Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spooky Halloween Outfit

Yesterday was a sewing day for me. Dedicating myself to sewing resulted in two finished items: an orange skirt and a black and white polka dot top.

The skirt: Vogue 2950. You might remember this skirt from here (it's the skirt from my Oscar de la Renta suit). I loved the fit so much that I decided to make another one in this bright orange cotton sateen I bought last year. This fabric is a prime example of my weakness for discount fabrics; it was on sale for $1.95/yard and I couldn't resist. I figured that the color couldn't be THAT bright. It really was THAT bright. But I ended up finding a use, thanks to inspiration (or copying directly, depending on your outlook) from Gertie. And just like Gertie, I added a bow at the waistline.

The top: Simplicity 2633. I mentioned in my last post that I had this top planned. There are some slight fit issues in the shoulders (notice the rippling). Other than that I like how this turned out.

On the subject of copying, I was indeed inspired by Gertie back in March when she posted her skirt. And I had that orange skirt turning and churning in my mind since then. But I have to admit that I was disappointed when I located her version of the skirt just to find that she too had paired it with a white and black polka dot v-neck top. I must have remembered that somewhere in my subconsciousness, which led me to think that I was having an entirely original idea in putting this fabric done up in this particular pattern together with this skirt. 

At any rate, imitation is the best form of flattery right? And I do so admire Gertie and her mad sewing skills and super style. 

P.S. TC was my photographer for these photos, which explains why they are so wonderful!

P.P.S. Shoes are Jessica Simpson Michaela.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Coming Soon!

I tracked my 13 pound box of fabric and it just left Chicago. It's not due to arrive here in the intermountain west for nearly a week, so I have some time to finish up a few lingering sewing dealies. (Notice the word dealies in place of projects. I'm trying to diversify my speech.)

Simplicity 2633 Blouse

I'm making a top kind of like the first one in the second row of the line drawing, but with those sleeves shortened (not the cool pleated sleeves in other versions), and no pocket flaps. And this is the fabric I'm using.

It's a white cotton with black pin dots. But what's even cooler about the dots is that they are raised and slightly fuzzy. Maybe you can see it in this next photo.

My Mom had this fabric in her giveaway pile, so I snatched it. And have been plotting its use ever since. 

Simplicity 2413 skirt

You've seen this pattern before. This time I'll be making view B, the pleated full skirt with the little button tab thingy (view B on the top row of the line drawing). And here's the fabric.

It's a cotton plaid in navy and forest green, which was a gift from a friend that was moving and didn't have room for fabric. Despite my own space difficulties, I accepted the gift gratefully (or snarled and spat out a harsh "I'll take it," depending on your perspective). I'll be lining it with black polyester china silk. I need to figure out if it's possible to put in pockets with a lining, so this one will take some brain power. 

I would like to have these finished by early next week so that when my 13 lb box comes I'll be ready to dig right in.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My profound thoughts

  • The charger to my laptop is broken. I don't know how or why, it just doesn't work. I'm kind of weirded out about it. 

  • I couldn't sleep last night. But this morning I had no problem sleeping in. Poor TC got up all by himself.

  • I ordered an obscene amount of fabric yesterday. I have several awesome projects coming up, and I decided to get all of the fabric at once. Yeah, I'm a bit nuts.

  • Since I have a big box of fabric coming, and I have boxes of fabric strewn around the house (i.e. stacked neatly in the guest/sewing room and down in storage) I need to work on the fabric I have. Today I will be cutting fabric for planned projects like a mad woman.

  • I have yet to find a good use for leftover fabric from finished projects. Often I have just enough to do *something* (1/2 yard) so I hold on to it. But I never know what the something I can or should do is. Also, this tells me that I overestimate how much fabric I need when planning for projects. I've thought about making matching headbands, but that's not really me. I don't wear headbands and I probably wouldn't want matching ones. *sigh* See my conundrum?

  • Also, sadly, it's finally time to switch out my summer clothes for my winter. Out with the cold, and in with the wool, I always say. Or just said for the first time. The plus side is that it feels like shopping, but no money is exchanged. I just get to pick out sweaters that I haven't seen in months, making them feel like new. Sometimes I even have to say, "Oh yeah! I forgot about this sweater that I love so much." Fun stuff.

  • Last night when I couldn't sleep I tried to remember what I would find when I pulled out my winter clothes. It was a fun challenge, and even more fun to remember the warm fuzzy clothes I will find.

