Monday, December 28, 2009

The Piano

I was taken aback when Ashley, a bride I did an alteration for, showed me her engagement photos.  She talked about bringing a piano up to the Alpine Loop for their photo shoot.  It is one of those times you think, well, I must have misunderstood what she was saying.  There is no way she hauled a piano up there for that.  Then I saw the incredible photos shot by Katherine Loveless (found at and I believed.
Just thought you all should see these stunning shots.  It seems this couple is destined for great things. 
I checked out Katherine's blog as well.  Warning, only check it out if you can control your blog envy.  Really creative and beautiful photographer and graphics designer. 

This shot is my favorite.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Here is an idea floating around in my head.  Before sewing this feather trim around cassie's hem line, I fiddled with it for a bit.  Feathers have been interesting around hems of dresses and poking out of flowers.  How about something around the neckline?  I mostly think this would be great as a fun shrug (Oh, how I don't like the word "shrug") with a bias cut silk wedding dress.  What do you think?  Is there anyone who could be into a gown with this type of detail?  I think the potential is there.... or I have been inhaling too much concrete board dust while sawing it for the counter today.  Talk about a mixed up life I am leading. 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Perfect Day

I don't know why this turned out to be such a quaint and pleasant day.  But for unknown reasons, the stars were aligned and things fell into place. 

The start.  Waking up to the sound of two cute boys playing happily together.  No, they didn't come into my room asking for breakfast, they were upstairs taking care of Curious George and Spot, their stuffed animals.  I think it was the stuffed animals nap time. 

During breakfast, the kids ate their food without being prompted.  We had some good conversation. 

I was able to sew today.  I think this is one main reason I am so euphoric.  The dress I am working on is made of my favorite silk out there.  It is a duchess satin and is almost sculptural in it's hand.  I love most all silk, but this one takes the cake.  So I am pleasantly making flowers out of the silk and some great feathers and the kids are now playing race track downstairs.  They are soo very loud.... I am happy that Scott can't hear them.  But they are happy loud, not mad loud.  Huge difference. 

We play a bit, Scott takes them to do some chores.  Cute.  When I am getting shoes on Slade, he tells me he never wants to leave me.  Cute.  They come back with cold hands and hungry.  Cute.  We have lunch and I help Slade do a puzzle. 

When it is dinner time, I go on a walk with the dogs.  They need to stretch their legs.  You ask, "Why at dinner time do you think you can go out?"  Well, we have leftovers from Thanksgiving because my mom let us cook up two of her turkeys so we could all have leftovers.  Maybe that is the real reason today was so pleasant.  I am not much for cooking dinner.  I love cooking breakfast and lunch.  By dinner time I am too....too.... unenthused to get excited about dinner. 

Of course the walk was practically balmy.  It must have been 35 degrees out there.  I think it is a warm front.  I am not being sarcastic.  35 degrees at 5:30 P.M. IS warm up here.  There was an almost full moon out there.  Beautiful. 

Hank was able to get another tooth out tonight with the help of Scott.  Go Scott! 

At the end of the night, I checked on the boys and Slade grabbed my hand.  Holding it super tight, he said, "Let me tell you some things.... Antarctica is a very cold place.  You can go sledding their and build snow men and ice men.  You can slip around their.  What else can you do their?"  He always tries to grab our hands and hold on for dear life so we can't leave after putting them to bed.  Hank does the same thing.  Cute. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

For the few who care....

This goes out to those few who like to be updated about our overwhelming house project.
I will start with a few photos showing the evolution of the kitchen area. 



Right now I am tired enough to not be overly excited about the monumental hurtle we climbed over today.   We installed the kitchen cabinets.  That, in itself, is no big deal, but the build up to that moment is pretty huge.  I really am at a loss about how to describe the last month. 

Check this out, the two by four at the bottom of this picture is the old floor level.  The piece on top says one inch and eleven sixteenths.  I was bringing the floor up that much in a three foot span!  Also to notice, dad is checking my heat duct work over there.  I used to get nervous when he would check my work.  I am callous now.  He has a harder time phasing me.  I am late thirties and finally my dad can't get to me as easily.  This house project was worth it all just for that :-)

The feeling of the house has changed.  For instance, when you walk in the kitchen/living room/dining room you are not having to go over hills and valleys.  I now know how to level a floor.  It was hard with the first method I tried, but much much much easier after I had a third of the floor level.  I had a reference point and a weeks worth of trying and learning behind me.  The next two thirds of the floor were a breeze.  Two words, Sister joists. 

Also, when you walk by the bathroom or bedroom, you don't faint from the overwhelming smell of.... sewer... or something.  Nope, the house smells like... well, almost smells like new construction!!!!  We, meaning, Scott and Dad, dug out a two foot hole in the bedroom.  Digging around two heating ducts and a good amount of plumbing.  We were disappointed because we couldn't find any cracks in the sewer pipe.  One morning we found the crack!  It was a "bugger" to cut out the cast iron on account of it's location under the cement but thankfully dad and Scott were able to get through it.  I love that I wait for Scott to be there for the really bad jobs and he is more than happy to do them.  Thanks to dad, and his overwhelming desire to fix all things old and yucky, we now have all new plumbing in that hole as well. 

