Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Little Drop of Sunshine

I really love thrifting. Like REALLY love it. Finds like this little beauty light up my world.

This is my new favorite purse. A bit small for me, but with all the rain we've been having it's the kind of sunshine I can carry with me. The strap is the perfect length too, and that almost never happens.

This is the season of color for me. Here's to the rainbow!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You've Always Got Your Family

It has been an adventure being home this summer. But it has been a good adventure.

These are my two brothers, both younger, even if the one in the middle doesn't look like he is. He's my 15-year-old pretend big brother--he gets things off high shelves and lifts heavy objects for me, but I still got to feed him his first bottle at home. Kind of a win-win when you look at it that way.

The other brother is already a staggering 9 years old and he looks older (and taller!) every day. He is serving as my photographer while I'm at home, and it is so exciting for me when he actually looks forward to taking my pictures! 

Spending time with these boys has been one of the highlights of the summer. I can't believe how fast they're growing up and I'm really happy I'm here to see it right now. They're great, and they're my brothers. Nothing being home to remind you what you're really thankful for.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Lonely Shoes

When I was doing the Thrift Store Take post last week I inadvertently left out these super cute shoes that I love so dearly. Now they are all by themselves in their $3.79 wonderfulness. 
I need to polish them, though. They are a bit scuffy, but cute! 
T-strap wedges are my weakness.



Monday, June 27, 2011

Keep Us From Pettiness

A friend of mine from high school passed away recently. It was long before her time, and her presence in our community will be greatly missed. In reflecting on life and death I was reminded of this prayer, which has been one of my favorites for a long time. I am Catholic, but I believe that this particular prayer transcends some of the traditional barriers between religions and holds important meaning for all who read it. I think everyone has some pettiness they can try and cut out of this life. I know I do.
Keep Us From Pettiness

Keep us, O God, from pettiness;
let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.
Let us be done with faultfinding and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretenses and meet each other, face to face, without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.
Let us take time for all things; make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.  Teach us to put in action our better impulses-straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realize
it is the little things of life that create difficulties;
that in the big things of life we are as one.
Oh, Lord, let us not forget to be kind.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Made It: Paper Bag Dress

Now that I have successfully made dresses of my own, I'm hooked. I love making things more than I ever did before and believe me, I didn't think that was possible. The white tank top was a 25 cent score at the thrift store awhile ago but it was tragically short on me so now it has found a new vocation as the top half of this dress (maybe... It's still just pinned in right now. I can't decide if I want to make this a dress or keep it a skirt. I'm leaning towards dress.) The skirt fabric was also a thrifting score and I had almost the EXACT amount I needed to make the skirt. For guidance I looked to iCandy Handmade, which recently came out with a GREAT tutorial for this kind of dress for little girls. I just put in my measurements instead and went to town! It worked perfectly.

 This ended up being my Father's Day outfit. Completed at 12:35am the night before. Story of my life.
I'm such a fan of big bows right now and so I had to have one on this skirt. The sash is detachable, but I don't forsee ever wearing this outfit without it!

What to sew next... That is the question.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Fave Fifteen: Podcasts

I've decided to start a series where I post fifteen of my favorite somethings every Friday. I am a major podcast junkie and this is actually a list I first published on my study abroad blog, The Penny Lily, last fall. Check them out on iTunes, subscribe, or check out their websites.

1. The Classic Tales Podcast: This podcast offers great classic short stories by many wonderful authors. The guy who reads them is really a wonderful voice actor and the overall quality of this is impeccable.

2. This American Life: A great show from NPR that shares stories on a theme each week. Their archives will keep you aurally busy for hours.

3. Best of YouTube: This great podcast helps you skip all the pointless YouTube searching and skip straight to the good stuff (most of the time).

4. Our Miss Brooks Podcast: I'm a sucker for old radio shows and Our Miss Brooks is one of the best I've found. Miss Brooks is a high school English teacher who is constantly at odds with her principal, Mr. Conklin, and trying to get the bashful biology teacher, Mr. Boyton, to notice her. The innocent humor is refreshing and family friendly.

5. The Great Gildersleeve Replay: In the same vein as Our Miss Brooks, this family comedy from the 1940s features Uncle Gildersleeve and his niece and nephew. Some of the earliest situation comedy, and it's still funny.

6. The Moth Podcast: Not all of the Moth stories are family friendly, but, for a mature audience, I have found them all very entertaining and inspiring. The storytellers are good at what they do, that's for sure.

See the rest of the list after the jump.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Love Jade


The ladies at the thrift store love me.
They were sorting while I was there on Monday and came across this beauty which was just in need of a clasp. Bingo. They gave it to me for a dollar.

I win.

It probably seems like I don't do anything but wile away time at the thrift store and that is because that is pretty much true. As I've said, it's a small town.
Now all that's left to do is make something to wear it with...


