Tulips are my favourite cut flowers, and as soon as I see them in the supermarket, I bring home a bouquet. I love the fluidity of tulips- these grew at least an inch since I placed them in the vase, and this time they stayed upright (that doesn’t always happen!)
I usually take photos of flowers on a white background, but decided this time to play around with a dark one. A brown throw blanket made a perfect draped background for the bright yellow colour of the petals, and the resulting photos remind me of the Dutch Golden Age still life paintings. The perfect subject for an oil painting!
Welcome weekend (and long weekend to my fellow Albertans)!
Lately I’ve been…
Reading this cookbook, Traditional Meals for the Frugal Family by Shannon Stonger. I tried a few of the recipes (her beet and sweet potato soup is amazing!) when I got it from the library, and then liked it so much that I bought it. All of the recipes are gluten free, and can be made to accomodate other dietary restrictions as well.
One other book related thing you may find interesting is this site Anne Manuscript. They scanned every page of the original Anne Of Green Gables manuscript in L.L.Montgomery’s handwriting, and it’s so interesting to peruse.
Loving lighting a candle in the evenings when I read. It adds such a nice atmosphere. I never used to remember to light my candles, but then I put my matches right beside the candle, so now it’s so easy to light it…who knew that something that simple would remind me to use it so much more often!
I also tried out my new wax seal kit. The wick in the wax didn’t want to light, but I managed to melt enough to make a couple of seals, and the stamp is so pretty! It really makes the mail so much more elegant.
Makinga few little projects here and there. Firstly, the bookstand (in the first picture) for my bedside table. It perfectly holds my few “current” reads for easy access, and is so much tidier than the haphazard stack I inevitably end up knocking askew.
I also created these little 4×4 scripture memory cards to put out on my shelf. I stop often throughout the day to read the current verse and I hope to be able to memorize them all!
WatchingYouTube, as always. I pretty much don’t watch movies anymore, but one of my favourite YouTube channels, Crows Eye Productions, released this great fashion history video featuring a scene from Pride and Prejudice which I really enjoyed! They plan to make more!
It is a truth universally acknowledged that outfit photos are hard to get in the Winter…or maybe I’ve just gotten weak? Years ago I used to brave wind and sub zero temperatures to get photos for the blog, but the past few years I’ve opted to take indoor photos, or none at all! But, finally this past week I braved the cold (and of course the wind started blowing as soon as we went outside) to get some photos of my new Fall/Winter skirt.
Over the past couple of seasons I have decluttered a lot of clothing and accessories, significantly reducing my wardrobe. I sold a lot of pieces that didn’t feel like “me” anymore, as well as items that didn’t fit, keeping only the items I absolutely, without-a-doubt loved to wear. While this was great, it did leave me with a slightly too minimal wardrobe for winter, consisting of only a few tops and a single black wool skirt! So, I decided that I needed a few more pieces to get through the season.
I’ve had this plaid fabric in my stash for over 10 years, but I’ve never had enough yardage for any of the projects I planned (a jacket, a cape etc. It must have been a remnant, because there was only just over a metre or so.) When looking to sew a few new pieces for my winter wardrobe, I realized that it would make a great skirt. I did have a few hiccups in the process, and if I was sewing it again today, I would definitely make some changes to the process.
Did I plan to have the zipper on the side, but then discovered that the fabric didn’t fall properly that way, so I had to switch to a back zipper after I’d already cut and sewn the waistband on?
Did that cause the waistband plaid pattern to be misaligned with the skirt? But then it couldn’t be picked out because the fabric was too loose of a weave and had started to fray?
And then, once I sewed the zipper in, did I realize that the skirt was about 2″ too big, so I had to unpick the perfectly sewn zipper, and then redo the back, and then the zipper didn’t go in as nicely as the first time?
Sigh, the joys of sewing.
However, despite the fact that the waistband really does bother me, the most important thing is that I finished the skirt and have been wearing it quite a lot this season. I also like how the plaid pattern falls on a curve (this is one of my favourite tricks for dressing my body type.) I love the movement the circle skirt gives to the plaid pattern!
