The completely upcycled garden bed!

This blog post is written with great fondness. I updated me blog recently and then halfway through, it failed. I was not able to continue the process and lost my blog the whole day! I still can’t believe that I am writing this! I didn’t realize how much this blog meant to me. It has been a documentation of my creative process for five years. It also meant my day was pretty useless! I hate that! I did learn a lot though…. Anyway, this post is about my recent garden beds that I created using material that was headed for the dumpsters!

This shot shows Stuart’s surprised face that I actually completed it.
I first started with a covering for my 5 gallon buckets for my tomato plants.
I then came up with an idea for a larger bed. This location was great for the sunlight and also gave some covering for the garage sitting area.
The pieces that I used where small. Stuart pointed out that the reason that the construction workers were getting rid of them is that it takes a lot of time to put them together and create something useful. The time that this takes may not be worth it. For me, I had whatever time I wanted to put into it. So, I pieced them together, cut small pieces to drill and screw and glued them to create the bed. If looking for scrap wood, visit a construction sight and politely ask if they can leave their discards outside of the dumpster. All of this would have just gone to the dump.
I was really happy with how it came together. I wasn’t so happy with the back part of it though. I had one piece of white board and a bunch that just looked dirty and gross (yeah, it is a garden bed, but there is an antique shop right on the other side of our yard). I thought that I would try and give an antiqued look to the back. I wish that I took a photo before to show the difference! I started with black spray paint, then a warm brown stain color and then a wash of pinkish white. I may add a warm brown to match the front, but I think that I may just leave it as is.
I also did this to the poles that I created. These were just two by fours that I cut on the top to look like fencing. I also drilled holes every 6 inches to run wire through. This will become my trellis for peas and beans. IMG_20150505_064730_768
I also wanted to clean up the leaves from the side of the house and create a layer at the bottom of the garden bed. This took some time!
I was able to get just the right amount! This photo shows the inside and how the pieces are put together. I now need to get some manure and soil!
Today after breaking myself away from my computer, I transplanted my seedlings and am excited to put things in the garden! Here is also how I extended the tomato section. (Something must have been on my phone to create this hazy affect)
Do you garden? Do you like to use upcycled materials? In total, I used all upcycled wood, buckets, screws (some upcycled and some that were already part of my collection, glue that I had already (will need more though) and paint that I already had and needed to use. Overall probably the most expensive part of this project will be the soil.  I have started most of my plants from seed and once the garden is ready I will also plant some seeds. Exciting!

The New Studio!

There have been a lot of new things lately. The biggest thing is that we moved into a rental home! We had a cute little apartment before but now it is exciting to have a house that we can spread out in. My studio for instance is amazing!  I have multiple work stations and can even leave my ironing board up all of the time. Before I would have to break it down when done and set it aside. Ironing is a major part of sewing and it is great to be able to have it ready to go.


I will go into what I have been working on and the space. Moving takes a lot of time and energy and this has soaked up my free time lately. It is worth it to set up your space right for you though. It is sometimes a work in process, but once you get it, it feels great to be in the space!

My first sewing project happened before I even moved into the space! I picked up a few shifts at a great local restaurant, Krista’s. Currently, there is a major renovation happening and there was a need for a large curtain to be created to cover up one of the walls in the restaurant. Krista learned that I loved to sew and asked if I would be interested in creating this custom curtain. She has some great fabric and thought that burlap might be an interesting material with that.

Since we didn’t have much furniture in the space yet it was a great place to spread out all of the fabric, measure, and piece it together. It was quite a project! Burlap is kind of a tricky material to work with mostly because it likes to shed. When I was done working, there were little hairs of burlap running around the house like tumbleweeds!


Working on this project was a great way to see how I could best use my new studio. I had to be creative with my set up because I didn’t have all of my tables right away. Here is my table top on my ironing board. Using the top of the stairwell ended up being a great location. I wouldn’t have thought of this without this project!



This is the final product! It will have a new use once the new construction is done. Not sure yet what that will be. In the next few days I will be creating a bunch of pillows with one of my lovely new coworkers. It will be fun to work in this space now that I have it set up!


Shortly I will create a post that shows how I actually set up this space.

Another Rose bag!

downtonabbeyinspiredThe season has ended, yet I still have a few bags to create. I enjoy challenges and like coming up with new designs. For the next few bags I create, they are going to be simpler. These bags are interesting to create, but do take up a lot of time to develop. I came up with this bag using part of my pattern from an earlier bag. The original was a purse and this version is a clutch. I really enjoyed being able to adapt it!


