Sunday, September 30, 2012

What I Wore this Week #36

Every Dress Should Have a Gradation Monday: I mean, holy moly. It's the ultimate waist slimmer! dress: vintage, picked up in Orange, CA; belt: vintage, gift from a friend; key tights: best little tights shop on etsy!; shoes: Ninewest, thrifted
 I hope you all have had a great week. Mine, particularly the weekend, was just wonderful. I made the long drive from Nashville, Tennessee to my hometown of Wabash, Indiana. It's about a 6 hour drive and I'm the World's Worst Car Traveler. After about hour two, my butt goes uncomfortably numb and my eyelids become exceptionally heavy. Thankfully, I had a frightening book on CD to keep me going (I find that the spookier the story, the more awake I stay) and plenty of candy, gum and caffeinated bevies to keep me going.

I rarely make it home but I just had to this weekend. We celebrated a family reunion on Saturday and the fall weather couldn't have been more perfect. That evening, I caught up with some high school buddies for casual class reunion. I also had a chance to catch up some of my favorite friends and stay with my wacky mom. She and I always have too much fun together. 

But enough about me, let's talk about...well...me. And what I wore this week. I'm also throwing into the mix a fabric designer that I can't believe I'm just now discovering: Celia Birtwell. I love her designs...as well as the story of how she and her then husband revolutionized fashion in the last 1960's. I think you'll like her work as well. 

Until next time, have a great week!
Celia Birtwell was a fabric designer with a strong love for Picasso and Matisse. I think you can see that influence in her work. What I think is especially cool is that later, she and her (then) husband Ossie Clark designed clothes for Picasso's daughter Paloma. That must have felt pretty incredible. Images via pinterest.
Celia was the fabric designer and Ossie crafted the clothing. Aside from Paloma, such amazing folks as Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles wore this couples haute couture designs.
That In-Between Time Tuesday: So it's been cool in the mornings, warm in the afternoons, cool in the evenings. I'm not so sure I'm ready to pack up all of my summer duds yet, so I'm doing this in-between thing: sweaters with summer dresses. It's not going to last much longer...but it's allowing me to put off the dreaded Closet Season Change that is sure to happen within the next couple of weeks. You know, packing away all of the summer clothes and getting out all of the fall/winter. It literally takes me a weekend to make the change. sweater: Anthro, thrifted; dress: vintage, thrifted; tights: dunno, Target?; headband: Peachy Tuesday; shoes: Dolls by Nina
To showcase their designs in the late 1960's, Celia and Ossie came up with the first concept of a catwalk fashion show. They created a runway, had music playing and invited as many folks as possible. Their flowy frocks and tops were best showcased by moving models.
Poochie and Paris Explosion Wednesday: Complete outfit details here.
The artist David Hockney was completely smitten with Celia and considered her his muse. Many drawings and paintings of Celia and Ossie were created by Hockney.
Pencil drawing of Celia by David Hockney.
Flower Power Thursday: I scooped up this Very Brady dress on my trip to St. Louis. I wish I had the pattern for this dress, I love the design. Maybe one day I'll be able to figure out how to create a pattern from a dress...any of you sewing geniuses know how to do that? dress: vintage; shoes: Indigo by Clarks
Ossie and Celia in the late 1960's.
Painting of the couple by David Hockney.
Headin' Home Friday: After school, I hopped in the car and made that trek home. It made for a long day but it was totally worth it. sweater, dress: vintage; belt: gift from a friend; boots: old, Seychelles
Celia and Ossie are no longer together. After their divorce, Celia dropped out of the fashion scene for many years. She's back now. And I highly recommend you check out her designs here, they are simply amazing. Love the fabric, love the flowy romantic designs.
And I love her sketches. These especially remind me of early Betsy Johnson sketches. Another of my fave designers.














Thursday, September 27, 2012

DIY: Paris on my Feet, Poodle on my Purse

So I used puffy paint to Eiffel Tower-ize my T-strap shoes and pood'dazzle my thrifted pink box purse. Sit still for too long in my presence, you just might be next.

Well, bonjour there, compadres! It's been like, I don't know, 10 minutes since I've updated my blog with something that I've French-fried and I just knew you were going through withdraw. Obviously I was. I mean, just how many Eiffel Towers can one put on things before people start to talk? Let's review just how many things I've attacked with the image of la Tour Eiffel:
 
 
  
 
And, now, these here shoes. 

