Sunday, November 29, 2009

A free December screensaver

As a fellow blogger, you are welcome to upload it.
Wishing you a wonderful December, may you enjoy and discover natural beauty wherever it may fall. Let the grand finale of 2009 be filled with dreams, hopes, winter bliss and more!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Shower Bonnets made from retro scarves or lace

"California Dreaming" is made from a retro scarf and some gingham ribbons.
Named "Coco" this version is made with white lace, layered on top of plastic lime plastic lining, and finished with pleated and polka dotted ribbons, black jet and crystal buttons.

It all started with a family heirloom, a fun, souvenir scarf printed with charming scenic spots in California. Even though it was colorful and intriguing, it was never worn because it is synthetic. Now it has been recycled into my every-morning-most-favorite-shower-cap named "California Dreaming" and as I write this post, is hanging on a peg in the bathroom! If you want to make one yourself, here are the easy steps. It only takes about an hour from start to finish.


1 scarf (synthetic is best because the water just splashes off)

1 plastic shopping bag (this will be your waterproof lining)

1 yard of 1" wide, synthetic, turquoise ribbon

1 yard of 1" wide synthetic yellow ribbon

1 funky retro button
1 yard ¼" wide elastic

Red thread or another color that contrasts your scarf print

Your sewing basket and a sewing machine

How to do it:
-Cut a 20" diameter circle, out of the scarf and out of the plastic shopping bag.
-Pin the 2 circles together and stitch ½" from the edge, all around the perimeter.
-Sew the turquoise gingham ribbon around the perimeter with a zigzag stitch.
-Sew the yellow gingham ribbon, with a double row of zigzag stitches ½" apart, leaving an opening to slide the elastic through. And like in the photos, the turquoise ribbons in fluttering below the yellow ribbon.
-Attach a safety pin to your elastic; slip it through the opening, sliding it along, until you come out at the other end. Holding the elastic ends together, adjust the ease to fit your head, and then cut off excess and stitch elastic ends together securely.
-Form a loop from the turquoise ribbon (this is to hang your shower cap on a peg.)
-Pin the loop on top of the join point of your ribbon trims (so it hides the join.) Sew securely in place with a button. (My turquoise ribbon is a simple seam binding, pressed open, left with raw edges. )

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maharaja at the V&A

The V&A has mounted a splendid exhibition, "Maharaja -The Splendour of India's Royal Courts." It is bound to inspire you to adorn yourself or your home with a dazzling array of everything that lushly twinkles or drips in gold, with exquiste and beautiful taste. Suzy Menkes (click here) shares every succulent detail. If you can make it to London, the fury that surrounds these shows adds to the fun, as the students sketching away and the outfits of the visitors are always imaginative. Above, is the "Procession of Ram Singh II of Kota," a watercolor painting from about 1850. Just click here, to discover extraordinary detail and beauty of this procession and the objects on display. as well as a competition for a trip to India! Hope you win! Or at least hope you enjoy the fun of sinking into the lap of overwhelming luxury and learning about another historical cultural and fashion influence on another part of the globe.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Charming flea market journal

I love and collect paper, in all sorts of configurations, especially as journals - from the most elementary newsprint ones that dazzle with their simplicity - to ones with poetry written around the edges or beautifully edged with gold leaf. Usually a few pages are filled with thoughts and sketches, sometimes they are never touched, and others get filled to overflowing. This one, spotted in a flea market is sooo wonderful sooo I wanted to share.

Spider webs and blasts of color

Ruben Toledo, is a masterful fashion artist, sketching ladies with a wispy light elegance that transcends any fashion clique, lightly lifting you into his naturally elegant world. Each drawing seems to have a whole world and event supporting the moment and one's imagination just drifts and wanders around as you follow his lead. A favorite of mine his "Fashionmachine." Which lady, which silhouette most captures your style?!? How would you create your own wheel of fashion? Isn't it fun, to spin the wheel around and let is carry you to a night out, a trip to the countryside or a garden party...
Black ink does feel very of the moment, especially when it is made into these wispy, lacy, Lacroix dresses, that are light and magical as spiderwebs.Then a blast of color with the tremendous Chihuly chandelier in the lobby of the V&A. Wow, I could sit all day in that room and just dream and sketch and think about whatever is on my mind while I wait for a friend ...Don't we all need a Biba suit, something head to toe in a wildly decorative pattern to wear and while sitting and waiting for our friend in the V&A atrium, marveling at the Chuilly and all the excitement in being there and being able to enjoy this spectacular and imaginative museum ... !

