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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘For Children’

It’s Spring So Let’s All Get Inpired to Wear Hats Again & Consider the Princess WOW! Hat Collection Funding Campaign on Indiegogo, too!

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

A Classic Handmade Feather Beret From Lady Violette's Personal Hat Collection in Brown and Green Handmade by Millinery Artist/ Designer Princess WOW!

I was going through my own collection of hats this weekend while getting out some pretty ones for the spring season when I received a notice from my milliner friend Princess WOW! about her Indiegogo campaign efforts. She wanted my help to spread the word. I am glad to do so through this post, but I also want to get people back into the mood to wear hats! Easter is around the corner – a classic time to wear a pretty hat and hats just generally inspire people, cheer them up and make them feel better. As the flowers begin to bloom again in the spring women should take inspiration from them to bloom beautifully in pretty hats and colorful scarves as well! It is a wide open opportunity to express ourselves in the performance art of wearing a hat which is always fun, easy and a lift for the spirits of both the wearer and those viewing her wearing the hats! Hats, are an innocent and easy way to bring people pleasure. Wearing a hat is fun and takes some personal style and confidence – as demonstrated by the young lady in the picture at the end of this post.

Making hats is a special skill ,as is marketing them, as you can find out by reading this: Mindy Fradkin attended New York’s prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology to learn to make hats in the classic way from old school masters of the craft. She is now Princess WOW! – A Milliner Extraordinaire –  working to raise money for her new collection of beautiful artistic hats through an Indiegogo fundraising campaign. This is a worthy cause if you love hats, hat makers and designers and you can participate on a small or large level. Here is the link to the campaign which is an interesting thing to know about in itself. I am hearing more and more about artists and businesses raising money for their projects in this manner and having read her funding campaign now understand more about how these work. If you are curious about that as well as helping her raise the funds she needs I suggest you check it out too! Mindy Fradkin is Princess WOW! the hat designer, and she has done a good job putting her proposal together. I have known her for years and own over 20 of her beautiful timeless hats myself.  I can testify to her design brilliance and reliability. Of course it costs money to put together a collection and even more to attend high end craft shows where people can go to see and buy your hats. There is much more detail to the millinery business than putting decorations on a hat! Go here to read about what she needs to do and gain appreciation for the business side of millinery as well the beauty of handmade hats.  http://igg.me/at/princesswowhats.

I love wearing hats myself and have amassed quite a collection of artist made and vintage ones over the last two decades. I have been a personal client of Princess WOWS! hats since the early 1990’s! I wrote an article about what happens to me when I wear one of her hats for a magazine in New York years ago.  Here it is again, to get you into the mood of wearing a Princess WOW! hat yourself.

“Confessions of a Head Turner” – or What Happens When I Wear a Beautiful Hat.

“Confessions of a Head Turner ” was originally  written by Lady Violette for Princess WOW! when she was primarily  known as Mindy Fradkin’s Important Hats. It was published in 1995 in Breukelen Magazine in NYC  with accompanying photos of  Lady Violette wearing Mindy’s hats. It still holds true and it is still fun, so we decided to bring it out for contemplation if you find yourself considering wearing hats again this spring and summer as we do. (We being Lady Violette & Princess WOW! and our young model Mademoiselle Coco.)

Over the years we became good friends through out mutual love of hats and our design work together. It is also interesting to note that, years after I originally wrote this piece, Princess WOW! met her husband, artist Roland Mousaa, because he saw her wearing one of her hats while waiting in a line to be seated at a restaurant. Just as I wrote, something special always happens when you wear her hats! A real life adventure!

Now Mindy Fradkin is Princess WOW! and her main focus has changed from making hats to her work for The Smile Revolution but she still makes and wears her own hats in her concerts and performances and for private clients. Lady Violette has taken good care of all her Important Hats and Princess WOW! hats and still wears them regularly. We love hats! And spring is coming! A new hat for Easter has always been a tradition! So, it has gotten me  thinking a lot about hats ~  Hats off to Princess WOW!  And a stroll down memory lane with ~

“The Confessions of  Head Turner”

I love to wear Mindy’s Important Hats. I never go without an Important Hat. I have two dozen of them. They make adventures happen.

I meet men. Men follow me. I feel mysterious, like a heroine in a novel. Like Zelda Fitzgerald or Greta Garbo. In an Important Hat you create an indelible impression… you become an enigma, unforgettable, memorable…

It’s evocative of romance and another time. A hat is an emphatic statement. Jewelry is more subtle, smaller, meant for close up. A hat can be seen across a street or restaurant. At a distance in a gallery or museum. It casts the wearer’s magic spell…

In giving up hats, women gave up coquetry. Mindy’s hats bring it back, but they are not vintage, not ingenue. They are totally modern & sophisticated, they’re history, too…

They’re true art, completely original form and construction. The simplest looking design transforms a face.

She is the Rodin of the sculptured hat.

When you wear her hats heads turn.

I began collecting Mindy’s hats if 1992. Now I can’t stop!! Each hat represents a different facet of my inner personality to the viewer. They allow me to express the different aspects of my character.

Together Mindy and I continue to discover more ~ a great talent in a designer for her client.

Thank you Mindy for presenting my many inner characters to me and to the the world… To love me you (I mean anyone,) must know me. Your hats project aspects of my inner soul to the outside world (when I choose to do so by wearing one.)

Lady Violet de Courcy, Ballet Dancer, Jewelry Designer, Writer and Mindy’s Muse

Mindy Fradkin-Mousaa, now The Princess of WOW! & renowned hat designer and comedienne performs using her hats, in shows and concerts and at “Hat Happenings” regularly around New York City. She also currently works for The Smile Revolution raising conscious awareness for the healing power of a genuine smile. She is a singer, songwriter, and concert promoter but still creates wonderful extravagant hats for private clients and participates in select craft shows  You can contact her at:

www.theprincessofwow.com

For INSPIRATION here is something to think about! Madamoiselle Coco below, who is 4 years old, wisely says, “You can wear hats anytime and all the time.”  Here she wears a white vintage hat with a veil while out doing errands on a Saturday morning.  She says “You can always wear a hat. It makes every occasion special. You do not need a special event or an occasion such as a wedding to wear one! ” Here she is getting a manicure at the local village salon where her unique personal style and lovely vintage veiled hat garnered quite a few compliments! This stylish young lady already has a collection of special hats! “When you wear a lovely hat people smile at you and stop to talk to you and compliment you on it. They tell you how much they like it and they want to meet you! Sometimes they even tell you that seeing you in your hat makes them feel happy! Wearing a hat is definitely worthwhile!”

A lovely young lady - Mademoiselle Coco - wearing a vintage hat with veil shows us that we can wear hats as we go about our regular activities everyday!

Fur is Fabulous ~ As Demonstrated by These Very Young Fashionable Ladies

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Tiny Turn of the Century Girl in Fluffy Fur Collar and Muff

It was important to dress your child warmly in days of yore for two reasons ! To keep her comfortable in winter and to show that you could afford to do so! In fact, it was important to a man’s success in business and society to show the world, via his wife’s clothes and jewelry, and of course his child’s as well, that he was doing well financially. You would buy your wife an expensive fur coat if you could afford to do so and she would wear it publicly to show off her beauty, it’s beauty, and your success. Your adorable children would follow in her footsteps.

A Tiny Girl From Chicago in Her Sleigh Stroller Wearing a Darling Fur Ensemble

Here are the daughters of some very wealthy couples dressed in head to toe fur ensembles at the turn of the century. Muffs and fur collars were obviously in vogue for the very young. I think girl number one is wearing long curly lamb and the girl in the sleigh is wearing ermine.

They certainly make an impression! Fur is fabulous at any age! And my mommy Daddy can afford to dress me this way!