Looks like someone has a problem.
Now you might also recall that I have an inclination toward DIY'ing my shoes. I've crafted pencils, crayons, Santa and just plain tacky shoes here. Over the summer, I tried my hand at creating my own 1970's style pattern-y sandals. So, when I found these Nine West shoes at Goodwill recently, I got the itch to give them a redo. Of the French variety, of course.
I promise you that is not a pair of panties stuffed inside the shoe but one of hub's pink hankies. It's best not to ask.
I began by changing the color of the shoes. They were a little too scuffy for my taste, so I used some black upholstery spray paint I found at the local craft shop and hosed 'em down. 

After they dried, I used a pencil to begin sketching in a very basic Eiffel Tower. I knew I wouldn't be able to get too detailed with the silver puffy paint I used. So I tried to keep my design simple. 
And there you have it, Eiffel Tower shoes! My students were quite fascinated. And I was impressed that the puffy paint had a lot of give. The paint didn't crack or flake off as I had feared.
And then came the Poodle Purse. A friend and I recently discovered a great new thrift shop in our town of Franklin, Tennessee called Thrifty Tula. My buddy spotted this purse for me and for three bucks, I was sold. It had already been spray painted this pink color. Turns out that was the perfect canvas for my poodle.
My Eiffel Tower addiction just might become surpassed by my Poodle Problem. Not convinced? Look here, dudes:


And, of course, there was the making of this Gladys Presley Poodle Dress.

And, now, this here bag. Poodl'ized with black puffy paint.
I even have friends that support my Poodle habit. One of them is the marvelous hair accessory designer Peachy Tuesday who crafted my poodle headband from the fabric of my dress.
Did I mention that I also have a Pink Parisian Poodle Puppet named Fifi? She was a gift from Jes and is visiting us from France. She has been teaching the kids French words and phrases. She occasionally tricks us into repeating after her and saying such silly phrases as "J'aime la fromage puant" (I like stinky cheese).
Thanks for reading, guys! I'm off to see if I can use my bumpit to craft a giant hair Eiffel Tower at the top of my head. Where there's a will, there's an Eiffel Tower. That's my motto, anyway. Au revoir!




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Wicked in Williamsburg

This webby bridge is one of the only means to enter or exit the spookiness of Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Howl O Scream. A family that was desperately trying to leave the park (their wailing children just couldn't take it anymore) was getting no where fast when their little girl refused to exit the park via the "scary" bridge. Knowing the will power of a wee one, that fam might still be there.
 A couple weekends ago, hubs and I took a weekend trip to Williamsburg, Virginia, aka Colonial Williamsburg. And while I'm mildly interested in history, we didn't go there to see how butter was churned or how America came to be. 

Oh no, we went for something much better than that:

Haunted Houses. 

Particularly the ones found at the Busch Garden's Howl O Scream event.

Now, I'm sure you've heard of Busch Gardens...but did you know that there are two? The one in Tampa is probably more famous because of it's proximity to Disney. It has an African theme. The one in Williamsburg has a European theme. This Big Ben-esque clock tower can be found at the front of that park. I love the spooky bird decorations. Hitchcock woulda been proud.
 We decided to hit the park first thing on a Saturday morning. They have a brand new roller coaster, the Verbolten, that we wanted to check out (and by "we",  I mean hubs and a reluctant me). I actually had a pretty embarrassing scream-fest-freak-out on the ride when it zipped into a dark tunnel. I just knew it was going to blast off from zero to eighty miles per hour (it didn't), so I flipped the Crazy Switch, complete with high-pitched wailing and arm/leg flailing. Hubs kept yelling, "What? Am I missing something?" The dad and his kid in the seats in front of us turned around and laughed at me. 

So embarrassing.

After that experience, we hit the coaster Griffon, which is easily one of the most frightening (at 205', it's one of the tallest coasters in the world) and best roller coasters I've ever been on. For a look-see, check out this youtube video (particularly minute 1:15) to get the idea.

