Saturday, July 28, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #27

Monday in Paris: Well, not really. More like Monday-in-St.-Louis-Outside-of-a-Parisian-Themed-Shop. Which happened to be closed on Monday. Figures. But when I return (not on a Monday), I will venture into Gisele's, what with my current Paris obsession and alltop: Banana Republic picked up at a yard sale; hanky skirt: made by me, tutorial here; belt: made by me; sandals: old, Target
Hey there, kids! This past week, while hubs was on vacation, we took a road trip to St. Louis to visit some friends. I had this nutty notion that it might be cooler in St. Louie since it's north of Nashville. Yeah, not so. It was 110 degrees. Hubs said he could feel his eyeballs roasting in his skull while I felt like I was walking around inside the mouth of a fire-breathing dragon. Thankfully that mouth was chuck full of great vintage shops...complete with air conditioning. 

I thought I'd let you in on some of my favorite vintage shops and restaurants in St. Louis. Sadly, we didn't stay long enough to visit all of the shops, so if I've missed any gems, please leave me a comment and let me know. I'd love to plan another road trip to this great city...once it's cooled down to a low 98 degrees, of course. I'll be sure to bring my sweater on that trip.
I hit as many vintage shops as I could including the gem Retro 101/Cherry Bomb. This place is packed full of vintage awesomeness and I spent close to an hour pouring over the racks and trying things on. I found their prices to be very reasonable and I walked out of there with a couple of dresses (one of which I'm wearing on Tuesday) and a beautiful full butterfly skirt with a matching butterfly brooch.
A peak inside the shop. I also hit the very cute Vintage Haberdashery but didn't manage to get a photo. That shop was just as lovely. Some of their cuter items were for rent as costumes only. Both places had the kindest of ladies working there which is always a plus. Ruth's Vintage was also on the same street as Retro 101 but was closed. Sad face.
Pizza by the Pound Tuesday: Hubs has decided to become a Pizza Connoisseur. As such, he's taken it upon himself to find the best pizza joint in each town we visit. In St. Louis, that meant we ate at Pi Pizzeria which had an amazing deep dish on a cornmeal crust. When driving home, we stopped in Paducah, Kentucky at Pizza by the Pound where the owners proudly displayed their vast Marilyn Monroe and Elvis collections. dress: vintage from Retro 101/Cherry Bomb
Sweet. Appropriate given that my summer began with a trip to Graceland.
Welcome Home Wednesday: On the drive home, hubs plotted out a path of thrift shops to hit along the way. This handmade peachy gem was one of Tuesday's finds. dress: handmade vintage, thrifted; sandals: Target; belt: Pinky Otto, New York
Now if you find yourself in St. Louie, there are two things you MUST do. You MUST go to Ted Drewes for the most amazing custard in the universe and you MUST visit TFA which stands for The Future Antiques. The best part? The two are right down the road from each other. So you can go get jacked up on custard and then shop your retro heart out. 
What I loved about this place was that it wasn't just random bits and pieces of vintage but entire sets. It was like a vintage museum. The owner explained that nothing in his shop dated beyond the 1950's.
This is totally where Pee Wee Herman shopped to deck out his Playhouse. Totally.
More Thriftin' Thursday: That's right, the fun never stops. And on this day, I had a total thrift score: a beautiful 1950's stripped dress AND a 1960's cropped pants/cropped shirt ensemble. I feel a little bad that I had to knock a kid down to get to it but ... well ... a kid's gotta toughen up sometime, right? dress: last season sale rack Anthro
Our friend took us to this great area in St. Louis called Maplewood. Gisele's, the french-themed shop in the first photo, is there as well as this incredible guitar heaven called Eddie's Guitars. I don't even play guitar and this place had me reeling. The owner's son was kind enough to take us into the basement of the shop which I swore I heard angels singing when we descended the stairs. I have my heart set on the turquoise AND the salmon pink guitars.

Pizza and a Matinee Friday: If only every Friday could be spent that way. We rolled with laughter at The Watch. dress: sale, Anthro; sandals and belt: made by me
Just a few of my favorite things from TFA.
Poodle Perfection.
Dude, seriously?! I think I feel a new collection coming on...
Thanks for reading, kids! I hope if you are in St. Louis you'll check out some of these hot spots. And, pretty please, if I've forgotten any, lemme know!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

DIY: The Embroidered Eiffel Dress

Bonjour, ya'll! 

As you might have guessed from my art room windows and my French poodle dress, I'm on a bit of a Parisian kick. I finished the embroidery for this dress during our last couple of road trips and, despite a wee bit of a disagreement between the hubs and myself (which I'm going to need your help settling), I'm excited with how it turned out. Especially since it began it's life looking like this...