This episode Lady Rose gets engaged! Her smile really says it all!










I have created a bag that uses the pink of the dress, the beading and the embroidery.












Get the Look!

I wanted to share some accessories for this particular look. Her name is Rose and maybe that is why they like to play up the rose in her looks. I found a pink hair rose through LilaJo on Etsy.











Her necklace is similar to one that the ThePaisleyUnicorn found.











Her earrings are pink with pearls. I couldn’t find ones that fit exactly but these are dangled pink pearls from GlamorousSparkle.







I am sad that the show is over, but am also looking forward to creating some new items. I have come up with some new looks and have learned quite a bit from these. Do you have a show that you love?

A little late, but here it is!

downtonabbeyinspiredemb4I have really enjoyed this embroidery thing! This bag was at first inspired by Lady Edith’s dress and also my seed catalogs that keep appearing in my mail!

Since I have been interested in embroidery I was really attracted to Lady Edith’s dress. The styling seemed a little more modern for the time period, but the shape of the dress seems very 20’s.












I found some blue fabric, came up with a round pattern and then came up with the embroidery pattern similar to the dress. While I was embroidering, I kept wondering what to do with the center of the yellow circle. I would sew something and then take it out. I came across some of my seed catalogs and thought that a spring detail might work. I used similar colors to the design and came up with this. When I started to sew it together, the idea of turning it into a belt bag came as well. It can be a hand bag but also attached to a belt for hand use.



















Get the Look!











VintagePatternGirl has another pattern that looks like it could be adapted to create this look. It would just need a few pockets and an adjustment on the neckline. I have one of her vintage patterns in my collection right now and working on creating a lovely hat! Can’t wait to share this!













In this scene, Lady Edith is writing to her family to say that she needs to leave (I won’t go into this in case it spoils anything). I thought that sharing some interesting letter writing accessories would be fitting. Here is a writing set from the 20’s or 30’s from DaffodilsVintage.













I thought that some nice writing paper would be fitting as well. PaperAndWren has a nice set.














Soon I will be creating my next look which is Lady Rose inspired. I purchased some specialty beading for this look! Thanks for stopping by my blog and enjoying this journey with me!

Adding embroidery.

downtonabbeyinspiredOne of the reasons that I wanted to make bags that are inspired by Downton Abbey is that I love the challenge. I am a huge fan of vintage design 20’s through the 50’s. The show has takes great care to find items that are from the time period, are interesting in design and make sense for each character.

I just started creating bags this fall. I have started with simple designs and was excited to see in which direction I would go. Having a base inspiration has helped come up with new and interesting ideas for my bags. I have really enjoyed this process. I am starting to see in which direction makes the most sense for me.

This last year I have been learning how to embroider. As a trained painter, stepping away from handwork has been difficult. Meaning, I have been creating forms with bags and not drawing with lines. Bringing embroidery into the process allows for me to feel like I am drawing and in some cases color play.













For this show I liked the embroidery work on Lady Cora’s dress. Embroidery and beads were used. I found some fabric that was similar color and created a design that was similar. Well, once I finished with it, I did not like how it came out. The pattern clashed with the embroidery. The color matched, but it did not work visually. I decided to do a similar design but with a solid color background. I then went back to my first design and thought of cutting out parts of the fabric and using embroidery to join two fabrics together. It was enjoyable to play around with I feel that this is something I want to do more with!












Get the look!













Cara’s dress could be a fun dress to create. I found a great vintage pattern that could recreate this look with VintageNeedleFinds .




















Here is another one that is similar VtgFashionLibrary:














A long beaded necklace adds a bit more of the beaded look. This can be found in RedGarnetVintage‘s shop.













I like to add a little accessory from the scene. Here are some vintage hair combs that come from this time period.









I thought that all of my dresses would have been inspired by Lady Mary. So far it has been everyone else…Do you have a favorite character?

Cornish Studio

I wanted to share my current studio. In the summer times I get to enjoy my trailer studio, but in the cold of the Maine winter I have a cozy studio in our  apartment. This is my view!













I finally taped down my cutting boards. So far, I just had them on the table and they would move around as I cut. I needed them to be more streamlined. I also taped down my long yard stick. This make measuring things quicker as well. I used my double stick tape for all of this and it has worked out well so far.

















I have my current fabrics and collection of serger thread in my Lobster box. I recently acquired a lovely thread holder from the lovely Giselle, a Portland seamstress. She was redesigning her studio and didn’t need it anymore.




















