Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It's Never Too Early For Fall Fashion

You're probably going to be seeing a lot of posts from me surrounding the upcoming season. I love anything that means cold weather-  the boots, the sweaters, the pumpkin lattes, and yes, even scraping frost from my windshield!
I haven't really started shopping for anything new for cool weather yet, but here is some inspiration...

 Aqua with mustard yellow, love this combination

The more butt/hip/bip/thigh/buttthigh coverage, the better!

I foresee a lot of handmade items in my closet this year! Well, a lot of planned ones anyway ;)

Sweater tights with heels, love this look! You like the shoes? The Mui Mui ones in the photo are $500something, but a reeeally close match can be found at Kohls for under $50:

Cute and comfy with a sweater. I love corduroy!

You know I love me some fringe!

So I like a lot of different styles. Who doesn't? Next time I'll try to be more coherent :)
Are there any fall trends you want to try this year?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Attack of The Lemur Zombies

This is why we don't have cable TV.
Last night I was hanging out with my mom, and we were flipping through the channels when we came across Mean Girls. It's a pretty cute movie. I wouldn't exactly call it a nightmare-inducing horror flick, but darn it if it didn't give me terrible nightmares!

Of being extraordinarily fat?
Of being hit by a bus?

...Of LEMUR ZOMBIIIEEES dun dun dunnnnn!

I also give credit to watching Madagascar with Carly earlier in the week, and to the frog on our patio which induced Carly into a terrified frenzy with all its ribbit-ing. Oh, and a ton of Splenda because I had like four pots of tea yesterday.


That, my friends, is a Lindsay Lohan Lemur Zombie. She can jump really really high and get you no matter where you hide. She's actually an alien, and she came to Earth to collect these:

I'm not really sure if she was trying to eradicate them from the universe, or if she just wanted to collect them. I think she was also interested in anything she could get from the NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL MUSIC! line. Oh, and sustain herself on human flesh during her stay. 
It was so scary that I woke up in an asthmatic panic. Doug was like, "You had a zombie nightmare, didn't you." I laid there for who knows how long willing my body not to pee on itself because I was too scared to get up and go to the bathroom.
Let this be a lesson to you- Hold the Splenda, especially right before bed,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

English Literature Classics: Suggestions?

Lately I've had an obsession with English literature. Well maybe not English literature in general, but specifically the kind that makes great chick flicks :)

I muddled through Jane Eyre as a teenager, but have recently been voraciously consuming it again and again. I never could get all the way through Wuthering Heights, but was able to conquer it yesterday thanks to a nasty cold. I started in the morning and finished by late afternoon, leaving plenty of time to download and watch two of the most recent movie adaptations.

Only I don't feel as though I've conquered it so much as was finally able to appreciate it. I didn't want it to end! I've devoured everything by Jane Austen of course, but considered Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights as a slightly higher accomplishment, since I had such a difficult time enjoying them when I was younger. But now I wonder, what else is out there?
"I sometimes have a queer feeling with regard to you--especially when you are near me, as now: it is as if I had a string somewhere under my left ribs, tightly and inextricably knotted to a similar string situated in the corresponding quarter of your little frame. And if that boisterous channel, and two hundred miles or so of land come broad between us, I am afraid that cord of communion will be snapt; and then I've a nervous notion I should take to bleeding inwardly."

For weeks now, I've had passages from the Bronte sisters stuck in my head like lyrics to a new song. The manner of writing and cadence of speech from that time period are like an entirely new language to me, one that I've grown used to and crave more of, like a catchy rhythm.

"You said I killed you - haunt me, then! ... Be with me always - take any form - drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!"

Sigh. So beautiful. So what should I try next? I'd love to hear your favorites!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Fantastic Weekend

Any weekend that includes a trip to the flea market has to be fantastic, am I right?

Just finding buttons makes the whole trip worthwhile, but I also bargained for this...