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Last Week's Thrift Store Take

So I'm a little behind, but with four jobs what can you expect? 
(In case you were wondering: jewelry designer, freelance reporter, blogging intern, and waitress. I am multi-talented.)

This is actually what I picked up last week when it was the storied All-Clothes-are-25 Cents-Apiece- Week. Small towns, as I have said before, have their perks.
Most of my scores last week were actually oversized mens button downs and old t-shirts for all of my stashed up DIY projects, because you can hardly go wrong at 25 cents a pop. 
It makes me feel like it's the 1950s again.

But, I digress. Here are the clothes I scored this week:

Tank tops: I love that these are now a part of my closet.

Gotta love the Heineken shirt. And I'm 21 now, so it's legal.

The fact that I buy things like this make me feel old. But in a 20something kind of way. So that's okay.

Cutoffs: Because it is literally illegal to be under 25 and not have a pair.
 And I did not have a pair.

So that's 11 pieces. At a quarter each. Meaning I spent $2.75 in clothes this week. 
Please don't hate me?


Monday, June 20, 2011

A Vintage Smorgasbord: Part 2

Here's more of that to-die-for jewelry lot I got my hands on last week.
If you missed part 1, you can catch it here.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Height of Irony

This is a story about this bag of beads.

Now there is nothing inherently wrong with them, they just happen to be shaped like butterflies. 
Which is something I do not like in a bead. They are also cheap, cheap, cheap and, as a designer I don't like using things that are low quality, especially if they look low quality.

These beads came into my possession a long time ago and I recently bagged them up and put them in a garage sale for some sweet little girl with jewelry making aspirations to experiment with.
End of story. Or so I thought...

I was minding my own business, selling beautiful jewelry at the Farmer's Market on Thursday when I woman came up to me. I have seen her at market on and off over my 6 years there, and I know that she loves butterflies. Loves them. Every time she stops she checks to see if I have anything new with butterflies on it. But for whatever reason she and I have never quite clicked. Perhaps its the fact that she thinks my prices are exorbitant ($3 for earrings, $4.50 for bracelets).
Anyway, she was excited. She said she had something for me.
Oh, goodness, no. 

Apparently the beads were not purchased by some sweet little girl. 
And now I'm expected to use them to make an "elegant" (her words) butterfly set. God help me.

Ahhh, life. Never predictable, is it?


Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Vintage Smorgasbord: Part 1

There are some very very nice people that work in the thrift store here in town.
They know I love jewelry (and that I make and sell it) so when I went in last week they had a treasure waiting for me. They had sorted out the jewelry from a big donation that had come in, and they didn't really feel like pricing it all. Did I want to look through it and make an offer?
Yes. Yes i did.
Here's the eye candy. More to come soon.



Friday, June 17, 2011

I Made It: A Picnic Dress


I have always wanted to make this dress. And, finally, it is finished.
My very first dress totally from scratch.
This is not a refashion, or formerly a men's shirt. It was fabric on a bolt before it became this dress. And I am feeling pretty darn accomplished.

I followed the instructions on this website, more or less, with my own alterations. I drafted a pattern for my bodice in my Costume Construction class last semester and so I used that for the basis of my improvised pattern. I did end up making pattern pieces for all of it because I knew I wouldn't have the patience to go back and start over if I had to recut my pieces later.

I knew I wanted the bustline to have some more shape to it so I added the gather down the center of the bodice and I sewed a pleat into the front of the bodice to give me a more hourglass shape. My zipper was SUPER long in the back so it went almost to the hem of the dress, but I like it that way. I also decided to add the bias tape trim around the neck and arms because I felt like it needed something extra. There's a bit of wrinkle wierdness in the front bodice, but nothing that will keep me from wearing it.

It's a little prim and proper for my usual tastes, but I love it none the less. It's not quite like anything I see in stores these days and I think that's part of its charm. I can tell its a dress I'm going to use in some unexpected outfits, which is always fun.


I  am glad it's done now though. Have you ever hemmed a full circle skirt? 
It takes a seriously long time.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Rings

Every day I wear these five rings, no matter what. Each signifies something special to me.
The top one says "carpe diem" and was my 18th birthday present from my very best friend.
The second is a claddagh ring from Irish Fest in a small town near where I go to school. These rings signify your relationship status. I wear mine right side up on my right hand--taken :)
The "faith" and "love" rings are gifts from my mom. I've had them at least 6 years or more.
And, finally, the last one is my rosary ring which I got in Rome (after I lost its predecessor in Scotland) and had blessed by the Pope at one of his Wednesday audiences.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with All Things Midwest

This is my first summer in the Midwest in three years and I’m remembering how much I both love and hate this place. There are the beautiful rolling green fields, the corn swaying in the breeze, the relatively inexpensive local ice cream joint where you’re sure to see someone from high school, church, or next door. There are the super cheap (if small) thrift stores and tennis courts two blocks away that are pretty much always available.

