Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en creativity

Number four wanted me to call this post creepy crafting but I am not sure that it is the best description of our pumpkin at the front door. My husband gets really crafty about once a year and it is with his jack-o-lantern masterpieces. Some years he has made more and they have always been with design detail contributed by the children. Some years he has been on tour with the orchestra he plays in or has a concert in the evening but this year he is home and available for fun. As we have many small children in our neighborhood it is much better to have silly pumpkins than scary ones.

Number three and number four in costume: a grime reaper and Harry Potter. I feel a little bit slack these days in the costume department as these were purchased although Number four is wearing his choir uniform's shirt and tie and a knitted vest from Nanan. Their older siblings had more creative home-made costumes: Pingu, Little Bo-Peep, knight(indoor -tabard, leggings), queen (would let me say she was a princess), fairy, Legolas(elf from Lord of the Rings), and Dark Rider (also from Lord of the Rings). I did make Number three a pretty good bat costume but when you can find some costumes for $20 or less and you know that they have lasting play value it can be pretty difficult to direct crafting time to costumes.

My creative contribution to Hallowe'en this year was a batch of chocolate cupcakes. I tried out edible decals for some of the decoration but found them somewhat difficult to work with and not quite as impressive as the packaging's photographs. I am glad that they were bought at a discount because I know that I will not be trying them again. I made these on Friday night which was a good thing as Number one started having flu symptoms later in the evening and I am feeling them now too. Number two went to a theatre screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show with a few of her friends and seems to have had fun.

When I was a kid, after Christmas, Hallowe'en was my favourite celebration and it was not because of the candy. I loved getting dressed up and can remember all of my costumes from the age of three. By the time I was ten, I was making them myself. At number four's age, I have distinct memories of the eerie feeling that ghost stories, decorations and even the wind blowing in the trees evoked and I am pretty sure that my children have felt that too. I hope that the richness of this kind of inner life continues to feed them their whole lives.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fabric Flea market and Recent Thrifts

Most sewers have abundant stashes of fabric! After a time, we sometimes wonder why we bought so much of it. The organizers of a sale that benefits a public school in Ottawa's urban core have capitalized on this knowledge. The Annual Fabric Flea market brings together sewers (and other fibre crafters) to sell off what they don't want and buy what they do. I was very restrained and bought only two lengths of fabric but my self-control was challenged when it came to vintage sewing notions. I think that I was most excited by the purse frame (on the left hand side of the photo) and the printed bias binding was also a score. I love the packaging of the mending tape and the zip lock bag contains seven fabric covered belt buckle kits. I am looking forward to making a holiday apron with the fabric. Presently, I am drawn to birds in design.

In this photo, the most exciting thing for me is the book. The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction is a book that my Mum has. I remember reading it in her sewing room when I was first learning to sew and I feel it really completes my vintage sewing library. These books were written when the average woman had sewing skills and many women who wanted well-fitted, fashionable clothes would make themselves most of their wardrobes. I will likely scan some of the information to share but another blogger reviews the book here. The second length of fabric I purchased is five metres of shell pink silk. It is 115cm wide so there are lots of possibilities with this fabric. The lady selling it also had the suit pattern that she had planned on using with the silk. Maybe it is because I was making similar patterns in the eighties, but I had no inclination to purchase her pattern (I have difficulty thinking the eighties are vintage). The graphics on the box of boning may have been what prompted me to purchase it but my Mum said that it would be of better quality that most of what you buy now. The best part of this year's flea market was definitely that I went with my favourite sewing buddy, my Mum.

At a community wide garage sale I found this vintage sewing table. It needed a little cleaning up and I need to find a small screw that will work for the little knob waiting for it in one of the drawers. The rounded sides of the table are bins to store your handwork and have hinged lids on the table top. The crocheted lace was thrifted and the orchid was a gift from my Mum-lucky me!

