Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wish List #2

Sewing Patterns I am lusting over

Simplicity 2172

Simplicity 2207

Wishlist - #1

I know it's post Christmas and all, but these beauties caught my eye whilst strolling the University Bookstore.
First up is The Brinkley Sisters, a collection of magazine illustrations done by the Brinkley sisters from 1913 through 1940.
These charming illustrations chronicle the image of a fashionable woman, going from blonde, to brunette, to raven haired over the decades.  Nursing soldiers back to health during World War 1, she then sips champagne and cuts a rug in the 20's.  Great for costume inspiration.

Next is The World of Downton Abbey, which is not, as the name implies, about an Abbey, btu rather about a family on the brink of World War 1 in England.  Deliciously costumed, this book explores the characters (what they wear!), and the world of this well to do family.  Charmingly reminicent of Upstairs, Downstairs, this series also tags along in the lives of some of the servants.

Great book, lovely series.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Things Lost or Broken - Installment the first.

   In this episode of Things Lost or Broken this week, we met up with student, Anna Curtiss to chat about the things lost or broken in her life.  Earlier this week the young costume designer's wallet was misplaced on a bus.  When she discovered the loss, Curtiss wasn't about to run four blocks to catch up with the bus.  "So far nothing has turned up.  The day before Christmas Eve is a fantastic time to be running about trying to replace cards," said Curtiss sarcastically.
   Despite troubling occurances left and right, Curtiss is determined to maintain a positive attitude.  "I could easily look at these experiences and wonder when the next bad thing could happen, or I could greet them as an oppourtunity in disguise.  I was ready for change but didn't realise it."
Yesterday Curtiss' laptop screen ceased to work for no apparent reason.  She knew the computer was on, but not responsive to her verbal plea's for it to function.  Taking it to a nearby service center revealed that the LED screen had simply given up the goat.
   To top things off, Curtiss had planned on spending the day working on a few new shirts and patching some clothes.  Just as she was ready to start sewing, her machine decided it needed to skip every three or four stitches and simply not function.  "I seriously considered the notion that perhaps it is my proximity to these things that is causing these malfunctions," giggled Curtiss during our interview.  "I'm flabbergasted at all this mishap!"
Curtiss is turning to simple chores, and crafts that don't require the use of either her laptop or her sewing machine.  Knitting, for example, has turned out to be very soothing.  She is also in the process of refurbishing a quilt.  "All my laundry is done, and there are patterns cut out for when the sewing machine decides to work again," Curtiss chuckled.  "I am going to see about having that repaired as well."
   What can be taken away from all these events, we asked Curtiss, "Oh, that you should always speak nicely to your inanimate objects!  You never know when your laptop conspired with your sewing machine."

Miss A. Information - Daily News, Seattle

I would be posting a tutorial, and chatting about Christmas, but the images are trapped on the invalid computer, so bear with me for a time. 
xoxoxo Anna

Thursday, December 15, 2011

On Mothers and Babies...a wee soap box rant.

Start here:
Children and Breastfeeding

Target Harasses Nursing Mother

Recently these articles have shown up in my Facebook feed and I can't help but grow incensed at the ignorance and rudeness with which American mothers are treated with when nursing in public.  What is so wrong about a woman baring her bosom to feed her baby?  It's normal.  Maybe that is where things went wrong in the first place, though.  America no longer perceives this action as normal.  They see it along the same lines as a stripper flashing a patron, that it is the same vulgar, disgusting act.  Breastfeeding in public couldn't be anything further from a stripper if it tried.  That's what breasts are for!  Feeding babies!

I think not enough parents are open with their children in teaching them these things.  I think that is where the problem lies.  Now in the case of the Target store, that's a really idiotic company policy and I don't think I'll ever shop there again, much less take my future children there.  That is utterly ridiculous.  I can't help but smile when I encounter a mother nursing her wee one in public.  It is so precious, so beautiful.  I admit that I'm never quite sure what to say, so I allow my smile to suffice.

