Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween Heirs

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
The King and Queen have requested the presence of heirs to a Halloween Brunch
at the City Nest!Little Fairy is especially welcomed. As are her parents and Aunt and Uncle. The Menu:
Pumpkin French Toast
Devilled eggs with olive spiders
(served ala eyeballs)
Apple slices with cream cheese dipping sauce
And, of course, holiday cookies!
Once the food is served, the Royals invite their heirs to partake in games and merriment.
Stickers are handed out by the Little Fairy.
The Royals are pleased to present their Official Portrait of the day.
Happy Halloween to One and All!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway Finale "Fashion Week"

This is it...63 pieces of clothing or accessories and the challenge is OVER for me! Last week, the finalists were asked to come up with a 10 piece collection to show at Fashion Week. Tim Gunn visited each designer at his/her home to discuss the collection and the inspirations they had in designing these "looks."
As for my inspiration, it was a no-brainer. Of course, I HAD to design a wedding dress for Barbie and outfits for the entire wedding party. My dream as a young girl was to have a wedding dress for Barbie, but alas, all she ever wore was her striped black and white bathing suit. Plus, if I recall correctly, the wedding dress at that time cost a whopping $5.00. This amount was insurmountable for me, and no one else shared my enthusiasm for procuring an outfit for a
missile-breasted girl like Barbie in my household!
(Speaking of those two missiles, I am well aware of the issues surrounding her body image for young girls. I chose to treat her like a favorite toy, and leave her measurements out of the equation --- seriously, how could I ever have completed this Project Runway challenge with a doll such as Cabbage Patch or Polly Pocket?)

So here she is in her wedding finery. She did follow the traditional ritual of

Something Old,

Something New,

Something Borrowed,

Something Blue.

The old is the wedding dress fabric itself taken from a yellowed fabric lining remnant saved by a relative from her wedding in the 1950s.

The new is the dress itself.

The borrowed is the "tiara" piece on the veil which is part of a set of clip-on earrings that once belonged to my grandmother.

The blue is hidden away under her gown: panties. A true lady would never reveal these in a public place such as this blog.

Here's a close-up of the veil. The netting is from a remnant piece which was used to make Anne's wedding veil five years ago. This fit into my self-imposed rule of only using "stash" I had on hand here at home, clothing items found in thrift stores or anything from Dollar Tree.
Barbie's bouquet also fit into my rule. I found a small bundle of these ivory flowers at a thrift store for twenty five cents. When pulled apart, the flowers were enough in number to adorn the entire wedding party!
You might also notice the silver ribbon used to wrap all the flower stems was leftover from Anne and Jed's wedding invitations.
Next up: Ken. Malibu Vintage Ken. I had to buy him because I do not like the current Ken available in the stores - his hair looks like a very bad furry toupee to me. Underneath that jacket, a gray pleated cummerbund encircles Ken's waist. You might wish to note here that Ken is the sole male in this wedding party. That's fine by me: a tuxedo is a pain to sew when the fabric is so slippery. The bowtie in gray was fussy to sew as well.
And now we come to the other femme fatale in this wedding party: The Mother. Ken's mother or Barbie's Mother is up to you; she's a force to reckon with. I bought this Barbie at Tuesday Morning for a good price - she is a "Collector's Edition" from 1969. I love her dimensional eyelashes, her bobbed hair and her painted fingernails!
Her dress was made from a thrift store top, bangles included on the hem of the top. The silver shoes were spray painted.
For Mother, I made a wristlet corsage. Check out her manicured nails.
Bridesmaid #1 is Blonde Barbie.
Bridesmaid #2 is Midge. Still very much pregnant, and yes, this dress is from a previous challenge. I chopped up a gray silk shirt of mine for this, and with the remaining remnants, the rest of the bridal party outfits were constructed.
And now we get to Skipper. I apologize for the fuzziness of this photo. You can't very well tell that her hair has a blue streak in it. Again, modern times apparently mean that she has to have streaked hair to entice the buyer. That's me, and I apologize for the commercial succumbing I
fell into - I just had to have Skipper represented in this wedding party.
Of all the dresses that I sewed in this challenge, this is my favorite dress.
Little Chelsea is next in the wedding party line-up. She wears an ecru, dropped-waist dress accented with a silver-and-pearl embellishment. For this look, I took lace yardage and basted it flat to an interfacing lining, then gathered the lace to make the ruffle flounce at the bottom of the dress.
Finally, we get to "Little Cupcake" who is the tiniest member of the wedding party.
She wears a circular dress with flat lace yardage gathered in a circular pattern. She looks like she's edible, doesn't she?
She does double duty as the Ring Bearer. Check out her little pillow with the two lovebirds and ribbons tied around the rings.
Finally, the Wedding Party gathers to have a group-shot picture taken.
And with this photograph, the Project Runway contest is over for me. If you count the "looks" for this last challenge, you will note there are 8 looks, not 10 as requested. I just felt I was done. Done done. Barbie-d out I guess. It happens. Life happens.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog about the challenge I took on several weeks ago.
If you feel so inclined, I would enjoy hearing from you about which challenge you liked the best. Thanks for sticking with me and your words of encouragement along the way!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway #12

Please scroll down past the THE KNOT IS TIED post for the latest entry!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Knot is Tied!

