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Thursday, January 28, 2016

· 1950s Novelty-Print Scissors Dress ·

I was approached by Deirdre of The Vintage Pattern Lending Library to work on a collaboration with her pattern company, and I was SO delighted to have the opportunity!

The VPLL is a lesser-known source for vintage patterns, which I think is such a shame!  I've been a fan of VPLL for years and have made 4 garments (Penny Rose, Stripes & Buttons, 1930s Summer, 1930s Coat) featured on the blog from her patterns, as well as a few more that my mom and I made long before my online presence. ;-)  I was so excited for the excuse to pick out one of my very favorite patterns that I just hadn't gotten around to yet: this 1950s dress!

VPLL patterns are copied from originals dating from the 1860s to the 1950s, which means most patterns are only offered in one size.  The patterns themselves are printed onto sturdy paper and come with the original instructions.  Deirdre is wonderful to work with, and so friendly!

If you've followed me long, you know that 1950s dress and novelty prints will ALWAYS call my name.
And I won't ever resist.

I picked up this fabric at JoAnns over a year ago, and it was a great candidate for this pattern!  The fabric had just enough of a dominant pattern that I could have fun with careful cutting, yet was forgiving enough that I didn't have to sweat it. ;-)

As always, a side zipper, applied by hand.  I love this method!
(and as always, it looks like it's a bit too long-waisted in the back.  oh well, easy fix. ;-))

Aaaand.... the selling factor for this pattern!  Such a fun neckline!!

The back bodice extends into the cap sleeves, which are then gathered into the front.  The front is finished off separately (along the ric-rac trimmed seam) and then topstitched onto the sleeves about an inch from the edge.  Different!  Fun! :-)

Side pocket, again- as always.  After you've tasted the convenience, there's just no going back!

After much agonizing, I decided to go with white accents on the dress.  I really wanted to go with yellow, but the dress is close enough to both buttery and mustardy tones that I wanted it to be flexible enough to be paired with necklaces/hats/sweaters in either shade.  So naturally that's why I wore white in these pictures. ;-P

Which leads me to the next step- I'm obviously in dire need of some fun, quirky sewing-themed jewelry.  So this is where you, dear readers, come in!  Do you have any ideas? :-)  I think this dress is worthy of an entirely new photoshoot when I have some fun accessories to complete the theme!

Make sure to check out VPLL's wide selection of antique and vintage designs!

· Photo thanks, as always to Kathryn! ·

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Europe, Part 9 · Rothenburg

Well, this is officially the final chapter in our family's trip to Europe this past fall!  Our final full day was spent in Rothenburg ob der Tauber exploring and wandering through the medieval city.  Such a trial, right? ;-)

(previous installments here- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Rothenburg occupies a promontory above the Tauber River and was the seat of the counts of Rothenburg since the 1000s.  It was a bustling city through the medieval period, but suffered greatly during the Thirty Years' War and the Black Death.

It consequently escaped modernization for a couple centuries until it was discovered by Romanticists in the 19th century.  Tourism became a big business and laws were passed protecting the historical nature of the small city.  The medieval city is surrounded by a large wall that is mostly restored (and rebuilt from WWII damage).

The damage done in WWII was substantial- the city survived without attack until 1945 when over 300 buildings and 2,000 ft of the wall were destroyed, the rest only saved through negotiations due to Rothenburg's historical charm.

The completely rebuilt buildings blend in nicely with the old- obviously there are some noticeable differences, but the new buildings are still adorable! ;-)

OK, I don't have all that much to add to the photos- so I'll primarily let them speak for themselves! Enjoy!

Our day continued as the rest of the trip- delightful weather! :-)  Rothenburg is obviously a popular tourist destination, but we still found plenty of quiet streets to explore.

And cats to pet!  This little kitty loved being stroked and even came after us crying for more when we continued on our way!

The wall- some original, some rebuilt, some still awaiting rebuilding.  Feels like a step back in time!

I found this little house just outside of the walls very appealing.  I don't think I'd mind living there. ;-)

View from the tower- red tiled roofs abound!

Town Hall

The charming house we stayed in for a few nights!

I was going to point out all of my favorite buildings, but then I realized this would be a more than usually repetitious post.... so- what was *your* favorite?? ;-)

And there we go- thus concludes the Europe Chronicles!  Thanks so much for tuning in and humoring me as I relive the memories. ;-)  Back to our regularly scheduled program....

