Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Vintage Books

I cannot resist old books on sewing.
And this weekend I hit a motherlode.

Purchased at Friends of the Newport Beach library
 My newest skill I am trying to master is ribbon flowers!
Published 1999 and beautiful, well diagrammed steps

Found on an upstairs, back shelf at Piecemakers

This author, Claire B. Shaeffer, is my favorite sewing guru and I don't even have to look inside to know the information is outstanding.
Published 1997

Again, upstairs back shelf at Piecemakers

If the book is by Vogue the quality of the information is usually fantastic.
This 510 page tome was published in 1980

Upstairs, back shelf at Piecemakers

I am so excited about this Vogue book!
Fitting skills are invaluable and every book has different techniques.
Published 1984

Again, found at Piecemakers, 

This book is very simplistic and I almost didn't buy it but, then I looked at the publishing information and had to have it just for the historic reference.

I confess I have many, many, many, many books on a very narrow range of topics.
Every time I am contemplating or beginning a new undertaking I will pull all my relevant books and look up techniques and design ideas.

My books are my best friends.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

L'Wren Scott for Banana Republic

L'Wren Scott is best known for three things;
  • 1) She's very tall
  • 2) She's been Mick Jagger's girlfriend for quite awhile
  • 3) She is a successful high-end fashion designer.

Months ago I had read L'Wren Scott was creating a  holiday capsule collection for Banana Republic.
The launch date was December 5th and in the late afternoon I finally made it to a Banana Republic to check out her designs.

Unlike the crazy frenzy that happens at Target and H&M designer launches this one was not sold out one hour after the store opened.
L'Wren Scott dresses ALOT of celebrities for the red carpet and her designs are feminine, classy, and very fitted to the body.
Her designs for Banana Republic were sparkly, feminine, casual and classic.

Her signature graphic were lips and I'm sure it had nothing to do with Mick Jagger's famous lips...

This red extremely fitted dress is classic L'Wren Scott from color to silhouette.
Pretty sure it was out of a stretch knit so with the right undergarment it could work on a variety of figures.
It is always interesting to see what well known designers create for the masses.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Just Bead It

Expensive Nordstrom beaded necklace
Saw this necklace at Nordstrom and really liked it but, I didn't really like the price.
Once again I said in my head " I can totally make that ! "

My $10 copy
And I did. 
Only out of a pretty pewter color bead because the gold colored beads looked cheap.

While I was at Nordstrom I measured the length and width of the necklace against my hand ( ie. width is from wrist to tip of middle finger ). 
Next I drew a paper pattern, thread traced it onto gray felt that matched the pewter color beads I purchased and used leather cording from an old bolero tie.

This is the back of the necklace before beading

Attached a clasp to the one end of the leather cording and firmly stitched the other ends to the felt. Fused interfacing to the back of the felt to add structure and strength for beading neckpiece. 

Beading was done on the front ( non-interfaced ) side and that's why thread outline is important

Hand sewing the beads was done over many evenings while watching shows on Hulu.
When beading was finished spread a thick layer of glue on the back to attach another layer of felt that covered up all the stitches and interfacing.

Last step was carefully trimming away the felt and my beaded necklace knock-off was complete!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Ribbonerie; it's extraordinary!

Ribbon has been on my radar for awhile because I am trying to create beautiful flowers and ribbon works for my millinery obsession.
And I found the motherlode for ribbons in Presidio Heights at 
The Ribbonerie.

The extremely nice owner has been in the ribbon business for over 28 years and has had this ribbon shop for 20. It has been open at its current location for 6 years.

There are easily over 1,000 ribbons in this store to tempt and distract you.
And the prices are very reasonable. Plus, there is no minimum purchase; buy 1 inch or one million inches. 

But, what I found most exciting is that there are numerous classes in ribbon work offered on various weekends. 
AND many classes are taught by Candice Kling whose book on ribbon work I just purchased.
Sign me up!

 As often happens when the choices are too numerous I get overwhelmed and made a modest purchase of some tulle ribbon, some discontinued hard to find ribbons and one antique red button.

Of course the day before I had been agonizing over the ribbon section at Britex in Union Square. 
I did purchase some petersham ribbon at Britex and also four expensive variegated silk ribbons. 

Even with a 30% off sale at Britex it is still extremely costly;
I did resist a gorgeous silk rayon velvet burgundy to gold ribbon that was $12.95 a yard.