I fully intend to carry my wee ones in a sling, to kiss them and sing to them and teach them the ways of this wonderful crazy world.  And I fully intend to breastfeed in public until the world gets over itself.  Or emigrate to Europe where more of the sensible people live.  Alright friends, someone help me off this soap box...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The end, the end!

Final week of Final exams, projects, and classes!  Can't wait to greet Friday with open arms.  Also, I'm kind of ridiculously pleased with how the above project turned out.  Scene painting is so awesome!

Sunday, December 4, 2011


  I get anxious about many things.  This happens easily and often very quickly, until it escalates into me freaking out about nothing and dear Nate rationalizing me back into being calm.  Not that I am terribly anxious about it, but Nate's company Christmas party is next Friday and I feel as if I have nothing to wear.  That, of course, isn't true.  I have plenty, oodles, to choose from.  What I want to wear is something chic and fashionable.  What I have to wear makes me feel a little bit like Maria from Sound of Music, going to a ball in a dress you whipped up an hour ago from a perfectly aged bedsheet.  It's probably the softest thing in the world, but I still feel like everyone is judging me, like they would be able to know it's a  bedsheet.  
Now this is what I picture in my head: something adorable and totally vintage ( found here ).  That's really chic right now.
And completely out of my price range.  So, it's off to the basket of UFO's (Unfinished Objects for you out of towners) to piece together something that will be adorable, and it will be so very me.  I just have to feel odd about it first.  Mind you, this sort of worry over how people perceive me no longer happens at college or at my workplace.  Just in places where I am new and people don't know me, or I am unsure if they will accept me for who I am.  The eccentric costumer fiancee of a respectable accountant.  This entire ramble is just for me to pull up my garters and accept who I am.  The eccentric costumer.  I dress beautifully, fashionably, and it's either thrifted, vintage, or handmade from thrifted vintage linens.  So HA!  Take that insecurity!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beautiful Moment

we talked about what we wanted as parents.  we defined what 'socially awkward' and 'socialized' meant for each of us.  we talked about where we want to be financially, emotionally, physically when we make the choice to become parents.  we talked about the terrible decisions that can be inherent to parenting and the decision to have children.
he played his game and I cried.  they were the happiest of tears.
i feel like such a grown-up that  might need to play in some mud.  i am glad for that talk and i welcome the future conversations that go with it.

i am comforted to know i have an ally.
i have a partner.  a best friend.  he is my lover, my equal, and my greatest joy.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Be Still, for a Moment.

I am bundled today for the first time is what feels like a long time.  Outside the wind whips the trees into a frenzy, sending leaves into a dying dance of flaming colour.  I wish I had checked the weather today.  I would have brought my winter coat, or at least worn a better sweater.  The seasons have been so odd the last few years that my childhood instincts are all wonky.  I can't predict the seasons like I used to.  I can still tell you if it is going to rain, or if there is a chance of snow.  My mind drifts to thoughts of childhood. Sitting before the crackling fire watching the pine logs slowly succumb to the hunger of the flames.  Running fingers along the perfectly shabby oriental rug, loving the richness of the red, counting the colours, tracing pattern.  The cat would be curled into a perfect little ottoman, tucked as close as he could press himself against the screen that kept back some of the sparks.  Sipping real cocoa made on the stove, from little mugs with dancing Peter Rabbit on them.  The sounds of my brothers playing, the house creaking happily as it kept us al snug and warm.

I miss that snugness, the cozy home feeling of my youth.  Adulthood has carried me far into the grey city.  Full of imposing and harsh concrete, howling sirens and blaring horns.  I miss the silence, the songs of the forest, and the ocean.  My heart longs to settle there eventually.  For now I am content to be where I am, sipping slowly the promise of the future with all of its lovely adventures.

So I knit a little, passing wooly yarn through my fingers, imbuing each and every stitch with a little but of myself, with a lot of love.  I am drinking greedily this small lull in my hectic day, savoring the imagery for when I am stuck in a dark theatre with strained people working to make a play come to life.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


after a momentary flurry of tears (mine) over homework, there were snuggles, and breakfast baking (him).  perfect sunday.