 I love that every corner of the park was decorated for the occasion. Inside the building on the left was a fantastic dinner show that was like a spooky cabaret set in the 1920's. On the right is the French area of  Busch Gardens that looked as though it was been taken over by a rat-infested plague.
I debuted my Horror Flick dress at Busch Gardens. I was thrilled when folks complimented my dress. It was such fun to wear.

 After a short trip back to the hotel for some rest (we knew we would need our energy for the half dozen haunted houses and shows that evening), we returned to find a pretty spooktacular event. It was great fun and the perfect start to our tour of Halloween Haunts.
Hubs and I waiting for a show to begin.
 I just hollered up the stairs to hubs, "how long have we been going to these Halloween things, anyway?"

"Hmm. Not sure. A long time. Maybe 10 or more years?"

You'd think after that amount of time, being chased by a dude in a leatherface mask wielding a chainsaw would get a little, I don't know, redundant. And, to be honest, the chainsaw dudes don't actually freak me out anymore (but just to be kind, I do give 'em a good scream. It's the right thing to do). But there's always something that does. Freak me out, that is. That's what keeps us coming back for more.
We did do our time in Colonial Will'burg the following day. The weather was perfect and the sights were so sweet...the complete opposite of the previous evenings horrors.

Like this cute shoeless milliner crafting a hat. In a haunted house, he would have been creating the hats out of faux flesh and wielding a chainsaw. Just sayin'.

Or these lovely Colonial style hats...that would have been worn by zombie Colonial girls slashing the air with axes and carrying headless dolls. For example.

Precious scene of a carriage ride from long ago, you think? In a haunted house, the carriage driver would be headless, the horse would be a skeleton and the passengers would be fluffy McDonald's-eating tourists. Hey...wait a minute...

Delightful debutantes out for a Sunday stroll? That's what you think. Just wait until they turn their green witchy faces around and...

 Oh, my bad. Musta been thinking of those other demonic debutantes. Sorry, ladies. How 'bout a picture?
We came upon this fun farmer's market, complete with an impromptu hoedown.

...Little did we know, they were playing "The Devil Went Down to Georgia", waking up this beauty of a beast. Dude, maybe we should play "Devil Went Down to the Dentist." Just sayin'.
 Wait a minute...are you STILL reading this blog post? Now that is frightening. 

Thanks for dropping by. I hope this has inspired you to check out your local Halloween haunts or even the bigger ones at places like Busch Gardens or Universal. I promise, you won't regret it!



Sunday, September 23, 2012

What I Wore this Week #35

Dental Work Monday: Please pardon my Mona Lisa smile. This photo was snapped after a return from a cavity-fillin' at the dentist. I couldn't get the right side of my mouth to smile...or function at all which lead to a difficult dining experience. dress: a DIY, look here; wedge rain boots (seen all over NYC here): Hunter, scooped up from ebay; belt: taken from a black coat after I lost my fave Anthro bow belt.
Happy End-O-the-Week to ya, kids. Not sure what the weather is doing where you are, but here, it couldn't be more perfect. We've got the windows open and are loving the fresh air without the onslaught of uninvited insects. I even busted out a pair of tights (albeit the fishnet variety) and a coupla sweaters this week. Fall, you are welcome to stay as long as you like.

Along with some outfits I thought I'd bring to you one of my favorite textile designers, Alexander Girard. Mostly known for his design work for Herman Miller (gah!), Girards prints could be found on Eames furniture during the 1950's and 60's. I love his bold, simple and almost childlike style. Hope you do too.