As for my winter wardrobe colour palette, I went with a main colour of brown, with accents of taupe and black; basically all of the colours in this skirt. I chose to add in tops and accessories that can mix and match; such as this chocolate brown pullover sweater. My capsule consists of three skirts, one dress, five stand-alone tops, three shells/layering tops, two cardigans and a myriad of accessories. I have really enjoyed going to my closet to get dressed and instantly being able to put together several possible outfits, because almost everything goes with everything else!
And then of course I keep it from getting repetitious by changing up the accessories. At least now most of my accessories coordinate with the majority of pieces. For example, I was finally able to pair this fur collar I got two years ago. In the pictures they don’t quite look like they coordinate, but in real life the colours go well together. I’ve also paired this same brown sweater and skirt with my green cape and felt hat, or even switched to a black sweater, shoes and beret for a completely different look.
As for these accessories, they are all items I’ve worn a lot, and continue to love wearing. The earrings are Pika and Bear and were a gift, the purse is from Top Vintage, the shoes are from Earthies and the fur collar was a vintage one that I sewed a ribbon tie onto.
Well, I can’t say that I’m going to be any quicker to get outfit photos for the remainder of the winter weather, but I will try to at least get some of the other skirt I sewed.
I hope you’re all having a great week, and staying warm!
We’ve probably all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”, but I recently heard it altered slightly to say “practice makes progress”, which is much better, I think, since nothing in this world is ever perfect. I’ve been reflecting on this lately, and thinking about how I am often disappointed in my creative endeavours because I haven’t reached the goals, or mastered the skills I had hoped I would by now….
I’m currently going through my external hard drive and organizing it. Years ago I had a computer crash, and while I was, thankfully, able to recover all of my files, they got dumped onto a hard drive, and I never did anything further with them. I’m fairly good at organizing and decluttering physical belongings, but the digital realm is one that never fails to devolve into absolute chaos for me. It’s a huge mess that gets worse each year, and continues to hang over my head like an invisible avalanche. This was finally my year to tackle that project, so I’ve been sorting, organizing and deleting; not just so that I can find photos or files easily, but so that I can finally get a bunch of the photos printed into albums!
Anyway, as I’ve been sorting, I’ve learned a few things (other than the painful lesson that sitting at my desk for too long is punishing to my shoulders).
Firstly, I’ve come to realize that just because a photo was taken, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily worth saving. For some reason, I think many of us have this idea that because we took this photo, it’s special. But, especially since the advent of digital cameras, I have ended up with a lot of duplicates, and unnecessary or blurry photos. In the past couple of years I’ve gotten better at immediately deleting those sorts of photos, but in the past I used to keep folders and folders of mediocre photos. I have been keeping in mind as I sort, that if I lived in the 1940’s I would have a lot less photos, and that would be totally fine. So, as I sort, I delete anything that doesn’t bring back a happy or important memory, duplicates that are so similar I don’t need both, and any photos I just don’t like. I am still keeping plenty of silly outtakes and anything that is truly sparking joy, but many of them are not.
Secondly, I am asking myself whether I have a purpose for these photos- am I going to print it? Am I going to blog it? Is it for reference? If the photograph doesn’t answer yes to any of these questions, then what is the purpose for me keeping it? I am coming to the understanding that sometimes the value in a photograph was simply in the action of taking of it. Like I don’t keep every sewing project or sketch I’ve ever made, I also don’t need to keep every photograph. Many of the photos were valuable in the practice they gave me, but I don’t need to keep the end result.
Which leads into my third discovery: practice makes progress. As I am sorting through the past 10+ years of photos (I received my DSLR in 2010!) I am noticing how much my photography has improved.
I look at the photos I take today and I often wish they could be better; they fall so short of what I want them to be, and what I see other artists creating. It can be easy to compare your skills to others, but it’s much more impactful to compare your current self to your previous self! I am looking through these photography “sketches” and realizing that they did have value, in teaching me. 10 years of practice has resulted in much better photographs. I’m no Ansel Adams, and yet, compared to 20 year old Nicole, I have vastly improved!
