Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wedding pillow

I made a (clearly very late) wedding gift for Abby and Chris, and I finally finished it and mailed it off. The first time I saw this old transfer (which I got from Floresita's vintage transfers on flickr) I immediately knew that I would use it for a Chris and Abby wedding pillow. They are both cat lovers who also have the best collection of antique everything. I used the coveted bird and wave fabric for the back:
I think I have to use my last remnant of the bird/wave fabric for my very own pillow. I like using the black piping for the edges.

And that is all I have to show for my crafty old self right now. As I recently mentioned we have had illness after illness around here in 2009 (nothing serious, and I am always thankful for that) and our latest bout has been with THE CHICKEN POX!
My poor little guy came down with the chicken pox in the middle of spring break, during a big annual music festival (South by Southwest). Needless to say, I did not get to see any bands. There was a fever, and a lot of waking up at night, and not a lot of sleep for mom or dad. I had intended on getting Harlan vaccinated just before kindergarten, but in a way I am relieved that he got the virus out of his system, since now he will not have to re-vaccinate himself every twelve years. I can not imagine very many grown men remembering to vaccinate themselves, and getting chicken pox as an adult is really horrendous. While Harlan was sick I heard from many friends who got the virus in their teens, their twenties, and even during law school finals! Lucky for us, there were enough parents around who wanted their toddlers to get the chicken pox too, and we were invited over to their homes. Harlan is such a social butterfly, and he hates being cooped up inside (no pun intended). I know some of you may be floored by the thought of intentionally getting your kids the chicken pox, but I can definitely see the benefit of it. I had it when I was thirteen, and let me tell you, I was way more miserable than Harlan was with it at three (which was really no walk in the park either).

So, we are all in a period of relative wellness (I know it's just a matter of time before my allergies return. I just finished a second round of antibiotics for an ear infection) and I am trying to catch up on work. At the end of April I am going to be selling at the Funky Finds Spring Fling in Fort Worth, so come check me out!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stash Interview

I have really enjoyed reading the sew mama sew stash interviews from February. I might be a few days late, but no one can call me fat quarter short. I will now proceed to interview myself, and I will be very delighted by my own answers:

First of all, what do you usually sew?

Clothes for my son (mostly pants and shorts, but occasional jumpers), stuffed toys, clothes for myself, play matt/baby quilts, and children's clothing for Rose & Duke.
Scraps are kept in Ziplocks in an open toy trunk, on the floor of the closet.

When you shop for fabric, what size cuts do you usually buy? (i.e. If you see something beautiful, but you don’t have a use for it right away, how much do you buy?)

When I buy for Rose & Duke appliques, I buy small quantities, maybe a yard. Very rarely do I buy less than a yard of something (unless it's from Japan and sold by the half-yard only). When I buy for Harlan I buy at least 1.5 yards, and when it's for myself, I buy 2 to 3 yards to make a shirt or skirt or even short dress.

SMS: Do you buy on impulse or do you go out looking for something you need?
I mostly am an impulse buyer. I frequently look at my favorite online stores and buy things when I see them and fear they may run out. I also have certain fabrics that I need, and I look for those as well. I am constantly searching for prints with small fruit on them, for the tree appliques that I make with screen-printed animals standing next to them. When I am back visiting NYC, I also stock up on items in the garment district that I know I will need for sewing for my family: linen, solids, wools, velors, etc.

SMS: Are you a pre-washer? If you are, do you wash your fabric before you need it, or only when you’re ready to use it?

I just started pre-washing. I used to never pre-wash anything, because it's such a hassle. Ironing is something I find loathsome, and can not figure out how to perfect. No matter how long I go back and forth over certain fabrics, the wrinkles don't come out. Steam or no steam. Or they come out, but then they come back. It makes me crazy.
These are some of my rayon triangles, cut from all the '40s dresses I used to wear in high school and college. Once the arm pits came apart, they became quilt material. I have yet to sew the quilt. Maybe that should be my goal for 2009.

