Monday, September 29, 2014



Every dress I make gets a little part of my soul- a little bit of "me". Some dresses get just a tiny bit and some get a lot of it. This dress got a lot of it, and I am soo proud of how it turned out. I think I was intimidated by writing this post because it's like the final farewell to a project that took a multitude of hours, but today is the one year anniversary of this dress' special day it's time. The only picture I managed to snap the day of the wedding was the one above, all of the other photos in this post were captured by the amazing photographer Rena Schild.


Sarah and I started planning her wedding way before she was engaged- That's what best friends do right? It's a fun thing to talk about! And ever since Sarah asked me to make her dress I knew what it should look like- I could just picture it. So the day came when the boyfriend popped the question becoming a fiance and the journey to create the perfect wedding dress began. 


It was quite an adventure, which included a trip to a salon to try on dresses for shapes, sketches of dresses to determine dream details, fabric store hunting to find the perfect fabric, muslin fittings to ensure perfect fit. One of Sarah's favorite stories is how I had her over for dinner and fabric swatch looking and I said "I found the fabric for your dress but we will see what you think". When she got there I spread three or four swatches on the table and asked  her what she thought of them, I didn't tell her which I was in love with because it needed to be her choice and I didn't want to sway her. She says it was like a test of our friendship- how "eye to eye" did we see on this dress! She picked the one I loved, so it must have been meant to be ;) 


The dress was crafted from seven yards of champagne colored taffeta, twelve yards of cream tulle, eight yards of delicate, vintage inspired rose printed lace, and tied around the middle with a wide satin sash. I think that part of the challenge of wedding dress creation is how much fabric it takes- sewing a wedding dress feels like wrestling an octopus at times. 



Sarah wanted a long romantic dress for the wedding and a shorter, simpler dress for the reception (so it would be easier to move in). I accomplished that by creating a tea length dress that would be worn the whole day with a long, full tulle skirt that would be worn over it just for the ceremony. The dress is lace covered taffeta with flattering sheer, elbow length sleeves and a full circle skirt- perfect for vintage pink petticoat underneath. The high round neck line contrasts nicely with the dramatic, hand cut scalloped lace, key hole back. To carry the romantic lace detail onto the skirt I hand cut hundreds of lace roses and petals and fused them to the tulle. I used bigger rose segments towards the hem and smaller ones towards the top so the roses would look like they were gracefully falling  towards the hem. I love the body of the tulle skirt, it moved in the most magical way. I hand cut a medium sized section of lace, stiffened it with interfacing, and attached it to ribbon for the matching hair piece. 


It took hours and I have to thank my mom and sister for their help corralling Cordelia so I could work and all their sewing advice and assistance. It is my biggest project to date and it was well worth it!


It was such a beautiful wedding with soo many hand made personal touches and details. (if you want to see more Darlips related wedding posts you can click here, here, here, and here) My heartfelt congratulations goes out to the bride and groom on today- their one year anniversary! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sew Geeky: Howl's Jacket


It's that time again! Time to show off some awesome Sew Geeky sewing! With school and work and the disappearing sun I am very grateful for the Sew Geeky sewing series since without it I might not make time to touch my sewing machine. I'm putting soo much time into trying to understand molecules and focus on not mixing up Isomers and Isotopes that it felt great to focus on something I totally understand. This month's theme was Studio Ghibli and after much thought I picked Howl's Moving Castle to focus on. 

Howl's Moving Castle is a great story about self confidence and learning about who you are- always a big deal in our house; and if you haven't seen it I highly recommend that you go watch it! With the weather turning colder I decided to make a jacket and leggings for Cordelia based on Howl's monster self- a dark bird-like creature. 

arm wrap

I picked black flannel for the base of the jacket- lined with fusible fleece interfacing and more black flannel.  I was very impressed by the weight of the jacket in the end, it should keep Miss C nice and warm. I used Charming Doodles's Knight Hoodie for reference on the size and the sleeves but then I kind of made the shape of the jacket up as I went.The leggings are a shiny spandex dance wear fabric and I am very envious of them! 

3 Move
4 move 35 move 4

To create wings I cut two wing shaped quarter circles and then used silver thread to quilt a feather pattern on them, To add even more texture I cut and sewed various sized feathers, using two tones of gray, black, and leftover shiny black fabric. Howl often looks very ruffled in his bird shape and I wanted the jacket to reflect that. The wings are only attached at the shoulders so they aren't a pain to move with, and they have loops at the end of them that can be pulled up when it's time to "fly".

hughappyCalcifer hood

My sister Shauna has been saving my butt when I bite off more than I can chew for 13 years (since I started taking on big sewing projects) whether it's help on a project or help adding to it she always does amazing things. This month she made this adorable Calcifer softie because he is the best character with the best lines in the movie and we just couldn't celebrate Howl's Moving Castle without him! and when I lamented because I had wanted to make shoes to go with the outfit but didn't have time, she whipped up this cute navy leather pair! 

Calcifer eat bCalcifer eat a

Cordelia was pretty excited about her new coat and leggings but I won't deny that she loves her new Calcifer the best- she especially enjoyed feeding him acorns (just like the Totoros eat, Howl may be my favorite but Totoro is her's so expect future Totoro posts!)


