Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spring {Sewing} Is In The Air!

Ever since the demo started on my basement last week, I've been dreaming about creating my sewing space, and about finally getting to sew!  I've been planning Spring sewing projects like crazy, and I'll be sharing details about what I'll be making very soon.  But first, I thought it would be fun to share what's been inspiring me to thread my machine.

Simple cuts in bright colors are catching my eye, and I love the idea of a jacket or wrap over a sleeveless dress; perfect to throw over shoulders when the sun goes down.

A houndstooth or gingham plaid suit?  Yes, please!  I just love the pairing of a pencil skirt with the three-quarter sleeve jacket, which will look as fresh today as it did in decades past.

For day, for night, or for day into night, one can never go wrong with a simple A-line sheath.

Isn't all of the styling in these photos just beautiful?  The wrist length white gloves just scream Spring!  With the added string of pearls or brooch, perfectly coiffed hair and beautifully glossed lips, they represent polished Spring perfection to me.

Are you planning on sewing any wardrobe additions for the coming Spring?  Please share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Week Of Bliss {Five}

Hello, Bliss List Friends!  My usual Friday post was delayed bit, mostly due a few wonderful days spent with this little angel ~

Here we are in  line for a play date, just moments after he woke from a car nap.  {Please take note of the vintage 1970's cape!}

Check out how much he perked up once we got inside! ~

Time spent living in the world of an (almost) three year old equals true bliss.

Before I go any further, I want to share true bliss for my soul; the support from this wonderful community of bloggers on my bliss post last week!  While most of my posts still suffer an unkind comment from my blog stalker, I don't let it get to me, thanks in no small part to the friendship and support from all of you!  Thanks to each and every one of you, from the bottom of my heart. 

In other bliss-full developments, the demolition on my flood damaged basement has been started, and a settlement with the insurance company is not far off.

Before long, I'll have a sewing studio again!  Bliss.

In preperation, I've been spending time planning Spring sewing projects and gathering supplies.  The studio space will have excellent lighting, which is bliss for two reasons; the obvious first reason for faciliting great sewing, the second for faciliting great pictures for blog posts.  Bliss times two.

I'm getting in just under the wire in terms of linking up with bliss sharing this week.  If you didn't, why not head over and read a few posts?  Perhaps they'll inspire a blissful week to come!

xoxo, Anita

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shop For A Cause On Etsy

Earlier this month, one of my favorite bloggers, Vicky of Rusty Rooster Vintage, wrote about some beautiful handmade butterfly cards that she purchased on Etsy.  Not just pretty stationary, these are cards for a cause. {Thank you so much for introducing me to this important issue, Vicky.} Friends, read that post for yourself here.

The cause is research into a rare genetic disorder called Cockayne Syndrome, which causes rapid aging in children, and for which there is no cure.

Scarlett Clay is the artist, and her son Knox has this devastating childhood disease.  She blogs about her art, life and shop here.

To see more of these unique handmade cards and to learn how you can help support this fund raising effort, visit the Etsy shop, Cards For Cockayne Syndrome, here.

And please consider taking a moment to visit the web site Amy and Friends ~ Cockayne Syndrome Support, here.

Thanks for reading, dear friends!

xoxo, Anita

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

In English ~ Let the good times roll!  It's Mardi Gras ~ Fat Tuesday~ a day of celebrations before fasting for Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.  While not a national holiday, Mardi Gras is celebrated in French populated cities across the country.  The best known of these is a favorite travel destination of mine; New Orleans.  Thousands of tourists flock to the French Quarter every year for parades, masked balls, good music and great food. 

The tradition of wearing costumes and masks to Mardi Gras events began as a way to allow the classes to mingle and people to behave in ways that would be considered unacceptable on any other day.  The krewes~ elite social clubs ~ that organized and hosted the events were secret societies, and the costumes and masks were an essential aspect to preserving their anonimity.