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Europe, Part 8 · Swabian Castles

(parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

I'm so excited about the post today!! :-)  This day's sites were a serious case of "Pinterest Win"- I saw both castles on Ye Trusty Olde Pinterest and knew that I had to work them into the itinerary- by hook or by crook!  Thankfully, I was in charge of planning the trip, so no crimes were necessary.  A bit of "scenic driving" was needful, but thankfully our drive really was scenic, so we didn't mind the extra time. ;-)

Unfortunately, this is also the time when I realize I should have written down specifics a while ago... the details of each castle are starting to slip away, so this post will be mainly eye candy.  With a healthy dash of potentially-inaccurate-so-feel-free-to-correct-me information. ;-)

We left Berchtesgadener Land in the morning and drove across to Swabia.  The drive was enjoyable  and our weather forecast for the day looked risky but promising.  As the day ended up, we could easily just name this day "We Successfully Avoid Any and All Rain By the Skin of Our Teeth".  It was such a blessing!  I know we would have had a nice time with rain, but really.... dry weather makes for better touristing. ;-)

First stop- Lichtenstein Castle!

Otherwise known as the "I Can't Believe It's Not Photoshop" castle.
Personally, I still can't believe it's not photoshopped.

This castle is a little bit more off the beaten tourist trail than most that we visited, and I'm not really sure why.... It's amazing.  However, one drawback is the fact that the tours are definitely not catered to English speakers.  I'll give them a pass since it is a foreign-speaking country, after all.  English handouts were provided for the tour, but they left quite a bit too much to the imagination.  Or confusion, as the case was.  Our tour guide was friendly and informed us that she also spoke English, so we could ask any questions.  Over half of our group were English-only, but as the tour progressed it became apparent that there was really never a good time to ask questions.  It really felt like an issue with the way the tour was set up rather than the docent being purposefully unhelpful, so all-in-all it was still enjoyable.

As usual, photos were not permitted inside, so you'll have to just leave it up to your imagination!  Or.... you could just look up the castle's website. ;-)

(by the way, I just went to their website and they have pictures of the castle in the snow- now doesn't that sound enchanting??)

The castle was built in 1840-42 by the current owner's great-grandfather.  There were 2 different castles over the centuries in this area, but they both were completely destroyed.  The current castle was inspired by the book "Lichtenstein" and was built as a hunting lodge/vacation home.

The castle is cozy and feels rather like a family home.  Well, except for the part where you cross a bridge over a chasm to arrive and, you know, other things like that. ;-)
On the grounds there were several other buildings that were equally photogenic!

The views from the castle down into the valley were pretty wonderful, too! :-)
To sum up- visit Lichtenstein.  It's amazing.

Next stop- Hohenzollern Castle!

If our day should have been titled "We Successfully Avoid Any and All Rain By the Skin of Our Teeth", it could by equal merit earn the title "Lily Schedules the Itinerary Tightly (As Per Usual) But We're All Able to Enjoy Ourselves and Do All The Things".  Thankfully. ;-)  

I tend to cram as much into each day as possible, but due to my sister having chronic Lyme Disease, we needed to keep this trip on the "light and easy" side.  Although looking back on the trip, it was all still crammed pretty full.... ;-P  Our final destination for this "travel day" was Mannheim.  And yes, for those of you who are keeping track of distances.... that's not an insignificant distance.  Lichtenstein and Hohenzollern are fairly close to being on the way however, so we were able to fit both of them in our day. :-)

On the avoiding rain front, we managed to leave Lichtenstein literally just as the first raindrops started.  It rained substantially on our drive and by the time we arrived at Hohenzollern, we all put on raincoats and got out our umbrellas!  The rain was over however and on the walk up to the castle, the sun started popping out from the clouds.  We arrived at the castle quite hungry and ready for refreshment, so we ordered a delicious lunch of authentic Swabian dishes from the wonderful castle restaurant!

