Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Making a Groovy Kind of Shirt

 I love sewing and I had this length of fabric in the stash cupboard.
I wanted to make my son Max a shirt but I didn't have a pattern.  I took one of his shirts that fit him comfortably, checked YouTube and got the basics of making a tissue paper pattern.  
You just  lay out the shirt you already have on tissue paper on a pinable surface, carefully isolating each section of the shirt.. the sleeves, cuff, yoke, front, back and facings on tissue paper...then use pins to map it out around the seams... then draw along the dots around the whole shape... pay attention to the straight of the grain...  add seam allowances (5/8") and voila you have a pattern.  Well it wasn't quite as fast as "Voila" but just stay with it and you will get a pattern. and once you have it you can make as many shirts as you want from it.  I made two ... here's the first one.. the groovy one.
 I forgot to take a picture of the actual process of making the paper pattern but here are the pieces pinned onto the fabric and cut out.

Here the pieces are turned over...  
Max and I thought it would be cool to combine several colors and patterns in the same shirt... so why not have a little fun. The fabrics were quite fine and slippery, so the shirt will be very lightweight. The red and black print was a remnant from the fabric store. The black print is recycled fabric...  so is the gray print used in the cuffs. 

This is a 1977 Kenmore Convertible Freearm, model 158.19471, all mechanical,  that I recently brought home (second hand... super good deal or I wouldn't have got it)...and  after oiling and lint removing, it works amazingly.   I highly recommend this model.
 I wish I aged this well since 1977!

***I will do a post soon on my vintage sewing machine collection that sort of just happened over the last year. It's a long story... but I will post pictures of all the "girls" one of these days soon. Old sewing machines are the best!

 This is the inside of the back, which was cut on the fold. It is a fitted shirt so there are two darts in the back to give it shape, kind of hard to see for the busyness of the pattern. 
We made the yoke of the black print fabric on the inside...

 and the same color fabric on the outside of the yoke. I love lined yokes and they finish a shirt well and make the shoulder stronger.... and since the whole shirt is hanging from the shoulder, you want it strong.
 That is the collar at the top of the picture.

 I like clothing that is finished on the inside as cleanly as it is on the outside so I made Flat Fell Seams on all the seams.  It makes sewing clothing by hand that much more worthwhile.  I LOVE flat-fell seams.  They take a little longer to do but you will never regret the durability, strength and feel they add to a garment.... and they look nice.
 The above pic is a close up of top stitching the back/yoke seam. If the shirt was on inside-out you would never know except for the buttons.

 Here it is finished with the buttonholes and buttons.

Here is Max giving it a model.   It fit great and he really liked it.

 Since this shirt turned out, we found another length of fabric and cut out another one.

This time the contrasting color will just be on the inside.
This time I made the front button facing in a contrasting color and so a glimpse of it is seen when the collar folds down.
The fabric has a sheen so it was difficult to get the same lighting in each shot when I took the pictures.  I'm marking for the buttonholes in the bottom right pic.
 The upper left shot is the cut made for the sleeve placket.. then the finished sleeve with attached cuff. The machine does pretty good buttonholes. I was pleased with it.  There is a button on the placket of the sleeve too.
 Doing the buttonholes always makes me nervous as they run right up the front of the garment and if I wreck this last feature I have wrecked the whole shirt, so I always go carefully and slowly on this.. and sew with my fingers crossed and my teeth clenched a bit.
...using tailors chalk to mark the Buttonholes... it wipes right off with no staining.
All Done. I like it.

and incidentally, the second shirt went much quicker.  I started it one afternoon and finished it the next... so it doesn't take long to sew a shirt.

I am going to look for more fabric in the cupboard... John needs a couple shirts too.

***Note:  Flat-Fell Seams  (as it would take a while to describe a flat fell seam I have linked to this bloggers step by step... great pics of the method).
Thanks for visiting!

Gwen Buchanan at Desideratum Art Studio in St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Putting in a Real Cellar Window ..at the new old Homestead

Part 3
 In the beginning... that is what the window hole looked like.
Kind of scary.