Monday, November 2, 2009

Free November fashion screensaver

2009 is racing by and November is already upon us! I continue with my monthly sketches sharing my fashion thoughts and sketches with my fellow bloggers. This month’s calendar is about mixing the unexpected in highly personal ways. Sketched is a denim skirt from my book, Denim Revolution, that was cut and stitched with a sweep of red plaid insets. It is styled with over the knee boots, a lacey sweater and a retro, leopard printed bag. Hair is shaggy and the style is nonchalant, of the moment, fun. I hope you enjoy a wonderful November and freely discover and express your individuality in fashion and beyond!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finally a new header for fall

We are already deep into the autumn and the summery header needed to go. Today's rainy day turned into the perfect excuse to create something more reflective of the fall leaves and the sprays of deep red berries. The Venetian mask catches one's imagination, and mixed with the textures of handmade, fantasy worlds, deep hued shades and hand printed papers from Italy, the header grew into a mix of personal memories and thoughts about the future.It's whimsical, romantic and also carries me to this sketch of the little Russian cape and long laced trimmed denim skirt, from my book of re-cycled denim. Wishing everyone a happy fall!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

DIY a romantic Halloween mask

Venetian Carnival
Made with a scrap of re-cycled denim, it was posted last year, and just as lovely this year.

And here it is sketched with a re-cycled denim cape. Happy Halloween!

Musings about nature and handknits

Thoughts about the forest and the woods, the earthy rich colors and smells of nature are influencing my drawings. Wooly handknits, created from hand spun yarns, in deep rich hues are mixed with torn cloths and imaginative stitches to create clothing that feels and looks like they've been swept from the floor of the forest. Twigs, leaves, moss or feathers are combined into capes and hats. Soft layers of silky skirts or velvet leggings feel cozy and natural with pretty suede boots and slippers. Hats are sketched with horns, feathers, veils and hearts. They spin high on the crown, like one worn by a princess in the woods.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

October fashion screensaver inspired by Kirafashion

(click here to upload the screensaver or print a copy.)
In a whim, I drew the October screensaver inspired by the beauty, natural grace and stylish love for fashion, expressed by Kira, who writes the Brazilian fashion blog
Until pen touches paper, I actually never know what I am going to draw, and this month was no exception. My pencils just sort of found their way around the page, until the message came through.
When I’m drawing I want to bring the viewer into an imaginary world that is filled with the mood, the feelings and the glow of the natural changes in the seasons that inspire my fashion swings.
For October, I’ve carried Kira into a forest, filled with the gentle winds of fall and styled her with a black leather biker jacket, thigh high boots, lacey tights and the denim Parisian pouf skirt (naturally from my book, Denim Revolution.) It’s a romantic mix of old and new, the familiar and the unexpected, reflecting the friendships that we value. I hope it inspires you to be free, express yourself and enjoy October and all that it blows into your world.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How to mend and patch jeans like a fashion pro

Sometimes jeans are literally hanging together by threads and it's time to express your fashion prowess, experiment with your sewing skills and start mending and patching. Not only will it improve the durability and life of the jeans ... but it is so fun to enjoy the results.

Hope you love it, and shoot me any questions or images!

Denim is our comfort clothing and more

(above and below - Ralph Lauren Spring 2010 collection)
Denim is our comfort clothing. And when it becomes shredded, worn, ripped and stained it is even more appealing and personal. That's the moment when our jeans take on a new energy – built around a romantic history of having lived, loved and traveled. Designers know this and try to find ways to satisfy and define their denim beliefs. Carine Roitfeld and French Vogue rarely let an issue go by without a denim story or at least the "model's own jeans." Currently, at the spring 2010 fashion shows on both sides of the Atlantic, designers are sending jeans down the catwalk, that look like they are the model’s own, accessorized like model’s do, with all the knick-knacks that they seem to inherit from the previous shows or fittings. The look is never more charming when it is authentic and you do it yourself, mending, patching or beading your own way.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Hobo jeans

Old rugged jeans have been reinvented into these lush, hobo jeans, by a quilter with an abundance of wonderful patches ... I love what she did and wanted to share it - as it reminds one to stash away fabric scraps and even old or stained clothing if the fabric is interesting, as they soon become our "new" treasures and the latest fashion looks!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A peek into the CHANEL atelier

While ... roaming around the internet, I landed on stylebubble, who’s enthusiasm for fashion discoveries and her daring style is always sooo inspirational, and she led me to these wonderful photos by Luciano Fileti, that capture a very privy view into the Chanel atelier, the craftsmen and women, with their beautiful working tables, their delicate, whimsical and stylish touch, on all things and everything in between - creating marvelous fantasies. Isn’t it simply amazing what one can do with paper, and black and white!

... and powdered ink, ... is that what this is? And how fine craftmanship seems to transcend fashion, place and time, and carry you into another world ... .

