Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Scavenger Hunt!

For this post, I'm trying something new that I found out about on Kezzie's blog. Each month on Made With Love, Greenthumb posts a list of things for a scavenger hunt, and you have a month to find and photograph those things. Then you can link up your list on her blog. Fun, right?

So here we go!

A IS FOR... my sister, Ann, whose birthday is in April. There are actually recent pictures of her here, but I wanted to use this old one because it's so cute!

11AM - or it might have been 10:40, but I was ready for a snack.

SMOOTH - this one speaks for itself.

SCALE - cue "Twilight Zone" music.

TILE - in downtown Eugene.

LOGO - I walk by this place every day, and I've always thought this is one of the best logos I've seen.

SCRAP - also in downtown Eugene.



LAYERS - downtown Eugene again.

CARRY - UNICEF just sent this beautiful tote bag - it's plasticized and it has an outer zip pocket. I do love it, but I wouldn't mind if they just kept the money and used it for what they do best.


You can see more Scavenger Hunts and get the list for May's Scavenger Hunt here.


Monday, April 28, 2014

A Week of New Clothes

Oh, hello! 

Sorry if I seem surprised, but I almost forgot I had a blog! I've been bounding from my sewing machine to my glue pot to my Kindle with just enough time to watch "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" to take the edge off after the evening news.

But I have results to show you! 

I've been working on this for a few weeks, among other things. I don't know if I should call it a kimonic or a tunono. Thoughts?

This is a Marketplace of India jacket, previously seen in the photo below from my old blog, and a couple of months ago here.

I took off the neck placket and added this beautiful fabric that came from a too-small thrifted top. I added a snap on the inside (and do you think I could get it on the right way around when I sewed it on? Ha!). On the outer edge I added a button, formerly black but colored with red nail polish.

The fabric at the bottom came from this skirt, also pictured on my old blog...

...which I shortened. The scrap was the perfect length and width!

Ooops, I still have some blue chalk marking the middle.
The ribbon needs some remedial work. I used fabric glue to try to reduce my time with a needle and thread – again, ha! It's not holding. I had to staple it at work so it wouldn't fall off. So I'll be sewing it on later – a stitch in time saves wasted glue.

I had a few crocheted flowers that I added to mask seams, and I might add some embroidery eventually, and maybe another layer on the bottom if I find the right fabric. It's a work in progress.

I know it sounds like I'm a genius. Ah, dear reader, I'm not. I had many fierce contretemps with the sewing machine when it would knot itself up in a big hissy fit, and each time it was user error. I now keep the manual nearby, which is, to me, the height of humility.

 The black trousers are Lee, and the old black sandals are Docs.

Yes, I do have a week of new clothes ahead – either new to me or newly altered – but you'll have to be patient. 

Oh, okay, maybe just a little teaser because it matches the color scheme today.

from St. Vinnie's thrift store
A little late, but I'm linking up with Creative Mondays.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Melange

I love that word - melange. And I couldn't think of a better way to describe this post, which covers Easter, birthdays, men's style, food, family, sunshine, sewing, and a gnome.

In my family we have plenty of birthdays in April - my mom's, my sister's, my brother's, now also my nephew-in-law's, my sister-in-law's, and also one of my best friends's (pronounced "best friendzuz"). At least here in this town we're able to combine three birthdays and celebrate at once. It just happened that Easter was the best time to get together for a barbecue!

my brother-in-law barbecuing

I've been wanting to take some photos of my very cool nephew-in-law, Kenji, who was one of our birthday celebrants. Kenji would like to find some men's style blogs, so if you know of any, let me know.

the sunglasses are Ray Ban's

Cool, huh? He's also an absolute sweetheart, which is nothing less than my niece deserves.

This is Kenji and his wife, Lisa, with their two nephews.

This photo includes my sister, color-coordinated with Lisa, and my other niece, Mildred. The boys are her sons.

My goodness, these people are multiplying like rabbits! My mom and I joined the line-up.

