like a lot of siblings, I consider my relationship with my brother kinda special. We don't see each other a lot, and we haven't always been the best of friends, but there are definitely times when I realize there is a deep understanding and sameness between us.
This has led to some bday gifts that might not seem so cool, but are deeply meaningful. His bday is a month away, and I'm starting to brainstorm.
Some recent years' gifts that were very popular with him included:
any of my paintings, but these are 100 hour endeavours and I don't know that I'm feeling inspired this way just now.
I did this portrait of him when he was 13 or 14 (just before a very dark period in his life began) that I know he treasures. I've received offers for it, but I'm thinking I'd like to save it and ultimately give it to him as a wedding present when he gets married...eventually...to the right girl. =)
A year or two ago, I sent him some books by Thich Nhat Hanh for Christmas along with Eugen Herrigel's "Zen and the Art of Archery." He was starting to get his life together, doing some soul searching, and I've always found Hanh incredibly inspiring. He said they changed his life, and that his therapist had actually reinforced my choices, saying they were great titles for him to read.
Last year, for his birthday, I made him a care package: I sent him a recipe for Pasta Puttanesca that my bf's aunt was gifted with when she was in Italy (an old family recipe - nothing like the real thing!), plus all the ingredients to make it. I'd grown the herbs organically in my own garden, and dried and bottled them. I'd also grown the tomatoes organically, canned them, etc. I included two vosges chocolate bars (Vosges is love, truly!) to round out the meal. We're both into food and supporting local agriculture and growing our own organically, so it was great for him. I was surprised when he said it was the best birthday gift he'd ever received, so...what do I know?
So. Any ideas? Obviously, it's going to take a lot of thought (more thought than anything else!) and while I'd like to send something made by hand, I have a cat now (and he's deathly allergic), so that is not so much an option...unless I want to kill him. Which i don't.
I'd love to hear from you all! You have such great ideas!
A fairly simple recon, but time consuming! I found this blouse at a thrift shop (if you live in Seattle, I highly recommend "Valley of Roses" on the Ave - that girl has great stuff, CHEAP!). No original pics, sorry. The sleeves were leg-of-mutton (full-length, a puff sleeve at the top with slimmer sleeve to the wrist), and the only embellishment on it were the ribbons/lace you see and the tiny line of faux pearls around the collar and button placket. I'd been eyeing Anthro's fall catalog (which was delightfully costumey) and was itching for an embellished blouse to wear solo or over long-sleeved knits.
I cut most of the sleeves off, leaving a small cap sleeve at top. I gathered the sleeve into a neat little band and trimmed with lace from the bottom of the original sleeve, then got to work with the beading. I wanted a kind of organic shape that would trace the lines of my body, despite the heavy armor-weight of the dense beading. As you can see, it's coated with freshwater pearls, a few lined glass beads, and some silvery metal (possibly lead? I don't touch them much) antique beads that my bf's mother scored decades ago. I've thought about dying it black to keep it in line with this year's trends, but maybe I'll just keep it as it is. With Marie Antoinette coming out (yes!), I think the "girly" trend may hang on for another season..I hope?
front view. Shown unbuttoned on my form, but it can button up. The sleeves look a little line-backer-ish on my dress form, but they look quite normal on my frame (I'm 5'11", with shoulders to match). there is also beading on the bands at the bottom of each sleeve. The skirt is another recon that I'll post later tonight.
detail of one side of the beading.
detail shot of the center of the blouse - the beading tapers off near the top of the button placket.
I'm not sure if this is even a recon anymore! I had this idea one spring day as I was walking home from class and saw a really gorgeous cherry tree in bloom. I had a green silk camp shirt that belonged to my mom, that I hadn't known what to do with yet. So, I picked up some dupioni scraps (1/4 each brown, pale pink, and darker pink), grabbed some linen scraps I had leftover from a christening gown I'd made for a friend, and got cracking.
The cami is the green silk of my mom's shirt, cut down to a pattern I drafted on a dress form. It fits very close, so the front is lined with linen for opacity. This way, on a hot day, all I have on my body is a light layer of silk and breatheable linen (the back is unlined). The branch I drew on the brown dupioni and cut out. I tucked 1/4" under all around it as I stitched it by hand to the top layer (silk) of the front of the top - and yes, you'll notice that part of the branch extends off the top and connects to the shoulder strap.
I decided to have the piece close with matching buttons, so I bought several fabric-covered button kits and covered them with remaining green silk. I love the look of old wedding dresses, with these tiny buttons all stacked on each other, so I decided to do that here. It took many hours, but I like the results. Instead of buttonholes, the buttons are secured with 19 tiny loops of the green silk.
