Monday, October 17, 2016

I Want Candy!!!

It occurred to me as I uploaded my last blog post that I never posted a how-to on my Marie Antoinette inspired shoes.  I also noticed that my pin with the pictures showing the before and after on Pinterest has been repinned many many times so I guess I should post a tutorial. I did these shoes almost 10 years ago so here goes nothing.

Items needed 
Pair of shoes preferably with a court heal
Fabric about 1 yard I used a scrap of Pink Moire Taffeta
Trim I used Soutache Braid
Modge Podge
Hot Glue Gun
Binder or Wonder Clips
An old butter knife
Exacto knife
Sponge brush
E-6000 glue
A piece of card stock or heavy leather
Buttons or Earrings 
Patience lots of patience

The first thing I did was run the Exacto knife around the shoe where the top of the shoe meets the sole to loosen the glue.  Next you will need to cut fabric to cover the front of the shoe if you are using a shoe that doesn't have breaks like mine, you will need to make sure the fabric will stretch around the entire shoe and meet in the back of the heel. The fabric will need to be cut on the bias to allow it to stretch and be manipulated. Start by coating the shoe with the Modge Podge starting at the toe and working back, go slowly, in sections. Be careful, work the fabric around until there are no bubbles.

When you are happy with the placement of the fabric, trim the fabric so you have 1/4 inch or less on the edges, using the butter knife tuck the fabric into the shoe where you loosened the sole earlier. Run a thin bead of the E-6000 glue around the bottom to glue the sole back to the upper part of the shoe.
 I didn't bother to tucking the fabric at the heel or loosening the glue because I knew I was going to add trim.
Next cover the heel and trim the fabric close especially at the bottom.

You don't need to do this step, you can just start decorating from here adding trim and ribbons.  I don't have any photos of the next part but I measured across the vamp and cut a piece of heavy card stock, actually if memory serves I may have doubled or tripled the pieces of card stock, if you have a sturdy piece of shoe leather it can be used instead. Next I covered the cardstock with more fabric leaving an extra 1/2 in strip at the bottom to glue onto the shoe I added trim to the piece so I wouldn't have to fiddle with it once I glued it to the shoe. Using the E-6000 to glue it and also my hot glue gun to hold it in place. To my surprise it held! If you have binder clips or wonder clips, you can use those to hold the piece until the glue dries. 

The bottom of the card stock piece has the extra flap of fabric glued down. I then used more Soutache braid to hold the bottom down, again the combination of hot glue and E-6000. 

 After it dried, came the fun part, adding trim and decorating! Let your imagination go wild! 
I wanted mine to look like a decadent birthday cake.

The more trim and decorations the happier these shoes made me!

Again let your imagination run wild, remember this is the era of Marie Antoinette and
 Madam du Berry so don't hold back. 

So that's it! I have had these shoes for almost 10 years now and wore them to Pirate Day at the Renaissance Faire at the Santa Fe Dam in Irwindale and they held up and are still good to go.  I know this look isn't anywhere near Renaissance but there is a story behind it.  Not bad for a project I came up with two days before the Faire after watching Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" a few too many times. 

 The total look, you can find a tutorial for the tricorn hat here

 A bit of whimsey, I thought these green stockings were perfect with all the pink. 
This is probably one of my favorite costumes ever and most of it happened by accident. 

Crazy or Awesome You Decide

This has been a difficult year for my family, with all that has gone on I felt like I had lost my sew-jo.  In July I felt some inkling of it returning after attending Costume College for the first time. It was amazing!!! Then in August, my wonderful hubby treated me to a trip to New York City! He tailored the trip around everything I love, fabric, museums, shopping, vintage fashion, and food! Our first full day there he booked a private tour with a company called Seek NYC that gives tours of the Garment District.  Liz, our guide is an industry insider and took me to all her favorite shops, it was like Candyland but with fabric.  I purchased 6 yards each of two different silk fabrics for a future Regency costume I've had in my brain for a while.  I also purchased two pashmina shawls for the costume and a very pretty Lucite clutch purse to use with my vintage dresses.

