Saturday, August 18, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #30

Marvelous Monday: What a great day, the kids finally came to art! For the occasion, I wore my DIY Embroidered Eiffel Tower Dress. It was fun chatting with the kids about sewing and embroidering. The idea of one creating their own clothing seemed to blow their mind. shoes: Indigo by Clarks; necklace: Target; flower: H&M
Well, it has begun. The invasion of the art room by the Wee Ones, that is. We managed to pack in as much as possible during our first week: a chat about Jes (whose adventures to Paris will be shared in an upcoming post); a geography lesson; an art room scavenger hunt; a brief French lesson (Parlez-vous francias? Um, not so much); a mini-self portrait and the rules of the art room. 

During our study of all things French-y, we will be covering some of the biggest and baddest French artists that there ever were. I thought I'd throw them in among my outfits this week. Since we will be studying France for a while, you can expect to see a coupla weeks of French-themed looks. Pretty sure the kids and I will both be French-fried by the end of our study. C'est la vie.
I know that there are a million silly perspective photos of the Eiffel Tower, but this one really got me. A Young Man "Painting" the Eiffel Tower, 1970.
"Are Those Real?" Tuesday: Yep, I was asked that question this week...sadly, he was inquiring about my eyebrows. Huh? I explained I had on eye makeup, like what his mom might wear. I was informed she doesn't wear make that. Er-kay. French smock: vintagedame via etsy. So much cuteness in one shop!; pencil skirt: Target; mini-beret: made by me from a doll's hat
There are all of these super cute mini berets on etsy and they are seriously in the one hundred dollar range. That's just crazy talk. When I was decluttering one of my storage closets at school this week, I found this doll's beret. I cut a piece of stuffing to place inside and give it some form, covered the bottom with a circle of stiff felt and hot glued a giant hair clip to the bottom. It was received with wildly mixed reviews but I kinda love it.
Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The story goes Renoir was tired of just painting these commissioned works of society women. The owner of a local cafe suggested he paint the river-facing terrace of his cafe. So for several Sundays, Renoir picked up the lunch tab for his 13 best buds while they wined and dined. I love the festivity he captured. Remind me to get invited to one of these painting parties, would ya?
"Hello, Crazy Art Teacher" Wednesday: As one of my first graders was walking past me and a group of teachers in the hallway, she greeted each one by name...except for me. Although I suppose it could be argued that while it's not my name, it's a pretty accurate description. top: H&M; belt and skirt: vintage, thrifted; necklace: Pangea; shoes: Frye, TJ MAXX
Because the hair just wasn't tall enough, I had to throw in a bouquet of flowers. I can't explain the logic, it just seemed to make sense.
So lovely. The Girl in the Red Beret, 1906 by Harold Harvey
New Dress Thursday: I was surprised how curious the kids were about how I created this dress. My working mom did not have time to sew when I was a kid and I'm guessing some of my students have a similar experience. dress: DIY I-See-London-I-See-France Dress; headband: Peachy Tuesday; sandals: Target
Self-Portrait, 1890, Henri Rousseau. Henri was this toll booth collector turned self-taught artist. During his life, he was ridiculed for his naive style...which, of course, is now what makes him so famous. It's said that Pablo Picasso saw paintings by Rousseau being sold on the streets as canvas to painted over. Recognizing Rousseau's genius, Picasso bought them up and had a banquet in his honor.
Friday!: I'll admit, this dress is more Mexican Fiesta than French Soiree, but I figured if I put on a beret, it'd be okay. I'm thinking that's going to be my new Portlandia-inspired philosophy: Put a Beret on It. dress: I.M.P. on etsy...a seriously sweet vintage shop. This is absolutely my new fave vintage dress!
Allies Day, 1917, Childe Hassam Hassam was this American Impressionist that was in love with all things French-y. So you can imagine that he was just a little freaked out when the Germans invaded France in 1914. He began painting depictions of the American flag hanging alongside the French even before we entered the war. His painting is like some sort of Impressionist premonition.

