30. August 2012 · 1 comment · Categories: Travel · Tags:

Portland. Home to amazing vintage stores and awesome food. Home to my best friend.

I thought my year of nothing new would save me money. Portland proved me wrong. High-end consignment stores are the way to go.

I’ll be back soon with some new before and afters!

27. August 2012 · 2 comments · Categories: Quotes · Tags:

Because who doesn’t need a quote like this to start out your week?

This quote is so profound to me, and even more profound after learning a bit about Viktor Frankl. The Holocaust survivor was a psychologist who studied Existential Therapy as a way to find meaning in every form of existence. My brain cannot even fathom what enduring the Holocaust could have been like. And to be able to find meaning and frame the experience in a positive light? Wow…just wow.

This quote came from this awesome book that I’ve been reading. It has been quite an eye opener for me, and has really changed the questions I ask myself. A highly recommended read if you feel like doing some deep soul searching!

I think I’ll make this a weekly thing, start each Monday out with a quote. Call it way to be intentional, maybe.

I will call it a way to waste hours in Photoshop.

Have a great week!

You know, because this trend isn’t two years old…

Remember that silky, kelly green top? I figured out how to wear it! And yes, I’m aware that I need a tripod and to hang my full length mirror.

I’m off to Portland, and every packed outfit is partly thrifted or handmade. Yippee!!

I swear Pinterest is stalking my blog. Because, let’s get real, this doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me.


Yes, Pinterest has taken the whole high low skirt up a notch by showcasing sheer fabrics with a dramatic rise in the front, and just the perfect amount of ruffles to make the whole thing so delicately feminine that it hurts.

But…I’m sure they were inspired by me and my homemade high low turquoise number. Pretty damn sure over here…

Anywho, you guys are in luck today. I’m not featuring a tiny tank or a refitted men’s shirt. But you’re not so lucky that you escaped another elastic waist skirt. (Insert terrifying witch cackle here).

Have you seen this sheer skirt trend? Do you love it? I do.

Yes, I promise, there is a liner under there. An elastic waist skirt is one of the easiest pieces of clothing to whip up in an afternoon. This one took me less than two hours!

So without further ado, here’s a fun little tutorial for creating this sheer elastic waist skirt with a built-in short slip in seven easy steps!

1. Find yourself about 1.5 yards of sheer fabric. Mine was an ikat print that I intended to use for this project.

2. Cut the fabric into a 41″ by 45″ rectangle. Fold that rectangle in half with the 41″ edges together. Pin and serge (or sew with a straight stitch, and then a zig-zag stitch). Disregard my wonky skirt bottom.

3. Cut a solid piece of material (I used rayon, but any other flowy fabric that won’t get bunched up when you walk will work. I don’t recommend cotton) into a rectangle that is 15″ by 45″. Fold that rectangle in half, matching up the short edges, pin and serge. Also serge the bottom hem.

4. Pin the solid colored liner to the inside of the sheer, serged rectangle matching up the serged seams. Make sure that the right side of the solid colored fabric is against the wrong side of the sheer fabric.

5. Serge the liner and sheer fabric together.

6. Cut a 26″ piece of elastic for a size 4/6 and sew the short edges together. Pin the circle of elastic to the serged waist using this method. Sew with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

7. For the skirt hem, fold over the skirt 3/4″, then fold over 3/4″ again and press. Pin and sew a straight stitch with a 1/4″ topstitch.

The final product wasn’t half bad. With a thrifted chambray and strappy brown sandals, it’s a great, functional outfit.

I’m considering inserting a slit that goes just above mid knee offset to the left, as this puppy is a tad difficult to walk long distances in. The diameter of the skirt circle is just short of a full stride, forcing you to do that shuffle type walk thing. If you pull up the skirt to make your stride bigger, you run the risk of pulling up the liner, exposing yourself to onlookers. Trust me, I know. My point: If you walk a lot, insert a slit.

On Saturday, I am off to my old stomping grounds, Portland, OR, and you can bet I’m bringing my sheer skirt with me.  Along with my high low skirt and tiny tank. Get excited.

Life is weird right? Things just randomly come together, at a time when you’re especially struggling. You attend one little crafting retreat and your life suddenly changes…for the better. You start connecting with like-minded people who are so amazingly welcoming and trusting.

One of my chance encounters at the Makerie led to my newest endeavor. One that I’m wildly excited (and nervous) about. The owners of Fancy Tiger in Denver (only the coolest, most hip crafting haven around) are letting me teach sewing classes at their studio!!!

Check out my official class page!

Now I can actually tell you the true purpose of our first annual Sew Weekend. Yes, I was being all secretive and stuff. It won’t happen again. What I was really doing that rainy weekend was having a trial class for my family and friends.

And the before and afters are pretty impressive.

Refitting these oversized shirts is what has inspired me to take the proverbial refashioning leap into high low skirts and tailored trouser jeans. If you haven’t tried repurposing your own thrifted clothing, this is the perfect class for you!

