Repurposing: A Cosplay Journey

IMG_4023Hello, all! Been a long time, hasn’t it?

Like a lot of people who sew, I have a lovely collection of garments that just don’t work. Sometimes, as in the case of one full-length, forest green peasant dress that I unearthed a few weeks ago, they are the result of a baby seamstress first figuring out technique and design, and not thinking about – let’s say, long-term wearability.

This dress was made for a 4-H sewing competition as part of a cosplay Time Lord outfit. Before cosplay was cool.

It struck me that peasant-style tunic-dresses are in, so I made a plan to repurpose the long, mostly useless dress into something fun and functional for (mostly) everyday wearing.

 

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Here’s the sketch I drew to convey the idea I had for the alterations to my sisters: Trendy off-shoulder with shoulder straps, high waist, straight skirt, and a buckle to allow a cosplay option.
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First, I cut out about 15 inches between the waist and the skirt length that I wanted. This turned out to allow too much for the bodice, so I shortened that by a couple more inches.
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I cut the sleeves into a cap-sleeve length, and used the fabric from one to bias-cut the shoulder straps and buckle loop.
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A tuck here, a seam there, a generous application of elastic, and voila! The dress turned out very cute and wearable, just above knee-length and perfect for summertime. The buckle, by the way, came off of some old pair of sandals: Never throw away anything! (kidding)
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With the skirt buckled up, it takes on an elven, cosplay look. And looks amazingly like my original sketch! (love it when that happens)

Perhaps I will edit this post to include a photo of me modelling this – with the waist cincher!

I love repurposing one garment into something totally different! A red plaid Highlander skirt has become one of my favorite dresses; and my pretty, princess-y Easter dress this year used to be a hideous ’90’s affair of pleats and sailor collars. But I forgot to document the process!

I hope you are inspired to try some repurposing this week ūüėÄ

-Abigail

 

 

 

 

Thankfulness Thursday: Fluffy White Cattails!

I would have published this on Thursday, like it should be… but WordPress was being weird. So – better late then never, right?

A few days ago, in the morning I went walking in the woods. I went with most of my family and my good friend and her mother. We went to see the last of the autumn leaves, but besides seeing some lovely fall colors, we got another little delight Рcattail fluff!

And that is what I want to feature for my Thankfulness Thursday! (Or Monday… doesn’t quite sound as good though!)

The picture below shows how we found these simple little delights, on the stock and ready to play with. Little did we realize how fun they were going to be!

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I’m sure, if you’ve ever played with these funny little things, you know how much fun you can have. Pinch one end a little and what looks like half an inch of compact tan colored semi-solidness then suddenly and¬†softly explodes in your hand and becomes a¬†practically weightless white cloud of fuzz!

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Personally, it was rather nice to get away from the political weirdness of the world and the other stresses of life, and I was very thankful to be able to enjoy one of the simple pleasures of life, that of my senses Рand my imagination Рbeing tickled by the joys of fluffy cattail clouds.

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Sometimes you don’t need that much to be entertained.

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My good friend, Addie, who had a lot of fun playing with the silly whiteness!

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We all got covered in the fluffiness – it got everywhere!

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They got on Abigail’s new red cape! (Abigail, you need to show the whole outfit later to all of our readers! I can’t wait to see it all together!)

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Also – I can’t help putting more than one thing for my Thankfulness Thursday post – I’m so thankful for my friend! Addie is very dear to my heart, and almost as close to me¬†as¬†my wonderful¬†sisters! All of my sisters – both blood and sister in the Lord – I am very thankful for!

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The wonderful, fun, sweet, lovable, patient and dependable Sarah!

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Abby, the delightful and kind, the generous and wise, the thoughtful and caring! Both such an amazing abundant blessing to me! I love you too!

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So there you go! Take a walk in the woods with family and friends¬†and enjoy the simple things of life! There’s so much to be thankful for in just these things alone!

Hannah

 

A Trip to the Mountains

Sometimes, quite irrationally, things become irksome. Like blogging, for instance. One loses focus, gets stuck in a rut, forgets a time or two and then feels so guilty about it that one forgets again, other things get busy. And so on. You know how it is!

So, yeah, I think we’ve kind of fallen into one of those times here in “Ribbons”-world. So sad – because we’re actually really excited about what we’re doing and what we want to share!