The two lamps picture here on the buffet were purchased from the same vendor later on in the sale. My Mum thinks that they are probably from the late forties. They cast a beautiful light in the room and I cannot wait for their debut at a party.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Creative Space: Autumnal Inspirations

Autumn is an exciting time in our household: two of our children have birthdays, the concert season starts up again and cooler temperatures inspire many of the indoor pursuits that make a house a home. While I am not presently playing any concerts, I have benefited as if I had. The beautiful bouquet of flowers pictured here was presented to my husband at a concert he played on Monday night and I get to enjoy them!

Today is my eldest child's nineteenth birthday and it somehow seems a bigger deal than many of his other birthdays. I am walking around somewhat in shock that I am old enough to have a nineteen year old child. It really seems like only yesterday we were driving to the hospital with Mozart's Duo Concertante playing on the car stereo. I remember waking up from a nap and having my water break, then leisurely taking a shower and then eating some toast and tea. Number One was born a few short hours later and our whole world changed. Every body's life changes when they have a baby but ours changed differently than most as we soon discovered that our new son had Down Syndrome. This is not a post about disability but inspiration. I like to think that my son's special needs have inspired me to be creative even if creative means figuring out how to laugh at a situation rather than cry. I have certainly needed to find time for myself so I could make things and I feel fortunate that my temperament was accustomed to doing so. Because there are many things that Number One cannot do, I have learned to see more of what is there (in the world) than what is not and relish the little things like fall flowers and chocolate cake. The birthday cake I made today is our standard recipe using the Moosewood Vegan Chocolate Cake recipe. The whole family enjoyed about half of it after singing Happy Birthday and really the day did not seem so shocking after all.

Here is another Autumnal tablecloth that is inspiring me to keep the cake keeper in use. See what others are inspired to create at Kristy's blog

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thankful for Family Thrifting

This past weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and I have a lot to be thankful for: a beautiful (relatively) healthy family, a comfortable home and (almost) enough time to be creative. I am also thankful for being part of a family that possesses the thrifting gene. My Mum has been visiting from Victoria for the last few weeks and we have enjoyed more than a few visits to my local haunts. We have had a great time and found some real treasures.
I think that we spotted this Buxton jewellery box at the same time. Mum treated me, insisting that all my vintage costume jewellery needed a home. She also put hours in cleaning and polishing the leather. I have thoroughly vacuumed the insides and just need to replace some of the satin lining as it was previously removed in two sections.
I plan on posting more about the vintage jewellery in future. I love wearing it and always receive many compliments when I do. I now have enough of a collection that when I see a piece I have to really love it or know it to be a collectors piece before I purchase it. This weekend I will go to the Fabric Flea Market with my Mum to look for vintage sewing treasures.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

My Creative Space or How Inspiration can prevent you from blogging

The last few months has been full of bursting at the seams inspiration: travel, music, family life, gardening, food, thrift finds, and creating little bits of beauty in and around the home. Many memories have been created and although I have taken the photographs to document them, I have yet to share through this blog. I have barely even kept up with my favourite blogs that inspired me to start to write about all that feeds me creatively. While I can know that my trip to England interrupted my habit of posting, I never would have expected to be away from it for so long. I suppose it is like a fitness routine where the more workouts you miss, the harder it is to get back into the routine. It is very easy for other aspects of life to fill up the time that it takes to create a post and while I enjoyed the break I missed the sharing.
I cannot possibly catch up all in one post so I thought that I would just share something small. The picture above is from our second day in England when we where punting on the River Cam. This is just one of the beautiful sites along the river with plants growing right out of the walls. We were in Cambridge for two weeks in July and saw many people dressed for weddings at the various Chapels and Churches in the city. Many of the guests were wearing fascinators. Two weeks ago, I made my own version to wear to the wedding of good friends. I had altered her dress to fit her including hemming it which meant that I had a few feet of tulle about six inches wide. Using a thrifted headband (the colour of the dress I planned on wearing) and a lone vintage Sherman earring and other scraps in my stash, I fashioned this little trifle. I think that I was the only one wearing any headgear or a hat but I enjoyed wearing it anyway.

Enjoy what everyone else is doing in there creative spaces at Kristy's blog.