Until we chat again, enjoy your upcoming week!
Aw, such a cutie. With that tie and v-neck sweater, Alexander Girard almost has a Mr. Rodgers look about him, don't you think? Minus the cigarette of course. But hey, he's an American that grew up in Italy, va tutto bene (it's all good). Images via pinterest.
As you look at the work by Girard, you'll see that he was greatly influenced by folk art. Alexander and his wife Susan were wild and crazy about all thinks folk art. Over the course of their marriage, the two acquired so many artifacts that there is now a Girard Wing at the Museum of International Folk Art in Sante Fe, New Mexico. I wanna go! Anyone care to go field trippin' with me?
Passport Stamp Dress Tuesday: So I found this passport stamp dress at the etsy shop CoralVintage and I just had to have it. The little stamps tie in so well with out travel theme this year. And notice my perfectly matched hair flower? Our sweet bookkeeper at my school made a bunch for our staff. Pretty awesome, right? dress: CoralVintage; belt and necklace: thrifted; shoes: Um, Softt?
Okay, this totally reminds me of Mary Blair, don't you think? Not familiar with her work? You can read more about her (and my undying love for her work) here.
Oh, Wednesday: Just another day of craziness trying to get what felt like 4 million works of art hung or displayed for the following evenings Open House. dress: beautiful Bernie Dexter Eiffel Tower dress; shoes: BC Shoes
This big and bold images look like something I want to recreate and hang in our house. It's funny how graphic these hand screened images are. Today they'd be created in minutes on a computer. What fun is that?
Bonjour, Thursday!: Open House evening at my school. Seeing how my art room is completely French Fried, I thought I'd dress the part. dress and mini beret: made by me; sweater: old, Target; shoes: Indigo
I love these sweet, almost paper-cut-out looking flowers. Reminds me of Henri Matisse.
I Can't Explain This Picture Other Than It's FRIDAY!: The kids were fascinated by my tights and shoes being the exact same color. Happy accident, I swear. dress and belt: made by me; fishnets: Marshall's long ago; shoes: Dolls by Nina
Okay, I'm just gonna say it. How do you know a man designed this print? Because he gave the woman nips. Sigh. Love it, nips and all.










Friday, September 21, 2012

Vintage 911: Room to Breathe

Vintage dress found at the Goodwill Outlet for pocket change. Don't hate.
 This past week has been such a busy one that I've felt a little suffocated. Like I didn't even have time to catch my breath or come up for air. And it was all my fault. Poor time management. Piling too many things onto my crowded plate. Procrastination. You know what that's like. Thankfully, the craziness has died down a pinch and I finally have room to breathe. Inhale. Hold it. And exhale. I feel like I could exhale for days. 

All of that breathing wouldn't have ever been possible in this dear vintage dress. Uprooted from a crowded bin of thifted cast-offs, this amazing vintage dress, with it's scalloped sleeves, too-many buttons and sweet floral fabric, was meant to be mine. Despite the fact that the waist was 20". And mine is not.
Is it just me or are all of my Vintage 911 posts about me trying to eek into too-small-vintage? I mean first there was The Armpit Blowout and then the Zipper Blowout. At least I was able to shrink one vintage dress. Perhaps it's time to cut back on my thrice-weekly pizza habit. Or not.
 So after giving this dress a good hand washing, I hung it up to dry for a day. Which became a week. And that turned into a month. I just didn't know how in the world I was gonna alter that dress to get it to fit. Then, when going through my fabric stash, I found some lovely lacy fabric. And the idea hit me: create a lacy back panel. I know, sometimes, I'm a regular Einstein. I read books and stuff. Makes me smart and whatnot.
 Now for all of you oh-my-gersh-I-can't-believe-you-cut-into-vintage peeps out there, I ask you: who in the world has a 20" waist? And do I really want to know them? I think I'd rather just punch them in the face. Who are they to be skinny enough to fit into my Goodwill find? But I digress. Lemme just tell you how I made this lil number work for my not-20"-waist, erm-kay?:

I began by seam ripping the collar from the back panel and the back panel from the waist. I added a panel of lace that was approximately 8" across and 2" beyond the length of the back. Before putting it in at the neck, I gathered the top with a basting stitch and then stitched it onto the collar. From there, I sewed the lace to the turned under sides of the dress. And finally I gathered what was left of the lace and reattached that to the waist. This part wasn't nearly as pretty as the top as there wasn't as much lace to gather. So I covered it with one of my belts.
My only beef with this sweet little number? The 5000 buttons up the front. Pretty to look at. Not so much fun to deal with.
And it was really as simple as that. Plenty of room to breathe. Which, thankfully, I'll have a little bit of time to do. That is before my poor-time-management/procrastination/piled-up-plate catches up with me again. Until then, just breathe...

...sorry, I just couldn't help myself. These guys were my all time fave sappy band in the late '80's. Enjoy!




By the way, if you voted on the last Vintage 911, thank you so much. I believe I'll be leaving the sleeves on the dress. I appreciate your input!