Holiday Skirts

This is the skirt that didn’t get finished in time for Christmas.  OOP Vogue 8287 in orange shot taffeta.

 Vogue 8287 orange

This is the skirt that got worn for Christmas – a striped silk shantung from a few years back.  A simple A-line skirt, full length with one very large godet at the CB seam.

striped skirt

I plan on wearing the orange one tonight. Happy New Year, everyone!

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The lull after Christmas

PC240019 Christmas is always something that I really look forward to.  The lights, family gatherings, food and general prettiness of all the decorations and colours make it my favourite holiday.  I try to plan ahead so that I don’t get overwhelmed by it all as the day approaches, and even though for the most part I think I am successful at avoiding last minute panic, it’s always nice to sit and enjoy the sense of laziness that occurs after the celebrations are over.  Christmas week, as I used to call it as a child, is wonderful for it’s lack of schedule and rush against the clock that is the norm for the other 358 days of the year; for the rotating meals at various family members’ houses; and the anticipation of New Year’s celebrations.012 This Christmas was a new adventure for me in the area of gift giving, as we decided as a family (well, mom and 3 DDs) to make our gifts. We only exchange with cousins, my dear SIL and my MIL. I chose to make hats for my nieces, SIL and MIL, and my DD1 decided she’d crochet everyone gifts: a scarf for her Tia and Vôvô, and fingerless gloves for the cousins.   For the girls’ hats I used the beret from V7792, and did one in a dark purple velvet, lined with lavender silk shantung shot with turquoise.  I don’t have a model picture of it, but here it is with me modelling the left hand of the pair of fingerless gloves DD1 crocheted.  She used a mauvey stretch yarn with silver metallic threads running through it. DSC04344 The second hat was a red boiled wool-rayon blend from my scrap box.  It was a bit heavy for the pattern, so the shape is more definitive.  I lined it with shot pink taffeta.  The fingerless gloves were made with the same yarn as the purple pair, but in magenta.  The girls were very pleased with the gifts.

Christmas Eve sophia gifts 2You’ve already seen the scarf DD1 made for her Tia in a previous post. I made a red hat using Vogue 8440, View A, from the same boiled wool as my niece’s.  It complemented the scarf perfectly.  V8440 I made a little knot using the instructions from the fabulous Ralph Rucci dress made by Terri, and lined it with black silk shantung. DSC04345DSC04347

The pattern was extremely simple – it consisted of two pieces, one of which was for the band interfacing.  It’s the same piece cut 4 times and stitched together.  And it looks lovely.  I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of it being worn, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!  I made one for my MIL from the black faux Persian lamb that’s been in my stash for years.  You can see a hat made for my daughters of the same fabric here.  I lined her hat with pink silk as she has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and started her chemo treatments 3 days prior to Christmas.  She was able to celebrate with us, which was the most wonderful gift that evening.  My DD1 made her a scarf in the same pattern as the one for Tia, only in black and shades of blue, which are my MIL’s preferred colours.

And I’m thrilled to announce we’ve a new member in our family.  I got a hedgehog for Christmas!  I’ve put one on my list for many years, and finally Santa thought maybe I was serious about such a ridiculous request, particularly coming from someone my age!  Ha!pickles

Isn’t she just so CUTE?  We’ve called her Pickles.  With a dog called Nuggett, I think we’ve a food obsession going on in this house….

Happy Birthday Post

Happy Birthday to me yesterday!  This is a belated post, and I’m sorry I’m behind the eight ball, so to speak, but better belated than never!

No, this is not my DH – it’s Joe, DH’s business partner – apparently his birthday is today – and my dear Sarah eyeing that cake! We celebrated with the A2D2 Christmas Cabaret, which was in support of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. It just so happens that the owner of the company and three of the aerial artists teach my daughters dance.

Mel & Joe BD

I wore the Vogue 1259 dress with tights and the skirt behaved beautifully, even with all the dancing and jumping up to take photos.  It was super comfortable to wear, and you were all right about this outside-the-box ensemble…. of course!  My doubts about actually wearing it in public have been thoroughly put to rest.

a2d2Santa showed up, which was hilarious.  He sang a couple of songs that Mrs. Claus had written Santa-appropriate lyrics to, including one about exercise and proper diet, as he was looking a bit trimmer than usual.  He was very entertaining and interactive.  It was an excellent show in support of a good cause and a wonderful way to spend my birthday!