Just before lunch, we had inquired about English tours and were informed that we had just missed the only one of the day, so we were given copies of the in-depth English guidebook to get us up to speed before joining a German-speaking tour.  It was super thoughtful of her to let us borrow them and the castle has such interesting history that it made for fun reading over lunch. :-)

Meanwhile, it was pouring and windy outside, but by the time we were done with lunch and ready to join a tour, it was sunny again!  It continued raining on and off through the day, but never when we were outside.  Ah, the charmed life. ;-)

As it turned out, they decided to have another English tour that day and we were on it!  Hurray!  The tour itself covered most of the same information as the guidebook, but there were lots of new things (as well as lots to look at!).  I think my favorite part was the entry hall whose walls are painted with the family tree going back centuries.  I wish we could do that at home.... ;-)

This castle was also built in the 1800s, but it was built for Royalty- the Prussians!  (confession time- I always assumed Prussia was next to Russia... I feel like I have a lot of re-learning to do... And yes, I'm embarrassed.  I shouldn't admit things like this in public. :-P)  The castle definitely had a more regal feel than Lichtenstein, as well as being much larger.  But still no pictures were allowed inside. :-/

One thing that I didn't realize before reading the guide book- this is the family line of Queen Louise of Prussia!  You know, this Louise!  You know, the owner of this awesome spencer!!  I was smitten with the thought of seeing the Vigee Le Brun portrait (added bonus being that I've never seen a Vigee Le Brun in person yet, and she's a top contender for my favorite artist!) and the spencer (which I've adored it for years!).  I had no idea either would be at the castle before we arrived!  Sooo amazing!  Well, it was half-way amazing, anyway.  Unfortunately, the painting was on loan to an exhibition in Paris. :-(  I noticed the sad bare spot on the wall immediately and had a hard time not moping....  The spencer however was on display in a stand-alone case so all angles were visible!!!  Aggghhh.....  I so wish photos had been allowed. :-(

The castle commands rather wonderful views in all directions!

After climbing a really steep walkway from the parking lot and getting out of breath, we were greeted by this cheery view of the castle- lovely!..but still a hefty hike! ;-P  A shuttle bus is also available for the climb up, and Mom and Gretel took advantage of it. ;-)

On the castle grounds are 2 churches- one each for Protestant and Catholic.  They were both truly beautiful.  On the left is the Protestant which falls in with my love of light, airy majestic gothic styles... however the Catholic ceiling is, quite simply, stunning.  I'm completely on the fence about which was my favorite. :-)

One thing is for certain- this castle does detail extremely well.  Everywhere you look is something beautiful!

Two of the gates leading up to the castle...

... And the view from a distance!

All summed up, these were 2 castles that are definitely not to be missed!  Which is your favorite? :-)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Europe, Part 7 · Salzburg

Well, it's about time that I finished up my series of Europe vacation posts!  I know, here you were, thinking I was finally done posting about it... but no! it keeps going... ;-)

(catch up on parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 if you haven't already!)

When I last left off, we were in the Berchtesgaden area of Germany.  It's just across the border from Austria, so it was an easy jaunter over to Salzburg for a day trip!

Besides being a charming little city, Salzburg has 2 main attractions- both of which are right up our alley: The Sound of Music/von Trapps and Mozart! :-)

Our first stop was Mozart's residence (Mozart Wohnhaus- on the left) where the family lived for the majority of his childhood.  The building was mostly destroyed during WWII and was rebuilt to be a modern office building.  About 20 years ago, the International Mozarteum Foundation acquired the property, demolished the new building, and rebuilt the original according to the old structural plans.  The building houses a museum that is very well done, and we all greatly enjoyed it!  The museum is comprised of exhibits and audio tours and all the information was available in English as well so we weren't left out! :-)

Mozart's birthplace (Mozarts Gebhurtshaus- on the right) is a building dating back to the 1500s (or thereabouts... I can't remember details...) and was the home of the Mozart family for years.  It is an original building and is now a museum, also owned by the International Mozarteum Foundation, and also very well done!  To be honest, we weren't really sure how much more information there was to know about the Mozarts after the other museum, but we were pleasantly surprised by how interesting they both were and little overlap there was in information. :-)  This museum had recreated the floor the Mozarts lived in to reflect how they would have been furnished and the other floors were devoted to exhibits.

We all love Mozart and it was a delightful experience!  Our only disappointment was that there were no concerts in the city during our stay. :-(

After museuming for the morning, we were all glad for the excuse to stop by one of the many bakeries!
Cake all around!! ;-)

After that, it was time for our self-guided Sound of Music tour of the city!  First stop, the beautiful Mirabell Gardens for loads of "Do-Re-Mi" locations!