Inspired by habit blog

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I am being quite naughty, but since I am falling asleep in rehearsal it is the lesser of evils.  So I am longing for time so sew.  I am longing for time to fuss up my version of this magnificent gown.  

I happened upon a black and white striped sheet at the Goodwill bins.  I am a sucker for stripes and remembered this later from my Tumblr feed.  

Vaguely piratical with a touch of Mrs. Lovett singing by the sea.  I have a shorter, steampunk version in mind and can't wait for Winter Break when I will have some time to sew!  Sew!  Sew!  Until then, I sit and imagine the lovelyness that will tumble out of my sewing machine.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sketchy Doodles

Since I go to art school and all, I figured I should start scanning a lot of my stuff and posting it.  Studio is partially a sketch class so we can work up our hand and find out illustration style.  I migrated towards the art of Trina Schart Hyman who was a prominent illustrator in the 1980's.  She mainly did watercolour work, but it's her delicate pencil line quality that gets me every time.
Also, I'm going to try and keep up with "What I Wore" doodles since it's good practice.  So the last image is what I'm wearing today!  Though I am rather more awake now that the coffee is thrumming in my veins! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Evenings with Jane Austen

School is going well over all.  I have three days where I can go home for a bit before heading back to rehearsal for Pride and Prejudice.  I feel like I am learning a lot in how to work with other people, particularly in a design position.  I am in a class called Studio.  In it we design a hypothetical play just so we have some experience with the process before graduating.  It's been interesting to learn how to express the ideas I see in my head on to paper in the form of drawings, or to find imagery that evokes the particular feeling.

The majority of my time in spent in dear Raisbeck Performance Hall with the dear cast and crew of P&P. I am ASM for this show and enjoying the experience, even if I wish I had more time for homework.  One cannot really read while trying to take down accurate blocking!

Mostly I am exhausted, but oddly chipper about the whole thing.  I look forward to P&P being open so I can have evenings back with the Mister.  Until then, it's off to Regency fashion, and proper etiquette!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Chevron Dress - Part 1

 I'm sure you all remember me talking about making new dresses, right?  Okay, good.  This is the Chevron dress, not quite the right name for it yet, but I'm working on that.  It came about from the delighted discovery of two curtains (I do love curtains) at Goodwill for around $3 each.They were reds, purple, and yellows in bold cavalier stripes and it was love at first sight.  Initially I envisioned them as a steampunk ensemble, however I am madly in love with what they are becoming.  I used the same pattern for this, Vogue 8286 (circa 1992), as I have been playing with lately with my other dresses.  None of which are done yet!  Ugh.

Anyway, I fussed with this one for a long time in my head.  At first it was a vertically striped ensemble with a gathered skirt (I do love some fluff!) and then, in a stroke of epiphany, I came up with chevrons! Just for the bodice, perhaps?  Skirt?  Both?  The possibilities were boggling.  I just went at it, 'never mind the maneuvers' as was said of Lord Nelson.  Sometimes you must needs dive in with guns blazing in order to put aside your fears of something new, of mistakes.  I was so afraid of making a mistake with this fabric that it was holding me up from actually playing with it.  I believe this is a common fear among stitchers for we treasure our fabric so.

What came together amidst a flurry of newspaper patterns and straight pins was a mind boggling confection.  And I must say, I am terribly pleased with it so far.

Quite by accident, the skirt "Vees" away from the body and towards the bodice, creating an "x" at the waistline.

Delicate purple pocket lining!

Jaunty yellow zipper!

And, voila!  The (almost) finished product.  It is languishing with the demands of school-work and reading for Theatre History, but I have since fixed my dress form and popped the Chevron confection on Ophelia to tempt me while I read.  The last thing I am fussing with are sleeves.  I would very much like short, set in sleeves with black turned-up accent along the hem.  So far I have made eight versions of sleeves and gained no insight.  I took the pile in to my Costume Design professor and asked his advice.  Apparently the hole for your arm (the armseye) must be as close to the actual joint as possible in order to achieve the greatest range of motion for the limb.  Rather counter-intuitive for me, but once I played with pattern pieces, made more sense.  A closer sleeve will pull less of the bodice fabric away from the center back seam (one of my problems) and allow the armseye seam/sleeve to do most of the moving.  Huzzah!  
Right now this dear little dress has a muslin sleeve waiting patiently for me to fix it.  Then hem it up, pop some yummy black lace along the bottom for added interest and wear until dead! Heehee.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wedding Fodder...

or..."The Dress, The Hair, The Ring, and The Man"

Old friends ask me, "When are you getting married?"  It's become so old hat to reply, "When I'm done with school." that I don't really think about something two years+ away.  Until I found these pictures, courtesy of Tumblr, and began dreaming.