You can also see my needle holder that I have for my sewing machine needles! It has been a great addition to my studio organizing!












I originally had my serger on my desk. I just didn’t use it enough to keep it on there. I use the thread more. So, I moved it onto my storage drawers.














When starting a business there are a lot of things to do. It can be overwhelming. I am a visual person and needed help being able to sort it all out. So, I came up with this post it note contraption. The items that I am currently working on go at the desk. The other ones are on my idea board along with other inspirational items. This has been very helpful in breaking down what needs to be done. I also LOVE to cross things off lists. It makes getting things done very satisfying. My chalkboard is also useful for daily tasks.




















I also have my different supplies stored up in different boxes. I was joking recently about my “adhesives” box. I guess I have a few different types!




















Organizing in your studio really helps to get things done. There are a lot of different types of materials, ideas and projects. Having a place for everything makes it much easier to work. Do you organize anything in a specific way?

New hand printed design!

downtonabbeyinspiredpic1For this week I was inspired by a few different garments from the show. I fell for one the gowns from the fashion show that Lady Mary and her aunt Lady Rosamund attends. I also loved the idea of hand stamped fabric from one of Rose’s dresses. So, this post combines both.






This dress is apparently from the time period! It was rescued, new beads were added and a new lining helped to give it structure. I love this! The shape of the bottom part of this dress inspired my design that I came up with for my print. I found a pattern from the 20’s and came up with this look. pic2












Lady Rose’s dress has a beautiful flower print. I thought that making my own linoleum stamp would be perfect for my next design! I thought that creating a rounded clutch would match the shape well. I came up with a design, drew it, carved it and then stamped it on fabric that was in a blue/purple tone. I always like the look of white stamped in color and decided to go in that direction.



















Since I have been painting for over 20 years, this made a lot of sense to me. I love sewing and creating something that I could stamp my own design with is amazing! I am looking forward to creating new designs with this!
Get the Look!

Her gloves caught my attention. I could not find any gloves that had buttons on top. I thought that this is something that could be easily designed into a sewing pattern. Creating this look shouldn’t be that difficult. Here is a pattern offered from VtgFashionLibrary. A few buttons could be added to the top of this pattern and these gloves would be amazing!



















I also came across a necklace that has a similar length and use of clear beads. This is found in TrulyNewVintage‘s Etsy shop. Her shop has some great Downton Abbey inspired pieces as well! Kindred spirit!










I tried to look up a bunch of dresses that matched Rose’s. I found a few that were almost, but didn’t quite match. These can be found in my Favorites on Etsy. I found a dress that reminded me of the one that walked down the runway. These dresses are hand made per order from WearDreamsAreMade:

























My last item isn’t found on Etsy. It is a book that I already own that is AMAZING! If you love vintage dresses, jewelry, shoes, then you would love this book. It shows you how to recreate certain looks from different time periods. Her finger wave in this look can be found in this book! I got my copy at Powell’s Books in Portland, OR.









Have you ever printed on fabric?

Ooh… “Granny has a past!”

downtonabbeyinspiredSince I love Violet how could I not make another style based off of her! This episode reveals a hidden past romance with a Russian Prince! I love that this season is showing that the older woman are still getting some attention from the males. Earlier years it was all about learning about love through the young ladies. This year it explores what it means for a mature relationship. These woman have had decades of experience with the matter and their decisions on why they  choose certain men for their lives.

One of the scenes that I loved was when Violet was telling everyone about her visit to the Russian palace when she was younger. She had been given a fan….the man was actually there! She had “hid” this fan in order for her husband not to be jealous. Their looks said quite a bit to each other though!











When coming up with the design for the week I originally wanted to use this sparkly blue fabric that I had. I loved how her jacket draped. My polyester blend (with sparkles) would have been really garish though. I felt that since I don’t have any silk velvet I decided that I should go in a different direction. One of the aspects about this coat was the matching fabric covered buttons. (I said in the first post that the jackets were probably going to be the inspiration for this show!) It is hard to see in this shot, but here you can see them along the cuff. I figured that I would use the blue inspiration, the fabric covered buttons and imagery that would be similar to what is on a vintage fan.












Here is the design that I came up with! I have made two and I have two more just about to be finished.























Get the Look

Each week I am finding items on Etsy that can give you this look.

Well, since it is about the coat, I had to see if I could find one that was similar in MyVintageCocktail‘s shop.