In sewing news, have been busy doing mundane alterations on a few items for friends, and finishing the McCardell dress so I can get on with the Christmas projects.  It’s finished, but I really want to have a decent belt before I share pictures and tell you about the very unusual construction process, considering that it’s a jersey dress.  I’m going to keep you hanging on this, but let me just say you’ll find it very interesting!  So I’ll get that belt either purchased or made and take some decent pictures by the end of the week… I’m hoping!!  And, in case you’re wondering, no.  I haven’t cut Christmas projects yet.  Am I starting to panic? Nope, although I may if I don’t get something started this week.

Oh, and because this is my birthday week, I’d like to announce a giveaway!  Yay!  First ever for this blog, and hopefully the first of many.  It’s too close to Christmas to give away holiday party appropriate fabric (I’m thinking taffeta and sequins), so I thought I’d offer a length of silk chiffon.  It’s an Anna Sui fabric with gold metallic threads running lengthwise.  This piece is 3m long and 135cm wide.

chiffon

I’ll do the draw for it on Friday this week, and hopefully it will arrive in time for Christmas Day at the winner’s house!  It’s the usual eligibility rule:  leave a comment and you’re entered into the draw!

TODAY: A Picture-Free Post

With the early arrival of Advent this year and the fact that December 1st falls in the middle of the week, I’ve been frantically trying to get my house in order.  Call me crazy, but I do like to set up all the Christmasy stuff at the beginning of the month.  I love Christmas.  I love the lights, the food, family, friends, company and general excitement and anticipation that’s in the air, especially in a house with 3 children.  So my house is (almost) decorated and the girls all helped with the first round of Christmas baking.  I’ve decided this year to let them do most of it, since my youngest is 8 and exists to work in the kitchen.  It’s just her thing.  Whenever she hears a pot bang, up she pops beside me. 

“What are you making?  Can I help?”

And my eldest sanguinely saunters into the kitchen at random times, looking for a project, “Can I do anything, mommy?”

So, the baking exercises are their responsibility this year.  That means I’ll be able to get my gifts finished in time.

I’ve never done a “handmade” Christmas before.  I do remember as an 18 year old university student wondering what I would get my little brother for Christmas (he’s all of 12 months younger than me).  My mom suggested making him a pair of dress pants, since he needed them.  Yikes!  Never made a pair of men’s anything at that point in my life, but as an 18 year old, I was up for any challenge.  And that’s the last time I made anything for anyone for Christmas.  I think it’s because I’m shy of giving people things I’ve made.  It’s all well and dandy to sew up little pretty things for babies or children, but what do you sew for adults that they would remotely use, never mind appreciate?

But the year 2011 is going to be different.  A discussion with my girls about what to buy the cousins that have everything and more, combined with reading the Little House on the Prairie series aloud at lunch to my DD3, resulted in the fun decision that we would all make the gifts we’re giving this year.  DD1 is going to crochet all her gifts, DD3 is going to hand-stitch little fairy purses, and DD2 is going along for the ride, because fine motor projects are incredibly frustrating for her.

BTW, that “we” includes me.  So I’ve a lot of sewing to do, and nothing is cut yet because I’m trying to finish up a couple of projects already on my sewing table. 

And to ease all of this required labour, my iron decided to die last week.  Now how annoying is that, in the middle of everything that needs to be done?  My DH has purchased a Rowenta Steamium for me in April.  It’s profoundly heavy and I love it.  But when little people want to sew and use my equipment, dials can pop off and buttons cease to work.  I had to purchase a replacement while the original is off being repaired for 10 days or so.  I can’t go TEN DAYS without sewing a seam.  So I bought a little cheapy Black & Decker model that the kids can use when I get my *real* iron back.  Ha!

And on top of all that, I’ve become completely overwhelmed with my stash.  I guess this happens when I actually sit back, take stock of the state of my house, and realize that there is too much fabric in my life.  More than I will ever sew up before I die.  But more of that in a post to come, because I’m hoping some of you fellow sewers will be happy to take some of it off my hands……