Touring Lamarelle’s Gallery of Delicious & Delectable Purses Curated by Lady Violette

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

This is a visual feast! These beautiful vintage purses have been artistically embellished  and reinvented by my dear friend and soul mate La Marelle. La Marelle is a designer who “coutures” vintage purses and other vintage items that she finds to create new works of wonder each as delectable and enticing as the incredible pastries in a deluxe French bakery. Every one of her designs looks good enough to eat!

This is the Purse I Carried to Tea in This Story

Last night I dreamed that I was having tea with Marelle in an elegant turn of the century tearoom in Paris named Pastisserie La Marelle; and these purses were actually little cakes that were brought out to guests to select from a pastry tray and served to actually eat on exquisite antique French flowered china plates. Elegant teas served in magnificent ornate tea pots and delicate vintage bone china tea cups and saucers, each one a unique design, accompanied the delicious purse cakes made of butter cream and chocolate and vanilla cakes and icings and filled with rich custards layered with tart berry souffles and layers of candied oranges and lemons. Some were embellished with cherries or peaches and nuts and other fruits, and some with sugared flowers and leaves. These miniature purse shaped cakes were wheeled out on an ornate antique pastry cart by child waiters dressed in tiny tuxedos with coat tails who asked guests with impeccable manners, ” Would you like to choose a cake Madame?” And of course we did! They came ’round again when you had finished one to offer you another.

This is the Purse Marelle Carried to Tea in This Story

Our little waiter was named Aubrey, after the artist Aubrey Beardsley. He was about six years old and he explained, “You can eat as many as you like because these cakes have no calories! They just look good and taste wonderful! ” Of course we chose another, and another, and another as soon as we had eaten the one that came before! Marelle and I feasted on purse cakes and talked for hours and at the end of the afternoon agreed that we must come here regularly, once a week, and do this again. We made a reservation to return for another tea and cake date next weekend.

Now let’s have a look at some of the delicious purse cake selections on the pastry menu and while you are visually feasting on these delectable designs keep in mind that these cakes are available as a real purses in La Marelle’s couture store. The details and location will be given at the end of this story.

The Lady Violette, a Divine Chocolate Cream Creation

There is my favorite, the Lady Violette, named after me, and our miniature waiter Aubrey expertly explains that is concocted of rich but light chocolate and mocha cakes layered with chocolate and raspberry butter cream inside and elaborately decorated with glace frosting in two shades of chocolate stripes, light milk chocolate and dark bittersweet chocolate, on the outside. It is then trimmed with a pure dark chocolate coin purse, a butter cream ruffle along the closure flap and an edible marzipan perfume bottle. The handle and strap are made of edible caramel and chocolate flavored strips! The gold and silver accents are made of edible metallic gold and silver dragoons. The label of the perfume bottle and the woman’s portrait face on the coin purse are made of almond flavored marzipan! He assures us these are not at all fattening saying, “We make these cakes without calories because this is a couture bakery and we know that our customer’s love to partake of elegant deserts and designs but must keep their figures in order to wear their couture ensembles.”

Red Cherry

Aubrey shows us cake purse after cake purse, each one as different and as interesting and intriguing as the one before. Each one looks incredibly delicious!

Chocolate Filagree

We ask how they have managed to remove the calories while retaining the integrity of these elegant deserts. He explains that this is a top secret scientific process! He also assures us that it is done without removing any of the taste you would expect from an elegant European pastry!

Petits Fours

He does tell us that he and his artist father developed it in their California cooking laboratories using all organic ingredients and the latest scientific baking methods, then brought these to France at La Marelle’s request.

French Vanilla

He further explains that they decided to unveil the results of their research in Paris because this was the home of the world’s best pastries and couture, and, if it was a success there it would ultimately become an international success. He had quite the business acuman for such a young man! We were very impressed!

Creme de Menthe

He also tells us that he has always loved international cuisines and teas and is able to pursue his other interests in the arts while working at this restaurant in Paris. He is studying sculpture when he is not working. We ask him if he is not a bit young to be living away from his parents and siblings and his home in CA and working in Paris?  As ladies, we have begun to feel motherly concern toward him as he is such a sweet and intelligent little boy.

Pistachio

He assures us that he is fine living in Paris and loves it here,! Plus, he says, his little sister, Madamoiselle Coco who really is named after Coco Chanel, will soon be joining him to study fashion design. He is a year older and wanted to come ahead to establish an apartment on the Left Bank and get everything set up for her before she arrives. We ask him how old she is. He tells us she is five years old! And he goes on to say that she is already well known for her fashion designs and styling capabilities in Southern California! She even owns a La Marelle Couture Purse which was personally made for her by the designer herself because she felt an instant report with Coco and wanted her to have it.

Coco's Purse ~ Cream Chantilly ~ Custom Design by LaMarell

Coco is the youngest fashionista owner of a LaMarelle Couture Purse that we know of. He told us that many people stop Coco on the street to ask her about her La Mareele handbag and find out who designed it. It has been quite the conversation piece! I am sure that happens to anyone who carries or wears one of La Marelle’s couture creations!

Bittersweet Chocolate

Again we express our concern that they are both a bit young to be leaving home, aren’t they? He assures us that their parents visit often because their mother loves Paris and their father is an artist who shows in modern art galleries around the world. Young Aubrey tells us he has helped his father set up his art in his shows all his life. He explains that that is one of his areas of expertise so he is always available when a show needs to be hung. He also loves to attend the gallery openings and explains that he would never miss one. He also explains that he himself loves to dress up in special attire to attend these events. We are charmed by him of course!

Lemon Cream

Young Aubrey assures us he is mature enough to handle this adventure, “Look at me he says, I have a job, I support myself, I am a specialist of sorts already.” We are quite impressed!

Maple Sugar

And he tells us he is ageless from eating many of these cakes! Aha we think! Women ( and men) will like that aspect of these delicacies as well! Will they not?

Black Licorice

He keeps showing us more and more cake purses and describing the ingredients and flavors with amazing baking expertise. Honestly, we are quite impressed by his knowledge! He also tells us we can eat as many as we like and that it will make us all the more creative, fashionable and colorful if we eat more of them. Wow!

I ask him, ” Is it okay then to be a glutton for both designer handbags and pastries?” “Yes, definitely!” he assures me,”It will make you very healthy and very beautiful!”

Sugar Icing & Florentine

As he serves us, pouring more tea whenever we need it without being asked, and assures us that he feels quite capable of taking care of his little sister after she arrives! He says, “We have always been best friends as well as brother and sister and I am eager to see her develop her design talents. She has always expressed herself artistically with her clothes. She does such amazing things that people stop us on the streets to give us compliments. She is a natural!”

Whipped Cream

“Where?” we ask, “is she going to study?” As we continue to daintily devour beautifully decorated and deliciously flavored ornate and tasty purse shaped cakes!

Molton Fudge

“Right here” he answers, “where I can watch over her with The Great Couturier La Marelle!”

I was quite surprised! I looked quizzically at Marelle, herself, sitting right across from me and asked, “Is this a dream or is this really happening?”

