Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #26-Celebrate!

This is a post concerning the two dresses I made for seeing the first and second HOBBIT movies. The blue one (an original design, since I went as Gilraen, Aragorn's mother) was made last December for "The HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey" and doesn't count for the HSF challenge, but I'm including it just for fun. But first, the Challenge gown. Then, I promise you'll get more photos of the blue one below :) 

This here is the gown I made for seeing "The HOBBIT: Desolation of Smaug" 2 weeks ago. It's mostly a self-drafted pattern...which explains why I spent most of my time altering it! It's made of Wine-Colored Velveteen and Soft Pink Silk. The Velveteen dress has cap sleeves with double Princess-Seams (like Susan Pevensie's green archery gown from LWW). The pink under-sleeves are attached to the cap sleeves and end in a point at the knuckles. It's medieval-inspired but I'm not entirely sure how historically accurate it is. As for the shoes, they were a miracle of a Goodwill find from this Summer and I couldn't resist their charm! They go really well with my Regency dresses!
What's that? Oh! You like my new haircut? Why, thank you! I think it will go with my 1930s and '40s plans for the HSF 2014 very nicely!

Sleeve Detail

Yeah, I'm a foot and ankle model like Black and Tan

Shoe detail

Marley (My sister/photographer) was jumping up and down with excitement over how well this shot turned out!

The Challenge: #26-Celebrate! I am celebrating the release of The HOBBIT films!!!
Fabric: 3 yards Velveteen, 1 yard raw silk
Pattern: Hand-Drafted
Year: 1200s?
Notions: Thread
How historically accurate is it?: Not sure so...not very...I suppose ;)
Hours to complete: 4ish
First worn: December 14th to "The HOBBIT: Desolation of Smaug"
Total cost: Stash Fabric so $0!
Now, on to my Gilraen gown! It's made of about 4 yards of an unknown rather sparkly dark blue fabric (a rayon/cotton blend, perhaps?) with a yard of stretch lace for the sleeve extensions. There is a separate shirt underneath made of another unknown fabric (I'm really bad about the proper names! It's ribbed with a silky quality to it. If you have any thoughts, please comment!). This dress is also self-designed and self-drafted and I purposely made it too big so that it would gather underneath the girdle that is made of the same stretch lace as the sleeve extensions. It went really well with the red cape I made this Spring (Oh, the blessings of being a costume designer for the stage and screen!) The cape is made of red velveteen and is (you guessed it) a self-drafted pattern. 
I was inspired by the Renaissance gowns of the 1500s and thought that Gilraen's age of Middle Earth might have reflected a different time period than that of her son's.

It was SOOOO cold this noon!

Closeup of the bodice and the tricky fabric

Lace details

There you have it! Two Lord of the Rings/Medieval/Renaissance-Inspired gowns. Perhaps something you might find straight out of a Waterhouse painting, if I do say so myself. Which do you like better? And do you have any ideas as to what the mystery fabrics really are? I wish I could give them a title! Please comment below if you have any thoughts on the matter or if you want to give me a virtual pat on the back for the blood, sweat and tears that is the life of any seamstress! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone!
I pray that you are having a beautiful day in which to celebrate the birth of our awesome and mighty Savior. To remember the day that he was willing to come to us, small and fragile, the best gift ever given! In the rush of everything, it's so easy to lose perspective. We are surrounded by distractions on every side and tend to become overwhelmed.
I encourage you to take a moment. Stop. And consider the great and precious gift that the Creator of the Earth gave to His children that we ought to remember every day, instead of saving it for December's rush and tumble. When I was 10 or so, I unconsciously started to save the reading of the "Christmas Story" for December 25th and kind of ignore it for the rest of the year. Gratefully, the Lord renewed my thoughts and I realized that that wasn't a Biblical way to think.
 Don't treat the celebration of Jesus' birth like a single-day/month's observance. It's EVERY DAY that we should be on our knees, thanking God for his mercy on us. I write this as a reminder to myself. I should treat every day like Christmas and celebrate the Gift that came 2,000 years ago to rescue me.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

We're Staying Here After All!