In the future, I’ll be featuring a full tutorial for those folks who aren’t in the area and those who feel comfortable behind a sewing machine.

If you’re in the area, I encourage you to sign up for two reasons. Because 1) I want to meet each and every one of you who is so graciously following my blog and 2) I want everyone to understand how exciting and liberating it is to refashion clothing that you’re not embarrassed to wear in public.

If nothing else, visit Fancy Tiger, and you’ll instantly feel inspired. Tell them I said hello!

I know it’s not Thursday. Please don’t judge me. I was too excited to show you this fun before and after, and four days is just too long too wait. Especially when you’re calendar is completely empty for those four days, and total boredom has completely set in. Then I remind my self of this little saying (so true, right?).

You know that great new trouser jean trend that looks like this, this, and this? Yes, I’ve been coveting that trend; obsessing over those high-waisted, shoe-covering pantelones for quite some time. Trouser jeans have been at the top of my to-make list for at least three months. And even though this trend will probably end tomorrow, I will still be wearing these trouser jeans for years. They fit that great.

I picked up a size 8 New York brand trouser jeans from the thrift store for $2.39. Seriously, a steal. And I’m pretty sure that those puppies had never been worn before. I will never understand thrift store pricing.

They make my feet disappear perfectly. And they have this great white stitching to accentuate the pockets. They’ve got that whole classy look thing going on. And I need all the class I can get.

But they were a couple sizes too large (in the waist and in the thighs). Nothing a simple tailoring job couldn’t fix.

I would love to give you a whole tutorial on how I resized these jeans into the most perfect fitting pair of pants I own. But I would be a liar, a plagiarizer, and my newfound classiness would almost certainly disappear…just like my feet.

No instead of being all original and creative and stuff, I used Cotton and Curls tutorials (here and here) to get the perfect fit for these jeans. That girl knows what’s up. Look at her DIY page. My goodness.

I’m excited to say that this entire outfit (well, except for my undies) is thrifted! My first ever entirely thrifted outfit that wasn’t a Halloween costume!

That red button up is a vintage, breezy find that will pair well with most things in my closet. And that white, chunky necklace (with little gold beads you can’t see) brightens my day every time I put it on.

And guess what shoes I’m wearing!

No seriously, guess…

Here it comes…

My 80’s open toed pumps! These shoes have the perfect heel height for a pair of trouser jeans. And even though no one can see them, I feel pretty snazzy walking around in such awesome, vintage shoes.

Assembling an outfit that is 100% secondhand is such a confidence builder. There were moments where I had visions of me living in bad, elastic-waist pants and hoodies for the next year. Thank goodness for boredom filled days and a mile long to-make list. Embrace the boredom, go thrift, and make yourself a new outfit. You’ll feel like a new, classier woman.

Still loving my high low skirt a little too much. Here’s a more respectable before and after, sans sleepy eyes and dirty hair.

But with a crappy iphone pic. I can’t let things get totally classy up in here.

Stay tuned for a Sew Thrifted post tomorrow with equally respectable before and after’s!

Oh birthdays. There’s nothing I don’t love about them. I love giving gifts for someone’s special day. I love the special happy birthday phone calls. I love, love, love birthday dinners.

I don’t love planning ahead. 99% of my birthday gifts are mailed after the special date. I feel okay about that.

I feel okay about sending birthday gifts a day or two late. I do not feel okay about dreaming up elaborate homemade gifts that will take days, if not weeks, to finish.

This does not bode well with my year of nothing new. Because in addition to not allowing any new purchases for myself, I’m not allowing myself any new purchases for others either.

Seems selfish? It’s not trust me. It’d be a million times easier to spend a day shopping for birthday gifts. Because shopping for others is always, always better than shopping for yourself. I enjoy making a day out of brainstorming what others might enjoy, what they’ve mentioned needing, and what fits their personality perfectly. I enjoy wrapping up their gift and writing a little happy birthday note. I love hearing from them when they received their gift.

Anyways…the reason I’m writing this post. Gasp! One is quickly approaching! I arrived in Boulder on the 10th. My sister’s birthday was on the 12th. Panic ensued.

A quick review of my Pinterest DIY boards and panic subsided. I found the perfect handmade gift for my nostalgic sister. A gift that our family would understand completely.

Enter the embroidered road map:

As a child, my family of five made the four hour journey to our cabin at Swan Lake at least once per month.

Just a few memories for your enjoyment:

Our chariot was usually an early 90’s Ford Aerostar with towel wrapped bucket seats. Occasionally, a Ford Explorer was the vehicle of choice with a mother in the backseat to separate fighting sisters.

The Cocktail and Dirty Dancing soundtracks, those songs will forever remind me of those road-trips. Thanks to my sister (the birthday girl) for her awesome taste in music

Our choice of one Clearly Canadian (what happened to that drink?) and a candy bar, often in the form of candy cigarettes (can you believe they sold these?). All of these allowances coming from one of the most health conscious moms around.