Last Wednesday I was on Pinterest and came across a pin that someone had posted using a place mat as a bergere hat for a 1700's costume.  I have wanted one of these for ages and decided I would try it, but the link for the hat left me disappointed because to me it still looked like a place mat with flowers attached. The next morning I awoke with my crazy/awesome idea. I did a little bit of research on Pinterest looking at bergere hats also I headed over to this blog and studied the lovely photos and her explanations.  The Dreamstress is a wonderfully talented costumer.  My next trip was to Target where I purchased 4 round, woven place mats for $1.99 each.

So onto my crazy/awesome idea, I'll try to explain what I did.

Items used
Place Mats
Spray Starch
Old Towel
Hair Dryer
Small Saucepan
Lid from my Button Jar
1/4" Elastic
Straight pins

I found red and black at my local Target  since this was an experiment I wasn't too fussed about color so I decided that black and red would be fun, I had no idea how appropriate these would be until Friday.

To start, I soaked the place mat in hot water, then draped it over the inverted saucepan.  Using my hands and the hair dryer I shaped the place mat over the the sauce pan to create a crown, pushing down and shaping as I went.

You can see a form of the crown taking shape but it wasn't as sharp as I was hoping for, so after trying this for 15 minutes I decided to try something else.  I'm an impatient costumer so if I don't get immediate results I sometimes move on to another project. But I decided to stick with it. 

Next I got the lid from my button jar, it's one of those jars you find at Marshalls or Home Goods that any number of people have on their kitchen counter. The one I have looks a little like this but slightly larger.
It's about six inches in diameter and shallow, just what I needed. 

I placed it on my ironing board and centered the place mat over it. I then pinned it in place to keep the brim flat and tied 1/4" elastic around the area I wanted for the crown. Side note: pin the elastic in place, it won't stay on its own and you will just grow frustrated. I tried a rubber-band first but only succeeded in shooting myself in the forehead, so save yourself the trouble and pin down the elastic.

 Here it's shown on the black place mat I did later, I accidentally deleted the photo of the elastic on the red place mat. 

Next, using a spray bottle, I sprayed the place mat again with hot water. I heated my iron to the hottest steam setting and sprayed the crown area with spray starch.  I don't know if the starch makes a difference but I figured it couldn't hurt. 

Using the iron and a muslin press cloth I started steaming the straw over the lid to form the crown.  I used the press cloth to protect the sole plate on my iron in case the dye on the place mat wasn't set, the last thing I wanted was a dirty sole plate so better safe than sorry. 
I did this for about 30 minutes then used my hair dryer again to dry the straw as much as possible. Next came the hardest part, I walked away from it and let it sit for a few hours while I worked on another project, in another room, downstairs as far as possible from this.  I knew if I stayed in the room I would keep fussing with it so I walked away. 

When I returned the first thing I did was remove the elastic to see if the shape would hold. 
 So far so good! Finally I removed all the pins, another side note: as a precaution I used glass headed pins, because of the heat from the steam I didn't want to use the plastic headed pins for fear of the heads melting.
 And success!!! I can't wait to decorate this but that will have to wait for another time. 

The black hat turned out a little droopy but that's fine.  

Friday my youngest son, Bubba and I headed to Downtown LA to go to FIDM, my purpose was two-fold, one to see the Emmy costume exhibit before it closed the following day and the other was the $1.00 a yard fabric sale at the Scholarship Store.  Unfortunately only one part was successful, the store only had knits for sale and the woven fabrics were nothing I needed but that's just how it goes sometimes.  I did get a hat for my son, a neck tie, some lapel flower pins, and a couple of bow ties. The gallery on the other hand was a complete success and I took pictures of everything! Here are two of my favorites and you'll understand why finding the black and red place mats was fortuitous.

First, the Outlander costume designed by Terry Dresbach, an 18th century look based on Christian Dior's New Look, check out the hat.
 I tried to get a better photo but I'm short and the ceiling was black but you get the idea. 
I will definitely be making a copy of this in the future!

Then there was this gem, if you're a Marvel fan you'll recognize it.
Peggy Carter from Agent Carter, again I didn't get a great photo but look at the hat!!! It was a straw hat and the edge was trimmed with fabric that matched the dress. 
This one has a wider crown than the bergere I made but that can be easily done and I do have another place mat.  Proof that inspiration for fashion can be found in any century. 