Hello, all! I'm sorry if the post about me moving away is still showing up on your feeds. I tried to delete it. I attempted Wordpress but it didn't end up working out. So, I'm sticking with Blogger because it's familiar and easy-to-use, regardless of the fact that it could use an update ;) I'll be here still! Keep checking back, old friends. Thanks for your faithfulness and support!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cheese-less Cheesy Popcorn Recipe

I'm sure that title sounds like an oxymoron, but it's not. This recipe was created by yours truly, a popcorn connoisseur. It works best with "Whirley-Pop" or air popper popcorn; as long as it's homemade. This recipe doesn't call for cheese, but tastes completely cheesy! The secret ingredient is Nutritional Yeast. You can find it at most health-food stores and it's not very expensive at all. This won't work with regular yeast, but there is some magical quality to the stuff that makes your taste buds sigh, "Cheese..." What you're provided is a delicious, buttery, no-nonsense popcorn that is truly addictive! I am NOT exaggerating!
Just kidding! I would never let my popcorn spill!
Cheese-less Cheesy Popcorn
Makes a double-batch to fill a large bowl
1 Cup Organic Popcorn Kernels
2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
1/2-1 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons Salt
1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
An Appetite
Make up your popcorn 1/2 cup at a time in either a Whirley-Pop or an air popper. The Coconut Oil is for if you're using a Whirley-Pop or a knock-off Whirley-Pop that ultimately works just as well.
Once the popcorn is all popped and in a large bowl, melt the butter. It's up to you how much to use. 1/2 cup will sparsely butter the popcorn and 1 cup will make your fingers shiny when you pick up a handful. This all depends upon your personal butter preferences. Toss the popcorn with the salt then add the butter. Gently mix that in, using a spatula or your hands. Finally, add the Nutritional Yeast. Mix it up until thoroughly combined. Make sure none of the Yeast falls to the bottom of the bowl. Now might be a good time to say something about the Godly virtue of Self-Control. I promise, it'll be hard to control your portions, so get the family together for a snack or you will end up eating the entire bowl by yourself! But doesn't that look tantalizing?!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanks-Christmas Gifts+A Mini-Tutorial

I hope everybody had a lovely Thanksgiving! In my family, we spend Christmas with my Mamma's side of the family and celebrate "Thanks-Christmas" (Christmas celebrations on Thanksgiving) with my Daddy's side of the family. Gratefully, I had time to sew some small gifts for the family. The theme was about the best football team on earth, Ohio State University! You may not agree with me, but please don't post any Michigan nonsense in the comments. Saturday proved our point. Anyway, I took some photos and I have links to any tutorials I used. But, I've found that it's really hard to think of something to sew for young boys. I have 3 cousins, ages 8-15 on my Daddy's side and I couldn't find any tutorials on Pinterest. So, surprisingly, I decided to make my own and the idea that came to me was to make a Minifigure wallet! You can read the tutorial here. But first, a few pictures and helpful tutorials by others...

These here, above and below, are the clutch/purses I made for my Grandma and Aunt. I used Beth Huntington's "Pendleton Clutch" tutorial (you can find on eHow here ) I also encourage you to check out her amazing website "The Renegade Seamstress"  ( )
For Grandma's Clutch (above), I used the wool from a felted brown vest with plaid cotton for the lining. Sorry it looks a bit lopsided, it's actually not. And for Aunt Amy's Clutch, I used the wool from a reclaimed coat, red polka-dot cotton for the lining and red gingham ribbon for the accents on the front. The tutorial was quick and easy. I will certainly be using it again!

