Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shop Update and Where I've Been For The Last Few Weeks

I'm trying to make a blogging comeback so hard it's not even funny. I've got a ton of blogs written up about things I want to say, but it's been hard getting that initial post out. Part of me wants to talk about why I left Philly, how I'm feeling now, how I'm adjusting to life in a tiny, tiny town again, but it's just too much to get into even with my blog friends.

I will do a tiny write-up on my 'last week' in Philly and all the cool things that happened to me, but for now, the best I've got is this lil' shop update post.

In Philly I had an entire second bedroom in my apartment that was an office and it was packed with supplies like fabric, tee shirts and paint. So I'm slowly working my way through piles of UFOs (unfinished objects) and stash fabric so I can continue to update my etsy store. Moving is expensive, y'all! I had to buy a bed, I still don't have any storage furniture like dressers or shelves, I had to rent a truck and it's been crazy! Luckily I had a big stash so I haven't needed too much else to get along.

It's a process. In order to keep from thinking too hard about how overwhelming the process is, I've been crafty.

Cirque du Frock on Etsy
I started making a new style of tunic. I don't have a pattern up for this one (yet!) but I do have a few available for sale. I've been going crazy with this pattern. I love it! It's easy to layer, works as either a dress or a shirt, and I feel like a princess (well, more like a mermaid) when I wear it.

Cirque du Frock on Etsy

I had a few people ask for my Thrift Shop Treasure Hunter tee so I made a couple and put them in the shop, too. I also have this cute deer silhouette design available. I'm sure I'll put more on eventually but right now I'm just working with what I've got.

This sweatshirt is so soft, if it were my size I think I'd just keep it.
Part of me really wants to learn to love jeans and a T-shirt again as a style staple. I've gotten away from wearing jeans because I can never seem to find ones that I like, but maybe I'll give it a shot this fall.

I've made a couple of new Flying Trapeze dresses, too. This is probably my favorite thing I've ever made. Using the same tutorial, they all turn out so different! The purple one is my favorite, but that Rolling Stones one has some serious edge to it.

One of the other things I'm working on is No Regrets Resale. Sometimes I'll find fantastic things while thrifting that don't fall into categories where I can sell them on Etsy. Like wonderful non-vintage things, or maybe I just want to do a closet clean out. So I'm starting a new website where I can sell whatever I want without restriction. I've got some stuff listed as 'coming soon' but I should have it all active and available by tonight or tomorrow.

Nursing a broken heart is hard, but like all great artists, I'm turning to my craft to get me through. And music. LOTS and LOTS of music. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my new stuff as much as I've enjoyed making it. And shout out to my parent's basement for having really nice neon lighting for pictures!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tiny Update & New Tutorial

I'm still getting settled in at my new location. I can't really talk about it much, but I suffered a devastating loss that has put me in a position where I had to move from the City that I Love to my parent's home in Maryland. I can't wait to get my sewing things unpacked and get back to work, and I really can't wait to return to blogging! 

Luckily, before the move happened, I'd planned out three tutorials and all I had to do was write them up. I didn't get to do it while I was still in Philly, but I've got a bit more time now so I'm slowly getting them written up. I'm really proud of this first one- it's called The Ballyhoo Dress.

Cirque du Frock on Etsy

I love wolves and I write about them a lot in my fantasy novels. (And really, what fantasy author doesn't?) The blue and grey are relaxing colors and I love the powerful wolf graphic. I was really happy with how the tutorial came out, too. 

Cirque du Frock on Etsy

Since I had a new tutorial, I wanted to make a new Three Ring Circus, but there were too many options! So instead I decided to do a five pack of all the tutorials I've made so far. I'm calling it the Wardrobe Remix pack. It's so versatile in that you not only get five tutorials, but there are bunches of hidden techniques you'll learn inside the tutorials- how I gather ruffles, how to applique, ideas for spray painting fabric. I love to make these dresses because I have so many clothes that were gifts or souvenirs that I'd hate to get rid of but aren't really my style anymore, so I've found creative ways of saving them. And not just tee shirts- jackets, dresses, button-ups- with a little creativity, these tutorials can be used for many things. 