The tree in the front yard was pruned severely.  There were too many branches growing horizontally.  Scott had a great time doing that.  Thankfully we rented a lift and it became a carnival ride of sorts.  I want to rent that on our next family reunion.  It was too much fun.  

I finally got a furnace guy to come check the furnace.  I guess we needed a new one.  Something about cracks in the heat exchange.  Well, Gunthers installed one today.  It has been about a week of fires in the wood burning stove.  It is quaint, but nothing beats heat distributed throughout the house by a working furnace.  We will still use the wood burning stove.  It makes for a nostalgic working environment, plus we won't need to haul off our scrap 2 by 4's. 

Wow, this will be my most boring blog to date, but it is so big to me.

P.P.S.  Just so you all know out there, I know my dad is a Super Star.  Everyone who sees the magnitude of this project can't get enough of how great my dad is.  For the record, I know how lucky I am to do this with him.  I am learning so much from him.  I do wonder if we will wrap this up or if we will continue to come up with new things to do.  I have a feeling we are done with the new stuff only because we have run out of house to fix. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bathroom before and after!

I finally have something to show you that actually is finished!!!!  This is the bathroom we were going to do all along.  The original shower was too hard to clean.  I could never get that fresh clean comet scent after cleaning.  Oh, maybe it is because of the rotten wood located underneath the surface of the shower.  I am so sad that I don't have the real before shot.  You would see such a difference. 

Anyway, while I am busy searching for another stand up shower at Lowe's my dad had it in his head to move the toilette over and put in a tub at the back of the room.  Beautiful!  Instead of just making do with where things were located, we made it just right. 

After riping out all of the old we discovered that who ever put in the shower cut through two of the floor joists for the plumbing.  That explains the very slanted floor, compared to the house's slightly slanted floors.  So dad taught me about sister joists.  It is when you put a piece of wood next to the old wood to strengthen, stabilize, and level.  Of course dad put in all new plumbing.  I was introduced to a product called "Pex".  It is the coolest stuff that makes changing out plumbing actually pretty fun. 

KSL supplied the great marble flooring.  I got such a great deal on it, I was able to put in the pebble strip by the tub and at the threshold.  My dad was a bit indifferent about the pebble tile.... which is to be expected.  When it was all installed, though, he did make a comment like, "You need a water feature that flows along these rocks."  Yes, just the mood I was going for. 

I could go on and on and on, but I will spare you.  I do feel great every time I walk past this room.  It is the one room that feels like it belongs in a home.  Everything else, well, it's just a work site. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cement anyone?

A few weeks ago we agreed to stop demolishing.  Well, that was then and this is now.  We decided to tear out the other tub in the ONLY room we vowed to do nothing with.  We were trying to eliminate the smell.  Sorry for that detail. 

Well, it didn't take care of the problem, so we rented a cement saw and had at it.  Dad did all of the work, I just poured water on the blade.  So now we have a ditch through the bathroom and one of the bedrooms.  Just so you know, we were aiming at taking out the heat duct under there.  We did get that out and will now, hopefully, put a new one in and seal the thing up.  The guy at the rental place said it would get a bit dusty.  I have never experienced anything like it.  It is like at Timp caves when they turn out the lights and you can't see your hand in front of your face.  No, really, it IS just like that. 

On a lighter note, the kids had a great time helping "Baca" hook up the toilette.  I have seen Slade that excited only a couple of times.  They would flush it and then run down stairs to hear the water going through the pipes.  These kids don't need Disney land, just a good toilette flushing. 

The last project we decided on is taking up all of the sub-floor in the family, dining, and kitchen and leveling all of the floor joists.  Don't ask me why we didn't do it before.  Oh, it is because I am silly and thought the bamboo flooring would somehow be okay over a crazy crooked floor.   

Once I came to terms with what we had to do, I got happy. 
I am always a sucker for a painstakingly long project. 

Sunday, September 27, 2009

These are a few photos I took when on a photo shoot with someone who actually can take photos.  Caitlin, the bride, had her photographer, Lindsey Stewart of Green Apple Photography, come up to the ranch and surrounding areas to have their groomals.  We had a great time and even involved the neighbor with a stint on his pond.  He is an incredible neighbor and even shines when asked to contribute to a groomals session!  His pond is so lovely and he conveniently had a classic boat there just waiting for us.  It beat the canoe we had with it's looks and stability. 

Cute and pregnant Lindsey was just great.  I have heard of her through other brides and was so glad to meet her.  What a great photographer and perfect personality for this kind of thing.  She is expecting her little girl in 5 weeks or so.  Oh to be pregnant with your first child.  That was the life.  I remember quick naps on my studio floor back in the day.  Here are a few of her in action.  Again, these photos are not much to sneeze at.... I am a dressmaker, not a photographer.

Marge, the mother of the bride, of course was attending.  Marge thinks I am crazy because of how long it takes to create these things.  She is not far off, especially on this one. 

