Monday, July 8, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #69

On the Fourth: When I heard Anthropologie was having their 20%-Off-Everything-Still-Overpriced-But-We-Call-It-a-Sale-to-Soften-the-Blow Sale, I knew I had to get over there and see if they had this dress in my size. And they did! AND I managed to use a gift card, making the dress, like, free-ish. I mean, they practically paid me to take it. So I was actually doin' them a favor. Because I'm a giver. belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: DIY here
 Hiya, kids. I don't know if you missed me or not (the correct answer here is: YES! We did! We've been worried sick, crying every night, checking your blog religiously, where have you been young lady?!) but I've been on a little bit of a laz-cation. We didn't make plans for the holiday weekend and then it rained for five days straight during which we started building an ark and then remembered we had kayaks and then remembered we'd never get all those stinkin' animals in our kayaks so we had some ice cream and took a nap. Seriously. That was our fourth of July. Oh! And we bought cat food. Because, in all seriousness, if we could only save one kind of animal, it'd have to be kitties. And camels because they spit at people and I think that's hilarious. Mostly because I often have the same urge.
So this super sweet vintage fabric has been in my stash for ages. I love it so much that every now and then, I just take it out and look at it adoringly. I finally came upon what I think is the perfect dress pattern for this fabric and I'm excited to share it with you as soon as the beast is complete. Because, in a moment of insanity, I decided to use another Butterick pattern. Keep me in your thoughts, would ya?
 So, yeah, the holiday weekend was pretty lax. We actually didn't even venture out to see fireworks, mostly because it was raining and the other mostly because we are Firework Connoisseurs. Some people might even refer to us as snobs but I say, "Until you've watched your husband spend $280 in an Alabama Fireworks/Flea Market/Grocery Store type place and then watched him set them off at a local elementary school but only after using them to blow up the gingerbread houses your family lovingly crafted, you don't know the Power of Fireworks." Which is probably why no one talks to me because I have a tendency to go off on random rants. AND because I spit at people. But only when annoyed.
Rainy Day Estate Salin': Turns out the day after the fourth of July isn't the best day to go estate salin'. Even still, my buddies and I managed to score a coupla goodies. On the cheap too as my bartering skillz are jammin'. Mostly cuz the folks running the estate sales will do just about anything to get rid of me. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: LOST! I busted out of the thing getting in and out of the car and, sadly, lost my wee bow belt, sigh; sweater: Betsy Johnson, Buffalo Exchange; boots: Hunter
 I did manage to venture out to a couple of estate sales this week so I thought I'd share my scores with you. Which is what the "When I Scored" part of the post title is all about. Lest you think I was referring to something else. You naughty reader.
Lefty pinking shears, a super old button holer AND that wee container of hem marking powder. Which I convinced the estate sale dude to give me for free because, "Look at it, it's gross. You'll just end up throwing it away, so it's like I'm taking the trash out for you!" (See, this is why they hate me).
There's still white powder in it. Which could be vintage cocaine because that woulda been the ultimate place to hide one's coke, dontcha think?! I can just imagine the scene now: "Why, what do we have here, Betty?!" // "Oh, you silly husband! It's my hem marking powder aka How-Do-You-Think-I-Manage-to-Keep-the-House-so-Clean-Make-Three-Square-Meals-AND-Put-Up-with-You-with-a-Smile-on-my-Face powder. Whichever you'd prefer to call it, dear."
Let's Go Barbecuin': A buddy of ours had us over for a cookout which was a lot of fun. I have this bad habit of getting stuck in homebody/sewing room mode and I sometimes have to be forced to leave the house. This was one of those times and it was totally worth changing out of my 3pm-in-the-afternoon pajamas for. dress: vintage; sandals: Target, old
At one sale, I scored two large vintage scrapbooks for a dollar each. On the first page of this scrapbook, there were tons of these sweet get-well cards.
Complete with hand-written notes! I love letters, especially vintage ones. Their handwriting and choice of wording is always so elegant to me.
The other scrapbook was a total trip. It was completely full of page after page of wedding and shower announcements, invitations, and newspaper clippings. It had the Always-the-Bridesmaid-Never-the-Bride feel to it.
Most of the announcements were from the 1940s with many grooms in their military garb. It was like a book full of Baby Boomin' Baby Mamas and Papas.
Some pages of the book were simply cutouts from a bridal pinterest board from the 1950's, dontcha think?
 And that's all I've got to show for myself from this past week. And I'm not promising much more this week as my baby bro (he's 10 years my junior) and maw are coming in for a visit. Again, be thinking of me, would ya? I have no idea what we'll be up to, but I'll be certain to pop back in and say hello. I'd hate for you to get all worried about me again, geesh.