Time Will Tell Purse

And she smiled like the Mona Lisa and said in her charming voice,  ” You shall see! You shall see! Time Will Tell!”

~~~~~~~~

Then I woke up! And I wrote down the details of my dream immediately so that I would not forget this fantastic story. And who knows? It very well might come true! Parts of it already are happening for these delicious looking purses are already available to purchase and carry as real calorieless fashion design indulgences from La Marelle’s Shop Hopscotch Couture. And all the people cast in this dream story are real people with the real names and the real talents described and attributed to them in this story.

Here is where you can view more of Marelle’s work and purchase many of the purses featured in this post as well as others. Marelle is cooking up new ones on a regular basis. She is always whipping up some fantastic dreamy new frothy creation! Feast your eyes and visit her shop. And remember that these delicacies have zero calories! Just as the fantastic little waiter in his tux and tails described them!

Marelle’s work is so diverse and extensive – she currently has over 400 pieces listed for sale in her Etsy shop alone.

By the way, La Marelle means hopscotch in French, so Marelle named her shop on Etsy Hopscotch Couture. To visit her Etsy store and view the entire gallery go to: http://www.etsy.com/shop/HopscotchCouture.

Marelle sells her work in her online Etsy shop above and also accepts private commissions. She can be contacted  by email at lamarellegallery@aol.com or by telephone at (443) 825.6353.

Her work can also be seen on her website at LaMarelleGallery.com. There is a link on there that will take you directly to her Etsy store as well.

Read More about Marelle and her paintings and designs in this article from The Weekender at http://www.theweekender.com/stories/Marelles-Hopscotch-Couture-One-of-a-kind-finds,61685

The photos  in this post were taken by Marelle herself.

Be sure to search my blog to see recent past posts and return to view upcoming future posts featuring more pictures and descriptions of Marelle’s interesting and imaginative work. I know you will find it all very tasteful!

 

Vintage Violet Easter Spool Bunny ~ Happy Violette Easter!

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

Delightful Little Violet Easter Bunny Made From a Vintage Wooden Thread Spool!

I was looking for something delightful and old fashioned to make with children ages 4 and 6 to put in Easter baskets when I came across this delightful little spool bunny. He is so sweet! And a perfect Vintage Violette make-it-yourself art project! I was enchanted. And he is easy to make! So, here he is, to wish you a Happy Easter! Spool Bunnies. and directions to make them from vintage wooden thread spools and bits of felt. Happy Easter Everybody!

This and other cute craft projects are from the website Fun in the Making. net.

The Flock – A Group Portrait with Violet Knit Hat & Scarf

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The Flock ~ Valcero, Zheed of Estonia, & Measuring Sheep

These are my toy sheep. Like many knitters, I have a collection of them as mascots to the art of knitting.

Valcero is the big one with a black face and paws who is modeling a new knit hat.

The medium sized shaggy white one is Zheed of Estonia.

And the little one is Measuring Sheep. (He has a tape measure that roles up inside him!)

Valcero is modeling a knit hat made of Rowan’s Plaid yarn in a color called Sea Grass which is actually a mix of violet, pale green and bright dark pink.

Measuring Sheep is posed atop the matching scarf in progress.

Did you know that, in Mexico, having a few toy sheep in your home is supposed to bring comfort, financial success and security? I suppose this is based on the fact that having a few real sheep did this for you in the old days – as their fleece gave you wool for warm clothing and you could sell what you didn’t use yourself for income. the larger a flock you got the better off you would be!

They are also good friends. Mine keep me going when the knitting projects gets challenging! Plus they are soft and comfy.

Everyone should have a sheep mascot in their home – even if they don’t knit!

Classic Museum Quality Child’s Vintage Scandinavian Sweater ~ A Successful Restoration Story

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Classic Vintage Child's Norwegian Sweater~ Successfully Rescued & Restored From a Rag Pile

I am an avid knitter and am always on the lookout for amazing hand knit vintage sweaters that I can rescue from oblivion. I love hand knits and cannot bear to see them abandoned and unappreciated! I especially cherish children’s sweaters which were made with love by a grandmother, auntie or mother long ago. I know what is involved in making them since I knit myself and finding one and returning it to it’s original splendor is very exciting! Seeing it worn by children in my family and appreciated again is the icing on the cake!

The Inside of This Sweater is as Beautifully Done, Technically, as the Outside ~ a Really Good Example for Modern Knitters of the Stranding on the Backside of Two Color Fairisle Knitting

I recently found this little boy’s Norwegian sweater in a filthy thrift shop. It was dirty, and terribly damaged. And only $2. But it was a total disaster. I should have taken before pictures, but I was in a hurry to clean and repair it to send to a little boy as a present!I needed to get it to him quickly so he could use it before he outgrew it. As we know little children grow like weeds so no time was to be wasted!

First off, I gathered up the live unraveling stitches on safety pins, then I washed it very carefully in cold water by hand, as I was afraid of moth or other infestation. I washed it over and over to get the disgusting amount of dirt out of the wool. It is made of beautiful quality old style yarn – of the nice stiff type that is now very hard to find. It still contains its natural oils.

The Intricate Snowflake and Geometric Pattern Covers the Entire Sweater ~ Back and Front ~ Beautifully

The navy is a very dark inky shade, almost black, also impossible to find! I know as I searched every local yarn shop with the tattered, but now clean, little sweater looking for matching yarn to use for the extensive repairs needed. I could not find a match. I also want to find this type of yarn for my own knitting. Thus, if anyone reading this has a source I would be grateful if you would inform me of it.

The Sleeves Were Full of Holes When I Acquired the Sweater, But Now They Look as Good as New!

The ribbing on the wrists was unraveling and torn, the ribbing at the neckline was coming out and the sweater had holes in the elbows, the button placket and the back. It looked like it had been worn as the main winter coat by some child and his three older brothers before him as a hand-me-down and never mended or washed! But old wool wears like iron, fortunately!

Unable to match the yarn in it I finally had to unknit sections of the sweater in order to get enough of the navy main color yarn to make the necessary repairs. I undid all the ribbing at the bottom and both cuffs and then picked up the live stitches and reknit them using the resulting salvaged yarn and making the new ribbing sections shorter than the originals had been. The ribbing at the bottom of the sweater and the cuffs of both sleeves is now about an  inch shorter than originally. And it looks as good as new!You cannot tell that I have reworked it. I know this was often done during the mend and make do era. People also used to save a bit of the yarn and extend the ribbing to make the sweater larger as the child grew bigger.

Interestingly the B.K.S. Handmade in Norway label was still hanging by one thread so I resewed it on to retain the authenticity of the sweater.I think B.K. S. must be the initials of the woman or man who knitted this sweater. This nice touch makes me think I should get such a label made to sew inside the items I knit myself. I try to do as good a job as this and I want them to become heirlooms for my own family in the future.

Label of Knitter and Pewter Reindeer Button

The vintage pewter reindeer buttons are real beauties. And I was charmed by the fact that an extra was attached to the chest of the sweater with a red and navy striped grosgrain ribbon like a little military medal. The maker provided this extra button in case the child who got the sweater lost one! Fortunately none of the buttons were lost.

This Amazingly Detailed Sweater is Made to Fit a Boy of About 4-5 Years Old. Note the extra Button Sewn Onto a Striped Ribbon Like a Military Medal in Case the Child Lost a Button!

I took pictures of the sweater from all angles and both inside and outside to keep a nice record of how the fairisle work was done. It was both beautifully and expertly done. This is a textbook example of Norwegian knitting. It is worthy of a place in the Scandinavian Heritage Museum. I think it was made in the late 1940s or early 1950’s. It is a real treasure! Now restored to it’s rightful original splendor! I only wish the original knitter were able to know how much I appreciate her (or his) work! I would love to be able to tell her (or him) that myself! She (or he) so deserves it! I hope posting it on my blog garners the admiration and attention it deserves.

Expert Color Work! It Looks as Pretty on the Inside as it Does on the Outside ~ At least to an Avid Knitter!

I will include photographs of the stranding closeup so you can compare the way it looks on both sides. Here goes!

Fairisle Work ~ Another Detailed Shot of The Stranding

