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.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Busy Weekend and a Mini Shop Update!

Whew, you guys!

Sometimes the best way to deal with a stressful situation is to just keep busy, and that's what I was this weekend. After last weekend's successful experiment, I decided (mid-week, when it was at it's busiest and most hectic) that I needed to make a new tutorial for the Cirque. And also new dresses for me.

I went to work on Friday with a plan in mind. I needed more tees, and fast, or I wasn't going to be able to film the tutorial. I skipped lunch for a walk around the hill, the plan still tumbling in my mind. I didn't know if I'd make the train- if it was too late, it wasn't worth going.

When five o'clock came 'round, I peaced out of the office and practically jogged to the train station. Now, I'm riddled with anxiety, while that doesn't sound like a big deal for you guys, breaking 'the routine' and going downtown AFTER work instead of FOR work was a huge deal!

It was also magical.

I went all the way down to South Street to one of my favorite thrift haunts where I scored the motherload of tees and even a few pieces of jewelry. Lately I have felt like that thrift store had gotten a little too pricey, but what can I say, I still love it. I was going to stay a little longer, but it was getting dark outside and South Street on a Friday night was so busy!

It still took me almost two hours to get home. My train didn't come again until nine, and by nine-thirty, I was exhausted. But I had what I needed to work on my dreams.

Saturday started early. I decided to try another brave thing- I walked to a yard sale! I didn't find anything, even though there were multiple families, but I saw beautiful flowers and got to walk in the rain on the way home (I like rain). After a quick breakfast, I set up to work while I had the daylight in my kitchen.

I present the Flying Trapeze tunic tutorial!

$3.50 on Cirque du Frock

I told Megan I'm running out of circus terms. I might need to have some kind of naming contest for the next tutorial.

$7.50 on Cirque du Frock

I also updated my three ring circus pack with a dresses-only option! I'm so proud of all the work I've done on these tutorials. Each one takes at least two days of solid filming, editing, writing and graphic work. The original three ring circus pack is, of course, still up for sale, but now I have a springy dress option! I've also updated the tutorials page on my blog.

This is one of the promotional collages for the three ring circus pack. It shows a few different variations of my patterns (although now I notice that only one is shown of the Sideshow Dress). I really love how each one, depending on fabrics, can look so very different!

I'm also loving my tutorials because I can make stuff for myself and still feel like I'm working. ;-P And we've officially gotten our first donation on my Go Fund Me page! I'm so grateful to all the support, both financial and emotional, that I've gotten from everyone lately. It's really helped me stay strong.

So that's what I did this weekend! Stay tuned, because I've got a bunch more surprises up my sleeve (also things I did this weekend).

Monday, May 11, 2015

OOTD: Gunmetal Gardening

This week was... something I can't talk about yet. Trust me, the minute I'm free to speak about my current situation, I will.

On top of that, a two of my loved ones have been ill and I'm worried sick over them! 

So between being unbearably sick last week myself and now being exhausted from a stressful vibe at work, I didn't get much sewing done this weekend. I also didn't get around to doing a write up about my Go Fund Me page. Fear not! I will have more on that for you soon! 

But I did manage to make two things this weekend, and I think this new 'design' (as Megan calls it) is going to be the next tutorial I made available in my shop. Have a peek.

I'm really loving this piece. Actually, I'd originally bought the pansy shirt because it reminded me of the outing Ally and Megan and I had to Longwood Gardens. I didn't know what to do with it, though, because I wanted to keep the large graphic on the front while making it a dress. I could've done a Sideshow or a Calliope but I just needed to do something new. Of course I love it, so I made the one with the two guns on the front. It's a super quick and easy dress that yields such a positive result!

I was so excited I wore it out to a quick trip to the super market with my mister. It is so comfy!

And while I'm on the subject of that write-up, I did start a Go Fund Me for my Cirque du Frock ambitions. I was hesitant to do it at first, but I really do want Cirque du Frock to expand to it's own website with a selection and I've already got vendors lined up! Take a peek, and please, please, please check out Megan Mae's awesome write-up post about our dreams.