The traditional colors of purple, which symbolizes justice, green for faith and gold for power, were chosen by the krewe of the Rex parade in 1872 and used ever since.  Rex, King of the Carnival, also began the tradition that year of throwing items into the crowds lining the parade route.  The early throws were sugar coated almonds, but later glass beads in the holiday colors were used as well.

I will be celebrating Fat Tuesday by making one of my favorite recipies, Pasta Jambalaya from Mr. B's Bistro.  Is there anything special that you do to mark the day?  Please share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

{All photos from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.}

Monday, February 20, 2012

First Sign Of Spring

Though calender Spring is still a month away, the appearance of these crocuses amid the dried brown of the leaves in my yard have me anxiously anticipating it's arrival.  It suddenly feels so close!

So pretty and cheerful; they even inspired me to seek out some poetry.  I came across this one by Harriett Eleanor Hamilton-King (1840 - 1920) aptly titled ~

The Crocus

Out of the frozen earth below,
Out of the melting of the snow,
No flower, but a film, I push to light;
No stem, no bud, — yet I have burst
The bars of winter, I am the first,
O Sun, to greet thee out of the night!

Bare are the branches, cold is the air,
Yet it is fire at the heart I bear,
I come, a flame that is fed by none:
The summer hath blossoms for her delight,
Thick and dewy and waxen-white,
Thou seest me golden, O golden Sun!

Deep in the warm sleep underground
Life is still, and the peace profound:
Yet a beam that pierced, and a thrill that smote
Call'd me and drew me from far away; —
I rose, I came, to the open day
Have won, unshelter'd, alone, remote.

No bee strays out to greet me at morn,
I shall die ere the butterfly is born,
I shall hear no note of the nightingale;
The swallow will come at the break of green,

He will never know that I have been
Before him here when the world was pale.

They will follow, the rose with the thorny stem,
The hyacinth stalk, — soft airs for them;
They shall have strength, I have but love:
They shall not be tender as I, —
Yet I fought here first, to bloom, to die,
To shine in his face who shines above.
O Glory of heaven, O Ruler of morn,
O Dream that shap'd me, and I was born
In thy likeness, starry, and flower of flame;
I lie on the earth, and to thee look up,
Into thy image will grow my cup,
Till a sunbeam dissolve it into the same.

Have you seen any early signs of Spring?  I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Bliss {Week Number Four}

Have you ever had one of those days, or perhaps even several of them in a row, where you realize that you've allowed yourself to be negatively affected by something that you have no control over?  And then, at the moment you allow that realization in, you further realize that what has been bothering you is insignificant and unworthy of your attention? 

I had the realization regarding the insignificance of what had been keeping me in a funk for a few days yesterday afternoon, and it was such a dramatic shift in perception as to warrant being the sole focus of my reflection on bliss this week.

For a long time, I was told almost daily that I was wrong, insignificant, less than.  Though I knew intellectually that it was not true, it took a constant exercise of will and determination not to allow this verbal assault to wear me down. 

Although I would never have believed it eight years ago when I put that life behind me, the memories of that constant barrage have faded, taking with them the built in resistance.  I realized this when I began to receive cruel written taunts on my blog, starting the day that I published my How To  Build A Blog You Truly Love class post for an assignment and link up about brave blogging. 

After the initial shock of that first comment, which I immediately deleted as I have done every one since, I posted about it on the class Facebook page, and received just the support I needed to weather through the next few days of receiving and deleting comments.  But they did begin to wear me down, and I admit to being bothered by them. 

Until the shift that occurred yesterday afternoon.  It was like an infusion of light on my soul!  But that is not all of it.  What brought me to an even deeper feeling of bliss was realizing that I finally have the life I prayed for all of those years.  Not perfect, sometimes even difficult, but filled with light and love that keeps me safe from the nightmares.  I will never ask for more than that.  To me, that is everything.  That is my true bliss.