I shipped it off the restored sweater to the lucky little boy I repaired it for just in time for Xmas. He will wear it, his little brother will wear it and it will be a treasured heirloom in our family now for a few more generations! I made them new sweaters too. I love making small ones because they work up so fast! It is good practice in these difficult techniques prior to taking on an adult size sweater. I often tackle a little one for a family member before taking on the challenge of doing an adult one. After this repair job I feel quite ready to undertake a full size Norwegian sweater. I just have to find the perfect pattern. I want to do an adult one for myself and a man’s size with reindeer and snowflakes on it.

The Finished Restoration of This Museum Quality Child's Size 5 Year Old Sweater

I think this pattern is perfect for a child’s sweater. Does anybody out there have great classic vintage Norwegian sweater patterns for adults? Or know of a good source? I am looking now. Any suggestions will be most appreciated. I would like to find hat and mitten and glove patterns as well. And yes, I really will make them!

The red and white baby blanket under the Norwegian sweater in the photographs is my present for a new baby who is coming into the world in February! It is never too soon to start making hand knits and crochet heirlooms for the next generation! I am determined that they grow up with handmade knits so they enjoy them and learn to appreciate them! I did and that is what got me started as a knitter.

I was taught to knit by my grandma when I was only 4 years old. I was fascinated by it and couldn’t put the needles down! She later told me that she taught us to knit so she could busy us  and get her own work done! She said it kept us occupied for hours enabling her to work on her own sewing and knitting! Brilliant!

Under her supervision I very proudly made my very first scarf for my grandpa for Christmas when I was five! It was copen blue wool and consisted of knit and purl stitches only. She made me rip it out and reknit it until it was absolutely perfect! He wore it for years and told everyone that I made it! He even wore reading in  bed on cold nights and tied it around his bedpost so he could have it ready if a chill came on! They were very encouraging and supportive of the craft of knitting. They were sheep ranchers so their interest ran deep! They raised their own wool on their ranch in Southern Idaho. They sent it to the Pendelton Woolen Mills to be processed.

When I was a little older I went to the Pendelton Mill myself on Saturdays where they had knitting classes for children and teenagers. We were allowed to choose yarn for our projects from the overruns of the mil. It was a goldmine of fine wool in beautiful colors. I remember making my first sweater out of a beautiful emerald green merino held double with green mohair all the way from Italy. The yarn was free if you were a student there so cost was no object. The mill was interested in developing future knitters and demand for their products. I know of no such program these days! I attended those classes when I was in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. Then we moved away from the area. The teachers were excellent and I still remember what I learned there! It was an excellent  basic foundation. Amazingly I was only 6 to 10 years old when I took those classes. My mother went to the advanced adult knitting groups and they created amazing items some of which I still have and will photograph and post on my blog in the near future.

I decided yesterday that I should photograph these beautiful vintage sweaters and share them with others. Once again, the exquisite vintage needlework produced by these women deserves to be seen!

And One More Fairwell Picture of the Norwegian Sweater Because I Cannot Resist!

Exotic Red Silk Embroidered Chinese Slippers From A Ballet Dancer’s Personal Collection of Red Shoes in the Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Friday, September 9th, 2011

I now have all kinds of red shoes ~ from boudoir slippers to ballet slippers, from dance shoe to clogs, from tennis shoes to party shoes! Even a pair of red patent leather boots! The first pair of red shoes I remember having were a tiny pair of exotic red silk Mary Janes with dragons embroidered on the toes and flowers all around the sides. I was born in San Francisco and lived there when I was a little girl. My mother got me the dragon slippers in China Town when I was about three years old. She had a black pair for herself. They were to wear in the house like slippers because the soles were very lightweight. I liked mine so much that I insisted on sleeping with them! I would not go to bed without my favorite shoes! My father had to move my bed up against the wall and tuck me in, then line my favorite shoes up on the side of the bed next to the wall! Even then I liked pretty colorful shoes! I had black patent party shoes, pale blue ones, white ones with little bows on the toes and my red dragon ones! And I would not let them out of my sight! I insisted on keeping them right next to me while I slept.

When I outgrew the red dragon shoes the got me another pair, and I recall they were decorated with hearts and flowers. Eventually I had a royal blue pair, And a black pair! And another red pair. By now, I have had several red pairs! These are always available pretty much everywhere Chinese imports are sold in sizes that will fit babies through large adults. They are usually sold folded up in a clear plastic wrapper and are stocked in bins or baskets on the floor. They generally retail for under $10! They look very exotic, but are sold for under $10 ~ I am always amazed at the low price and how the Chinese can they make something  so pretty and manage to sell it to us for a profit! I love to give them to people as Christmas presents along with a few other pretty colorful gifts. They make great affordable stocking stuffers! They are available in sizes that will work for all ages and can be worn by men as well as women. The black ones with dragons on them are particularly suitable for men.

The Pair! So Pretty and available in all sizes for all ages!

Cherry Blossom Festival Hand Painted Clogs Sized for a Little Girl – from The Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

I love hand decorated and painted shoes. And I love ethnic costumes. And fantasy ensembles. I grew up with a constantly evolving and expanding dress up trunk. That trunk eventually became a costume room. My mother and I went thrifting almost every Saturday and came home with many treasures which she would alter or remake in my smaller size for me to wear and play with. I could honestly dress like a princess every day! And I did. When I was at home I could wear whatever I wanted and it was usually something absolutely fantastical.

Adorable Child Size Cherry Blossom Clog Sandals ~ About a Size 8 for Little Girls ~ Fits A Four Year Old

We had a big old house. There was an extra room – formerly a nursery or playroom and it eventually became the sewing and costume room where all the dress ups were kept. We had a sewing machine set up in there and we rigged up a three way mirror at one end of the room. We had a little wooden platform with three steps up, then a flat surface at the top with about a 2×3 foot rectangular “floor.” I would climb up there, stand on the platform section in front of the mirror, and my mother would help me into some fantastical frothy old ball gown or prom dress we had found. This was a typical scenario. I was about 5 yrs old and the ornate tulle dress was made for an adult woman. But no matter! My mother was an expert seamstress. She would cut the dresses way down and alter them to fit me.

Thus, she could indulge her hobby for sewing fantastical costumes – fairly tale princess gowns – and I could dress up to my hearts content. She also restored and remade dresses for herself when we found attractive vintage pieces that she liked. That is how my interest in all things vintage and beautiful clothes began and eventually evolved to the point it is today!

Soles are Solid Wood But Have a Non~Skid Black Rubber Piece Attached to the Bottom

When I found these beautiful pink cherry blossom wooden bottomed shoes in a grungy second hand store I instantly thought these would be perfect additions to the child’s costume collection. They are beautiful little works of art! I have no idea what they were originally made for or to go with or where. I am hoping someone who sees them here can help me to identify them. If you read this and know anything about these, would you please let me know? They have no markings or sizing of any kind on them.

I do carry on my family tradition of creating and maintaining a child’s costume trunk and stash. I make costumes for it too. Most recently a pair of boys pirate pants, by special request as a birthday present. And a little girl’s version of a very elegant black raw silk and tulle Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany’s long party dress for a 4 year old to wear for her birthday party with black silk party shoes, a crystal Eissenberg Ice Brooch at the waist, an aurora borealis necklace and a rhinestone tiara!

Working on my child’s costume trunk is really fun and a constant work in progress. I enjoy keeping is stocked with all manner of fancy dress up and play outfits, finding ethnic costumes in small sizes, tiny beaded purses, small sized Asian style pajamas and “smoking jackets” and, of course, the outrageous party dresses which I transform into Jean-Antoine Watteau inspired miniature ball gowns.

