Blue Knit Maxi Dress

This is a break from my normal art related posts, but it is a creative craft: sewing!

I’ve been shopping for a knit maxi dress for months now, without success. I was looking for a neckline that wasn’t too low, with the flattering/right fit of the bodice, material not too thin, and at the right price (I may have set my expectations a bit high!) I was lamenting about it to a friend yesterday, and she said, “Oh, it wouldn’t be hard to make one – you should try it!” I have had a nice piece of knit yardage languishing in the basement, so I thought I’d rather make a dress (even if it didn’t work out) then leave the fabric in storage for years!

I apologize for the quality of photos – it was snowing today, so I took the pictures inside ; ) I had a long sleeve knit top that I just layed out flat on the yardage and cut out around it to make my ‘pattern’. It’s possibly the easiest thing I’ve ever sown – front and back bodice, two sleeves, gathered skirt, and neckline trim. I didn’t even hem the sleeves or skirt – just leaving them to roll naturally!

Please excuse my awkward selfie photos! Fellow seamstress will be interested in the details: I did normal shoulder seams and extra long sleeves. One of the things I’m used to now with retail clothes is that long sleeves are rarely long enough for me…but these sleeves are plenty long! I did a simple strip of fabric around the neckline – left raw so it will roll – it’s top stitched to the neck opening to keep the neckline from stretching too much. 

In just a couple hours I had a comfortable dress with the neckline I wanted and a proper fit! This knit fabric was a medium weight  and not super stretchy, so it should hold it’s shape well. This dress has the long sleeves for winter, but I plan to make a couple more (in peach pink and sage green?) with short sleeves for summer!

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Red Repeat Pattern

A few ideas from my sketchbook…then match those with colors inspired by the reds and golds of sunset. I filled the paper with whatever caught my mind’s eye.

I wanted to stay with a warm color palette – reds, oranges, yellows, and plums. I don’t actually like reds very much and don’t use them often. I tend to use pinks and lavenders…so this was to force me to use brighter colors as much as I could!

It’s sort of a disparate assortment of items from all the seasons. Hopefully that means it will be multi-seasonal! It would be fun to do another one of these in a cool palette – blues and violets? What do you think?

Minimalist Culture

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There’s been an exciting trend growing in our culture to have quality over quantity and to value what you have rather then accumulate the next best thing.  I’m not a minimalist, though I tend to live by the “everything in it’s place” rule.  What I do cultivate in my own life/home/etc is to count my blessings and purpose to share those blessings I’ve been given with others.  For me peace and prosperity is found in living simply.  It takes diligance and purpose to limit yourself and say no to the extras life has to offer – so that I may fully enjoy the essentials in my life.

Have you had to make those choices?  To cultivate those things that bring joy into your life, and let go of those things that would prevent you from having peace and contentment?  Sometimes it is almost a daily task!

Fall Issue

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This illustration is for a devotional about vessels.  The theme of this fall issue for Daughters of Promise magazine is ENOUGH and how we can know/have/are what is enough – as vessels to be filled and poured out.  Are we enough?  Do we believe God is?  Are we filled by His love, peace, joy, hope, and truth?  The style of illustration is folk art inspired and the magazine editor added the background color they wanted – I love the look of the dark background!  Can’t wait to sit and have a read through!

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Autumn and Art Class

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I had to rescue this monarch from the cold, rainy day outside!  Autumn has arrived with it’s chilly nights and rainy days!

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I have a craft class to teach for homeschool group this year.  I’m doing a gift theme for all my girls this year.  Crepe paper flower gift toppers, hand stamped wrapping paper, paper cut pop-up greeting cards, and hand painted mugs for the actual gift!  I’ve got examples of the crepe paper gift toppers ready for the first class, to give them ideas for shape/color/sizes!

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I’m also working on a hellebore flower pattern for a publication this winter!  It’s a challenge to get the right proportions, shape, etc…but I think I’ve got them worked out – I’ll share all about this project when it’s finished and printed this winter ; )

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And, of course, I’m still doodling in my sketchbooks at every opportunity!  It’s basically my exercise/practice – keeps me limber in my mind and hands and pushes me to better performance!  That’s what I’ve been up to lately.  How about you?  What fills your free time?!

 

Autumn is Pink

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Pink is everywhere in my world these days – even at the zoo!  I’m drawn to it’s soft blush in the transition from summer to autumn.  My hydrangea, dahlias, and fall anemone are all in shades of pink.  I’m also working on a template for paper hellebore flowers!  Stay tuned for that ; )  Do you have a favorite late summer/autumn color right now?

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Sketchbook

 

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I’ve been more in a doodle-in-my-sketchbooks mood lately.  Sometimes painting on final peices just feels to difficult, when there’s other things in life that need more attention.  The boys started school again between family vacations on the weekends ; )  It’s a big year for our 7th grader who is going away to Harpswell Coastal Academy for the first time.  That leaves just me and my 5th grader for homeschool this year!  I’m sad to say goodbye to summer…but time marches on and so must I!

Twinleaf

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Painting these flowers may make better use of my resources then growing them – the flowers are so short lived in the spring time!  I love the shape of the leaves and seedpods though…maybe someday I’ll add them to my woodland garden!  I’ve been enjoying as much time as possible painting out on my porch this summer!

On another note – I found these cute little beaded moccasins and couldn’t resist – even though they are only “vegan leather”.

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Monarch Muse

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I planted milkweed in the garden bordering the front of my house. It’s visited by monarchs all through the summer and I always enjoy seeing their life cycle unfold before my eyes! I wanted to create a repeat pattern for my Society6 shop – to show their host plant and life cycle. I was fortunate to find a couple caterpillars to make their chrysalids on my porch where I could watch them every day!

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I have the repeat pattern available in my Society6 Shop – I love the curtains ; )

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Hellebore

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I’ve been enjoying my little space in the dining room.  As a homemaker, homeschooler, wife, mother, daughter, etc…it can be hard to find time for my hobbies!  But, I’m able to set aside some moments each day for gardening, painting, and “backyard nature”.   I’ve been drawing one of my favorite flowers, hellebore, and counting my blessings: sunshine, summer vacation, family, home, time for my hobbies…I’m soaking up every moment of these days.  I get to be at home with my boys and watching them grow.  The beauty of being at home is the simple act of being!

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What do you like best about being home?  We asked each person in the family and everyone had a different answer.  I’m partial to my porch – a place to gather with friends and family to relax/visit together.  My youngest boy likes the game cabinet in our livingroom – hours of fun playing games together.  My husband loves the couch, which he doesn’t get to sit on enough, he says, because it’s great for taking afternoon naps ; )  How about you?

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