Saturday, February 27, 2016

Pink Saturday at Indulge Your Shelf

There's a long-standing blog party called Pink Saturday; I haven't joined in for years, but today when I looked at the photos I'm about to publish, I knew that I just had to!

One of my favorite films, Pretty in Pink, turns 30 this weekend.  I dragged my husband to a nostalgic screening of it at a local theater for Valentine's Day; what that man won't do for love!
I have had this piece of a vintage beaded gown for years now; it was a gift from a fellow blogger, and I've kept it for just the right project.
This week I auditioned it on the fabric collage I'm working on -- I haven't sewn it down yet but I think I will work a piece of it around at the bottom.  That's about all the creating that has been going on around here this week!
A few months ago I sent my only doll to my niece in California.  The doll belonged to my mother; it's a Horseman doll that she got when she was about 8 years old.  I called it Dorrie when she handed it down to me at about the same age (rhymes with Laurie.)  In this photo, which my niece sent me to show that she arrived safely, the doll is in her original clothes: extremely faded blue dress.
When I sent it to my niece I wasn't able to locate the little dress my grandmother made, above.  This week I found it and mailed it so that the dress and hat (and socks) could be reunited with the doll.
The dress is precious to me because my grandmother sewed it by hand.  I remember we were visiting her one Saturday when I'd just been given the doll and my mother asked her mother if she would make the doll a new dress.  She told me to go to a fabric store and pick out some fabric, and bring it to her and she would make it.  I chose the pink dotted swiss; it was my first time ever to visit a fabric store!  Look what grandma started!  She was also the one who took me thrifting for the first time when I was little.  Before I sent it off, I admired my grandmother's stitches; on the doll's hat, she sewed three rows of lace.  I spent a lot of time with my grandmother when I was a baby, and I have always felt she influenced me greatly.

We are enjoying a burst of "faux" Spring this weekend, with sunny skies and weather forecasts in the 70's.  I intend to spend as much time as possible out of doors!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Linking in to Pink Saturday.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Jane Austen is my hero

Or, I guess what I mean is, Jane Austen is my heroine -- but that doesn't have quite the same "punch" as saying she's my hero.  She truly is, though.  I've read, re-read, and read some more each of her novels, seen every movie adaptation of them, and never tire of any of it.  Jane Austen makes me very happy.
My valentine to myself this month was this book; I bought it used for a very low price from a seller on Amazon.  The book is difficult to find in America, and pricey when you do find it, so I was thrilled to get it.  As per the title, 'My Dear Cassandra' Jane Austen, the book is a selection of letters that Jane wrote to her sister throughout her life.  Through the letters, you get a glimpse of Jane's genius as well as a behind the scenes look at how and when she wrote her masterpieces.
The book is simply full of the kinds of prints and illustrations from Jane's era that I just love and can't get enough of.  It also gives quite a bit of Jane's personal history: after the text of each letter, the author and Jane Austen scholar elaborates a little on the situations Jane has written about -- at least those that are known through interviews with Jane's family members.
Jane Austen enjoyed some fame and recognition late in her life, after publishing novels that were successful.  She didn't, however, live to see how important her work really was and continues to be.  My favorite quote from the book/one of Jane's letters: You will be glad to hear that every copy of S. and S. is sold, and that it has brought me 140 pounds besides the copyright, if that shd. ever be of any value...
The S. and S. she speaks of is her novel, Sense and Sensibility.
I own several Austen biographies, and most of them use her letters to her sister as their basis.  But none does it as well or as pleasantly as this book does.  I highly recommend it!
Coincidentally, as I was sitting down to write this blog post, I turned on the TV and saw that the movie Becoming Jane was on; I caught the last 20 minutes -- enough to have me sobbing.  If you haven't seen that movie, what are you waiting for?  It stars Ann Hathaway as Jane, and is a fictionalized account of a love affair.  No one knows for sure if Jane Austen truly did love and lose Thomas LeFroy, but it is certain that she knew him, and at a time when she would have been contemplating marriage.  Even though it might not be completely accurate, the story is so well done that you just have to love it.  I know I do.
Another little splurge: fabric from the Ardently Austen collection by Riley Blake; this is a lovely teal blue fabric printed with quotes from Jane's novels.
How much fun do you think I will have with this?
I was so enamored by my favorite author that I had to get out, and wear, my favorite piece of handmade Jane Austen tribute jewelry: this shawl pin with dangles.
The images are from a series of British postage stamps from the 1970s, featuring scenes from Austen's novels.  It was made by PTierney Designs.  After I bought this pin, I ordered some of the original stamps for a future project.  In the meantime, a newer set of Austen postage stamps was released by the Royal Post to honor the 200th year anniversary of the publishing of Pride and Prejudice -- they are on my wish list, too!
You can find a lot of Jane Austen jewelry on Etsy; I wish I could remember where I got this pendant with a quote from Pride and Prejudice on the reverse.  I love it because it's true to the novel;
so much of the Darcy-themed jewelry and t-shirts and such that you see on Etsy or otherwise have quotes from the most recent version of the movie, which are not Jane's words.  I'm an Austen purist.
I haven't been to England yet -- but when I do go, and I hope it's soon, I will want to visit places Jane lived, visited and wrote about.  I will be in literary fan girl heaven.  Do you have an author you love and admire as much as I do Austen?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's hearts and flowers day!
The sun has been shining in Colorado, but it is still taking days and days to melt the snow from last week!  Just look at all that is left still in my front yard:
The penguin doesn't mind.
 I had the sweetest surprise in the mail the other day; it came from my friend Penny, who loves vintage and buttons, too!  It's a button posy she made!
How adorable is it?  See the pretty charm string button in the middle?  It's glass.  I just love it!  And I adore the cute vintage cards she included -- they are just perfect!
I received my button doll swap in the mail!  It's so much fun to do a swap, and to see how each artist interprets the theme!  Here is the fabulous box that my partner Kathie made for me:
 So many different textures in the collages...
 I love both the foil Dresden hearts and the metallic hearts she painted on!
 My favorite side.
Here's the doll herself:
 Isn't she adorable?  Her clothes were created by Kathie, and, though I tried, I couldn't get a great photo of her unique wig with the beaded details.