Hope your week is grand!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

DIY: A 1960s Diner Dress or Why I Think Butterick 5708 is the Devil

 I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say that if there ever was a contest titled "Best Waitress Outfit for Trashy 1960s Roadside Diner", I'm sorry, but I would totally win. Like, don't even bother submittin' your entries cuz just look at this thing. It's like Bob Evans and Kentucky Fried Chicken got together and had a 1960s love child that actually turned out not to be a child at all but a dress (which is weird, I know, but that's just the kind of scientific anomaly this dress is. Seriously.)

 Where was I again? Oh yes, First Place Winner. Thank you very much.
 Ermkay, so hubs says I can't wear this dress to school because one of the bottles says "Hot as Hell" on it. I say nonsense. Learning that hell is one hot place just might improve the discipline in my art room, doncha think? You might remember me showing off this fabric here, along with my other Michael Miller retro barbeque themed fabric

I decided to pair the fabric with mustard yellow and red gingham. Because it just says Class, don't you think? That red gingham gives me flashbacks to my short-lived-because-I-was-super-sucky days as a waitress at Pizza Hut. Dude, not a single shift would go by when I didn't forget to put in someone's pizza order (I think I was secretly trying to do them a favor, but did they see it as such? Nooooo. Some people are just so ungrateful). Next thing you know, it's an hour later, their kids are screaming and they are barking at me all "Where's our pizza?!" and I'm all "It'll be right out!" as I stick my hand in my apron pocket to find the order ticket I forget to turn in. I convinced whoever was on shift with me that I was sick and needed to spend approximately 20 minutes in the bathroom and could they take care of table 23 for me, please?! Needless to say, I was the only waitress to ever get pennies.

All the different ways you can wear the bodice of Butterick 5708. 

You wanna know what sucks more than my waitressing skills? Butterick 5708. That's what. 

Look, I don't know who Mrs. Butterick is but I can tell you this, she's one ambiguous b-- oh crap, are there under 12-ers reading? Fine: butthead. Granted, I'm still a very green sewer so I'm used to my sweet Simplicity patterns holding my hand, telling me which direction to iron my seams, how to understitch, making sure I brush my teeth before bed. Meanwhile, ole Butterick is all, "Oh, you know. Just make the bodice...if you can."
I think I'll stick to wearing my dress either tied at the shoulders (top photo) or pulled over the shoulders and tied at the chest as seen on the left. I love the idea of wearing the dress one shouldered, but to do so you gotta tie the fabric under your arm which made me feel like I had a giant underarm tumor growth. Not a great feeling.

 Confession: When I sew, I have conversations with whatever I'm working on. Most of these convos take place in my head so it's all good and hubs doesn't know what a crazy person I am (yes he does). However, this time around, it got a little loud.
Since the dress wasn't enough craziness, I decided to create my own shoes to match.
  I was working away on this dress when I thought to myself, you know, this dress isn't so bad. I'll just finish off this bodice, add the gathered skirt and--

Butterick: Ahem. Gurl, you got a lot left to do. You better slow your roll.

Me: Um, excuse me? I don't know if I'm more confused by your talking or the fact that you just said "slow your roll". Who says that?

Butterick: Paris Hilton.

Me: What?! That doesn't even make sense! She says stuff like, "that's hawt" and "ohmygurd" and other pre-rehab nonsense. You are full of lies, Butterick!

Butterick: What. Ever.

...and these are types of conversations I have WITH A DRESS PATTERN.

