Saturday, November 15, 2014

november things

Getting ready to see this out my window again!

It feels crazy to me that it's already November. But here we are, facing our first snow, talking about Thanksgiving, getting ready for the fall recital, counting the weeks down to finals and home. November is shaping up to be a busy month for me, but it's all good busy. The retreat I've been prepping for all semester, rehearsals, it's all coming together now!

  • I am a firm believer in the importance of tea. Perhaps twice a day. Or more. As I told a friend recently, I basically live on the stuff. So tea lattes naturally happen, and that Emileigh's new recipe looks super yummy. 
  • I've been pinning late 20th century stuff like crazy for my costume design class. And I have to take back what I've said about the 80s. There's some stuff that's not abysmal.
  • But really, Charles James is where it's at. Forever. Oh my gosh, every dress is so beautifully designed!
  • My newest favorite food blog: Half-Baked Harvest. Can I afford nice cheese and maple syrup? No. Do I want them anyway now? Yes. 
  • Dirty Dancing. I want to be Baby, but only in the dancing scenes. Mambo!
  • I'm starting to plan something of a Thanksgiving menu for myself, because I'm staying at school. Chipotle pumpkin soup sounds good, or maybe spaghetti squash with garbanzo beans and kale? Maybe I'll make some more pumpkin muffins or finally buy a loaf pan and bake some bread. Regardless, it'll be delicious. 
  • So many papers. And now, 'cos I'm getting into the truly preparatory part of my teacher ed program, lesson plans. I can see the end coming and then I'm going to be a real person full time and do this all the time. Kinda crazy and more than a little bit scary!
  • I really want to sew and knit everything. I'm optimistically hoping to whip out a Plantain during Thanksgiving. We'll have to see though. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

october things



  • Right now, basically everything I eat is made out of pumpkin. Not really joking either. One of my favorites was this homemade pumpkin spice chai latte (with Trader Joe's pumpkin pie spice, because it was super cheap and is also delicious.
  • I recently watched Roman Holiday and was reminded just how amazing Audrey Hepburn is again. I may or may not kinda want a handsome, kind stranger to swoop in on a moped and sweep me off my feet too.
  • Right now I really badly want to sew a full skirted three quarter sleeved red dress, reminiscent of this one and this one. Basically, I want a better fall/winter dress with sleeves. 
  • I also really need a light cardigan to carry my summer dresses into fall. Especially 'cos I feel like I can't just wear my flannel or a floppy sweatshirt everyday because I'm observing in a school/kind of being a real person, which requires looking quasi professional. I hate having holes in my closet.
  • New blog discoveries/loves: Top with Cinnamon (it's so beautiful and this loaf cake is now on my "to bake" list), these muffin/cupcakes from Sally, MP by Maude, and Poires au Chocolat.
  • I learned how to watercolor for a costume design project last week, and it was surprisingly fun. I may have made some art that I'd actually be okay with hanging on my wall! And by art, I clearly meant costume renderings. No D├ęgas over here. Just a rough, but acceptable watercolor.
  • Speaking of art, I don't have a kiddo and won't have one for a while, but I do get kid's art from working with them. I loved this idea for making them into super artsy prints. (Sidenote: I have a friend in art school who impressed a professor by using kid's art in his art project. 'Cos nothing is artsier than kid's art.)
So that's where I am, halfway through October (halfway through the semester too -- eek!). Here's to a good continuation of fall and to fall breaks everywhere!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

fo: bucket-y bucketness


Forgive me for that title. I'm in the midst of midterm projects, actual midterms, sleep deprivation, and what looks like the slight beginnings of a cold. But I'm observing pre-K students who are basically little germ factories, so sick happens.


When you move into an apartment for the first time, it's this giant empty slate. Maybe you have some furniture that you acquired from the previous tenants. You have a couple of tchotchkes or knick-knacks (by the way, I love the word tchotchke and I wish we used it more often), but mostly, you have an empty room.

