Friday, June 27, 2008

WT The Aftermath: The Need to Purge

Well, I started on that closet cleanup and found out something amazing.

In my extremely full bedroom closet, I was only wearing 30% of all the clothes I had hanging in there. All the rest were hanging there waiting for their time in the sun or were never going to see daylight again, at least not on my body. Immediately, I pulled the least likely and placed them temporarily in the living room closet even though it too is bursting at the seams. I seriously need to do something real here, real soon! I hope to bit by bit, day by day, go through this mess and decided what is being donated or what I will try to take to a consignment shop. At this point, any amount of money I can get for a barely worn item will be worth it.
Over the last two weeks, I have worn shoes that I now realize are reaching Velveteen Rabbit-status (how I didn't realize that when doing Wardrobe Therapy is pretty bad. I must have had my blinders on.) I mean, these shoes are not even in a condition to be donated with a good conscious. So why am I still wearing them? Because they are right there whenever I look for shoes. But honestly, if the opportunity or guy of a lifetime showed up while I was wearing them, a part of me (however small) would still be worrying about how bad my shoes look.
So, obviously, these items need to disappear from my sight so that I no longer wear them. I would write out a plan here and now, but many of my plans have fizzled. I will let you know what happens when it happens.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

RD Jr., the Man

How could I have forgotten I love him so?

Watch and fall in love:

Wardrobe Therapy Inspiration

The Wardrobe Project*on Flickr, found via Casey's Musings:

I followed this link to something that I think might help a lot of us still dealing with more clothes than we can deal with. Here is what Johanni has to say:

I have lots of clothes I never wear, so I thought I'd make a project of using them. I will go through my wardrobe one garment a day, build a great outfit around it, and take a photo. When I'm finished I'll have a bunch of photos for inspiration whenever I feel I have nothing to wear. And I'll know what I should get rid of.

Now, I will not be photographing mine, but I will adapt this idea for my closet culling project. I will try on one item a day and see if I can easily, (and only visually) put it together with other items in my closet to make a cute outfit without having to buy or make anything new. If not, it immediately goes in the outbox (with its' days numbered.)

* Johanni's project is also fun because of the drool factor involved in viewing her retro-fabulous clothes!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If You Want To Make A Quilt...

After writing about quilts so much lately I decided to share the research I've had saved for the last two years. I have already done the groundwork in trying to find the easiest ones for a beginner (like me!) to undertake.

Here are some options:

Instructions for a simple (but colorful) strip quilt at the Film In The Fridge site. Her quilts are so lovely!

One of the "crazy" quilt squares

All Sorts
' great visual tutorial for the Crazy Nine Patch quilt - I suggest you buy a rotary cutter and mat for this one or cutting your pieces accurately without those could drive you bonkers.

There are instructions for a crib-size version of a Flock of Triangles quilt in Denyse Schmidt's first quilt book. Altering this to make an adult-size quilt will require some math. I'm just warning you. Here's an inspirational post from blogger Marirob who made this one as her very first quilt, yes, first!

Lady Harvatine's doll-size Confetti quilt tutorial. So cute.

2012 Addition: I'm adding another great tutorial, for a Double Diamond 4-Patch quilt courtesy of Crooked Seams.

So, go out there and make a quilt for your home!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The shoe that got away...

and its possible replacements.

A few months ago I was lusting after another pair of Miz Mooz shoes. I thought I could wait them out for it to go on sale, when low and behold they just disappeared from their website. Man, was I mad at myself. Here is a picture I luckily had favorite-d on Flickr. Unfortunately, I can't even remember the name of this style. Anyone remember? The name is Babs, thanks Pugly Feet!

Photo by ertiepie

Isn't it lover-ly?

Well, I have allowed myself time to mourn but I still need this shoe. Well, as it turns out a lot of people, some shoe designers too, must have thought that little shoe had something because lately I've seen pretenders around. Let's call it the "gathered-toe" ballet flat.

Hidden-heel Mary Janes, Old Navy, $20

Cherish @ Payless, $20

Bridge, Payless, $19

Kash Kitten Heel, Payless, $20

Other loveable shoes seen around:

Cameo Mary-Jane, Payless, $19

Shauna, Target, $15

Shadow Peep-toe, Payless,$19

Yacht Espadrille, Payless, $15

What have you seen out there that you'd like to buy?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Wedding 08: Candles as reception decor

Goal: Use multitudes of candles in the reception area decor.

Task: Create a great look using multiple sizes of white, ivory, or blush candles.

First thoughts: The bride has already accumulated multiple sizes, shapes, and complementary colors of candles in order to create her desired atmosphere. Her method for displaying them is in the process of being created. These are other ways that I've seen candles being used to great effect. Using candles instead of floral centerpieces is one of the most affordable ways to decorate tables.

