Monday, January 31, 2011

Wherin I am in mourning for my job.

I'm back from my honeymoon! I know, 4 and a half years after the wedding but better late than never! And boy did we save up for this one. We took an 11 night cruise in the Mediterranean and hit Genoa, Barcelona, Casablanca, Tenerife, Funchal and Malaga followed by 3 days in Rome eating like royalty.
Here's a picture of my rocking Muslim chic at a Mosque in Casablanca.

And I returned home to find that the wonderful coffee shop where I work, my home away from home, my good friend, had closed it's doors for good. So there's bit's of excitement over our adventure tempered with being in mourning for my job. But the cast is off my arm, it works relatively well despite being a bit weak, and I now have both time and the ability to sew again between bouts of job hunting. Oh, how I hate job hunting, I can't even express it, the constant sting of being ignored, or rejected, it's like dating only without the fun parts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

THis will be short...

This will be short because I'm packing. That's a lie. This will be short because I'm supposed to be packing but instead I'm blogging. And eating short bread... and riffling through another box newly arrived from
What can I say, I'm easily distracted.
This is really easy and a great idea for those of us with a green streak. Oh, and can I just say, Martha Stewart has people whose job it is just to think up creative stuff. Where can I get that job?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Introducing PhoebeDelia's Mercantile

I am lucky to say that my mother and I have a great relationship. She raised me in a world quite different from most. I grew up in an antique shop. As a baby I slept in beautiful antique, lacy baby gowns, laying in a lovely antique bassinet in my mother's shop. Customers were often surprised to see me stir, thinking I was a doll.

As I grew, most days were spent playing with scraps of lace or curled up with a book in a nest of satin quilts underneath a lovely antique table while my mother worked. Weekends were exciting expeditions to thrift shops, estate sales, auctions and the like, in search of treasure. My sister and I could spot a valuable antique from a mile away, and there were finders fees to be had. It was, and still is, my favorite game, hunting treasure.

Sewing was a big part of this. My barbies were the best dressed you ever saw, sporting real silk lined mink coats fashioned by my mother with scraps. Many of my clothes were hand sewn (though I never appreciated the work, or the originality of my wardrobe until years later when I tried to sew my first dress and thought, How the hell did my mother manage this?)
 My tastes always leaned towards the vintage dresses I had played dress-up in (who else had slightly tattered 1950's prom dresses, a real fur coat, and rhinestone covered everything in their dress-up box?)

I'm the little one in the massive hat.
Naturally, my antiqued, gilded, dusty and bejeweled upbringing has everything to do with my passions today. I wear vintage, I sew vintage, I hunt vintage, I blog and breathe vintage.
So it's only natural that my mother and I should still be in business together today. I'm web savvy and she has the know-all from 30 years of running an antique business. My sister and I both helped her start on eBay when it started up, and now Mom has two shops online, one on specializing in vintage sewing, clothing, jewelry, and accessories overseen by me and one on focusing on rare antiques.
She is my first sponsor for the blog (I'm over-payed in vintage couture, who could complain?) and I asked her to share a bit about herself. The story is great, and goes to show that following one's passions can lead to a life well lived, and on the glittering, lacy terms one chooses.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my mother:

Mending My Ways

I have been a busy lady. A very busy lady. In 2 days we leave for a Mediterranean cruise plus several days in Rome. Naturally, that means sewing. Lots of sewing. I have altered two of Mike's trousers to fit him better, lengthened my own quintessential pair of white pants (the ones with buttons on the front that bring 'nautical' to mind) sewn a ridiculously gorgeous silk blouse (more to come) all while working on "the slip that won't die."

 I finally got around to doing a tiny bit of work on this amazing 1950's dress that my mother gave me for my birthday a few years ago. It was a size too small, and I vowed to loose 5 lbs and pull this "mad Men" beauty back out of the closet some day.
Well, I may have 5 lbs to lose but my rib cage is not getting any smaller. Ever. So today I let it out a bit, wiped off some dusty bits, and reattached some buttons.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Pin Cushions For The Fair

One of my very first sewing projects was a pincushion using left-over silk scraps and a decadent Rhinestone button with this free pattern PDF that I found online.

 My mistake was filling it with the wrong stuff. I chose old fabric scraps, a little leftover stuffing from a cannibalized footstool and to my misfortune I discovered that it was almost impossible to stick most parts of this pincushion with a pin. However, I was much too proud to admit failure and I proceeded to use the pincushion for the next four years cursing it every step of the way and strategically only sticking pins in certain loosely stuffed corners.
With the broken arm fiasco, I have limited myself to only small, instantly gratifying sewing projects for the next several weeks. A better place to stick my pins was the logical next step.
 These used very little fabric and came together quite quickly. The center of each is embellished with a lone vintage rhinestone earring missing its mate. It's was very easy to separate the earring from its backing, all you need is a good pair of  needle nosed pliers and wire cutter.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy Feet

 Happy New Year everyone! I thought that I would kick off the new year by showing you my first sewing project since I broke my arm. The other day, I decided to try putting my hair in a ponytail (something that I have been unable to do without help since I broke my arm) and I succeeded! So I thought,  if I can twist a ponytail in my hair,  I might have enough finger dexterity to attempt sewing something.
So I started with a simple project; one that has only taken me a couple of hours to complete previously.  The Mary Jane pattern from
Ithinksew's version.
And though it took me nearly 6 hours this time instead of just a couple(Damn you, broken arm, you suck), the end results were perfect.
  World, meet the cutest slippers EVER!
 These sweet little babies are lined with Minky. The outer fabric is what is left from my old plaid robe dress project and the lining is some insanely thick fleece insulation that someone at a fabric store back in the states suggested I use to line potholders.  The Minky itself is rather warm and thick but to be sure that these were ridiculously warm slippers, the eighth of an inch thick insulation seemed like a logical addition.  Plus it made them super cushy on the bottom.
 This was my first time sewing with Minky and the blog offered several helpful tips on dealing with this particularly unique fabric:
  • "When cutting minky, be prepared for a cloud of fuzz!  Try cutting pieces with a rotary cutter then taking them outside to shake them off, putting them in the dryer on the air dry cycle (NO heat), or keep a vacuum handy to cut back on some of the mess."
  • "DO NOT iron minky directly.  Instead, place minky face down on a towel and press gently on low heat or steam it.  Ironing and high heat will ruin the nap and any embossing in the fabric."
  • "Don’t forget to clean your machine’s throat plate, feed dogs and bobbin case often.  All that fuzz can get messy and clog the works."
You can get several more useful fabric tips at blog.
  Despite my broken arm, I will be doing sewing projects again but they will be fewer and farther between as I find I need to take breaks every hour or so to let my angry broken bone rest.
 If you are interested in this pattern or any others from Ithinksew, they are having a Christmas sale right now and this is a good time to snag the pattern you've been waiting for.