check out the goats as a tradition of ours for the many years we have been visiting Pescadero – no trip is complete without a visit to the goats! And we were in luck with seeing lots of baby goats and a trip up above the store to the hayloft where sat a huge table and chairs. 

Just like being in Alice in Wonderland 

As it was nice overcast weather we made our trip to the beach for a final farewell to Pescadero.

The pair of us on a rock – very rare photo op!

Missy finds clay and makes a cat

The cat closeup

Adding a bit of detail to the head

A bee in a poppy – one of my favorite photo captures

This guy found a whale bone – not really it is a stick! 

A piece a Week – A Quick Quilt Hack

This week I have been thinking about the amazing quilt top I found at FabMo ages ago that I made into tote bags and reminiscing about the vintage fabric that someone collected to hand sew this beauty together. I love the tote bags that I made so much that I thought well I should make a quilt of my own with this and not give it away. Now this quilt will have its own little story about where it came from and how it came into being for my lounge room. 
As a collector of fabrics and someone who uses repurposed fabric in their projects I am constantly receiving fabric from friends for either the classes I teach or for my own use. A friend of mine gave me her unfinished quilt batting and it was so warm I thought I will use my newly found quilt skills from our Arts Focus class and make my own quilt sandwich with fabric from FabMo for the back and the hand quilted vintage fabric for the quilt top. I just love it as I can sit on the couch and relax with this little lap quilt and knit the day away with a cup of tea, while catching up on the latest episode of Downton Abbey. Hey it is winter – so any downtime nice and snug is a good thing, I am quite a fan of hibernation 😉 
My quilt hack with no binding just the edges folded over
Oh and speaking of Arts Focus – we had our reception for the Fall session last Thursday evening, the kids can show their family and friends and then take their art work home. Here is Mr Ash with his Maori Sticks creation from the Global Beats class. 
Hit me with your rhythm stick

A piece a Week – Skirting is the Issue

This week is the last week of school before 10 weeks of summer holidays!! So I have had to get myself into gear and start my clean up plan for the summer. So with the time I had this week on my creative day on Tuesday I made a couple of skirts from some vintage finds I found on my travels. This is a super cute project with adding a elastic waistband and the bottom of a dress and the Box pleated skirt was using the waistband from a vintage dress – the top of vintage finds is usually small and tight for women these days. This skirt works with the waistband from the dress and I added a bit of velcro under the button to close up the skirt. These are smaller doable projects as there are many more things to organize this week!

Butterflies flying away!

Box pleats for a school uniform look!

My last sweet 4 hours of my alone time (for the next 10 weeks!) was spent cleaning out my closet using the famous KonMari Method from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It took me the 4 hours to just go through everything. After that I then made a huge mountain of clothes I did not want anymore – the clothes that did not give me joy 🙂 I really like this method and I feel it will be good for me but I am not the only person living here and there is constant chaos around me, so whether my plan can be put into action – who knows!!

I like to be organized and I must admit that when I went to find an outfit this morning it made life a heck of a lot easier to just look in the drawer and see everything neatly folded – let us hope this lasts! The closet was lovely to clear out and hang items of clothing together. that way it is much easier to put outfits together. So I spent the 4 hours during the day to clear out and sort and then I spent another 3 hours in the evening putting everything away and bagging and sorting clothes for donation – whew! I am hoping with some time on my hands over the next ten weeks I can look at other areas of the house too while the kids are playing outside happily!! We can all dream…

Nicely folded and organized

Hanging around in the closet

There has been many a goodbye this week and here is the cake top I designed for a favorite teacher who is moving South. We have all been inspired by his class and enjoyed reading Roald Dahl immensely and I wanted to show our appreciation. I used the cover of Fantastic Mr Fox and gave it a bit of a Photoshop makeover with our teacher as the Fantastic Mr Fox himself!

Farewell to our favorite teacher!

At home my haven is my kitchen and at the end of a day of business it is wonderful to come and cook and make dinner with a glass of wine or two. Here are bowls I have purchased from the ceramics studio I play at, plus a couple of bowls that I made – the yellow hand built bowl and the turquoise thrown bowl with nectarines and cucumbers. There will be more made in the future as clay can be addicting. I love using beautiful bowls when I cook!