This little hook in my sewing room usually holds half a dozen of work-in-progress, in-need-of-TLC, please-iron-yesterday dresses. I moved the mound so you could focus on this little bitty dress.
I spotted this dress at Goodwill. I recall this style from a couple years ago, you know, that elastic-waist-band-thing. Most of the tops of these dresses where usually tanks, which I never cared for. The sweet yellow blouse is what drew me to this dress. It's tragic flaw was the fact that the skirt was, like, 14" in length which is just a wee bit of a problem for this never-shave-above-the-knee-caps gal.
I began by letting out the hem and removing the pockets. I found this formerly-a-curtain vintage floral fabric in my stash and decided it would look lovely at the bottom of my dress. I had this idea that I wanted it to look like I was walking through a flower garden. Or being eaten alive by vintage fabric. Which, with my hoarder ways, the latter is more likely the case.
Before adding the vintage fabric to the skirt, I hemmed it and created a circle of fabric that was the same circumference as the bottom of the dress. Then I pinned it to the dress and appliqued stitched around  the edge of the flowers. Once that was complete, I had the super duper fun pleasure of trimming all of the excess fabric off the top. I managed to cut into the skirt accidentally only once...which I promptly patched after saying a few naughty words and throwing a couple of things.
Hubs and I have been enjoying some road trippin' during his time off. My favorite car-traveling craft is embroidery. I've worked on my Naughty Nautical Girls dress, my Pin-up Cowgirls dress and my Presley Poodle all while on the road.
Can you guess my inspiration for the dress? You know I love to go all Miss Frizzle what with my clothes matching my teaching unit. I drew out a sketch of the Eiffel Tower on paper, traced it with a Sharpie, pinned that drawing under my dress and (gasp!) drew the tower onto my dress in pencil before embroidering the Eiffel.
Aw, look at young Brigette Bardot in front of the Eiffel Tower wearing what looks to be a vintage Snuggie. This is actually the hair do I was aspiring to. With flowers, of course.
Okay, remember that disagreement between the hubs and myself? Well, I think I needed to add something to the top, to balance out the dress. My idea is to applique some of the flowers onto the left side of the blouse, as seen in the photo on the left (if you click on the photo, I think you'll get a better look). 

Hubs seems to think I need to leave it alone as seen in the photo on the right. I say it's too "business on the top, Parisian party on the bottom". He says I have a habit to taking things to another (read tacky-er) level.

So, dear reader, what do you think? I'd love to hear your input in the poll at the top of this post on the right (which took me far too long to figure out how to install!)...and a comment if you have the time. Thanks for playing!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #26

Back-in-the-Saddle Monday: I ventured into my classroom for the first time since the last day of school on Monday. So much to do, so little time! dress: Anthro, sale from a couple summers ago; sweater: Anthro, great sale going on now; rope sandals: Nomadic State of Mind. bird belt: made by me
Well, I suppose I should have titled this post What I Wore Last Week as I'm a bit late getting this up. I've got an excuse though: hubs has a lovely week's vacation and we are currently taking multiple road trips. We just spent the last couple of days in a very hot St. Louis visiting good friends, dining at awesome spots (Ted Drewes Frozen Custard -- oh my!) and hitting some of the best vintage shops I've been to. This town is a thrifty girl's dream as I've never seen so many vintage, consignment and thrift shops in one area. I'll be certain to share those shops and my finds with you in the nearish future.

