Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I love Cincinnati in the Summertime

Paris may have an Eiffel Tower, but big whoop says me. Is their Tower surrounded by roller coasters, $7 dollar chili cheese coneys and mass quantities of screamy-yelly Americans? Well, probably YES to the last one, but we got 'em on the coasters and the over-priced grease bombs, yo. I'll take my Freedom Fries topped with chili, cheese AND onions, merci beaucop.

Mitch and I decided to take a little road trip to Cincinnati and hit Kings Island. We haven't been there in several years and they've got this amazing new coaster called Diamondback. But so many other goofy things happened on this trip, lemme give you a run down:

This Dress: I wore to Lollapalooza. Geez, does that date me or what? It was huge on me then and had a spot on the front. I chopped off the bottom a while back and made a belt...then recently decided to add ruffles (surprise!) to the bottom and tailor the fit at the top. I'm cracking up because when Mitch took this picture a distracted kid walked right into his butt.

Gettin' There: I was in charge of navigating the trip. We ended up at Coney Island instead of Kings Island and taking an extra 30 minute tour of Cincinnati. Oops.

Butter Jesus: I had recently heard about Butter Jesus (aka "I Can't Believe It's Not Jesus"..."Country Fresh Jesus"...etc.) on the Nash Trash Tour and just about flipped out when we passed him by on the highway. Can you believe this sculpture? Words fail me.


The Thrifting: Is amazing in Cincinnati. Their thrift stores were clean and look at this groovy fabric! So very psychedelic. Much better than just plain psycho, like the dude I encountered at Value Valley Thrift. Dude had picked up a "massage" tool that, when turned on, lit up, vibrated and twirled. When I made the grave error of glancing over at him he said "Lemme try it out on ya!" to which I started to reply "No, tha--" and doncha know dude laid that thing on my arm! I woulda much rather he work on that knot in my back, or better yet...oh, never mind.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

(Now-Not-So-Little) Black Dress Part 2

Okay, so I fixed the oops-the-dress-is-wider-than-the-ruffle issue and the Great Dress Mess of 2009 has been resolved. Whew! I cut that striped fabric in half, inserted more fabric, ruffled it and sewed it to the dress. Just like how all of the sewing pros do it, I'm sure.

I really REALLY wanted to add more to this dress. Like a ruffle around the neckline or the sleeves or a little down the middle. But every time I pinned it in place, it just looked so hoe-down-ish. Something this hoe was not down with. So I decided to show restraint (shocking!) and added some vintage buttons to the neckline instead. Too bad my Crystal Gayle hair just ends up covering it up. Oh well...

Hey! Guess who yakked up into an electrical outlet causing our house to smell like we were having a hairball bar-be-que? We came some from the movies to a lil smoke and smell coming from the floor outlet. I'm telling you, this cat is the bad seed and she's going to be the end of me! Oh but how I woves her wittle furwie fawce!

Friday, July 24, 2009

(Really) Little Black Dress Part 1

I got this dress last year at H&M and I was so excited. First, just to be in H&M since Nashville doesn't have a location and second, because it's gauzy and requires no ironing. And lastly, because it was pretty stinkin' cute. Until I washed it...and then it became pretty stinkin' short. I mean, really REALLY short.

(this is where you ask "How short was it?!")

So short in fact, that when I wore it recently, my aunt claimed bending over might reveal my "whoo-haa". Turns out my aunt could start her own psychic reading hotline with Ms Cleo ('member her?!) as I did end up catching a draft and flashing tourists outside the Country Music Hall of Fame. Eek! Did scored the phone number of some ole dude with a mad handlebar mustauche and a muscle t-shirt sans muscles. Sweet.

After the Mad Flash of 2009, I decided to attempt a dress redo. I can fix this! I'll add a ruffle to the bottom! I'm an expert ruffler, I've only done it a half dozen times now!

