Monday, February 17, 2020

On Some Valentine Flamingos

I am of the firm opinion that flamingos should make their way into one's Valentine's day related accessories if at all possible and if there's glitter involved all the better! 

♥️ ♥️ ♥️

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

On Heart Shaped Scraps: A Photo Post

Small and quick Valentine's Day themed project in progress.

 ♥️ ♥️ ♥️

Saturday, February 1, 2020

On "The Serial Garden": A Book Review

As is readily apparent, I completely failed to post anything  for the month of January. However, this has led me to consider that I would really much rather be doing my Book Review posts at the beginning of the month, so here you have the first post of the year. 

Title: The Serial Garden: The Complete Armitage Family Stories
Author: Joan Aiken
Genre: Children's, Fiction

About the Book... 
In the 1960's Joan Aiken wrote her first story about the Armitage family and their unusual and magical Mondays, or rather mostly unusual and magical Mondays, and continued writing stories throughout the rest of her life. Filled with unicorns, witches (politely referred to as Little Old Fairy Ladies), ghosts, and other fantastical creatures, this is the complete collection of all the Armitage family stories.

What I Think...

Joan Aiken is a favorite of mine (review for her Necklace of Raindrops here), so this book is actually a re-read for me and one that I'm happy to have on my bookshelf. 

The stories in this collection are amusing and witty and while I don't find the later stories to be as good (in particular one entitled "The Chinese Dragon," which comes off as a bit silly), there's very little to dislike about any of them. Aiken typically handles the magic in her stories in a very mater of fact way, which is part of what I like about her. She doesn't make a big fuss or have her characters appear overly shocked over things like tiny people as neighbors, that they need to pay for a unicorn license, or any sort of magical tree, but presents it in a way that makes it seem like it is very much part of the normal everyday world of the story even when it is extraordinary. Going along with that, the magical characters, whether human, beast, or supernatural, are all very believable as beings without any additional buildup. 

My favorite stories in the collection are probably "The Ghostly Governess," in which Harriet and Mark unintentionally become the night time charges of the ghost of a very old-fashioned governess, and the title story, "The Serial Garden," in which Mark puts together a cardboard garden with interesting consequences (it also has the added bonus of having a sequel).

It's worth noting, the Virago UK edition (which is the one I have) doesn't have the lovely introduction by Garth Nix and that they stories are presented in a different order, but everything else between the two seems to be the same.   

To Sum it All Up...
A collection I have found well worth revisiting and that I will continue to revisit over and over again! ♥️

Sunday, December 22, 2019

On a Christmas Coat Dress!

Somewhere early on in my pattern buying I purchased McCall 9130, but it ended up being one of those patterns that I've skipped over time and time again because of the amount of fabric involved and the fact that it's primarily made up of four giant pieces, which doesn't leave much room for error.

Looking at some fabric I had been given along with the fabric I used for last year's Christmas dress (apparently November and December are my months to conduct sewing experiments) and being in the mood to attempt some pattern grading and alterations I finally decided to give it a go this month and ended up being very pleased with the results. 

My primary alterations involved taking it in by about two inches to make it smaller, adding a lining and, most noticeably, shortening it to right below the bottom button.

Now, I'm guessing the reason that this was meant to be an "unlined coat" is based on the sleeves and how the underarm curves wouldn't necessarily match on both layers, but my outer fabric was so thin I fortunately didn't have any noticeable bunching and it ended up working out really well. What didn't work was that in cutting out the pieces and eliminating the facing section (which was part of the overall front piece) I left the seam allowance off.  This meant having to go through the extra step of adding bias tape to both front pieces to close it off, but I actually really like the way it looks with the bias tape, so it didn't end up being that big of a mistake.

Happy to have been able to use some of the buttons from my grandma's button box!

My other foolish mistake, due to working on this over a period of a few weeks and just not thinking, was failing to baste on the interfacing before cutting my button holes. It made things a little more complicated, since I then had to deal with cutting through the lining layer and interfacing and probably took away extra support for the bound buttonholes on the front piece. As I'll probably only wear this a few times a year, though, I'm also counting this as being a rather minor thing, since at least I did get the interfacing in and pretty much everything else went smoothly.

While I referred to it as my Christmas coat while I was working on it, I get the feeling that I'll really be wearing it more as a dress, since it pairs well with leggings, so for now I'm happy to call it my Christmas coat dress!
🎄 ♥