Sunday, January 5, 2014


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Vintage Gams © 2014

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas decor a la Oak Crest Manor

Christmas 2013.
Not as elaborate as in years past but a simple decorating plan this year.
I did a quick tour of the dining room for my family and friends. 
Below are a few still photos but if you'd like to see the video, you can find it here.
I hope you enjoy it!
Merry Christmas Everyone!












Vintage Gams © 2013

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Opera Bag - Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #7 - Accessorize

For those of you unfamiliar with the Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge, let me fill you in.  Leimomi Oakes, of The Dreamstress blog, has come up with a marvelous idea to challenge the seamstress in all of us by issuing a different challenge each fortnight for one year! 
For myself, it's challenge enough to finish anything in two weeks because I am usually working on so many different projects at one time.  However, this challenge has really engaged my interest and I am happy to report that I've finished my first project, challenge #7 - Accessorize.  
I started into the challenges a bit late in the year because of other obligations and one very amazing overseas travel adventure in February and March.  The Accessorize challenge came at a perfect time for me as I'd been wanting to make myself a Late Victorian inspired opera purse. It had to be a structured purse with a separate compartment for my opera glasses.  Challenge #7 ends on April 8 and the opera will be performing on April 12th in our small city.  So, without further ado, I present my opera purse for your perusal and enjoyment.
Beginning

Wrapping and shaping wire

adding cardboard inside of wire bottom
stitching buckram onto bottom
Adding buckram and boning sides
Wrapped wire around the top 
forming the dome lid & covering with buckram
Velvet has been stitched in place over buckram exterior and satin lining, with partition is in place.
Stitching on some trimmings
Lid is in place with satin "hinge"
Back of opera bag
Front of opera bag
Opera glasses in place!








Vintage Gams © 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Windowsill Garden

Every February, I long for the Winter to be over so that I can, once again, plant my garden and flowers.    Alas, the ground is still frozen, and the temps too cold to even begin my seed starting ritual.  It will be many weeks before our last projected frost date. (April 11-20)  So what am I to do?
Fortunately, I brought in several plants last Fall and have been nurturing them on my dining room windowsill.  I even planted some nasturtiums and guess what! They've begun to bloom.  A little spindly... yes. But, still a bright spot that tells me Spring is soon to be here!
I hope they bring a little bit of joy into your own soul today.




If you look closely, you'll see that the Jade plant is blooming!


Vintage Gams © 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

A sweater turned legwarmer story


"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home."  
-  Edith Sitwell  



It's also the time for a warm woolen sweater!  


I once had such a sweater. A lovely cashmere and angora blend that I'd picked up at a thrift store for next to nothing.  It felt luxurious and soft... Sigh!
Perhaps, "had" is not the right word.  I still have it. Although, now, it isn't quite what one thinks of when hearing the word sweater.  
You see, my husband was trying to help me with the laundry one day and...  well, you can probably guess the rest. 
Wool sweater + hot dryer = one really shrunken  sweater.

 Now, I've been told that if you purposely toss a wet woolen sweater into a hot dryer, and wait for it to become child sized, it's call "felting".  
(However, if you accidentally do the same thing, it's called a lot of other things... most of which I couldn't possibly put into print here!)
"Felting" shrinks the wool in a way that makes it so tightly woven together that it will no longer unravel when cut.  

After learning about felting , and being the "one-part-thrifty-packrat" and "one-part-recycler" that I am, I just couldn't bear to throw the sweater away. 
There had to be something I could make from it.  
And, last week, after listening to my husband complain about his cold ankles, and being pretty chilly myself, I figured out what that "something" was.  
Legwarmers!



Here's how I did it.

First, I carefully cut the stitching between the sleeves and the body of the sweater. Then, I stay stitched 1/2" away from the top of the sleeve all the way around.
I ended up with two pieces that looked like this.




Next, I fixed my embroidery hoop into the top of the sleeve and began to stitch. I already had an idea for a design in my head and this is how it looked part way through the first sleeve/legwarmer.




After I'd gotten the first sleeve embroidered, I needed to transfer some markings to the second sleeve so that the two designs would match in size.  I laid the finished embroidered sleeve directly on top of the second unfinished sleeve and took a threaded needle and made tailors tacks through both layers, marking the ends and top of the embroidered design.   Then I just pulled the top layer off from the threads and left the thread markings on the second sleeve.




After embroidering the second sleeve, I had two that looked like this. 
Not exact, but close enough.




Since wool of any kind can make skin irritated, I lined my legwarmers with a stretch cotton T-shirt fabric for comfort. After lining them, I stitched around the top to make a casing and with a very large blunt needle, threaded pink ribbon through the casing. The ribbon will allow me to tighten the legwarmers so that they don't slip down below my knee when wearing them.
Turning under the excess lining fabric, pinning and then slip stitching in place around the lower cuff gives a nice finished edge.












My new legwarmers!





Hmm....   There's still plenty of fabric left in the body of the sweater.  
Perhaps, I'll make my husband a nice pair of ankle warmers too!


















Vintage Gams © 2013