And while you digest that bit of craziness, let's talk about how I made these shoes, shall we? I started with this rather dull pair of wedges I snagged on the cheap. Armed with some gingham, an Exacto knife and good ole Aleene, I followed my own DIY shoe tutorial here.
 I wasn't in love with just the raw fabric edge on the shoe so I decided to add some rickrack. Using a hot glue gun, I drew a super small bead of glue around the tip and bottom of the shoe before attaching the rickrack. That patent leather top of the shoe looked a little too Golden Girls Grandma to me so I decided to bedazzle it with some bows.
 Making these bows is a snap. After deciding on the height of the bow, I doubled that measurement and added 1/4" for the seam. After sewing it right sides together, I flipped the tube of fabric inside out (using one of those wire-tube-turning-thingies that make you want to kill yourself. Just use a safety pin and watch a youtube tutorial for the love of those around you). I trimmed the edges with a curve and folded them inward creating the desired width. I then sewed a seam down the middle where I placed the pin in the photo above.
 For the tie around the bow, I used a small folded piece of fabric. I pinned that in place behind the bow. Because I didn't want to do any hand sewing (ewwww, hand sewing, me no likey!), I switched to a zipper foot on my machine and stitched as close to the back of the bow as possible.

 And then your bow is finished! I decided to add shoe clips to the back of mine so I could take them on and off. That's what you see me  hand sewing in the photo on the left.
 Yay, shoes! I'm thinking they'll go pretty nicely with this dress too.

In the end, I finished the dress. Actually, I believe the last words I said were, "BUTTERICK, I WILL FINISH YOU." To which she replied, "Oh yeah? You mean how you "finished" ole Simplicity 3877?" with a head tilt toward the heap of half sewn dress mess on the floor. I was just about to spit out some ugly grown up words when I heard from the next room:

Hubs: Cass? Are you talking to me?

Me: Well, yeah. Who else would I be talking to -- a dress pattern?!
It turns out I was right. I did finish it. But it wasn't until I was tying my shoulder straps that I realized Butterick got the last laugh: 

I sewed a pin inside one of the ties.

That's right. Now I have a permanent pin-pokey reminder of ole Butterick and her devilish ways. Thankfully I have this super swanky Pizza Hut/KFC/Bob Evans dress to show for my efforts. Sweet.

Monday, July 1, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #68

This picture cracks me up because it kinda makes me look all sweet and innocent and whutnot. Which is SO TRUE. Except instead of sweet, I'd say "sarcastic" and innocent I'd say "something-that's-not-innocent-but-really-lazy-and-kind-of-annoying". Hey, I can't help the way I was raised. dress: vintage, The Hip Zipper in Nashville, shoes: Crocs; hair flower: H&M
 DUDES! You won't believe what just happened! I am so humiliated and mortified, you don't even know. But before I get to that, I've gotta first tell you the prequel of said Humiliated and Mortifying Event. Because it will totally set the stage for what just happened and will reaffirm your very correct thoughts of my ridiculousness. 

(I know what you're thinking, "Ahem. Giveaway winner, please? I didn't come here for no story time." To which I say, "Patience is ... oh, crap, what's the saying again? Oh yeah...Patience is a Virtue. What does that even mean? I have no idea, just scroll to the bottom, you impatient virtue-less beast.)
A buddy and I decided to take a day and explore some dusty old antique shops which, by the way, are the very best kind. The prices were crazy reasonable (I scooped up 3 amazing vintage dresses priced at $10 each which the owner sold to me for $8!). If you live in Tennessee and find yourself in between Columbia and Thompson Station, drop in Carters Creek Station Antiques.
 Okay, so, a coupla days ago, I scheduled some dudes to come out and clean my gutters. Which, if that sounds naughty to you, than you obviously have your mind in the gutter and should consider a good cleaning. I was told they'd be here around 8am which kinda worried me as I planned to be meeting up with a friend to hit estate sales (I'll share my drool-worthy spoils here in a sec). The gutter-cleaning-secretary-lady assured me that it wasn't a big deal as this was an outside job and they wouldn't be needing me. Cool.
Did I ever tell you about the time my crazy neighbor came over while I was planting ivy and said all soothsayer-esque, "I predict that ivy is going to take over your whole yard." To which I replied, after punching her in the nose, "Oh yeah? Well, how come you didn't see that comin', huh? Because my fist just took over your whole face!" Okay, not really. Like most nose-punchings, that only happened in my mind. But it turns out she was kinda right. And I kinda like it. dress: vintage, thrifted; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; shoes: TJMaxx
 So, woudn't ya know, at 7am I'm at the kitchen table eating brekky when the doorbell rings. And I suddenly get that watery-bowel feeling that only comes when you just so happen to be sitting at the kitchen table in your nastiest, shortest bathrobe with nuthin but undies on underneath and you are wanted at the front door. Oh, but wait, there's more: one of the things that sold us on our home was the fact that you can stand at the front door and see all the way into the kitchen. Which means door-bell-ringing/gutter-cleaning dude could totally see me. Fortunately, I had my back to the door. So all he saw was me hop up from the table and take off running.
More antique store goodness.
This vintage dress is one of my fave thrift store finds. It's so hard to find good, polyester-free vintage in the thrift stores these days that when I do, I feel like I've struck gold. dress: vintage, thrifted; pin: vintage; shoes: BCShoes, old; belt: made by me for my glow-in-the-dark Christmas dress
 And I was like a maniac as I didn't even know where I was running to. My fight or flight instinct was telling me: Get some more clothes on! Brush your teeth! Did you even wash your face last night because you look like a member of Kiss! Oh, never mind, just hide in the closet and hope he goes away.

