Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This week I'm busy trying to finish up the outfits we'll be wearing at Faerieworlds this weekend. I haven't taken photos of everything I made yet, but yesterday was all about wings. I'd made the wire frames the night before and then tried out different ideas on how to cover them, taking into account I had only so much time to finish them in, until I found something I liked.

Here's my first attempt.

It's not what I set out to do originally. I liked my complicated design but it was the wrong thing to start with as there was a learning curve - each set was easier as I learned techniques that worked. But these wings are for a French Faerie outfit and I want it to be sort of whimsical and feminine and a teensy bit exaggerated, so I'm happy with how they turned out. Now that I've had a little more practice, and if I had more time, I think I could do my original idea for these wings - maybe next year.

Next I covered these wings.

These are for a woodland autumn faerie outfit. I wanted them to be simple and dragonfly shaped. I ended up making them leaf shape instead which worked better for hanging and for the colors in the rest of the outfit. I found this fabric at a big fabric warehouse and it was perfect for these wings, having a leaf vein sort of raised pattern and a beautiful shimmery copper color.

Next came these.

Originally I was simply going to wrap the outer frame of these with a larger stiff wire covered in black feathers, but the feathers were too large to play nicely with the shape. I'd bought an oversized shirt at the thrift shop that was made of a stretchy black tufted fabric, thinking I might cut it down for the top for this outfit but I ended up using a velvet tee instead. So I cut the fabric from the back of this shirt in the shape of the wings, slightly oversized, and stretched, pinned, and hand sewed it to the wire frame. At first I didn't know what I was doing but as I went along I figured it out and it went more quickly than I expected. I had to go back and redo the first wing a bit where I'd been learning how to do it.

Then I used this soft feathery boa (a thrift shop find) to trim the top edge and make those dangly tips.

Not wings, but I also made this for my granddaughter.

Storebought wings I found while on vacation. I had to order the red onsie online as it's virtually impossible to find a plain kid's tee without some cartoon character or Disney princess painted on it. First I added the little white roses but then I thought the pom pom trim went better with the polka dot skirt so I added it, didn't bother removing the roses. I figured faeries love extra embellishments. That and I was too tired to bother. And I made the skirt by cutting the tulle into six inch strips twice as long as the length and then just overlapping them around and threw the elastic waist. It seems a bit overly floofy but I'm always underestimating how much my granddaughter has grown - I followed the measurements for waist and length that my daughter-in-law gave me, so we'll see. I'm bringing a scissors with me in case I need to trim it up a bit.

Tomorrow all that's left is the packing, but there's a lot of it to do. If I have any time left, Hubby has asked me to make another pair of wings for him too.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gasp, it's been a while! I'm sorry to have abandoned you for so long. How sad for you to come back here day after day only to find the same ol' already read posts this week. I was busy, gone. A new grandson arrived. I was helping out with him, mom, the other three wild grandkids. Never a free moment really. Certainly more important than my blog, but I'm still sorry when I lose my momentum here.

And more busy still. Getting ready for Faerieworlds. Of course if I do this right, that translates into creative things to share eventually. But at least for today, I'm feeling too restless to post much.

I have managed to keep adding photos at the Shades of Inspiration group. I haven't added them here, but you can go there to see them. My photos are labeled from "Elpheba" and of course other people have also added wonderful images.

If you're just itching to procrastinate online, I found this fun site. Be sure to add your photo to a gallery, it's fun to see it hanging with other paintings. And check out what other people have done. Sheesh, mine looked like something a toddler drew compared to everyone elses.

Another site - simple but addictive.

Or if you're feeling too lazy to click somewhere else, just watch this video. I loved how she just rambled as if we were in the same room. I talk like that, going off on tangents but eventually coming full circle. I'll have to go find more of her videos when I have time. And now I have to run, late for an appointment.

Oh, and if you want to see those adorable grandchildren, photos are up on Beach Treasure.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not as much faery garb making in the last few days as I'd hoped. I promised hubby if I was still in town when his day off arrived, I'd go back to the fair with him, so that's how I spent yesterday afternoon. And then I was too tired to do much last night after walking around in the hot sun all day. I brought my camera back to the fair but forgot to put a SD card in it first. Argh.