  • I bought a new steam mop last week. It's a Shark and I got it from Costco. My old mop was a Conair that I bought from two years ago. It was pretty awesome despite the bad reviews it got, and lasted me for two whole years. In the end, I broke it because I left it on without any water. I burned out the heater. Sad. The new mop was significantly more expensive, but also cleans significantly better. I'm back to being excited about mopping the floors again.

  • I have a book on hold at the library that I need to pick up: Personal Finance for Dummies. I happen to be a dummy that needs help with personal finance. Investments, IRAs, 401Ks make no sense to me. It's time to be a grown-up and learn.

  • As is typical of me, I finished several sewing projects (a skirt, a dress, that suit) but I haven't taken photos. Do you know what my problem is? Finding the perfect spot to take photos. If I take self-portraits I have to account for room for a tripod and what the camera is going to try to focus on when I am setting up the self timer (no remote for me). This is why pictures in front of the window don't work for me. I'll just keep experimenting until I find the right spot.

  • I overuse the word projects. I think I used it like 100 times in this post.

  • Today is going to be a fantastic day. I just know it. Have a good one friends! And thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Dress design for Shabby Apple dresses

Have you ever heard of Shabby Apple? They sell unique, stylish, modest dresses. Their designs prove that modesty doesn't have to be matronly or homely. I love perusing their website basking in the creativity of their creations. While I was basking, I saw that they are having a dress design contest, and since I've been kicking around a few ideas for dresses in my mind, I decided to draw one up.

Here is my dress design for Shabby Apple dresses.

Oprah made me choose royal blue for the contrast.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Homage to Vintage Electronics

TC and I recently finished a project that we'd like to share with you. But first, the story.

I love to wander into Z Gallerie. TC and I especially love looking at their art. Several weeks back we fell in love with these prints. But being the do it yourself-ers we are, we decided to make our own, inspired by this art. We knew we would put it up right above our computer in a little cove we've created. On our way home we immediately thought of ways we could personalize it.

Futhermore, we thought of the irony of placing images of vintage electronics above our modern computer, which in many ways replaces or enhances those technologies.

Yeah, so we got kind of artsy fartsy with it.

Our version:

We are Sony nerds all the way, so we chose a Sony video camera and a Sony Walkman. We chose a Minolta film camera because Sony acquired Konica Minolta a few years back. And we know this because, well, we are Sony nerds. Lastly, we chose an old school Mac, because the irony of seeing that above our new Mac is delightful to us.

Once we chose photos of the electronics we wanted, I took them into Photoshop and deleted as much of the background as possible.

Then I brought the image into Illustrator and used the Live Trace feature, which allows you to trace images and make them into vector images. I traced twice: once to get the solid colored image, and then again to get the outline. After adjusting the settings to get the images just right, I brought them back into Photoshop, created the background image, put a color overlay on the image of the electronic, and tweaked until I got the effect I wanted.

So with our images designed, we printed them up at Costco (12" x 12" for around $3 a print).

The other supplies we needed were:

  • Wood panel art boards ordered from ($7 a piece). 
  • Elmer's Repositionable Mounting Spray that I for some reason have lying around.
  • Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish we picked up from Home Depot ($8).
  • A paint brush.
  • Latex gloves.

After trimming down each print so it would fit perfectly on the top of the art boards (they had a bevel, so it was necessary to take off less than .25" from the side and bottom), we sprayed the back of each print with the mounting spray, and positioned it on the art board.

Then we slathered the whole thing in the Minwax finish. We ended up putting on 5 coats (waiting at least 2 hours between coats), just because we wanted it to be extra shiny.

One "mistake" that ended up being a happy accident is that we over-brushed the finish, creating brush stroke creases. In the end, it gives the art a texture, which we like. But if you are ever finishing something that you don't want to have any texture, take care not to over-brush. Just apply the finish and let it dry. Don't go crazy with the brush strokes.

Once all that was done, we hung our new art.

And here's the view of our computer cove with our art. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fashion Forward Friday

I have something new to report on the fashion front of my life: I bought new shoes in a completely lovely and impractical color.

First off, I have to say that Oprah made me do it. No really! If there is anything I've learned in my life, it's that Oprah is always right. About fashion. Sometimes. So I saw this slideshow on Oprah's website about the must have color for fall: royal blue. Naturally I went gaga and even went so far as to sit my husband down to show him the slideshow with all the pretty blue things. I told him my fall want list, and on that list was something royal blue.

Last weekend we actually found some down time together, so I suggested (or demanded, or begged, depending on your perspective) that we hit the Nordstrom Rack. So we did and look what Huzby found for me:

These royal blue suede Steve Madden Loranes. Cute, comfortable, and BLUE!

I love the zipper on the back of the shoe, and I love that it's chartreuse.