And what is Val wearing, I hear you ask. Well. I made a cape thingy from a scarf and wore it over a white tee shirt.

maybe Kenji's coolness will rub off on me

I'm also wearing my Frida necklace (made by the delightful Tamera) and some pale pink jeans.

Here's the back of the scarf-cape. I just had to cut the scarf in half and stitch the long edges together, leaving room for my head, of course. The fringe was an added bonus!

We had lots of yummy food.

The carrots (made by my sister) are cooked in broth with cream cheese (!), then chopped pecans and green onions are added, and a little lemon juice. I bet this would be good without the cream cheese, too.

What do you call an angry garden statue? A gnomad! (Thank you, Mr. S.)

And then we came home.

Linking up to Visible Monday and Creative Mondays! Have a good week, everyone!

Thursday - I'm also linking up my upcycled scarf-cape thingy to The Citizen Rosebud for Secondhand First. The scarf was bought at Buffalo Exchange resale shop.


Friday, April 18, 2014

T3 - Plaid and Paisley

I'm struggling a bit to come up with something for Thoughtful Third Thursday. It's all about books, and although I've been reading almost constantly, I've only finished a couple of books in the past month. I ditched two books before I even got halfway through. Funny, they were both set in Washington State - my old stomping grounds. They were recommended by a colleague with whom I share lots of book and movie recommendations, but we don't actually have the same taste at all. Except I turned him and his wife on to Donna Tartt and Kate Atkinson, and they turned me on to Tana French and Gillian Flynn. Other than that we haven't been having much luck. I'll tell you more about the rejected books at the end of the post, for anyone who's interested in my sweeping and subjective opinion.

Right now I'm reading Kate Atkinson, One Good Turn. It's the second in her series of Jackson Brodie crime novels, and it's pretty good. I'm not a huge crime fiction fan, but I generally like her writing, although not always. She tends to throw in lots of characters and their musings and history while they're doing other things. It's easy to lose track sometimes.

The book is set in Edinburgh, so I decided to go with tartan for an outfit. Here's a quote from the book:

"The hotel was surprisingly cheap and unsurprisingly awful. Anything that could be decorated with tartan was, even the ceiling had been papered in a funereal Black Watch. On the walls were hung framed prints of Old Edinburgh and heraldic clan insignia mounted on wooden shields."

I mixed the tartan with paisley - another Scottish association. The design is Indian, but when it became popular in Great Britain quite a lot of paisley patterns were produced at mills in Paisley, Scotland.

The style of the book is kind of sardonic, wry, and self-deprecating. There's a bit too much death and blood for my taste, but I do like Jackson. The BBC has made a series of three Jackson Brodie books, and the character is played by Jason Isaacs - aka Lucius Malfoy of Harry Potter fame.

My shirt is a Michael Kors men's shirt, the scarf is Ray Strauss, which I bought from Bella at The Citizen Rosebud on Etsy. The yellow jeans are thrifted Shylo, and the suede leopard sneakers are Born.

Now, about the other books.

I started reading The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, and I didn't like it at all. The style was very aloof and pseudo-poetic in a spare kind of way. Lots of sentences seemed very clunky and immature, and I just didn't get into the characters. Glad it was only a library book.

I read two books by Jonathan Evison, well, one and a bit. The first one I loved - The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. It was a funny, sweet, heart-wrenching tale about a man's life being put back together (in spite of himself) after a tragedy. I definitely recommend this book, as well as another Evison book, All About Lulu. But the one I didn't finish is West of Here. I think it's more of a man's book, long descriptions about wild scenery and men moving through it. And mud. Just not enough human interaction to hold my attention.

Come on over to My Closet Catalogue or A Bibliophile's Style and see the other visual book reports!

Update April 30 - now linking up to 52 Pick-me-up for Yellow Fever.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Smell My Post

I've been meaning to write about the eau de toilette that I use. It makes sense to talk about an obscure scent online, don't you think?