Fingers crossed that life settles a little bit and I get to spend more time on my dreams.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

OOTD: Owls Are Not What They Seem

I'm back!

This time I'm doing a brief little write-up on the outfit I wore on Sunday. It's really hard, having a blog but having all the other social media we have, because by the time I post this OOTD the actual pictures will have been circulating for a week. I could always hold back and wait, but I get so excited I just have to share immediately! So, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, sorry but you're getting repeat pictures.

Dress: Cirque du Frock, Shoes: Chucks/Ross, Jacket: Thrifted/GAP, Jeans: Old Navy

This outfit is kind of my favorite thing now. I love the cuffed jeans under my dresses look, and I practically live in this denim jacket when I'm not at work. It's still a little chilly in the Philadelphia area, so jackets are a must have. My hair is still wet in these pics but I don't care. We were on our way to our new favorite store- BJ's Wholesale. It has a funny name, if you're as childish as I can be, but we got a case of Mexican coke and I got a 32 gig memory card for my phone, so it was a productive outing.

I love owls so much. This is another example of what you can do with my Sideshow Dress tutorial. I usually use a lot of contrasting colors/patchy fabrics when I make this dress, but you can also use the same color for a more monochromatic look. It changes it up completely. The large graphic print on this dress needed to be the focus, so I accented it with a men's v-neck and black jersey side panels.

Sideshow Dress Tutorial
Because Megan Mae is such a sweetie and features my stuff all the time, I put together a little collage for our Tumblr accounts featuring her. We have one for each tutorial. This is the one for the Sideshow Dress. I love the various ways my tutorials come out, and I love seeing her in her cool dress.

.... I thought I was hilarious when I wrote that caption under the 'wardrobe remix' part. Don't let me market my stuff at 3 AM guys, it can get really weird.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'll be back soon!!

Monday, April 27, 2015

OOTD: Can't Touch This

I have to say that one of the hardest things I experience in life is the struggle I have with being able to 1. Relax or 2. Do something for myself. I often feel like if I have spare time, be it in the evening or weekends, or sometimes even my 1/2 hour lunch break at work, that I need to be working on my shop. Because if I don't obsess over it clearly I'm never going to be self employed, right? (I know that's the wrong way of thinking, I'm just saying those are the impulses I have to battle all the time.) 

I've always been this way. If I'm not physically making something, or writing, I have overwhelming panicky urges. I can't sit still long enough to watch a movie unless I'm sick, I've almost entirely stopped reading books (we're working on it! I used to read all the time). It's just either work at work or work on shop. 

So this past weekend I decided to take a step back and make myself something. I had some pretty unexpected results, too! 

I've been obsessing over the recent harem pant trend (or Hammer Pants, as they've been known all my life). My bestie has a few pairs she wears and loves, and I've been eyeing them for a while. So when Tina Givens came out with the Norma Jean pattern, I drooled over it for months. I hemmed and hawed, and finally, I purchased. My goal this past weekend was to make me some hammer pants. 

I... have mixed feelings on this pattern. 

The crotch was super low- even for this style of trouser. I feel like the pattern itself was made for someone much taller. I'm only 5'3 and I think that the pattern should be worn by someone probably closer to 5'5 or even 5'7. The balloon shape to the leg wasn't helping the shape. Overall, I didn't like it. And it was disappointing because I wanted to use the hammer pant pattern to refashion some jeans into Magnolia Pearl inspired jeans like those below.

In my attempt to evolve my style, I really want pants that I can wear under my dresses. Something with a tapered leg, so I can cuff them, but that kind of look like bloomers. 

I immediately downloaded a free bloomer pattern from Sew Tina Givens. I mean, just because the hammer pants weren't working, maybe the bloomer pattern would fare better. It was worse. I didn't even finish them. The crotch, even after taking 3" off the pattern, was down to my knees and the flare on them was way too wide for what I was looking for. (It looked like I was wearing culottes, but not good ones.) I didn't take a picture. 

Overall the patterns were easy to understand, taped together well, and if I were taller they might've worked better, but they just didn't suit my needs. And I didn't like myself in hammer pants- I felt awkward. I will probably use the pattern to make PJ bottoms, though, because all that extra fabric is great for sleeping. 