Thanks for stopping by guys! and please make sure you check out all of the amazing women I was lucky enough to sew along with this month! I am stunned by all the super cool things they made! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

One Moment at a Time


When I first quit my job to reevaluate my priorities in life and spend more time with Cordelia we did a lot stuff. Every week had to have a planned adventure, and art project, and a sewing project and the house had to be perfectly clean. When I spent all of my time working, or stuck in traffic I thought about all of the things I could do if I was a stay at home mom/independent crafts-person. I was going to be great. I would teach Cordelia amazing things, I would coupon clip, plan great grocery lists, cook amazing meals, finally get my house clean, and then on top of it all I would build an amazing Etsy shop- and then start selling my stuff at craft fairs. 


Looking back on it I understand I set myself up for failure, no one knows how hard it is to be a stay at home mom until they try it. It seems impossible to ever get enough time to build an inventory for the store, and cleaning a home with a small child in it is akin to shoveling snow during a blizzard. No matter how hard or how fast you work you will never find the sidewalk before it's covered in more snow.  Also- I think I might hate meal planning and dinner cooking with a passion. No one ever talks about how as a SHM trying to start a business how hard it is to manage quality time with your kid. So, after trying for a year to make things work (and failing) I am enrolled back in school- so I can try my hand in another field.


But, man I am tired. Fridays are my "day off" and it is the day Cordelia and I have "us" time. I'm trying to use Friday to soak up mother daughter bonding time instead of trying to mark everything off my impossible "to do" list. She is growing in leaps and bounds, I often wonder where my tiny little baby went. I spend a lot of my time both wishing time would speed up and slow down at the same time- I think "it will be soo much easier once school is done and I have a job and we can live someplace with more space and I won't feel guilty spending time away from Miss C because she will be in School" but at the same time I feel painfully aware of the fact that I just want to soak up every second with Cordelia because she will never be three and a half again- one day she won't want me to kiss her boo-boos or hold her on my lap while we watch Totoro for the nine hundredth time. 


It seems imperative to do less and enjoy more. Since the weather has been so nice we have been trying to do a nature walk every day- it helps give Cordelia more things to explore and the nice air cheers me up and helps me really focus on her. Today I thought I would mix it up and go to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. I almost didn't bring my camera so I wouldn't spend all of my time fussing with it- but last minute I grabbed it. I must have done a good job focusing on Cordelia and the camera because I shot all of my photos in the wrong settings! 


All of them except this one- which I took as we were leaving. Do any of you mamas have any advice for managing your to do lists and your spirits and keeping your focus on your kids? I'll take any helpful hints! 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Vacation Part Two: Butterfly "Museum"

My sister has chastised me for taking so long to write the second post about my vacation- I'm not sure where the time went, it feels like we came home yesterday! On vacation I learned a very big lesson about trusting the internet. We planned on driving to the Albany NY area Thursday night (we left at midnight- figuring that Cordelia would sleep in the car and we wouldn't have to entertain her on the 6ish hour drive, which only sort of worked) not being entirely sure if our friends would have  off work on Friday The Hubby told me to look for something for him, myself, Cordelia to do during the day. Having never been to Albany I turned  to the trusty internet and found a butterfly conservatory. 

It looked like soo much fun! And I told Cordelia about it, and she talked about it non-stop for a week before we left. In fact when I went to carry her out to the car (to start our long drive) she shot up and say "MOMMY ARE WE GOING TO THE BUTTERFLY MUSEUM NOW!!!!!! She was soo excited that even when we figured out that the conservatory was actually almost two hours away from our friend's house we decided to go anyways (and drag our buddy along because he ended up with the day off in the end). Two extra hours didn't sound like that much in the grand scheme of things- but man were we exhausted by the time we picked Billy up!  

When we got to the Butterfly Conservatory I think I almost cried. It was small, dirty, and smelled funny. There were lots of animals besides butterflies but all of their cages seemed too small- and pretty rusty. There were very few butterflies, and I'm pretty sure that at least half of them were dead. Maybe it was a really cool place at one point, but with lack of funds it disintegrated into a yucky road side attraction. My poor tired mind, which was over-stressed from the vacation prep and the long drive was about to crack. All I could think about was how I should have done more research. Why didn't I check how far away it was before telling Cordelia? Brendon and Billy were going to be soo ticked that I dragged them to this expensive hole in the wall! And mostly- Cordelia must be soo disappointed. 

But, after we made it past the crotchety front desk lady, and worked on ignoring the five other slightly stand-offish ladies working the enclosure, I was able to take a big breath and look at my daughter and realize that she thought she was in heaven. She is too young to notice the rust on the animal cages, or the peeling paint, or even know that the place shouldn't smell that bad, she just saw that she could walk next to- and pet- a giant tortoise.  

After that it got a lot better. It also helped that Brendon and Billy were troopers and never once told me the place sucked. 

Cordelia was amazed by how many different types of animals resided at the conservatory, not a ton of each animal but one or two of many different species. In addition to the tortoise we were able to pet bunnies and hedgehogs (I bugged the people working there to let her pet them multiple different times because I was a little annoyed at the whole thing)

They also had a sloth which was pretty neat.

I would never go back, and I'm not sure I would recommend the experience to anyone, but I am glad we went because seeing the animals made Cordelia incredibly happy.