I've also been working hard on a secret (not so secret) project that I'm getting ready to launch. I can't wait to share it with you! 

In other news, to all the friends who know what's going on and offered support and virtual (or real) hugs, I just want to say, I'm so grateful to you. Thank you so much for all your help these last few weeks. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Moving Sale!

Hello Everyone!

Well, while I cannot predict when I return to blogging, I can promise you it's definitely going to happen. In the mean time, I'm moving back to a very inspiring and scenic section of Maryland and I'm having a moving sale for the next few days in my shop! It's 30% off and it helps fund this drastic change in my life and gives me less to move. Check it out and, if you're feeling up to it, tell your friends. Sale ends July 22nd!

Cirque du Frock on Etsy
I've got jewelry, clothes, vintage and handmade all up for grabs on my shop. Take a peek!

And, if you would like to keep in touch, check out below on how you can follow me elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

OOTD: Rough Edges

Guys, I'm apologizing right now for what can only be described as "bad hair and bitch face". It's a little weird because my hair looks all frizzy at the bottom in these pics, but it doesn't actually look like that IRL. It was actually really pretty today! And the bitch face is not actual bitch face, just super tired face. Today was my first day back in the office after the office vacation for Fourth of July and we were slammed! I need a nap!

I didn't even get to take my usual bathroom selfies at lunch because it was just too busy, so I put in the extra effort after walking home in this nasty heat to take really washed out pics for you. That was just how excited I was to share this new tunic.

I'm really, really excited about it.

A long time ago I bought a tunic from Mango on one of my lunch breaks. I almost missed out on it- it was expensive, so I had to wait a few weeks to 'afford' it (it still went on my credit card) and when I finally was able to buy it, it was the last one and it JUST HAPPENED to be in my size. The grey print was what drew me to the tunic. I felt so pretty while wearing it, that I knew I needed more! But.. I'm poor. So, with a few days off thanks to Independence day, I decided to try out a bit of pattern making and I made my own version! Alas, no pockets like on the original.

Tunic/handmade, Leggings/???, Purple Chucks/Buffalo Exchange, Cardi/Goodwill, Bullet Necklace/Cirquedufrock

These gorgeous purple chucks were a score at Buffalo Exchange! They are pretty much new and the loveliest color.

As I said, we had a bit of time off for the holiday. I spent the entire time working, though. Most of it was on things for the shop that I haven't been able to post yet, but some of it was for me! Hey, you gotta treat yourself to new things sometimes.

So, first pic, a dismal pair of Target jeggings (another attempt to treat myself that went horribly awry) salvaged into a cute skirt. An adorable, snuggly new skelly buddy that is the first PDF pattern I'll be listing in my store. Wolf dress is also an upcoming PDF tutorial for the store, and I'm so excited to wear that it's beyong belief (Megan always finds me the best things). I decided I absolutely needed a deer dress, too, so I made a stencil of a deer silhouette and used my Flying Trapeze Tutorial to make myself a casual dress.

The first two striped dresses are also for me! They were both made using the Flying Trapeze tutorial because that's my favorite, and I tried to keep them kind of funky but office appropriate because I do need some new things to wear to work. As you can see, I also made a shell tunic in addition to this awesome red-purple-yellow thing. I'm so excited to make more!

So that's a short little update on life 'round these parts. Just the same old thing, different month. I've been reading everyone's blogs, and if you miss me, check out @cirquedufrock on Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook and, of course, Etsy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Holiday Plans

I dread being asked the question, "Do you have any plans?"

For the weekend, for holidays, for personal days- whatever it is, I hate, hate hearing that question. Because unless you're someone I know very well, I will not answer you. It's too much effort! Still, working in a medical practice, I have patients, drug reps and co-workers that ask me that often.