With ribbon purchases piling up and an insatiable appetite for more, there was only one thing to do…

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wanted: Hat Model

My current hat obsession is resulting in the creation of numerous hats…
several of which I actually like!
And although I have hat blocks I realized to successfully photograph my hats to sell on etsy
 ( lemonntwist is my shop name ) 
a hat model was required.

a weird hat head not even for sale! 
I looked online and even ugly hat heads were over $300 !!! 
Or else pathetic wig styrofoam things.

one of many crammed full antique stores

So I headed to the antique mecca of Orange County; 
the Orange Circle in ( where else ) the city of Orange.
Numerous antique/vintage/retro/stores are scattered amongst hip trendy gastro pubs and restaurants.
It's been easily 15 years since I've been to the Circle and it has really changed into a happening destination.

these weird whicker heads were everywhere but, none were for sale

Well, the hunt was on an I saw lots and lots of hats and lots and lots of hat heads but, none of the hat heads were for sale; only for display. 
The store keepers kept saying it was really difficult to even find a hat head, much less a cool vintage one.

But, I soldiered on to store after store trying hard not to be distracted by cool vintage hats.
I didn't even peek at the prices because I was on a mission…
find a hat head!

so cute!

Great hat, great head…for display only

Sweet torture! 
The perfect hat head but, of course it was not for sale. 
I even made the shop keeper take it off the top of the shelves to make sure.

And then my luck changed! 
This is the first hat head I found for sale and even though it had no personality and was pretty ugly I seriously thought about it. If it hadn't been $169 I might have bought it!

Then I stumbled upon this odd dismembered mannequin. 
The earrings were permanent and the piece was just a little too creepy. 
I definitely would not want to come upon it in my studio in the dark...

Then I finally found a real contender. 
The only negatives were that it was very modern looking, the head circumference was a little small and I thought she had a really snotty look on her face. 
Remember I was seeing lots of really lovely hat heads ( for display only ) so I hoped for something better. 

And then I found my perfect hat model. 
She's not in perfect shape but, she is in perfect spirit!
Shop keeper says she's from the 1950s and she needs a little TLC…

This is my sweet Irene and she was a super sweet deal at $60. 
My hats already look better :) 

And if I hear a bump in the night she won't freak me out...

Saturday, November 2, 2013

How Does your Garden Bloom...

Four of my flower creations 
I have been seriously distracted by a pursuit to make pretty fabric flowers. 
This has been going on for decades and I usually give up...
but I feel I am getting closer to my goal.

I have recently purchased enough ribbons, trims and velvets to make zillions of flowers.
Okay, maybe only 20 flowers.
But, I have to plan for rejects; I have a steep learning curve :(

Out of the many, many, many, many, many, many books on fabric flowers I have purchased these two and they are okay. 
Somehow directions and diagrams just cannot convey how to truly recreate the essence of a flower.
Guess that's best left to Mother Nature.
I will try to be content ( but not satisfied ) with my own creations.

Another Quickie

J Crew had this very attractive shirt in their window display and I very much liked the beading detail.
If anyone had been with me I would have said " That's so easy to do ! ".

So I did it!
Later that week I was at Michaels and all things jewelry were 40% off and remembering the J Crew shirt I bought these beads.

Important to plan lay out and then try on the shirt because beads in awkward places are just embarrassing.

This is how I clustered the beads and then in the evenings watching Hulu I stitched those little beads on one by one.

My finished top looks pretty luxe. The tshirt is only a $12 tshirt from H&M but, I like it.

In fact I liked it so much I wore it to my Mom's birthday the morning after I finished it!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


On a beautiful sunny October afternoon I found myself in the vicinity of the amazing, well stocked and controversial store Piecemakers.
The emporium is located at 1720 Adams Ave in Costa Mesa, CA and I have visited dozens of times over the past 20 years.

The controversy is the frequent run-ins with government officials and inspectors over candy displays, events without permits, tree swings and more.
Who are these hoodlums?
Middle age ladies that live communally and answer to God, not anyone else.

So visiting the store is a real pleasure because there are not employees, just really nice ladies who really care and are completely into what they do.
And they do ALOT!
Half a dozen classrooms and everywhere you look there are zillions of supplies, displays and ideas for a huge array of handcrafts.
My only disappointment is they discontinued millinery supplies about 10 years ago :(
But the ribbons, trims and buttons almost make up for it.

 It is difficult to fully describe the variety and sheer volume of the inventory.
And since there is a small restaurant inside there are always delicious smells of fresh baked goodies and homemade soups. On the afternoon I stopped by a man was singing and playing his accordion in the dining area.

Piecemakers is such a feel good place that fires up your imagination and can feed your body and soul.
It is just an uplifting experience.

And obviously I am not alone in this sentiment since Piecemakers total operations ( other sources of income in addition to the store ) are about $3 million a year.
That 's a whole lot of happiness!

Here's how I contributed to Piecemakers profits; vintage buttons, velvets, ribbons, trim and the perfect turning 50 card for a friend.
The ladies say God tells them what to do and I for one am glad they listen.