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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Interior Decorating’

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!

Fairy Rescued! “The Lavender Fairy” is Now Safe in Lady Violette’s Salon!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

"The Lavender Fairy" in needlepoint

Yesterday, I was browsing through a really grungy thrift and junk shop on highway 99 in the middle of absolute nowhere when I came upon a prime example of the Feminine Arts ~ an exquisitely executed portrait of “The Lavender Fairy” hand done in extremely fine needlepoint on linen and accented with the  smallest glass seed beads, embroidery and tiny pearls.

The Lavender Fairy  is sitting delicately on a branch ~ as she might be in your garden ~ and holding a wand with glittering white fairy dust coming out of it. She is an elegant adult fairy of Victorian sensibilities.

Technically the piece is very well done. It couldn’t be better! It is also beautifully professionally matted and framed. And it is quite large – the image is about 2′ x 3′ before matting and framing. It is in a lovely antiqued silver painted wood frame. I cannot take the glass off the picture to photograph it without damaging the matting and framing job. Thus I have photographed it with the glass on and there is glare, alas!

The picture is not signed by the artist. That is too bad, as I would like to know who made it. Some woman spent many hours lovingly creating this picture. Not only in executing the needlework involved  in this particular piece, but also in learning how to do it! All in all it is very impressive! I just had to have it. Because I truly appreciate it and in order to take good care of it.  Fortunately for me it was very reasonably priced.

So, I brought “The Lavender Fairy” home with me and I am now in the process of cleaning it up and finding a nice place to hang it in my house. I will hang her in my Lady Violette Salon ~ the one very feminine room in the house. It is actually a little sitting room I have created upstairs and filled with all manor of little feminine objets d’art such as this that I am dedicated to preserving and caring for. I have decorated it like I think a tiny Paris apartment might have been in a novel in the 1920’s.

My Lady Violette Salon is a perfect little place to go when someone comes over to visit for a cup of tea and a delicious little pastry and an hour or so of knitting or embroidery. I have created it as a tiny escape nest from the modern world! A little retreat to a quieter and gentler time. It is also a perfect place to read.

As Lady Violette de Courcy I am truly dedicated to finding, restoring and preserving the finest examples of The Feminine Arts and to maintaining a touch of the civilized past in my life and those of my friends and family. I am delighted to now have The Lavender Fairy in my care!

A note about the Feminine Arts. In times past a well bred young woman would be expected to be able to paint a little, sing a little, play the piano and pen occasional bits of poetry. Often a little meant quite proficiently! But heaven forbid she wished to become an actual  professional artist! Mama and Papa would be horrified. For professional artists were considered  bohemian and risque!  Something to think about!

Lady Violette’s Very Personal Color Way ~ Fleurific Shades of Violets, Lilacs, Lavender, Orchids, Cosmos and Roses

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

The Fleurific Poncho & Neckpiece by Lady Violette

As Lady Violette, I have my personal flowers – the violet and the rose, and I also have my own favorite and very personal colors ~ the same range of colors ~ the violets and the roses and every variation of lavender, lilac, pansy, orchid, cosmos, and purple in between! These colors remind me of my personal flowers and, if I wear them, do their job, as they flatter me in every way!  I know they will look good on me so I can grab them and go

I have made up and used the word Fluerific, to describe them for years. After all fleur means flower in French so it figures that it would work, as a word, combined with terrific. La Fleur is also feminine! Of course! As Lady Violette, I have created a new word and It is here to stay. Permanently! I have been using it for years. I am now making it available for everyone to use.

I knit. A lot. Period! And I love beautiful fibers and yarns, and ribbons. These luxury yarns and fibers are expensive and hard to come by, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of money to knit a full garment out of one. Not to mention discipline, stick-to-it-iv-ness and determination to  make a garment from start to finish. One can easily spend over $100 on supplies and 100 hours or more on execution of a hand knitted article of clothing. If I am going to do that I am going to end up with a garment that is a work of art.

I cannot possibly knit and crochet everything I dream of making! There is not enough yarn or time available in a lifetime! Thus, I discovered that I could somewhat satisfy my yarn lust by buying  just one ball of yarn that fell into my fleurific color way and adding it into my yarn basket and using it in combination with others to make totally unique items of my own design. Thus I have developed my style of knitting. I draw yarns from the basket and work with them just as I would if I were painting.