I've been wearing this for about seven years now, ever since I discovered it at the gift shop at our local art museum. It's by L'Aromarine, an old Parisian  parfumier, from what I've found on the web. The one I wear is Oceane. They must have got the idea from Kramer on Seinfeld.

I tried on a few of their scents before I purchased a different one. As I was driving home I smelled it again, and it had changed from smelling like a citrus punch to reeking like an old lady's sofa! I drove straight back to the shop and exchanged it for this one. Oceane is light and fresh, and doesn't really smell of anything except clean. It becomes a little sweeter after awhile, but it's never overpowering.

A bottle can last me a couple of years - this is only the third one I've bought, and they don't make this label anymore. The company is now called Outremer (outre mer, beyond the sea), and they've changed all their labels. They're still pretty, but less obviously Art Deco.

So I'm glad I immortalized this one in a resin pendant.

It was one of my first resin projects. I wanted to do a pendant with a woman's face, something sort of graphic-y in a retro style, and I thought it might be nice to have some typography. Then I noticed the bottle in my bathroom - perfect!

For those who are interested in the process, after soaking off the label and cutting it to size, I coated it with Mod Podge and glued it in the bezel. Once it was dry I poured in the resin. I added some small plastic beads, which melted a little in the resin. Then I dangled some bead segments from the bottom of the pendant.

It's one of my favorite necklaces, and I'll always have a little bit of this cool label!

Here's the whole top, 'cause I know you want to see the outfit.

Some chalk scribbles on the paper blind behind me. The jeans and boots are thrifted. I don't remember where the top is from - I had to cut the label off so it wouldn't show through the lace in back.

Unfortunately, there's still a little bit of the label sewn in the seam. Dumb.

I would recommend scents by Outremer, but not unless you can try them first. You never know how they'll develop on your skin. My local shop no longer stocks it, but I'll continue to buy Oceane as long as I can find it online. When I'm an old lady my sofa will smell lovely and fresh!

Linking up my necklace with Creative Mondays.

Have a great week, everyone!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Forwards and Backwards, maybe Sideways

Thank you for all your comments the last few weeks – well, all the time actually! I've enjoyed sharing some of my past exploits and reading about yours. I'll share more adventures in the future, but I can't tell you everything – I have to save something for my memoirs.

I've been feeling really inspired and creative lately – the muse is making fondue! I feel myself stretching my mind and thinking outside the box, and I owe a lot of credit to my fellow bloggers. I've mentioned Melanie, who gave me the idea of the paper dolls, and there's also Maricel, who has mentioned artists and authors who have stirred some of my creative juices. (I might even read a vampire novel.) And all you sewists and upcyclers have led me to my current phase of trying to customize my wardrobe. I've also been inspired in this regard by Suzi Click, who I found on Advanced Style, so now I have a big pile of unworn clothes in pretty fabrics that I hope to make into unique, wearable pieces. And Sue Kreitzman is also an amazing inspiration for her clothing and assemblages and use of color.

But at this moment I especially have to thank Anne of Spy Girl for her 52 Pick-me-up challenges. The prompt this week is to wear something back to front, and this has led me to wear an old dress in a new way.

I know, right? I love it!

And it was so easy! I bet a lot of you have done this with t-shirts, but have you tried it with anything else?

The dress is from Target, previously seen here and here (the same boots are in the second one, too, but you have to get past my rant to see the outfit). It's polyester so it's easy to wear and pack and wash. I wore it with leggings on the plane to Texas last summer (first link above). The tights are also from Target, and the boots and belt are thrifted.

The back/front puckers a little bit, but I could probably fiddle with the belt to make it look better.

Cowlicks all over my head

 Or just wear a jacket.

This suede jacket (previously seen here, also thrifted) reminds me so much of a similar jacket I had in my early 20s. Same cut, same pigskin suede, slightly different color. When I first bought this one I kept having déjà vu! Do you ever get that?

Come on over to Spy Girl for a pick-me-up!