1985: Bruce’s Origin Story (Sort of)

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1985. Acrylic. 8×10. Artist: Rebekah Robson. 2016.

Bruce Charles Wilson was born June 28, 1985.  I don’t remember much about him at that time, but his birth brought me the greatest gift of all: a plastic charm bracelet (you 80’s girls know what I’m talking about).

I painted this entire piece upside down to try to focus on shapes and colors vs face/hand/eye etc.

I must have felt an intense responsibility for Bruce, though. The first dream I can remember occurred during that time. I’m carrying him and I discover he has a fatal shrinking disease. Soon, he can fit in palm of my hand and I have to keep him in a plastic bag to protect him. I still feel a little scared and frantic when I think about that nightmare.

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This is my favorite part of the whole painting. I could look at this for days.

Deborah, my younger sister, also wanted to protect our new baby. She turned his bassinet over once while trying to comfort his cries.

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Deborah’s face was the most difficult part for me. I’m not even sure why. But I loved the end result so much.

One day, Bruce would grow into a little boy with crazy-curly hair and permanent coating of dirt, but those stories are for another time.

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To learn more about Bruce, the full-grown chef, visit his food truck page on Facebook.

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This is my first attempt at a gif. It doesn’t appear to be playing. Please enjoy this still frame of the original sketch while I sort out my technical difficulties.

A Gift From Grandma Ona

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I was preparing to fold laundry the other day, and I like to put down a quilt so my laundry isn’t picking up the crumbs Dexter tosses around like confetti. After I spread out my quilt, I realized it was the perfect opportunity to photograph and showcase it!

I have several quilts, but this quilt from my Grandma Ona and another from my Grandma Lucille are currently my favorites, and I use one or the other every single day.

About a year and a half ago, my Grandma Ona led Deborah (my sister), Michelle (my sister-in-law), and me to a room in her house and let us each choose quilts from her stash. I really loved this one, black and red squares always make me think of Alice in Wonderland, so I was really excited when I ended up with it.

After having a chance to explore the fabrics in the quilts (which I do over and over again), I’m just really struck by the beauty of the fabric pairings and the lessons of resourcefulness I find in various blocks. It doesn’t really show up in my pictures, but there are no less than 3 shades of red fabric making up this grid. In the past, I would panic and fret if my fabrics didn’t quite match. But my grandmother probably didn’t even flinch when faced with making do with what she had. It just makes me love the quilt more, and realize why my grandmas are so awesome. And it is a great lesson to internalize and put into practice.

Here are my favorite combos in the quilt:
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Below is an album of the 20 individual blocks if you’d like to explore them!

Impulsive Sewing Project: Design-It-Yourself Tunic

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I’ve been getting antsy to take a break from my (many…many…MANY) current projects in order to make something cute and comfy for myself. I decided at about 9pm tonight to start something! That usually leads to disaster, but so far, it’s going great!

I decided to use one of my vintage sheets because it’s soft and I liked the retro print for the tunic style. (The shirt I’m making is the red one up in the left corner.)

The idea behind Design-It-Yourself Clothes is that you draft your own patterns from your measurements or from existing clothing, making changes to design new styles for your body. I’d already used the book and some internet resources to make my perfect tee pattern. I used that pattern as a guideline for this shirt.

IMG_5316 I lined my pattern up along the centerfold, adding about an extra 2 inches to create the gathers at the waist. I also decided to use the hem of the sheet as the hem of my shirt. It won’t round up at the sides, but I really don’t know how much that matters. As you can see, it only makes about a half an inch difference.

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I then marked where the placket should go. (Placket??? New to me… it’s basically where the buttons go. Google it if you want a better definition 🙂 ) I went ahead and marked this on my pattern in case I decide to make this  shirt again.

This is where it gets tricky. The book gives very unclear directions for a lot of steps. They understandably assume that if you’re ready to design your own patterns, then you’ve obviously made many a placket in your day. So, there was not really an explanation for creating said placket, at least not one that I could really understand. So I felt my way through that one. I had to cut 3 different versions before I even came close. The one pictured above is wrong. It’s just the scraps from the shirt and was way too small. You need, as far as I can tell, 2 strips that are about 2 inches long than the opening and about twice the width of the opening if the front was unfolded. shirt Here’s a really crappy drawing to illustrate. Just pretend the lines are straight and that it was not done in a hurry at 11:30 pm. The dotted lines indicate that you will fold there, or that you have cut those placket pieces on the centerfold.

Next I cut out my back using my tee pattern. This time I cut right on the fold, because I didn’t want any extra material in the back.IMG_5327

Then I pinned my shirt together from the outside and tried it on. That hurt a little… I guess not every pin was pointing out 🙂 But I figured if I could slip it on with pins in it, then getting it on without them would be a breeze. I forgot to take pix as I pinned it and sewed it, but here is a picture of it put together before sewing: IMG_5328 I sewed the placket sides first, starting with the left side (if the shirt was on). This is the side with the buttons. Then I sewed the side with the button holes. I did it in this order because you’ll want the button hole side to overlap the side with buttons.IMG_5332 Then I created the gathers by sewing across the edge and pulling the threads. Then I folded the bottom of the placket pieces under and overlapped them the way they needed to be. I pinned it all together and then top stitched the bottom. Tomorrow I will actually topstitch around the rest of the placket, but it was just necessary to get this part done. This was probably the hardest part, because it requires a lot of agility. it’s a small space and a lot of overlapping bits that want to slide around. Also, you want to make sure you have enough overlap for those buttons and button holes. I barely did, but I was afraid if I made it any tighter, the shirt would be uncomfortable.

Then I easily sewed the side seams and shoulder seams. This is where I decided to stop, because all that’s left are the sleeves and the collar. I want to think about what sleeves I want. I’m leaning toward a loose 3 quarter length with slight gathers at the shoulders, but I’m also really tempted to do sleeveless.

Here’s the shirt on my duct tape double:IMG_5332 There’s a lot of extra room around the neckline. The neckline will curve when I’m done with it, so hopefully that will take out some of that bulk. Also, I’m going to do a little work to the back which should also help. but I’m really pleased with the front view!

IMG_5335 From the side, it’s annoyingly shapeless. But I’m very small on top and my butt sticks out. so that happens 😦 I’m hoping that by making darts in the area indicated in red that the fit will be more flattering.IMG_5337 It’s not bad from the back either, but once again, it could benefit from some reduction in the upper back.

At any rate, I’m very happy with how it’s turned out. Especially for a spur of the moment decision 🙂

Awesome Find: Vintage Sheets

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I was so excited to find these sheets the other day! I plan to use the pink one for a Strawberry Lemonade quilt (While I work on it I’m also going to make Strawberry Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade Cake—these things *do* deserve uppercase. I’ll probably also paint my toenails pink… it’ll be a super girly time 🙂 ) I’m pretty sure I’m going to use the blue sheet to back my denim quilt, and then I think I’m going to make an owl quilt with the earthy floral sheet. I’m excited to see what I come up with!