Friday night I did get almost all of hubby's costumes finished though. I've got to take photos to share. And I had a last moment inspiration for one of his outfits. Two out of the three days our outfits will match, we'll have the same theme. We're both autumn woodland faeries together one day, and both dark animal fae another day. We would have matched on the third day as well, if not in theme, at least in color scheme, but then I switched my outfit. I realized a couple of nights ago (while laying in bed with a full moon shining through the window and restless insomnia) that with a little luck, I could find what I needed to switch hubby's outfit to match mine and it would be a lot more fun for him to wear as well.

Yesterday, before the fair, we hit the two thrift shops in town and luck was riding along on our shoulders because we found everything we needed. He was such a good sport, following me around and trying on clothing, some even from the women's section, even though he was completely confused as to my ultimate vision for him. He's learned to trust over the years that what starts out confusing him ends up with him going "Aha! That looks great!" Now all I have left to do for him is sew a few leaves on a hat and a few flowers on a pair of suspenders. Oh, and if I have time left, he wants another pair of wings.

I finished grandbaby's faery skirt on Friday night too. I sewed some flowers on the matching onesie and then stumbled upon a better idea in my box of ribbons, so I'm going to change the trim on it before I take a photo.

Today I'm going to work on designing wings and finishing the sewing on my own costumes. I should do the sewing first as I could do without the wings or buy them at the festival if I wanted, but I'm really excited to make them so, hopefully, with a little help from my friend - iced coffee - I'll manage to do both. And have time to go the market and make some gazpacho as well. Colorful, spicy and delicious - what could be more creative than that!

Today's Shades of Inspiration photos:

Some wee fairies resting under a summer candle holder. They're part of a larger crowd of fae and creatures having a picnic in a eclectic, odd, but somehow satisfying hodge podge summer altar display. I really liked the shadow in the background.

I didn't know anything about Evangeline (until I googled it this morning) but I saw this book at the thrift shop yesterday and the cover was so beautiful I had to bring it home.

Someone entered this pretty pink and green doily in the fair this year. There was another one, equally pretty, but I couldn't get the camera to ignore the glass and focus on it to take a sharp photo.

Another fair entry - I like the mint green and bubble gum pink. It would be cheerful here on a cold snowy day.

My friend Deb was thoughtful enough to enter this lovely pink and green wallhanging in the fair - and win a blue ribbon for it. I'm assuming the flower is a datura? Have you ever seen those vines heavy with flower in real life? They are enormous! Like something out of a fantasy jungle scene.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I was running out of fun pink and green photos for this week's theme at Shades of Inspiration. Lucky for me I went to the county fair yesterday and scored all sorts of fun pink and green photos to share with you!

Giant hollow bellied dragons on a ride in the children's midway area.

The adult midway (or really, isn't it truly more of a teenager's midway!?) obligingly was painted in sherbet colors this year instead of the more traditional bright reds and oranges.

There were lots of commercial vendors selling things from cowboy hats to these more-my-style umbrellas.

Another shot of the midway. The Tilt-O-Whirl is the only ride I really enjoy.

Las but definitely not least, fashionista extraordinaire, Flo the Clown. (If you want to see the rest of her oh-so-chic outfit, there are more photos of her on Beach Treasure today.)

That's it for now. I have more pink and green fair photos I'm saving for tomorrow as five per day is the limit.

But that's not all I have to show you. Au contraire! I snapped pics of other interesting fair exhibits. (But not in the fine arts building, where it seemed a bit too much like infringing on someone elses art.)

This quilt was made by a teenager in the 4-H exhibits. I photographed it close up so you could see the nifty way she used up bits and pieces of the conversation print panels by making a bigger crazy quilt designed panel for the middle. I thought that was a lot more interesting than just a solid quilt of ordinarily cut squares.

Another 4-H quilt, I adore polka dots and thought the colors were fantastic. And don't you love the unexpected red for the backing!?

This was a large... I think it was twenty squares of santas doing seasonal things. You'd think it would be twelve squares, one for each month, but apparently the quilter had more ideas than she could fit into a monthly square. Of course I had to share the Halloween themed square. Also, check out the gorgeous detail in the machine quilting.

I thought this was a nicely done jeans quilt. I like how she left seams, zippers and pockets to make more visual variety.

These dark pieces were made by a very talented teen out of soldered bolts!

