I had a breakthrough last night. I learned something that was so ridiculously obvious, and yet, so, so satisfying. Patience made it all possible. Patience: the trait I rarely practice, and need so much more of in my life.


This week’s Sew Thrifted will be a day late, on Friday. It’s for a good reason that I can’t yet tell you! Just hold your horses, plan ahead, and be flexible. Maybe hop on over to another *awesome* blog, if the situation calls for it. Good things are coming folks, good things.

Remember when I showed you this before pic? I mean, really, how could you forget? Am I haunting your dreams with that face? I thought so.

When I subjected you to such horror before, I was posting about my newly skinnified Banana Republic jeans. But what I really wanted to show you was a very shapeless, thrifted sweater in a color we can only call citron. It’s the lemony-est yellow I’ve ever seen, so it gets a special name.

Citron was a men’s medium and much too boxy. So I decided to take the sides and arms in, so the darn thing would actually fit me. Now, I’m not calling this post a tutorial, because I didn’t take any pictures of the process. But I will show you a fun little diagram for laughs.

Starting in the armpit, I sewed the blue dotted line to the bottom of the sweater. Then I sewed from the armpit down the arm to the cuff. Do this to both sides. I cut the excess fabric after sewing.

I have to say that I’m pretty smitten with my new citron sweater.

It’s even better under a blazer. But really, what isn’t? Blazers are the best.

Did you notice my new social widgets below? Those will make it super easy for you to like, share, tweet, email, or pin anything you see on the blog. And sharing is free, and fun!  When you use social media to talk about things you find fun, interesting, or just plain awesome on the interwebs, you make that person/company/topic just a tad more visible in the sea of internet junk. Cool, eh? Learning is rad.

I had no idea that lavender peaked in the fall. None. In fact, I even remember visiting lavender fields in Oregon in 2010, and I specifically do not remember it being fall. Sometimes I wish I didn’t have the mind of an 80 year old.

Last night when Beagle was doing his business in the dark I was randomly stroking a small shrub. Don’t worry about it, it’s normal. That shrub happened to give off the most lovely scent. Lavender in my front yard? Yes please.

So after a particularily busy and hectic day, I went out to that shrub this afternoon and I cut some of that lavender. I made up three little jars and gifted two of them to my dear friends. The other is sitting in my bathroom and I can smell it from at least thirty feet away. This stuff is pungent. In a good way.

Also, leaves. Because it’s fall. Just one story about leaves and then I’ll leave you alone.

During my first autumn in Portland, I was incredibly homesick. I remember whining to my mom about how it was rainy, there were bums everywhere, annndddd the leaves don’t crunch when you walk on them. The next week I received a large box full of crunchy Montana leaves from that dear woman. I still tear up when I think about that.

In Colorado, the leaves do crunch. Thank goodness.

So friends, feedback time! If you haven’t noticed I’m getting pretty excited about this little blog ‘o mine, but I want to make sure that you love it as much as I do! I have a gazillion blog ideas floating around my brain, but a little feedback is always a good thing. So pretty please, take the super short survey (only 3 questions!) below and help a sister out.

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If you’d like to see more of something, please note that in the comments section!

In my 5+ hours of school reading last night, I came across this lovely, little thought.

It makes my heart feel warm and mushy. And it affirms the fact that cultivating and nourishing friendships, and continually loving others ain’t never gonna be a bad thang.

Have you heard of Maslow? He developed a theory surrounding the hierarchy of human needs and published the paper in 1943. Sixty-nine years later, this stuff is still totally understandable and applicable to real life.

I have this thing for psychological research and theories. I cannot read enough research papers on things like human joy and fulfillment. I absolutely revel in understanding just a teensy bit more of what goes on in these ridiculously complex brains of ours. Maybe that’s why I love this lady so much.

Yesterday, I had my first PSL (pumpkin spice latte, if you’re not in the club) of the season. On ice. I’m pretty sure that’s considered sacrilege, but it was 85 degrees out. Just like Maslow’s quote, it also made my heart feel warm and mushy.  I’m telling you this because a double warm and mushy heart is the perfect thing to go love on other people with. Make a PSL date and nourish those friendships. Stat.

Confused? Yeah, me too.

So I know this post is a day late. But I have a good excuse. A sad, yet legitimate excuse.

I spilled tea all over my little MacBook’s keyboard. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Annnddd, I haven’t backed up my computer in over 250 days. Cue instant anxiety.

It seems to have survived. But that doesn’t make me feel any better. Lately, MacBook has been sending me signals that it’s on the verge of kicking the bucket. It’s so painfully slow to open my internet browser. And when Photoshop is running, forget about doing anything else on the computer at all. I can’t be sad though. Goodness knows I’ve put it through enough misery these past four years.

After this post is up, today will be spent finding an external hard drive on Craigslist. The idea of losing all that music and all of those pictures is terrifying. But, for now, blogging is more important. I mean, it’s way more important for me to show you this before and after of a project I completed back in mid-July at Sew Weekend.

