Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

60’s Coat Visits the City on the Bay

I just got back from San Francisco where I wore my orange 60s coat. It was so lovely going places and getting lost in the crowds knowing that my family could find me in my very bright coat. I do tend to wander off.
Oh, me of the awkward hands...
We went to SF to run a half marathon--the first half of the San Francisco Marathon to be exact. I enjoy this race because five miles into it we get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. You'd be surprised at the incline on a bridge--especially when one isn't quite as trained as one should be. The thing about half marathons and 10ks is that you often sign up for the event months in advance and it's easy to delude yourself into thinking that you'll be in peak form by the time the race rolls around. It didn't happen this time. (Or the last either, come to think of it--but I got to wear a tutu in that one and hang with a colorful crowd.)

Since we weren't in peak form we ran very slowly, but eventually crossed the finish line, then celebrated by having a picnic in Grace Cathedral park. I talked my husband into taking some photos. The light is strong and the coat, being made of linen, is a wee bit wrinkled, but I just love wearing it.
I'm wearing the gold chiffon shift I made to go with the coat. As you can see, I lined my coat in polka dot charmeuse. The polka dots match the shift and it makes for a fun outfit

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Slight Detour into 1938

I've been out of school for two weeks. I think I was supposed to have six outfits sewn up and at least one book written according to my ambitious plans made on the first day of freedom.

I have cut out the first dress--the black and red rayon Vintage Vogue. It's a fairly
simple dress, but travel has kept me away from my sewing machine and my computer. I went to visit my mom. It's an excellent way to start a vacation--by actually going on vacation.

While there I went to the world's best swap meet and purchased three Stanford Yearbooks, 1938, 1939 and 1941, for $1 each.

I've had a ton of fun with these yearbooks. My husband and mom and I spent an evening going through them together. My mom was born in 1937, so this was before her time, but she had some excellent insights. She particularly  remembers the painful metal hair rod rollers the women wore at night to achieve a particular type of curl--I'm guessing that this is because she probably wore them herself as a child.

My favorite yearbook was 1938. There was an entire section on women's fashions:

And a section on concerts and performances. I found the gowns fascinating. Love the low cut front on the black gown.

I thought it was interesting that most of women's hair was all approximately the same length and in the same general style.

There also seemed to be quite a few curly headed men--several on each page. My husband, mother and I had a rousing debate about whether or not the men might have finger-waved their hair. I said they didn't, but was in the minority.

The neat thing about finding these books is that I'd already decided that after I get my backlog of projects sewn and written, I was going to concentrate on the years 1937-1939. These yearbooks fit into my scheme perfectly.

But, before I can plan any more projects, I have to finish the six I started.

And write a couple books.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cowboys? Really?

Somehow in between all my sewing, I managed to write some books… Once a Champion, book one of my Montana Way series, comes out this month. When people ask me what I write, I tell them mostly cowboy stories. Cowboy appears to be a rather divisive occupation because I then usually hear one of two things:
(a) “I love cowboys!”
(b) “I don’t read cowboys.”

I write cowboys because I live in a ranching area and my neighbors are cowboys and ranchers. Many of them have day jobs out of necessity because agriculture is an iffy business. My parents raise cattle in Montana.  Their operation has been pared down as they've gotten older, but they still have a herd. 

So, what do I know about cows? 

Not a lot, because I prefer ponies.

Cowboys are often stereotyped, but my cowboys are based on the lives of people I know. Here is one of  my good friends working his cows on the weekend after a full week at his day job.

This is his daughter.
And his son.
And this is me and his wife, my best friend, doing what we do best during the breaks in the action. Talking. 

Cowboying is a lifestyle with ups and downs, heartaches and triumphs, just like most other occupations and that’s what I try to get across when I write cowboy stories, because I write about people, not occupations. So if you haven’t tried a cowboy book, you might consider giving it a go. It isn’t all hats and boots.

But hats and boots help.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Survived the Deadlines and Ready to Sew!

I'm see a trend here--when deadline approaches, I disappear for three weeks. I guess that's the price I pay for not figuring things out until the last minute. This time I had a double deadline--the revisions for Cowgirl in High Heels were due on May 27th, followed one week later by the first three chapters of my next book. I pushed send on the chapters today and now I can relax my brain for a few days.

In addition to double deadlines a week apart, the last day of the school year was last Friday--for some reason I always have a major deadline when school ends, just to add to the general chaos, I guess. It was a crazy few weeks--in fact most of May was a blur, but now the summer stretches before me with no immediate deadlines and no students. I, of course, think that I can write at least four books and plow through my sewing stash in that time. Summer lasts forever, right?

I'll be thrilled, however, to finish the book I just started and perhaps make a dent in my sewing stash, which is getting out of control. In fact, I've decided to commit to finishing at least six projects I have on hand before buying any more patterns or fabric. I've even picked out my first three projects:

Vintage Vogue 1136 which I'm making out of red and black rayon challis (dress) and red crepe (jacket). I've already made a muslin of the dress, which fit well, and I'm going to assume that the jacket will fit, too. Don't those sound like famous last words?

Vintage Vogue 2787 out of black and white charmeuse. I have long black gloves and a great black hat, so I'm set once I get this made.

New Look 6514--I'm very excited to tackle this one. My daughter bought me some Italian cotton at Britex and it's gorgeous!

I noticed that the red crepe for the Vogue 1136 jacket matches the color pallete nicely. I don't think the 1940s style jacket is going to work with the New Look pattern, but you never know. And perhaps I can squeeze two jackets out of the crepe.

Now that should keep me busy for at least a week, right? That and writing those four books. Summer stretches on....