Friday, April 24, 2015

Marcy's Cirque Dress V 9112

How much do I love this dress?  ------------------------>infinity

I love the airiness of the body of the dress, and the fit through the shoulders.  I love the collar, with it's quirky pleats.  I love that the collar stands up, or folds down, and seems to find a place of rest on my own collarbones.  

I love that the dress is open and feminine and suggestive of my form underneath, without highlighting every detail.  I do not have the body of a lanky model-I am short, muscular, and curvy.  My figure has never suggested a languid lady as we often see on envelope art.  Hiker, camper, rider, survivor-my body is strong  and looks it.  Any clothing which highlights my softer side is welcome.

When first looking at the pattern pieces, I could not fathom why one was shaped like Lake Michigan and another like a paramecium.  And, what about those half circles?  At least those were clearly the circles of the Cirque dress.  

It is a fun dress to sew, especially if you enjoy jigsaw puzzles!

I sewed this in a small and must confess that the fit isn't perfect through the bust.  This is entirely my fault and I now must wear the one bra which does not lift my girls upwards.  I do want to make the dress again, with some attention to fitting the bust area.  The shoulders are just right, and the length is fine.  I am 5'1" and I did not change anything on the pattern to allow for petite.

Highly recommended for those of you who love a summer dress, and have a slightly artsy vibe.

I leave you with more Arizona blooms: yellow bell in the middle, Texas ranger not yet blooming, and hibiscus with a layer of annuals.  Click to biggify and ignore that hideous plastic pot.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

desert beauties

As much as I love the desert, it is a harsh and unyielding place.  Before this year, I had only spent winters in the southwest, and that is probably akin to a first date.  I'm learning more about the rhythms of the climate, and my own are changing to suit.  I am slowing down and happy to not focus on excellence in every endeavor.  Of course, this could be age and wisdom.

Yesterday I took a walk before dinner to capture some blooms on camera.  There are so many (I almost typed "on this roll") so I'll space them out over the next few posts.

Palo verde in bloom  

Prickley pear

Looking up through the common area with a Mexican Bird of Paradise in the foreground.

I have been sewing in anticipation of slow summer days and hot date nights.  Below is V9067, both top and pants.  The photo is from a review on PR in which I blast the top and praise the pants. Because I love the colorblocking, this top will be undergoing surgery to see if it can be saved.  Loose is good, but this shape is almost weeple people territory.  

I had hoped to be the first to review Marcy Tilton's new dress, V9112, but I was slow out of the gate.  I am almost done with my version and I LOVE IT.  It is very feminine and soft, with some interesting style lines.  The collar is terrific, and the bubbles (half circles) at the hem are fun.  I have hem, armholes, and collar facing to do this afternoon.  Here it is on my form.  

This is a fast sew once it is cut out, but I caution new sewers to take their time.  The bubbles have curved seams, which must be eased into the dress seams.  Also, the gathers must be sewn at that time.  I am not completely happy with the gathers and will probably unpick some and resew.  I'll add details about changes I made when I review this.  I think this is one of Marcy's best designs.  

We have finished the back yard with 3/4 inch rock, and added some accent flowers in containers.  Last night I was moving rocks in our dry riverbed and came across a visitor. My husband bravely captured it and relocated the little fella into the wash behind our house.    

I hope everyone is enjoying spring and making lots of pretty things for their home, garden and self.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

random thoughts--->lead to a theme

                                                                    source unknown

Lately, I have had an overwhelming need to avoid...stuff.  I want to spend time sewing, but not fitting.  I plan riding times, but not elaborate trail rides with others.  Cooking is happening because one must eat, but menus are lacking variety.  Isn't it interesting that the busier we are internally, the more we need to simplify our outer lives?

If you are still working, be prepared during retirement for the exact same angst which arises for you on Sunday evenings. The difference is that the feeling may arise at any time, Sunday being irrelevant to retirement, and you must learn to navigate the feeling without blaming yourself. 

So, what do you do with that awful feeling?  It surely helps to acknowledge it, and perhaps try to carve some quiet time into your schedule.  For me, this feeling is a signal that I am moving toward a burst of creative work.  That creative work needs me to manage the angst before emerging.  

Here is an interesting article about mindfulness.  

Of all the creative flurries swirling around in my head, one involves pattern manipulation.  I am at that point in my sewing development in which pattern instructions are not necessary all the time, and I find myself just sewing.  I have, though, sewed myself into corners from time to time and had to back out by ripping out!  

Right now, I am interested in the design features of a garment and how they translate into a pattern piece.  For example, this week I am finishing a Vogue top with a J shaped armhole.  The binding pattern is only a straight bias strip.  Why didn't Vogue include a shaped facing?  The bias strip works in the fabric I am using, but it is awkward along the J curve.  

I  attended an ASG event in Tucson this month featuring Louise Cutting.  What a great workshop! Love her designs, or not, you must admit there is lots to learn about patternmaking from working with her patterns.  Here are a few in the queue for summer.

Another pattern I am anxious to try is this layered top by Lorianne Patterns. 

We are continuing to improve our townhouse.  The back yard is now graveled with pet friendly small gravel, and we are considering one more shrub.  We want to keep the look very clean for a Zen feel, and also for safety.  The shrubbier, the more snakey.  I found a shed snake skin in the Arizona room the other day.  I go in and out many times a day-this snake was completely invisible to me...eek.   

More later this I visit family in Phoenix.  Happy sewing,  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

renovation and redecorating

This post is only for my own testing.  I have had some problems lately with Blogger and one reader said that my feed was not refreshing.  Has anyone else had trouble either seeing my posts, or with your own blog ?  

Monday, April 6, 2015

mushrooms in the desert?

It is getting warmer here in the southwest, and it's dry right now.  Last spring I explained about the monsoons, and if you missed it, you can find that mini meteorology lesson right here.  The rainy season officially starts in June, but it takes time for the system to build.  Until July, August and September, I will have to water my yard.  

A few weeks ago I was digging in the back yard (which has yet to get gravel) and I unearthed what looked like puffballs. They are familiar to me from Oregon and a favorite treat for deer.  But these were not puffballs, as they were mostly underground.  Like the curious scientist that I am, I left them and look...what...happened.

click here

This is not my photo but I couldn't resist sharing it with you.  It is from and is most certainly a Phallus hadriani, the common stinkhorn fungus.  My yard is populated by Phallus impudicus, an apt term for a mushroom which emerges from the ground to grow several inches during the morning.  What else have I learned?  They stink, thus the name.  Flies are attracted to the tip, which is covered with an oderous slime layer.  The immature fruiting bodies underground are called "witches' eggs" and are harvested for food in some parts of the world.  

Moving on from Freudian mycology, let me share a few photos of the front yard, which is becoming gloriously Sunset magazine worthy.  

We are still babying a few of the plants, and watering everything but the cacti. 

The specimen cactus by the front gate is growing fast, and has blossoms of a sort.  This is called old man cactus and is from Guanajuato, Mexico.  (Cephalocereus senilis) 

Let's move onto sewing as there seems to be a theme emerging in my yard.  Here is V 8968-great little dress for summer!  I am currently working on some pants from V 9067 and awaiting some luscious Liberty of London Tana lawn.    Happy sewing to all of my readers :-)  Life is good.