Which I totally was going to do. But then he rang the doorbell again.
A sweet gem from the antique shop. I love the excitement on that little one's face.
I knew I had to get to the bedroom for some flippin' clothes. But the main set of stairs is right at the front door so my only option was to take this sneaky back set of stairs from the kitchen. And as I zipped up those stairs I thought, "perfect, I'll just slip on some shorts and a t-shirt and go see what gutter-cleaning-man wants." 

And then I remembered: I had to cross the top of the stairs which you can see from the front door. Crap.
top: thrifted, Banana Republic; skirt: thrifted, vintage; bag: Enid Collins, ebay
As I stood at the top of the stairs, I weighed my options:

A. Go answer the door. In nasty bathrobe. With Kiss-face. And be the laughing stock of all gutter-cleaning-man dudes.  

B. Run across the top of the stairs. Be seen by gutter-cleaning-man in my nasty bathrobe but only in a flash as I move lightening fast. Come downstairs in appropriate attire and act as though nothing happened.

I went with option B. And then I vowed, like took an oath, that I would never ever just sit around in my nasty bathrobe and not-much-else again.
Are you seeing this?! I scored big money at an estate sale this week with over 20 vintage dress patterns in my size! Can you believe the luck?! 
 Which now (finally) brings me to what just happened. So, it's after 12 pm, I've just had my lunch and I'm wearing appropriate teacher-on-summer-vacation attire: my pajamas. Look, my oath was very specific, it said I couldn't sit around in my bathrobe and undies anymore. So I upgraded to a paint-splattered t-shirt from college and a pair of waistband-busted sweats. What? I like to keep it classy yet comfy. Kinda like a Forever Lazy. Just not as swanky.
If I didn't currently have another dress on my sewing table, I'd make this one. Sadly, what I'm  currently working on is making me homicidal. So if I call you to come over for tea, don't. There's a good chance Ima gonna kill you in a fit of this-dress-pattern-is-driving-me-homicidal rage. You've been warned.
 This time Ima sitting on the couch in full view of the front door when the doorbell rings. My fight or flight totally started screaming for me to run for it again but it was too late. Gas-man was staring right at me. So with one hand holding up my waist-band-busted sweats, I opened the door.
I have a confession to make: I love rainy summer days. They're all snuggly and easy-going. Perfect for pajamas-til-way-after-noon kinda days. Which should be everyday in my book. dress: vintage; boots: Hunter
 And the followin' went down: 

Gas Man (looking at me gingerly): Hellooo, ma'am. Um, you were sent a letter saying that we would be doing a service call in your area at this time. Did you get the letter?

Me: Um, maybe?
Gas Man: We also sent out an email, a text message and a voice mail. 

Me: Oh, yeah, yeah. I'm sure I got that [vaguely recall throwing away said letter, deleting said text and voice messages and not even bothering to open said email. Oops.]

Gas Man: But if you are sick we can come back another time!