Another project I did last week was something that meant a lot to a friend, she has 2 boys and I saw this and asked if she needed something like this for them. They are for seatbelts, if Heaven forbid, she is ever in an accident and is unresponsive, it helps rescue workers know why her boys aren't speaking. My husband gifted me with an embroidery machine last year and I love putting it to use in this way. 

So that's the stuff I've been working on, hopefully in the future I will be more consistent posting things, I'm not trying to reach thousands with my blog but someday when I'm gone I hope my grandkids will see this, like it, and get to know me through it. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Gratitude and Loss

2016 has been a dreadful year for our family but I've been grateful for every moment. On March 4th we said goodbye to my husband's 94 year old grandmother, Jeanne Armand.  She was an incredible lady, born in France, she was a talented seamstress who lived through the horrors of WWII, she gave birth to 2 children, Jeannine and Roland, she lost Roland to cancer when he was 21. She was married to the same man for 70 years until his passing at the age of 95. I remember that she had my work schedule memorized and knew I had Tuesday off so she would call me. As she got older she would forget that I didn't speak Alsatian but that was ok. 94 is a life well lived. 
Jeanne second from the right between my two boys, my Mother-in-law Jeannine on the left. 

On March 30th we lost my older brother Antonio Antunez, he lived a lonely life, he never married and struggled with addictions, we lived in different countries and it had been more than 25 years since I last saw him but I loved him, he was always kind to me when were children. 

On June 7th this year we lost my nephew, Nick. Nick had been born premature and was disabled his entire life. He never experienced all the milestones that other children experience but he was a teacher to all who knew him, because we served him, we learned to love him unconditionally. His body may have been disabled but his spirit was valiant. He wasn't expected to live 5 days, he lived 21 years, what a fighter. 

Yesterday at 11:15pm we lost a man that I have considered my father for more than 25 years. J.M. Moore, my father-in-law. Our family patriarch he had just turned 90 last week.  He was always there with a kind word, loving support, humor, and good advice. My favorite visits with him were the times he would just talk, he was knowledgeable on a variety of subjects and I wanted to soak up every minute. Every now and then, he would send me books or articles that he thought I would enjoy. He always addressed the envelopes with funny names for me. He loved his grandchildren and always let them know how proud he was of them. He taught our eldest son not just his first word but an entire sentence at age 9 months, "peek boo boo, I see you".  He and my Mother-in-law were married 50 years, everything he did was with her in mind. Their marriage was such a wonderful example to all of us. Every time I saw him he made a point of telling me how happy he was that I joined his family and how much he loved me. I felt the same way about him. 
Typical pose with his finger in his nose. 
One last hug with my son Cameron as he leaves to start his mission for our church.

So much loss, so much pain for those left behind. One of the most painful things I believe about the death of loved ones is that while our world stops, the world spins on, everyone else goes about their business and we try to make sense of it all. But even with all this loss, I'm grateful for the lives of these family members. What a privilege to know them and walk with them on our brief journey here and how joyous the reunion to come. I'm grateful for the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ who conquered death so that we may all live again, free from the pain and the suffering of this world. What a loving God we have who knows each and everyone of us and loves us. He gives us exactly what we need if we would just humble ourselves and ask. He has made us of the stuff of eternity, although our separations when they happen here are wrenching to us, He has given us His promise that if we are obedient to His commandments and endure to the end we will be together again for eternity and there will be no more endings, just beginnings, joyous beginnings. 

So instead of goodbye, I'll just say goodnight to Jeanne, Antonio, Nick, and Dad, I'll see you in the morning. Love you, sleep well. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wedding: Part 2

Orange Chucks, already to party!