Never remembering if Lincoln or Seeley was our first stop and having to pee…bad. As a result, having to pee on the side of the highway with my baby blanket shielding me from the eyes of passerbyers.

This project was so.much.fun. The other morning, I rummaged through my car’s glove compartment and found not one, but five Montana highway maps. Thanks Dad, for making sure I never got lost.

I followed the rather simple instructions on this tutorial, and had one of those maps embroidered in no time. Then I decoupaged the map to a mat that I already had. Literally, that’s it!

My first birthday gift of a year of nothing new complete…100% handmade and recycled. 100% more satisfying that a store bought birthday gift.

Now, a picture of a regal Beagle. You’re welcome.

I’m over a month into my year of nothing new. I still think it’s the bee’s knees. I have several new closet staples and I’m feeling more inspired than ever.

But bee’s knees it may be, there are still lessons learned. Some painful, some not so much. All of them are making this project a million times more interesting that I ever planned it would be.

Five Lessons Learned from 30 days of Nothing New

1. There is a world beyond thrift stores. It’s called eBay.

2. The word “vintage” is thrown around on online marketplaces like it’s the new “organic”. Because apparently something newly manufactured and sold direct from the manufacturer, is still considered vintage. Who knew?

3. Plan ahead. Don’t put off making that gift for an upcoming birthday. Don’t put off finding those pair of boots you need for a timber skills workshop. The added stress of not being able to go pick something up at the store at the last minute will make your handmade gift feel less special, or will make you start to resent this crazy idea.

4. Be more articulate (read: polite) about your reasons for buying nothing new. Because simply saying, “Do you have any of those used?” is a little off-putting to store owners.

5. DO NOT GO TO TARGET UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you need toiletries, get them at the grocery store. You’re setting yourself up for failure the minute you walk through those automatic sliding doors.

Overall, the momentum is rolling on this crazy idea of mine and I have more pictures, tutorials, and potential projects than I have the time to tell you about. Still, I’m so inspired that I am just dying to get the word out. I’m contacting other bloggers, commenting on my favorite blogs, and consistently watching my readership slowly increase. It’s exciting and a true confidence builder. It’s also scary as hell. But I want to share it. I want others to connect with the project and see their own creativity come to life when they’re forced to make, fix or borrow.

All of that being said, I realize that I have miles and miles to go before I can even call myself a blogger. I have blog design dreams and a real goal of organizing this space into something a bit more cohesive in the near future. It will happen.

I have so much appreciation for you loyal readers and commenters. I know who all 13 of you are…I think. If you feel so inclined, spread the word! I’d love to see a community grow from this project that has already given me so much. And please, please, please give me all of the constructive feedback you can think of. It’s much needed.

Oh man people. I am so excited to show you this transformation. Literally, I’m trembling with anticipation. So much anticipation for this transformation!

And a bit too much coffee, apparently.

There are several items living in my closet that have never seen the light of day. They’ve been considered many times. They’ve even been in the running for a daily outfit once or twice. Ultimately, they’ve been tossed on the floor so often, that they should’ve been washed at least twice by now…but they haven’t been.

Like the non-athletic kid in gym class (a.k.a. me), they’ve never quite made the cut. For this I feel guilty, one might even say terrible, and I can totally relate. So I never get rid of these neglected pieces of clothing, thinking that their solitary life in my closet is somehow better than a second life they could be given at a thrift store.

Then comes a day when I see a new vision for this item. A life where the ugly shapeless dress gets a makeover and is worn more often than is socially acceptable. Then comes the day when I take out my fancy sewing scissors and start hacking away at fabric. I would say 85% of this time, this method fails me.

Not this time, nosiree.

Words cannot describe how I feel about this dress in its original state. A scandalous Grecian neckline, a very clingy fabric, and wrinkles galore. Also, there’s nothing like a full length jersey dress to accentuate tiny shoulders and wide hips.

Nope, nothing.

So off went the top of this dress and in came visions of a high low skirt. I used this quick tutorial, slapped on an elastic waistband, and tada! Instant transformation.
I had visions of this pin when styling this outfit. But that shirt bun just makes me feel like I’m back in 1989. Plus I tied it so tight I’m not sure I’ll ever get it out. Awesome.

Still, I’m liking the result. The new skirt is still wrinkly, and still accentuates wide hips. But with a jean jacket, lots of bracelets, and a Panama hat a girl can get past some hip width insecurities.

Also, with a fabric like this Spanx are a girl’s best friend. Trust me.
After deciding to open my mind to sewing with knits, I have to say the whole process was a lot less frustrating. Lots of extra pins, patience, and hot iron are essential, but overall the project was a snap.

Now, go ahead and take those scissors to your closet. Those last-picked items will thank you.