Frustrated, I ended up at JoAnne Fabrics, drowning my sorrows in overpriced craft supplies, when it hit me. I came back home, whipped out my newsprint (a must-have for pattern drafting) and got to tracing one of my favorite pairs of PJ pants. Then, carefully, I tapered the leg so that it had a more skinny jean fit. Megan Mae will tell you I've been obsessing for months over the denim joggers that are so trendy and have yet to find a pair that work on me- well, with $40 worth of on-sale denim colored Chambray I was determined this time would work!

But I didn't use the new fabric. First, after so many fails, I had to test the theory. 

Luckily, my mister had taken me to the big Village Thrift in New Jersey for my birthday. It is one of my happy places, and also where I bought my Monster High doll. I snagged some $3 sheets to make bloomers with. I rifled around until I found the perfect sheet and I got to cutting.

Guys. I'm in love.

Top: Thrifted, Necklace: Gift, Jean Jacket: Thrifted/GAP, Shoes: Chucks/Ross, Pants: Handmade
They are all I've been asking for in pants, and so comfortable!! They have a more narrow fitting leg that works when cuffed, an elastic waist, and if I hadn't been in such a hurry they would've had pockets. After months of being frustrated trying on skinny jeans, fancy joggers and work trousers, I've come up with a pair of pants I can live with. Also, just an FYI, they look adorable under my dresses and tucked into my cowboy boots. 

I'm so excited! I can't wait to make more, especially in black or dark colors for work. I need some summer trousers to get me through. And I love that the pair I'm wearing above are made from an old bedsheet. Recycling is one of my passions. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Laurel Hill Cemetery (Part 2)

In an attempt to return to blogging, I'm breaking up my Laurel Hill post into two. The first post was the cemetery itself and all the gorgeous things I saw. Next is the #ootd portion of the day.

I've been very proud of my outfits recently. I'm beginning to feel more comfortable in my style and less self-conscious, and it really helps that I'm making things I'm utterly mad about. I love all the clothes I'm wearing! Last week was such a treasure, too, because I went out with friends which means I had an excuse to dress up.

Tracy took this pic after we'd finished being ghosts and went to a local diner for some lunch. She's friends with the girls that made my cell phone sticker (Rainbow Alternative) and wanted a picture of me holding it. I'm happy she took it because I worked really hard to get my hair cute! I braided my bangs to the side and pinned the rest back from my face. I felt super adorable!

I love this tunic. This was the first ever Calliope tunic that I made. It's a neon yellow Ireland T-Shirt with a striped knit blouse and a favorite fabric scrap along the bottom. I appliqued the little shamrock from the original tee on the front. It's worn here with my new favorite Minnetonkas, my ON Rockstar Jeggings and a favorite denim jacket.

I had this jacket on at Target and I got compliments on my 'awesome pins'. It was pretty sweet to hear!

Tracy also snapped these two action shots of me. She's the sweetest!

I felt so pretty in this outfit. I wish that jobs were more relaxed with their dress codes because I would wear stuff like this every day and feel so much better about myself. In regular clothes, for whatever reason, I just feel awful, but in weirdo patchy tunics with rolled up jeans I felt alive.

Here's to more days spent feeling like that.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Laurel Hill Cemetery (Part 1)

This past weekend my friend Tracy and I had a special outing to Laurel Hill Cemetery. Laurel Hill is a place I've wanted to go ever since I first moved to Philadelphia. One of my favorite things to do is walk around graveyards, looking at the beautiful sculptures and words left behind, and this cemetery is huge. It's actually 78 acres, so there was no way for us to see the whole thing, but we saw a great portion of it!

Here are some of my favorite pics (warning, giant pics).

Cemeteries are so beautiful and peaceful. I'm already planning to take Megan there when she visits next because I know she'd love it. The mausoleums were my favorite part, I think, and that giant set of stones with the woman opening the coffin. I want to go back when it's a little more overcast and take creepy pictures.

I had a blast and Tracy and I are already planning more adventures.