As we figure it all out and prepare for what I hope will be a grand re-entrance into the blogging realm, here is a gallery of our most recent excursion into our local mountains!

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A venerable tree, upon which I will base a bonsai (when I get into bonsai-growing)
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A wonderfully climbable rock face
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Sarah (who will climb anything climbable – she’s the most adventurous of us!) coming down the rock
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Me! Also on the rock, right before the incident when the boulder that I was leaning from fell down on me. Adventure has its perils! The boulder mostly broke up, so rather than being squashed like in one of those cartoons I just have a few scrapes. It was still a very climbable rock face!
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The falls for which the trail is named! (we live in a desert – we’ll take what we can get)
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It’s a beautiful spring, satisfactorily cool and verdant!

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There’s a little cave nearby
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I always love looking out at the green through the black!
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The lovely path
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(as you can tell, no lasting damage from my mishap on the very climbable rock face!)
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Annie our dog likes to be in our pictures!

A very pleasant Labor Day hike! It’s always good to step away for a bit, when things get too irksome, and do a little relaxing.

What recreation have you attempted lately?

-Abigail-

Friday Featured Favorites: Of Mice and Raisins

Today I’ll be looking at another one of my favorite shops – The Raisin Fairy!

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First of all, let it be known, that I love ornaments! Our tree would probably be buried if I was allowed to put on all the ornaments I wanted. Among the best kinds of ornaments are pretty classic shaped ornaments with pretty pictures, Christmas Carol ornaments, icicles, a few Santas, and, of course, small animals.

The Raisin Fairy owner, Abigail, has a few wonderful little clay animals in nutshells. I always thought the choice of clay for the animals was interesting, giving these creations an accessible, charming, simple appeal. But I especially appreciate these little animals because I’ve dabbled (not quite the right word) in clay- with blobby, flaked results, and so its wonderful to see that someone can make such beautiful,¬†delicate¬†things out of clay.

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Besides the wonderful ornaments, you can find some Gift Pockets, which would make wonderful stocking stuffers. They seem to be very popular, which is understandable. How can you go wrong with Starbucks, a candy cane and the season’s greetings?

The Raisin Fairy shop has an eclectic collection of fun things, besides what I’ve mentioned, including a cowl, hand warmers and sachets. These items I’ve mentioned are crocheted with the same beautiful skill I’ve seen Hannah use with her hats (you’d almost think they were related! *gasp*)

OK, time for me to take a personal look at the shop and it’s owner, since I have the advantage of knowing her!

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Pictured on the right is the cowl I mentioned, with matching fingerless gloves (sold separately). Abigail probably had enough yarn to make the cowl, as well as the fingerless gloves, so I think this is probably the only cowl. But they are not the only fingerless gloves! Abigail is making several other fingerless gloves, which will be coming up on her shop very soon. And her sachets, also coming soon, are absolutely wonderful, usually scented with lavender and chamomile.

And I have saved the best for last- well, more like the latest for last, since her whole shop is best! Abigail has been working on Ephemeral Earrings. She has a good collection, so they will be appearing on Etsy very soon. I’ll just tease your curiosity, though, and leave Abigail to show off her new creations. But they are beautiful, and several are Christmas-y, so keep an eye on her shop to see when¬†they make their appearance!

I invite you to see what Abigail has on her shop right now- The Raisin Fairy! It is well worth the look.

Have a great weekend everyone, and Merry Christmas!

Sarah

 

 

Our Etsy Shops

Amid all the craziness of being new bloggers, putting new stuff out there, and hoping people will find it, it suddenly seems as though we have (sorta) lost sight of what this blog is really about: Our Etsy shops – what’s there, and what to look forward to.

Of course, we haven’t really forgotten about it. Etsy and our shops and where we’re going with our creative careers is never far from our minds, hearts and imaginations! But we do need to start highlighting our shops a little more. (This is a little embarrassing, since I’ve been neglecting my shop far too much lately!) We’ve been talking about making a couple of changes to our blog so that it ties in with Etsy a bit more, but until then here’s an introduction to each of our shops (in alphabetical order!):

Annavania

Hannah’s shop features beautiful crocheted hats. She designs her own original patterns (which she says is easier than following someone else’s) and works primarily in cotton thread. Each creation is unique, and wonderfully wearable! She also has a line of Victorian-style handcrafted cards (paper and downloadable versions)¬†which she is expanding all the time with new original designs. Keep an eye out for Christmas cards, sets and individual!