A quilting friend of mine made this cute wallhanging. You can't see it well but a really cute touch was the beads on the kids' outfits.

I liked the simple shapes and bright colors of these glass plates and trivets. I particularly liked the little screaming face in blue and red (although I'm not sure the artist meant it to be a face) and the black cat.

Same friend who made the little Hawaiian kids wall hanging made this flying geese one. What impressed me was the wandering teeny tiny flying geese border around the middle scene. These were almost miniature quilt tiny - a lot of work.

I assume this is meant to be a child's quilt. A simple technique but what lot of mileage she got out using it plus bright prints. I'd love to play around with this idea.

I ended up back at the fair a second time later last night and I have more exhibit photos, plus more pink and green fair photos to share, hopefully tomorrow. Meanwhile, I put up a bunch of general fair scene photos today over on Beach Treasure. Be sure to go check them out for a montage of small town fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The faerie outfit making continues although I didn't get much done yesterday for reasons I can't really figure out. The day just got chopped up and before I knew it, poof, it was gone. Next I'm working on a Joli's faerie skirt. I have the cutest tulle for the project but I decided last night that it wasn't enough and I needed to add more. Her wings are red and orange and the tulle I already had was red so I went to get some orange tulle at Walmart (our only local fabric sourse) last night. Of course they had every color under the sun except orange. Sigh. So I bought more red. Oh well, no matter what her outfit looks like she'll be adorable.

Shades of Inspiration today is a hodge podge of pink and green - I'm running out of pink and green photos in my files! I've got a bunch of ideas for new photos but I ran out of room on the SD cards in both cameras this morning and so I'll have to deal with that before tomorrow.

Garden pinwheels

A rose bouquet with a little punch of lime green

I saw this stained glass chandelier hanging in the front entry of a restaurant in Old Town Sacramento (California)

Here's another pretty old china cup and saucer that was displayed at our now closed tea room. It's a good thing we took so many photos when they were still open for business. Now we can look at them whenever we want to remember all the good times we had there.

The depth of this photo means your eye goes to a number of places but only one of them is in focus. And yet I like how it captures what it felt like to stand beneath the rose vine.
Let the refashioning begin! Remember I took that Wardrobe Refashion pledge? Well, so far so good, I haven't bought any new clothing. But I haven't done any refashioning of old clothing yet. That is, until the last couple of days when I started to work on outfits for the faery festival.

I gathered up all the skirts, tops, boas, belts, sashes, fabrics, garlands, beads, purses and miscellaneous embellishments I'd collected over the last year and made huge piles on the bed and then started mix and matching them into outfits. I'm making three different costumes, one for each of the three days of the festival. I've been formulating ideas for all the days but I soon discovered that some of the ideas worked better in my head then when translated to arms and limbs.

Each day has a theme. For Bad Faerie Day I wanted to be a raven. The pieces I'd collected went together pretty much the way I'd hoped. There's some tweaking that needs doing - take the skirt in a pinch, make longer ties on the top, make the headpiece, make some shiny jewelry (ravens like shiny!) and sew some feathers here and there. I splurged last year and bought a large pair of black feather wings during Halloween. I tried them on and they didn't work out well. They were too big and they overpowered me, twirled around and hung sideways on my back, and weren't at all comfortable - especially with hard metal sticking into the middle of my sunburned bare back. Fortuantely they'll still be useful, as hubby wanted black wings for his outfit and since he's considerably taller and sturdier than me and wearing a padded vest, they will work fine for him. I'll be making a smaller set of wings for myself.

For Good Faerie Day I had a butterfly theme outfit planned, the one that needed the dreaded floofy green skirt. I started putting together the pieces of that outfit, pairing it with about a dozen skirts and found that the one I liked best was a last minute thrift find that I thought wouldn't be needed until maybe next year. Then, going through other bits and bobs, my idea took a huge leap in a different direction, all the way across the Atlantic Ocean actually, and morphed into a sort of Ooh-La-La French Fae design. I've got a couple of different combinations that work for this idea, the sewing will be easy, and you have to admit, being a flirty French Faery (maybe not completely good per se, but certainly not bad either. Let's just say she means well) is a lot funner (funner?) persona than a flittering butterfly.