Cherry Blossom Child's Shoe in Profile

I discovered old bridesmaid dresses in raw silk or silk dupioni are common finds at thrift stores and run about $9.99 in my town. They are normally white or cream real silk and the skits contain several yards of silk fabric! Yes! Expensive silk fabric. I carefully remove the skirts by picking out the seams with a seam ripper. Sine the dresses are commonly long (and really ugly designs!) this often yields 3 to 4 yards of nice silk! Silk that would cost at least $20 per yard at a fabric store new. The fact that is is white or off whit is a plus because I can easily dye it. The dresses sometimes have borders of elegant lace or over skirts of lace or applique. Sometimes large bows or sashes. Sometimes flowers made of silk and used as trimming.This is a great source of material for creating new and fantastic elegant princess gowns. In this case, gowns worthy of Charles James, Valentina or Norman Norell. It is good practice for me, the designer – to see what I can come up with working with inexpensive materials in small sizes. These are my training dresses as a designer.

I have done a dove blue grey one, a subtle gold brown one, a black one, and a soft yellow gold one. and the recent black one. I aim for antique looking colors and styles from Watteau paintings. I will photograph some of them soon when I can get the model who is now 4 years old to cooperate! Fortunately she loves this kind of play!

I have recently been collecting old style straw children’s large straw hats to add to my Watteau inspired vision of child’s dressing.  And very small sizes ~ like old fashioned tiny ladies size 4 ~ of vintage high heels and party shoes and boots and other types of old fashioned shoes.

I am planning ahead so that my in house model, will be able to wear them when she is about 6 to 8 years old! You have to train little girls from an early age to love vintage clothes and elegant jewelry, hats and shoes. And to walk in high heels, of course! That is very important! And it is a skill that should be passed down from generation to generation. That is how I learned! Playing dress up in my mother’s and aunt’s hats and jewelry and high heels and being allowed and encouraged to do so. They played with me and had a wonderful time too! Our house was a constant fashion show. And it was a great education! Women need to pass these skills down to each other, and it is a privilege to be able to both give and receive in this respect!

Just one last thought! Don’t these shoes look like lovely little liquor flavored Petits Fours? And don’t they make you hungry for some of those?

How Charming! I Wish I Could find These in My Size! They Are so Pretty and Flowery!

 

Photographs by Fredric Lehrman.

Shoes from The Lady Violette Shoe Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hand Painted Red Clogs ~ circa 1970 From A Ballet Dancer’s Personal Collection of Red Vintage Shoes in The Lady Violette Shoe Collection

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Red shoes go with many things. If they don’t match they often provide a nice accent. They cheer you up for some reason. Christian Louboutin has put red soles on the bottom of many of his shoes for years. The red sole has become his trademark. That red sole, with all the other colors in his designs works, no matter what women are wearing with his shoes. And they love it. They love it because it is cheerful red and because it gives them a status jolt to be seen, coming and going, with that bit of red on the bottom of their shoes.

Alas I do not own a pair of Louboutins.  They haven’t come to me yet. They probably will some day, but the time has not been right yet. If anyone wants to send me a pair, my European shoe size is 38 medium width and I would love to have a some! It is possible that somebody out there has some and doesn’t like wearing them and would like to pass them on to someone who would!

Meanwhile, I will tell you about my Danish country shoes. My mother was 100% Danish. The Danes traditionally love red shoes, and clogs, or wooden shoes, as some people call them. They also love to paint things to make them pretty around the house. This is one of the traditional Scandinavian Feminine Arts.

Red Leather Clogs Hand Painted with Scandiavian Designs by My Mother

Red Leather Uppers on Traditional Wooden Clogs Handpainted with Scandinavian Motifs by My Mother

My mother painted everything with traditional Danish and Swedish motifs and it was very charming. We had small tables, dressers, bedroom furniture, stools, chairs, lamps, vases, baskets, and of course, shoes, painted in traditional Scandinavian patterns. Here is a pair of bright red leather clogs that my mother decorated. I have a navy blue pair of this type as well. She also painted this little lidded picnic basket which can be used to carry lunch for one person or is small enough to use as a casual purse.

Red Clogs & Small Handmade Wooden Picnic Basket Hand Painted With Traditional Danish Motifs ~ Can Be Used as a Lunch Basket or as a Small Casual Purse

We had clogs lined up in a row on the porch to put on when we went out in the yard and garden. We were supposed to jump out of them to come into the house in our socks so we would not get the wooden floors and rugs dirty. Since we had worn clogs in this way from the time we started to walk we had no trouble walking or running in them at all. I wear them at home this way to this day because they are so convenient and easy to use. I love the fact that you can just slip them off and jump into them when you are ready to go outside again ~ with no tying or buckling or time required! They are very good for your feet too. And they are so durable they never wear out. I have a black pair too. They have tiny blue forget~me~not flowers painted all over them. It is fun to have your shoes personalized in this way too. We would get a pair and choose what flower to have her paint on them for us and she would decorate our shoes however we liked. I will do a post about clogs sometime soon and show photos of all the ones we have. I am showing this pair, now, as part of my red shoes collection.

I have red dress shoes, casual dress flats, clogs, boots, and casual sports shoes in my red shoes collection. I also have several pairs of red shoes made specifically for ballroom dancing  so they have soft suede soles, and a pair of amazing thigh high red real patent leather boots that were made as part of a very glamorous theater costume for a production of The Merry Widow. I have a sweet pair of traditional Chinese flower embroidered silk slippers which were very inexpensive and are easily available in Chinatown stores everywhere. I like them because they are so colorful and folkloric. In contrast  I have a pair of specially made red suede Flamenco dance shoes which are beautiful and exceptionally sturdy as they must be to with stand the rigors of flamenco dancing. It is a good thing that I am getting them out and going through them now to blog about them!

I will finally figure out exactly what I have, how many pairs, etc. My faithful sheep mascots below are helping me! They will see to it that I finish this project! They are really determined! Plus, they like experimenting and playing with all this vintage stuff.

The Sewing Sheep Showing the Picnic Basket, or Purse, Being Used as a Sewing and Knitting Baslet

My little sewing sheep mascots, the measuring sheep, and his mother, the knitting sheep, are quick to point out that this little picnic basket also makes a nice small portable sewing basket! They are demonstrating that they have no aversion to being put inside it along with a little sewing project and coming along to the local sewing store to pick out buttons or ribbon or going to a friends house for a session of knitting visit! Air can get into the basket through the slats so they can breathe if they are inside. They came up with this idea. They said the basket looked very versatile to them and could probably also be used as a sewing basket! Sheep are very smart! The small sheep has a tape measure inside him. You pull on his tail to extend it, then push on his tummy, to roll it up inside. His mother is filled with sand so she stands up securely. Her tail is a long black grosgrain ribbon to which I have tied my embroidery scissors so they don’t get carried off to some far corner of the house! She is addicted to knitting. She uses toothpicks for needles and makes mufflers for other small animals. The toothpicks are the same size as # 1 or #2 sock needles. I did a small piece of sample knitting with a sock yarn I was trying out, then slipped it off my sock needles and onto her toothpick needles to help her get started. She has been knitting ever since! I have her make all my gauge swatches of sock yarn and she just loves helping out this way!

Shoes from the Lady Violette Shoe Collection.

Basket Purse from The Lady Violette Handbag Collection

Vintage Shoes of the Week – Little Lady Violette Royal Purple Velvet Shoes!

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Violette Violet Velvet Party Shoes - Royal Purple and Fit for a Little Princess ~ in a Tiny Size 4!

Here is an amazing pair of royal purple velvet shoes lined in bright lime green satin and decorated with rhinestones that I found in a flea market this weekend. Another amazing thing about them is the size! They are a small size 4 like a little child’s shoe size! They are made in Korea. I paid $3.99 for them! Plus tax.