The ring is a family heirloom from his side.  It was custom designed by Great grandfather and has been handed down from father to son for four generations now.  When the couple reaches their 25th wedding anniversary the ring is tucked away (in the original box!), to await the romance of the next generation, and a new ring procured.  I'm thinking something gothy?  Steampunk?  Or just plain lovely.

My grand scheme is to make my dress, probably as a senior project for school, and go from there.  I have struggled with what silhouette I want and then I found this fun purple (made from a tent!) frock.
I love the neckline, not terribly keen on the sleeves, but that's okay.  I also adore the button sash.  I'm such a sucker for button details...

Then I stumbled on this photograph and fell madly in love with the hair idea.  By the time I actually get hitched my hair is going to be so long.  I'm thinking peonies, or something equally sumptuous.  Or just a crown of autumn leaves.  We are getting married in October after all. 

Oh, yes, the most important part.  My honey-bunny.  Couldn't do this without him!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Status Quo

Well, Cornish is back in action and despite it only being three days back, it feels like a whole week or so.  I am enjoying the majority of my classes as most of them require me to perform duties directly related to my intended major!  Such fun.  Studio is one of these.  In Studio we design a hypothetical play from reading it and gaining first impressions to sketching up designs for lights, costumes, and sets.  We basically do every aspect of production except the actual physical building.  It's a way for us as young designers to hone our skills, have a little practice at working together as a team, and to test our talents.

I'm also taking a lighting class, a Theatre History class, 3D design, and Scenic Painting (which is awesomely messy) on top of being the ASM for the school's production of Pride and Prejudice.  All in all very satisfying and very busy.

So I leave you with this lovely dress.  Alas, I have misplaced the show this was from, but it's made from a tent and I'm in love with the neckline silhouette as a possibility for my wedding dress.

More later!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

A ramble through Anna's brain...

Steampunk University is tomorrow and as you can see, I'm all set!  Since Nate is off to PAX (Penny Arcade for you out-of-towners) and my play ends tonight, I needed something to top off my weekend sans hubby.  
I was going to ramble on about quilts or new dressers or new projects but for some odd reason my computer won't upload new pictures the day of upload.  It's like it can't see them at all.  When I open the photo viewer they are there, safe and sound, but should I desire to put them on the interwebs for you fine people, something some where throws a hissy fit and denies me out of spite.
Tonight I take pictures of the costumes I put together for Bertie and I hope some of them turn out nicely. I need them for a portfolio I put together at the end of the year so I am rather excited.

In other news I sliced open my poor little ring finger.  You can almost make out the bandage (left hand). I was cutting up some bread for lunch and despite all my training in how to use knives or perhaps it got stuck, the knife slipped and sliced a small gouge into my poor little finger.  It's fine, just a cut.  Yes I have been keeping it hyper clean, no I'm not going to get one insignificant stitch.  It'll heal and I will have another kitchen battle scar to prove my culinary worth.  

So it's on to sipping coffee today and some sewing, oh and movies!  Netflix brought me goodies yesterday.  Wall-E, Gaslight, and Showgirls.  I know, odd collection but would you expect anything less from me?  No, you shouldn't.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Homeschool...

I read a lot of blogs each day, and a good portion of them are what I have affectionately named "Mama Blogs"  Women who write passionately about family, homeschool, and being a parent among other things. One such is Miss James, (BLEUBIRD - Homeschooling) a lovely mama of three rascals who has recently made the choice (along with her older two) to begin homeschooling.  Some ignorant person made comments on her blog that raised my ire and I wanted to write a post about my experience as a homeschooled child.