SMS: Do you iron it?

See above.

This is one of my favorites. Fans of Japanese prints will recognize it. I bought it a few years, and just bought more when I saw it available. I will probably hoard it for several years.

SMS: How do you sort it? (color, print size, collection, etc.)
I have mostly cotton prints, and I sort by predominant color. I also have a stack of home dec. weight cottons, a stack of velor and cashmere/wools, and a stack of solids.

This is one of my favorite floral prints. It's from Japan, and I only have a small amount, but I plan to incorporate into a blouse somehow.

SMS: Do you have any special folding techniques?

SMS: How do you store your fabric?
It's all in a closet in my son's room. I suppose that when we buy a house I will have a better solution, but for now it beats keeping it in boxes under the bed, which is what I used to do back in Brooklyn, when closet space was a super-precious comodity. I also have some in boxes, but that's mostly scraps and ongoing projects.

I totally should have bought more than a yard of this Kokka print. I can not find more anywhere and I think it may one of the most perfect designs ever.

SMS: What tips do you have for building up a well-rounded stash?

When you see something you like that might not last in the stores for long, buy it. Make sure you have the solids that you work with frequently, and play with different brands of solids for different purposes, to see which ones you like the best.

SMS: When do you say enough is enough?

When you run out of storage room!

This is a scrap from an

old feedsack that I cut and pinned to make into a blouse. I never sewed the blouse, and now that I've had a son and my ribcage has expanded, it will never fit me anyway. I recently noticed that some designer has reproduced this print exactly. Maybe Alexander Henry?

SMS: What are some of your favourite stash-busting projects?

Quilts are the best way to cut down on the stash. I have yet to make any adult sized quilts, but I sure will be ready when the time comes.

SMS: What’s your definition of the perfect stash?
The inside of Purl Soho.
This is an old feedsack. How can you beat cobwebs and yellow roses? What on earth should I cut into it for?

This one is blouse material. I think it is from Lecien. I bought it at Brooklyn General a couple of years ago, while shopping with Kimmy one day.

Friday, February 20, 2009

On the mend

Have you heard the one about the disappearing blogger?
Tea towel made as a surprise for a friend

When it comes down to it, I really can not do it all. As much as I, and every other mother I know wants to, it's just not possible. So there are choices. And they need to be prioritized. When I began this blog I did so in the hopes that virtually keeping track of my projects would help me finish them, and help me stay in touch with other bloggers who enjoy making things, baking, and taking photos of their accomplishments.
Pants made for Harlan this month. They were not intended to look like M.C. Hammer pants, but they kind of do.

What turns out to be possible, is that I eek out precious bits of time to make things (without keeping track of anything,) I bake things constantly (despite theoretically being on the Weight Watchers points diet,) I sit down to read my favorite bloggers' blogs, and keep in touch with them through commenting on their blogs, and I continue to take photos on a daily basis.

detail of pocket. Train fabric from Leslie.

When it comes down to my own blog, life seems to get in the way most of the time. Since moving to Austin a year and a half ago, I have not gone more then four weeks without any allergy symptoms. I do not mean a few sneezes and watery eyes either. We're talking sore throat, coughing that ends up in loud fits of gagging, partial to total loss of my voice, and completely blocked nasal passages that force me to sleep sitting up like the elephant man did (for some reason the one thing I always remember from the super tragic movie is that he had to sleep sitting up due to his messed up breathing issues). Do I sound like an old kvetcher, ready to move down to Boca yet (I wonder how the allergies are down there)? To add to all this glory, the state of being allergic so often has generally lowered my immune system and made me more vulnerable to infection. Since November, I have been fighting a sinus infection that has given me fever and chills, and body aches and exhaustion. It took me three months of living like this (with two brief periods of feeling well mixed in there) to finally stop and consider that maybe it wasn't just allergies that were bothering me. And now, on a ten-day course of antibiotics, I feel like a new woman. I am also seeing an allergist about taking weekly shots to stave off allergic reactions. I'm telling everyone this because I have basically been spending the last couple of months just going through the motions. There has not been enough time to get work done, let alone blog about what I am stitching while laying on the sofa with my eyes propped open. And now I feel that I am coming out of a tunnel and hopefully rejoining the land of the living.