They are beautiful little costume shoes. They don’t fit me! I wear a comparatively gigantic size 7.5! The heel is 2″ high and they are perfect for dressing up in as a princess. I decided to buy them because of the lovely and highly unusual color ~ a true dark royal purple ~ and use them as a work of art for my Lady Violette blog post of Vintage Shoe of the Week. I will save them for Coco to wear with one of her princess ball gowns when she is 7 or 8 years old and they will probably fit.

I had a 7 yr old girl who was shopping try them out for me and they did fit her! I would have let her have them, but her grandmother said, “NO! She will break her neck!” I have just the opposite philosophy! I believe little girls should play in high heels to learn to walk in them properly from an early age. And it is much safer to wear heels that actually fit your foot than to play in fancy shoes that are way too long for you! All little girls put on their mother’s high heels for dress up and try to walk around in them. That is a classic rite of passage into womanhood!

I realize the background of my piano leg table is not the best for this photograph, but I was anxious to get them up and show them off. It at least illustrates how dark the purple color really is. I’ll photograph them again soon against something lighter. But aren’t they beautiful?

I think they would look lovely worn with a Johnny Jump-up color inspired formal gown in dark purple with accents of yellow silk like the flower petals of the little Elizabethan viola known as the Johnny Jump-up! I’ll try to find a piece of fabric in the correct shade of yellow to photograph them against. So adorable! They also remind me of the dark purple, almost black, velvety petals of the dark purple nearly black pansy! This photo is true to the color of the dark purple outside velvet and the inside green satin lining of these princess slippers ~ like the little pansy flowers and their fresh light green leaves. Possibly the flowers inspired the person who designed them.

More photos of these to come when I find a nice yellow piece of fabric to shoot them against!

Lady Violette’s Sewing Studio ~ in the Corner of the Kitchen! Where I Cook Up Gowns for Real Princesses!

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Lady Violette's Kitchen Corner Sewing Studio ~ Where Gowns are Made for Real Princesses!

This morning I was taking final photographs of the dresses I have designed for Princess Wow! before I send them to her in New York. Between taking pictures of the right side of this dress and shooting details of the wrong side, or inside, I snapped this photo of my tiny sewing area in the corner of our kitchen! It is a very tiny area and I rather like it! This picture reminds me of something from Victoria Magazine when it first came out years ago and was full of lovely photography of interiors, artist’s work spaces and romantic settings!

In this tiny space I have taken all the photos on my blog, done all the sewing and knitting I have shown, styled and photographed all of my recent scarf and shawl tying and styling demonstrations, styled and shot all the vintage clothing I have shown on my blog and sold on eBay and Bonanza, made adults and children’s clothes, made dresses for princesses of all sizes, made and photographed jewelry, written things and cooked every day! I have often been doing several of these things at the same time!

We also use this same space for reading, talking, visiting with friends, having tea and watching movies! Everyone who comes by the house heads for this corner first! And usually plops down on the couch, hangs out here for a while, has a cup of tea, talks, plans what is going to transpire next and eats something. It is very conveniently located right next to the tea cupboard, the teakettle, the stove and the refrigerator! I like it when friends feel so comfortable that they walk right in, ask me what I’m cooking, grab an apple or banana from a bowl on the counter, and make themselves at home. It doesn’t disturb me or my work at all! In fact I find it forces me to relax and take a break and afterwards I am able to return to whatever project I’ve been working on and be more productive.

Even I am quite amazed at what can be done with a small space if one is resourceful. It was all I had to work with and presented an interesting challenge. The more I experiment with using it the more I find I can do within the limitations it presents. Sometimes limitations and restrictions help you make good art because you have to begin by working within their confines. This photo is another humble little example of that fact!

Scarf Styling in a Pinch. It Works for All Sizes! How About Making a Sarong into an Instant Dress When You Need a Dress Immediately for Yourself or for Your Doll…

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Lisa in Her White Sarong at an LA Art Gallery

You Just never know what challenges life will throw you do you? When shopping in thrift stores I always check out the toys in case I find some wonderful toy that has been abandoned and is appropriate for a 4 year old boy and or a 3 year old girl. I have found a lot of really nice things.

Recently I found Lisa. She is a genuine Madame Alexander My Favorite Friend doll. She is an 18″ doll similar to the American Girl Dolls. She had no name and no clothes! Other than that she was in like new condition. She has pretty long blond hair that you can comb and style and it won’t fall out. She cost only $1.

We instantly named her Lisa. It suits her. And we were going out to lunch. She had to come, of course. But what about the no clothes problem? Not a problem! If you know how to tie a scarf! I carried her into the restaurant wrapped into my coat so people wouldn’t notice she was naked.

Napkin Dress, Gourd Purse, Seed Jewelry

We were given a table and we immediately spread out a cloth napkin on the seat of the booth, like you do for changing babies! We lay Lisa down on the napkin, then took another napkin and folded and wrapped and tied it into a fashionable sarong dress for her. It worked perfectly!

One member of our party was wearing a few casual seed bracelets and we instantly made those into a belt and several doll size necklaces! Simply by putting them over Lisa’s little head. We had a keychain made from a small gourd which we took off the keys and appropriated for use as a purse! Then we combed out Lisa’a beautiful long blond hair.

She looked great! She was appropriately dressed in an elegant white sarong with a belt and necklaces and the latest style in a “designer” bag! She joined us at the table for lunch and several women came over to comment on how pretty she looked! We thanked them. And we said we were going to go shopping for shoes for her later.

Tres Chic ~ Who is the Designer?

We visited an artists house after lunch and Coco posed her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I photographed her “in the gallery” looking at the art. We are posting some of the pictures so you can see how pretty and versatile a sarong dress can be! In a pinch you could make one out of a table cloth, a curtain or a sheet! Any large piece of cloth can be fashioned into a dress or a skirt. Lightweight ones drape, fold, wrap and pleat more easily than anything heavy would.

 

"Look at this Detail!"

Isn’t Lisa’s white linen sarong dress made out of a cloth napkin darling? I think she looks quite fashionable!

 

 

 

 

I have demonstrations of many ways to style, tie and wear scarves on my blog with complete how to instructions. Please scroll back through my postings to check these out. They were written and photographed for grown ups but, we realized we can easily tie them on dolls as well! They work for people of all sizes.

 

 

The Final Shot ~ What a Doll!

Behind the Scene ~ Getting Lisa Prepared for the Photo Shoot

Stuffed Friends Doing Their Important Job as Fur Angels

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Evacuation Center

Here is a very moving photograph taken inside an evacuation center near Fukushima showing the important work and comforting power of these beloved creatures.

http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/31/japan-photo-inside-a.html

~ Lady Violette’s Class Chicken and Perfect Baked Potatoes Recipes ~

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I am asked for my baked chicken recipe so often that I have decided to post it on my blog. I call it Class Chicken because I taught dance classes in my home studio for many years. The classes lasted an hour. I usually had one at 4:45 – 5:45PM. My dance studio was just a couple of rooms away from the kitchen. I could prepare the chicken for baking, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and pop the chicken and several baking potatoes into the oven a couple of minutes before I began teaching class. It would be perfectly cooked and I could serve dinner at 6:00! I was able to prepare this no fuss delicious chicken dinner and have dinner on the table a few minutes after my class was finished. The ultimate in multitasking, right?

My kids love this recipe! So do I. And every adult who has eaten it at my house want’s my secret. There is no secret. It is very simple to make. I have tagged this recipe for children as they love it. It is really an adult recipe fit for everyone!

You will need:

Chicken, olive oil, Herbes de Provence, rosemary spring, thyme sprig, bay leaf or several, salt and coarsely ground pepper, a fresh lemon

Baking Potatoes, butter, salt, pepper, sour cream, chives or green onions, lemon ~  if you want them for toppings.

