Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Three Ring Circus

This post is hard for me to start because there are so many things I'd like to talk about but that I can't talk about, because people from my every day life read this blog, but let me tell you that life has been stressful lately. On top of a stressful work situation and an inability to really request time off to take care of myself, I've had some friend related problems and I'm definitely trying not to get sick (because, let's face it, what's the point- it's not like I can miss work to recuperate). That being said, I've gotten so much support from my friends on my Etsy endeavors, it's overwhelming. You guys are all the best (especially this one who keeps sharing my photos on her personal pages - don't worry, love, you've got something special coming your way!).

One of my problems is my struggle with depression and anxiety. I know I don't mention it as much as I used to, but it's still a large part of my life. One of the ways that I battle the depression is by working on my etsy store. I find tinkering with graphics, new items and tutorials gives me a sense of productivity and wholeness that I don't find on other aspects of my life. It provides a sense of hope, like I'm working towards my dream of being my own boss. So even though I know I've been posting a lot about my shop lately, it's because that's my flotation device in a sea of uncertainty. Well... it's probably more like arm-swimmies, but hey. It's still keeping my head above water. 

I've done some updating to this website, including a Tutorials page in the sidebar. I don't just want my tutorials to be for sale. Eventually I want to have some free tutorials up there, too. (Like, I'd really like to re-do this tutorial from my craftster days. I'm going to call it 'The Fortune Teller' top.) 

Cirque du Frock on Etsy

Right now I have my three for-sale tutorials up on Etsy, and that inspired me to blog today about my love of themes. 

When I picked Cirque du Frock as a blog name, my life was undergoing a lot of changes. In a few short months, I lost my job and found another one, I lost a set of friends in that job move and had a lot of upset in the old family/friends region. It's been a hectic year! It certainly felt like a three ring circus. I have a dress I made that I love called the 'Circus Dress' because it made me feel like a trapeze artist, one of my favorite movies is Cirque du Freak, and I've always just had a fascination with performing arts. I feel a little like a freak most of the time, and so Cirque du Frock was born. Besides, I'm the original frock freak. :-P

While trying to name my tutorials, I came up with the idea to make them all circus themed. The Sideshow Dress is my favorite. I love that dress and own probably twenty of them, each one with it's own special meaning, because you use garments that you love to make them. I have one that is made from a tee shirt Ally gave me in NYC, I have one made from the t-shirt I bought the day MCR broke up, and I have several made from my friend's mother's recycled clothes (she passed away earlier this year). I love being able to wear things that are so important to me, things that are able to be cherished. 

The Ringmaster Jacket is also one of my faves (as you can see, all of the jackets pictured are mine, and those are just the ones that I could find- I think I have three more I didn't even photo). Each one is an important memory- the two tie-dye ones are from my mom, the maroon sleeved one was purchased when Trees came to visit, and the collarless bleached one is decorated in button flowers by Megan. 

Even though the names are silly, I hope that I impart some of my passion for recycling and refashioning clothes in these tutorials (and I really hope I make some people giggle at the hilarious item names). I think I've found a really cool, really fun way of incorporating my writing and my love of sewing together. Even if I'm not making a living at it, it's still a dream to be able to do this.

Next up, I've got a few e-books that definitely need to be finished (and my rant about that is a very different, probably very long blog post), but I think I might also start writing a short story surrounding my tutorials. I was daydreaming last week, and I thought of a story about a girl visiting a raggedy circus in search of someone important to her. I hope to have more on that soon. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

50 Shades of Fucked Up

This blog is against 50 Shades of Grey and will NOT support it this Valentine's Day.