Disclaimer: The photos below are full of frizzy, messy curls and weird facial expressions. At least we can say that things have improved, no?

This was one oversized, shapeless grey sweater. Complete with awesome shoulder pads. It literally made me look like a linebacker. But it was a cozy wool and angora blend, that, yet again, I machined washed without a hitch! I love living on the edge.

As much as I love looking like I have the shoulders wider than a five year old, those puppies had to go.

By snipping off the shoulder pads and bringing in the sides and arms of the sweater, I now have a comfy winter sweater perfect for lounging and eating popcorn.

Has anyone else been consuming copious amounts of popcorn lately?

Now, I’m on the hunt for an external hard drive and a new (used) computer that can handle my abuse. Wish me luck!

UPDATE: I owe you my gratitude and a pumpkin spice latte for being so wonderfully patient as the blog was down yesterday. We are making lots of improvements, which can cause some hairy situations like the white screen of death. I would love to say it won’t happen again, but I’ll just say I’m sorry.

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I swear I have the greatest friends. Their enthusiasm and support is never-ending. I am surrounded by such happy and positive people. This one, in particular, is a gem. She’s a beauty, she’s wonderfully creative, and she’s utterly hilarious (nothing beats her childhood stories). I am so excited to introduce you to my friend Emma of Emma Lee!

During my long weekend in Portland, I was able to catch up with Emma. She showed me her latest jewelry designs and I have been eyeing every single item in her Etsy store since. She’s got talent, friends. And she’s funny. Did I mention that?

Emma studied Accessory Apparel Design at the Art Institute in Portland and man, oh man, is she creating some awesome modern necklaces and earrings. Just a sampling for you…

Horseshoe earrings

Blue Wooden Bead Necklace

Gold and Labradorite Half Hoops (I’m coveting these, big time)

Gold Half Hoops

You love this stuff too? Then, listen up! Go and pin any of the items in her Etsy store by Tuesday, September 25th and she’ll enter your name in the drawing for a free pair of the Gold and Labradorite Half Hoops! Be sure to tag emm3lee12 in the description of the pin!

You wouldn’t believe how hard it was for me to type that. I want those Gold and Labradorite Half Hoops, so. bad.

 

Fall is here! Can we all please just do a little dance right now? Because, friends, it’s a celebration. No more fire of Hades heat blowing in your face. No more repeated applications of sunscreen. Deodorant isn’t totally mandatory anymore.

I have so many favorite things about fall. Here’s ten, because I know you’re so interested.

1. It’s my mom’s favorite season. That makes it awesome.
2. The colors of the forest set ablaze (not literally). That will never, ever get old.
3. The sun has actually set by the time I go to bed.
4. I can wear sweats to bed and sleep under the covers without waking up to moist sheets.
5. It’s football season, so nobody is trying to invite me to do things that involve being active on a weekend.
6. Crockpot meals and soup. Amen.
7. A full consumption of tea (~4 cups per day) is resumed.
8. Being able to witness the most spectacular sunsets, while you’re eating dinner.
9. Apples and pears. The best fruit of all.
10. Beagle can keep his tongue in his mouth on walks now.

Classes are in full swing and my calendar is once again filled to the brim! Some great blogging material (compliments of one, rather life-changing class) coming your way, so stay tuned.

Sometimes you get a great idea for a post, have a couple sleepless nights about it, and then decide one Saturday afternoon to just start taking pictures of yourself in the driveway.  Sometimes the sweetest mailman in the world pulls up and asks you, “Just exactly, what are you doing?” Sometimes you have to be vague and just say, “Just taking some pictures.” And then walk away.

Yep, just taking some pictures, of myself, in front of a garage door, on a Saturday afternoon. I’m not even sad about this. Actually, I’m pretty darn giddy.

Four button up shirts. All thrifted. Nine ways to wear a button-up shirt. Amen.

The starring roles:

  • A chambray from the 70’s with a great casual fit.
  • A red and black plaid that I resized here.
  • A yellow and rust plaid that was obviously western-wear from yesteryear.
  • A kelly green silk Nordstrom Blouse, mentioned here.

Now, let’s take this step by step. We’ll start in the upper left hand corner. Pay attention.

1. Tied and tucked with a high-waisted skirt. By far my favorite thing to wear this fall. Just button the shirt down to the waist of the skirt, tie the tails and tuck them under the bottom. Comfy and cute.

2. Untucked, under a sweater. Preppy and classic. But since I’m almost always hot, I can only wear this style on the coldest day of the year. Still, I love this look.

3. Tied and tucked, over a summer dress. No buttoning needed and a great way to transition a summer dress into fall.

4. Casual, as a cardigan. Super laid-back and still put together.

5. Tucked into a pencil skirt. This is likely the last time you’ll see me in heels.

6. Tied and tucked with a maxi skirt. Similar to #2, but an entirely different look.

7. The sloppy tuck. I’m still trying to perfect this. I can’t seem to get the right amount of refined slob. Such is life.