You can use any kind of chicken cut into parts. You could use all breasts, and or thighs, or drumsticks, or a combination of those pieces or a whole chicken cut into parts. The amount is also optional. Cook as much as you will serve and eat for one meal or extra so you can save it to eat cold the next day. Baked chicken breasts are delicious sliced into small pieces and added to a green salad or put into a sandwich.

I use chicken with the skin on because I like the flavor and I like the crispy skin. I have used the skinless boneless variety and it works. It just isn’t as attractive or as tasty without the lovely crusty skin. I have no problem with fat, not does anyone in my family so we are able to eat whatever we like – such as skin on our roasted chicken!

Preheat the oven to 400 Degrees. Use a heavy cast iron skillet that can be put into the oven or a casserole dish. Choose one large enough to spread out all the chicken you choose to cook in one layer. Grease the pan with olive oil. Using a pastry brush paint each piece of chicken lightly with olive oil in order to make the herbs stick to it.

Put a very generous amount of Herbes de Provence in a mortor and pestle and add salt and coarsely ground black pepper in the proportionate amount you instinctively judge to be right. You can always add more salt and pepper, even after the chicken is cooked and tasted at the table. (Leave out the salt for people who are required not to use it.) Grind these ingredients together. Then coat each piece of chicken quite thoroughly with the herb mixture. I simply put the herbs in a pie pan and roll each piece of chicken through them until it is coated.

Arrange the chicken pieces in one layer in the cooking pan. Now add fresh bay leaves. Either place a whole leaf under a slit in the skin of a big piece of chicken like a breast, or tear the leaf in smaller pieces to put on each piece. I make a slit in the chicken skin with a sharp knife and insert the bay leaf or part of one under the skin. This imparts a lovely flavor to the meat.

It is important not to eat the bay leaves. Ever! The body cannot digest them and they end up in peoples appendixes! So remember to remove the bay leaves before eating. And tell everyone you are serving this.

If fresh rosemary and thyme is available, add a sprig of one or each. I simply lay a small “branch” across the top of the chicken. If you have several pieces cooking use a few small sprigs. You will also remove these at the end of the baking also along with the bay leaves.

The oven is now preheated to 400 Degrees. The chicken is now coated with the herbs, and in the cooking pan, with the bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme if you have it.

Put the chicken in its pan on the center rack of the oven and cook for one hour. You can check it at 45 minutes if you like, but it usually takes a full hour to bake through and develop a nice golden brown crispy crust. The chicken is done when the crust is browned. It smells divine while cooking. The herbs smell fabulous.

Remove the chicken from the oven, remove the bay leaves and any rosemary or thyme twigs before serving. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the meat for a nice fresh twinge of citrus.

If I am serving a group I put the chicken on a platter preheated in my dishwasher or under hot running to help keep the meat hot. If serving individuals or small groups I serve it directly on dinner plates.

I generally bake perfect potatoes at the same time as the chicken in the same oven! At the same 4oo degree preheated oven for an hour. Isn’t that easy? To bake a potato perfectly use a medium sized baker. Wash the skin with a brush. Puncture the potatoes with a sharp knife. I stab a knife into the skin and about an inch into the flesh of the potato about 5x per potato. (It is very important to do this or your potato will turn into a bomb and explode in your oven making a very loud noise and a terrible mess. It has happened at our house when somebody forgot to puncture a potato. And it was a disaster!)

I spent my summers on my grandparent’s ranch in southern Idaho as child and they raised potatoes. Idaho is know as the Potato State! The natives call themselves and each other Spuds! This is how Spuds bake perfect potatoes. My potatoes are perfectly cooked and fluffy inside at the same time the chicken is done. To test them for doneness pierce the potato with a sharp knife. If it goes in easily and the inside is soft it is cooked. If the potato is still firm and it is hard to insert the knife it needs to cook a little longer. (Do not over cook.)

I serve the potatoes with the chicken with butter, salt and pepper, or sour cream and chopped chives or green onions if they are available. I present the potatoes whole, unopened so they stay piping hot and let each diner put on his own choice and amount of garnishes. Salt, pepper and fresh lemon juice squeezed onto the flesh of a potato are also very good if one is trying to avoid butter. B sure to eat the skin as it is really tasty and full of nutrients.

I serve the Class Chicken and Perfect Baked Potatoes with a tossed green salad and my Sauce Vinaigrette salad dressing which is already published on this blog.

I make the salad in advance and stick it in the refrigerator while teaching class or whatever. I also make the dressing in advance and have it sitting out at room temperature. The salad is ready to serve after tossing with the dressing.

You can preset the dinner table, then put the chicken, the baked potatoes and the salad on the table and sit down to a great dinner in 10 minutes. A loaf of crusty French Bread is another nice addition.

I am really hungry after writing this! I want to go to the store to get the ingredients and make it tonight!

I will add a photo in a day or two. I am posting this today at a friend’s request.

Asides from me: Microwaved potatoes taste terrible. Oiling the skin of a potato on the outside before cooking it ruins it. Putting it in foil ruins it. Baking Potatoes are a perfect ready to easily cook gift from God. They come in their own baking dish (their own skin) and the entire thing is edible. They are, in my opinion, a perfect food. I have many other ways to cook potatoes as well which I will write up at some point.

A Fun Day of Sewing Charming 1950’s Styles in Crispy Printed Cotton

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Butterfly Apron ~ Original 1952 Design

The Feminine Arts in Action

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today I made a couple of fun and easy ultra feminine vintage goodies out of flower and butterfly and polka dot printed cotton. It is so fun and relaxing to work with compared to slinky slithery silks! And it goes so much faster. Very rewarding!

I made a 1952 Vintage Vogue Apron from currently available Vogue pattern number 8643 ~ view A. I love the giant super functional pockets, the practical length and the fact that it required 3 packages of bright pink rick~rack! That is 7 and 1/2 yards! Wow!

Great Big Piockets with Great Big Rick~Rack!

It is so springy and cheerful! I am currently in love with colorful aprons and pinafores and printed cotton dresses! The fabrics are so cute and the styles are so girly. I want to start wearing them as accessories all the time while I am working at home. They make me feel good, like wearing perfume does, or having a bouquet of fresh tulips on the kitchen table. They are so colorful and so uplifting! Easy to make too. It is no wonder they were so popular in the 50’s! They make you feel good. Psychologically!

Little Girl's Twirly Skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also made an adorable size 3T full circle skirt in bright pink polka dotted cotton, with green butterfly pockets, waistband and bow from leftover apron material. I made miles of handmade bias tape for the hemline of this little skirt out of a third pink and green printed fabric.

Pleated Butterfly Pocket Trimmed with Custom Made Bias Tape and Button

 

 

 

 

 

It runs along the top of the pockets and around the bottom of the hem of the skirt. It shows up better in person than in this little photo. And it is a really nice touch in person. The pockets  also have pleats and are trimmed with little pink buttons. This little girl’s skirt is made from currently available Simplicity pattern 2356.

I had a special request for a butterfly skirt! And just enough fabric left over from the apron to make two pockets with the butterflies strategically positioned with one on each side and tilted a bit so they look like they are in flight. I think it is a hit! It is going to be a surprise and I am quite sure the little three year old fashion plate I made it for will absolutely love it! I have enough leftover fabrics to make her some matching doll clothes too!  I intend to do a doll skirt just like the little girl’s skirt!

Interesting Front T~Panel Construction

This kind of sewing is so much fun. I love mixing the fabrics, and adding as many girly details as I possibly can. That would be multiple pink and green printed cottons, pockets, bias binding, decorative buttons, top stitching, inventive pockets, and, of course bows!

The apron features a front T~panel construction which eliminates gathers across the stomach and creates a very slimming look while allowing the side gathers to give the impression of a lushly gathered full skirt.

Women were so conscious of their prettiness in the 1950’s. I say we should look this good around the house! I’m sure it will make us look better and I think it will make us feel better!

Little girls naturally want to wear flowered skirts and butterfly prints and bows and pink ~ grown up women should get back into it as much as possible again! All these vintage touches bring back femininity. They are artistic and they make us feel good. It’s those feminine arts doing their positive work! Bringing sensual pleasure and beauty to life!