The flowers were what took the longest - it took me forever to decide how I wanted to do them. I finally settled on using interfacing to basically stick two pieces (of the same colour) together, then cutting out the flowers. I figured that they might fray a little, but that overall, the ends would be okay - and really, I think a little fraying will only make it feel softer and more "organic" over time.
If you can't tell, I'm more than a little enamoured of Anthropologie and Urban Outfitter's "home-made/embellished" aesthetic. Anyways, on to pictures! Sorry, it's a little wrinkled, it's been lying in a basket of delicate clothes for a while!
side view with the buttons. this also gives a better idea of the shape of the hem and shows the darts I added for shaping.
I've had a number of requests for patterns for sale or tuts, so here it is. I'm afraid I only have one copy of this pattern - the one I made to fit my 5'11", size 4 frame. Now, this pattern won't work for every body, obviously, and I like to keep my patterns to re-use or alter later on. So INSTEAD, I did you lovelies one better: I sat down and sketched (albeit poorly), scanned, and photoshopped you a tutorial so you can make one for yourself. I highly recommend having an adjustable dressmaker's dummy to work with when drafting this pattern - or get a good friend to sketch while you hold up trace or other lightweight paper on your body.
One little note that I didn't include: After I'd finished sewing the thing together, I did sew a green ribbon with a black border around the seam between bodice and skirt seam. I stitched in black (to match the border) and went over and over the thing to reinforce both the seam and that poor delicate ribbon.
If you use this tut, would you please send me a PM or a link to your final image so I can see how you interpreted it? I'd love to see what you do with it. Also, don't be afraid, this has a lot of steps, and a lot of pressing, but really isn't that hard at all.
so I finally purchased some oilbars, wanting to break out of the acrylic landscape and start exploring oil stuff. I've been holding off doing anything with them, not sure how to start, and wanting to be inspired when I finally tore into the packaging. So my friend's 30th birthday was this weekend and Thursday night I had sudden inspiration - we'd gone to the zoo with our friends (said birthday boy and his wife, also a good friend) and their 2 year old (22 months, close enough!) daughter a couple weeks ago, and I knew we'd taken at least a couple pictures. So I broke out the charcoal and the oilbars after work on Friday and five hours later...voila!
commanche stitch necklace of black seed beads, fringed with black seed bead fringe trimmed with garnets. (and a few small bugle beads in the front center) This would be age 16 or 17 or so.
detail of said necklace.
beaded necklace. Center stone is polished agate, with peyote stitch band around it,trimmed with freeform beadwork surrounding freshwater pearls, garnet, and iolite. Coins are 5 yen pieces. Necklace proper is a dutch spiral of freshwater pearls around beads. Made at age 18 for my senior prom. (I did an asian theme)
detail of center section.
a couple years ago, anthropologie ran these necklaces and bracelets made of ribbon backed on lamb's leather, with beads in the center. I saw it in vogue a few months prior, and anthro selling them at 80 bucks a bracelet was the last straw. I made my own. ribbon backed with leather, three leather straps tie it, faceted glass beads on eyepins in the middle.
french wire, brass chain, with freshwater pearl dangles. two winters ago, wear 'em all the time.
this piece I put together finally after having collected the various pieces over the years. center is a white howlite cabochon, metal findings and smoky quartz beads connect the three rows of chains interspersed with pearls and the occasional glass beads. smoky quartz dangles from the howlite cabochon with a broken seahorse charm (it looked so perfect - just a little "off" - and when the retailer realized it was broken, he gave it to me for free!) Made it last fall, also wear it all the time - and got snaps from my future professors when I wore it to a conference this spring! it's a magic necklace!
my own interpretation of anthropologie's "synchronized strand" from this spring/summer. I fell in love with it, but wanted something more delicate...and that didn't cost a hundred bucks, of course. Made of brass charms, jump rings, and brass rod (from the hardware store) that I shaped and soldered into the larger, heavier rings. My mother and aunt loved it so much when they visited earlier this spring that I made them each their own unique ones, too.
welp, that's it for now! Thanks for having a look!
long time lurker, first project post. I knew this spring that I wanted a lightweight empire-waist summer dress in white cotton. However, when I got this voile, I realized I wanted more texture, so I tea-dyed the fabric (the underskirt is a bit lighter). Fully lined, it buttons up the back with mismatched white buttons, and I made the bust fit tightly so that I could wear it braless on those hot summer days. Skirt has 4 gores for volume at the base. Embroidery is a chartreuse silk embroidery thread with a bit of colour variation - I was worried at first, but I think I like the end result.
detail of the bust
detail of embroidery on side of skirt (as seen in full image)