I'm linking up again today with Liv Lane and the little Bliss List linky party on her Choosing Beauty blog.  Join us!  The artwork that I've featured in this post has all been created by Liv, and is available in her Etsy shop.  It felt appropriate to share these with you today, the final day of the class that she leads and I 've been taking (and writing about!) for the last six weeks.  I am sorry to see it end, but beyond grateful for what I have learned, and for the fabulous group of women that shared the journey.  Let's keep our Facebook group the nurturing and supportive place that it has been throughout for a long time to come, ladies!  I'm grateful to all of you.  And look at that; more bliss.  I am truly blessed.

Are you feeling blessed today?  Please share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gone Too Soon

I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear of Whitney Houston's passing.  Several days have gone by since it happened, and yet I still find it hard to process.  I'm not sure that I completely understand why, but it feels a bit close.  Perhaps it is the sudden unexpectedness of it; seeing images of her smiling and singing just a short time before she was gone.  I think that tragic, pointless accidents are so hard to make peace with, because they defy all reason and logic.

Whitney was the voice, the singer of much of the soundtrack of my generation. She was my generation, born just two months before me, same year, same city. Never much of a celebrity watcher, I did pay attention to her in the early years. It was fun to watch her career take off, to see how much she accomplished as a young woman. I enjoyed having a role model of sorts my own age, from the same place.

I love all of her music, but I do have a particular favorite. 

I believe the children are our are future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone to fulfill my needs
A lonely place to be
So I learned to depend on me
I decided long ago, never to walk in any one's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be
And if by chance, that special place
That you've been dreaming of
Leads you to a lonely place
Find your strength in love

It seems to me that since her passing there has been a lot of focus on what went wrong in her life.  I do understand the curiosity, but I don't share it.  I don't feel that it matters anymore who did what where, when, or with whom.  I think what's important now is that we focus our collective efforts on her greatest creation, her daughter, Bobbi Christina.  That we honor and respect her mother for what she gave the world.  That perhaps we acknowledge with sadness that she did not find the same joy from her gifts that they gave to others, but that we learn from that, not pass judgement.  That we do what we can to make sure that this young woman can always be proud to be the daughter of Whitney Houston, and that she has an opportunity to live beyond the legacy of her mother, and without her pain. Because, after all, the children are our future.

Rest in peace Whitney, and sing with the angels.

xoxo, Anita

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Will you be my Valentine?

It's Valentine's Day!  I read recently that something like 190 million valentines are sent every year in the United States.  About half of them are exchanged between lovers; many of the rest are given to children.  When the numbers of valentines exchanged between school children are added in, the amount of valentines given each year rises to over one billion!  That is certainly a lot of heart shaped cards.


I'm not sure that I ever saw a valentine referencing unrequited love before!  Who would this actually be given to? 


Valentine's Day is a favorite for marriage proposals.  I hope that every woman wishing for a proposal gets one, and every man anxious over popping the question is greeted with a resounding "yes!".  I love love!


This is my favorite of the couples cards today.  Boy and girl greeting each other with kisses and flowers; so sweet!

Grade school valentines are such fun!  Everyone gets one from everyone else, but it's what they say that makes for so many anxious children.  Does he like me?  Does she think I'm cute?  A valentine can hold the answers to many of these all important questions!

Here are a few helpful ideas for a last minute party to celebrate the day.  How will you be celebrating the lover's holiday today?  I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm Sew Grateful For So Much

But what I am most grateful for is the love and support that I receive each and every day from my mister.  He inspires me to be a better person by the example he provides.  He puts his very best into every single thing he does, be it for work, home or family.  He is the best father that I have ever known!  Not a perfect father, mind you, but present and involved, loving, caring, giving, fun.  He is also the best friend I have ever had.  In all of the years that I have known him, through all that we have been through both separately and together, he has never judged me, put me down or dismissed me.  He knows all my secrets, and loves me both for them and in spite of them.