But there’s the other hand too. As far as entertainment goes, there is one movie theater with three screens and a bowling alley. There are very (VERY) few people my age either from my high school or the college around, and those that are here are not exactly the people I want to hang out with. Boyfriend is 9 hours away, best friend is about 16 hours away and my job is nothing to write home about. This state of affairs usually leaves me pining for somewhere exciting like Washington D.C. or Dublin, Ireland, where I spent my last two summers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Midwest, in theory. I like the small towns with good schools and neighbors who will take in your cat for the duration of your vacations. I like being able to see the stars and the decided absence of sirens from the nightly soundscape. But I also like some nightlife, shopping options, and public transportation in my workweek. I like having artistic people to hang out with and going to a bar that has more than two people my age in it. I like being able to get something to eat after 10pm.

But I'm not willing to embrace the big cities quite yet either. I’ve always had a certain disdain for New York City, basically because everyone loves it, and this has usually been my policy in regards to boys as well, but that’s another story. I think our society is  hypnotized by the mystic of New York: its size, glamor, prominence, and long history of being the backdrop of every other romantic comedy. It is the make-or-break-it capitol of the world and it seems like everyone is just waiting to try their luck there. And honestly I think it sounds like a terrible, horrible place to live. Cost of living is insane, food is either bad or expensive, good jobs are outrageously hard to get, schools are either struggling or very expensive, and it takes a year to get from point A to point B. Not for me.

So I’m looking for a happy medium—somewhere with a mall or two, a good newspaper, maybe an independent fashion show here or there, a film festival, a good sushi restaurant (for boyfriend, because he really likes sushi), and a decent view of the stars. And if there happens to be some corn around, great. Where is this fabulous place? I’ll let you know when I find it.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Showing Off

I have a fabulous jewelry box, but the deadly cocktail of the age-old tangled chain drama and the out-of-sight-out-of-mind phenomenon made me seriously consider a new necklace storage method.

I’m keeping my trusty jewelry box because I move around a whole lot, and it’s nice to have a place to put things. Plus, I just really like it.

This idea is almost so simple I feel lame for sharing it. But perhaps my ulterior motive is to show off my super cute collection of necklaces. That’s probably it.

thumbtacks + wall = necklace collection showing off!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


So, Pintrest might be the coolest new toy I've found since Evernote. Check out mine here.

I'm feeling inspired already.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I Made It: Infinity Dress

UPDATE: For a roundup of ways I like to wear my infinity dress, see my newer post here.

I have wanted one of these dresses since I was in high school. The idea of a full circle skirt and an infinite number of necklines was always enticing for me, and I'm so glad I held on to the dream of making one of my very own because it very recently paid off. I used this tutorial, and this one as well, for reference.

I found this great fabric on sale at a JoAnn's near my best friend's apartment when I was visiting her at Iowa State a few weeks ago. It is maroon-y, printed perfection and it lays like a dream. No lines to worry about here!

It took me a lot more than the hour project time suggested by its tutorials, but that was mostly because it was an adventure in math and geometry to cut the darn thing. I was DETERMINED to get the whole dress out of two yards of 60 inch fabric, which was a feat to be sure, especially considering the suggested yardage is 4-5 yards per dress. Therefore what I saved in money I paid back in time. It was doable, though, and by making the straps 72 inches (2 yards) instead of 1.5x my height and cutting the skirt in two half circle pieces and just sewing them together along the sides I still had enough fabric left to piece together a waistband that actually goes up over my bust line to make this dress bra friendly. I'm all about keeping dresses bra friendly.

Forgive the awkward pictures. I am an awkward person. This one is a little better...

... but not much. Oh well, I'll just blame it on the sofa.


Thursday, June 2, 2011


I'm kind of a weird person. I like to listen to "Boston Blackie" and "Box 13" radio shows from the 1940s and 50s, I read X-Men, and watch Pretty Little Liars. I write for a fashion blog and it's been years since I paid more than $19.99 for anything in my closet. I stay up irresponsibly late, window shop online, own my own business, and have a major in English, even though I find I don't like to read near as much as I used to. I buy new notebooks all the time and only use the first 25 pages at the most. My room is always messier than it seems like it should be and I've wanted to make cake balls all summer, but have yet to try. I'm a Catholic and an actress, an art nut and a libertarian. I like to think I'm tough, but I'll buy into the sap every time. Both Eminem and Enya come up on my iTunes, and I don't skip to the next song. And the picture above was taken by my waitress at a side street bistro in Dublin while I'm wearing old Irish farm boots and a full skirt as a dress.

Be my friend?
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