Truck pants made for Harlan last month, using really expensive black stretch denim that I got in NYC to make a skirt for myself with. I have no idea why I blew it on these pants. I guess I didn't realize that one could not get similar fabric at local fabric chains like Jo-Ann's.

Moving to Austin may have given me massive allergies that will require weekly shots for a very long time, but honestly I fucking love it here. Winter with the sun shining almost every day, and warm enough weather to play outside is really the antidote to a lot of things in my book.

I recently just managed to get some of the vintage pillowcase dresses up in the shop. It was not easy to get fantastic photos of the dresses due to their being white and flowing. I'm working on getting better shots, but for now, click on the photos and check out the detail shots which I think came out quite nicely with my macro lens. Also, check out the new sleeper sets and romper dresses.
Long-sleeved onesies are still available for a couple more months too!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy 2009!

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I was absent from blogland as I was working on keeping my booth stocked at the Blue Genie Art Bazaar, and spending time with the fam. There were a lot of really fantastic artists at Blue Genie this year, and despite the current economy, sales were strong. Rose & Duke sold a decent amount of items, but I was expecting to sell way more and so now I have a lot of stock to fill my site and some local shops. That is what I will be spending the next few weeks doing; photographing items, uploading them, and taking samples around. I am super bad about updating my webshop, and my 2009 resolution is to make time to keep it current.

In crafty news, I had a fun time doing an ornament swap with some great bloggers. It was called the "Los Locos Calicos" swap, and I'll post a link to the flickr group as soon as more folks have uploaded their photos (hint hint ladies). I received the cutest ever Christmas bunny pom pom ornament from Frizz. It came inside a hand-pained wooden box which I now keep my barrettes in. I'm linking you to her photos of the critter, because she took really great ones. I ended up sending out two ornaments. The one that I made for the swap is this one:
I hand embroidered sliver thread onto blue wool felt . It wasn't that easy to remove the stabilizer, let me tell you.

I ended up making a batch of these birdie and vintage millinery flower ornaments. I had a box of vintage wooden thread spools in a drawer and the inspiration just hit me. I ended up including one in the swap.

Sorry for the overexposed photo. My other 2009 resolution is to take better photos. I end up rushing a lot and the results are not always pretty.

Guess what awesome thing happened chez Dunlap? Our ruby grapefruit tree gave us the sweetest grapefruit ever! A hail storm knocked off all but one, and here she is:

We also had a Christmas visit from my mother, and she and Harlan made a gingerbread house together:
Please note the Playmobil midevil guards out front. Somebody put them there to ensure that no one else tried to eat the house. This, after receiving the Jen Corace Illustrated Hansel and Gretel from Sanata. It's the loveliest rendition of the story I have ever read.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

3 is the magic number

Once again I've been a bit scarce around blogland for the past month. After Maker Faire (which went really well by the way, see here and here for a couple of shots that are better than my own) we had Harlan's third birthday to celebrate, and then I dove right back into production mode for the upcoming Blue Genie Art Bazaar, which is a three week long sale of items made by local artists.

With less than twenty hours a week to devote to working, blogging is put on the back burner once again. Here are a few shots to keep all my dear readers in the loop!

Harlan's third birthday on Nov. 1:
I think this is my only photo pose. Every photo of me since Harlan was born looks exactly like this. Here is the birthday boy being asked to pose:

We had a little party for Harlan and some of his pals at a place filled with inflatable jumpy houses. Some of them were so large that they had slides and ladders (inflatable too) inside them.