It’s so encouraging to realize that all of those hundreds of thousands of photographs that I took… and then deleted… over the years have resulted in not a few photographs that I am happy with and proud of. Like any artistic endeavour, it takes a lot of time and practice to grow and perfect, or rather progress. I would say that photography is one of the few creative practices I have consistently worked on, ever since my first film camera over 20 years ago and these days I have a lot more hits than misses.
Anyway, it was simply enlightening for me to see how much I’ve improved over the years, so I wanted to encourage all of you to keep practicing as well! Whatever skill or craft you are working on, don’t compare yourself to others, but rather compare yourself to yourself from years ago and I bet you’ll see a lot of growth.
If we take a moment to look back, we will realize just how far we’ve come.
(And of course, I did delete a lot of those out-of-focus and oddly composed photos, but I had to show a couple!)
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I love writing letters and using pretty stationery.One way to elevate your stationery is with custom envelopes, whether that’s lining existing envelopes with patterned paper, or making your own! My recent favourite is fabric envelopes. I am definitely not the first person to think up this idea, but I thought I’d share a mini-tutorial with you today because it’s so simple to do, it looks amazing and also because Valentines is coming up soon. This would be a lovely way to dress up a simple DIY or store bought card for your loved one! So without further ado, here is how to make fabric envelopes.
First, choose some fabric; I picked several cotton scraps, and some lace cut off of a curtain. Make sure to iron your fabric, to eliminate any wrinkles.
I first tried using a cornstarch laundry starch, but it wasn’t stiff enough, so I switched to using this fabric stiffener I bought years ago. It’s basically glue, at least that’s what it smells like. You could easily DIY your own stiff corn starch for this project; I just used what I had on hand.
Lay down a piece of tin foil, or plastic wrap. I’ve used both, but I found the tin foil a little bit easier to smooth out. Place your fabric on top of the foil and pour some starch onto the fabric. I tried to pour mine across the fabric, but it whooshed out quickly into a big puddle, oops!
I used this old, stiff bristle paintbrush to spread the starch around, thoroughly soaking the fabric since the foam brush didn’t work as well. If that’s all you have, it will work, though. I also used my hands, flipping the fabric to make sure it was evenly coated. If you have a lot of starch, you could also submerge the fabric.
Once your fabric is fully saturated, smooth all the wrinkles out, place another piece of foil on top and then place a book or box on the top to weight it for a couple of hours or so. I did this so the fabric wouldn’t pucker and the edges wouldn’t curl up as it dried. You can see in the white envelope what happens when you take it out too soon!
After the fabric is mostly dried, peel the top layer of foil off, and let the fabric dry further. When it’s almost completely dry, and the danger of bubbles and curling edges is past, you can remove the other piece of foil and hang the fabric to fully dry from both sides.
Take an envelope of your desired size, and trace it onto card stock (I used a manila folder). You could use the envelope itself as a template, but I find it much easier to trace with thicker paper.
Using this template, trace with a pencil onto the back of your fabric. Cut out the envelope along the lines.
Place the template inside the envelope and then fold along the lines. Use your thumbnail or a bone folder to crease the edges well.
Assemble the envelope with narrow piece of double sided tape or glue. Be careful not to use too much glue, or it will soak through the fabric and glue your envelope shut! For the lace envelope, I actually used a thread to stitch it in place, because the tape and glue would have shown.
And then you’re done- now you can make a Valentine, or any other card, and then give it to someone special!
To send your envelope in the mail, write the address on a label and tape it to the front of the envelope. Place the fabric envelope inside a clear cellophane sleeve, and affix your postage stamp to the outside of the plastic, and you should be good to go! Of course, you could always place the envelope inside a regular paper one, if you don’t mind if the envelope is hidden.
Well, there is a quick and easy way to make fabric envelopes. Now that I know how easy it is to do, I’m going to start making one every time I have a large enough scrap of fabric!
Have you ever tried to make fabric envelopes before? Do you like to send letters and cards?