 Everything including old rags, dirt and rotten wood were haphazardly stuffed into the window opening.. It was awful.

 That is the sad excuse for a window just to the lower right of the broken patio door that's sitting on the rotten sill beam. In the last update John was  replacing that sill beam.. well after further inspection he deemed it necessary to replace the entire sill beam across the whole front of the house. a lot of work and time.... and that is all done now.
This picture only shows the first section on the replaced beam.... and that is the window there. it was 4 narrow pieces of wood hammered into a frame affair with a piece of old plastic nailed to it. It was barely sitting in the opening.

 Underneath it was this stack of bricks just sitting beside each other with some sand on them.. the mortar had long ago dissolved  with the outside water running into it and then onto the cellar floor.
John removed them but he saved and cleaned them, just incase he needed them.

Here he is beginning to re-mortar the stone wall. This side faces full south and it was scorching hot working there.

 We found this old discarded porcelain sink in the woods... it had seen better days but it served the purpose to mix mortar in.
For remortaring stones, you use quite a dry mix and pack it in... that is, after all the loose mortar, debris and any loose stones are removed. The stones are saved and placed back in their spots.

After solidifying the stones with extra mortar he started arranging the fit for the new window.
He never did stone mortaring before but he used his experience in related projects... and YouTube of course... to pull together info to get going...  and once you get going you see for yourself how it all works.  Hands-on really makes one understand a subject.

The stone walls were still pretty solid but they really needed some mortar touch-ups.

The mortar is still wet here, the color tones down when it dries... or maybe because it gets splashed with mud during the rainstorms... 
 a window well filled with lots of gravel for drainage will be installed as the ground in front of the window is below grade.

 There were a lot of showers during the whole process so John made up a tent to keep his work dry as he went along.
More siding had to be removed when he replaced the remaining sill beams and all the bottom plates sitting on it, and where the moisture and rot had migrated up the bottom of the wall studs.
The more he ripped apart, the more nastiness he discovered, but we are both glad he found it, cut out the old wood and took the time and energy to figure out and rebuild it.  It ate up much more time than he/we wished but it is all for the good... and our peace of mind.

 Yay!! an actual real glass insulated operating window!!

 One more thing checked off the list.... only about a million to go.
A new patio door will be going into that large opening..

 We keep assuring ourselves that someday this project will be done...
 but seems the more that we get done, the more there seems that we still need to do.  
But we are going forward... yes, progress has been made.
Gwen and John at Desideratum at The new Old Homestead Project.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wild Grapes at the new Old Homestead

 Wild Grape Vines are found in the warmer parts of New Brunswick, along riverbanks, along hedgerows and forestland.

These vines are growing up an old white Lilac.

 The vines climb up many of the trees that grow along the property boundaries. They are reaching for the sun.

 Thought I would take a stem  to examine a little closer.

 Cluster of the flower before it opens waiting to be pollinated..... unfortunately, I was not at the old homestead during the open flowering stage to get a picture. This was taken in June. 

 Love the delicate tendrils and the finely toothed edges of the leaves.

I ate a leaf, as I read they were edible... it tasted just like a tangy grape... very much so and it was good.
So much so that I had to get John to sample one and he agreed.
There is wild food growing all around us.
We (North Americans) become so used to going to supermarkets and thinking that is the only safe food.. silly...  I want to do more foraging.
Courses in edible wild foods should be taught in schools to make people aware of their fruitful surroundings... that would also make them more environmentally aware and protective of the planet.

 Grapes as they were forming in late July... really growing. The leaves had grown to hand size.
 Some of these vines are very tall... maybe 50'... hard to tell the exact length of them as they wander and climb over and across and up and through and on and on....  They make a nice shady place underneath on a hot summer day too.

