Thursday, March 29, 2012

I'm Alive!

First off I must apologize for the long delay in blogging. Real life distracted me with some rather scary events. I had to  have surgery to have my thyroid removed removed last week. This left me rather uninspired to do any blogging. But now I'm back and full of creative energy.
I got rather bored while I recovered and started all kinds of little crafty projects to keep myself occupied.

Here's a sneak peek to some of the things I've been up to. I'll do some more detailed blog posts on some of my new projects later on.

So here is what I have been doing the past week!

While stuck in bed I did some bead work......

 I made some looped bead necklaces from tiny coral and lapis lazuli beads. Very stylish for 1812! Plan to sell these at Jane Fest in July.

......and I made a bonnet......

Made this simple straw bonnet trimmed with ribbon and some fake flowers. Also for sale.

.....and some more jewelry......

Vintage Resin Cameos
 I have a favorite seller on ebay that I use for all may cameos. This person has literally thousands of cameos and settings in all sorts of styles and sizes in their ebay store and  at amazing prices. I have ordered from them several times and have always been impressed with the quality of their products. Plus they always ship super fast and add at least one more cameo as a present! My latest order included these pretty ladies above.

 ....and styled a fabulous 1790's hedgehog hair do wig !

 When coming home from the hospital after surgery I found a package waiting for me. It contained a wig I had ordered on ebay a month ago. It came all the way from china to arrive that day to make me happy. Well really I'm sure it was coincidence but it brightened my day anyway!  Alas I was not feeling so hot and  had to wait 5 days till I felt ready to tackle styling it. But I think it was worth the wait. Gotta love crazy 1790's big hair!
 So you see I have been quite busy despite my indisposition. So on with blogging and crafting an man do  have lot's to do!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What I Did Last Week.

Last week was exhausting! I'm still completely pooped and trying to recover.
 My husband Bryan went to the Physics March meeting, a conference thousands of physicists attend each year,( have  I mentioned I'm married to a mad scientist?) leaving me along for the week with a hyperactive almost 4 year old.
 With the husband gone I took the opportunity to go see my drear friend Reva in Lexington. It's a 6 hour drive from Pittsburgh which may not seems so bad unless one has an ill tempered fussy 3 year old in the car. The drive was quite awful but so worth it! It's always a pleasure to spend time with Reva, we watched chick flicks
 ( of the period movie variety of course) ate chocolate cake with mint chocolate chip ice cream, and drank ridiculous amounts of cheap Andre champagne with gummy bears in the bottom of the glass!

A must see movie whenever Reva and I get together!

 And Lottie had fun chasing Reva's dog. So a good time was had by all!

I headed back home on Tuesday to a lonely house with 2 grumpy cats, one of which had puked on my bed in revenge for my absence, yuck!
 Anyway my daughter Charlotte turned 4 this Saturday, which means  I had  a party to plan, a cake to bake, a house to clean and a present to make! in 4 days. Oh joy!
But since I had bought some shoe dye in Lexington none of that mattered, cause all I wanted to do was try my hand a painting/dying some shoes for my costuming.

leather dye and shoe paint in kelly green , yellow and scarlet red!
  I had some white shoes I picked up cheaply that I have been wanting to paint some fun colors. So Tuesday night after putting Charlotte to bed I went about trying to paint/dye them.

Somewhat 1790's looking leather pumps I got at a thrift store....

and really cute pointed toe flats. I got 3 pairs 2 in white an done in black!

 I had 2 different kids of dye /paint 2 bottles of leather dye ( in yellow and kelly green) and one bottle of shoe coloring (scarlet red) that is more like a paint.
The shoe paint came with some very smelly primer.

The paint stuff can be used on fake leather as well as real leather so I used it on the pointy toed flats I found at my favorite bargain place Gabriel Brothers, since they are not real leather, can't expect leather for $8. The paint went on rather streaky and it looks kind of plasticy.

After the first coat of paint....

 After about 10 coats of paint it looked OK, but not perfect.

and the finished product.

Once I add some decoration to the shoe I'm sure they will look fine, but really I'm not too impressed with the leather paint.
Then came my first attempt at dyeing leather shoes. I had a pair of vaguely 1790's looking good quality leather shoes that I got for $2 at a thrift store. They are not my size but I figured if they turned out nice I could sell them or give them away. In any case they where good enough for practice. I chose to dye the shoes kelly green and went ahead using the wool dauber provided wit the bottle to apply the stuff to the prepped leather shoes.
Leather dye with the wool dauber that came with it.

 The dauber sucked for this task applying way too much dye . The dye is very runny and went everywhere including the inside and soles. The result was very uneven coloring.

The dye job turned out rather uneven....

 i switched to a rag for the next coat of dye but it still turned out rather uneven, probably due to the fact that the shoes where used and the dye got into the small creases caused by previous wear, coloring those much darker than the rest of the shoe. I applied many many more coats of dye to the shoes before I was even slightly happy with them.

 and did not improve much even after several more coats of dye.
 It took several days of painting then waiting for the shoes to dry and then adding more color. Who would have thought shoe dying to be so involved? The end result is passable but really I was not very happy with either paint or dye, perhaps the leather dye would work better on new shoes , who knows.....