You know, I wasn’t going to post one of these even though a lot of my followers did, because that’s not what my blog is about. You know, I don’t want to tell people what to enjoy and not enjoy, and hey, you wanna read these books or see this movie, I don’t want to be the one to put a damper on your party. 
But then I was listening to the radio at work the other day. Radio  104.5 in Philly, and the male DJ did a little advert for the film, and what he said just made me so uncomfortable, I suddenly felt the need to speak up. He said “And boys, this is how to take things from the movies to the bedroom this Valentine’s Day”. And I just imagined all these boys who didn’t know any better trying to replicate the abuse they see in the movie on their girlfriends or dates. And I felt sick. 
This book series is not what BDSM is about, it does not represent the BDSM community as far as I'm aware and it does show an abusive, unhealthy relationship. So please, be educated before you see the film and don't try what you see at home (because they're doing it wrong). Be safe.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Birthday Thrift

Gosh, y'all, I cannot handle this week. Well, last week. It was stressful because a loved one was in the hospital and I was worried, although I was handling it pretty well, I was concerned. It was a stressful, busy week at work and I was ready to weep with joy when Friday came around. (Frankly, I still keep hoping that my store will take off so I can work from home but I know that's a long way from happening.) 

I took a three day weekend this week because it's my birthday, and I'm one of those people that firmly believes once a year you deserve to celebrate you (although you should do it every day, I know most of us don't get the chance). Surprise for me- my mister took vacation, too! Just so he could stay home and drive me all around and make sure the weekend was jammed with fun birthday things. 

On Saturday I woke up and took myself down to Philly Aids Thrift because it's my favorite and bought some adorable things for me. When you're someone who wants to make jewelry/own a shop, every time you go shopping you sort of train yourself to look for stuff to recreate. It's hard to say, "Hey, I just want that for me". I know I struggle with it. So I went with a goal that I wanted to get ME stuff, not SHOP stuff and I think I did pretty well. 

I got this cool drapey Forever 21 jacket, an awesome fabric necklace, and a few other little necklaces (look at the owl!).

I also got this cool purple and brown dress (it's a little big, I might need to refashion it) and a sweet denim dress that I'm so in love with. 

On Sunday my mister and I bummed around the house until all the ice melted and then we went out to breakfast at the Trolley Car Diner. When we left, he surprised me with a trip to New Jersey to the Village Thrift in Pennsauken. I love that place and only get to go on rare occasions, so this was a treat. Then, to top it off, I found a Monster High doll to refashion! AND IT'S THE MERMAID ONE! I love it and it frightens the mister to no end, so I'm super pumped about that.

I also scored three pair of Gloria Vanderbilt high waist jeans and a few bed sheets for dresses/skirts. 

Today he took me to New Hope for lunch and patiently wandered in and out of all the little boutiques with me. We had lunch in the same cool old church restaurant we went in last time, bought bath bombs and soap at the Soap Opera store, and went in Love Saves the Day to buy some presents for my friends. 

There was a ton of ice on the water, and it even started flurrying a little when we were walking around, but I had a lot of fun! 

I bought myself this weird thing in Love Saves the Day. I don't know what it is, but I'm turning it into a cool necklace. It kind of reminds me of a tea strainer. 

I had the best time, and the day isn't even over yet, because I know we're going to order pizza and eat birthday cake and watch my newest obsession Doc Martin on Hulu. Maybe I'll even paint a little since it's been a while. I feel so spoiled! If only I didn't have to go back to work tomorrow, sigh. ;-) 

I am having a little sale for my birthday in my shop, just because I want to. I think it's going to be a new tradition- every year on my birthday I'll do a little celebration sale. Truth be told, I think I just like making up sale codes on etsy. 

That's all for now. I'm going to curl up under a quilt and order a pizza. Happy Birthday to Me! 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Project Post: Recent Before and Afters

I've been hard at work making stuff lately, mostly for the store, but after that very bad day I decided I needed to make myself a treat!

I saw this neon striped, zipper-back top at Philly Aids Thrift and I just had to have it! I thought perhaps I'd make it into one of my Sideshow dresses, but the sleeves were too small and it was just too gorgeous to use as a panel! A few seconds later I found this neon yellow (it's like construction-worker yellow) top on the rack next to it, and I knew somehow they had to be married.

I cannot even tell you how much I love this piece. It's very unusual for me, and I tried something new by making the bottom portion smaller than the top so it's got a drop sleeve, bubble sort of outline. It's possibly my new favorite thing. I'm super excited to wear it (and it looks fab, if I may say so myself).

And about that lovely milky necklace with it - my grandmother bought me that for Christmas. She said that because I wore so much color, she didn't know what to buy me so she bought white so it would go with everything. I loved it because it had a very milk glass feel to it.