I dislike the question because I feel like I have to lie to answer it. I have to give the easy answer. The polite answer. Memorial Day was a pretty good example- on Friday I was asked by several people what I was doing with my three day weekend. Mostly I just replied with "sleep". I don't sleep. It's a struggle I have because I really want to sleep, I just can't. In reality, while other people were out at barbecues or family reunions or the beach, I was locked in my apartment sewing like a madwoman.

It was brilliant. I feel amazing.

But I can't explain that to strangers without a long and involved, "well, I have this store and I sell these weird things, and okay fine here is the URL please don't laugh at me." I mean, I should be able to, that'd be great advertising, but with social anxiety sometimes my words get trapped inside and I literally cannot tell you something. I can't. I can't look you in the face, I can't tell you what I am doing, I can't tell you about my hopes or dreams or whatever.

So I'm just going to post about it.

$18 on Etsy
Friday night I rested. I had started re-reading a Nora Roberts trilogy I love (starts with Jewels of the Sun) because it always reminds me of my mom. Also, I love fairy tales, and Nora Roberts was a huge inspiration to me when I started toying with being an author (that's still in the works! We're making progress!). I made us some wonderful baked chicken taco things inspired by chicken flautas and read.

On Saturday morning I got up pretty early and started sewing. Setting up a folding table in my kitchen for cutting pieces, I started working on more Flying Trapeze dresses for the shop. I love this style so much! A few of the ones I pieced out were for me, so they aren't on the shop right now, but I was able to get four made by the end of the weekend to sell. I also made something new that I'm pretty in love with. They're winged heart applique bib necklaces. They're very soft and light, but super fun to wear. And if they start to curl up just hit them with an iron and they lay flat again. I'd been kicking around this idea for a while and I'm really pleased with how they turned out. There are some things I'll do differently with the next batch but they were great stash busters!

$24.00 on Etsy
I also made this gorgeous key necklace that was supposed to be for me but I ended up listing it instead. I don't know why! I might still keep it! It's an extra large vintage key, my boyfriend says probably for a car since it's so big, with a salvaged heart necklace and turquoise colored crown bead.

It's beautiful. I want it.

I've been kind of burnt out on jewelry making, so it's nice to just be making things in smaller quantities that have more artistic value.

Just so you don't think this post is a huge old ad for Cirque du Frock, let me show you one of the things I kept for myself.

I love polo dresses for some weird reason, and the Trapeze tutorial is great for refashioning men's polo shirts into cool summery dresses. This one is made from a black polo, black tee and lightweight animal print skirt. I've started taking 'styled' pics for the shop as examples of outfits you can make (mostly so I can play dress up with my doll). This is how I'd wear my polo dress on my day off- a rad denim vest, vintage key necklace and some cool moccasins or chucks. I have two more polos waiting to be refashioned for my summer wardrobe. One is green and purple striped, one is white and purple striped.

These are some examples of my 'styled' pictures. As you can tell, I was pretty excited about that denim vest (that's from my personal collection).

Most of these dresses weren't assembled Saturday, they were assembled Sunday while the mister sat outside reading, and photographed Monday for listing. Saturday and Sunday night I stayed up late, sewing and making jewelry until midnight and then reading for an hour or two. It was nice. I hope one day I have a life where I can just let my weird body have the strange sleep schedule that it wants because I would be so much happier if I could be awake until 3 am and then sleep until 10 in the morning. I drank so much coffee and there was a ton of good food, and on top of that I was productive and it feels awesome.

I hope you guys had good weekends, whether they were productive or restful.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Free Tutorial: Madame Fortune Teller Top

I'm back with a free tutorial for my good ol' peasant tee.

A long, long while ago, before Meg's Ragged Edge, when I was just the Naked Doll on Craftster, I came up with a simple tutorial to make tee shirts into peasant tees. It was super easy and I was very proud of myself. I think I made a hundred of those shirts that summer! To this day, people are still re-pinning that tutorial and I smile every time it turns up on my dash.