I have experimented with knitting like this a lot and have gotten to the point that I can feel the yarns coming together through my fingers in the correct gauges as I work. I develop the shape of the garment I am making as I go. I have made sweaters, scarves, shawls, ponchos. hats, gloves, socks, etc, in this way. No two ever come out alike! and I think making two alike would be incredibly difficult! I also have no idea how it will come out until I am well into knitting it. This is because this kind of knitted work cannot be designed ahead of time ~ it is a flowing design process that just comes out of me while I am doing it rather, I assume, like a silkworm produces as he is spinning his silk!

Pictured is my Fleurific Poncho and separate Lady Violette Neckpiece shown in one way it can be worn ~ over the poncho for extra warmth and dramatic flair at the neck…Both are my own Lady Violette Original Designs. The neckpiece is actually a kind of scarf, tied together with ribbons.

I am working on writing instructions to give other people so they can make their own versions using the techniques I am using. I cannot write exact patterns as all yarns and knitters will differ, but I can explain how it is done so that another knitter can embark on a similar project. You can begin by collecting a big basket of yarns in the color way you desire to work with. I recommend a personal color way of course!

A big beautiful basket of colorful hand made yarns is a nice interior design element in your house as well! People seem to enjoy looking at the balls of yarn, picking them up, feeling them, commenting on the textures, softness and colors. One more example of the enjoyable  “The Feminine Arts!”

Vintage Shoe of the Week – An Elegant Red Silk Satin Satin Slipper

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

Red Silk Satin Vintage Slipper

I promised to show a vintage shoe each week. – This one is an elegant red satin slipper with scalloped sides and 3 inch high heels that was  that was dyed to match something from which it was separated years ago.

Currently I am designing and making a costume for my friend, Princess WOW!, to wear while performing in an upcoming concert in NYC. (More about that in an upcoming future post.)

I am determined that I will see that this new dress is properly shod and presented with the correct jewelry at it’s debut. I always deliver a costume fully accessorized.

I am showing the shoe against the colorful giant paisley fabric I am using in the skirt of the gown. The fabric is a 1960’s vintage  crispy silk which I have beaded and sequined. The red satin shoes will be worn with glistening magenta stockings and will peek out below the bright paisley fabric of the skirt. Colorful? Yes! And, did you know that paisley, as a design motif, was originally inspired by a flower petal? Perhaps that is one reason why the flower children of the 1960’s liked using paisley fabrics!

Because Princess WOW! – the client for whom this dress is being made – specializes in wearing beautiful clothes that get people’s attention, make them smile, and remind them of the late 1960’s. The challenge for me was to design a stage costume reminiscent of the flower children of 1968. I have had this beautiful giant paisley printed silk fabric for years! It’s time has finally come!

Shortly after beginning the design process I found these beautiful red silk satin shoes, in her exact size, while thrifting! They had been worn only once and were essentially brand new. What luck! And I paid only $6! I think this particular pair is one of those dyeable white satin shoes from the 1980’s that was specially colored to match an outfit worn just one time. Then it was probably stored in a box at the back of a closet for 20 years.

I think this particular pair of red shoes is lucky that it got to come out now – after 20 plus years of living in oblivion – and will have an exciting new life performing on the stage in New York City and on live television! At the moment I am enjoying having them in my studio for inspiration while I am designing the concert dresses. (There are now two in the works. ) I am fully enjoying the experience of having so much pretty color  around me in the dead of winter!

A Lady Violette interior design tip: Shoes are beautiful sculptural objects and I often put a pair out as an art object to enjoy. Sometimes I display one pair on a coffee table, or I put  several colorful or whimsical pairs out, one on each stair step, leading from my little living room up the stairway to the second floor level of the house. It is a great way to enjoy my shoe collection and people find it very entertaining. It is a good thing to do for a party. People will sit on the stairs, talking and admiring the shoes. Shoes have many uses beyond wearing them on your feet! They are objets d’art! Another fine example of the Feminine Arts!

Art and About… The Picture “Fur is Fabulous!” …………..

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

"Fur is Fabulous!"

I’ve decided to write about art and how artists make their work. And  how that process is reflected on a daily basis in their lives. I am asked about this a lot. Questions like, “How do you come up with such ideas? How did you ever think of that? How did that happen? ” So I will be discussing this from time to time and  hope to give insight into the creative process as I experience it. Artist friends are certainly invited to comment…I’d love to hear what you experience when you do it!