Me: Oh, I'm not sick! I'm just on summer vacation. In my pajamas. I'm going to go change now. Be right back.

And that's when I made an oath addendum: I will never ever sit around in my pajamas or my nasty bathrobe again. Although, in all seriousness, that's just not an attainable oath for me. So, now that I think about it, I'm going to have to do another oath rewrite. Here goes: I will never sit in full view of my front door. And I will always keep random piles of clothing around the house in case of an emergency. Like in the kitchen cabinets. Or the fridge.
 But enough about all that, let's get to the giveaway! I was so super excited by those of you that entered and totally wrote down all of your ideas so I can steal 'em one day. Which was apart of my evil plan all along, heh heh (did that sound maniacal? I was going for maniacal.) But seriously, some of you wrote the nicest things and it truly made my day (and earned you bonus points. Just kidding [no I'm not]). But in the end, there can be only one winner and that would be...
Yay, Jessica! Here's what she wrote:

"I've been a mildly obsessive reader ever since I discovered your blog a few months ago. The fabric is just calling out to be an apron. A full apron with pockets in a contrasting fabric. For cooking things from the Betty Crocker Outdoor Cook Book."

 Congrats, my dear! 

As for the rest of ya, keep rockin' that bathrobe and remember to always keep a spare set of clothing in your kitchen. Trust me.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

DIY: Southern Lovin'

You know, for the amount of verbal abuse this painting had to endure, it looks pretty good. If I might say so. Which, in saying so, makes me sound like a total egomaniac. Yeah, well, it's time you knew the truth. By the way, you can find diy-details on those painted flower pots here.
Ya'll might find this hard to believe but I'm not actually from The South. That's right and I have the majority of my teeth to prove it (aw, now, you Southern folk, don't get yourself all worked up. After all, ya'll are the ones that dedicate an entire festival to a lil somethun called MoonPies and RC Cola. For those of you unfortunate enough never to have sampled the delicacy that is a MoonPie, lemme break it down for you: ya got a flattened marshmallow sandwiched between two round graham crackers dipped in chocolate, or as the box calls it, "flavored coating". Which is heaven so stop wrinkling your nose. AND in case that's not enough, at the festival they deep-fry the suckers for you. My taste buds were all "What?! Have I died and gone to Taste Bud Heaven?!" meanwhile, three teeth fell out screaming, "Abandon ship! This here's a mouth gone South!") 

Wow. That was the longest parenthesis ever. What was I even talking about?
I have a cousin and an aunt that are the same age as me. Do you need a second to unravel that mystery? If you guessed that my grannie, my mom and her sis were all preggers at the same time, congratulations! My grandparents loved to take just the three of us on mini-vacations. One trip was to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is this tourist town completely overrun with Old Time Photo places (where you can dress your daughter up as a lady-of-the-night and your son as a gun-totin' outlaw. You know, family values kinda stuff) and air-brushed t-shirt joints. Our hotel just happened to be across the street from Hillbilly Golf where we went adult-less every single day. What we loved about that place, aside from the fact that we were sans grownups, was that you took this incline to the top of the hill and played your way to the bottom. After a couple-twenty times to the top, we started to get bored and just took to throwing the golf balls down the hill. Which is super fun unless you get busted. So, kids, listen to your elders: Don't. Get. Busted. (Did I just go from Super Long Parenthesis to Super Long Caption? Oops, my bad).
 I'm actually an Indiana Gurl (or a Hoosier even though I have no idea what that means and I hesitate to refer to myself as such. I mean, what if it implies I have a deep love for pickles? I don't even like pickles! Therefore, I cannot comfortably refer to myself as a Hoosier, er, pickle-lover). Indiana is actually a cultural mecca, in case you didn't know. I lived in a town called Peru (pronounced Pee-roo by the locals. Seriously. But it's actually more famous for being Circus City, U.S.A. I can't even make this stuff up) which is near both Chile (pronounced Chai[like the tea]-lie) and Mexico. See? Total cultural explosion.
I promise I'll get to the DIY portion of this here post! Bear with me, I'm on an entirely-too-much-ice-cream high. Because after 15 years of livin' in Tennessee, I've become completely Sugar-Coated Southern.
 Just how did I end up in Tennessee, you ask? (What I know you're really asking: "Is this going to lead to another story?! Because I have a life I wanna lead." Oh, whatever. You do not.) Well, I did my student teaching in Ireland (any Irish in the house?! Dude, your country is so rad. Love the Guinness. And how you say words like "thirty-three" [turty-tree]), my dad was all (rightfully) worried I was going to come home, not get a job and just mooch off of them (totally the plan). So he sent out, get this, 50 copies of my resume to schools all over the U.S. Including A-freakin'-LASKA. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Other than Alaska is as cold as something-super-cold and dark, like, half the year. When Nashville, Tennessee called for an interview, I loaded up my teacher-interview clothes and my grandma, who'd never been to Nashville, and got the gig. And the rest is history. Or, as the locals call it, a Tennessee Tragedy. Seriously. It's in their history books.
I love it here. So much so that I've dedicated several DIY projects to Tennessee. Last summer I made this giant collage painting using a map of Nashville and a vintage postcard as my inspiration. I also created this Tennessee-themed calendar, which took me forever. And I loved it. But, being that it's currently the end of June, I couldn't continue to allow this 2012 calendar to hang another day (oh okay, another six months, sigh). So I decided to create a brand new painting to replace it. I began by mixing up my favorite tint of blue (yes, on a dinner plate. Word to the wise: if I invite you over for dinner, BYOP [Bring Your Own Plate] unless you savor lead poisoning) and cutting up an old hotel key card as a texture scraper. 