You may be wondering what all of this, nice as it is, has to do with sewing!  The simple fact is that I would not be sewing, or blogging for that matter, if it was not for him.  He believes in me and supports what is important to me, and knows that the hard work I have been putting in to forge a new life path for myself will pay off, even when I struggle with doubt.  Shortly after I started my blog he began one of his own in order to share the experience with me.  We do this side by side; he immersed in his music; learning, teaching and playing, and me involved with my sewing and stitching, vintage, books, writing and photography.

At this moment, I am so very grateful to be the owner of this beautiful 160th Anniversary, vintage inspired sewing machine by Singer.  It just arrived yesterday, and I can't wait to make something with it!  The story about how this machine came to be mine speaks to my gratitude, so I will share it with you.  If you are a regular reader and/or a part of my life either in person or on line, you may have heard me mention that mister and I do not exchange Christmas gifts.  We prefer to focus our holiday gift giving on family, and buy for each other when opportunity and means merge.  This machine was one of those times.  I actually learned about this machine on Debi's My Happy Sewing Place blog!  I immediately went to the Singer site, where I discovered that the machine would be featured on HSN in limited release at the end of January.  I marked my calendar, but when the day came, I went back and forth about spending money on a machine that did virtually all of the same things that my regular sewing machine did; it would be a complete splurge.  It went in and out of my shopping cart all day!  I finally made the purchase when the mister pointed out how much fun I could have with it, both for sewing and for blogging about sewing.  It really does fit in well with what I am doing here!  And while I admire the sewists who do all of their creating on true vintage machines, I do love the convenience of modern day electronics.  {Creating something on my inherited vintage machine, once I bring it home, is on my 101 in 1001 list; if you are a fan of vintage machines, watch for that!}  It will come in handy to have two machines, also.  Have you ever had a machine act up on you at the beginning of a rare full day set aside just for sewing?  I have, and it is not a happy occurrence.  Or have you ever needed to sew one simple seam in white thread, only to remember that your machine is currently set up with the black thread you're using to make the dress currently under the presser foot?  I've had that happen also, and am happy to know that I now have an alternative.  Not to mention the fact that owning two electronic machines, a serger and a vintage machine (the very one I was taught on!) makes me feel so very invested in this whole sewing thing.  I guess that means we can all look forward to more sewing happening around here in upcoming days! 

In honor of Sew Grateful week, I'm embarking on a special sewing project.  I received this beautiful sewing book by Liberty and a bundle of equally beautiful Liberty Art Fabrics Tana Lawn prints from a dear friend for Christmas.  I'm going to put the gift and the machine to good use by making the vintage inspired apron pictured on the cover.  Look for a post detailing the process in upcoming days!

What are you sew, so grateful for right now?  Please do share; I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita

Friday, February 10, 2012

Listing My Bliss {Week Number Three}

I can't believe that we've reached the end of another bliss-full week, and that the weekend is almost upon us!  The upcoming weekend is on the very tip-top of my bliss list today.

 Not for any particular reason; it's been a perfectly lovely week.  Well, perhaps it's a bit due to an evening of fine dining on the agenda for Saturday!

Getting dressed up and going out is one of my very favorite things to do!  Which one of my pretty new (to me) vintage sister dresses should I wear?  {I love these so much that I just had to share them again; thank you for indulging me!}

Rounding out my bliss this week; Mister's considerable progress in rehab, loving my new gym habit ( a big switch from working out in the basement!), and the truly awesome women that I am getting to know through their blogs in the How To Build A Blog You Truly Love e-course.  {In case you did not know, Liv Lane of Choosing Beauty; our hostess for this fun weekly bliss blog hop, teaches it, and it rocks!}  The class Facebook group has been especially supportive and uplifting regarding the blog troll that I seem to have acquired.  Thank you, fellow classmates; you bring me such joy!

What is contributing to your bliss this week?  I would love to hear!

xoxo, Anita