Saturday, October 30, 2010

It's Utah Halloween!

Happy Utah Halloween, everyone!

This is my witch costume that I wore to work yesterday.  We had a NON-PARTY social gathering which was Harry Potter-themed - complete with a golden snitch, the Hogwart's house banners, and candles hanging from the ceiling.  I made chocolate frogs for the non-party - unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures, but you can buy the molds on Amazon here

I threw together my costume the night before: black skirt, shirt, and cardi, nearly every necklace I own, tie-dye scarf, blue tights (which I knew I would wear eventually when I got them for $2 at Target), and my star shoes (which are far too small, but very witchy indeed).  I borrowed my brother's jazz hat and pinned some feathers, lace, and a brooch to the brim - it ended up being the best part.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Iona's closet doors are open again!

I've started missing my flowers, so after an extended break, I've decided to re-open Iona's Closet: Etsy edition! 

At the moment, it's full of all the old favorites - colorful felt headbands and fancy ribbon flower necklaces - but there may be a few additions in coming weeks, so be sure to check in.

In the meantime, stick around these parts and look forward to more sewing/knitting posts, inspiration walls, and of course, more Cover Judging! 
xx, Maren

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Dress Sunday

My new fall/winter dress is done!  (Mostly)
The Grandma Carole Pose - all the 50s/60s-era pictures of her and her sisters show them standing like this, all in a row.
It's taken me so long to complete that I had to wear it today, even though I've not finished the belt. I found some old fabric-covered buckle kits on Etsy and I'm excited to have a ladylike, perfectly-matched belt for this dress.  I just haven't had the time to finish it yet!

The dress pattern itself wasn't terribly complicated - it was all the details that took so long. The pattern I have is made for a gal about a size and a half smaller than me, but I was actually excited to learn about pattern grading.  The article I found most useful was from Threads Magazine - it has a good reference picture for cut lines and a chart with common "spread" amounts. 

This is the first time I've made a muslin, also.  For the most part, I've just done a pin-fitting with the pattern pieces and for simple modern patterns, that's fine.  However, since I had to grade this pattern and transfer the pieces onto muslin anyway, I thought I'd give it a shot.  I was glad I did, because the waistline needed to be let out more and the bust needed taken in (those 50s girls with their tiny waists and big busts!).  Also, the sleeves ended closer to the shoulder than I wanted, so I was able to adjust that and make them into a longer cap sleeve.

The pattern had no instructions for a lining, so I just made a second dress out of lining and attached it at the neckline interfacing.  It ended up working and made the dress feel "finished".  Other time-consuming, but ultimately good things I did: twill tape at the neckline to help the notch lay flat, hand-stitched the hem and the arm openings, and "hand-picked" the side zipper for an added vintage touch. 
The wool gabardine is just the right weight for fall - it's heavy enough to be warm, but it's not so heavy that I couldn't wear this into spring.  I ordered too much, so I might make a skirt with the leftover.  Overall, I'm really happy with this dress - I think it's lovely and I'm proud of myself for learning a few new things in order to make it!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale

I love seeing the different editions of well-known books.  Even when they get it wrong (yes, I mean you, The Twilight Saga: Wuthering Heights), it's interesting to see different interpretations of stories I know.  Which is why I love the various translations of Harry Potter that the library owns:

These are the Spanish and German translations of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, respectively.  It's fun to see the different Harrys, but it's so interesting to see what events from the story make the cover.  In the Spanish language version, we see the golden egg that's a clue in the Tri-Wizard Tournament as well as the horses from Beauxbaton.  In the German version, Harry is flying around the dragon, trying to get the golden egg.  (Also, his glasses are that super-tiny, super-cool German style.)

However, the version that's most perplexing to me is the Italian version:

Obviously, wizard chess plays a part in the Philosopher's Stone, but where does ROUS come in?  And why is Harry wearing a rat hat?  And perhaps most disturbingly, why is Harry wearing Slytherin house colors??

The cover is kind of off, but the Italian Harry Potter offers something the others don't: illustrations!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cover Judging: Jamaican Sunset

From the author of The Pirate and His Lady comes . . .

First Glance: Clearly, our fella is the centerpiece of this cover and I'll get to him in a minute, but first, let's talk about his lady. It's rare that the heroine appears on the cover - even more rare that you can see her full face. Of course, the purpose of the lady in these novels is to be a surrogate for the reader - often you'll find that while her clothing enjoys rich descriptions, her actual features do not. Which is why our girl on the cover deserves some notice: were I to read this book, I would not be able to place myself in her role, as I do not have dark, curly hair nor do I have a lobotomized stare.

Now, on to our hero . . . LOVE HIM! When this book came through, I immediately fell for those well-defined features, accented with the world's best mustache (perhaps those who make it a life pursuit to study mustaches can tell me what this one is called). Not only does his facial hair recommend him, but that hair: falling in dark, sculpted waves past his collar. Clearly, this is a romantic hero for the ages. Score: 4 out of 5

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Still in Circulation: Art Nouveau Typographic Ornaments

Some books remain shelved, hiding amongst more relevant or popular titles. Even the well-versed staff are unaware of their existence, though they are Still in Circulation.

Earlier in the week, the cover of this little oddity caught my eye:It may have been the colors, which are even more garish in person. The font also intrigued me - I always pause for interesting or old-timey lettering. It seemed like such a strange book for us to have; most of our books on typography are relatively new, with chapters on Adobe Illustrator and the like. I'm not sure why we've kept it, when other books from its era have phased out. But it turns out, I'm glad it's there.
Isn't she beautiful?
Moving past the hideous cover, the typographic ornaments (aka clip art) are really lovely - and copyright-free, as the intro page informs me!