Of course I watched the making of video about the historical accuracies that the show has made. One of the things that the actresses spoke of was how important certain gloves were. They had to remember to wear or not wear them for certain situations. I figured that Violet’s look has these in her hands. Here is a vintage pair in RareRagsandTreasures‘s shop that has similar designs to hers.
















She has a lovely broach as well. This one in JMPierceJewelry‘s shop has a similar shape. This one is even an Edwardian piece!













The fan has a major role in this scene. Here is a lovely one that I found in GildedAgeAffaires‘s shop.











I like to add some sewn aspects to these blogs as well. I found a cross stitch that features a rivalry between two of the wise women on the show. There are some really great designs in crossstitchheroes‘s shop.










So, here you see it ends with her talking about her past and he is in the background! Curious to see how this develops!

Downton Abbey- Violet












For Season 5 of Downton Abbey, I am creating a bag each week inspired by a detail from a character’s garment. This week I was interested in my favorite character on the show, Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham. I love her attitude and her interest in “keeping up with traditions.” She is always impeccably dressed and put together.

I really liked the Dowager’s dress during tea. I liked the detail of the folded fabric and thought that this may be interesting as a detail in a bag. I chose to design the shape of the bag to what may have fit her character the best.

I had some fabric that I had bought that I associated with the Dowager. The decorative trim along the neckline is similar to the design in the fabric. I also had some blue and tan fabric that was very similar in color. I used this as my inspiration for my design.















I have created two of this bag. These can be found in my etsy shop: rebeccashellyart

Find a similar style:
Each week I am going to feature other Etsy sellers with this post.

The Dowagers Dress: A pattern that I found from SewingPatternGallery looks like it could be adapted to recreate this look:
















I found a pair of earrings that have a very similar look to the pair of pearl earrings that she is wearing. These are found in sparkliesbyjulie‘s shop.













The scene takes place during afternoon tea.










I found a lovely tea service at cynthiasattic.











There is also a little tea strainer spoon used in this shot. I found one at HOTCollection.







I wanted to end with a funny version of the Dowager. Toadbriar draws each of the Downton Abbey characters in the form of an animal. If you love the show, you would love these! Here you go!


















Do you have a favorite character on the show?

Introducing the Downton Abbey Post!

downtonabbeyinspired I am a HUGE Downton Abbey fan! I guess this is obvious since I am creating a whole new line of bags inspired by the show. If you are a sewer, Downton Abbey is basically “dress porn.” Each scene is layered with amazing imagery, draping, hand stitching, carefully placed sparkles, cuffs, and pleats….don’t get me started on the pleats! I am going to be using my excitement about these little moments to make bags that are inspired by this. I am not simply recreating a bag that is already on the show, I am using a feature of one of the sewn items. This will also be a learning experience for me. I will be coming up with new designs, most likely learning how to add beading, embroidery, pleats, etc. I am looking forward to this challenge!

My first example is Lady Edith’s jacket. (I love ALL of the jackets! I may need to step away from this fascination and explore some of the other garments for this). What I love about this jacket is the bold button with the matching fabric and the way that the collar stands. There is also a tab that isn’t really seen in this shot. Blue is a popular color for garments in this episode.













These can be found in my etsy shop:












The inside of the bag is a recycled men’s dress shirt. The bag strap is a recycled bike inner tube. I have created five of these styles with this fabric and similar hardware.












Find a similar style:

I figured that other sewers or vintage lovers may have items that could recreate this outfit in real life. Each week I am going to post items from Etsy that are available for sale from other sellers. These items will be clothing, hats, accessories, patterns, etc.

I chose this jacket by FriederikeZobel because it had a similar blue tone, an interesting collar, and had fabric colored buttons. The look for this jacket has a more contemporary fitting than the 1920’s version. These jackets are hand made in Berlin, Germany.


















The hat is also great for this look. There is a sewing pattern that I found on Etsy that could recreate this look! VintagePatternGirl has a great cloche style.










If you are not interested in sewing a hat, there is also a vintage style that is very similar. It is straw and not fabric but has a very similar shape. This can be found in VintagelyVogueDeJavu‘s shop.












A German book is a major player in this episode. This seemed to be an appropriate accessory for this look.









The book is a “German Primer” and was owned by Lady Edith’s secret lover who has disappeared.
I found a vintage German Primer on Etsy! There is so much amazing vintage items on here! These are vintage readers from MerrilyVerilyVintage.
I hope that you are enjoying these posts. Let me know if you are an Etsy seller who features items similar to what may inspire an episode. Keep in mind that I live in the United States and we are now seeing the show for the first time (no spoilers please!)