Sunday, August 30, 2009

September fashion screensaver

(Click here to upload or print the September 2009 screensaver)
September’s calendar is inspired by our desire each fall to update and brighten up our wardrobes. Fashion whims are discovered through our feelings about the world, our dreams and our changing lifestyles. Sketched in this month’s screensaver is a DIY, re-constructed, denim jacket with hounds tooth check (sketched with faux fur, leopard shoes and a Coco belt) cuffs and collar from, naturally, my book ... Denim Revolution. I adore this jacket which was fun and easy to make. Sewing, re-fashioning cast-offs or new finds, mending, patching, playing with shapes and materials in individual ways, is very rewarding. You can make a difference in this world by your choices, by balancing your individuality and homemaking skills with new buys from favorite designers as you update your fall wardrobe and pack away the summer T’s. Updating your wardrobe is part of the process of giving a gust of positive energy to your outlook as you take on new challenges or set new goals for the upcoming year. Follow your urges and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Recycle household plastics into chic photo-stands

If, like me you are always collecting and gathering special mementos - like postcards, photos and sketches - that inspire thoughts and memories of events or ideas that you want to remember or reflect on, ... then here is a easy and fresh way to display them around your home ---

The 3-step 3-minute DIY Process:

--Sort through your empty household plastic or cardboard containers;

--Choose the ones in the colors, patterns or textures you love, that will also sit level on your table or shelf;

--Cut a little slit (I used an exacto knife, so this is only for adults,) slightly angled toward the back, about an inch deep, and slip the postcard through it. Finito!

Once I started I kinda went crazy with all kinds of version. At the very top image, on the library mantle, I used blue and green water bottles cut down, with yogurt and can tops; and in the image just above, from the left -- a feta cheese container, upside down; the bright yellow top of a windex spray; the top of a starch spray can; and an upside down chocolate dessert container. The photo of the model in the denim skirt, by the way, is from my book, Denim Revolution, of the diy back to school projects -- "schoolgirl charm skirt and waist cincher." The version above from the left is the top of a whipped cream container, the chocolate dessert container, the spray top, and the feta cheese container.
And here is a carton that some pears came in, with a postcard of Mark Rothko contemplating his Seagram paintings.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Sewing pattern archive is open to the public for a one-week free trial

CoPA, the Commercial Pattern Archive database at the University of Rhode Island is offering a one week FREE trial to download their extensive collection of home sewing patterns. The login is: guest, and, the password is: pattern. Above is one of McCall's Rudi Gernreich pattern's from 1967, modeled by Peggy Moffitt! Do start by reading the instructions and then just search, lots to curl up and discover.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Easy summer pizza recipe - mozzarella and arugula

If , like me, cooking with fresh, simple, local ingredients is one of your great pleasures, then you understand that vacationing in Italy is true bliss. I feel as carefree and happy as my sketch when I am gathering ingredients, cooking and sharing a meal. This menu was only pizza - one made with fresh mozzarella and halved cherry tomatoes cooked on a round of pizza dough, and then, served with a bunch of freshly picked arugula tossed on top, which sort of melts and has the most wonderful aroma. Peppered olive oil (just push some dried peppers into your jug of olive oil) and freshly ground salt was sprinkled on top to taste, which means a most generous portion of that olive oil.
And another page from my sketchook filled with thoughts, impressions, recipes and more.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Family quilts used for wedding decorations

Following on my quilting moment, click here to view an inspired wedding, where, among others, quilts made by the bride's great grandmother and aunts were scattered around adding to the festivities in unexpected ways.

Friday, August 14, 2009

A rather special French quilt

This quilted antique, uncovered in France years ago, has been pulled and put away numerous times and finally it's going to become a pillow, with a soft fringed edging of some sort, still to be decided. I think it is so lovely, the vintage printed cotton fabric, and the swirly quilted stitch, that I wanted to post it -- hoping it --

-- will inspire someone, somewhere, who is quilting something or other!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Quilt made from re-cycled men's shirtings

Men's shirts, especially white ones and blue and white ones, have always been at the top of my list of favorites. So when my sister offered to sew me a quilt, it had to be made from men's shirtings. Chambray has been used as the border and Egyptian cotton is the background. It is yummy, light and perfectly cozy as a summer blanket. And we ended up making it together in the end -- which was fun, fun!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Liberty's Fall 2009 newsy email

I really start to droll when I receive Liberty's newsletter. Starting with these brooches, gorgeously realized by Amanda Fatherazai, with her signature couturier perfection, ...

... their fall list of must-haves range from stitching classes, morning and afternoon tea included - after all it is Liberty's, Ebony and Ivory Bespoke scarves and Hermes Pour Liberty. Those four are my personal favorites of the moment. Liberty's is like no other store. They harmoniously blend their creativity with an attention to detail and style that inspires, and always delights the eye in unexpected and whimsical ways.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pin cushion tutorial

Here is another cushy pot, and as I'm naming them, this one's called "Sugar and Cream." The base is a very old metal coffee filter and the cushion is made from vintage fabrics including an old pillow case, trims, and of course...denim.
Click the link here - and it will take you to a cushy pot tutorial.
Share your pin cushion creativity here - on flikr.
And here's still another cushy pot, this one named "Glam Pot."