The mirrors allow more reflection and are extremely appealing at night weddings.

Candles in different containers elevated on several different levels.

Simple colored candles with coordinating satin ribbon trims.

The simplest of them all.

Picture Sources: danizerrenner, Mishka Designs (2), gfrog123, True_Queenie

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wedding 08: Draping the Interior

Task: Create a special almost ethereal space for the reception.

Goal: To use the room structure and fabric to evoke a draped tent effect in the reception room.

First Thoughts: The planned room luckily is equipped with visible metal room ceiling supports from which tulle can be draped. The caterer is willing to attempt this if supplied with the fabric for an extremely reasonable additional fee. Our job is to calculate the correct amount of fabric needed to achieve the best results. So, definitely looking for people who have done this before. Also hoping the caterer has prior experience and perhaps photos of how they achieved it. The photos would definitely help us in calculating the fabric yardage. Professional ceiling draping is usually done with semi-sheer voile, but more economically can be done with a fine net tulle. Luckily, tulle is cheap (under $3 a yard) and comes in 108" widths so that does help a bit. Update: Don't do tulle, voile is what you want. Try; Hancock Fabrics; Jo-Ann Fabrics; Wholesale Fabrics; and Harts Fabric.

Examples of two popular techniques: Flat drape and Swag

This portfolio from One Source Weddings in Tennessee is truly inspirational for any couple looking at less-than-wonderful venues. It shows the immense difference that draping can do for any venue, from staid conference rooms to high school gyms.

This one is actually a pre-assembled curtain that is erected on-site.

Photo Credits: The Bride's Cafe, The Foundry L.I.C. (2), Styled Weddings and Events

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Wedding 08: Branch centerpieces

Task: Create centerpieces for ten 8-person round tables.

Goal: Assemble some of the images below which use painted willow or birch branches.

First thoughts: Buy a quantity of willow branches and paint white. The bride-to be has found that Michaels craft store wants a high price for a very small quantity of branches. I have found this resource, which sells 40 to 50 stems of Curly Willow for $15 per bundle which sounds like a good deal. They also sell Mitsumata, Birch, and Manzanita stems. Once you soak the bundle they expand a bit and you can reshape them, meaning that as few as five may look perfectly fine at each table.

Unique Wedding Celebrations
in Australia

Other options: If for some reason, the willow does not work you can use any other kind of interesting shaped branch and attach decorative paper, felt cutouts, or already-created items.

Attach decorative paper flowers using Martha's cherry blossom tutorial.

For Krystal's wedding, she created tissue paper flowers and Amber took blooms from silk flowers and attached them to real branches.

Designer Angela Adams painted these red and attached purchased birds (as seen on the Rachael Ray website) or you can use feather butterflies from a craft store.

How about using a fairly heavy gauge wire and "hanging" kites from your branches or create groupings of brightly colored origami good luck cranes? So many possibilities...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Two Down! - Belle Epoque Bias Tape Tote

I highly recommend this pattern by Belle Epoque for a simple reversible purse. So quick, so easy, so cute.

Same purses turned inside out for alternative look.

Getting my Sigg on...

the two top choices now.

I don't drink enough water anymore and I need to change that. We have a water fountain in the office but I need something to keep it in. Since I work in the archives; where we ask our customers not to eat or drink, it has to be beyond reproach if I'm seen drinking from it from behind my desk. So I'm going to get a Sigg, which I've been wanting for months. But have you been to their site, there are way too many choices available. I found (via Dooce!) this other resource, Swiss, for their products that seems to have narrowed the choices down a bit. This will probably be the way I go. Above are Circles Cinnamon and Tomorrow Blossoms.

Note: While I've been taking my infamous long time to make a decision a report was released stating that some polycarbonate plastic #7 bottles were leaching the chemical BPA. This caused a run on all stainless steel water bottles and has made SIGG products in this country very scarce. Hopefully, I can still get my bottle.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A busy, busy month

I have been hired to help friends with their quickly approaching wedding in the third week of July (yes, next month!) So, for the next few weeks I will also be looking at wedding resources. I might post a few things here if I find them interesting.

So yes, this blog will be ALL over the place. My mini-wardrobe challenge and wedding planning.

Also, if you have any great pictures of candles and tulle drapery used as decor at a reception site, please send them along. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

One Purse Down! - Belle Epoque Bias Tape Tote

This was the easiest and quickest purse I've ever made yet. Yes, I dragged the process out but if I had wanted, this could have been completed within an hour. In fact, if I had enough double-fold bias tape, both purses could have been completed in that time.

The only problem I had was in making sure I caught both sides of the bias tape in the stitching. As it was, everything went fine until the curved sides, that is where the bottom side of the tape slipped away. I'll just have to clean these up with some hand-topstitching. Next time I will do a preliminary basting first.