I wanted a little more storage, so I decided to make a bucket bag based on this tutorial from Victory Patterns. It took me three times longer than it normally would, because I had to hand sew the whole thing, but the result is that I finally have somewhere to stick my bobby pins, headbands, and hair ties. They used to be sprinkled liberally around the room. Not cool.


I used some mystery fabric I got from a friend for free and some leftover heavy interfacing instead of buckram, because I already had the interfacing and I figure they serve essentially the same purpose: make something not stiff act stiffer. The tutorial itself had clear enough instructions, for the most part. I didn't have to look anything up, and the techniques were basic enough, especially when you're making the whole thing using hand stitches you learned when you were five (whipstitch and running stitch for the win). Really, there's not much to say about it, except that it very perfectly fits its niche.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

september things


Not quite fall, not summer anymore. Just September. Sidenote, does anyone remember Self-Stitched September? Like Me-Made May, except at a time when I feel more like taking pictures of what I wear (totally honest, once I'm home after finals, all I want to wear for like two weeks is my pajamas). I wanted to do it this year, and then I realized that no one apparently did it anymore.
  • Lots of North and South. Early Victorian period drama with complex characters and social justice. Bestill my beating heart.
  • Kinda the same note, but I procrastinated studied while watching TV last night and the TV shows coming out this fall was unimpressive. Every single character just felt like a flat trope, and dialogue seemed canned.
  • Sketching from original Godey's Lady's Book fashion plates for my costume design and history class. AKA the best. 
  • Loving fall -- sweaters and boots weather will always be my favorite! (Specifically, this sweater and a pair of brown lace-up boots; I've been feeling rather rustic and cozy in my style.)
  • Figuring out how to grocery shop/cook for one person. And then there's the two days before grocery day when I eat peanut butter, and I pretend that's okay. Um, so basically that's tonight. 
A little bit of inspiration from around the web:
  • This recipe for black bean soup. Yay for long lasting shelf stables!
  • And this recipe for roasted garbanzos. And then after that, this recipe for cinnamon sugar ones. And 'cos it's all garbanzo beans and protein, you pretend it's all healthy.
  • But maybe my questionable food habits will get better, because I really want to cook more like Kate's supper suggestions here. (Sidenote: I love her blog so much. Might be a little excessive.)
  • I love winged black eyeliner. It's probably that dance life. So obviously, I loved these tips for making a better cat eye!
  • I'm still slowly chipping away at this bag. I always forget how long sewing takes when I'm doing it all by hand. But never fear junk around my room! It will get done. Just...eventually. 
  • Also, I'm super excited for pumpkin baking season. Pumpkin spice lattes are okay. But pumpkin bread is where it's at, folks. Just need to go buy some pumpkin!
I hope you're having a great start to fall! Go have some spiced chai or the requisite not pumpkin-pumpkin spice latte or cider or whatever your favorite fall beverage is.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

thoughts on style: a color palette

I find exercises in minimalism and thoughtful consumption fascinating, but it's not really something I need to do in this season in my life. Much as I may love capsule wardrobes, I'm a broke college student with less than 50 items of clothing, not counting dancewear or shoes or things like that. If I "cull my closet" much more, I won't make it through my 2 week laundry cycle. And who has time to do laundry every week?

No, my problem is more that as my life shifts from being a college girl to a full-time teacher, I need my closet to also shift from "neatly dressed student" to "professional-looking adult." But basically what the Wardrobe Architect series and 30x30 remixes and capsule wardrobes try to achieve is a thoughtful analysis of what you have in your closet and what you use and how, and that's something anyone can use, especially to plan what comes next. I'm a college student - analysis is what I do, and planning out this next wardrobe shift sounds like a better idea than making/buying willy-nilly.
I tried out the color palette exercise in the Wardrobe Architect and this is what I came up with. The last four colors are ones I have in my wardrobe for one reason or another and really like in theory but don't always love in practice (actually this sweater and this sweater are what I'm thinking of). I really like the top two rows of colors though, especially those neutrals and dusty blue, which is kind of a neutral. Sometimes, I just want to have a closet of neutrals, a lot like Caroline from Unfancy. And then I remember dark reds. It's always the dark reds that get me.

