Saturday, July 19, 2014

Girls First Sewing Class

Girls heading in to store for their class

Yesterday the girls headed to Joann's Fabrics for their first machine sewing class.  Both were so excited and had their fabrics ready, sewing kits and the stuffing needed for their bear projects.  I was determined to let the girls really learn on their own, so my friend Meredith met me and we went for coffee next once I had the girls settled in their class.

With both set to start I snapped a quick picture and headed off leaving my camera for them to document their time.

The project was a bear that they would have to learn to pin, sew on the machine and cut out, then stuff and do finishing work.

Hannah had stitched her bear, then went to the cutting table to trim the edges and pull of the paper pattern.

Lauren at her machine.  They had to use her sewing box to lift up the peddle so she could reach it to sew.

The class was an hour long, but with 4 first time sewers and a few machine glitches the projects did not get finished in the time allotted.   I arrived back to find Hannah cutting her stitched bear pattern.

While Lauren was still struggling at the machine.  The instructor was busily trying to get the other two girls in the class to a point of completion where they could just do the hand work at home since neither of their mothers sewed they didn't have the machines to complete the stitching.  I jumped in to help Lauren finish her machine stitching having her use the presser foot while I guided the remaining bear pattern under the needle.

We gathered our things and headed home where this morning Hannah and Lauren finished their bears. Here is the process and results.

Lauren's bear needed to be restitched and then we used the seam ripper to remove some unnecessary stitching, before we trimmed the edges.  This class had the girls stitch the pattern to the fabric in order to more easily follow the stitching lines.  Once done it's trimmed then the paper is removed. 
Lauren ripping the paper pattern off, then turning the bear right side out.

Once it was turned and shaped (bottom right) it was time to stuff.
Next the opening was stitched closed and the buttons for it's eyes were sewn on.

Hannah having to learn to seam rip some extra stitches before turning the bear.
Turning right sides out, so it's ready to stuff.
After stuffing her bear (left), it was time to stitch the leg opening closed
Once the leg was stitched closed, she sewed on the buttons for eyes.  We then added ribbons to both bears and to the delight of both girls they were done!!

The smiles say it all

They were both so pleased with themselves and loved accomplishing a whole new learning experience.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Morning Still Life Photos

Went out early this morning to capture some shots of the Super Moon that can be seen now, and after taking a few pictures of this I walked around the yard and took some other photos I thought turned out pretty well, so am going to share.

Tried taking a photo early morning  3am, but this didn't come out. So had to make do with daylight photos.

Trees at the end of the property

Love the clouds in the distance

Still some fog over the lake 

Despite the fact that cat tails need to be thinned down, I do love the color contrasts- probably needed to enhance this photo to really see this.

Lily pads on lake

Lizard who peaks in my front window showing off

Pagoda flower blooming in among the trees again this year.

Have a great day.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Dog Days of Summer

The title says it all!!  I've heard this phrase all my life, but lately have had a renewed appreciation for it's meaning.  We are in the rainy season here in Central Florida and that means heat and humidity with almost daily downpours accompanied by thunder and lightening.

Anything that needs to be done outdoors, that includes the garage or porch area if they aren't air conditioned, has to be done in the early morning or right after the rain when it's a bit cooler.  So needless to say we and the dogs are all indoors a lot these days.

Bea lounging in the middle of Lauren's room and the toys the girls are trying to play with.
Bear staying cool on the tile where he hangs out most of the time.

I've been working on a lot of hand stitching projects to make good use of the time.  The girls have been enjoying their school break with crafting and play.  Cameron's been busy with school and Kevin has had school projects for the Master's Program he's in and business projects.  All thankfully can be done in the air conditioned environment we SO appreciate right now (insert big smile here).

We did have to venture out yesterday afternoon in the midst of a real downpour when Kevin's older Mac computer had the keyboard freeze up then just stop working.  He was in the middle of an essay, he needs to complete and then has business projects, so we needed to get out and get something to fix the problem.  The closest store that carried a lot of Apple products was the Best Buy in Altamonte Springs that's about 23 miles down the highway.  The sky was dark, with a lot of spectacular lightening (none of which I could capture on camera sadly), the thunder shook the truck and the rain poured so intensely all the vehicles on the highway were down to 15 mph, and it was still tough to see out the windows.

It's fascinating to see the rain so intensely pouring in the distance when it hasn't reached where you are yet.

Then the rain arrives and looks like this

Kevin got himself a keyboard to attach to his older computer that he'll need to access his files to be able to transfer them to his new computer, a Macbook Pro that he also purchased.  He'll then let the girls work with his old computer and become familiar with this, as long as it still has life in it.  So with this done we headed back out in the weather.  Fortunately, the heaviest rain had already passed on and it was just the evening traffic we had to contend with.

We are getting used to the weather here in Central Flordia, but it still is amazing the amount of rain that falls in such short periods of time after dealing with years of the dry Southern California climate we were so familiar with.

Our forecast still shows heat and rain for awhile longer.  There is a chance of some relief after this and maybe we'll get outdoor stuff done.  Or will just have to get up a LOT earlier and take advantage of the morning temperatures.

So, for now we hang out indoors doing activities while the heat and rain continue outdoors and projects pile up, including a terribly overgrown garden in need of some TLC, grass that needs mowing AGAIN, trees that really need to be planted and a myriad of other stuff we've been putting off in the hopes that a cooling spell will come our way.  These are the "dog days of Summer" and we'll make the best of them.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Cameron Starts College

Yesterday was Cameron's orientation and first day as a student at Full Sail University, where he is enrolled in their computer graphics and game arts program.  This bachelor of science program is an intensive one designed to be completed in 22 months, so students here have to hit the ground running.