Otherwise, cute, easy-peasy, and reversible to boot. Love that Ikea fabric!

To see other versions, check out Belle Epoque's Flickr pool for items made from her Bias Tape Tote pattern and her other tutorials.

Images: my own

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Another SATC post....not

I saw the movie. I loved the movie. I will put it on my NetFlix account as soon as it is available.

But I'm not going to write about it. Because I have just enough problems with it (and the series) to get huffy.

Looking at it as pure, love, love it.
Looking at it and what it may mean for the modern woman....uh, I should just keep my mouth shut. Nuff' said.

What I want to show is some great links I found about the clothes, oh yes, the clothes.
  • From Seen On: an incredible piece on the movie with links to the real and the knockoffs in the girls' wardrobes.
  • Online clothing shop ASOS's look into Carrie's closet and affordable substitutes for her key looks.
  • iVillage: SATC Looks for Less
  • HBO's flashbacks and wardrobe shots from the original series
  • Did you know the movie had a blog?
Well, one thing I will say about the movie: not so much love for Carrie's outfits, but loving how they finally gave Miranda some respect! I don't think there was one thing she wore that I didn't like*. Whereas, Samantha's wardrobe was loud and scary and Charlotte's was too pink and conservative (but for a few pieces), however, if I had Miranda's wardrobe I could be happy.

*Okay, I found one that I didn't notice at the time, but really scares me now. To be honest, both outfits do.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Making progress on some purses

See, I actually did something on my list*!

I am finally using the fabric from this to make some of these.

The cushion cover had a predominately red, pink, and black print on the front and a red, orange and black print on the back. Each purse has one print on the inside, the other on the outside, and because of their construction, they are also reversible!

*Oh, I also paid my rent!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I have been tagged! Zoosa, and here are my answers:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
Isn't it sad I have to look at my resume to figure out the year in context? At this point in 1998, I was in a job with no real advancement as the publishing company was actively downsizing and preparing to be sold. I started in the advertising department as support and then was groomed in Corporate Communications by my former boss (that's were I got my taste and talent for event planning). However, when she left, her job was given to someone in the editorial department! The guy knew nothing about what we were doing (and didn't care to learn) which seemed to be fine by the President. So all corporate communications were still handled by me and it seems his job was to wheel and deal free stuff for the higher ups from the studios and manufacturers that advertised and were featured in our magazine. That was definitely not a job for me. The way the company operated was starting to disgust me. Oh yes, I was naive! Little did I know what I would experience a few years later...
2. Five non-work things to do on my list today:
a. Wash my mound of dishes, I had a mini-pizza last night just so I wouldn't need utensils!
b. Start stitching up some simple purses, a warm-up for the real sewing to come.
c. Take my rent check to the landlord and beg them not to cash it this week or at least until after Friday!
d. Lay out the pattern for my first Mini-Wardrobe project.
e. Write a few draft posts for my SHELTER blog. I've been slacking over there.
3. Snacks I enjoy:
Vanilla yogurt and granola. Handfuls of almonds and raisins. Oranges. Apples with Havarti cheese.
4. Things I would do if I was a billionaire:
I would start a foundation, donate heavily to PBS, establish self-esteem programs in schools, fund scholarships, and provide quality health care to as many people as I could.
5. Places I have lived:
A military base in Germany, Washington State, and since 1974, all the places I have lived have been in Virginia. I SO need to move somewhere out of state, sometime in my life.
6. Jobs I have held:
Associate at a one-hour photo lab, a high school and beyond part-time job
Barista (coffee gal) at a local coffee shop
Corporate Communications associate at a publishing company
Accounts Manager/Event planner at a public relations firm
Dealer Services associate (don't even ask, this was the hardest job description ever written in order to make it understandable to an outsider)
Archives, still loving it!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Oh, retail, retail, retail...

No wonder women get frustrated trying on clothes in stores. You never know if anything is going to fit, even if you think you know your size.

Recently, I put on a little weight and my pants now fit me again, but don't ask me what ready-to-wear size I am...

These are two of my favorite fitting corduroy pants that I can again wear with pride. (Though not this weekend, because it was 90 degrees here!!)

The brown ones are Ann Taylor Loft
The dusky green ones are Old Navy

See how the Old Navy ones are a bit wider at the waist than the Ann Taylors? They are not the same size, as you can see. Their companies agree but they are also a bit confused as to what size they are.

You see, the Old Navy pair is a size 6 while the Ann Taylor Loft (the smaller one) is a size 8!

Oh retail, you SO funny!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mini-wardrobe challenge!