For Carly's dolls, of course. But I'm going to paint it in kind of a folk art style to match my living room. Like this tray maybe:

I already finished spray-painting it red last night! Now I need to scrounge up some vintage folk art fabric scraps for a matching doll quilt. The one in the cradle photo is going to be turned in to a throw pillow for the sofa, I think.
I also got two old childrens books:

They are so adorable! I've been trying to come up with a creative use for them, besides just framing the pages for Carly's walls. I was thinking I could somehow incorporate embroidery? Like greeting cards or wall hangings? I'd want to put them in my etsy shop of course, but I don't want to deal with the hassle of framing them. Maybe I could cut out the designs and decoratively stitch them to fabric in an embroidery hoop? I need ideas guys!! 

Bunnies. Sewing. COME ON!
I can't handle the cuteness.

I also got Carly a Barbie with a floofy ball gown and a stash of old Barbie clothes. There's even a really cool astronaut suit, but I think he goes to GI Joe. She was away for the weekend visiting relatives, so I wrapped everything up for her to open when she got back. I was so happy to see her last night, but I admit I reeeeally enjoyed my weekend alone!

I caught up on several little projects I'd been wanting to do, laid around and watched movies, and did my nails. It was blissful. Oh and there was this:

My favorite, paired nicely with chinese food and a two-inch-thick peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Heavenly!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Miss Kitty Gets A Head

Remember the scene near the beginning of Lilo And Stitch, when Lilo wants to play dolls with the other little girls and they're all like, "you don't even have a doll!" And then Lilo pulls out her precious little handmade Scrump?

“This is Scrump. I made her. But her head is too big, so I pretended that a bug laid eggs in her ear, and she’s upset because she has only a few more days left to…”

Keep that scene in mind when I explain what I did last night. 
I haven't spent much time with Carly lately. It seems like one thing after another has come up, and on top of that I have to make everything more difficult by taking on unnecessary projects. Plus she'll be out of town visiting relatives with my dad this weekend, so I'm already missing her. I promised her that when I got home from work last night, it would be a special evening for just her and me. We would bake brownies, play My Little Ponies, and I was going to teach her to sew her very own doll. She was really excited about that last part, because she's been practicing her sewing skills lately. 
I had planned to cut out two simple outlines of a bunny or whatever she wanted to make from craft felt, then mark dots around the edges that she could easily sew them together before stuffing. But no, that would be too easy. When I got home I remembered that I still hadn't made anything from my Wee Wonderfuls book, and now would be a perfect opportunity. Except it wouldn't, because I promised Carly she could do all the work and of course these dolls were too difficult for her. Heck, they were too difficult for me! Not that the book was deficient in instructions or patterns, but.. well.. you'll see.

Even though she has plenty of dolls and stuffed animals already, Carly has been carrying around an ugly green umbrella all week, proclaiming it to be her special kitty cat. Leaving it closed, she cuddles and pets it, and even disciplines it when it doesn't potty in its "glitter box" like a good kitty. It was cute at first, but she's been trying to sneak it to the car so she can take her kitty with her to the grocery store. So I thought she might appreciate having a slightly more recognizable version of a pet cat. I say slightly recognizable, because this is what Miss Kitty was supposed to look like, and what she actually looks like:

Yeah... I know. 
What happened here? She has no chin. She's like the Anthony Edwards of stuffed cats. Why is her head so misshapen? Why are her ears so wonky? I re-applied them three times for gosh sakes! And I know, she's naked. I do have a dress in the works but because I made the body completely different from the pattern for no good reason at all, I'm having issues drafting my own pattern. Because of course it has to have puffed sleeves and a peter pan collar. Go big or go home baby.
And can we talk about her face for a minute? Was it the button choice that gives her eyes that horror movie look?

Like a shark. That will straight up bite you in half.

The appendages, if they can even be called that, were just tacked on with embroidery thread because I have no idea how this hidden ladder stitching thing works. And did I mention it took THREE tries to get the ears on semi-correctly? Yeah. Let's call this doll... rustic.

Plus I somehow managed to sew the head on completely crooked, so she will forever be looking off into the distance.
Well Carly loves her anyway, and is excited for all the accessories I've promised her. A little bundled up baby kitty, a pretend balloon, hair bows, and of course a huge wardrobe. Snort.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Vintage-Inspired Party Dress Progress

Remember the post last week about the vintage party dress I wanted to copy?

Yes, that one. Well I got started on it right away, and it's going... ehhh.... ok. The first day I finished the skirt completely and the outside of the bodice. I still need to figure out the lining and zipper.

