Thursday, August 16, 2012

Beautiful Things

I almost don't want to write this (or at least formulate it some other way) as it seems quite shallow to be happy about things... But some really beautiful items have found their way into my life in the last couple of months, some by sheer luck and others by delightful people, so I thought I'd share with you my happiness about them. :)

Maybe I'll start with something sewing-related first. A month or two ago, there was an Art&Textiles exhibition here in Berlin. I'd never been there before, it seemed rather low-key, situated in a school, and I actually only went because of the proclaimed flea market, where I got the beautiful goods below: a short length of perfect yellow-flowered seersucker and some extremely cute (if rather expensive) buttons, some of them probably vintage (see the ones with the rose print? and some with polka dots!). It was pretty exciting though, with lots of artists and crafters, some beautiful textile wall art... Sadly, photography wasn't allowed...
Then there's something my boyfriend came home with a little while ago, just because. He really does know me very well...
It's a book-shaped box of buttons and a little sewing necessaire by Cath Kidston. So cute! The item I've already used most is actually the measuring tape, since it has centimeters on one side and inches on the other - so handy for sewing with American patterns!

Another gift my boyfriend came home with actually brought me to tears (there may have been hormones involved though... *cough* pms *cough*). We'd walked by an antiquarian a couple of weeks earlier and I had admired this cute, rose and gold printed tea cup set.
He meant to give it to me for my birthday, but used it as a cheering-up gift instead when I was feeling down one day. And then we went helicopter flying for my birthday. Don't I have the most amazing boyfriend, ever???

Also, some amazing fabric I found, two lengths of soft, drapey rayon print. In a department store! I really need to go back there sometime soon... I'm thinking a dress with a bodice in the torquoise and a half-circle skirt in the rose-print. And maybe I'll also manage to make a kimono-sleeved blouse from the remaining torquoise fabric...
And did I mention that my family gave me a dress form for my birthday? It finally arrived and it's so beautiful!
I decided to call her Lily (on a total whim, since the fabric cover is actually a rose print). As I haven't been sewing, I haven't used her yet, but I'm totally looking forward to the new fitting experience, and maybe doing some draping! I'll have to see how well it goes, all measurements except for the waist are spot on (that one is 5cm too small). If it doesn't work out, maybe I can add a stuffed belt-thingy to the waist...

Last but not least, I've done a bit of flea-market shopping. Don't you just love flea-markets? The ones in Berlin are very varied, some almost exclusively consisting of professional sellers of knicknacks (not a big fan of those, as they seldomly have cute stuff and if so, it's mostly expensive) but there's one on every 1st and 3rd Sunday that is half craft market and half flea market. The most awesome find I made a few weeks ago: a little golden wind-up watch that can hang on a necklace. It's really only an inch in diameter, and entirely perfect. :D Just as special is the gold chain, which was gifted to me by my grandma. :)
The earrings are from a craft table, new but apparently made from vintage cabachons. So pretty! I'm also in love with my new cupcake stamp. The fabric is a rayon jersey top that I found only last week, but almost haven't wanted to take off since then.

So, that's my beautiful things for today. What is currently making you happy?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Inspirations

It's been quite a while since I posted anything about the lovely, inspirational, instructive things that float around the internet and sometimes find their way onto my Pinterest boards. Here are a few of the sewing-related links that have excited me in the past month or so:

Experiencing diagonal drag lines on your tops or dress bodices? Here are two interesting posts on drafting or correcting armholes by Madalynne: How to correct armhole balance and The relationship between across shoulders, across front and across back.

Also, an interesting post on the question of sleave-cap ease really being necessary?

Vintage illustrations on making cute rick-rack flowers via What-I-Found.

Sallie-oh's great guest post on Madalynne's blog featuring lots of tricks on how to make your home-made jeans look smooth and professional:

Did you hear about the new indie pattern line Cake Patterns (name inspired by the cake vs. frosting debate) by 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World? The first pattern is the Tiramisu dress. :D


I love this travel vanity case by DIY Dixie!

Have you found any worthwile links recently?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Craftiness in unexpected places

Hello everyone! Yesterday I got back from Summer School (did I mention I was going there? It's a Summer School on Integrated Medicine, organized by students, and there were workshops about meditation, Traditional Chinese and Indian Medicine, hospital clowning à la Patch Adams... lots of interesting stuff). I took my knitting, so I did not have to be a whole week without crafting, and finished my "Where's Waldo"-socks during the trip.
We had a lecture almost every day, which also provided the perfect time for some knitting. I cast on a Something Lacy Shrug in red cotton yarn, and actually managed to finish the body by the end of the week! It now needs some blocking, seaming and a lot of ribbing, and then I'll have a new, bright red summer shrug!
The third project I had taken with me was some aqua lace yarn for a Percy Shawl, but reading the instructions I realized that 1. I had no idea how to do a provisional cast-on, and 2. there was no way to knit with the lace yarn in my bag, the way it was on the skein. So I spent about two hours on the way back home rolling it into a ball. :D
The most fun project of all was one offered by one of the Summer School teachers, though. Felting your own red nose! As I had taken hospital clowning as a course at the last summer school, and never having felted before, there was no way for me to skip that project!

We started with some red merino wool roving, which we picked into thin sheets and draped around a plastic ball. Next, the ball was soaked with warm soapwater and squished, squeezed and rolled between the hands.
At first it got very wrinkly, but it did indeed shrink and felt eventually. A kind of magical process, really.
Shrunk to the size of a red, clowny nose, we cut an indention to fit the bridge of the nose and added nostrils for ease of breathing. And here I am, wearing my clowny nose!
It's so much more comfortable than wearing the plastic ones! Also, it's kind of ridiculous how happy I am about my self-felted nose. But I love wearing it, and I did so a couple of times during summer school. It's fun, really, what a conversation starter it is, and how freeing to just be silly and ridiculous for a bit. :D

Also, I'm aware that Integrative Medicine is a bit of a hot topic (and you may tune out if you're not interested in the debate. ) There are a lot of dogmatic people both on the evidence-based side and on the alternative side. I for one am all for evidence, but I'm also sick and tired of the idea that pills (or shots, or drips) are the things that make you healthy. A balanced life, good eating habits, exercise and time for reflection and relaxation are the things that make you healthy (or at least more healthy, and that's actually proven even for diseases like heart disease and cancer). So, why not use meditation, or regulative therapy, or massage, or art therapy, or herbal teas (or sewing, or knitting) to complement regular, evidence-based medicine? Integrated means just that, using alternative means to complement, not to replace, standard therapies.

Ok, so my rant is over. :)
Have a lovely, relaxing week, wherever you are!