Thursday, January 29, 2009

Caroline Order in Progress

I'm working on my order of 5 Caroline's from Pam at Salad Girl. First I cut the fabric, which is where I realized I didn't have enough fabric to make all 5 of the aprons in the same manner. I had to improvise and make one of the aprons with a strip of fabric at the bottom. I think it looks really cute, I hope Pam thinks so!

I'm feeling very nostalgic about this fabric. It was the first fabric I bought a full bolt of (eventually I bought 3 of them), and Caroline has always been my most popular model. I decided I really had to have another one (the prototype is mine but I have made significant design improvements to it since then). I went through my scraps of Caroline fabric and pulled out 4 strips and sewed them together. I really liked the way the selvedge looked showing - not something I usually like.

In progress - the very last Caroline apron! The fabric was a closeout and it's not being manufactured anymore. I wrote the company (Print Concepts Inc.) to inquire about it, but I haven't heard back from them. Next on my list for Practically Necessary is to find the next "Caroline" fabric - pretty, dark, sturdy, and in a perfect world, vertically striped!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Little Red Hen, Amy's Apron, and 5 Caroline Half Aprons - Yesterday Was a Big Day!

Wow! Yesterday I finished the first of 2 Little Red Hen aprons, I got a mailing address for advice columnist Amy Dickinson at the Trib so I can finally get her apron to her! I also got an order for the last 5 Caroline half aprons (that fabric is no longer available - arrgg!) from Pam at Saladgirl Dressings.

Folded and ready to go. All of my custom orders get a vintage hankie in the pocket. I have to make a Little Red Hen for myself, primarily as a record and a showcase for my work. I hate to admit it but I could never wipe my hands on this one!

WHO WILL? Now in a serif font done in a chain stitch.

Those cheeky animals! This time I did the NOT I in a split stitch, my new favorite stitch for lettering.

Inner bib. I love this little vintage button. I'm also very happy with the buttonhole feature on my Brother - it makes such neat and perfect little buttonholes!

Caroline is now out of stock! This was one of my very first aprons, and was always my most popular model. I have to get to my favorite wholesale fabric warehouse and see if I can find something as pretty, durable, and stain hiding as this beautiful fabric... wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Practically Necessary Master Pattern Book

I started putting my designs in this book soon after I started PN. At first I just put them in a notebook I used while creating the whole concept, but I soon realized that I needed a book for that purpose alone. It's just a nice quality sketch pad. I covered the cover with fabric and added one of my labels.

Like many of my aprons, the top two on this page are one-of-a-kinds (see the top one - "Twiggy" below). The bottom apron is Kristina, I have made her twice, and have enough fabric to make her 2 more times.

The hand-embroidered towel that became the pocket had been in my stash forever! I added the line "There's a place for us."

The blue apron on top is made from fabric given to me by the lovely graygoosie. It's modeled after one of my favorite full aprons (a thrift shop find). The middle model is my "Tart Cherries" apron. The bottom apron is the apron I made for Amy Dickinson, which truth be told I have not gotten to her yet. I think it's time to email her at the Tribune and see if I can get my message through!

A couple more one of a kinds, the bottom one "MP1971" is shown below.

This one features a vintage 1971 Vera linen calendar for the pockets. The recipients initials are MP. The fabric is a vintage tiny medallion print in greens and golds - all gone now!

I have put the instructions and patterns for all kinds of things in this book: the derby lite helmet panties, purses, change purses, and basket liners. I recently started a section for the Little House on the Prairie quilt too. It's nice to have everything so accessible when I want to repeat something, or just refer to the measurements for a particular size or style. I also enjoy just flipping through it and remembering the items I have made, it's like visiting old friends.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Little Red Hen Redux

Recently a gal in Arizona named Phyllis emailed an inquiry about ordering 2 Little Red Hen aprons. Probably 95% of people who contact me inquiring about something never actually order anything so I figured when I responded with a price and other details that would be the end of it. Well Phyllis did respond and really did want two Little Red Hen aprons - I had to get to work!

Little Red Hen was a custom order and I never thought I'd need to make it again, (it's not on my apron website, Phyllis must have seen it here on my blog) but I kept all of the stencils as I do with everything I make. I made a few improvements on the original, namely making WHO WILL HELP? on the bib and WHO WILL? spoken by the hen a sans serif font for better readability. I also made this type just a shade lighter for better contrast on the blue. Both subtle differences but definite improvements on the overall product.

Phyllis needs one of the aprons by next Tuesday, so I need to get this one in the mail on Wednesday. I made good progress today and I won't have any problem finishing on time.

Progress as of Monday evening on Little Red Hen #2.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Mourning Quilt - 1839

If I had to name a favorite quilt, this would be it. It was made by Elizabeth Roseberry Mitchell in 1839 and is part of the collection of the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort Kentucky. The following is paraphrased from the book America's Glorious Quilts. (Be sure to click on the image to view at full size, be patient, it's a large scan.)

In the center is a fenced graveyard with four coffins, each represents a deceased family member and bears their name. Quilting in the graveyard indicates room for 13 coffins.

Elizabeth's idea was that each of her family members would be represented on one of the coffins around the border and that when a person died their coffin would be moved into the graveyard (only 2 coffins were moved - from the bottom left corner). According to family history Elizabeth made this quilt after the death of her 2 young sons.

The combination of the illustrative quality of this quilt, and the frank way it deals with mortality fascinates me. I wonder if Elizabeth used the quilt or if it stayed tucked away. Did she consider it her masterpiece? (if she thought of her quilting that way).

My Masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter. You can see more images here.

I want to make another story quilt like The Scarlet Letter based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. It won't be designed in the same way with such a linear style contained in boxes. I picture it more like an illustrated map of the places they lived. I read all of the books last winter and I have plenty of notes, I just need to get started. What better project for a Long Winter, right?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


This shot was taken just before Christmas - looks like an avalanche struck! Actually, this is a dollhouse in our backyard. This is the second dollhouse we have put in the backyard. You can see the first one here.

This dollhouse is a two-flat corner building. I don't think it was made from a kit. It was found at a yard sale by our friend Paul who has found much of our best art. It sat in the basement for 5 years and we decided to put it out in the yard just recently. It's a fun object to photograph. I'll shoot it in all seasons and document it's deterioration. I kind of wish we had a place for it in the house, but since we don't (and no one else ever asked for it) putting it in the yard and making an art project out of it seems like the best option.

Interior shot.

Update to my last post about the "Make it Simple" aprons: I finished the last 4 on Christmas day and sent them out the next day. I wanted to get them out before Christmas, but how I thought I could manage that I don't know!