Kevin and Cameron had a private tour of the campus a couple of weeks back and then I went with them on the campus tour that was a week ago Sunday, where the whole campus has tours for interested families in all aspects of the programs they offer.  It's really quite a production moving the numbers they do throughout the 212 acre campus, with it's 110 studios and production environments.  This school specializes in programs for the arts and entertainment industry and has sound, film, computer design and development and marketing programs all associated with the many aspects of this business.

Kevin and Cameron on our tour

Back lot stage shots that the film students use in their student productions

Cameron has loved computer graphics and game art for the longest time.  Kevin started him early with computer games, and with his artistic abilities he's worked on his own skills to develop and animate characters.  So this program allows him to follow what he's good at and passionate about.

I wasn't kidding when I said Kevin started him young : )
How fast time flies by!!!
The decision to move forward with his schooling here seemed clear by the end of our tour.  We had already done a lot of research into the school and it's one Cameron has been interested in since we lived in California, so we began the paperwork process after talking to his school counselor and with Kevin's ability to get everything organized quickly, we were able to complete all we needed to get done to allow him to begin the next session, that officially kicks off on July 7th, but has this week set for the orientation time.

The Mac book each student gets loaded with the software necessary for their schooling known as their "Launch box".

After praying with Cameron, we walked him to his car and waved good bye as our "little boy" now heads off into a new phase of his life.

Kevin praying blessing and protection on Cameron 

Cameron nervous and excited about what's ahead for him.

Proud dad, but struggling with letting go.

This is a change for everyone, and while we're really thrilled for Cameron and his new opportunities, it's hard knowing he's not going to be around on a regular basis with the family.  Aw, the joys and challenges as your kids grow up!!  By the way, Cameron LOVED his first day and is really excited about this program and the group of students who will move through the set of courses with him.  Off to a good start.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Making The Bridal Veil

Here is one of the two hair clips I made and featured in a past blog post

I have made a lot of detailed pieces, but this was the first full veil I've made.  So to prepare I did a lot of research on determining and adjusting lengths, edging, and adding lace and jeweled details.  One really useful site is here:Crafty Wedding .  This blog site was helpful with cutting instructions and for doing a rolled pencil edge.

So, after meeting with Katie Beth to find out the length she wanted for the blusher, and the back, I also found out what sort of details she wanted to have on her veil.  She had purchased a shimmering wedding tulle that was 108" wide, and had about a yard and a half of lace that matched that on her dress.  She also had a few flowers she wanted incorporated in the design if possible.  SOOOOO, with this information and my measurements, I laid out the tulle on my kitchen table and cut the edges as shown in the Crafty Wedding site.

After cutting the entire piece to the full length I needed, I then folded it in half, and then than in half again and cut the edge using a large salad bowl as the guide for my rounded edge.

Once the edges were cut, I trimmed off any ragged edges

I then folded and pinned the length I needed for the blusher

Katie Beth had purchased a wide plastic comb, but I bought a sturdier metal one to use instead.  These last longer and the beauty of them is that whichever direction the comb needs to go to hold the veil onto your head the metal can bend to accommodate this, whereas the plastic comb can only go in the one direction that it's molded. This was fortunate, because they wound up needing to bend the comb when they put her hair up for her wedding.
I took a piece of tulle and wrapped the top of the metal comb.  This serves two purposes, it covers the metal so it doesn't show through and it gives you something to sew on as you secure the tulle to the comb.

The metal comb with tulle wrapped through tines and stitched at the end to secure,

Gathering and pinning the tulle to just a bit wider than the comb,  and all ready for stitching to the comb.

Another view of the wrapped comb, ready for stitching and then attached to veil.

Once I had the comb secure, I took the heavier embroidery thread and following the suggestions from the Crafty Wedding began doing the pencil edge to the veils edges.  I had practiced on a few strips of the tulle I'd cut off before beginning on the main veil.  It took a bit of time, but I was pleased with the results and the fringy appearance it gave, because of the volume of fabric.

Here is the veil with just the pencil edging done

Once, I had this complete, I laid out the lace and flowers to find a look that would be attractive.  I had originally thought I would cut the lace into sections and use the flowers in between these sections, so I could cover more of the back of the veil.  The problem is this lace design really did not lend itself to being cut apart.  So, I centered it and used the flowers to go around the curves of the corners.
I pinned the lace and flowers in place and checked their positions to be sure they were properly balanced, before stitching them in place.  Once these were on I began the process of adding the decorative details.  I used two sizes of round pearls, clear glass beads and oblong pearl beads following the laces design.

The veil with the lace and flowers pinned in place.
Lace with some of the pearls
The details of flowers, beads and gems

Final lace, flowers with details added

Once this was done, I carefully used Aleene's jewelry and fabric glue to adhere 3mm Savwarski gems onto the lace to add a touch of extra bling that could catch the light.  With all this done the veil was ready to present to Katie Beth.

Veil finished with trim and waiting for Katie Beth to pick up

This was her trying it on for the first time:

Katie Beth trying the veil on in Hannah's room so she can see herself in the mirror

Back detail and length

And here it is with her wedding dress.  Think it worked out well and she was quite pleased with the results.

The pictures a bit blurry, but you can see the blusher length here.

The back view

Here is the veil with dress (photo courtesy Michele Guzman Photography)

So there we are.  I so enjoyed making this that it's inspired me to begin doing a lot of other hand work pieces that I'll feature in other blog posts.