The original 'tutorial'

I was surprised when someone left a comment on my old blog asking for the tutorial on how to make this shirt. I decided while I was making my Trapeze dress tute for the shop last week I would whip up a super fast-n-dirty tutorial for peasant tees.

Let's get down to it! For this tutorial I used a loose crew neck tee (XL to be precise), some marking chalk, a pair of scissors and pins. Not pictured is a little bit of thin elastic and my sewing machine.

Start by laying your tee shirt flat on your work surface. Start by tracing your desired neckline onto your tee shirt. You can see below how I had to adjust it a few times to get it right.

Next, cut along your chalk lines. There is no real back or front with this tee shirt, unless you're using a graphic tee. So you'll see in the picture below that I used orange chalk to mark the back.

Now, pin down the neckline to your shirt. There is no need to serge the edges because jersey does a really good job of not unraveling. I'm using thin elastic, I think it was 3/8 or 1/4. I didn't look at the package before I started. You need to pin a casing that is large enough for you to get your elastic through.

Once you've stitched the casing down, removing the pins as you go, we're going to thread the elastic through the casing. I hope you didn't forget to leave a little opening in the neckline! My tip for that is to pin one side down flat and then use a safety pin to guide the other end through the casing.

Once you've tugged your elastic through (and no, I'm sorry but I didn't measure the exact length), pin the ends together and stitch them closed. After that, all you have to do is close up the neckline with a straight stitch!

And there you have it! That's how I make my peasant tees. It's great for refashioning tees into something more bohemian, or if you're in a pinch for a costume piece, these come in handy. Add the right bodice and you can be a steampunk, a Renn Faire wench or even something magical.

One of my favorites is a Jack Daniels whiskey top that I made and use for some of my promotional pics.

I just love how these shirts look, and they are so very easy to make. And there you have it! The freebie tutorial for my Fortune Teller Peasant tee.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

OOTD: Mango

I've had a tiny taste of unpleasantness in my shopping world lately, and let me tell you, I'm flustered! I know I dress a little weird, but hey, I'm still a generally nice person and I like to treat myself when I can, so it always surprises me when people decide to treat me... weird. Sometimes it happens when I'm in a boutique or store and I feel like I'm being judged and watched. Part of this could be the anxiety. I hate being in crowds of people, so sometimes stores make me nervous. I'm willing to accept that responsibility on myself, to a degree, but there are some boutiques where they just assume you are too poor to buy yourself something there and immediately discount you as a potential customer. It's sad, really, because a lot of stores have lost me that way.

So to balance the bad with the good, I want to tell you about a store that I've fallen in love with near my house. It's called Mango and it's in Chestnut Hill. The shop people working there are lovely, they have an ever-changing stock of gorgeous garments and accessories, and I've never once regretted a purchase from them. Speaking of, take a look at my outfit below.

Top & Pants: Mango, Cardi: Thrifted, Collar: Buffalo Exchange, Mocs: Minnetonka

These pics were taken in an attempt to get myself psyched up for blogging again. The problem is that I get up too early for pics and the sun is always shining directly at my camera. There really is no other place for the pics (which also means messy kitchen table is included in my shot!). On the plus side, I really love lens flares, and at this angle I get bunches of them.

I feel so pretty when I'm wearing this outfit. Like some kind of weird fairy-tale princess. The shoes are so comfy and I love the color of the top. It's definitely one of my favorite new outfits and I have a wishlist a mile long of things I also want to buy from that shop.

The day I went in was during that rough week I had a while back, so I needed a treat. In addition to the top and pants, I couldn't leave behind this awesome statement necklace. I don't know where (or if) I'll ever wear it- I don't go out, except to work, and it's really not work appropriate, but that beaded sugar skull was calling my name!

I really hope to do more of these type of posts where I show you the awesome stores I like. I had a fantastic shopping experience at Mango and I look forward to going back.