8. Unbuttoned with leggings. Because it’s still important to look cute while cleaning your toilets.

9. Tucked into shorts with a substantial belt. Because sometimes its hard to choose between pant legs and sleeves.

The reason I’m most excited about this post? I get to show the nine ways to wear a button-up to my sewing class tomorrow! Since I’m teaching the students to resize a button-up shirt, I thought a little inspiration might keep them committed to sewing at home.

T-minus 15 hours until the class starts! I am stoked.

 

First, this. Don’t laugh.

Beautiful, no?

Seriously, this before picture is bad news. I apologize. But you’ll thank me in roughly 1.8 minutes, after you’re done reading this post. Don’t scroll down just yet! First, I want to subject you to some thoughtless rambling…

And so it begins…My friend, Jen, and I hit up the thrift store during their Labor Day 50% off all clothing sale. You know, because we had no Labor Day plans and all. Don’t judge. I got many, many things. But the best find of all? These super dark wash Banana Republic straight leg jeans for $7.99! These puppies are no outlet store jean. No sir, these jeans are straight from the real deal. And they’re in mint condition.

The only obvious problem? They were too long, and they were a straight leg. I’m not digging either.

So, of course, I hopped on over to my trusty, favorite DIY site and used this video tutorial to skinnify these jeans right up. And now? They are the best fitting jeans I own. For reals.

Two new pairs of jeans for the season, both thrifted and tailored to fit perfectly? I’m happy as a clam.

Let’s switch gears shall we? I want to talk about my year of nothing new and how frustrating it is much fun I’m having! It really is mostly fun, but boy, oh boy, are there times I want to quit this whole thing and spend some money on something that is new and functional. Or go blow $40 at Target.

Case 1: I have spent $60 by acquiring, not one, but three tripods through Craigslist. Only one of these tripods is functional.
Lesson learned: Make sure you know everything there is to know about tripods before buying one on Craigslist. Because the sellers, more often than not, do not realize their tripod is broken.
Observation: There’s a reason most things are being sold secondhand. There are times when its more economical to buy a new piece of equipment, rather than spending more money in gas and time, shlepping around the Denver metro area collecting defunct tripods.

Case 2: I walked into a random bike store in Boulder to see if they had any used hand pumps they would sell me. When I told them about my project, they ran to the back to sell me a rental pump that had been used many, many times before. When I asked how to attach this to my bike (they usually come with a clip), I got a condescending, “If this project is something you’re committed to, you’re going to have to figure that out.” Burn.
Lesson learned: Take comments in stride. Everyone has their own opinion about what I’m doing.
Observation: People are funny.

Overall, still loving it! I was able to buy all my textbooks secondhand, but am currently trying to figure out how to refinish/reupholster a chair without buying anything new. The foam and fabric has been acquired. The stain, not so much.

Thanks for listening to me ramble. You’re dismissed!

Whew, what a week! My schedule no longer consists of 10+ hours of sleep and leisurely bike rides. No more beagle-cuddling mornings and certainly no more glass-of-wine-a-night routine. Summer has gone, school is here. Thank goodness I sewed myself a nice jacketrobe to soothe my fragile soul.

If you came anywhere within a half mile radius of me within the last three months, you’re probably well aware that I have been coveting this pin for far too long. I’ve shown everyone, and the general response I’ve been getting is, “That coat looks like you.” I can’t decide whether to be happy or sad about that.

Source

If you came across it (as it has gone rather “viral”, as they say), you probably realized it links to a sketchy site where you have to create a profile to view it. No thanks. Also, I can’t buy new things. So, I had a brief second where I considered forgetting I ever saw this pin, then the crazy part of my brain (which is the majority of it) decided, “Hey! Let’s try sewing that without a pattern! It can’t be that hard.”

And, to be honest, it wasn’t hard. Not nearly as hard as sewing a zipper on a skirt. It was actually kind of fun, and guess what?! It worked! (When I say that it worked, I mean that this piece is wearable, not necessarily in pubic. Certainly, wearable when it’s 10 degrees outside and you have a mountain of reading to do, inside and where no one will see you. Hence the name, Jacketrobe.)

Recognize those boots? And yes, I’m aware that this isn’t quite the exact replica of the pin. But it’s kinda similar, and it’s comfortable. And if never sees the light of day I’m okay with that.

Now, you might be wondering (all skeptical-like), “How did she get all that fabric if she can’t buy anything new?” I found it on eBay! Thank goodness for women who are looking to liquidate their fabric collection. I got nearly two yards of charcoal grey sweatshirt fleece for about $10 + shipping. Not a great deal, but I’m no rule breaker. It was a great material to work with because it was super stretchy and hid all those mistakes I inevitably made.

One day, when I master the skill of pattern making, I will post a tutorial. Pinky swear.

I’ve been having lots of adventures buying nothing new! A full post to come on that, along with some early conclusions about this project. It’s mostly groovy.