Sunday, June 28, 2009

Painting Epiphanies

So one of my goals for the year 2009 was to finish at least 3 of my paintings. I will be honest with you, until a couple of weeks ago, I had not worked on a single one.

Over the past couple of weeks I have worked a little on my paintings, and I have officially declared two of them finished. I do not think I will count these two towards my goal, as I simply looked at them and decided they did not need any more work. It is so satisfying, though, to be able to say "It is good." ;)

Tonight I worked on a painting that I am particularly excited about. A rather whimsical painting, and not something I would typically be inspired to paint, but I LOVE it!!! It is my interperetation of a silly dream a friend of mine had. One of those completely non-sensical dreams that you laugh at when you wake up. As soon as he told me about it, I thought I have to paint that. Well, I am pleased to say that it is almost completely finished. I think one more session will do it. Hooray! I will post pictures of it as soon as I can. Until then, enjoy one of my paintings from a couple years ago entitled "Jonquils".

Image copyright 2005 Elizabeth Barger

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Still Life Time

Today was a perfect day for some painting. John, Eli and I trooped outside and picked some lovely flowers. We put them in a coffee mug on the art table. Esme came downstairs and helped us set up the paints. We all gathered around the table and painted what we saw. :)

Sylvie came downstairs a little bit later and worked on the second still life we set up---a beautiful rose in a little blue coffee mug.

I have always loved doing still life painting with a group of people. It is fascinating how differently we all interpret what we see.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The "Chinese Dress"

So here it is! The dress I have been contemplating and planning and yearning to sew for the past couple of months is finally finished. I am very happy with the result.

My little brother Eli took saw me in my dress yesterday and said, "Bessie, I didn't know you had a Chinese dress!" So cute.

The original idea was inspired by this amazing Alexander Henry fabric (which is on sale right now!):

And this fabulous Boden shift dress:

I used this old McCall's pattern from the 60's (#5744, view B) as the base for my creation. The raglan sleeve design worked perfectly with the yoke style dress I wished to make. At the top of the bodice I made four pleats. I also added pockets. I really think that every dress should have at least one pocket, preferably two. ;)

I am working on a self-fabric belt to wear with this dress.
I am so so so happy with how the "Chinese Dress" turned out! It is the most comfortable dress I have ever worn. I'm going to make one in every color. ;)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fiddling again!

I am so excited. I have officially begun taking fiddle lessons again. My teacher is a 78 year old fiddler who has been playing since the 1940's and teaching since 1955. I sat dumbfounded today in my first lesson as he casually talked about all of the famous musicians he has played with. He wasn't boasting, just chatting. He sat on an old couch and behind him hung about fifteen different awards and certificates, including inductions into the GA, NC and SC Music Halls of Fame. Crazy! He taught me a different way to hold my bow to relieve the tension in my thumb and prevent cramping. I'm hoping this will help with my tendinitis a little. We shall see...

I have my dress almost completed and will post some pictures soon! Let's just say that it turned out EXACTLY how I wanted it to!!! :D

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back home for awhile! Hallelujah!

Whew, what a crazy few weeks. Conferences, lots of make-up lessons, work, curriculum fair in Richmond, lots more make-up lessons, etc. Craziness abounds. I have had zero time to sew, or to even think about sewing, for that matter. This weekend I am going to delve back into my patterns and fun fabric and catch up on my dressmaking! Whoop!

I hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful and restful weekend! :D


Friday, June 5, 2009

Howdy, pard'ner!

Sylvie's dress is finished!
I caught her here in-between smiles...;)

I found these adorable bone buttons in one of the huge jars I bought recently.

The skirt is REALLY full---look how it twirls!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Perhaps I was hasty....

in my quick dismissal of Born Yesterday, 1993 version.  I finished watching it last night, and it wasn't that bad.  Don't get me wrong, Melanie Griffith is still no Judy Holiday, but Don Johnson grows on you (goofy 90's hair and all), John Goodman is excellent and they actually stick to the original plot line for most of the movie.  There was a little part of me that was sure they had modernized things too much, but they really hadn't.  I was pleasantly surprised.  :)  


In sewing news, Sylvie's dress is almost completed!  It's all stitched together and hemmed and pressed and only awaiting 4 buttons and 4 buttonholes to be finished!   Sylvie tried it on a few minutes ago and looked darling in it.  She is so excited.  ;)  Every time I have made a dress for myself or one of the older girls she has asked me to please make her an "olden-day" dress too.  A girl after my own heart.  

Sorry about the blurry pic! I finished the hem with a zig-zag stitch and I really like the way it looks!  I'll take some pictures of Sylvie wearing the dress once it's finished.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sylvie's Dress Pattern (It worked!) (view 2):


Finally sat down and listed a bunch of fantastic patterns on eBay!  This week I only listed patterns by McCall(s).  Check them out here!  

A Dress For Sylvie

So, I've been in and out of town and busy preparing for piano recitals and haven't had much time to sew!  However I sat down with my sister Sylvie (8)  Sunday to begin making up her very own vintage dress.  Sylvie picked out the fabric and the pattern herself, and is even helping with the construction!   Here is the fabric she chose from (find it here): 

And the pattern:  *ARGH!  The pattern pic won't upload!  Well, it's Simplicity 1217, a cute little sundress from the 50's. *

I am going out of town again next week, and I'm hoping to complete the dress before I leave!  


Changing the subject, I had a movie disappointment today.  One of my all-time favorite movies is Born Yesterday, starring Judy Holiday and William Holden.  Oh, what a great movie!!!  I could watch it a million times and never get tired of it.   

Judy Holiday plays the dumb-blond, ex-showgirl fiance of a rough and wealthy criminal ("junk salesman") who is visiting Washington D.C. on shady business.  Her fiance decides that she needs to smarten up a bit, so that she doesn't embarrass him in front of the high-class people he's trying to take advantage of.   He hires an intelligent young journalist named Paul (William Holden) to show her the ropes and polish up her rough edges.  Under Paul's patient guidance and instruction Billie blossoms into quite an independent thinker and begins to question the "work" that her fiance is involved in, in which she has played a significant part over the years.  In the midst of all the book learning, new ideas and heart changes, romance starts to bud between student and teacher.  Billie begins to figure out what she really wants, and it is definitely not (as she previously thought)  three mink coats.   Judy Holiday won an Oscar for her brilliant acting in this movie.  

Anyway, the other day I was looking around on Amazon and saw that there was a modern remake of the movie, starring Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson.  It was only about $3.99, the reviews were mostly satisfactory and I was very curious to see if Melanie Griffith could pull off Billie Dawn so I bought the DVD.  

Melanie Griffith definitely can not pull off Billie Dawn.  It was almost painful to watch!  On top of that, Don Johnson's haircut was so dweebie that I simply could not finish the movie.  I know, I know, it is petty of me.  But I kept comparing him to Bill Holden (be still, my beating heart)  in my mind and it just wasn't working for me.  

Perhaps in a week or so I'll try watching it again.  I really should watch it all the way through at least once.  It's only fair.