I took on this project because I was so interested in the texture element and the length of this skirt.  Love it when I get a bride who is willing to take chances.  I think that is the best situation for designers.  There is something compelling about being inspired by a dress but not following that dress completely.  In this case, we were going for a Jacki-o style. 

I have looked into her specific wedding dress and it has a compelling history.  A point or two is that the designer's studio was flooded a few days before the wedding and she had to make everything again.  That seems a bit unbelievable, but it still makes for an interesting story.  Another thing about her, she was African-American and quite well known.  There is speculation that she would have been another Vera Wang if the world was a bit different during that time. 

Whew, I went on a tangent.  Love the stories of these famous dresses.  I need to dig further, though, so I get it right. 

Anyway, Jacki's dress has always a great one, and now we were able to use it as inspiration for Caitlin's dress.  It is by no means meant to look like Jacki's, just hint towards it. 

I have to give you the statistics of this dress.  94 yards of hand pleated fabric went into the skirt.  Yep, I think that is the only stat that is worth pointing out.  Yes, 94 yards made this trim on the skirt, and yes, each pleat was ironed and angled so as to create the right amount of circle or curve.  Love that type of work, I think it is therapy for me.  There is always quite a bit of internal pressure that I put on myself to make the gowns as perfect as possible.  This one just took a little longer to "nip it in the bud", so to speak.  So if I ramble on it is just because I am happy about the outcome. 

Last little side note, Caitlin is wearing my Grandmother's pearl necklace on her wedding day.  I guess that is the something borrowed.  Pretty cool, I think. 

Enjoy your wedding day Caitlin and Nate.  You are a cute couple. 

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sarah and the Golden Gate

I will post more photo's of this dress, but Sarah's mom sent me this teaser shot.  Isn't the photo incredible.  (I will find out the photographer when I get more images to show.)  Oh, what a great family and bride.  This dress was made with the bride and her parents here for a consultation and first fitting.  She then flew in again and we had Saturday and Sunday to really put the dress together.  She returned again that next Thursday and we made a minor adjustment and she took the dress.  It comes down to a very very intense two days of creating.  The dress went so well... which is the only way it could have worked out.  Thankfully Sarah has been living right and deserved an easy dressmaking experience.  Thank you "Carma"!

I love experiences like this, where I am pushed so hard, yet it comes together in the end.  I can't wait to show you the flower on this dress.  It is one of the serendipitous types where it ends up a surprise even to me. 
Big thanks to my honey for having quality time with the boys.  They had some great guy time that weekend!

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Bike

Scott surprised us all with this cute cute bike. Hank kept asking if it was a dream. He was doing figure eights on the dirt after riding it for an hour. He can now ride it up to the horses and through out camp. Oh, Yeah, this mama is proud!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Marcee and Marc's Groomals

Here are some absolutely stunning photos of Marcee and Marc. There are more at Kate Benson's great blog. I love this photo shoot. Very clean and so sweet! Marcee is the last dress I finished. The dress was draped in such a way that, during the fittings, she looked a bit Greek goddess.... even though the dress was out of silk taffeta. Have a wonderful wedding. You guys are so cute together.

My favorite part is the crooked bow at the small of her back. It is funny how things come full circle. My first few wedding dresses had huge bows on them. I am loving the chance to play with some alternative bows again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Here is the update on the house and photos of the people that are working so hard on the project. We all know how hard my dad is working. He has brought in reinforcements, namely Jim his cousin. They are quite the team. It works like this, I rip out all of the old stuff, my dad fixes it all, and Jim makes it beautiful by masterfully texturing the walls. I watched and will try his method next time I drywall a wall. He has been doing it for a while, so I know I won't come close, but will be better than before.
My dad and I are a lethal team. It starts like this, Melissa says, "Well, we are doing bamboo in the living room and dining room, lets take it down the hall and kitchen". It sounds so innocent at the time. You don't think about all of the layers of tile, linoleum, glue, sub floors, and more and more glue you have to rip up to make it happen. I ripped up the hallway and was okay with that knowing that Scott could come down and do the kitchen. He knocked out the kitchen in no time. It was great!
Next brainstorm by my dad, he decides to take out the staircase to make it fit for humans rather than elves. This means we take out part of a closet that holds the dryer, builds platform for said dryer so we can have necessary head room. Makes new supports for floor on other end, etc, etc. Oh yeah, and also building the new stairs. He is working on this project in the picture.
Back to kitchen floor removal. Now we can see the crazy wiring of lights in the floor. Oh, another project for my dad! When do we stop? The theme of this project, "we might as well do that too while everything is ripped up." I am starting to question this theory.
Otherwise, things are great. I am working on the house or dreaming about it. I can't sleep at night because my mind will not let it go. We have had so much help with the kids and that makes it actually work. Thanks go out to my mom, my sister and her cute kids, and a bunch of young women around. Hank and Slade have had a great time getting tended. They love it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Slade's solution

When I asked Slade to turn his shorts around the other morning, he turned himself around. It was an instant reaction from him. Yes, he is so dang cute.