But it just needed something. I don't know, but something. So I decided to try out a pinterest idea and nail polish the center stone! Here is what I did: rubbed a little nail polish remover over the center piece to rough it up a bit, painted two coats of my favorite OPI gray shade, and then sealed with a clear coat of NYC brand polish.

I mean, look how elegant that is now! And I wear it all the time, because it really glams up an outfit. Seriously one of my favorite presents she's ever given me (next to my Fiestaware mug, of course).

Anyway, that's all I've been doing lately. Craftin' and working hard at the 9-5 and then coming home to do my online thing. I try to keep busy because I like being busy.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

My First E-Pattern and a Very Bad Day

A sort of weekly update thing here! It was a very bad day today so I am trying my hardest to salvage it by writing out my frustrations. First and foremost, I drummed up the nerve to post my new and first tutorial to my etsy store.

I can't begin to tell you how hard I worked on this tutorial. It's fourteen pages, color photographs and step-by-step instruction. Because it uses secondhand clothes and clothes you already own, it's easily something that can fit anyone. It doesn't use a set pattern, but it teaches you how to look for things to recycle into a unique dress. It's my favorite dress, and I make one every week.

All of these dresses and tunics were made using this method. I'm nervous, because this is something I've never done before, but I'm also excited because this is something that combined my love of sewing and my love of writing together! It's also a project I make all the time so I was confident in my ability to explain it.

Onto the bad portion of the day.

Depression is never an easy thing to manage. Especially when you live in a place that makes you uncomfortable or work with people that make you feel uneasy. Last week the lady upstairs from me pulled a pipe away from her wall, so on New Years Eve I came home to find my living room wet and no one had called the landlord about the water pouring down three floors to puddle in my living room. This week, the Mister and I heard this weird tea-kettle-whistle type noise coming out of the basement. I'd set aside this morning to try and recover from my week, reset and work on my shop because that's important and weekends are my only opportunity to work on that stuff. Alas, no luck. Last night we had to turn the heat way down to get the noise to stop, and we called the landlord immediately.

Today, he shut the heat entirely off.

Apparently there is a large crack in something something furnace (and we should've been hearing carbon monoxide alarms, which we hadn't -- according to the repair man who was more forthcoming than our landlord) and now we will be without heat for a week or two. Or. Two. When it is 10 degrees outside. And my birthday is next week, so the three day weekend I'd planned to use for working on my dreams might potentially be a waste because I am in an apartment were I literally can't feel my fingers.

Needless to say, I was rather rude to our landlord and when he left I spent an hour on the phone with my mother crying. Because I love the cold, but I don't love the cold in my living room.

He even managed to ruin my breakfast by knocking four times (between him and the repair man), interrupting my cooking. I'm very particular about egg and toast temperature and I'm not a nice person when I've not had coffee, have not eaten and have a headache that is making me wince in the sunlight.


So that is today. Baby steps forward and large steps backward.

In order to make the day end on a positive note, I wanted to list a few things I'm grateful for.

1. My friend and writing partner, upon hearing that I've had the worst day -- they are all the worst days lately -- called me while she was running errands to keep me company. We actually share a birthday and I don't think you know how badly I wish she were here to celebrate with me. All the thrifting!!

2. My friend Loki gave me a much-needed pep talk and helped me make plans to visit him and his wife who are both very close friends of mine. I've missed them ever since they left Philly. I was supposed to have my wisdom teeth out this spring, but I really think I need a weekend-vacay first.

3. I tried out a new project that so far seems to be going swimmingly. Even though I am wearing gloves in doors, I'm trying hard to sew and keep creative because it's key to managing my mental health.

4. Watching Flea Market Flip is the biggest inspiration sometimes. I love thifting and flea markets, and this is just the best show. Netflix is streaming two seasons and I've been basically watching it on repeat to keep myself going.

5. My mom pinned an interesting budgeting graphic today that suggests it's possible to save $5,000 in  a year. I don't know if I'd be able to keep this exact schedule, but I think I'm going to try because I really like that idea. I have a lot of student debt, and if I were able to save $5,000 in one year I'd be able to pay one loan off each year for the next... 5 years instead of 15. That would make me so much happier and put me much closer to my dream of owning a store of my own.