Having wasted precious time on shoes I had to scramble to get stuff done for princess Charlotte's birthday. she wanted to have a my little pony party so since I'm kind of into making her ridiculously elaborate cakes for her birthday I decided to make her a pony cake. I started working on the cake on Wednesday! First I baked a huge sheet cake using my roasting pan as a mold, then I made a separate horse shaped cake  using a  vintage 80's cake pan that i discovered at  a thrift store last year.

Vintage Wilton cake form from 1987

 I let the cake sit for a day to firm it up before starting to decorate it. The horse got covered in fondant then I added a mane and tail with pink frosting and used food color markers to paint the eye and mouth. then I set the horse cake on top of the huge sheet cake covered in green frosting to resemble grass. So Charlotte had a pony frolicing in a field of flowers for a birthday cake. I've made better cakes but everyone at the party was hugely impressed and Lottie loved it so I'm happy.

The Pretty Pony Cake

The next thing on my list was to make Lottie's birthday present.Charlotte had been asking me for a big girl bed  for months. So I decided it would be a nice to put her in a big bed for her birthday. I still have the twin size bed I slept in as a child. It was residing in the 3rd floor attic room I also use as my sewing room, and taking up precious crafting and fabric storage space. So for her birthday all we needed to do is bring it downstairs. Her bedroom is decorated with pink toile accents and the walls are painted a soft green . So  I went  looking for some nice pink toile bedding for her bed since I felt it would be kind of shabby to give her a used bed including the used bedding form 1994! ( though the bedding does match her room as it too is pink and green). As I had already discovered when decorating her nursery over 4 years ago, for some reason pink toile, while very prevalent in posh baby magazines, is difficult to find and expensive to get by. For some reason it seems only rich people decorate their little girls room in toile print, and I could not find a bedding set i liked for a decent price.

Classic Toile print fabric.

So I had the brilliant idea of just making bedding myself. I can make a18th century gowns i should be able to make a freaking duvet cover and pillow sham right?!
Well yes, but really it was way more involved than expected..... finding appropriate fabric was not an easy task. It seems most toile print fabric comes in the coarse kind of home decorating fabric variety, not the soft quilting cotton stuff I was looking for. But I found some online at, in sage green not the pink I was looking for but very pretty none the less. The fabric however was too narrow for a duvet cover, but ever inventive I got some cute pink and white polka dot fabric to go with it to frame the toile fabric and make a wide enough piece for a bed cover. I thought  had ordered plenty of fabric, and that it would be an easy project , it's all just rectangles afterall... Only to find out Thursday night at about 2 am that no, it was not enough fabric, crap! I guess that's what I get for being a such a procrastinator, but well what can I say being a lazy costumer translates into the rest of my crafting projects as well. Frustrated I went to bed expecting a busy busy day ahead with an emergency trip to the fabric store. But while I lay in bed waiting for sleep to claim me I had the idea of just using a flat sheet to cut up as the back side of the duvet cover popped in my mind. So first thing in the morning I went to the attic in search of the box that holds a some bedding leftover from my college dorm days, and eureka I found a lovely top sheet and matching pillow cover in white with dainty yellow flowers that I had totally forgotten existed! Yay!

I made reversible bedding.

 It saved me the time and money of a fabric store trip, and it looks lovely with the sage toile and pink fabric! Now Lottie has reversible bedding and I could totally claim I planned it that way all along!

Charlotte's Big Girl Bed.

Now all that was left was cleaning thankfully my hubby returned Friday night and pitched in with the last minute cleaning effort. Charlotte's birthday bash was a hit. She loved the cake and is exited about her big girl bed ,so all is well.

You know it was a good party if it ends with licking frosting off the cake!

 But my hectic week was not over yet, Sunday morning I dragged myself   out of bed  and put on my regency garb to Woodvile plantation for their annual at home with the Nevilles event. This is one of my favorite events at Woodville because us reeanctors get to play house and pretend to be the original owners of the place. We get to sit in the parlor and play cards and  have dinner in the dining room and portray the lifestyle of the late 18th century  while visitors tour the house and watch us do " period " stuff. It was great fun, I got to act at Nancy Neville the mistress of the house and sit at the head of the table and direct non existent servants ( it's hard to find good footmen these days). Unfortunately I have only one picture of the event as my camera batteries decided to die on me. Bummer!

Got just one picture and they were not even looking at the camera!

 And that was for my busy busy week in a nutshell. I think I will take things slow this week perhaps finish that 1930's dress and mess around with my long stays, but nothing big. Because I really could use a 3 day nap right now!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Busy Busy Busy!

My apologies for not posting all week. I've been awfully busy, first traveling to see a friend in Lexington Kentucky.
Then scrambling to plan a My Little Pony Birthday party for princess Charlotte, and making her a fabulous birthday present!

 Also have been trying my hand at painting shoes.

 And will be going to a re enactment at my favorite historical site here in Pittsburgh.

 Woodville Plantation will be doing their annual at home with the Nevilles event on Sunday, and I get to dress up and sit in the parlor pretending to be a gentlewoman. You should come check it out if you are in the area!

SO fear not I will have plenty to post next week when I finally have some time to write some nice long posts!