About Me

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Aurora, Ontario, Canada
I am a lover of all things created, history, travel, art and literature. I spend my time with family and friends, working hard and creating things, pretty much in that order. My passion is to make beautiful things to wear, mostly accessories, jewelry, belts, clutches, hair adornments, brooches etc. I create mostly using fabric , fibres, metals, jewels, pins, chain, clips, buttons and more. I have a shop on Etsy.com which I sometimes have a little trouble maintaining depending on the time of year and how busy I am. Check out my Etsy Shop www.etsy.com/shop/dressedtothe9s or click on the box on the left to go directly there.

Monday, January 31, 2011

You beautiful Doll

I love to make things and I will try anything once so I was pretty excited to attempt to make a mermaid doll for a very special little girl in my life for Christmas. I made the pattern myself after a little trial and error.
The doll has a head, shoulders, arms and torso only. There are no legs because she is a mermaid and the  outfits (which there are 3 of) are the tails.
The outfits slip up over her hips and do up in the back with velcro as do the tops.

I made her body with broadcloth and then I stuffed her with batting and painted a face on her with acrylic craft paints mixed with textile medium.
The hair is made from upholstery trim that I cut up and sewed to her head with clear nylon thread.
My mom made me a large rag doll when I was little she was almost the same size as me and this kind of reminds me of her on a smaller scale.
I will try to post more pictures once I get them off of my friend. She has them on her computer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Clothes From My Past

I remember when I was a little girl my Mom had this dress in her closet. I think it belonged to my Grandmother but my Mom is gone now and I can't ask here again but that is what I remember.
I always loved this dress and whenever I came across it going through her closet I would run my hands over the fabric and think about how pretty my Grandmother must have looked in it. I never met my Mom's Mom because she passed away of breast cancer when my Mom was 8 months pregnant with me.
When my Mom passed away 5 years ago I had to clean out her apartment and I found the dress in a box and put it in with my things to take home.
It sat in a box at my house for awhile until one day I decided to dig it out and try to wash it.
It was silk so I was nervous and it had probably been made in the 50's. It had no label so it seemed to be handmade from a pattern. It had gone very dingy and yellowed but I had hope.
I washed it by hand in a mild detergent taking care not to harm it. My heart sank when I put it in the water and it seemed to shrink before my eyes but I trodded on.
I washed and rinsed and hung it to dry and the next day it was so wrinkled I hardly recognized it except for the pattern. I wondered if ironing it would do any good at all.
I think I spent an hour and a half if not more ironing that dress that day so that every wrinkle was gone and every seam pressed to perfection.
There were a few areas that needed a stitch or two and as I went on I realized this dress was looking pretty darn good. So here it is, that dress from the 50's, washed and pressed with love and the added bonus was that it actually fit me. Who would have thought?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

ATC- Artist's Trading Card

ATC's or ACEO's , I wondered what they were when I first came across the term on the internet a couple of years ago. I was amazed at what I found there were thousands upon thousands of them to be seen. I love collage and miniatures so I obsessed about this for days (a little OCD) and looked at so many of them my eyes started to cross. To make a long story short I decided that it was time to try one. I put myself under a ton of pressure by having to come up with a lovely design. Could I reach my own expectations?
I'm not sure I did reach them but it was fun getting there. When my girlfriend saw the card she wanted it so I said "Sure, take it." It still sits on her fridge 2 years later so I 'm glad it brought someone some joy.
Here it is.

It's not a fabulous picture but you get the idea.
I call it "Penelope's Eye"

Monday, January 24, 2011

Refinished Painted Chairs

I have these two chairs that were in my dining room. I removed them and just kept the 4 parsons chairs in the dining room in hopes that I would refresh the looks of these chairs at some point. They always looked nice at the ends of the table with the parsons chairs (2 on each side).
I have even thought of doing something with the table one of these days. I know some people think it is a horrible thing to paint wood but I actually like it. It brightens things up, lifts my spirits, makes me smile.
If you do a good job and don't have paint strokes all over and use the right tools it can look really good.
On this particular project I decided to use spray paint with a matte finish. I used Krylon Fusion as it didn't require much sanding before painting, I was able to get the colour I wanted and it wasn't too expensive. I needed 4 cans for good coverage. Two cans per chair.


