Thursday, May 24, 2012

Modern or Vintage?...

via Anthropologie

Aprons... just the mention of these delicious little accessories brings to mind a plethora of images...

Barbara Billingsly as June Cleaver, "Leave It To Beaver"
couldn't resist this picture of June and Ward... isn't this apron glorious?

Donna Reed as Donna Stone, "The Donna Reed Show"

Jane Wyatt as Margaret Anderson, "Father Knows Best"

Lucille Ball as Lucy Ricardo, "I Love Lucy"

Marion Ross as Mrs. C, "Happy Days"

The apron represents the quintessential housewife in all her glory... fresh baked cookies... being "dressed for dinner"... nostalgia, plain and simple.  Or maybe the person that comes to your mind is someone more familiar... your mother, or perhaps a grandmother.  Regardless of the depth of the connection, there is no denying the fact that this little piece of vintage America has made a comeback.  They are everywhere and they are fabulous!  A quick little google search will yield you thousands of images and retailers.  Pinterest will point you to no-less-than a dozen tutorials on how to make your own slice of american pie.  Here are some of my favorites...

via Anthropologie

via Anthropologie

via Anthropologie

via Anthropologie

via ModCloth (no longer available)... inspiration, maybe?
via Pinterest
via Pinterest
free downloadable pattern here

I love them all!  Most of these run between $30 and $40 dollars, and while that is not terribly expensive, I am drawn to the idea of making my own.  I find the idea of selecting my pattern, fabric, and trim wonderfully tempting.  I set out to my favorite fabric store to find inspiration.  Here's what I found :)...

The Stella Apron by Grand Revival here... perfect!  Flirty but sensible.  Available in both full and half apron styles, with a selection of pockets if desired. 

I selected fabric from my existing stash and sat down at the machine.  It didn't take long and went together pretty easily.  The one exception is creating that "perfect binding" in the corners.  It took some work, and I personally think she skipped a step in her directions.  No problem.  I'll hook you up with what worked best for me...

I followed her directions for attaching the bias tape around the perimeter of the apron, but when I got ready to turn the bias corners to the right side I simply lined up the top of the perpendicular binding (right sides together) and stitched diagonally.  I tested my corner by turning it right side out, and trimmed when I was satisfied with the seam.  Hope that helps!  

Here is the end result...

The fabric is Large Whimsy Doozie by michael miller
Now, let me warn you, this pattern does seem a bit narrow in the bib.  After all, my daughter is only 9 and it fits her perfectly.  But, never fear, this pattern is super-easy to modify.  When making this as a gift, we simply moved each piece off the fold by 1", adding 2" overall to the size of the apron.  Because both main pieces are to be cut on the fold, this technique worked perfectly.  You could easily make this as large or small as you like. 

I see lots of possibilities with this flirty little apron.  Coordinating fabrics, trims, double skirts, patchwork... the sky's the limit!!

A little sneak peek at what's next on my list...

The Emmeline Apron by Sew Liberated

Hope you have been inspired to create a little vintage America for yourself :)   Happy Sewing!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Fussy little Peanut...

Wow.  What a day.  With two children already in double digits, this is certainly not my first trip to the rodeo.  My eldest was the king of the tantrums, so I am keenly aware of what comes packaged in the adorable little body of a two-yr-old.  I also have a tween daughter... I am equally aware that it doesn't necessarily stop when they hit three.  But we aren't even two yet!  All this to say, this is not just typical toddler behavior... especially this toddler.  He is usually a wonderfully happy, playful little fella!  So cute, with those squeezable cheeks :) 

1/100  f/4.5  ISO 800  55mm
but on this day those smiley cheeks were nowhere to be found.  Instead, we got lots of this...