  This old Ash tree had a large limb break during the July Hurricane. We didn't know at the time that it was loaded with grape vines but when I was photographing this Hairy Woodpecker, who paid no attention to me, by the way, I discovered that it was loaded with grapes.... see them up there silhouetted in the leaves... too high up for me to gather but I'm sure they will make much appreciated food for the birds in the fall.
Obviously this Ash tree was dying (prob. from the dreaded Emerald Ash Borer that is wrecking havoc on the survival of this species) for a while by the way the woodpecker was enjoying himself.  Everything in Nature has a part to play... we will leave the large broken branch there as long as there is no safety hazard ... but not a worry as there would be no damage in that spot if it did eventually fall.
Until then it makes a great screen between us and a neighbouring property. They prob. appreciate it as much as we do.

Wild Grapes... free for the gathering.  At the moment each grape is between 3/8" - 1/2" across.
I'm excited to see how they develop... if they get bigger... if  they turn purple... when to pick them, before or after a frost...
This is exciting to me as I have never had a place where grapes grew before.  I tried growing some a couple of times in the past in St Martins but the vines withered and died... probably never helped that, the spot I chose was the place the dogs decided they liked to sleep... this new old property in a different area of the province with a different climate suits them very well.

I have read that wild Grapes are quite tart to eat fresh but make great jelly, juice and wine.
I'll see if I am able to get some before the wildlife.  I'm looking forward to it.  A nice surprise to find at the new Old Homestead.

Found this info:  on Vitis riparia
and this:  on edible wild food, Riverbank Grape

Gwen Buchanan for Desideratum, at the Old Homestead, New Brunswick,Canada

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Cat # 6

"Black Cat"
An older "Tom",   going into one of those trance like stares that almost puts them to sleep.

The black cat has had much written about it over time and is connected with much superstition and symbolism. 
Bad Luck...  satanism...witches... sorcery... evil incarnate... a coat the color of mourning...   History reports black cats were mercilessly put to death just for the color of their coat and its associations.  Superstition is silly isn't it. Just things we make up, convince ourselves about and decide to believe. Silly Humans, and we think we are so smart.
I have even read black cats were unfortunately referred to, as "the rabbit of the poor" and you know what that means.
Yet they survive, proud and beautiful, their coats shimmering in the sunlight... and the moonlight.
 Sleek and still with an air of beauty and mystery.
 Long live the black cat!

...approx. 4" x 6", charcoal, conte, chalk on heavy brown paper...
 I love how these mediums grab and react on brown paper.
... sinking into minute portions of it while other particles remain lying on top.

Other Cats in the series:

Gwen Buchanan at Desideratum Art and Jewelry Studio,  New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, 11 July 2014

End of Day

 The wood shed is full to the brim...  That was long, hot work ... so glad it is all under cover air-drying for winter.  makes you feel taken care of... a person does not have to use wood for winter heat here, there are lots of alternatives, and several are installed in our house...
  As a matter of fact when we built our house we put in a wood stove just to have as back up in case of emergencies but we ended up liking it so much that is what we use as our main heat source all winter... along with the sun..

Dusk ... from St. Martins, New Brunswick looking over the Bay of Fundy towards the coast of Nova Scotia.. 24-30 miles
 out my studio window... just finished work for the day...I believe it was about 8:30 pm.  
I am never disappointed by the cloud show

Close up of the Copper and Sterling Silver "Scarabs" ....
.... sold out of this design, just sent them off to a new home.

 The Siberian Iris.... they are done blooming now but they did give a gorgeous show earlier in the year.

 There are at least a pair of Northern Mockingbirds nesting around the gardens... The repertoire of songs that these birds sing amazes me..
 I think they know every song there ever was... they are always performing in the tops of the tallest trees..
 ...morning, noon and night and all day in between.   I love it.

 We have another door on the end of the woodshed too ... makes it easier to fill.
...the slots in between the boards let lots of heat and air blow through and allows the moisture from the wood to escape.

Pretty isn't it?... beautiful to look at, really.  It will be almost a shame to burn it.
Maple and some Birch.

What can I say about that Nature out there....  makes a body feel fine....

I didn't write about the post-tropical storm Arthur ... I am trying to forget him.

Desideratum Art and Jewelry Studio, St. Martins, New Brunswick, Canada