gray and blue

I made a new skirt last week and paired it with my new peasant top that was recently written about here and because it's a cool, gray, cloudy day expecting rain any minute, my RTW chambray shirt was added with a belt.  It's a little chilly outside, even though it is May in South Carolina.
I'm trying to document my work in cost, structure of garment, and any modifications I made and if it worked or not.  Used NEWLOOK 6192 view B lengthening and flaring the skirt just a little more than the pattern suggested.  I want to try it as it's written next time.  Because the tie at the waist is for looks only, I also deleted that.
This is an elasticized waist that is very comfortable.  My fabric was a little see through so I lined it with some white, thin polyester (?) stash on hand, which means no slip!  Which means not another thing around my waist in the hot summer heat we should be experiencing. 
This was made from one of my recent Wal-Mart fabric purchases that cost $3.00.  A lot of the WM fabric is noted as 'unknown fibers' with no recommended washing information, but with only $3.00 to lose, this was thrown in the washer on the delicate and cold water settings and dried in the dryer on permanent press heat.... and came out soft and still beautiful.
The big news, to me, here is that I added to my skills and successfully sewed an invisible hem using my sewing machine!!!!  Years ago, I tried and tried to figure that one out to no avail, but this time, encouraged by one of the sewing blogs I'd recently come across (sorry, can't remember now which one) I tried it again and it worked perfectly.... the first time!   Am very pleased with the results.
My new peasant top recently made from NEWLOOK 6891, though not seen in the photo at the top, is underneath the chambray shirt.  Funny, I'd even titled that post 'Getting ready for summer'.  Sure doesn't feel like summertime today.

My Chaps camp chambray shirt was purchased from one of my favorite local department stores, Kohl's, last year or so.  I bought a medium and have always thought it fit a little 'bulky' through the back.  Now that I am sewing my own clothes, I can see I probably bought too big of a size, as it's drooping off my shoulders some, has too much ease on the sides, which makes for a bulky feeling back.  But then again, maybe next time I should make my own chambray shirt and fit it to my body's needs.
Folks here call this 'Woodbine', but being from Alabama, I'm more partial to its other known name 'Alabama Crimson Honeysuckle'.  Odd, in that it has no smell.... at all.  Quite beautiful growing on this trellis my husband made.
Handmade Skirt:
Pattern cost:  $2.97 (from Wal-Mart) Will make this skirt again
Fabric cost:   $3.00 gray fashion fabric (lining fabric from stash $0.00)
Notions:        $1.00 or less for the elastic
Total handmade skirt cost:         $6.97
Handmade Peasant Shirt Cost:  $2.97
Total cost of handmade clothes worn today:  $9.94
(We won't talk about the cost of the RTW chambray shirt!)

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a burlap wreath and magnolia leaves make a light, simple, fresh and natural summer fireplace mantle

Recently I made a burlap wreath inspired by Lori at Girls in the Garden's Ballard Design wreath.  (You can read how I made this wreath here)   I have to say I LOVE my burlap wreath and decided to keep the mantle decorations simple, natural and fresh using only a few items and Magnolia leaves picked fresh from our beautiful trees.   Had to keep my recent Redneck Wineglass birthday present up there too - faaar right.  :)
Living in the South, we're all about nature and outdoor living here, so Magnolia leaves seemed a natural choice.  We enjoy a grand old (50+') Southern Magnolia to the side of our house that shades our chickens, as well as a smaller Little Gem hybrid variety my husband planted a few years ago beside our drive.  
Magnolia grandiflora
Both bloom extensively and effusively and there's nothing like the smell of a magnolia bloom wafted on the warm summer breeze!  Too early for blooms yet this season, this bloom is from last year.  But look at those beautiful, glossy leaves.  That's what I wanted to use.
Thought I'd show a closer view again of how the wreath was put together.
Our corner fireplace was built of rock with a custom maple mantle.  See how it wraps around?  This is actually an odd place for a fireplace:  in a corner, topped off (shortened!) by a bulkhead, soaring ceilings to 30' above that, our Master Bedroom doors to the right, sliding glass doors leading to the back deck to the left.  Odd.  But it works.
Simple, bringing a little bit of nature into the house.  I also used Magnolia leaves in a few other places throughout.  They've dried beautifully keeping the glossy green leaf top, with rust/browns peeking out here and there from the underside.  After picking the branches of leaves, while they were still fresh-cut I arranged them how I wanted.  After a few days they've dried nicely.

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