Saturday, January 28, 2012

30 Day Challenge of Things I Love...Day 3

These two little kittens warm my heart every time I look at them. This is a paint-by-number that my step-daughter, Tori, painted when she was 8 years old. It was a gift for Grandma, my mother-in-law. I loved to paint- by- number when I was a little kid. I mean...who didn't, right? I think I even bought one a few years ago just for the heck of it, but never opened it. Something about a throw back to the good ol' days when life seemed easy and carefree. Oh, how I'd love to sit on an old linoleum floor and play jacks with a golf ball and hope the ball doesn't hit that wonky spot in the floor that makes the funky sound that sends the ball into a tailspin! *Sigh*

OK, back to the future, Nan! When my mother-in-law passed in 1995, all the special treasures I had made her were given back to me, including this gem so I could return it to Tori. I asked Tori if I could please keep it and because she LOVES me SO much, she obliged. I'm in awe of the amazing job she did with her blending of paints at such a young age. The colors are beautiful! I'm such a lucky duck!

Friday, January 27, 2012

30 Day Challenge of Things I LOVE...Day 2

My dad never talked about the war. He was in the Army and delivered mail to the soldiers in the trenches. He didn't actually do battle, himself, but the consensus is he saw some pretty horrific stuff. Before shipping out, he had been the Postmaster in Thatcher, AZ.

While convalescencing in a hospital in Okinawa, Japan, he made this aluminum tray. I believe it was an acid etching procedure, which I know nothing about except toxic chemicals are used. Seems weird to be doing something like that while staying in the hospital, but what do I know? Anyway, I have ALWAYS loved this tray. It was on display in our house while I was growing up. My mom knew how much I loved it, so after my dad died, she told me it was mine.

I have a love of old aluminum pieces now and am always on the lookout for interesting patterns and shapes. We had those aluminum tumblers with the little "sweaters" that slipped over them to keep your hands from freezing when you drank out of them. I wonder what ever happened to those? I see them pop up every once in awhile in antique shops I frequent. Not sure they're a good idea to drink out of, though. Seems like I remember reading about a link between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease. YIKES!

I just love this tray. It makes me smile. I like to touch the coolness of it and imagine my dad's fingers working this design, however he did it. I hope it brought him solace and peace. Thanks, dad....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

30 Day Challenge of Things I LOVE...Day 1

It's been many months since I've written a blog and I've debated as to whether I ever wanted to write another one or not. It seems so time consuming, and I just can't ever seem to get myself to do it. When I first started, It thought it would be a creative outlet, but there are SO many amazingly talented bloggers out there, I just felt like a guppy in a sea of dolphins. So, I'm challenging myself to write every day for 30 days, about something I love. Something I own or have created that I love. I can do this, right? It doesn't have to be anything GRAND. I just have to let it flow and not over think it. I AM my own worst enemy! Ok, here I go...


 I created and made this beauty this past summer for her September wedding. She had a vision and couldn't find anything she liked anywhere. One day, she said, " can make my dress!" Without a 2nd thought, I replied, "sure I can!" WHAT??? Did I REALLY just say that?

She lives in Utah and I live in Oklahoma, so this was going to be a challenge. She came to town in April, for her brother's wedding, (yeah, both my kids married within 6 months of each other) and the hunt was on for the perfect fabric and lace. She thought she wanted an English lace until we found....drum roll, please.....FRENCH lace! Straight from Paris! We almost passed out! If you've ever handled French lace, really held it and touched it, you'll NEVER go back to domestic lace again! The difference is night and day! We found it at shop here in OKC that specializes in wedding fabrics and lace. We bought all that she had left of this beauty and decided on silk chiffon for the fabric. DREAMY!

I started on the dress in May and actually sent the bodice to Kira, in UT, for a fitting. She had it pinned and shipped it back. The lace panel, front and back, had to be sewn on by hand. I had my husband hang a quilt on a wall in our bedroom and I pinned the dress up on it and hand sewed it from there. It was INSANE! I had a bum shoulder at the time (needed surgery, but that had to wait until after the wedding), but kept my eye on the prize and worked through the pain. I pretty much had the dress done when I left for UT in late July. We wanted to have that "WOW" moment when she tried it on...

"WOW" wasn't exactly what we got. It was more like slumped shoulders and tears. Something just wasn't right. It needed something more. After I calmed the bride out of her anxiety attack, we put our thinking caps back on and decided the skirt needed to be raised and it needed a big ruffly flounce on the bottom. Luckily, we found this tiny little shop in SLC that carried the silk chiffon in the right shade of ivory (close enough) and we bought YARDS of it. I sewed and hand gathered and pinned and it wasn't enough. We went back, time and time again, and Teresa, the wonderful, helpful, delightful shop owner, was thrilled every time we walked in because that stuff ain't cheap! I swear I gathered miles and miles of that silk chiffon. I was staying in a bedroom in the basement and layed it out on my bed. I had to keep it away from the groom, after all. Not only was there a 10" flounce on the dress, but there was a 5" flounce on the lining! Was I insane or WHAT???

Hand gathered INSANITY!

We finally had our "WOW" moment with GOOD tears this time and I had to BEG Kira to take the dress off. She was so in love with it and I was so in love with her for being so in love with it. It was so good to have it done with 2 weeks to spare!

This was her actual wedding day. What a GORGEOUS bride!

She couldn't figure out her something "blue", so I stitched their initials and wedding date under the lining of the dress. That was fun!

This is by far my greatest creative accomplishment and I doubt I'll ever out do it. It was an out of body experience of sorts. I look at it and I know I created it. I cut and stitched and sewed for HOURS, DAYS, MONTHS, and yet, it seems surreal. She was a beautiful bride and I miss that dress. It became a part of me, like a spare appendage and I really want it back, but she's not giving it up. I'll just have to go visit it. Sit and sip tea and have a chat with it. Feel that French lace and silk chiffon. Smile and sigh at my greatest creative accomplishment...EVER!

And...they will live happily ever after....Kira and McKay Montague!