A Lovely Twosome!

Nice Crisp Bow in the Back

Superb Vintage Green Coat & Hat Trimmed in Real Beaver Fur for Saint Patrick’s Day if You Are 3 years Old!

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Bambur Original sz~3T Green Wool Coat & Hat with Beaver Fur Trim

This is a fabulous wool coat and matching hat trimmed in real beaver fur from the early 1950’s. It fits a stylish little three year old perfectly! It is adorable! I rescued and restored it. When I found it it was damp and very very dirty. It was a risk as I didn’t know if I would be able to get it clean enough and mold free enough to use. I had to have it professionally dry cleaned. Then I restitched most of the lining. I replaced the buttons with new ones – several of the originals which had been dark brown were missing. I didn’t have the same type. But I did have a full set of black velvet ones off of an old jacket that would fit. So I used those. The coat is by Bambur Originals in Tennesee. It was made in the early 1950’s. The adorable matching hat has little earflaps that fold down to cover the ears when needed! They are tucked inside as currently pictured. Two long ties extend from the hat to tie under the chin and keep it on. I got the coat ready just in time for Christmas to wear over holiday dresses but then I realized it is perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day as well! We are certainly getting a lot of use out of this one! It was well worth the expense and effort to fix it! It is on top of my glass coffee table which is placed on top of my green Karistan carpet with wildflowers on it for the photo! I am posting vintage items in green this week in honor of Saint Patrick’s day. I have decided they can be any size and for anyone in the family!

Christian Dior said, “I Have Designed Flower Women.” in describing his new look silhouette after World War II

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

Christian Dior 1957 - Ultimate Elegance

On FLOWERS, in his dictionary of style, Christian Dior said,

“After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world.”

“But being so sweet and so charming they must be used with care. A flowered hat may be lovely or ridiculous. A flower in your buttonhole or in your belt or in your decollete may be extremely nice… but choose a variety of flower and a color to suit your personality. ”

“Flowered prints I think are wonerful…silk prints in beautiful colors are lovely for afternoon suits, dinner frocks, or cocktail dresses.”

“In brilliant colors, too, flowered prints can be gay for holiday clothes.”

“… flowers can bring a touch of color to a dark dress. A spray of purple pansies and yellow gold  mimosa can do wonders to light up a dark dress.”

Interestingly, many  years latter, we continue to feel the same way. I think it is because they cheer us up and it is such a natural thing to do ~ see a pretty flower, pick it and tuck in in our hair so we can be just as lovely and alluring as the flower itself!

Three year old Coco put flowers in her hair a few postings back. I pinned a flower on my own dress yesterday. Today we are contemplating hats with flowers in them. Spring is in the air and we all want to be fresh and new and colorful just like the flowers!

In fact, we want to be flowers!

http://fashionlvr.com/5407/christian-dior-spring-2011-haute-couture/ here is the Spring 2011 Dior show as designed by John Gallianos – in the midst of much controversy – still, it is artistically brilliant! And I suggest you check it out keeping that fact in mind.

 

Baaharaji, the Knitting Guru, and His Knitting Assistant Friends

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Baaharaji & Knitting Assistant Friends

Baaharaji is hard and work knitting socks and has two assistants to help him. They are Measuring Sheep who conveniently sports a pull out tape measure in his tail, and Knitting Mama Sheep who knits miniature articles for small dolls on tiny toothpick needles while keeping track of a good sharp pair of embroidery scissors attached to a long black ribbon.

Baaha, as we call him for short, has just completed a sample sock as a test pattern. It turned out really well. Now we are ready to make one human sized!

Baaha is wearing one of his hand knitted Rasta Style hats today. This one is also a sample pattern which is now ready to be made up in a human size as well.

Measuring Sheep is a valuable  member of my knitting team now as he is responsible for taking accurate  measurements of all projects.

Knitting Mama Sheep is always knitting and she makes sure our scissors can be found at all times. She cleverly tied them to a six foot long piece of ribbon and herself so they cannot be carried further away from a knitting project than that! What a good idea!

Baaharaji ~ The Expert Knitter

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Baaharaji the Knitting Guru

Baaharaji is a young sheep from India who is an amazing knitter. He is nicknamed The Knitting Guru!  No project is too difficult for him to master. He is a very clever fellow.

He has a distinct personal fashion style always wearing arm bands made of his current favorite yarns and often sporting a turban created by a ball of yarn. He often wears hand knitted Rasta hats that he makes for himself as well.

Here he is about to knit Sari Ribbon Yarn imported by Louisa Harding from his native India, into a complicated project using many types of novelty yarns knitted together. The Sari Ribbon has a metallic silver streak throughout. Baaharaji is working on my knitted Poncho in this photo. The finished poncho is shown a few postings back.

Baaharaji is one of a group of sheep knitting mascots that I have. He is a patient knitter and is always willing to hold yarn stretched out between his paws so that it won’t tangle while I wind it into balls.

Baaharaji has a personal goal to teach as many children as possible to knit.

You Can Sash Your Waist With a Scarf! or Do It Doll Size! There are Endless Possibilities with Scarves and Imagination!

Monday, February 21st, 2011

A Dramatic Scarf Sashed at the Waist by Tricia James

Isn’t this a darling way to use a scarf!  Tricia James has taken a small pocket sized square, folded it and wrapped the waist of my little 16″ tall mannequin as if she is wearing a giant sash! She has put one of the scarf clips in her collection at the waist as if it is a pretty buckle. This is one of her own designs and is gold plated over sterling silver and set with small pearls, the epitome of classic elegance.

Of course you can use a larger scarf and make a waist sash to fit yourself. Either a square or rectangular scarf will work. Wouldn’t it be pretty to wear a vibrant silk scarf this way over a simple black dress and accent the whole with vintage or modern costume jewelry you just happen to have? I have used my string of vintage red glass beads doubled to fit the little dress form. I am able to be wear it myself as a long single strand necklace. Any brooch or scarf clip could be used as a clip at the waist. Even a hair clip will work!

I have lots of scarves languishing in my dresser drawers and I am anxious to get them out and try them in all these new ways! I can see that the strategic use of  scarves can transform and massively extend my wardrobe. I am wondering, for example, how many different looking outfits I could create with two  basic dresses and five different scarves… And what a great solution this would be while traveling  – allowing me to travel light and still have enough different looks along to be super stylish and surprising at all times! It is exciting to consider this. Also, it requires no shopping (or spending of money) so it is a very economical solution to updating one’s wardrobe for the spring season. I liken this to going shopping in my own house which is always a good thing. Everyone probably has a lot of untapped potential in their closets and drawers that they don’t realize is there or know how to use. Specifically, a lot of scarves and shawls that could come out and get used imaginatively…They are kind of wasted sitting in dark drawers aren’t they?

This small dress form pictured is the same size as a Madame Alexader Cissy doll at 16″ tall. Madame Alexander also makes the My Favorite Friend doll who is 18″ tall and is designed to be a play doll. I have discovered that you can make great outfits to dress dolls out of scarves. This is a fun way to play with dolls with little girls while teaching them ways to tie and wear scarves themselves when they grow up.

Scarf tying is a fascinating subject! Definitely an art form and definitely one of the Feminine Arts! Lovely!

I am thinking, this small one on this tiny mannequin looks like a beautiful red silk skirt worn over a straight black sheath dress. Why couldn’t I find or make a gigantic scarf into a “skirt”  like this and wear it over a straight black jersey dress, thus creating an elegant high drama look? It is all about changing the proportions. A large silk scarf made into a wide sash at the waist, human sized, is one lovely idea. And a much bigger scarf made into sash so large it becomes a dramatic overskirt is another! I am inspired and I must try it! So I will, soon…and I will post a picture of the results!

Visit International Scarf Stylist Tricia James at scarfgenie.com where she shows many of the things she is creating and producing…

The JOY perfume bottles are from Lady Violette’s personal collection of classic vintage perfume bottles.