Monday, January 13, 2014
Last summer I fell in love with a fabric I found while on a trip to Fabricland, and I sat down at the store's pattern book tables with the bolt across my lap and searched for a suitable pattern. I am normally a Vogue Pattern devotee and use them 90% of the time, but sometimes for more casual outfits one of the other brands is a better choice. I liked this pattern, Simplicity 2174, which looked like it would be cool and comfortable for summer days while still being suitable for nearly anywhere I am likely to go: a publishing office, the mall, lunch with a friend. Also: pockets! Those are a rare thing in a woman's dress. I see quite a few other women have made the dress and posted pictures of themselves wearing it to the internet.
The resulting dress. I didn't modify this pattern at all. If I remember correctly, this fabric is a cotton with 2% spandex, and it has a lovely crisp texture as well as an attractive print in brown, turquoise and green. I am taller than this dressmaker form (my shoulders sit a good four or five inches higher) so the dress is the same length on me as it is on the model (rather than ankle-length as it would be on the form, if the form had ankles).
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
In late 2006, I bought a three bedroom semi-detached house in Toronto's west end. Swan's End (yes, I named a three bedroom semi, bite me), which was built in 1912, didn't exactly have much curb appeal at the time. I actually have a couple of reasons to believe it had been a crack house. But it had good bones and a lot of potential, and I've been gradually fixing it up since then. I've tried to give it a period-appropriate feel by using an Art Nouveau-like decorating theme. These are the before and after sets of my guest room renovation. I'll be posting more before and after renovation photo sets to this blog as time goes on.
This is the guest room as it looked shortly after I moved in, with a collection of some of the junky furniture the former owner left behind in the house. You can just see the ceiling fan that was in this room and that must have dated back to the room's former life as a kitchen. Can't say I cared for the ugly if sturdy shelf on the wall.
I have no idea what possessed some long-ago owner to paint this nice, solid wood set that butt-ugly mustard yellow. My best guess is that it was during the seventies and that there was pot involved.
I had a gasfitter come to the house and cut off and cap the gas pipes before I hired the floorers. I did toy with the idea of putting a gas fireplace in this room, since the gas was already here. It would have been such a nice feature. However, I ended up deciding it was too expensive to be worthwhile, and as it turned out, there wouldn't have been room for it.
I did have to buy brand new mirrors. I looked into having the old ones restored, but was told it just wasn't worth it, that the old ones wouldn't look good even after expensive restoration, and that I could buy these new mirrors with 1" bevelled edges like the old, for less than the cost of restoring the old ones.
This vanity table, chair and chest of drawers were the only pieces of furniture I ever paint stripped, and they will be the last. Stripping paint is a wretched, filthy business and one I'm going to avoid like the plague from now on. I don't mind the refinishing and upholstery part of the job, but in future either I'll take a piece to a "strip and dip" place and pay to have the paint removed, or I'll just put a fresh coat of paint on it.