While there were parts that could have been improved, my experience was fabulous overall.  My dad began homeschooling me somewhere in the neighborhood of 5th grade, so what?  1990 something?  I had started out in the public school system and had done okay for a while until I began needing more help with mathematics, etc.  My parents told me later that I would periodically burst into tears at dinner after a long day.  I was only in 2nd grade.  I'm not a stupid person, I just needed a helper to show me the way.  Once I had a grasp of that I was fine to continue on my own until I had a question.  I just needed extra attention, something the public school cannot provide as readily as homeschooling.  For 3rd grade, my parents ordered curriculum and we gave it a try.  Perhaps the most boring drivel I have ever forayed into.  It was like having the rigor of public school at home and I bucked it, hard.  Frustrated but not dismayed, I went back to school for 4th grade and my dad wisely read everything he could find on the subject of homeschooling.  In 1996 there wasn't a whole lot, and not a lot of blogs to find practical help either.  But we made progress.  The concept of "unschooling" was introduced and we embraced it fully for 5th grade, and I never went back.

People hear I was homeschooled and the immediately conjure up an image of some Amish child sitting straight-backed by the fire reading the Bible or something.  The assume we are devoid of human contact, that  we have no friends or an understanding of how cable-tv educated society works.  I gently tell them they are wrong.  SOME families are like that.  NOT ALL OF THEM.  We were different.  Not only was the man of the household at home educating the children, but we were of the artistic bent and didn't stick to memorizing bible verses all day.  We went to the grocery store and learned how to purchase food, how to make decisions on what was least expensive.  We went to the bank, post office, we interacted with society on a level, I think, many of my peers learn after college.  We were polite, well spoken, intelligent, and respectful because not only had we been taught to do these things, but we had seen how we were treated when we acted in such a manner.  Many people marvelled at how well behaved the three of us kids were.  We quietly occupied ourselves at restaurants, office visits, etc.  We took "activity bags" with us that we ourselves packed so we could have a selection of things to play with.
It isn't something that is isolated.  Rather we were exposed to so much more, treated as little adults sometimes, and I believe, learned more than our peers.  Now we are a little odd to our peers, I'll grant you that, but if you met us today, I don't think you would find us anything other than normal, pleasant people.  We have our quirks, we're artists and that's just the way it is, but they're not unsociable quirks.

I would like to homeschool my children in the future.  I would like to give them experiences and opportunities they might not have had if they were put into an (arguably) broken system.  My fervent prayer is that I can be able to take the time to educate them myself and to nurture who they were born to be, allowing that spirit to have the freedom to manifest itself given time, love, and patience.

What are your thoughts?  What do you see homeschooling as?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wardrobe Quickie

Not that kind of quickie my dears! Heehee.  I am too sleepy to upload the new pictures from my camera just now so an outfit post will have to do.  I have been experimenting with my wardrobe, learning about basics and how to "mix and match" (for lack of a better term).  Clothing used to be something I threw on without thinking much beyond "is it clean?" and "what's the weather like?".  It was ungainly and rather awkward.  There were things I liked, I just didn't have the moxie to mix them together in a cohesive manner.  With guidance and encouragement from good friends, I am working to exhaust my wardrobe as well as add staples, mainly handmade dresses (they're ridiculously easy to toss on!) rather than purchase new items.
shirt : West Seattle St Faire
belt : absconded from a friend
skirt : exhilaration 
petticoat : salvaged from the side of the road
tights : Urban Outfitters

Deets: vintage owl necklace.  Probably used to have a swingy body, but I kind of like just using the head.

sweater : salvaged from theatre, by H&M
blouse : from Sonya
belt : absconded from Jocelyn
skirt : thrifted
shoes : by not rated, thrifted

lace top : thrifted and modded
skirt : made by and from Sonya
ballet flats : thrifted by H&M

I have been embracing skirt wearing now that I sneak boxer briefs under all of them in the summer and tights for the rest of the year.  Boxer Briefs are a woman's best friend!  Particularly when absconded from the darling boy (don't worry, they were a: clean, b: unused, and c: SUPER COMFY)
I have two petticoats that I wear under my skirts for added fluff without being overly Lolita, as well as being warmer for the colder months.  *ahem* Seattle's rainy season...Lol.
Anyway, there are a few things I have played with lately.  More to come. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Patterns for later...