TheRaisinFairy

My shop is about small things to charm and light your life, and add a little bit of comfort and magic to even the most mundane days. At the moment, you will see several cards (downloadable and hard copies), and adorable little woodland ornaments. But my shelves are going to fill up soon with crocheted fingerless gloves, colorful and bright sachets, more cards, and some fanciful earrings that I am in the fun process of designing.

SallySewing

Sarah’s shop is all about bags. Her designs are clever, creative, and lovely. From handbags to totes, each creation is unique – I don’t think she’s used the same design twice yet. She uses fabrics from our Stash, which encourages outside-the-box thinking, with occasional additions specially purchased to make the bag come to life. She’s planning some Christmas bags, which will probably show up soon. But her bags are all-the-time useable. Gorgeous and chic!

So come and check our shops out! We are always reinventing, renovating, and experimenting with new ideas – and it would be wonderful to have you along for the journey.

-Abigail

Why I Started Blogging

This is number 3 on our ongoing list of 25 new blogger post ideas, which Hannah talked about here. Perhaps I’ll put in the whole list at the bottom! Technically, I’m not even sure if this qualifies as a really new blog anymore, since we’ve been going 4 months now. 4 whole months! I can’t believe it’s been that long – or that I’ve actually managed to post as often as I have; probably collaborating has kept me accountable!

Hannah and Sarah have been having so much fun with their “10 Things No One Knows About Me” posts that I think I will have to do one too. However, it’s not as easy as you’d think to come up with 10 interesting facts about yourself. And if it’s to things that no one knows – well, let’s just say I’m not sure I want to go there! So – I’m trying to come up with 10 things about me not likely to be involved in this blog, just to round out my persona. Maybe I’ll put something like that up later this week.

A streambed in the mountains

Meanwhile – why did I start blogging?

We already covered (more or less)¬†why we started this blog in our first post¬†– it’s a chronicle of how we are launching our Etsy shops – and our lives. We want to share what we’re up to, connect to people, and build (we hope) an audience for what we’re doing.

Personally, however, I got into blogging a little more than a year ago with my individual blog Abything and Everything (which is sadly neglected – I really need to take the time to give it some TLC!). It was, and is, uncomfortable for me. I hardly ever read other people’s blogs, and I tend to get befuddled with my own.

So why do it?

Well, let’s be terribly honest: I know that every good author platform starts with a blog nowadays – and I want to be a published author. It’s a great way to connect with readers, hone writing skills, and network with others in the same craft. You can’t get anywhere without a blogging platform to talk about your writing and get people excited! I’m sure Charles Dickens had an active, popular blog filled with colorful caricatures and too-vivid scene setting! Agatha Christie must’ve hosted daily, wild chats on the subjects of poisons and bridge-playing! William Shakespeare probably churned out puns in iambic pentameter faster than his “Globe-Blog” fans could cap them with a witty response! Emily Dickinson… Well, she probably cut off all Wi-Fi signals, and only occasionally Tweeted: there are limits.

Anyway, a funny thing has happened now that I’m blogging more consistently: I’m actually starting to enjoy it. Just so long as I keep it short (unlike now) and try to get in at least one post a week, it can be fun. I’ve found a couple of bloggers I like to follow, and apparently I like photography blogs – so it’s not all bad! And now some random people are liking my posts – thanks! – and it’s fun sharing¬†my own photography, like these pictures of a recent mountain adventure.

I have lots of ideas for the future.