My goal is to sew and knit and, if I have to, buy clothes within an intentional color scheme. That way things will go together nicely

Do you ever get analytical about what you wear and your closet? What are your thoughts on those minimalist experiments?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

sewing fo: not-a-gum-drop skirt

Because this summer is a dreadfully slow making summer, I waited til my last few weeks at home to finish a skirt. Even though I've had the fabric since December. Even though it's basically the most beginner of beginner skirts. It's like page one of the how to sew clothes book. Makes me a little ashamed of myself because I've been sewing for years. I want to be making fantastic wonderful creations, but that's not really what I'm making, apparently.


All this simplicity really does let that gorgeous fabric shine. After all, it's the star here!. It was a Christmas gift from a very good friend, and it's some of the most beautiful fabric I've ever laid my hands on. It's beautifully soft and fluid with this deep, rich color and that border! So elegant. And it is that beautiful, not-to-be-harmed border that led to the gathered skirt. That and a lot of Call the Midwife making me desperate for a longer, very full skirt. Almost a dirndl skirt, right?


I wanted it very full, so I gathered this enormous swath of fabric into the waistband, which is the only advanced part of the skirt. I made what is, according to my mom's sewing book, a couture waistband, with three layers: the actual fabric with interfacing, the lining with interfacing, and then the lining by itself to cover up this whole mess. That soft, drapey main fabric would have led to a very rolly waistband without some major stabilizing and all the interfacing and layering that the couture waistband required really gave the support it needed.

Actually, I've been terrified of gathered skirts for years, which really is stupid. It's not really a fear of gathering or something; I'm just worried about them looking funny on me, either like My First Skirt! or as if my lower body from the waist down was shaped like a gum drop. Looking at the pictures now and having worn it a few times, I know how not gum drop-y this skirt is, but while making it I kept asking my mom and sisters what they thought about it.


Honestly the only time it looks gum drop-like is when twirling. But how many times do I do that on a daily basis? (Answer: regularly. But I'll just deal.) On the whole, it's a really lovely skirt, though one trip through the wash, and it's starting to pill a little, so I'll have to be super careful to avoid another episode of ruin-the-thing-I-just-made.

Anyway, off to get ready for the first day of school tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

end of summer things


Even though I'm eagerly awaiting autumn and those gorgeous trees, realistically, early August is hardly the end of summer. We still have half of the true season. But with my plane ride back to the land of schoolbooks and independent living rapidly approaching, it feels like the end of summer. Earlier, I talked here about Call the Midwife, chocolate, DIY, and my tendency to read blogs like magazines as my newfound summer obsessions. This is a little bit more of what I've been up to and into recently.
  • This summer I've really been loving a clean, minimalist-meets-feminine aesthetic, like Shop Ruche or Lovely Friend. I did a little bit of redecorating around here, and it was largely inspired by reading these truly elegant blogs!
  • Digital housecleaning: I've been going through my little online corners to tidy up what's there, especially my Pinterest boards. If it's not an inspiration anymore, why is it there?
  • I really want to try my hand at pattern drafting! This guide by Madalynne really seems like it's going to be a big help.
  • Watching Doctor Who on Netflix with my little brother - I love Clara!
  •  I love the new Under Armor ad with Misty Copeland. She's such a beautiful dancer, she almost makes me cry.
  • In the search for good small space/apartment/I-don't-have-a-dresser-anymore DIYs, I found this tutorial on Spoonflower for how to make hanging closet shelves. Maybe I should collect some of my favorite tutorials here?
I hope you're having a fantastic end of summer! Have you found anything inspiring or intriguing recently, either in the real world or in your Internet perusals?
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