I am going to join Creative Reveries in a non-PatternReview-affiliated version of their Mini Wardrobe contest challenge. See her post to get the background and see what she will be getting into, but then you better come back here!

Luckily, this challenge fits in with my already-in-motion plan for the summer, but it gives me some outside blog-support. This is what I'm thinking if I do option 3: 1 bottom, 1 dress or jumper/overdress, and 2 tops (1 may be a jacket.)

  1. This dress: Finally, right?! I even have the belt buckle already, so let's get this thing started! Done.

  2. These pants: Comfy pajama-like pants, yeah!! However, the gorgeous fabric I bought with them in mind from the Jo-Ann clearance section turns out to have some Lycra in it and I'm now thinking that yummy lusciousness might be wasted on this simple pattern. The fabric looks A LOT like the fabric Cristina used for this skirt. What do you think?
  3. This top: Yes, again. Since I have to make a new muslin and then re-cut and sew this top, I think it can still count. Even if I use the same pieces (re-cut), I do have to sew it all over again, right?
Now the "rules" say I should have one more top and the projects that I already have fabric assigned are for shirts (two Built By Wendy's) so I could go with them or I could find another retro pattern to complete the group? What do you think?

Hmmm...other sewing...

I might look at some linen-blend for the pants and I could use the Lycra lusciousness for a pair of semi-fitted Bermuda-length shorts. I haven't owned shorts for at least four years.

I also bought all they had left of this fabric from the juvenile section (Butterfly Daisy Garden) because I couldn't leave without it. Isn't it fabulous? I have about three yards, so a great full-skirted dress, a shift dress to show off the pattern, or skirt and top? I was thinking, maybe the naughty secretary skirt from my new S.E.W. book?

Oh, I just don't know. Help? Help!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

WT Week 6: Accessories

I decided to handle accessories by writing about the pieces that I actually wear instead of tackling the large group of jewelry I've been hoarding for those "oh so special" occasions 'just around the corner.' What I actually have worn in the past six months:

  • Silver and moonstone ring (on pincushion) that I bought for $8 or $10 on my first trip to New Orleans in 1997?

  • One pair of silver hoops from a VERY cheap group of three varying sizes that I bought on a whim from Target for $5! Real silver? I doubt it. I bought these because I have lost one of every pair of earrings I have ever bought, resulting in wearing NO earrings for the last year. With my short haircut and the fact that I forget to reapply lipstick during the day, I think I need to start wearing them again for the femininity factor. Therefore, cheap earrings.

  • Red bead necklace from an Etsy seller. Luckily, I have never failed to wear this when it works with the outfit.

  • My Kryptonite-green pendant that I bought cheap from Forever 21, I think.

  • My chime bell necklace that I bought on my 1st trip to New York. It was purchased in a New Age shop on Christopher Street.
On occasion or on the weekends when I have time in the morning I might pick out and wear something a little more interesting such as these. I like that these are a bit unusual and stand out when I do wear them.

  • A rope of wooden beads a friend brought back from Liberia. I wear it with a knot in it like this for added interest instead of just one long strand.

  • A necklace with ruby colored beads and a two-stone drop. I can't remember where I got this from.

  • A braided cord necklace I got from New York & Co years ago. Unfortunately, the brown color is coming off the capiz-like discs.

  • Silver charm bracelet from the Limited (see a cheap trend developing?) which includes sewing scissors, a Vogue magazine, cats-eye glasses, a high heel shoe, handled mirror. I have no Macro lens on my camera so this is as good as it gets. Trust me, it's beautiful.

  • Hopefully you can see the detail of this necklace. They are little Milagros-like charms, horses/dogs, birds and little men. I wear this doubled up like you see and always get a compliment or two. It's very delicate and sometimes comes apart (I have little segments everywhere.) Therefore, I only wear it when I can keep track of the pieces if they fall off. No concerts or street fairs for this piece!
When I have time to think about my outfit, my earrings come from this group. The only ones missing from this photo are a set of rhinestone studs, also from New York & Co.

  • Here are two moonstone and silver earrings to go with my moonstone ring. They were bought in New Orleans at the same store as the ring. LOVE these.

  • Metallic bronze hanging "chandelier-type" earrings. Again, I wish you could see the detail, lovely.

  • Fabulous and fun painted enamel earrings with green Peridot drops.
Update: Lusting after some of these by Krista Peel to add to my collection. YUM! My stash and one still unworn Peridot and silver ring However, just like with my clothes, I still have more jewelry in my possession, waiting for what, I do not know. Just a few worth mentioning: Bracelets: A antique white enamel floral one that I really like but never think of wearing. A silver hinged one that was my moms. Jewelry sets: A topaz and gold set and a lavender and pink iridescent bridesmaid set that I actually picked out and the bride bought for us.