And, since I'm such a sharer (actually, not so much, I got poor marks on such in kindergarten), I thought I'd share with you some little-known-kinda-embarrassing facts about me along with my outfit photos. I'm calling these little segments True Confessions aka I Was Too Lazy to Find Artwork that Matched My Outfits So I Went With Random Photos on my Camera Instead.
True Confession #1: Because I take my own outfit photos with a ten second timer, I have to scramble to get in front of the camera. This scrambling often leads to the cat getting stepped on, me running into chairs and, well, the unexplainable, like what you see above. I have more doofus photos like this then I care to admit.
When It Finally Rains, It Pours Tuesday: And pouring rain plus rope sandals, it turns out, do not go together well. Der. dress: my fave vintage shop in Knoxville Four Seasons Cottage, so excited I get to go there at the end of the week! flower: H&M
True Confession #2: I love GnR. Yes, seriously. This is my ride-into-work rockin-out music. I play Appetite for Destruction loud and proud with my terrible singing to boot. What can I say, I was an influential tween in the late '80's with a severe case of hair envy. And who doesn't wanna be Welcome(d) to the Jungle? I mean, after all, they've got fun and games.
A Little Work, A Little Play Wednesday: I used to have these Strawberry Shortcake Sheets that said: A Little Work, A Little Play, All Add Up to a Berry Nice Day. I couldn't agree more. I worked in my room and then met up with a good friend. We shopped, dined and shopped some more. dress: The Hip Zipper, a vintage joint here in Nashville; headband: Pangea, a groovy little shop in Nashville as well.
True Confession #3: My hubs and I have a severe addiction to haunted houses. Not the kind that are really haunted but the ones where we pay money to enter a dark building and actors chase us with chainsaws and bloody masks. Starting as early as September, we begin attending these houses and we love every minute. So much so, I recently purchased the above fabric to sew a dress for the occasion. Muwahahaha.
Finishing It Off Thursday: Dress, done. Windows, done-r. Feelin' pretty accomplished, done-est. And to think they put me in AP English school. Silly teachers. dress: made by moi, you can read more here; sandals: Frye
True Confession #4: Aside from having multiple doofus moments on my camera, I also have way too many of this sweet girl. Every time I see her all snuggled up and sleepy, I take a dozen photos which I promptly download and doctor on picassa. Can you really blame me? I mean look at dat sweet widdle fuzzy face!
Friday: I forgot to mention that on Wednesday, when catching up with my buddy, I also was the recipient of her closet-clean-out. And her closet is Uh-Mazing. I managed to score some dresses, a coat and this top from Anthro. skirt: Anthro, picked up at the resale/vintage shop Paris Market; belt: by me; sandals and necklace: old, Target
True Confession #5: I have a mad sweet tooth. I mean, it's bad. Candy must be consumed after every meal (even breakfast). I almost always have a bag of candy with me...although these 110 temps have made that nearly impossible. I just might have to invest in a mini-candy-cooler.

 And there you have it, all the things you never needed to know about me. If anything, I'm sure this is a boost to your self esteem: "...well, at least I'm not as crazy as that candy-eating-for-breakfast, Guns-and-Roses-singing, haunted-house-addicted cat-lady." 

Yep. It could always be worse.

Enjoy your week, kids!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

In the Art Room: Let's Go to Paris!

Having haphazardly cleaned my art room at the end of the school year, I managed to hide all of the paintbrushes from myself. Seriously, I've no clue where they are. So this here window mural was painted in sponges, paint rollers, fingers, window paint markers and a sumi brush. 
Each year, students, their parents and faculty friends ask me the same question: "So, where are we going this year?!" I began this tradition of decorating my room around our theme of study many years ago. I'd say I do it (in my best Sally Struther's voice) for the children, but the truth of the matter is, I just love doing it. The bonus is they love it as well.

I'm so excited for them to see this year's theme: Traveling Europe. As you might have guessed, we are starting off our journey in Paris! Which is just a pinch different from where we traveled to last year...
This time last year, we were heading back in time to Ancient Egypt. I painted the windows, sponge stamped those dollar straw mats and created the batiks in the window and behind my chair. All of that's now packed away. Somewhere. Possibly with some paint brushes. 
I did learn something having lost my brushes: painting goes a whole lot quicker if you use a paint roller to block in the background. Another lesson learned: beware of paint-roller-splatter. Especially when wearing vintage, argh!
I began with a really rough sketch of how I was hoping the windows would turn out. The left bank of windows proved to be the easier side as I had a clear idea of where I was going: Eiffel Tower, some hot air balloons, a background of buildings and some flowers in the foreground. Not quite three hours later, done.
Remember I told you I was on a poodle kick?
This side proved to be a pinch more difficult. I knew I wanted a street, a bike and a poodle. I created an extremely rough sketch on my window with a washable marker and just went for it. Thankfully, I had plenty of photos from our trip to Epot and their version of Paris to help me out.
I love Epcot. There is nothing to do there but shop and eat. Which go together like hot fudge and ice cream, says moi.
Knowing that I'd be creating my room around this European theme, hubs and I went to Epcot on our trip to Disney at the very beginning of the summer. Can you spot my inspiration in these photos? Hello there, street lamp.
Another thing I love about Epcot is that they hire folks from the actual counties to work in that portion of the park. Or they manage to find people with really great accents. Either way, it's very cool.
Table for two? Oui, s'il vous plaƮt.
In between and above my windows are concrete blocks. Not exactly the Euro-vibe I was going for. In my search for paint brushes, I found that I had a mountain of French painting reproductions. So, I set about mounting them and creating some faux advertisement posters. I was inspired by the post of adverts I saw at Epcot...
From Epcot's Paris.
FeeFee and her suitcase, ready to travel the world.
Because my art room used to be a library, I have an enormous book shelf beside my windows. Normally I fill the shelves with treasures from the countries we are studying, but my stash of European souvenirs is pretty slim. So I scooped up this old plastic Samsonite suitcase at the thrift store and covered it with some royalty -free travel images I printed off the interweb.

