Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thrift Store Find: Vintage Afghans

Knitted and crochet afghans are a favourite of mine and I just could not pass on the opportunity to purchase these two gems. I will love to make one like these, but until then I will just swoon over my new finds.

The first afghan was way too beautiful to resist. It features a stunning cross-stitched floral pattern that I absolutely fell in love with on first sight. Strangely enough it is a perfect compliment to another afghan in my collection (gifted by my husband's great-aunt), that also has cross-stitched flowers.

The second afghan is this ivory knitted gem that appears unused. Even without the cross-stitched details of the first, this piece has a beautiful textured pattern.

I am currently working on putting together a collection of vintage afghans for Crafted Spaces Weddings so I am super excited to search for more pieces.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Paper to Petal

When I was a child growing up in a little village in Trinidad and Tobago, one of my favourite pass times was making paper flowers. I would save money for new sheets of tissue and crepe paper, and literally run to Haniff's shop. The shop was different from the other shops (parlours) in the village; it was bigger, air conditioned and carried some school supplies, stationery, knick knacks that made for great mother's day gifts, and lots and lots of tissue paper, crepe paper and other crafty supplies. Needless to say this was my favourite place to go in the village. Since I was always working on something crafty I was a permanent fixture in the store. I can still remember feeling excited whenever Mrs. Haniff would lay out the various coloured crepe paper and I would take forever to decide which colour to purchase that day.

Last year when I came across "Paper and Petal" by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell, I was so happy to see a new book being published on how to make paper flowers, but I did not get a chance to see the book beyond the sneak peek on Amazon. The book has been out since last summer and I am asking myself what took me so long to check it out. This amazing book is so inspiring and has rejuvenated my love of paper flowers. The book provides information about the materials needed, techniques for making paper flowers and provides easy to follow instructions. I picked up a copy of the book at the library, and will be adding it to my own library in the coming weeks.

Over the years I have made paper flowers from card stock and the beautiful paper selection available at the Paper Place in Toronto. However, it has been many years since I have made crepe paper flowers. I have tried finding crepe paper at the local art and craft supply stores without success. Over time I gave up on finding it and in the end simply forgot about crepe paper. I am therefore very excited to find a book that not only looks at how to make paper flowers, but focus a lot on crepe paper flowers. The book includes 28 pages of templates and a helpful source list, so there are countless possibilities and places to find supplies.

There are so many things to love about this book that I cannot pick a favourite. What I will say however is that I cannot wait to make several of the flowers and create a beautiful paper flower arrangement for my studio. Since reading the book I have found great online sources for crepe paper and I have also tried making some flowers using simple, inexpensive crepe paper streamers. I have always loved how pliable crepe paper can be and I have been inspired by the designs in the book. I now have a mission to create beautiful paper flowers. There are so many wonderful ways you can use paper flowers and with a world of paper to choose from the possibilities are endless.

Paper to Petal: 75 Whimsical Paper Flowers to Craft by Hand / Book Trailer from THUSS + FARRELL on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sewing: Simplicity 2224

I have kicked off my sewing this snowy spring with a simple skirt project. I selected an easy simplicity pattern, which I think lends itself very nicely to lots of changes for a personalized look. The Simplicity 2224 pattern has pieces for both a pant and skirt in varying lengths. I have used this pattern before in my sewing classes, but I had not made a piece for myself. I decided to make the skirt view "A," but wanted to try making the skirt with a slightly heavier weight fabric than suggested. After thinking through several options I chose lightweight corduroy, which adds a bit of body to the skirt compared to the suggested fabrics.

I decided to forgo on the drawstring and just stayed with an elastic waistband. I am not a big fan of drawstring waistbands and generally do not use them in my personal garment pieces.

I finished the pockets a little differently and did not add a closure. I did however add a little more detail to the pockets with some velvet ribbon and stitched a simple embroidery stitch across the ribbon.

I sewed the seams as directed with a ⅝ seam allowance on my sewing machine, but decided to finish off the seams and hemline with my serger. I did not want a heavy hemline so the method I used worked well for a narrower hem. A darker colour thread would have been a better option for this, but I used what I had on hand and I can live with it.

As mentioned before, this is an easy sewing project and is great if you are looking to make your first garment. The instructions are easy to follow and with just a few changes like the ones I have made, you can make it your own. I will try this same pattern with a lightweight cotton or linen fabric in the summer. I made my skirt a medium, which I think was a bit too generous so the next time I will try the small.

Happy stitching!

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