Thursday, June 30, 2011

Guess where?





Can you guess where we were this week?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Books, books, books

Through my recent birthday and the discovery of two very well-priced used bookstores, I've added quite a few books to my shelves lately. Here are a few highlights:

A Pictorial History of English Architecture by John Betjeman ($1, used bookstore) -- I admit, the name "John Betjeman" caught my eye first, but when I read the title I knew it would be a great addition to my library. The photographs are either black-and-white or the dingy colors of the early '70s, so the pictures alone don't make the book worth seeking out. However, John Betjeman is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable guide, and the basic information remains the same, 40 years later.

The English House by Sally Griffiths and Simon McBride (birthday present) -- I have loved browsing through this book. It features 11 different homes from various counties of England, ranging from the likes of the Tudor Country House to the Victorian Terrace House. The text introduces you to the history of each home and its present owner(s). It interests me to read how the owners have chosen to renovate and decorate their historic homes. Some of the rooms and furnishings were familiar to me from photographs and stories in my beloved Victoria magazines, so I have enjoyed getting more views and backstories beyond what the magazines provided. This book is filled with beautiful inspiration for those who love English Country style.

Romantic Style by Denny Hemming and Victoria's Secret ($2, used bookstore) -- Yes, this book was published by Victoria's Secret back in the day when it was a classy establishment! There's not a single scantily-clad female in the entire book, imagine that! Although a few touches here and there are a little dated (it was published in 1990), for the most part, the decor featured in this book has aged well after twenty-one years. Much of it is in the "English Country" vein, hence my interest. I've enjoyed flipping through the pictures (the text is less interesting) for decorating inspiration.

Do-It-Yourself Tailored Slipcovers by Sophia Sevo (birthday present) -- I was excited to receive this book because it covers a variety of chair styles and how to slipcover them. I have been talking about slipcovering our couch for a while now, but recently the idea to start a little smaller has appealed to me. :) Now I'm on the lookout for the perfect used wing chair and the perfect upholstery fabric, then away I'll go!

Simple Upholstery and Slipcovers by Carol Parks ($2, used bookstore) -- I was pleased to find this as a supplement to the above book. It goes into making slipcovers for couches and ottomans as well as the actual ins and outs of re-upholstering furniture, with step by step photographs. After looking through this book, I feel I have a pretty good idea of how an upholsterer works!! I think I might have the confidence to try re-upholstering... someday. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Potted herbs

potted herbs

Meet my apartment garden: potted basil, chives, spearmint, and dill. I love having fresh herbs for my kitchen. My future herb garden will include all of the above, plus cilantro, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, parsley, and lavender. What are your favorite herbs?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

33 years

wedding napkin
["That we may with one mind and one mouth glorify God..." Romans 15:6]

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Ikat maxi dress

Ikat maxi dress

My mother-in-law recently commissioned me to make a maxi dress for my sister-in-law Emily, using some pretty aqua batik rayon and Simplicity 2579. It was such a quick and easy pattern I decided to make a version for myself, too. Of course, I ended up making some changes to mine so it wasn't so quick and easy anymore.

I added a ruffle to the bottom of the skirt for fun, and some shell buttons to the shoulders for nursing access. This pattern runs quite small in the bust so I also did a full bust adjustment using the instructions from Fit for Real People. It wasn't as hard or complex as it sounds, and the ensuing fit is great (after taking in the sides a lot -- way too much ease, as usual!).

I used a semi-sheer cotton lawn from Fashion Fabrics Club and lined it with plain cotton. The skirt is also lined to the ruffle, which is not in the pattern -- I just cut extra skirt pieces from the lining cotton and treated them as one with the cotton lawn when gathering and attaching the skirt to the midriff.

I love the finished dress -- it is very comfortable and easy to wear, and since it's all cotton it keeps me cool. I'm going to be wearing this aaaall summer long!