This should keep us occupied for a while, though: The List, as promised! –

25 Blog Post Ideas For New Bloggers

  1. An introductory/”About Me” post
  2. 10 things no one knows about you
  3. Why did you start a blog?
  4. A roundup of “daily life”-type photos
  5. Where do you see yourself (and your blog) this time next year?
  6. Share some guilty pleasures
  7. What are your favorite blogs to check out every day?
  8. Share an embarrassing or silly story
  9. Let us see what’s in your bag
  10. Share some of your favorites – movies, music, tv, books, etc.
  11. What’s been inspiring you lately?
  12. Talk about a hobby or something you’re passionate about
  13. What are some goals you’d like to achieve this season?
  14. Share your bucket list
  15. What’s a day in your life like?
  16. Create a weekly feature or series
  17. Interview another blogger or friend
  18. Create a “Top 10” or “5 Tips” post
  19. Feature someone who inspires you every day
  20. Review something specific to your niche
  21. Share your to-do list for the day/week/weekend
  22. Swap guest posts with another blogger
  23. Share the pros and cons of something you have experience with
  24. Create a list of blogs you think are worth following
  25. Write a letter to your future self that you can come back and read on your blog’s 1 year anniversary

10 Things No One Knows About Me

I thought I might as well start the first post in our blogging series.

But now that I look at the first blogging idea, I realize we already did that, our First Post.¬†That’s the “about us” post, so check that off the list!

Now I’ll do 10 Things No One Knows¬†About¬†Me.

  1. I love to make playlists on iTunes (mostly full of soundtracks by Hans Zimmer, Murray Gold, Steve Jablonsky, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Patrick Doyle, etc. etc. etc.)
  2. I love, love, LOVE Doctor Who! I have, ever since 1997 when I watched my first episode Genesis of the Daleks(practically completely behind the sofa!) and that episode was Genesis of the Daleks, with Tom Baker, the best Doctor ever.
  3. I played the flute for around seven years until I finished high school, and even a little after that.
  4. I love to make (and eat!) pot de cr√®me. I’ll post the recipe (which I got from a great friend of mine) soon hopefully. I promise you, it is melt-in-your-mouth chocolate heaven!
  5. I have something called hypermobility, or more commonly known as double jointed.
  6. I love to write in November for this crazy thing called NaNoWriMo.NaNoWriMo
  7. I love black tea in the afternoon.Photo By Luke Chesser
  8. And coffee in the morning!
  9. I love period clothing, such as the Civil War, Regency or even Retro clothing.
Myself in a simple Civil War era dress
Myself in a simple Civil War era dress, which I made myself

10.   And last but not least, I love to read. Anything from a good mystery (Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Ellis Peters) to other favorite authors like George MacDonald, C. S. Lewis, Laura Ingles Wilder, Jane Austen, and Frank Peretti.

Well that’s my ten for today! It’s interesting trying to figure out what would be new to everyone! Well, talk to you later… Oh, but come back soon, since Abigail will be doing the next one.

A Look at Our Boutique

In two days it will be a week since our boutique. Right about now, last week, we were going crazy getting everything pulled together. Now, looking back on it, I know it was worth it. And now, I will finally get to doing a blog post about the event, with lots of pictures included!

A view of Haynes Park from just about where we set up. This was probably almost 8:00, so it was quite pleasant and cool
A view of Haynes Park from just about where we set up. This was probably almost 8:00, so it was quite pleasant and cool

We got the essentials into our car- ourselves, food, Etsy items, a table and a shelf plus various things including badminton equipment- and headed over to the park about half an hour late. Basically we were ready for the day, but several trips were necessary to get everything in order.

The cold coffee in the new container our sweet mother got especially for the occasion. It was ready to be enjoyed in- what else- small mason jars
The cold coffee in the new container our sweet mother got especially for the occasion. It was ready to be enjoyed in- what else- small mason jars

We got everything set up pretty quickly, and a tent was kindly provided by a friend who joined us for science in the park. We had lots of fun with water balloons, and exploding them with lemon juice, but unfortunately I didn’t think of taking pictures.

About nine o’clock we were completely ready, blueberry muffins, peanut butter honey milk balls and mini quiches ready, not to mention our Etsy items hung up and looking nice.

One of Hannah's heads for showing hats and scarves
One of Hannah’s heads for showing hats and scarves

There was last minute preparations, as Abigail finished some of her beautiful calligraphy letters that look like fairy tales and, sadly, I forgot to get pictures of while I was there, and final prices were decided on.

Before it got hotter, or the pleasant shade of a tree got too far from our spot, Hannah and I played some badminton, which is our favorite sport besides all the things we want to try. We did not play as long as I would have liked, because soon after we got started, we were rejoined by our mum, and setting up continued for another shelf and a table.