We removed the seats (attached with screws) and lightly sanded all surfaces, legs, rungs, tops, bottoms, inside, outside and then wiped the chairs with a damp cloth to remove sanding dust.
You can see in the first picture one of the chairs in the background has been painted the first coat by my husband. He did one chair and I did the other.
I think we ended up doing 3 coats and some touching up. The paint went on very well. Remember not to over spray as you will end up with drips. Make sweeping motions about 6 inches away from the surface putting paper under the chair to catch the over spray. Spray in an open well ventilated area.

The seats.
Remove any covering you may have had on the seat and staples, nails or whatever it was that held the fabric on. Place the seat face (top) down on your fabric and cut out a piece 5 to 6 inches larger all around than the seat itself to give yourself enough fabric to pull to the underside and staple with a heavy duty stapler. I used 1/4 inch staples. Cut out another piece for the second chair. If your fabric has a pattern you will want to make sure that the first piece you cut out lines up with the same pattern so each seat is the same.
Now that you have your seat face down on the fabric  (remember to have the right side of the fabric the right way) pull the fabric and staple to the back of the seat on all four sides. Now staple in between those 4 spaces (you now have 8 staples) and so on in between each staple and keep pulling the fabric to make it evenly stretched over the seat and stapled on the back. On the corners gather and staple the fabric carefully so there are no folds on the right side. Trim the extra fabric ( I would normally staple anywhere from 1 to 3 inches from the edge on the back of the seat, this will leave some extra fabric that needs to be trimmed).
Here is a link illustrating the procedure slightly different but basically the same.

Once your seat is finished you can screw it back in place and VOILA! Like new dining chairs and a whole new look.


Friday, January 21, 2011

My Infamous Quilt

Some time last year I decided to make a quilt. I have never in my life made a quilt before nor do I know anything about it except that you can sew a whole bunch of fabrics together, add some quilting and another layer of fabric and stitch it up and you have a quilt. I don't know any of the terms for quilting, I don't know how to stitch it all together so when I said I decided to make a quilt I was really going in blind. I do however know how to sew, embroider, and co-ordinate colours. So if you are a quilt maker please bare with me and my lack of skills.
I decided to make a quilt because I have literally a hundred designer fabric books in my possession, you know the books that have sample fabrics in them that designers use to show clients. I use these in all of my other creations.
I thought to myself there are so many beautiful fabrics in these books but I would have to wash them first so they don't shrink.
So I started my quest to make the "Infamous Quilt". First off I decided on a colour palette, size, layout and then sorted through some books. I ended up with whites, off-whites, creams, soft yellows, browns and a little bit of black.

So this is what it looks like so far. The centre piece is 36  6" squares, the seams are half inch so this piece all sewn together is 30 inches by 30 inches. The next squares around will be smaller, I will let you know how it goes and I will post more pictures front and back so you can see how I sewed and pressed the seams. I hope it works out.
Wish me luck.

More to come

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Winter Blah's!

It's around this time of year that we all start feeling a little blue, maybe it's because winter is too long and Christmas is past or because we feel trapped indoors and unable to really stretch our legs and get moving. That's what I find hard about winter. I love to run and get outside but the cold is so nasty it makes it difficult and the snow makes it hard to run outside so I end up using my treadmill and it's not quite the same workout for me.
This is a great time to create. Creating things is very fulfilling and if you can sit by a window and work on things with the sun shining on you all the better! Make it something bright and cheerful and it will put a smile on your face.

One of my flower brooch/corsage creations

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Inspiration comes in all forms. I find it every day , everywhere. Looking through a magazine, reading a book, surfing the web, watching a program on television, people watching, home decor, exhibits and travel. Ideas just pop into my head when I see something. Maybe it is such a small element of the whole thing I am looking at or the way something is folded or the colour or the shape, a button, a shadow. It just hits me and I have to write it down, do a sketch, make a note. Keeping a notebook with you at all times is very important because you can not remember a fleeting moment when something struck you. Writing it down is one way to remember. Some people also record their thoughts on their cell phones. Just hit that little record button and start talking about what you just saw or thought of. When you get home you can make notes. I also love to take pictures, hence the reason for this blog today.
This picture was taken on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence about a year and a half ago. Walking by all those windows of jewelry really got my creative juices flowing.

Here is another window with these beautiful fish bracelets so gorgeous I thought to myself. I wasn't necessarily inspired that particular day by them and even now I'm not sure how I might use something of this design in one of my own creations or how I would interpret it but I have a picture anyway for future reference. The next two pictures did however inspire me to try something with beads and fabric when I got home. It was something I made and put in my Etsy shop to sell.

Here is the item I made and sold on Etsy.

It is made with a piece of upholstery fabric, lace, organza, beads and a few rhinestones.