This picture is a perfect place for me to start. It is a picture of me and it is taken by my son, Leigh. Here is how it came to be made. We were at my house, in the living room/dining room/kitchen/com art studio section which is where everything happens. It was morning and we were getting organized to go out for the day. I had just taken a shower and I was was wearing a vintage black silk kimono and sitting on a wicker chair next to a small table with one of the Dutch Master’s inspired silk flower sculptures that I make on it. That is the floral arrangement you see on the right side of the composition. There is a window, high up on the left side from which natural morning light came into this scene. We were talking. And I was sewing. I am a designer and I make original designs and restyle and restore vintage clothing all the time. I always have something under construction. I had recently taken the large black Norwegian fox fur cuffs off of a deep purple wool coat from the 1940’s in order to have it cleaned. I wanted to wear it today so I was sitting there, reattaching the cuffs to the coat! I was carefully stitching them back in place by hand, one stitch at a time …

Leigh was born with a camera as an appendage. It is always with him and he is always using it to record and document his life and life around him. That naturally expands to include the lives of his family members, friends, and at this point everything else in the world. Nothing and no one is spared the scrutiny of his lens! He was talking to me as I sewed and drinking coffee and studying me and the light, but I was absorbed by what I was doing and not paying this any attention.

As you may have gleaned from my blog so far, I love hats! I love to wear them, style them, make them, talk about them, write about them, whatever… I was looking over the giant black fur cuff I was working on and stroking it, when, I suddenly thought of it as a HAT! Then I plopped it on my head, turned sideways, put my chin on my hand and struck the pose you see in the picture and said, “Fur is Fabulous!” and Leigh, who is always at the ready, snapped his shutter.

Then we split up, laughing. Laughing because we were having fun, we thought we might have spontaneously made a good portrait and we were feeling happy!

As it turned out, we had made a good portrait. We titled it, “Fur is Fabulous!” Many people have told us they like the photograph. It has also generated a great deal of controversy which is something we never would have expected …

I will continue to discuss both of these results in a future post….

Add Color to Your Life in the Winter – My Knitting Nook as an Example

Friday, February 11th, 2011

All the Colors in the Rainbow - The Kitchen Knitting Nook

It has been so drab and dark out lately that I’ve been redecorating daily to add color to my home environment. My local knitting shop closed suddenly and I decided to create my own perfect knitting environment at home. Hoping some of my knitting friends would like to come over to knit together as we did in the shop! This is an invitation to you guys!

It’s in the corner of my kitchen where I do all my creative projects, under the kitchen window, I have a black couch there and a glass coffee table, plain but allowing me to bring in elements of color for continual change. I thought it would be fun to show some of the various design looks I achieve! And where I make many of my things!

I knit and sew there. I take all my photographs there. It is the only place with enough light in the house for these activities. As kitchens are a social place for families I can be in the middle of all the activity while working on my stuff. I like the chaos, actually. It inspires me. Tea can be made easily as it is in the kitchen!

Here I have spread a crocheted afghan made of  yarns of all the colors in the rainbow against black – an instant brightener! And the wool texture as well as the colors creates inviting comforting warmth. I Knit a lot and love exotic yarns and fibers. This is a good way to show of one of my afghans and enjoy the visuals of projects in progress. I set up vignettes of “little helpers” to entertain children and inspire them to start leaning to sew, knit and crochet. I learned from my grandmother and mother when I was about 5 yrs old. Another one of those good old fashioned feminine arts that are so pleasurable and life enriching to know how to do. I will soon be blogging about teaching children to knit and sew and putting out my grandmother’s diary of hand sewing lessons for children. She actually wrote them down in a book as weekly lessons. Fascinating and still completely applicable today. I have taught several children to sew with them and it is time to get this information out to more people. This is an activity you can do with your child. You can learn to sew as an adult if you don’t know how through these lessons as well, as they will work for everyone. They are brilliant. Quite easy and no sewing machine is required. Watch for these. I am adding a tag for children as I will be writing things you can share with your child of all ages (that includes grown ups.) I was asked if I could teach a 24 yr old woman to sew yesterday and an 11 yr old girl today. Yes, I can! and I believe I can do it  this way. I have ideas for continuing into basic machine sewing as well. Watch for posts about sewing lessons coming soon.