Wednesday, June 12, 2013

From Pioneer Village to Vintage Chic

Back to some refashioning today! I've been slowly going through my closets for the last while, taking some things to the local consignment shop, donating others, and putting some into a "possibly rework" pile. This is one of the latter. It's really long and a bit shapeless, and has one of those self-ties in the back. Another refugee from the days when I wore dresses to the ankle and hair to the waist.

So I've had this dress for a long time, and almost didn't keep it, as I thought the pattern was too busy. But I gave it a shot, just to see what would happen.

I took 9 inches off the bottom and about 3 inches off the sleeves to start.

Then I decided to change the collar. It was a notched collar that didn't lay quite right, and was also pretty shapeless. But instead of taking the whole collar off, I folded under the bottom section and stitched it down close to the edge, making a v-neck with only the top collar left showing. I thought it had a bit of a vintage vibe. I also stitched down the inner edges of that notched bit to the interior facing so that it would lay flay on both sides, which had the added benefit of really reinforcing that sharp v-line.

bottom half of notched collar folded in
Close-up! folded, ironed, stitched, and fastened
to facing to keep it flat.

As the last step, I fully intended to remove that blasted self-tie that always ends up in a floppy bow right above your butt, and take in the waist a bit. But for some reason I decided to pull the tie around to the front and knot it, and I liked the look. It automatically gave a bit of a dart at the side, and resulted in a blouson effect that I felt comfortable with.

Somehow I feel that I should be wearing a cute little forties style hat with this one. I had to make do with my retro espadrille heels for any vintage appeal. I was surprised by how much I liked this one -- wore it today and it was nice to get a second life out of it!

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Map of the World

This week for 30 Days of Creativity projects I've been thinking about maps. And about all kinds of stationery. One reason for this is that I am also hosting a Postal Reading Challenge on my book blog, so I've been thinking about letters and stationery and all postal related ephemera all year! Another reason is that I had a couple of old atlases that were calling me to do something with them...

So with some blank paper and envelopes, I set out to create something each day this week.

I began with a simple idea, gift tags, inspired by shipping tags. I chose  a couple of locations that have meaning to the people I'm going to use them for, and glued the map to card stock. I think I'll add a red sticker around the hole punch area, to give it more "shipping tag" cred:

Now I just need twine...

Next I used maps to line some thin white envelopes. Again, had to make sure the map was oriented correctly, and tried to use locations that had meaning for me! Fortunately for me, our local stationers sells off bundles of old greeting card envelopes cheaply, so I've stocked up with many colours. I like white best with the maps -- actually, I was very pleased at the look of these.

My hometown on the one to the furthest left!

Later I considered that since the maps lined envelopes so nicely, maybe I should make them into envelopes themselves! It's kind of cool, and I'm going to get some labels for the fronts so addresses can be seen. I think I prefer the look of the lined ones, though. (to make the envelope template, I just popped one of the above white ones open and traced it.)

I like the interior of Hawaii on the left.

And finally, what to do with all these envelopes? Make some matching stationery, of course! Had fun testing out different maps and edges and papers. There are two sheets for each envelope at this point, but I'll be making more as I use it up. And I will be using it up... I owe four letters right now! 

I need another blue map of Hawaii...

So that's this week in papercraft. I had fun with my stack of maps and atlases, and thanks to 30 Days of Creativity, I've been inspired to actually make some of the things I've been planning on trying out for ages!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mmm, cookies

And now for something completely different! Time for some baking....

I've tried out a couple of sweet vegan recipes lately, trying to shake the habit of buying cheap chocolate (not working so great yet...)

But, these are a couple of recipes that I'd pinned and I've finally made them! The first one is an individual microwave chocolate chip cookie. It was pretty easy, and really was one serving. I think I cooked it a bit too long though, as it was pretty crunchy on the edges! This is what it looked like:

Raw, pressed into a small ramekin

Cooked for 1 min and 15 seconds
 The second recipe I tried was also very simple, although my hands were called into use and were pretty sticky by the end! It was a no-bake treat, with p.b. and chocolate, how could it go wrong? Well, thankfully it didn't. And they are rich and sweet so will last a while. One at a time...

Stirring in the peanut butter, about to add honey and start squishing by hand

All done! And tucked away in my cute
matryoshka storage container, ready for the fridge

Anyhow, just sharing a couple of non-oven sweets, for a quick fix when you need something NOW.

Monday, June 3, 2013

30 Days of Creativity: It's a Corker!

I almost missed the beginning of 30 Days of Creativity this year! I've been so focused on reading Barbara Pym for #pymreadingweek that the first of June passed me by as a date for the start of this project -- luckily I have been making a lot of stuff in any case so I'm going to officially join in and catch up as much as possible.

First off I have a really simple project that was fun -- I made some stamps for a project at work -- keeping things as cost-effective as possible! Our summer reading program is called STARR, and so I whipped up some star shaped stamps out of supplies in the craft cupboard and my own stash. Four champagne corks (they offer a 'handle' of sorts) and four foam stickers in the shape of stars and voila! Done!

Of course I had to try out a few more shapes and some regular corks to see what worked best. This was a very easy and effective project, inspired by something I once noticed on Pinterest.

These work really well!