 Back view -- isn't her dress amazing?
Kathie really made me a work of art in this doll!
 And look at all the sweet gifts that came with the doll!
I love the sparkly trim, and the frozen Charlotte head especially!
 That string of pearls and flower is by Prima; and the beaded flowers and other shiny doo dads are going to be so fun to work with on my future creations!
I can hardly wait to play with the taller of the little glass jars -- can't you just see a tiny bottle brush tree in there?  And the vintage glass fuse has so many possibilities!  I'm very excited to have it!
Thank you, Kathie, for such a fun swap!
I wish you all a lovely Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Vintage Dragonfly's Valentine Swap

I was excited to get in on this Valentine swap; we were to create a ribbon doll, decorate a box to put her in, add a card/tag/atc, and mail it off with little gifts.  For this swap, I was paired with someone I've never "met" online before, Kathie, which is always interesting and different because you are not quite sure what their style is.  Happily, we both love vintage, and the theme of the swap was "romantic", so I looked for inspiration from among all my romantic supplies, and came up with this:

The ribbon doll -- I used the photo of Winifred Barnes, that beauty from the 1920's who has been my muse lately, and gave her a ribbon skirt.
She dangles a paper heart from a ribbon in front of her with the word, smitten.
Along with ribbons and laces, I used frayed pieces of some of my favorite vintage fabrics, and a few new fabrics, too -- all in neutral tones and various shades of pink.
back view
I sewed the strips of fabric together onto pink tulle and wrapped it around the paper "body" to give it fullness and movement.
My favorite bit is the panel of lace sewn onto sheer pink fabric; it was once a boudoir lampshade and I especially love the little bling on the lace flower!
I made two other ribbon dolls, trying different things, before I figured out just how I wanted this one to look.  You know you've done your best when it hurts a little to give your creation away -- and, even though you know that I'm not a doll lover, I fell in love with this one!

The box -- I bought a new heart-shaped candy box to decorate (my husband helpfully ate all the chocolate for me!)  It took me days to come up with a composition I was happy with for the cover; while I was debating it, I covered the box bottom and insides.
 the bottom -- pink peony paper
 inside bottom -- I lined it with an antique German rice paper napkin and then decorated the sides with washi tape
 the inside of the lid -- more Made in US Zone German paper, this time a place mat, with a red heart doily
and a precious Dresden cupid sticker!
For the cover, I decided on a  collage with a pink and red theme; double doilies over pretty scrapbook paper, an antique valentine on the left...
with paper flowers springing to life from the postcard; and a pretty lady Rose from one of Hope Kearney's collage sheets...
with a sheer plastic Sweet Heart sign, adhered with pretty washi tapes.
All along the edges, a fabulous arrow-patterned grosgrain ribbon.

The card -- I wanted to go with reds for the card, and I used a favorite photo of three women dressed up for gallivanting:
I placed the photo over a print of a map decorated with roses.  A tiny envelope embellishment and some doodles were all I added besides the phrase, Take me out tonight.

The gifts -- 
 I assembled some romantic, valentine-y embellishments and put them in a vintage box I decorated with paper and a shiny heart lock;
nestled in more of that German paper.
I also put together some old linens, and one new flower ribbon...
prettily packaged!
 I included some chocolate -- because it's a Valentine!
 And finally, I wrapped up a journal I'd created weeks ago, with a winter theme:
snow outside was such a factor in my days spent creating this swap that I just had to include this snowball-throwing lady in the package!

Swaps are such fun, aren't they?  I really put my heart into this one -- and I hope Kathie loves it!