At Sonya's wise encouragement, I picked up these sweet patterns during one of my many scourings.

These are some of my favourites.  So darling!

I love the little rompers/ bubble suits!  Pad those out with adorably ungainly little diapers, so cute.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Stitching up a Storm

I've been busy!  Not only stagemanaging two different shows (whew!) but sewing many new goodies.  First up is a dress.

This dress, to be precise.  Found at Value Village for the astonishingly low price of 69 cents!  I was in love.  Top it off with a yummy flannel sheet for $2.99 and I was set.  A dress for $3.69?  Can't beat that. It was several sizes too small in the bust as most everything is these days.  I'm still not quite at terms with that.  When did I end up with such a large bust?  I know when, I'm just not okay with it.  Going from a 36" to 41" is not okay in my book.  *sigh*  Anyway.  This pattern is cut out at a size 10, (36" bust) so I knocked out a muslin just to see how woefully smaller it was than me, and it really wasn't that bad.  An inch or two here and there and I was back on track.  

First off I played around with tracing the original pattern onto newspaper and adding a couple inches here and there when I realised it looked exactly like my Sloper project from Spring Semester.  A sloper is a basic body fitting garment that you draft from your measurements and can alter easily to suit other projects.  Out came Slopey and into the trash went the molested pattern.  A little tweaking and it was ready to go!
I cut out all my new pieces (revamped the skirt a bit too) and blithely proceeded to stitch it all together.  The skirt went like a docile sheep, pockets included, but the bodice was rather a troublesome creature.  Had I bothered to pause in my onslaught and use a ruler to measure things out, it would have been perfect the first time.  I am headstrong and don't do that sort of thing often enough.  It came out too big even after fussing the front darts into perfect place.  I'll dart it again, I thought, along the underarm.  After pinning that into place it didn't look right at all.  I let the concoction sit a few days until Sonya could come over.  She took one look at it and said, "Oh honey, you just need to take in the side seams."
I glanced at my dress form and mentally smacked my palm to my forehead.  That was exactly what I needed, and precisely one of the many reasons I adore working with Sonya.  

Miraculously, the waist and the lower edge of the bodice matched up without any major fussing.  That was another thing I forgot to measure.  A crucial place for fabric to be the same size!  
I also cut out a neck facing (a little bit of fabric to finish off the neckline and make it lie flat and nice) basted that down, and then hand stitched it into place.  It turned out quite nicely.  I haven't decided how to finish the arms yet.  If I want to bias bind them or fuss up a sleeve. 

So for now, it is sitting happily, and I have a new dress pattern that fits me.   It's also yummy flannel, did I mention that?  Soooo soft!

Up next is a shirt dress, because I don't have one and I enjoy how they look.  And a couple of blouses because I have oodles of tee shirts, but not any everyday blouses.

Yesterday I found this lovely.  I squealed and did a happy dance complete with clapping.  Why?  It's a lovely pattern and all, but why?  Because, my dears, it's not only in my size (AHHHHH!!!!!) but it's UNCUT.  That's right.  You heard me.  UNCUT.  I'm still kind of pinching myself.  Even though that's not the best part.  Guess how much it cost?
Yep.  $0.69 cents.
It retails at JoAnn's for something on the order of $16-$20.

Also, I need to do a post on the children's clothing patterns I am collecting.  No babies on the horizon for a while, but I can snap up cute patterns for them in the mean time.  Also, whoever Lily is, she had an awesome Grandma.  There were scores of patterns marked "Lily" from little girl up to a prom dress.  I'm sorry that Grandma probably passed away, but happy that Lily got to be so loved.

Sorry for the picture heavy post (well, not really) but I've been lacking in maintaining bloggy posting lately.  More on stitching later.  I've got a muslin to fuss over!

Love, Anna