Thanks for dropping by, friends! I'm curious, which look to you think is the most French-esque? Do you have a favorite? It's been fun getting French-tastic in the mornings, I'd love to hear what you think.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

DIY: The I-See-London-I-See-France Dress

I am a bit of a haphazard seamstress. So I have this fear, when I wear my own sewn dresses, that  some rogue seam is gonna come loose and the end of the phrase "I see London, I see France..." will actually become my reality.
 Bonjour, compadres! What you are looking at here is an example of Pro-Cass-tination. Oh, you didn't know I was the Queen of Puttin'-Off-Everything-'Cept-Candy-Eatin'? It's true. And this dress is no exception. After months of sitting on this half-finished dress, I finally knocked it out. And just in the nick o' time, as me and the wee artists are about to be neck deep in all things Paris, France. Oui oui, ya'll.
Um, did you know I have a bit of a Mary Blair obsession? Have you seen the movie Single White Female...? Just kidding, my therapist and I have it way under control. As long as I take my meds. This photo of It's a Small World was taken last Christmas at Disneyland.
 So I picked up the Parisian-themed fabric over the summer. I knew I'd be taking the kids on European adventures in art and wanted to create a dress for the occasion. When hubs said, "that fabric looks very It's-a-Small-World," I knew I'd made the right choice.
If you are thinking this dress design looks  familiar, then you might be thinking of my Empire Strikes Back dress and the Presley Poodle Dress. Yep, all three are from the same vintage pattern. I'm a repeat offender.
 After sorting through my mountain of dress patterns I went with the same ole dress pattern I've used before. I really like this pattern for a couple of reasons: that giant band around the waist is super slimming and, because of the three parts of the dress, I can have fun playing around with fabric combinations. For the top half, I decided to go with my two favorite colors, salmon pink (with polka dots?! yes, please!) and turquoise blue. The skirt fabric is from Hoodie's Collection "L'amour de la vie" for Timeless Treasures Fabrics.
You remember my embroidered poodle from my traveling DIY? Well, this was also completed on that same trip. For this I used an embroidery design from Stitcher's Revolution.
Now if only Mary Blair paintings were made into fabric designs, I'd be oh-so-happy.
To top off the look (like literally), my friend Jen of Peachy Tuesday created this awesome Eiffel Tower headband. I love it! And I know the kids are going to as well. You can find Jen's shop here...and you can preview her designs before they go up for sale on her Facebook page. Merci, Jen!
The gorgeous Mary Blair. A little bit of history on her: she and her hubs joined Walt Disney Studios in the 1940's where she worked on concept art for movies like Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella. The designs for both are beautifully published in childrens books, along with a couple others she illustrated (if you have not seen the adorable I Can Fly book, please check it out). She is most famous for creating the designs for It's a Small World. Sigh. If I could live in that sweet world, I totally would.
Now that I think about it, this seems like the perfect dress to wear the next time I ride It's a Small World. Given I don't experience the dreaded butt-blowout before then.

 Oh, look, there's me attempting my best Mary Blair pose. Yeah, I'll keep workin' on it. The beautiful portrait of Mary was created by comic book guru Michael Netzer.

 Whew, I-See-London-I-See-France-Please-Lemme-Be-Wearing-Clean-Underpants Dress complete! Next up on my sewing table: my Halloween Horror Movie Dress to be worn at the countless haunted houses we'll be attending this fall (yes, seriously). When I mentioned that upcoming dress to hubs, the following convo ensued:

Hubs: I know you haven't started on that dress yet.
Moi: Oh yeah, how do you know?
Hubs: Because it's not the night before you need to wear it.

Hey, they don't call it pro-Cass-tination fer nutin'.

Au revoir!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #29

Meetings Monday: Thankfully I had a cushion-y chair to help with the hours of sittin' and listenin'. Said chair is muy importante to prevent the onset of butt fatigue. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: sale, Anthro; shoes: um, Softee
 Ya'll are the best. I've gotten so much great advice on how to remove (or cover if removal becomes the impossible) that pesky brown stain from the dress featured in my Vintage 911 spot. Thank you! I'll be sure to keep you all posted.