Which was inspired by this display at Epcot.
My new favorite spot in the room. Now where is that waiter with my cappuccino? I hope he's not buried under paint brushes some where -- I'll never get my coffee!
So one area of my room complete! Notice I'm not sharing with you photos of the rest of the my mad hunt for paintbrushes, I opened every cabinet and pulled out every drawer. It looks like a poltergeist swept through my room.

Au revoir, Jes! Do you remember our school mascot? He's traveled to Germany and the Netherlands and this week he was shipped out to France! I cannot wait to share photos of his travels with the kids.
It's such a relief to have one portion of my room complete. Now I'm just down to moving tables, prepping first week supplies and hanging up my class rules. I've already started to rewrite my rules:

Rule #1: Find Mrs. Stephens paint brushes.

Rule #2: What? Have you found my brushes yet? Then you need to revisit Rule #1, kid.

(Thanks for dropping by!...Cassie)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

DIY: The Gladys Presley Poodle Dress

Look, ma, no arms!
 Today I can proudly say I accomplished somethings. That's right, plural. Most days I'm lucky if I can accomplish a good hair washing (which, ahem, today was not one of those days) but today I was all about finishing somethings off: decorating the thematic area of my art room (cannot wait to share that with you!) and this here dress.
Now you can see the real reason I was hiding my hands. And why I couldn't wash my hair today -- I'd never remember to pick up bananas if I did!
 You might recognize this dress pattern if you've been reading for a while. It's the same pattern I used to create my Empire Strikes Back dress for Star Wars Weekends. You remember, the one where I almost got Boba Fett's digits if hubs hadn't blown my cover. Take a look-see here if you need a refresher.
I'm currently on a big time 1950's poodle kick. When I share my art room decor with you, you'll see what I mean.
 You might also recall this little prissy poodle. This was my traveling DIY I worked on while overseas. I based the poodle off of the little pups found on the wallpaper in Gladys Presley's bathroom. You can read all about that and my trip to Graceland here.
How do you know when it's time to wash your hair? When hubs refers to it as "troll hair". Since when do trolls rock bump-its, I ask you?
 I was so excited when we returned from our trip to finish this dress. I've decided to create a couple of thematic dresses for this school year and this one ties in perfectly with one project idea I have in mind. 
A close up of the wallpaper in Gladys Presley's bathroom. Do you see the poodle I used as my inspiration? I added the beret.
 Despite the fact that I've now sewn three dresses from this same pattern (what? practice makes perfect-ish), I struggle with it every time. I blame bad memory and an inability to understand long sentences that don't involve multiple pictures. In color. With cute cartoon characters. Talking poodles would be good.

Did I mention that part of the problem might also be my undiagnosed ADHD?
Oh, look, I'm having another one of my pharmaceutical-drug-ad-photo-moments: If you suffer from the inability to read multiple sentences without talking cartoon poodles, ask your doctor about NotBeingaCrazyPerson. Possible side effects of taking NotBeingaCrazyPerson include: acting like a grown up, not wearing bump-its, and washing your hair. Use as directed.
 But it all came together. Finally. I can actually say that I no longer dread putting in the armhole facing-thingies. I mean, as a self-taught sewer (well, with the help of my Memphis bud) but I can easily say that sewing from a pattern really is just a matter of following the directions. And seam ripping. Lots of seam ripping.
I am so in love with this puppy print. I'm sending some off to the amazing Jen of Peachy Tuesday. I cannot wait to see what adorable hair accessories she creates with this.
 Along the way, I discovered this fabric designer: Tammis Keefe. Have you heard of her? This fabric is actually a reproduction of a printed pattern from many years ago. It's funny, without my knowing it, I have recently purchased three of her fabric designs. I love her style, it' so stinkin' cute.
El Fronto.

La Backo. Looks like someone needs to add a hook and eye to the top of the dress. Or just lay some dirty hair over it. Which is most likely.
 Well,  now that it's finished, I wonder what Gladys would have thought of my dress...or better yet, her hunky son...
Well, that looks like a wink of approval to me, E. Thank ya.
I keep having these dofus moments where I don't make it in front of the camera in time. Which results in these kind of shots. Whatcha think, E?

Yeah, it's a stare I'm used to.
Do you know this lady? Elvis did, if that give you a hint.
So, there you have it. My completed Gladys Presley Poodle Dress. Now, if I could get my hair to Priscilla Presley Perfection, I'd be out of Troll Hair Land and into Mushroom Cloud Hair Territory. It's good to have something to aspire to. 

Be sure to drop by within the next couple of days to see my art room. Here's a hint on the theme: it is Tres Magnifique!