 After painting the entire canvas blue and scraping the texture, I began to draw in the design. Now, I gotta tell you, this is not an original design. Because I, my friends, will be the first to admit, I don't have a single original thought in my head. Just ask pinterest. Which, after doing some research on vintage travel posters, I found there (this is actually the next one I wanna attempt. I can't seem to find the one I was working from). Turns out you can buy these reproduction posters but I got all big-headed and decided I could do it myself. So I started by penciling in the landscape and painting it in, paint-by-numbers style.
 Do you have a wedge paint brush (not to be confused with a wedgie-paint brush which are very uncomfortable...or so I've heard)? I never really used 'em before because they seemed too Bob-Ross-y to me. But now I know why ole Bob used 'em -- they're amazing! You can create these awesome hard edges with them that would have required a lot of painting and repainting with any other brush. That Bob. He knew what he was doing.

 Dude. This was seriously as easy as it looks. Not confident in your drawing skills? Enlarge your image and trace it. Or, better yet, if you have a projector (which would probably require a time machine, but you got one of those, I'm sure) that'd be even better.
 Yay, landscape complete! I was so happy with how easy this was. Little did I know that hard part was yet to come (cue dum-dum-duuuuuum music. DUMB being the key theme of the song.)
 The. Freakin'. Lettering. UGH.

Sigh. So first there was the measuring out to make sure all my letters fit. Blah. And then there was the actual drawing of the letters. Double Blah. But the worst of it was painting each letter. Since I was using thick acrylic paint, this required a lot of painting, touching up and repainting. Good times. If I were to do this again, I woulda used one of those paint brush pins, as I used on this calendar.
I promise my lettering isn't this crooked. It's my crooked photography skillz that make it appear as such.
And there you have it, some Southern Lovin'.

I just hope that one day the South'll love me as much as I do it. We've had our rough patches, that's for sure. Like the last time I was in the Smoky Mountains enjoying the seriously amazing amusement park Dollywood. I was getting on the wooden roller coaster Thunderhead when this happened:

Roller Coaster Announcer Dude: As you enter the ride, please scoot all the why over.

Me to hubs: What did he say? 

RCAD (with obviously amazing hearing): I say-ed, scoot all the WHY over!

Me to hubs: Is he asking a question? I don't understand.

Hubs: He's saying "way". Scoot over!

Not-So-Friendly-Southern Lady in the Seat Behind Me: What the hail?! Scoot over!

Me to hubs: Did she just say hail?! Is it going to hail while we are on the ride?! Get me off of here!

Yeah. So. Me and The South. We got some more gettin-to-know-each-other to do. But that's okay. I'm not going anywhere (sorry, Tennessee!).