This week in art teacher land was an exciting one. The kids returned to school on Thursday and we've been having a ball every since. And they've not even made it down to my art room yet! The invasion begins tomorrow and I cannot wait.

Getting ready for the kids this week, I was all about the details. Putting the finishing touches on the outside of my art room and well as the inside. In keeping with that train of thought, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite details of this week's wacky outfits. I'd love to hear which detail you like the best. Enjoy your upcoming week!

This dress also spent some time in Vintage 911 as it was missing buttons, was spotty and torn. But how could I not restore a dress with such adorable fabric?
Incoming! Tuesday: On this day we keep our school open late and registered the kids. I didn't want any newcomers to be confused about what I teach. necklaces: thrifted; top: Target; crayon shoes: painted by me, tutorial here; rainbow wrap skirt: gogovintage, via etsy.

A detail you cannot see very well in the outfit photo is my crayon hair clip. The kids loved it and it was super easy to make: hot glue crayons to small piece of felt and hot glue felt to hair clip. Boom. Crayons in Yo Hairs.
Oh, More Meetings?! Why, Let Me Do My Happy Dance Wednesday: jumper: Esprit, from high school...because I NEVER get rid of ANYTHING; blouse: thrifted, vintage; belt: Anthro; sandals: old, Target

Oh, look, it's Gary. Lots of Gary's. Meow. (if you've no clue what I'm talking about, don't worry. It's a Sponge Bob thing.)
The Official First Day of School: And, like every year for the last 14 (gah!!), I had the same dream I always do: A room full of 50 plus kids who are all yakking at once and I cannot maintain any sort of control. And I yell and yell and yell. Do any of you teachers out there have back-to-school nightmares? top: Banana Republic, garage sale; skirt: the awesome etsy shop OpalMaeandMissDot via etsy sandals: Target, you gotta check out their big ole shoe sale!; palette hair clip: made by moi
Kid Convo between a newbie and a veteran kid. Newbie: "She has a paint brush and a paint thingie in her hair." Veteran: "She also wears pencil shoes and ones with Santa Claus painted on them. She's the art teacher!" That's right. It's what I do.
Red White and Blue Friday: Our whole school got decked out in their red white and blues on Friday in celebration of the final weekend of the Olympics. dress: from a shop in Germany; belt and head band: dotted fabric from my stash; anchor sandals: Sperry
Anchors aweigh! Whatever that might mean.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

DIY: The Armpit Blowout

"Vintage 911, please state your emergency."..."Well, aside from what looks like Little Shop of Horrors growing out the side of my head, I've just experienced an Arm Pit Blowout! Please send help right away!"
One thing I've learned shopping vintage is to always check the pits. I don't know the toxic makeup of sweat (nor do I wanna) but what I can tell you for certain is that it can mess up some clothes. You see, the sweat not only stains the fabric but can also break it down, leading to The Armpit Blowout. And while the added circulation of air in a hot vintage dress is nice, comments like, "Dude, you have a hole in your, do you ever shave?!" are not welcome. Or appreciated. And, yes, I do shave. Sometimes.
I'm always curious about vintage labels so I did a little googling on Jonathan Logan and found out...there actually was no Jonathan Logan. Dun dun duuuunnnnn!
This lovely dress has been in my closet for ages. Like, since high school. It's got more issues than the pit problem (note the stain under the belt) but I just couldn't let it go. So I decided to iron all of those yards of taffeta and give it some TLC.
That's right. Turns out Jonathan Logan was a popular maker of young women’s dresses – geared to the young, but not the super trendy. Think classy and dressy like Anne Taylor or something. The designers were actually women: Dorris Varnum, and Jeanne Carr.
So these J.L. designs are just a little, uh, smug. Around the neck. And at the waist. Throw in the non-stretch taffeta and it felt like I was in a straight jacket. I experienced a moment of near claustrophobic panic when zipping myself up and wondered if I actually would need to dial 911. "Please send help right away, I'm trapped inside a vintage dress!"
The Armpit Blowout.
As you can see, the tear was big but not bad. Meaning, it was definitely a patch fix. Trying to sew this back together would have lead to too many seams.
A Patchy Pit.
Super easy. A little cutting and ironing and my pit was as good as new.
Since the nature of taffeta is to tear easily, I added a straight stitch for reinforcement.
From the outside. Hey, I didn't say it'd be a Pretty Patchy Pit.
So I've never worn taffeta before and lemme tell you, this stuff is noisy when you walk. It spooked the cat so much she hid under the bed.
Mysterious brown stains are never attractive.
Now, here's where I need your help. I have no idea what this stain is nor how to remove it. Any suggestions from you vintage-lovers or clothes-cleaners out there? I would so love to restore this sweet dress to it's original Jonathan Logan loveliness.
"Oh, Betty, you know I don't wear aprons because I cook! They're to hide the stains on my vintage garb, you silly!" Completely adorable poodle apron from the lovely etsy shop: skywayvintage.
 Whew, near vintage catastrophe solved! I hope you enjoyed this little segment of Vintage 911 as I'm thinking this is going to be a new post series. I have a mountain of vintage in need of TLC and I'm hoping this will motivate me to attack it. And I'd love to hear your ideas on solving the Brown Stain Situation.

 Thanks for dropping by and have a lovely end of the week.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

In the Art Room: Actually, Outside the Art Room

Outside of le Cafe Artiste!
 With mere hours before the wee artists return to school, I managed to finish the outside of my art room. Giant sigh of relief. And collapse on the couch. I'm a little concerned about the inside of my art room as I have yet to put supplies out and rules up (gasp!). However, I've always been told it's what's on the outside that counts. Or did they just tell me that because of my crummy personality?
My van Gogh-spiration. The Yellow House (Vincent's house in Arles), 1888
 I am not one of those artsy types that can just have an idea pop into my head and then knock it out with a paint brush and paper. Oh no. I've gotta have something to look at and steal from. Which is where van Gogh stepped in. I sketched his street scene onto brown bulletin board paper with a charcoal stick and then painted over it...with my paint brushes! That's right, I found 'em! They were...sadly...right where I now remember putting them. In the kiln room. Don't ask.
Dunno about you, but when I hang things on the concrete blocks at my school, they don't like to stick. I've tried it all: blue sticky tack, gum, a plethora of tapes, you name it. The best sticky stuff for the job? 3M Double Sided Tape. It's pricey but this should stay up all year.
 From there, blue paper was hung across the top, the street scene was added and I set to work on the entrance. I knew I wanted it to look as though the kids were walking into a cafe so up went the awning and the door decor.
That's supposed to be Paul Cezanne in the open window there. Or George Costanza. Your pick.
This door actually leads to my office. I'm thinking I may have to put some sort of "Closed" sign on the door otherwise I'll have lots of friends stumbling into my messy lair.
When the kids enter my room, here's what they first see. So at least this part of the inside of my room is finished. I'm not showing you the rest...yet.
 So I'm pretty excited, I think it's finally coming together. Now, I just need to revise my rules.
If you recall, they were:

Rule #1: Find Mrs. Stephens paint brushes.
Rule #2: What? Have you found my brushes yet? Then you need to revisit Rule #1, kid.
So everything was done. Finished. Complete. And then I did it. I added a poodle.
 Here's what I'm thinking:

Rule #1: Help Mrs. Stephens off the couch.
(note to self: move couch to school.)

Rule #2: Wait, why am I up? Help Mrs. Stephens back to the couch. She was confused.
Can you tell I'm still borrowing heavily from the Gladys Presley Poodle?
...And that I'm totally on a poodle kick? Thank you, art teacher buddy, for picking up this sweet poochie for me.
In other French-related news, guess who made it to Paris!? I just got this photo, along with many others, from the sweetest young lady who agreed to take on Jes. He's traveled all over Paris. I'll share more of his adventures with you soon. In the mean time, he's packing his bags to England. The kids are going to Flip. Out.

 Thanks for dropping by, friends! Wish me and my students luck for a great day tomorrow (you might wanna throw in an extra penny at the wishing well for the kids...with me as their guide, they're gonna need it!). 

And for all of you teachers out there, my thoughts are with you. Enjoy your days with those sweet kids!