1/125  f/4.0  ISO 800  53mm, with flash
Still cute, right?  Even with 20 minutes solid of tears, I was optimistic... certainly all was not lost.  I assumed when we got home and out of the car, he would perk right up... the clouds would lift and the rays of sunshine and happiness would shine once again.  Besides, he looked so cute... sporting his Jungle Book tee.  I thought this might be a great afternoon to grab my camera and go play around in the yard...  maybe get some great candid shots.  *This is where I would love to insert some catchy little cliche about being naive, but I have no words*  When we spilled out of the car, there were no rainbows or lollipops.  I got this...

1/250  f/4.5  ISO 160  60mm
and this...
1/160  f/4.5  ISO 160  63mm
and this...
1/250  f/4.5  ISO 160  63mm
Not having much luck capturing my adorable jungle book boy, am I?  Disappointing?  Yes.  Frustrating?  Yes.  See, he's normally such an easy subject... so much more natural than my older two.  He's busy, and curious, and fast... he keeps it interesting :)  But, since he was really not fond of the camera *completely rejecting me at every shutter click*, I switched my focus to more cooperative subjects...

1/160  f/4.0  ISO 160  40mm
(does anyone else see the brontosaurus in this cloud?)

1/1000  f/3.5  ISO 160  28mm
and when he wasn't expecting it...

1/500  f/4.5  ISO 160  28mm
Yay, me!  Adorable little grin, isn't it!  Sadly, though, the smiles didn't last long, and I was already bored with statues and clouds.  I turned my attention to my eldest... and I shot about 20 like this...

1/500  f/4.5  ISO 320  28mm
Not much variety on a pogo stick...basically the same photo over and over and over.  But he was focused on not falling... he was natural... not posed and certainly not saying "cheese".  I think he liked the attention... though he would never admit it ;)  We stayed out a little longer, but the sun was fading behind the house, and it was taking my optimism with it. 

1/250  f/4.5  ISO 200  28mm
Reluctantly, I surrendered to the will of the littlest and we went inside... we got our magic snack of fruitloops and milk... and we sat down with some cartoons... we were happy... finally...

1/80  f/4.0  ISO 400  50mm, with flash
but he still didn't want his picture taken...

1/80  f/4.0 ISO 400  45mm, with flash
Luckily, this was not a typical day.  Later in the evening I discovered a new tooth emerging... and that's enough to make anyone cranky.  He's still not back to his infectiously happy self, but he will be soon.  In the meantime, the advil is helping us both ;)

Monday, May 7, 2012

Eleven years ago, today...

My mom and J... January, 2001

On May 7, 2001, I said goodbye to my mom... It was the hardest thing I have ever been through. I think of her everyday... I wonder what advice she would give me as a mother, as a wife, as a woman... I imagine how she would dote over her beautiful grandchildren... I am so grateful that she was more than my mother, she was my best friend. I prayed for healing, and God answered "not this time". My faith alone makes me okay with that. Revelation 21:4 says, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."... He sustained me on May 7, 2001, and He sustains me still.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Manual Mode: Day 3

It seems that I only pull out my camera when lighting situations are extreme.  I also seem to overexpose everything.   I figured out (after shooting in the mid-afternoon, water-reflecting, full sun) how to get to the expanded 100 ISO for my camera, and also how to adjust the ISO in smaller increments.  I'll try them both, when it stops raining ;)  But until then, here they are... manual mode, day 3... As always, these are unedited (except where noted).  Please let me know you stopped by in the comments sections... your words are always appreciated!  Until next time, I'll practice, practice, practice!

1/1250  f/4.5  ISO 200  28mm

1/1250  f/4.5  ISO 200  28mm

1/1600  f/4.5  ISO 200  28mm

1/200  f/5.6  ISO 200  80mm
1/500  f/4.5  ISO 200  68mm

1/500  f/4.5  ISO 200  68mm
this is the same photo, but with the contrast increased

1/500  f/4.5  ISO 200  63mm

1/1600  f/4.5  ISO 800  55mm

1/1600  f/5.6  ISO 800  80mm

1/1600  f/5.0  ISO 800  28mm

1/1000  f/5.6  ISO 800  73mm

1/400  f/4.5  ISO 400  63mm

1/640  f/4.5  ISO 400  45mm