I'll have photos of the outfits when I get further on in the sewing. The third day's theme was Family Day, so really, anything would work. I wanted to be either an autumny or woodsy fae so I had two piles - one that looked like a pile of autumn leaves, the other that looked like a pile of moss and stone. I started out sort of leaning towards wanting to be woodsy but I ended up loving the autumn top I made so Autumn Faery it is. Here's where I did ACTUAL REAL REFASHIONING!

I found this stretchy shirt at the thrift store. It had three quarter length sleeves and a black nylon lace insert at the collar - which you can barely make out. Sorry the photo is so dark. The main layer of fabric is a black stretch poly and the crackled look is another layer of stretch brown fabric with golds, greens, and rusts in the design that's sewn on top and then cut into those sections.

I cut out the lace insert and cut both the arms and the bottom of the shirt into a jagged pattern.

At the same thrift shop I found this sheer cotton skirt. The fabric has glittery gold threads running through it and is dyed in golds over a dark cream background.

Below you can see how it coordinates nicely with Charlie Weasley. Both Charlie and George Weasley are big ol' male cats and yet you could fit both of them and the rest of the Weasley family into this skirt as it's a size 3X.

The waistband was very nicely finished with a double set of stitching to keep the elastic from twisting. Considerate of the designer but a bummer for me as I had to remove both rows of tiny stitches - that took the longer than the rest of the steps for both the skirt and top. Then I tightened the elastic to fit around my waist and make the skirt flouncier. I was going to cut the bottom hem a foot or so shorter and make it jagged like the top but once it fit me me at the waist it hung a lot nicer and I decided in the autumn a faery would choose to wear a full length skirt. Gotta aim for authenticity, y'know.

And here's the finished outfit. I added a golden orange fishnet scarf to the waist and a belt of leaves and a satin purse for any faerie gold I might want to carry on my person. I have a crown of leaves and berries. I might add some ribbons down the back. I will also have rust brown dragon fly shaped wings if, knock on wood, I can figure out how to make them, and I have a bit of grapevine wrapped wire to attach them with. If I have time after I finish up the other outfits, I might just sew the leaves directly onto my skirt and around the collar of my shirt so I won't catch on anything with the long trailing vines.

Oh, and once I had all the sewing done, I promptly brushed against a screw sticking out of the back of a chair and ripped a huge gash in my scarf. ARGH. It took me an hour to sew it back together.
Today's Green and Pink for Shades of Inspiration is a series of photos I took of the wee fae playing in the garden.....

..... and one peaceful spring photo of Greyfriar Cemetery in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Shades of Inspiration color theme is getting tougher this week with not one, but two colors required. Am I up to the double color challenge? Let's see...

The color theme is - PINK and GREEN.

This poor little thing had lived a hard live and then was abandoned, living forgotten on the top shelf of a junque shop in town. After months of passing her by, I just couldn't take it anymore and brought her home. After this photo was taken I cleaned her up and was surprised to find most of her smudges and bruises disappeared.

The predominant colors in the Paris landscape seem to be white and gray. That's not to say Parisienne's don't try to add a splash of color to the streets. This cafe in Montmartre was certainly colorful enough!

I'm still sad..... no, heartbroken about our local tea room closing down. These were two of my favorite tea cups there.

In the ghost town Bodie, time is slowly fading all the colors away. But you can still see the pale green paint and the pink and white wallpaper in this abandoned kitchen.

These miniature roses grow near our front step. Awhile ago I noticed that all the buds in a particular cluster were pink except for one, which even tightly coiled was a pale green. It stayed green even when open. I just took this photo yesterday.

Over the weekend I've been busy digging for treasures under the the hot and smoky California sun. I wrote about it in depth and added some photos of some of my finds over on Beach Treasure.

I'm finally getting serious about coordinating some faeriewear. I sorted all the auditioning clothes, fabrics, scarves, and embellishments into theme or color piles and started trying things on. I even made my first refashioned item, only I forgot to take a Before Photo. Dang. I started on another refashioned top and this time I took a photo of it before I started work on it. But it's not finished yet so I don't have an After Photo yet.

