Blueberry Picking

Blueberry Picking

It’s been fairly quiet around here as I have been working on keeping up with my first year teaching second grade (nearly done now!). I’m gearing up for summer now, so it’s time to dust the cobwebs off and share more of my stories.

Blueberry Picking

Along with teaching, my husband and I have been having our share of little adventures. Last weekend found us doing something neither had ever done before. We went blueberry picking! We go strawberry picking every year, but we have noticed an influx of pick your own blueberry farms around. We decided it was time to check it out.

Blueberry Picking

We had so much fun. Since there are so many berries on one bush, we were able to work on the same bush and have fun chatting about random things.

Blueberry Picking

Also, unless you concern yourself with getting all the ripe berries from the bush, you hardly have to bend over. I of course wanted every single ripe berry and found myself sitting on the ground to get every last blue blueberry off those bushes.

Blueberry Picking

We very quickly accumulated our one bucket full. I would have gone for 2 buckets, but I didn’t have quite enough cash on hand. I am still contemplating a second trip to get a few more…maybe my mum and dad will want to join the fun during their visit.

Blueberry Picking

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The Bodice

Wedding Dress Bodice

After cutting out the dress pieces, the bodice was the most intensive portion to construct. Yes, construct. This wasn’t your basic dress top. This small portion of the dress contains 5 layers of fabric. And boning. It was also the most interesting portion to make as I have never made something quite this elaborate before.

Wedding Dress Bodice

The 5 layers include, from outside to inside, lace, Peau de soie, underlining, interfacing, and lining. I decided to go all out with my fabrics and use silk linings. I used silk chiffon for the underlining and silk habotai for the lining. There was no iron-on interfacing on this dress. I used sew-in interfacing. This was heavy-duty stuff; adding this enabled the bodice to stand on its own.

Wedding Dress Bodice

Underlining is like stay stitching. It is added to a garment to add stability. It is also used to place markings so you don’t have to mark on the nicer outside fabric. Thankfully, I only needed to use it on the bodice. In my research, I learned that it is often used over the entire garment. What makes using an underlining time-consuming is that you hand stitch the underlining to the main fabric. Once done, you treat them as a single piece.

Wedding Dress Bodice

Next, you add the interfacing. I also hand sewed this in. I don’t recall my reasoning, but I did. The interfacing is very sturdy. The bolt was labeled for use in bodices for strapless or formal gowns. Right now, I can’t recall specifically what kind it was.

Wedding Dress Bodice

I somehow managed to miss a step at this point and didn’t add the boning to just the linings and main fabric. I skipped ahead and added the lace overlay. Thankfully, thanks to the type of fabrics I was using, I was able to mostly hide the stitching when I added the boning casings.

 Wedding Dress Bodice

As my deviation from the pattern, I eliminated the pleats in the lace. I rather liked small pattern of the lace on its own. Before adding the lining, I decided the bodice needed a little piping along the top. I used some of the scraps from cutting out the dress and made matching piping. I wish I had also added it to the bottom of the bodice as well. At the time, I was planning on making a belt to wear with the dress. I changed my mind/ran out of time to do this.  I will probably add this detail when I refashion the dress into a sun dress!

Wedding Dress Bodice

It was about half-way through the construction of the bodice that I realised why wedding dresses are so expensive. I also established my price should anyone ask me to make them a wedding dress. My fee, not including materials, will be five thousand dollars. That sounds like a high price, until you calculate the cost of time. I spent about a month working on the bodice. I will admit to taking extra care on each step as well as giving thinking time to consider details. I wanted this dress to be amazing.

Wedding Dress Bodice

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Whipped to a Frenzy!

I am always amazed at what happens to egg whites when dropped into a bowl and beat at high speeds.

Whipped to a Frenzy

I am enjoying y challenge of deliberately taking a photo every week. I am having fun thinking out how I want everything to look. I admit to rushing this shot. I wish I had taken a little more time to consider the lighting and background. I have a feeling this will be attempted again next time I whip egg whites or whipping cream.

I recently started putting some of my favourite photos on Society6. You can see it here: 64ColorBox

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The Ringling Rose Garden

Ringling Rose Garden

Part of the amazingness of the Ringling museum are their gardens. The Ringling family amassed a rather large portion of land that now surrounds the museums and house. They filled this land with banyan trees and walking paths. I fully intend to go back to explore these. Since the most direct path from the house to the art museum was through the rose garden, I took some time to take a few photos. Enjoy!

Ringling Rose Garden

You can also head over to Flickr to check out the rest of the photos.

Ringling Rose Garden

Ringling Rose Garden

Ringling Rose Garden

 

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The Ringling

Ringling Museum

At some point last summer, we were given passes to visit The Ringling Museum of Art. With all the busyness of getting married, we didn’t use the tickets until right before Christmas. We decided to take a day to relax and meander around a museum. Though to call this place just a museum is a bit of a misnomer. The grounds contain the home of John and Mable Ringling, the Circus Museum, the art museum, extensive walking paths and gardens, a theater, and a couple of restaurants.

Ringling Museum

 

We arrived around lunchtime, and grabbed a quick-lunch at the Banyan cafe before meeting for our guided tour of Ca’D’Zan. We don’t usually join guided tours, but it was included with our tickets. I would recommend doing the guided tour as the guides are well-educated about the house. There are many hidden in plain sight details in every room.

Ringling Museum

Our next stop was the art museum. The collection was impressive, but not my taste. I prefer newer works.  Starting around the Impressionists and such. I found a few pieces to study, but this seemed to be more to my husbands liking.

Ringling Museum

 

These are a few of the photos taken, you can follow the link to my Flickr page to see the rest. There will be photos of the garden shared at a later date.

Ringling Museum

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Work Begins

I may have purchased my fabric in November, but it wasn’t until May when I finally started work on the dress. I have a myriad of reasons (excuses) why I didn’t begin sooner. Too busy teaching school; lose a little more weight; doing research. They were all a little bit true. But in fact, I was terrified to get started. What if I did something wrong? What if it looked horrible? What if I had to drive all the way back to Miami and they didn’t have anymore lace?

As the school year neared the end, I knew I had to get started. I spent some time reading about wedding dress construction and realised I needed linings and stabilizers and boning and interfacing. I spent a little time finding and ordering such items. (I’ll share resources in a later post.)

Finally, I got to work. Normally, when I cut out a pattern, I layer fabrics that are multiples of the same piece. I would cut out the lining and the outer fabric in one go. It saves time. There was no way I was going to layer the fabrics for this job. Each fabric would be cut separately, beginning with the least expensive fabric. I figured a little practice wouldn’t hurt before cutting into that marvelous lace.

The Cutting

 

I wish I had taken more photos of this process. However, my full concentration was required to make certain every piece was facing the correct direction and I cut the right number of said pieces. Never has cutting out a pattern been so stressful!

 

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Pink Peppermint French Macaron

I’m still working on launching my baking blog. It’s getting close, I promise. Despite not sharing here, I am still baking. I quite liked this photo of the mess of French Macarons I made a couple of weeks ago. I thought I would share it today.

French Macarons

Don’t they look amazing!

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