Two of Hannah's hats, both available on Etsy, before they were taken off to be tried on by our friends
Two of Hannah’s hats, both available on Etsy, before they were taken off to be tried on by our friends

We got a lot of people passing by who glanced our way, and maybe even thought about seeing what was under the tent, but they usually had dogs or else were in cars, so they couldn’t stop.

Pretty soon friends started coming by to see us. The food was uncovered- sense it was generally covered to be protected from the flies- and I felt that the boutique had officially started.

Pic 5 for Ribbons

We had everything there (well, actually some items were not easily accessible) from small to large, Christmas to Summer. There was a small Christmas section, where I included some Christmas gift bags- which I think have made an appearance in some recent pictures, but which I’m waiting to put on Etsy. Abigail made a couple of these wonderful ornaments for our Christmas tree- I personally love to decorate Christmas trees in the grand, memory-borne and unique, and these are some of the best for bringing some of the wild from whence the tree came into the home.

My Blue Pink Tote Bags, now on Etsy
My Blue Pink Tote Bags, now on Etsy

One thing I noticed upon preparing for the boutique was that my items are generally the largest. Among them were these bags I’ve just put up on Etsy (they made their debut appearance at the boutique) and here is a link for them: https://www.etsy.com/listing/242224830/blue-pink-tote-bag?ref=shop_home_active_1

As the days passed, we had other visitors, never in full mass, but coming in a trickle to enjoy seeing our things and getting some refreshing coffee. It was wonderful seeing them there- some of them friends who I have not seen recently.

Anniversary cards and Thank you cards, made by Abigail
Anniversary cards and Thank you cards, made by Abigail

These cards were made with great care, thoughtfulness and enjoyment. I believe they are available on Etsy.

Among these cards were several other cards, made both by Abigail and Hannah. I took a picture of several of them at once, but there was so much prettiness it was hard to take it all in.

About the time our last visitors came, it was quite warm and I was getting my third glass of mint green tea. I had already eaten most of the peanut butter honey milk balls.

One of Hannah's heads, wearing one of her hats, Thank you cards, which, I think, Hannah made, and a couple of Abigail's wonderful sachets. The goldenrod one is on Etsy
One of Hannah’s heads, wearing one of her hats, Thank you cards, which, I think, Hannah made, and a couple of Abigail’s wonderful sachets. The goldenrod one is on Etsy

We made several sales there, I sold three of my garden pockets- but it was just a pleasure to be able to talk with our friends.

For the last twenty minutes or so- before taking things down- we pulled up some chairs and talked in the warmth of the day and the shade of the tent. It was really the killer flies that drove us away (to Cold Stone ice cream)

Business is a lot of things. Obviously a part of it is selling your items, but some of it is just making sure there is a business. And what makes up a business is having things to fill it out, having a way to give it to people, having a reason to give it to people and, in the meantime, having something to help pay for those cold stone trips. And basically that’s exactly what I found the boutique to be. I got to hang out with friends and family, to show them what we have in our Etsy shops, and I pray my things bless people. God has bless us so far.

Here are links to our Etsy shops, if you want to see everything that was there on Friday

The Raisin Fairy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRaisinFairy

Annvania: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Annavania

and SallySewing: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SallySewing

A Boutique Update (with a few random visitors)

The date of our boutique rapidly approaches, and fingers fly crafting careful and artistic objects to satisfy the discerning tastes of an insatiable public! In between trying not to panic over the shortness of time, freaking out over not having enough done, and actually making stuff, we will be posting a lot about our process: What we are making, plans, set up, ideas, implementation, finished works of art, and pictures of everything!

Look! It’s a very tiny toad! That’s a hand, to give you context… No, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Boutique or our creative projects. It’s just cute!
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And, here’s a snake. We encountered these creatures on one of our favorite walks through the Bosque last week. We’ve been having so much lovely rain lately that wildlife proliferates!
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In case you couldn’t see it, here’s a larger view of the toad. It was about half an inch long and amusing to hold! We must have seen two dozen toads, some no bigger than a large fly. The largest was ordinary toad size, I suppose – equivalent to a peach. Lot’s of fun!

And, after all, even artists need to rejuvenate their creativity by a walk through the woods, or encounters with random woodland creatures!