This wedding could not have gotten off the ground without several people, first and foremost my amazing hubby John, he provided the funds. My daughter's bridesmaids, Desi, Megan, and Melissa who helped everywhere they could and told her if she wanted them to wear polka dots and clown noses they were there for her.  My friends Cheryl, her husband Brad, her daughter Lacey, and Helle who would call me and offer to help out with what ever I needed. And of course the day of the wedding, Cheryl, Lacey,Brad, Sara, Wendy, Mindy, Helle, Sara's husband Phil, Megan's parents, Carla who dropped off 3 large rolls of orange and green ribbon and especially my boys, they were amazing, the list goes on.

Starting in August, I went to work on the bridesmaid dresses and my dress, I had also started a side project with my own wedding dress. We purchased the bride's gown in Downtown LA in May.  It was gorgeous. Here's a close up of the detail on the gown:

For the bridesmaids, Ashton wanted navy blue originally, her grandma tried to talk her into purple but my daughter tends to avoid girly colors. Plus grandma said she didn't look good in orange, I told my Mother-in-law that this was going to be an informal wedding, no receiving line (yuck), a food truck ( we kept that secret for a long time) and cupcakes instead of a large cake. I really don't think she understood me. So back to the bridesmaids.  Later Ashton decided that emerald green would work better until we got to the fabric store and put the orange and green together. It wasn't pretty, we ended up finding a gorgeous sage green taffeta that was iridescent it had an orange sheen in certain lights! That same day we found orange shoes in Santee Alley that were a perfect match, the girls bought flats for the reception. The fabric ran the girls $45.00 each and the shoes were on clearance 3 pairs for $24.00 so their entire outfit was $53.00 each. The fabric on the dresses was the same but each girl picked her own pattern. 
Left to right: Megan, Ashton, Melissa and Desi. 
I love that they all chose a cute modest styles. 

Desi's dress in progress: 

Melissa's dress in progress: 

And being silly at a fitting: 

My dress: I found this amazing vintage pattern and this gorgeous raw silk in the garment district: 
I also found the sunglasses earlier that summer at the OC Swapmeet, they were a perfect match!

The sewing for me was pretty straight forward. But there were other things that were done for the wedding, it involved burlap and lace table runners, Lacey and Cheryl made all of them. And burlap and lace silverware holders, the bridesmaid's made those and some signage. 

Here's a few photos of the purchases made for the decor: 

The hubby and #1 son helping me shop:

The easiest part of all of this was finding pumpkins, since we were shopping in August the stores were fully stocked with fall decor. 
So for the rest of this post I will just post photos with captions. 

Brad made a copy of this stand, the bridesmaids painted it white and it held all the old timey sodas at the reception. 

Invitations, finally ordered in July and sent in August

The headboard benches that Brad made and the stenciled burlap pillows that Helle made for me and of course the pumpkins. The paintings are Ashton's grandmothers work. 

The flower haul, the result of an early morning trip to the DTLA flower mart
Megan and her mom, Shari, created the boutonnières and bouquets for the girls, amazing! That's my petticoat in the foreground.

In-n-Out truck arriving! 
In-n-Out truck set up:
And finally food:
We had Ambrosia Fine Foods do the fries since the In-n-Out truck doesn't do them, we had regular and sweet potato with different dipping sauces. 

Menu board, bridesmaid Desi did all the signs, freehand I might add: 

The cake: 
We also had cupcakes provided by Bubba Sweets, yummy! My Mother-in-Law left the reception carrying and eating two of them. 

Sign the frame: 

A couple of the angels that showed up the morning of the wedding to help set up: 
Sara, Wendy and Sara's daughter Kate

Here are some more angels that helped out 
 Lacey and her husband Dan
Megan and her parents, her mom Shari helped with the bouquets and they stayed behind to help clean up! 
Cheryl and her husband Brad who did all the woodwork I needed.

I don't have pictures of everybody but seriously, I am blessed with amazing friends who showed up early and stayed late. I can never thank them enough. 

As you can see there was a photo booth at the reception and it captured some fun moments mostly it captured Russell.  To view those photos click here and enjoy.

I love the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life" and the quote, "no man is poor who has friends" on this day we felt like the richest family in town. 

A few more: 

Just before the ceremony:

Yay! We made it!

My boys:

First Dance:

Proud Parents:

Handsome groom:

Across the street from the reception the kids found this railroad yard so they headed over with the photographer and got some amazing pictures: