Sunday, September 9, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #33

Purple Tuesday: Can you find what's wrong in this picture? How about my dress...notice anything unusual? When I was getting dressed Tuesday morning, I foolishly tugged on a little loose string at the bottom of my dress. Once at school, someone pointed out that my hem was coming undone (after I'd snapped this photo). Geez, I wonder why.  A work buddy helped me tape that hem back into place. You get to know someone really well when you lift up the tail end of your skirt in front of 'em. dress: Anthropologie, new with tags, my favorite Goodwill score to date; shoes: John Fluevog
Well, Happy End of the Week to you, kids! I totally enjoyed having last Monday off in celebration of Labor Day. Did you notice there wasn't an outfit photo for Monday? Yeah, I bounced between four different looks that day: pajamas, exercise clothes, yard working clothes and back to pajamas. Thought I'd spare you.

So included in this short What I Wore this Week is one of my favorite fabric designers: Florence Broadhurst. Because I'm toying with the idea of creating my own fabric, I've been pouring over the designs of some of my faves. My bedside table currently has a stack of fabric design books and Florence is at the top of the pile. If you've not heard of her, I highly recommend Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret and Extraordinary Lives.
Florence Broadhurst in her Paddington (an eastern suburb of Sydney, Australia) wallpaper design studio, early 1970's. Her vibrant and outlandish designs were a complete reflection of her character. All images pulled from pinterest.

Florence lived more lives than a cat. Born in 1899, she grew into adulthood during the roaring '20's. In full flapper garb, she toured Southeast Asian and China in various singing and comedy troupes. In her later designs, the influence of Asian art is strong.

Brown Wednesday: That's right, we are still wearing colors this week with kindergarten. This totally helped me get dressed in the mornings...although I've missed wearing my Frenchy-themed garb. dress: vintage, picked up at an antique store in high school; shoes: Frye
Always the entrepreneur, Florence established The Broadhurst Academy where she taught voice and instrument lessons in Shanghai. From there she moved on to England where she married, divorced, remarried and had a son. When World War II hit, she volunteered to help.

One of my favorite Broadhurst designs. At her wallpaper design facility in the late 1960's and 70's, this print could have been purchased on metallic paper. This was completely revolutionary at the time.
Black and White (with a pop of color) Thursday: top: vintage, thrifted. I love it's Matisse-esque design; skirt: Target; shoes: Softee
When reading about Florence, I found that many of the 800 wallpaper designs were not actually created by her. Her eyesight was failing and the task of creating all of those designs would have been impossible.  So she hired graduates from local art schools to come work for her. Some of  their designs she would claim to be her own. For photo ops like the one above, the palette and the brushes where simply props.
That's not to say she didn't have a heavy hand in the direction of the designs. This is another one of my faves.
Wear Your Favorite Color Day: Turquoise! dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: gift from a friend (thank you, Anna!); shoes: Anthropologie
Florence with all of the designs created in her studio. I love her vibrant fashion sense (dyed bright red hair, oh yeah!), even well into her 70's. She was known among her friends for her flamboyant style. Sadly she was murdered outside of her studio in 1977. Her murderer was never found and the reason is still a mystery.
Regardless, her designs are such an inspiration. I find them to be so beautiful and modern looking. Have you heard of Florence Broadhurst? Do you have a fave fabric designer?
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy your upcoming week. Mine is going to be spook-tacular! More details soon.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

In the Art Room: The Masterpiece Gallery

Welcome to the Masterpiece Gallery where every work of art created by small hands is tres magnifique.
 If you are a teacher for more than 10 minutes, you are going to be the recipient of many a gift. My personal faves? Well, aside from the Body Fantasies Body Wash I received my first year teaching (awkward), I'd have to say the handmade gifties. Just recently one of my students gifted me a wonderful woven basket she had created over the summer. I also scored this beautiful bouquet of gingko leaves collected by a student who remembered they were my favorite during our leaf printing last year.
This window looks into my office which is an eyesore, to say the least. I painted it (almost 10 years ago!) with the same thing I painted my other windows with: Window Chalk. I love this vibrant paint.
 The gifts I most often receive are drawings. The wee artists will bring them rolled up; folded and pulled from their pocket; flattened in a "special" zip lock bag. Students present these drawings in front of the class where we recognize them with a round of applause.

At first, I pinned their drawings to a bulletin board. Over time, this overcrowded spot became an eyesore in the classroom. And I didn't want their hard work to be showcased that way.
So I decided to create this little gallery to spotlight their independent work. Several years ago, a local frame shop went out of business and I was the recipient of many a frame. Over the years, I've picked up more at Goodwill and garage sales. Each frame is backed with a layer of cardboard and a jersey fabric in the primary colors. This surface is perfect for pinning and repinning little masterpieces.
Interested in creating your own Masterpiece Gallery? Well, it's very simple. Here's what you'll need:
  • Cheapo picture frames. I like mine metallic, so I usually spray paint them gold or silver.
  • Cardboard or foamcore. You'll notice I recycle my cardboard. Nothin' fancy here.
  • Thin sheets of cork. This is optional. When I first created these, I sandwiched a layer of cork between the jersey and the fabric. Turns out the cardboard works just as well for pinning and repinning.
  • Fabric. I used a jersey because it's what I had on hand. 
  • Glue gun.
  • Picture frame hangers. This will depend on the type of frame you pick up at your local thrift. It may already have a hanging device on the back.
Let's start with the frames. Remove the glass, artwork and backing if you purchased a frame that was not empty. I keep the glass, tape the edges and use them for palettes at home. Depending on the artwork that came in the frame, I'll either keep it or toss it. In the case of the above artwork on the right, I was able to use that as the backing for the frame. Cut cardboard or foamcore and cork (if you are using it) to the same size as the frame backing. Cover the front in fabric and hot glue to the back.

Place inside the frame. To secure, look at your frame. It might already have a way for you to secure the backing. If you look at the above frame on the left, I simply had to push the metal staples down. For the frame on the right, I just screwed the original backing into place. For the one in the middle, I hammered nails at an angle to secure the backing. 

The same goes for the hanging device. You can see the frame on the left has a mount already attached. For the one in the middle, I purchased hanging wire and stapled it into place with my electric stapler (best invention every, btw). Do you see the bits of foam I tacked to the corners? That's to hold the double sided tape. This prevents the frames from getting bumped and becoming an uneven mess on the wall.
I have found these little hangers to be the best for my concrete walls. Picked them up at the local hardware. Ask for concrete/brick picture hangers.

The ever-changing, always-inspiring Masterpiece Gallery.

You might recognize this area as where we play The Smartest Artist from this post.
Our little gallery is located in this odd corner I have in my room where the kids line up to exit. It's the perfect spot for them to see their classmates work and become inspired to create something of their own. And isn't that what a gallery is all about?

What ways have you found to display artwork?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

DIY: The Zipper Blowout

"Vintage 911, please state your emergency." ..."Well, aside from the fact that my hair is beginning to get so long that it's resembling Cousin It (sorry, still stuck in that Horror Flick Phase), I believe I just blew out my zipper! Please send help (and hair clippers) right away!"
Have you ever found yourself in a dress (and guys, if you have, you are welcome here) that was a little, um, snuggish? And when in said dress, did you ever take a deep breath and hear that horrific pop! of a button or nightmarish rrriiiip! of a seam? This has happened to me in too-tight, no-room-for-stretch, Spanx-ain't-gonna-save-you-now vintage more times that I'd like to admit. I feel like The Hulk bustin' loose of my garb but without those fab pectoral muscles and that delightfully green skin.
This beauty was found at the thrift store. Half off. I know, right! So that totally justifies the old lady I pushed out of the way and the toddler I booty bumped, right?
Ah. Look at this dress, would you? I mean, it's just divine. The Thrift Store Gods were good to me on this day. However, the Waist Line Demons were not. Their temptation of Jeni's Goat Cheese and Berry Ice Cream has been too great for this weak mortal. And, thus, The Zipper Blowout.
To be fair to my ice-cream-lovin'-waistline, the zipper did look like this when I purchased the dress. I think. Regardless, it had to come out. As heavenly as this dress is, a Holy, ahem, a Whole-y zipper just won't do.
Now putting in zippers used to be my least favorite thing, right after squeezing into Spanx and busting out of vintage, but I've since found a way to do it that's relatively pain-free. So I thought I'd share it with you. The thrifted vintage dress is handmade and a wee bit of a mess so I thought I'd demo with my Horror Flick Dress

Step 1: Set your sewing machine to a baste stitch. That means you are going to have very long, temporary stitches. Baste stitch the fabric together 5/8" away from the seam from the top of there the zipper will be placed to the bottom. Iron seam open like shown above.
 Step #2: Once you have ironed the seam open, lay your zipper on the open seam.
Step #3: For my dress, I tucked the top of the zipper in between the fabric to hide it and make it so the zipper reached the top of the dress.
Step #4: Align the zipper on the open seam.
Step #5: And tape it down on open seam with Scotch tape.
Step #6: With tape still on the dress, turn the dress right side out. Change your sewing foot to a zipper foot (not sure which is the zipper foot? Read that neglected manual. I promise your machine came with a zipper foot. It should be shaped like the letter "I".) Change your setting from a basting stitch to a sewing stitch (which means your stitches will be shorter and more permanent). Sew 1/4" away from the basting seam.
Step #7: Don't forget to sew across the bottom of the zipper with a teeny tiny little stitch as seen on the left. Turn the garment inside out. Start the fun process of picking off the tape.
Step #8: Turn garment right side out. Using a seam ripper carefully remove basting stitches. Once complete, you have installed your zipper! I'd give you a high five, but I don't want you smacking the life outta your fancy ipad. Goodness knows my uber chic Compaq can't handle it.
And there you have it. Fixing a Zipper Blowout. Piece of cake. Which I won't be having anytime soon in this teeny (can't breathe!) tiny (I think I'm gonna pass out!) dress (you call this a dress?! I call this a Medieval Gut-Squeezing Torture Device!).
Vintage 911 Update: Thank you so much with your help on my last Vintage 911. I asked for suggestions on removing the stain from my dress and I got so much great advice (none of which I've taken but that's besides the point). Jenny of The Southern Institute and Casey over at Casey's Elegant Musings both suggested Oxiclean. I also had advice on trying Windex, Dreft and Flortex Carpet Cleaner. And, if all else fails, fellow art teacher Phyl suggested applique. A girl after my own heart.

Monday, September 3, 2012

DIY: The Horror Flick Dress

My cardboard suitcase is packed and I'm ready: Horrifying Haunts, here we come.
Ah, Labor Day weekend. A time for cookouts, catching up with friends and, of course, sewing a Horror Flick Dress. Oh, you didn't know that was on the agenda? Well, you best get crackin, friend.

I know what you are thinking: Dude (feel free to call me Cassie), it's September! Halloween isn't for weeks!

Or maybe your thought is: Wow! That dude (seriously? It's Cassie) has cured her infamous Pro-Cass-tination problem. 

Or perhaps, in all of your ADHD-ness, you are comtemplating: Another dress? From the same pattern as the Empire Strikes Back, Presley Poodle and the I-See-London-I-See-France frocks? Huh. So versatile (hey, is that sarcasm?). I think I need more chocolate. My feet itch. Is the cat reading my mind right now? Duuude! (I give up).
As soon as I saw this Horror Flick fabric by Robert Kaufman, I knew I had to have some. I shared some extra yardage with Jen over at Peachy Tuesday. I cannot wait to see what awesome hair accessories she busts out with this fabric. I snagged my yardage from Lady Buttons Fabric.
 Okay, so lemme explain. I'm actually not way ahead of schedule because here, at Creepy Casa de Cassie, Halloween begins very early (in less than 10 days!) and continues for every weekend until the end of October. I confessed in this post that hubs and I love going to haunted events. You know, the kind where you pay money for someone in their zombie-finest to chase you with a chainsaw. After seeing this fabric, I knew I had a make a dress for the occasion.

 Our addiction to these haunted events started at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights (I dare you to say "Candyman" three times and click on the link). I remember walking up to the first haunted house behind a group of girls. Whatever they saw at the entrance of the house scared them so much, they shrieked and took off running. This left hubs and I staring into the eyes of an actress dressed as a psych patient complete with bloody gown, crazy grimace and one big butcher knife. After escaping that house with sweaty palms, nervous knees and laughter, we were hooked.

It's very fitting that Universal Studios would host such a spook-tacular event as it's kind of like the Godfather of Horror. Founded by Carl Laemmle in 1912, the studio is the oldest in the U.S. In the 1930's Carl's son, Laemmle, Jr., began producing a series of monster movies, nicknamed Universal Monsters. Those movies can be found in the posters above...and in the fabric of my dress.

If you find yourself at Universal Studios in Orlando, please make sure you see the Universal Studios Horror Make-Up Show. It gives a great history on the horror movies of Universal all while being super silly. Not gonna be in Orlando anytime soon? Check out this bootleg.
When I wear this to the haunted houses, it will not be in these shoes. I'll be pairing this dress with my less-than-glamorous-but-oh-so-comfy Chacos. Perfect for running from chain-saw-wielding-homocidal-maniacs.
Not that I'll be doing any running. Oh no. This year, I'm gonna put on my best Morticia Addams face and be brave. Look those monsters right in the eye and not even blink, take my hands off my hips or have a hair out of place. My evil eye will have them running from me.
Dude, seriously?! If I could perfect that glare, I'd never have a single ounce of backtalk in my class room. The only thing more frightening than that stare is that drive-in movie screen sized fivehead, er, forehead.
Oh who am I kidding. My evil eye will quickly fade and become a Big Fat Baby Cry. Like every year. It's the only time the monsters break character and give me a "Duuude! Relax! Can someone please come get this crazy?!"
 Thanks for dropping by. I'll keep you posted on the haunted events the dress and I visit. Enjoy your Labor Day, dudes!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What the Art Teacher Wore #32

Red Monday: Please pardon the completely distracting and slightly messy background. Because, according to the background, if you do not there will be consequences. And I don't think you want to experience A Long Time Out. dress: picked up at one of the lovely vintage shops in Amsterdam this summer; shoes: Dolls by Nina; belt and bow: made by me.
 Holy Moly Me-O-My, thank goodness for a long weekend. I am currently doing my favorite things: chillin' with the hubs, catching up on sewing projects, celebrating with friends (check out my friend Zach's big accomplishment!)and day dreaming about what the little artists will be creating next week. I couldn't ask for a more perfect end to a very colorful week. Why so colorful, you ask? Well, to help the lil kindergarteners learn their colors, my school wore different colors for each day of the week. In addition to my monochromatic duds, I've added some of my most pinteresting pins.

All of this color got me thinking about my favorite colors. I never really thought about what color I was drawn to until I started my attempts at decorating. It seems I love a very specific slightly-greenish sky blue. Surely there's a better name for the color. I've got it everywhere: in the painting I created in our front room (seen in the background of this post), in the rug I'm hooking, in the countless pillows. And now that I think about it, that was the color of my bedroom growing up. Surprisingly, that color is not very present in my wardrobe. There I have a lot of reds and pinks.

How about you? What color do you find yourself most drawn to? Do you know why you have such a connection to the color? I'd love to hear your colorful comments!
Woman in red Christian Dior dress, courtesy of pinterest.
Yellow Tuesday: I have to say, colors really do evoke emotion. Seeing all my kindergarten friends in their bright sunny yellows really made me quite happy. dress: Buffalo Exchange; shoes: vintage, thrifted; hair flower: made by me
Do you know the artist Raphael Soyer? I love his work. He's considered something called a Social Realist which is just fancy talk that means he liked to paint people living their lives. Doing what they do. Raphael had two brothers, Issac and Moses, who were also artists.
Blue Wednesday: I've really taken to wearing these waist aprons during art class. I have a small mountain of vintage ones that I wear in rotation. This one's pretty groovy because it's just translucent enough that you can see the floral pattern. dress and apron: vintage; shoes: Anthro, coupla years ago
Abstract painter Helen Frankenthaler in her studio.
Green Thursday: On this day, one of my new students said, "You are like a wacky work of art everyday." dress: vintage, thrifted; shoes: thrifted and DIY'ed by me here.
I am currently fascinated with the idea of creating my own fabric. I've had my nose stuck in my favorite fabric design books like Marimekko. I need to jump on this idea because that little voice that likes to convince me that my ideas are foolish is starting to get to me. Do you have little voices that try to talk you down from ledges? So annoying, I just wanna jump head first!
Orange Friday: More like Sherbert Friday but whatever. Turns out I don't have a lot of orange in my closet. So sad, I love the color! dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: Pinky Otto, NYC; shoes: Anthro
And I'll leave you with this orangie goodness. Enjoy your long weekend!