Um, yeah, so practice doesn't make perfect. I mean, look at it. The ruffle and the black dress are supposed to be the same length...and the dress has a good 5" on that ruffle. How'm I gonna fix that'n? I've got some ideas...and as usual, they involve my trusty seam ripper, Sandy. (yeah, I named her.)

(This, BTW, is the expression I have on my face everytime I look at the Dress Mess. My redo has turned into a redon't.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Nashvilly Hillbillies!

(To the tune of The Beverly Hillibies...):

Come and listen to a tune 'bout Paula and Lot

Two crazy ladies sure to get themselves shot

When on vaca to Nashville, Tennessee

to visit their favorite-person-in-the-whole-wide-world, Ca-ass-ie

Stephens, that is, not some other person with the same first name

Well, the next thing you know Lot's in hoochie shoes

Kinfolk see the picture sure to be singin' the blues

Said Nashvilly is the place you outta be

so they loaded up the Honda and drove to Nashtucky...

NashVegas, that is, Trailer Parks, Country Stars

Ya'll come back now, ya here?!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 Tennessee Arts Academy

Last week at this time I was having breakfast with these folk, as well as four amazing art teachers that were to be our instructors for the week and the man who put the whole thing together for the arts, Daryle Grenade. This was the start of our week at the Tennessee Arts Academy or TAA. Which I have also dubbed Totally Absolutely Amazing or Tired Artist Awakened. To be cheesy and honest, words can never describe the TAA experience. You just have to go and be blown away. And then sign up to go every year after!

But I'll try to describe what a typical day at the academy looks like: starting Monday morning, you attend an art class for two hours. Here are my new buddies in author Helen Humes printmaking workshop. After that, you go to a performance. We were entertained by ballet dancers, an electric violinist, a singing duo and Shakespearean actors. Break for lunch. Go to a lecture and become totally inspired by some amazing speakers that range from Hollywood musical composers to a 91 year old choral director. Finally, return to the studio for a couple more hours of creating.

For the first two days of the academy, we are with one artist/teacher and then we work with another for the remaining two days. Here's my posse in the amazing Debi West's class. I mean it, she's amazing. Pick up an Arts and Activities and you'll see the art teacher rock star that is Debi. Back to the academy: I forgot to mention that it's not just for K-12 art teachers but music and drama peeps as well. And that we are treated like royalty for the week. The top photo is from our evening banquet where we feasted and were entertained. Truely Amazing Arts (that's TAA again, get it?).

P.S. Some special chic from Memphis who will go unnamed (Andrea! Charles!) noticed a belt that I was wearing and asked me about it. I showed them to her and she bought 2...and then her friend Ann bought 2...and the next thing I know, I sold 20. Belts are spreading like herpes! Okay, maybe that's not the best way to describe that...!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Clutch This

I've been meaning to make a little clutch for a while. I've noticed that every time I buy a purse, it's bigger than the last. And when I fill that to max capacity, with much needed items like 5 tubes of chapstick, last years calendar, out-dated coupons and a ham sandwich, I start carrying something that no longer looks like a purse but a Be-Dazzled Glad Bag. Not a good look for the under-70 set.

A while back I found a little make up bag at Goodwill that was the exact shape and size I'd been looking for. The problem was that it was gold and butt ugly. So I bought it, tore it apart to see how it was constructed and used it as my template for this little number. As usual, curse words and seam ripping were used in the making of this project.

On a side note, this week I'm attending Tennessee Arts Academy. It's this amazing week-long event for all teachers with a focus on art, music and theater. We take courses, see performances and exhibits, eat the most amazing Southern food ever (cheese grits, anyone?) and generally get spoiled rotten. I plan to snap tons of pics, so I'll keep you posted on this fun week. Enjoy yours!