None of us had seen the movie for years (we kept meaning to re-watch it before the trip, but it never happened...), so we could have taken many more shots of iconic locations!  Oh well.  We'll have to go back. ;-)

Please forgive the perfectly placed tourist....

(loved the strategic and artistic flower plantings to spell MG for Mirabell Gardens! :-))

One aspect of Salzburg that differed from the movie- when the von Trapps were frolicking about it certainly must not have been a gloriously sunny weekend September day.  Not nearly enough crowds in the movie! ;-)  We always say that it's a pity weekends exist while you're on vacation because then the crowds come out...  But our visit was lovely nonetheless, and the weather really was gorgeous! :-)

The exterior Abbey shots really are of Nonnberg Abbey where the real-live Maria was a novice!  So fun to add these moments to the "I've been there!" places throughout the movie! :-)

The iconic fountain in Residenzplatz!

Different angle, but not bad for a completely unplanned shot. ;-)

We did a fair amount of walking through Salzburg and it is a truly lovely city!  The Abbey sits on a hill in the middle of the city and the left picture is a view from the Abbey.  Almost makes you want to take up orders, doesn't it...?? ;-)

We took a little drive through town to our next location- the von Trapp home from the movie!  Remember how I said we hadn't seen the movie for a few years?  Yeah... my memory was a bit rusty, but just present enough to make me wonder if this was really the right place...  In person it seemed a bit different than I imagined from watching the movie.  However the avenue leading up to it was definitely the same as in "I Have Confidence"! :-)

It was quite the story to get there including GPS misdirections, roads of questionable legaligity for motor vehicles being traversed, and surreptitious jumping out of cars to quickly snap photos.  I think we can all rest assured that everything was worth it all in the end as it was legit (and it all ended up being legal too, I might add...). :-)

Our next location, the stunning location for the back exteriors of the von Trapp home!  I guess you never actually see this view in the movie, but it is a stunning location (now a private hotel), and there's the lake the children and Maria fell into!

We had a few GPS worries with this location too, but all was well in the end!  I can see how taking a tour with someone experienced would have its merits. ;-)

(In the background, you can see Hohensalzburg Castle sitting above the city- Nonnberg Abbey sits just beside it)

After much searching online, I was able to find the address for the *original* von Trapp home, but finding it with our GPS proved to be another adventure... This is so frequently the case with movie locations!  If you know where you're going it's no big deal but if not, it can frequently be frustrating and discouraging!  The home is a private hotel, so we were only able to get as close as peering through the gate. ;-)  Still super cool to see though!

Our final destination for the day was the town of Mondsee to see the church used for the wedding scene in the movie!  Our day had been quite relaxed, but as we got back in the car after the von Trapp home, we were cutting it pretty close on time to make the drive.  Add in a bit of rush hour delay, and we were uncertain if we'd actually be able to make it to the church before their evening Mass started!  Given our difficulty in locating the previous locations, if we continued on the current trajectory we had no hope. :-P  Fortunately enough, we found the church AND found parking with 10 minutes to spare.  Plenty of time. ;-)  We went in, snapped our obligatory shot, tried to envision the movie scene (rather unsuccessfully), and left with the unsettling worry that after all this might not *really* be the same church....

And from the pictures, I think you can see why!  On the top left, we have Nonnberg Abbey where Maria and the captain got married in real life.  Top right is St. Michael's Church in Mondsee.

The movie actually ends up being a bit of a combination of the two!  As with the other locations, I was so relieved to discover that we truly made it to the correct location! :-)

I certainly won't watch The Sound of Music the same again, and it's so fun to know what's just beyond the frame in so many scenes! :-)  It was a fun surprise to recognize so many of the scenery shots from the (previously boring and fast-forwarded) credits and intermission and I also loved how they incorporated the real Abbey doors into the movie!  I always used to assume that was either a set or a different location, so it was extra meaningful that it was the real deal. :-)

Thanks for following along!  The next post (just 2 more!) is about a rather magical travel day with amazing fairytale-worthy castles....

· Screencap source ·

(OH!  Also, don't forget about my fabric-stash-busting post if you missed it this weekend! :-))

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