This is how I made a marker for the seam allowance. You know I'm serious when I pay attention to seam allowances, right? Not that it mattered much-  The problem is that I believe the pattern I used was designed for juniors, and so the bodice was totally wrong for my shape. I ended up just taking in the seams more and more until I have no idea how to replicate the shape for the lining.

Have you ever seen such lopsided boobies?? I don't know how that happened. I take comfort in the fact that those unsightly lumps will [hopefully] be covered by the gathered overlay.
I wouldn't mind not having a lining at all because I want to add those overlays like in the picture, but it's necessary for the boning. On the other hand, the waist will be cinched in with that gathered overlay panel, so I might not even need the boning. But then I'd have to do something about finishing the top edge nicely. Oh geez why did I start this?!?

Then there's the issue of the fabric. Several readers suggested that the fabric in the inspiration dress was probably a cotton voile or batiste. I'm sure they're right, but in Dayton Ohio there is no real cotton voile or batiste to be found. I had two color choices- white or blue, and the low quality must have been a factor because it just did not look drapey and sheer enough at all for the overlay. I did have five yards of the most breathtaking coral silk in my arms, but halfway to the cutting counter I chickened out. I ended up with a satin base and chiffon overlay. I know, I know, you guys specifically warned me not to use chiffon. But I really had no other option. It's working ok for the main bodice, and I used a circle skirt instead of the gathered one on from the pattern, so that went pretty well. But the gathered overlay is going to be a nightmare. I tried to do the chest panel like in the picture, but this stuff would just not behave. It's too heavy to be gathered or pleated. It just hangs down in the middle, no matter how much I try to tack the pleats down  all the way across. So I think I will end up with a plain chest (how appropriate for me, right?) and then the strappy things and the waist part. I hope.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson about starting projects I'm incapable of executing correctly, but no. There's more.
And it involves this:

Why yes, that is my hair tangled and stuck in the blade.
I don't know how this happened, but I found myself browsing youtube videos yesterday and landed on instructions for cutting your own hair.
Eeeeeeek! I know, scary. But they made it look so easy! I got that blade at Sally's for $4, which might be part of why I had a less than easy time with it. But I only wanted to trim my bangs, or fringe, or whatever the kids are calling it these days.

Ta-da! Not as bad as it could have been, ok? There are a few pieces in the center that are a bit too short, but   they seem to blend in with the rest decently enough. I was trying to do a retro-ish hairstyle here, inspired by this tutorial:

I know, I'd need fake eyelashes and ummm.. OH YEAH TO BE GORGEOUS in order to really pull this off, but I did my best. Also, I'm just now noticing how much more fringe she has than I do.. maybe I should pull more over from the other side? I'm afraid it would be in my eyes and I'd be brushing it back constantly hmmm....

That was actually my first attempt, so it's a little messy. But hey look- My Threadrare headband matches my dress! I also massacred a few other things that I felt I had to try for the first time, like liquid eyeliner and blush. One step at a time, people.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Getting Ready For Autumn

I keep a binder with all the ideas I have for seasonal "lines" in my shop. They never actually make it to reality, which is maddening. But over the weekend, creativity hit and I couldn't resist.

I love how this turned out. I think it looks like something you'd see pinned to a dress in the 1940's. I'm thinking of making them as barrettes too. Necklaces? I don't know...

Yeah, they're all kind of the same thing. shrug. I love making one-of-a-kind pieces, but I also want to have a decent stock of things I can remake over and over. The joy of just stitching and not fighting battles of The Great Photo War is fantastic. I'm in love with those buttons because they look like genuine Bakelite but of course they're not. Fakelite, I guess we could call them. Whenever I get my paws on a really cool button that the world may never see again, I'm reluctant to use it in anything because I'm afraid my creation won't be worthy of the button. Do you ever see amazing buttons or old pieces of costume jewelry glued to something lame, and you're thinking what a waste of a great button! I don't want to do that to buttons. 

I did indulge in a OOAK freeform piece too:

It's a brooch. I've been thinking about adding a hidden jumpring to the backs of these and marketing them as necklaces also, so that the chain could be removed if you wanted to wear it as a brooch. What do you think?