Friday, July 10, 2009

To Dye For

The first time I dyed my hair was in 10th grade. I was hitting a goth phase, complete with crucifix chokers tied with black cord (think Madonna's "Like a Prayer" and then subtract all coolness). It was Halloween and I bought this giant bottle of squirt in/wash out black hair dye. I coated my hair (as well as the bathroom rug, sink and any innocent bystanders -- sorry, Kris) and although it was more steel gray than black, I thought it totally rocked. Until I started to sweat. And then the black sludge started oozing down my forehead and the nape of my neck. Did I mention that day also happened to be picture day? Mom still has not forgiven nor forgotten.
This all came back to me the other night when I decided to dye some dresses. They are both thrift store finds with stain issues. I thought dying them would resolve that and make them wearable. I'm really happy with how the pink dress turned out. The blue one, not so much. The dye job is very splotchy. Lesson learned: use a big ole pot. Or even a bucket. This way fabric and dye have more room to mingle. Or something.

Oh and in my effort to avoid calling stores about my belts, I made this bag. I know, I'm a procrastinator. But at least I try to look busy while avoiding work!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Because the sympathy from my broken toe was starting to wean, I decided to check myself into the ER last Friday. Well, the need for attention and the killer pain from two hernias. I ended up there for the weekend, going into surgery on Saturday and spending Sunday in a morphine-drip dream-like state. Such provided more fireworks than any display outside. The Friday I admitted myself also happened to be the day that The Shopping Diva featured my belt in her "Top 5 Deals". Thankfully, a good friend caught sight of the article and sent it to me. Here's a view of the clipping.

Since Sunday, I've just been loafing around. I've found there isn't anything good on day time T.V. (Erica Kane is STILL on All my Children? Bo and Hope STILL have not found love in Salem? I swear I could go 10 years, watch an episode and be completely caught up.) But yesterday I was motivated by some super cute dresses I saw on one of my favorite websites ( and decided to stitch this here number.

I was inspired by all of the high waisted dresses and skirts I've been seeing around lately. Unfortunately, I don't think I got the waist quite high enough...but it'll have to do. Seam ripping for countless hours just isn't on my to-do list today. Neither is perfection. Good-enough, however, is always at the top of my list.

Monday, July 6, 2009

While I was Sleeping...

All in the Details

vendor logo

Unique belts

Belts made by Franklin artist Cassie Stephens. Buckles are ceramic and hand made by Cassie. Each belt is a one-of-a-kind, $44.



1721 21st Ave. S., Nashville, TN

The above can be found on the Tennessean's website. Recently I had contacted the Shopping Diva, this hip chic that writes for the Tennessean who I imagine has fingers like credit cards, kind of like Edward Scissorhands. She reports on all things inexpensive and cool around the Nashville area. I had sent her some images of my belts and she said she'd be glad to feature them on the website (shown here) and the newspaper. I'm so excited!

The only drawback: when it was featured in the paper, I was going into the ER! That was on Friday, July 3rd when the pain from my hernias (that's right, plural) became too much for me to stand. So, I missed the article. I'm sure I'll be able to track it down sometime...when I'm more mobile and less medicated!

I want to say thank you to Cathi Aycock for her great article that I look forward to reading each day. And you should too -- it usually involves lot of give my belt!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Finish Whatcha Started

I'm a starter, not a finisher. My craft room -- heck, my whole house -- is chuck full of half finished, I'll-get-to-it-next-week (which turns into next month, next year, etc.) projects. I love starting something new. When the idea is fresh and you can see it in your mind's eye (why does my mind only have one eye? Could be part of the problem). So I jump right into new project...and hit an obstacle. That's usually what causes me to shelf said project. Let's take, for example, this apron.

I started the bottom of this summers ago? And I was super into it, sewing beads onto it and everything (something I don't think I would have the patience for now). When it came to adding the bodice (right word? Top part) I got stuck. I didn't know how to gather at that time and by then had probably seen something shiny and decided to move on.

Well, now I know. So this morning, I got up and finished this thing. I'm pretty happy with it. You know what makes me the most excited about this new apron? It's puffy top has the magical ability to make me look...well...developed. And not so much like a 13 year old. It's the little things, you see.