I hope to get right back to my costume designing tomorrow... er, later today (I'm writing this before I go to sleep) and if things go according to plan, I'll have more progress made and more photos to show you. In the meantime, check out the adorably wicked faerie outfit my daughter-in-law designed. I'm going to make her some faerie hair additions to accessorize it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I think I've solved my green skirt problem. Yep. My solution - wear a different skirt. Snort! Okay, so I'm still hoping to tackle the green skirt, but if not, I went thrifting yesterday and found a) a floaty white full length skirt and b) a silky, twirly red dress with white polka dots. I bought both and I'm gonna cut the dress and make it a skirt because the skirt hangs so prettily but the top part is too tight and pulls the waist up into my rib cage. It occurred to me as I was debating buying both that layered, they'd make good faery attire AND they will match the top I have planned to wear with the green skirt. So, with an easy back up plan, I feel more relaxed about attempting the green skirt project.

The last day of brown for Shades of Inspiration. It seems like everyone slows down by the end of the color week, I know I do, but then when the last day rolls around I suddenly find a dozen more photos I should snap or share and I get bummed when we move on to a new color. Here are my last brown pics.

I couldn't resist sharing this photo as I'm still thinking it oh-so-cool that William and I were actually in the village of Wall from the set of the movie Stardust. This is in front of Monday & Sons. If you've seen the movie you'll be nodding your head now in understanding.

Here's another photo of in front of the shop without all the crew working on it.

Beautiful old beam and brick buildings in York, England.

This is one of my favorite photos of William Hmmm, I just realized that I have several photos of William that I love, in all of them he's doing the same thing - dancing. I guess they capture the moment well. Here he is in the top floor of an old haunted Tudor home in Conwy, Wales, looking rather ghostlike himself. If you open the photo, you can see the beautiful designs in the arches and ceiling.

A copper table top in Pilaf's, one of my favorite restaurants in Ashland, Oregon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The rest of the sewing machine table uncovering happened yesterday. The last couple baskets of miscellaneous bits and pieces, I just put them aside to deal with later. Sewing could commence. It didn't. Instead decisions had to be made as to length and style for two skirts I'm starting on first. Plus I couldn't find my elastic and I decided it would be a lot faster to just go to the store and buy some more than spend all day trying to find the elastic I already bought.

One skirt is just a little tulle fairy skirt for my grandbaby. Should be easy enough. Knock on wood.

The second skirt is the one I'm struggling with - I have several yards of this bright green fabric with .... I should just find a photo to show you, it's too hard to describe - built in ruffles every couple of inches.

I imagined turning it into a skirt by turning over the top, running elastic through it, and voila! But the more I got thinking about it, the more I realized that the thick ruffly fabric all gathered together all the way to the top of the skirt and bunched around my waist would in all likelihood be as attractive as just eating on an extra ten pounds around my hips.

Plus, I want a really full twirly skirt. So instead of cutting it in half and sewing two full length (to my ankles) sections together to make the skirt, I think I should cut it in three sections and make it shorter but fuller. It's stretchy heavy fabric anyway, I don't think it will look as twirly if I make it longer. So make that the equivalent of fifteen pounds around my waist.

I can't make inserts to make the skirt fuller only at the bottom because of the ruffle pattern. So the only thing for it is to make a drop waist. I think that's what it's called. Where I make a short unruffled waist and sew the rest of the skirt on around the base of that. Which means I have to find a matching fabric for the top. Not easy. I found two fabrics last night at the store that might work (I know, I'm not supposed to buy new - I'm still not sure if new fabric counts as new clothing. I think no, but I'm trying to work only with already owned or thrifted fabrics anyway - but time is running out and I live in a small town, so I think this counts as an emergency). One is a silky chocolate brown with a green paisley design and one in a crinkled fabric with a little more stretch in an apricot and pinkish red floral. Oh, these fabrics are going to be such fun to work with - NOT. I wish I had a pattern to follow, but then again I'm so completely lousy at following patterns that I'm not sure that will help.

Bottom line, I have to just be brave and start to cut and sew and if I totally screw it up, oh well, I curse a bit, shed a few tears, and then I have a back up skirt in mind for this outfit. Wish me luck.

Moving on, today's Shades of Inspiration photos.

Beautiful tree fungi in a shady spot near the pond, Monet's Garden, Giverny, France

A door and potted tree I loved to walk by each day on our street in Paris.

Some beautiful lacy old window grill in Vernon, France.

Intricate arched ceiling in Place des Vosges, Paris

Detail of doors, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France