I also fashioned 2 Ohio State University ear-warmers for my Aunt and my cousin Hannah. They are made from the comfiest felted sweater and the are so cozy and soft! They are both original designs but easily replicated, so I won't bother with a whole tutorial.
I made these ear-warmers by first measuring around my head and subtracting 5 inches. Then, I cut a rectangle to the measurement and tapered the ends. Now, all that's left is to stitch a button to one end and 3 inches of elastic, folded in half to the other. You can add an applique or a flower or anything you want! But, of course, an Ohio State emblem is the best way to go!

And, finally, I made my Uncle Steve an Ohio State iPad cover inspired by this one from StyleMingle . It's pretty self-explanatory and worked out really well!

And I must make one more honorable mention. Although I wasn't able to take a picture before I gave it as a gift, check out Lula Louise's Reversible Shoulder Bag tutorial here.
I hope you enjoyed this post! If you liked it or have any questions, comment below or email me at Have a blessed day :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Lego Minifigure Wallet Tutorial

I was trying to find a tutorial or an idea on Pinterest for a gift I could make for my young brothers and cousins this Christmas. But what I got was...nothing. Not one thing I could use on the whole of Pinterest. So, as I always do, I had a great idea! The thought process went something like this, "What do boys like? LEGOs. Right. What's something Lego-related that I can sew that won't look...girly? Hmmm...wallets! Yes. Wallets that have pockets to tote minifigures! And I can make them out of felt and keep with our Ohio State University football theme!" And that was how the idea was born. Beautiful process, isn't it? After the initial "rough draft", I made 3 for my cousins and took pictures so it's a tutorial now! This is so easy, that it's realistic for a beginner and, once you get going, it only takes about 15 or 20 minutes to stitch up!

Aren't they cute? I understand if you don't agree with me that Ohio State is the best football team in the world, but please, no Michigan nonsense in the comments! Now, on with the tutorial!
Step 1
Gather your felt. Using the small, precut sheets is the easiest way. You can actually use any fabric you want, (I'm not trying to be bossy, here) but I chose felt because it's durable and easy to applique with. I love the stuff and keep it in stock all the time! Have fun experimenting with colors and applique ideas.
Step 2
Cut 2 pieces of the base color, each 8"x4" and one 8"x2" This is the outside, inside and minifigure pocket for the wallet.

Step 3
Mark the pocket. This is easy to measure. Place the short pocket piece on top of the inside wallet piece. Mark the middle with a straight line (in chalk) then make another straight mark 1 1/4" to the right and another mark 1 1/4" to the right of the second line. Repeat for the left of center pockets. Stitch with contrasting thread down each line, leaving the ends open as shown below.
Note: I didn't think of this until it was too late, but now would be the time to put in some Velcro or snaps to hold it shut. They're not necessary, but a very good idea.
Step 4
Stitch across the top of both pieces (leaving 1/4" un-stitched at each end) with contrasting thread. Fold the outside wallet piece in half and place your applique(s) as your heart desires. Stitch or glue it in place. The great thing about felt is that you can leave raw edges and it's totally okay! Just stitch around your applique and no one's the wiser. If you're making this wallet for a girl, you can sew a flower on the front! Other ideas for appliques are: Yellow Lego Face, Football, the Lego logo, Pizza, a heart, Initials,  anything! I would love to see what you come up with.

Step 5
This is the true beauty of using felt; no fussing around. No need to turn things around or inside out because raw edges are perfectly acceptable! Pin the 2 wallet pieces wrong sides together (be sure your applique and pockets are on the proper side and not upside down or anything) Stitch, in contrasting thread, around the sides and bottom of the wallet with 1/4" seam allowance. Then, stitch straight up the middle, through all the layers to create 2 inside pockets and a folding guideline. Now, all that's left is to trim the seam allowance even (you can use pinking shears, if you want)

Inside pockets!
Voila! A very thoughtful, personalized gift to give to your favorite brother or sister or whoever loves Legos and likes to tote them around! If you get really generous, you can even fill the pockets with the gift of minifigures! If you have any questions, post a comment below or email me at I would love to see the variations you come up with! You can even link to show pictures of what you made below. Have a beautiful day, everyone!

It wouldn't stay flat for me :P