6. If you follow my Toys board on Pinterest, you'll know I'm obsessed with Monster High repaints. I think I've decided to try one. I've always held off because I feel silly, an adult playing with toys, but I think I'd really enjoy having that as a hobby. Now I just have to pick which one I want...

7. I've discovered the joy of Spotify. I have made a huge 1950's pop playlist and I'm listening to it on repeat, because when you're down, you can't help but smile to "Leader of the Pack" and "My Boyfriend's Back" and basically anything by Dusty Springfield and Chubby Checker. (I cheated and put some sixties stuff like the Monkees on there, too, because omg Davy Jones.)

So that's what's going on with me lately. I'm blue, blue, blue but I'm trying to get over it. I know that I really am blessed, but sometimes, on days like today, I'd really love to just kick a hole in the wall.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Love List 8: Resolutions

I don't think anyone was happier to say goodbye to 2014 than I was last night. It was a hard year! Not a bad year, but certainly with more difficulties than I usually encountered. (If I don't stop having teeth problems soon, I'm going to seriously pull them all out and switch to dentures.)

There are some things I'd like to do in the upcoming year. Some of them are silly, some of them aren't. But here are a few new goals I'm loving right now.

I'm trying to grow my hair out. Because I have curly hair, I feel like this is a more awkward process because there is an inevitable Hobbit-or-soccer-mom phase, which I've reached. The current length makes me feel sloppy and unattractive, and I'm usually too lazy to get up early to 'style' my hair, so it's even worse. This spring, I'd like to start trying out some hair accessories or even just little twists to make my hair look better.


I have discovered a passionate love of Ariat FatBaby boots. I mean, come on. With a name like that how could you go wrong? I have recently purchased on eBay two pair, and I might have a third pair on the way from a charming etsy store. Here are the two I'm rockin' right now:

I had planned on writing a post about these specifically, but I just couldn't wait to share them. These boots have been so comfortable and they're so colorful and fun! I feel kind of silly because I know I'm not a cowgirl, but at the same time, I feel like they suit me. For years all I would wear were Dr. Martens, and I still have several pair, but I'm kind of excited to be branching out.

I didn't post much here, because I wasn't getting up and taking outfit pics like I used to. I hope to change that in 2015 because I do miss blogging and writing about my style, especially since in 2014 I really started to find a good groove with my looks. Maybe you don't think so, but I do. Even though I probably look strange to a lot of people, I discovered my love of Lagenlook & Mori Girl styles, and through that evolved my sewing and clothing creation to a new place. I'm inspiring myself now, and I think that's pretty cool. Each dress that I sew becomes a memory. These are just a few of my favorite outfits from last year, and I hope to continue this exploration in 2015.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like an artist again, and that's something I hope to hold onto.

Magnolia Pearl
A company that I find super inspiring is Magnolia Pearl. I love the pretty layers and delicate lace, but then I saw these jeans and realized how much I miss destroying my denim! I haven't been wearing a lot of jeans since I stopped working retail, because let's face it, they aren't 'office appropriate', but with Spring a few short months away, I think I could really get into some cool jeans makeovers. Also, I am worshipping men's jeans. If they are low-cut and slim leg, they fit better than girl's jeans and have bigger pockets, and they're also not made of cheap stretchy denim. I'm taking a break from skinny jeans and letting my legs breath in men's destroyed jeans.

I'm very much in love with the blog positivedoodles on Tumblr. It features adorable drawings paired with special messages and more often than not, they are the kind of words I need to hear. Not really a resolution, just thought I'd like to mention that blog because it's so charming.

Something I love, and something that I'm hoping to work on more in the future, are my own dreams such as owning a store of my own. As you know, I've been working on that dream little bit by little bit, and sometimes it feels like I should be doing more and that weighs me down. I have to remember, I'm an artist, not a factory. I did want to mention I'm having a short sale in honor of the new year.

Cirque du Frock
In 2015, I'd like to try more. Push myself more, and hopefully start to believe that dreams really do come true. I don't feel like I believed that enough in 2014. Instead of being the year that I 'wished I could' I want 2015 to be the 'year that I did'.