The siblings are reunited, The cousins are (mostly) gathered,
The bridesmaids are readied,
The church is beautified,
The singer and pianist are warmed up,
The cousins are anticipating,
The flower girls are petal-ing,
The couple is married!
Then, off to the reception.
The guests are seated,
The grandfather takes his granddaughter for a whirl
around the dance floor.
The wedding has happened; the Knot is tied.
Congratulations, Ryan and Emily!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway #12

Episode #12 found the 5 remaining designers on a ferry bound for Governor's Island to "New York City's Playground for the Arts." Here they were encouraged to take inspiration from sculpture, architecture and the landscape. Seeing as I am not able to take a flight to NYC and ferry to Governor's Island at this point in time, I decided to use the Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park as my challenge inspiration. This is a 2 mile stretch of sculptures running along McCormick Avenue; easy to walk or bike along a path. Please forgive me as I can list neither the artist's name nor title of their pieces - Wes and I biked this and I had no pencil and paper on hand; forget the memory thing!
Here my three "inspiration" pieces; yes, this was another collection challenge in which the designers created three "looks" but were helped by recently eliminated contestants. You
might want to note that the common element in all the outfits is sweater knit. These I felted myself from thrift store sweaters.
#1 A three-tiered birthday cake
#2 Part 1 of a three part sculpture: C is for Cheese
#3 A hodge-podge of interstate and highway signs

Let's begin!

Let's start with Look #1. Obviously, this gown is meant to be worn for a Barbie Birthday Bash! Inspired by the tiered cake sculpture, I created only one tier of birthday confection, but it packs a punch with its streamers on the lower tier. The sculpture colors were far too pastel and unassuming for Barbie, so she went with the pop of pinks, purples and oranges.

Here's a close-up of the party streamers. Not shown: balloons, tooting horns, and diamonds from Ken in brightly wrapped packages.

Take a look at Look #2 next. Remember the C is for Cheese sculpture? I decided to translate that into a gray sweater dress for Barbie with grommets in yellow and white to represent the holes in Swiss cheese. The gray represents the sneaky little mouse who would like to take a nibble at that cheese. Sorry, TG, for the literal translation of this "look." I just could not help myself!

Meaning I just had to make a Cheesehead hat for Barbie.

Finally, here is Look #3: Barbie's "Car" Coat and traveling pants is based upon the inspiration of the road signs sculpture. Look closely and you can see a road-traveling Miss printed on the pants. The tire wheels are studded with rhinestones.

Of course, Barbie has a very chic suitcase to take with her on her road trips...this one is in shiny gold with a diamond studded closure. (My thanks go out to Debbie C. for this accessory gift - it's actually a mirrored compact.)

This brings us to the Project Runway Season Nine Finale! I'll have to get crackin' on the Fashion Week Runway Show...wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Barbie/Project Runway #11

"This is for the Birds" was the challenge theme for Project Runway episode #11. The remaining six designers were paired against each other and then randomly assigned a bird to serve as the inspiration for their outfit: a cockatoo, Amazon parrot, raven and owl were the birds presented. Seeing as no one was assigned the owl, this became my inspiration. The "look" was supposed to be a high fashion garment with a budget of $300.00.
Before sitting down to create the inspiration outfit, I drew upon some ideas and facts I know about the owl and this is what I came up with:
Owls are associated with wisdom and learning.

Owls are known for being carnivorous.

Owls have beautiful feathers.

Owls are not showy birds as some of the other fine-feathered ones are.

With that in mind, I present Brunette Barbie in her owl-inspired garment! She wears a modest dress with a tasteful hemline.

The back of the dress comes to a "v" in the neckline to represent the very special nocturnal hunter the owl is - swooping down on its prey with its precision in swift, efficient killing. The red piping accent represents the blood of the owl's prey. The dress fabric is printed text, not actually legible, but certainly giving one the impression of wisdom in reading and learning.
The fur jacket separate can add an element of the "wild" animal that the
owl is in a color palette similar to the owl's own feathers.
Here's a view of the two piece ensemble.
Of course Brunette Barbie needs to have a feathered fascinator atop her head in homage to a certain HRH Kate who was recently married. Did you know that the tippy little hats are really called fascinators? I made this one with a vintage button and a bright red feather. Don't you think my Brunette actually looks a little like Kate?
At this point, I should confess that unlike the designers on the show, I DID NOT make another outfit as they did - only to be told they wouldn't be showing two outfits after all. My bad, but it felt so, so good to not play completely by the rules this time!