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Monday, November 2, 2015

Dresses inspired by fruit

After a very busy fall, doing October weddings and then Halloween costumes, I'm unwinding by doing some creative stuff. These are some fun sketches I did yesterday of dresses inspired by my favorite fruits. 

Watermelon gown, copyright Rosie Rose 2015
(Pieced green silk dupioni striped fabric with hand dyed white--pink ombre silk in the slit)

Raspberry gown, copyright Rosie Rose 2015
(pink, raspberry, and burgundy silk scale skirt paired with a raspberry silk dupioni bodice)

Apple gown, copyright Rosie Rose 2015
(Scarlet velvet with a crisp white cotton center panel with black "seed" buttons)

Pomegranate dress, copyright Rosie Rose 2015
(Gray velvet with a sheer gray chiffon upper bodice and collar, and deep red silk scales in the slit)

Monday, May 18, 2015

A visit from the Cedar Waxwings

After being cooped up in an apartment with no personal yard for the last three years (we had half a porch and a strip of sidewalk in front), my husband and daughters and I were finally able to move in January to a lovely house which has a good-size yard surrounding it. It is beautifully landscaped, full of flowers, and we don't have to share it with anyone. We couldn't be happier. We are all nature lovers and have been spending lots of time outdoors just soaking it in. Being surrounded by green leaves, the air full of the smell of grass and honeysuckle and ringing with bird songs, with my hands in the dirt of the garden--- pure joy, my friends. I needed it. 

The house is a rental, so we can't make any big changes to anything, but we did put in a small raised bed garden in front which I planted with heirloom veggies. It's probably as much as I could handle right now anyway, with a four year old who is going to be home all summer, and a young baby. I just have to go out and water it once a day, and sometimes pull a few stray seedlings that have fallen from some tree in our yard and have landed in everything. 
Raised bed garden planted with organic heirloom veggies: sugar snap peas, tomatoes, lettuce, chard, and spinach, basil, pole beans and bush beans, acorn and yellow squash, beets, radishes, carrots, turnips, bell peppers, and marigolds around the border as a pest repellent. My goal is to be able to make fresh garden salads all summer and also harvest some vegetables to make into food for the baby. 
The yard has some interesting plants and we've had some really wonderful wildlife also. The day before Easter we discovered there are two fat bunnies that live in the hedges around the yard. My daughter has dubbed them Fredrick and Susan. We are hoping they have babies and bring them around. Here is one of our wild bunnies....

The centerpiece of the front lawn is a Japanese Privet tree (a.k.a. Ligustrum Japonicum), and there are two smaller ones as well. It's a striking and odd-looking tree in the winter because it has no leaves but it is covered in lots of blue-purple berries. People always ask what it is. During the winter we had cardinals, robins, mockingbirds, blue jays, woodpeckers... but none of them touched the berries. Then one morning in April, there was a loud twittering outside and we saw at least fifty cedar waxwings in the privet trees and also in the hedges (which have a different kind of berry). I was excited because they are one of my favorite birds; they are very social and acrobatic. After watching them for a while I could see they were picking the tree clean! They ate all the berries in two days and then moved on. Then immediately after, the tree began to grow leaves, filled out with foliage, and then bloomed with clusters of white flowers all over it. Very pretty. I do have to say though that I cannot in good conscience recommend anyone buy a Japanese Privet tree for their yard because it is classified as an invasive species which takes over and displaces native plants, and also causes soil erosion. I also read that the berries are not considered a nutritious food source for birds. However I did have sunflower seeds out, which I know are a great food for birds, and the cedar waxwings didn't touch them. They came for the berries. (Maybe they like junk food?) 

I took a lot of photos of the cedar waxwings; here are the best ones! Enjoy.

Cedar waxwings in the Japanese privet tree. 

I had never noticed the lovely painted details of the cedar waxwings' feathers. The tiny red bars on the wings and that bright yellow tail-tip. And that exquisite mask! What strikingly handsome birds.

Natural acrobats.

Here you can get an idea of the sheer number of birds we were seeing that day! They were very noisy.

Look at the branches now.... they've been busy.

Until next year, adieu, little fellas~~~! Happy flying.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fabrics under the microscope.

 I was checking out some fabrics with my microscope and found it really fascinating, more than I expected. The shape of the fibers and the way they are woven together varied greatly between fabric types and helped me understand why different fabrics behave they way they do. I took some photos and paired each one with a photo of the fabric and a brief description.

warm, fluffy fleece has even, thickly packed fibers

Shiny, thick brocade has tightly woven flat fibers

cotton organza has a very stiff, structured feel and is very breathable.

silk organza is also stiff and airy 

Black and white print cotton, soft feeling and has a fuzzy-looking fiber.

cotton jersey, soft and stretchy, loosely woven soft, dense fibers

velveteen is just a mess of soft furry fibers

satin is made of tightly woven smooth fibers

chiffon is light and breezy and the fibers are thin and flexible

shiny smooth silk has tightly woven, perfectly even and smooth fibers

this is a thicker, rougher silk, and the fibers are thicker and more uneven.

silk dupioni is usually made of two colors of silk fiber. Most of it is evenly woven, except for the slubs which are patches of thicker fibers.
This iridescent green silk flashes red because it's woven with red fibers

shantung is a little more evenly woven

the fibers of this silk mesh look like wires, thin and translucent

knit fabrics are loosely woven so they can stretch

linen fibers are softly twisted

Tulle is actually composed of very thin smooth plastic fibers

shiny slip fabric is made from softly twisted fibers
Fusible interfacing (which fuses to fabric with heat activated glue) has thin fibers that can melt when heated
stitch witchery is similar and also composed of thin, easily melted fibers

nylon lace is formed of knotted fibers
Thread is made of many tightly twisted thin fibers