I updated my deer and tree applique designs. I'm now hand dying the blanks in vibrant, more "punchy" colors, that come out somewhat variegated. Instead of hand painting each shirt, Joe drew a deer that I'm silkscreening (and I added a small batch of a big bad wolf version). Silk screening goes a lot faster obviously, and it feels great to be able to produce the clothes a little faster than I was doing so before. Lastly, the tree appliques remain the same except that there is now only one tree per shirt.

I am making most of the trees with my traditional ric-rack, and leaving some with raw edges for a more "manly" look for little boys who don't rock the ric-rack.

This shirt is Kelley green, although it looks more yellow in the photo:

These little romper/dresses are new too, and come in a variety of colors:

Also new are these sleeper sets. The hats will be sold with the nighties (don't these things remind you of Sweepea?)

I really love the way blue dye came out, but it shows the most variegation of any of the colors I've tried so far. It's a bit trickier to work with and I had to scrap a pretty big batch of blanks unfortunately.
I'm hoping to put some of these in the shop, but that is pretty neglected these days as well. If you are interested in a particular size or design to purchase, feel free to e-mail me and I'll send it to you instead of putting in the upcoming Art Bazaar. I'm also making some great stockings with the woodgrain fabric, some Japanese import fabrics, and some linen ones with the deer. I hope to post again soon, but if not, please know that the comments you all leave and the e-mails you send really mean a lot to me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sneak Peak #2

Twenty two totally unique hand-embroidered dresses are ready to debut at the Maker Faire on October 18th. So far I have figured out how to make them in a few sizes ranging from 0-3 months to 4t. I choose the size the dress will end up being based on the embroidery and trim of the original pillowcase. Here is a sneak preview of a few of the dresses:

So, it's not the easiest feat in the world to photograph some of the designs on these in a short amount of time (which is the only amount I seem to have for every task these days). I just realized that I chose two green and yellow dresses out of all the different color combinations. There are many different colors, believe you me!

And now, if you are dying of suspense about who won the ticket drawing for the Maker Faire tickets, the winners are:

shewolfnm: Two adult tickets and one child ticket


Solotko: One student ticket (can be used by a child)


Jen-uh-four: One student ticket (can be used by a child)

Congratulations! The way I generated this drawing was by placing the names in two bowls. One bowl had the name and ticket request number of everyone who asked for adult tickets, and the other had the name and ticket request number of everyone who asked for children tickets. No one asked for student tickets, but the Maker Faire will admit children under 3 for free, so all other children are students right?

Please feel free to stop by the Rose & Duke booth in the Bizarre Bazaar and say hello when you come to the fair.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Maker Faire Ticket Giveaway

Extra! Extra! Get 'em while they're hot! If you are going to be in Austin on the weekend of October 18th and 19th, and you would like to go to the Maker Faire, I can help you with the cost of tickets, courtesy of Average Jane Crafter. The adult tickets cost $25 each, the student tickets cost $15 each, and the youth tickets cost $10 each. I have FIVE to give away (2 adult, 2 student, 1 youth). Please note that you must be an actual student or an actual youth to use the allocated tickets. In order to enter the drawing, please leave a comment by 1:00 PM CST, Monday, October 6th. I will draw winners at that point and post the results. The comment that you leave must include an e-mail address where I can find you (unless I can find your e-mail through your personal profile that you post with), what kind of tickets you want and how many, and one of two things (yes, there's a twist): 1) A link to something handmade that is for sale that you would love to buy for yourself if you got some free money, or 2) A brief description of something you do to help other people or make the world a better place. I will choose three random winners. If the total amount of tickets requested by the three random winners leaves leftovers, I will draw names from posters requesting the type of tickets leftover. In other words, if, after choosing the three winners there is a youth ticket left, I will draw names from posters who requested a youth ticket. Good luck!

In making news, I took a day off from working on items to sell, and made Harlan some muscle car shorts with this cool fabric. He gasped when I showed them to him, but then I had to practically twist his arm to get him to try them on for a photo. He's very fickle these days.

Rose & Duke got a mention this week on the Wickedly Chic blog, thanks ladies!