Ceramics in action 

A piece a week – A top for a party and a Wedding!

With the deadline of the show fast approaching – October 25th, everything seems to be on schedule in regard to the inventory.This is a good thing which means the next step the photography! Though I keep on finding fabric and wanting to make other things as I am looking for linings and fabrics for my pieces. The focus has to be there to meet my deadline and have everything ready for the show with everything photographed, tagged and ready to display! As the next project on the agenda is Halloween – our favorite time of year!!
With the excitement of buying an overlocker this week, I had to check out how fast it is to make garments. I started with a pattern I enjoy wearing of late and made a top. The fabric I found was from a shopping spree last year in Portland with my good friend. We had a blast checking out fabric and looking for shoes and eating amazing food. The fabric has a gorgeous vintage feel and I used black as a contrast to break up all the floral and found this super cool button as I was cleaning up my thread box. Amazing, the things that I can find in the sewing room!!
This looks cute with a pair of skinny jeans – my utilitarian day wear of late! 
The vintage button I found in my stash
 Saturday was a big day for everyone – as it was the wedding of a good friend and neighbor of ours who moved up to the mountains to live. We were all so excited about the wedding and the fun part was getting dressed up and finding a fun outfit to wear!
I made the shift dress a while ago and it is super comfortable with fabric a friend gave me.  And lucky for me I found these ombre tights on Etsy to go with the dress – how did I know the day was going to be so hot!! Ash had a tie that said ‘I am a Rock Star’ and Missy had a cute Mini Boden dress and sequin shoes. Of course the girls were the happiest to have the opportunity to dress up 🙂 A friend of mine let me borrow her beautiful ceramic pendant to go with the dress – so perfect!
All dressed up and ready to go – finally we get to look good as a family together! 

Sitting on a hay bale and waiting for the bride to show up!

The wedding in action!

Congratulations to my dear friends – Cheers with Champagne in the Redwoods

A table bouquet that came home with us – thank you!

A piece a Week – A cross back top for the summer, Cotton Candy!

I have this stash of fabric that I just buy not knowing what I am going to make with it, so I finally that I design a pattern from a little top of Holly’s that I just loved. I enlarged the pattern pieces and made a fabric version from the paper that I could modify on my body which I used to transfer back to the pattern pieces I had made and it turns out for me that this is a great way to make a custom pattern!

The fabric I found was from my trip to Portland last year to this amazing fabric store called the Mill End Store. I had such a fun time finding all these treasures from back in the day – the owners had scored a collection of fabrics from as far back as the 1950’s that I could not resist! The justification was I will never see fabric like this again so it has to go home with me 🙂

So the cross back top was a fun and challenging project to make as I had to use lining as the fabric was see-through. After I decided to use lining then came the challenge of sewing the straps together with the seam on the inside. Lucky that I had made bags that are of a similar design and I just crossed the straps at the back and with a bit of unpicking and resewing they came together. There is no zip or buttons on this top as it just crosses at the back and it is flowing. The only thing I will look at for the next version is not to cut the neck too wide as it just sits on the shoulder and may fall down, still I think it looks cute the way it balances on edge of the shoulder.

This is definitely designed for a really hot day as there is lots of space to breathe and you can never have enough cute tops to go with the utilitarian jeans that mammas wear around the traps. I will have to see how this goes with a skirt? Still the challenge of making a pattern from scratch and designing it to customize me was something that I have been missing in my sewing for a while – looks like in future posts I will be playing a bit more with missing pieces for my spring/summer wardrobe!

Flowers outside my craft room

The flowers for the tree above are just so beautiful in the Spring and remind me of fairy floss or what is it called here cotton candy. That’s a great name for the top that I made as the neon of the check fabric against all the other pastels really made this fabric pop. The lining of the top is a vintage feed bag cotton that is of such an incredible quality. They made a perfect pair!

Wearing the top, to see a full shot – I have to work on finding my tripod?!?

The front of the cross back top – with a statement necklace it would be perfect

The cross back that was a bit of a challenge 🙂