‘Member how I told you about that thrifted shirt I spotted from across the thrift store this weekend? This is it folks. A true gem. A ladies large polyester button up. It’s a lovely sheer, cream color with tiny little targets dotting the entire thing. Tiny little pinky-orange targets. It has square buttons and it’s vintage (i think). I was in puppy love.

After a quick resizing using Cotton and Curls’ method, that puppy love turned into a more mature, respectful kind of love. The kind of love that requires a real photographer and a gorgeous mountain sunset. I also added some pleats to the shoulders to bring them up a bit.

This shirt can be dressed up or down. I can’t wait to try it with a high waisted skirt. But it also looks great with jeans and a sweater over the top.

In that same thrifting trip I found a great gold bracelet that I haven’t taken off since I bought it. Thrifted jewelry is the best.

Sorry for the super short post friends, but this week has been a killer at school. It’ll all be over at 9:15 tonight after a presentation that gives me sweaty armpits just thinking about it. At least I’ll be sweating into a polyester, vintage shirt with tiny targets.

I have a love/hate relationship with throw pillows. For the occasional couch snooze, throw pillows are a must. But, when I’m too tired to even brush my teeth before bed (gross, I know), throw pillows are my nemesis. They have their place, I guess I should say. For me it’s on my chaircouch. Not on my bed.

But, I suppose, like many unexpected things, I will grow to love throw pillows in the bedroom, and several on the couch. Maybe I’ll even learn to love throw pillows in baskets, on shelves, and as table centerpieces. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what our world is coming to. Throw pillows. Everywhere.

This pillow does serve a valid purpose. It’s been my couch snooze pillow for at least three years. It’s that perfect amount of synthetic fill goodness (I give down pillows a thumbs…down) and the cover is so incredibly soft and cozy. And guess what? I made that cover! You can tell? Oh. Okay.

During open sew hours at Modern Domestic in Portland I whipped up this fun project out of old sweaters. The brown striped fabric were sleeves from a worn-out cardigan and the rust colored fabric was a cap sleeved blouse that had seen better days. I simply cut rectangles of fabric and pieced them together. Super easy, and very satisfying.

There’s a big project in the works that involves more repurposed sweaters that I can hardly wait to show you. But, it’s a grand project, and my last grand project took me nearly 7 years to complete, so maybe don’t get your hopes to super high. Maybe just medium high.

Exciting news in blogland! You can now communicate with Meadow Rue via email. See that envelope on the side bar –>? That will connect you to allie [at] meadow-rue [dot] com. I love, love, love email, so send over a message and let’s chat!

I arrived back in Boulder last night after nine long hours in the car. Those were nine long hours driving through windswept Wyoming, worrying about a shaking beagle next to me.

And ever since my mind is one big flashing cursor, waiting for its operator to make the next move, to type the next command. Yet, there’s nothing. Just that constant, steady, ever-blinking line.

I can’t decide where to go, what to eat, what task to check off my lengthy list next.

Do you ever have days like this? Where you lack, not motivation, but direction? Days where sitting in your bed continuously checking Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram is easier than returning emails.

WHY is life so weird?

Days like this rarely last long. I’m sure tomorrow I’ll wake up ready to take on the world. But today, I’d rather look at your Instagram pics. Over and over again.

Please post some new, freshly-filtered photos. Stat.

So, in turn, you get pictures of shoes I thrifted over a month ago. When I get my butt out of bed, maybe I’ll put together an outfit highlighting these beauties. Maybe.

Cowboy boots found at the Vintage Whites Market. Twelve dollars got me some perfectly scuffed cowboy boots for a multitude of fall outfits. Giddyup.

Found a pair of perfectly fitting 80’s low-heel, open-toed pumps. Check out the side detail. All for $3.


Tomorrow is a new day.

With new shoes.

Yee-haw.

About a week after I began my year of nothing new I had a small panic attack. I had enthusiastically undertaken this project knowing that I would have to get to make most of my clothes for the coming year. I was giddy to get started on my merry way, thrifting fabric and repurposing my current wardrobe.

That is until I realized that sewing always requires thread, and sometimes things like zippers and elastic.

Like I said, panic ensued. Without much research, I hastily decided that my project was doomed. I pictured me wearing my last year’s styles (god forbid) and holey jeans, all because I ran out of thread, and there was no way I was going to find that used.

I’m so happy to say I was every so wrong. My favorite shopping locales pulled through for me. Just in time to avoid a theoretical throwing-in-of-the-towel. I never said I’m not a quitter.

I present to you my haul. From one thrift store trip.

Yes folks, that would be ten zippers. Most were 50 cents, some were 25 cents. Some are metal vintage zippers and some are polyester. All of them are pure thrifted goodness.

Colors/types from left to right: grey metal, two yellow polyester, 2 white metal, 1 white polyester, 1 mint metal, 1 mint polyester, 1 orange metal, 1 cranberry polyester.

The mint polyester zipper has already been put to use in a project I am absolutely dying to show you.

The grey zipper was manufactured in 1955, and had these great graphics on the back. I am now constantly thinking about how I can incorporate zippers into sleeves. It will happen.

My mom actually gave me this vintage thread she had lying around because it was old and “not good anymore”. Apparently thread goes bad? I tugged on a strand and it seemed fine to me. I’ll take it. Besides, mini spools are heartbreakingly adorable.


Next up, snap fasteners. After looking at this pictures, I’m not sure these are the two sided snaps I presumed. Oops.

And finally, some hook and loop enclosures for dresses or skirts. I’ve never actually sewed with these, but I do realize they require hand sewing. Hand sewing is not one of my talents. Hence, these may never get used. I’m okay with that.

This last month has renewed my hope that beyond sewing supplies, almost anything can be obtained second hand. What’s more, the process of finding and acquiring the most random items is actually totally fun, and allows you to appreciate some of the craftsmanship and vintage graphics from yesteryear. While I’m aware that after six or nine months, the convenience of buying new and quickly will be enticing and totally tempting. But right now it completely turns me off. I’m okay with that too.

Last weekend I ventured to Bozeman for a birthday party and some much needed sister/friend time. We talked, we laughed, we attempted to go for a jog. And we thrifted.

My sister and I were discussing our distinct preferences for secondhand shopping. I prefer to hit the large thrift stores and look through each and every clothing item shoved tightly into those racks. The junkier the better, in my opinion. She prefers to visit antique stores; the ones with mounds of interesting old iron stuff sitting outside and amazing Danish furniture inside.

We visited both thrift stores and antique stores this weekend, and I scored big at both.

This amazing vintage fabric was at the bottom of a huge basket of zip lock bags of random fabric clippings. For only $7.50 I got nearly a yard and a half.

My only worry is whether this beautiful canvas-weight cotton can be machine washed. And whether it would be considered total sacrilege to make a little zippered wallet pouch out of it. Please, somebody help me decide.

This light and breezy table cloth was only $1.00, so it was basically begging to be purchased. I’m thinking about cutting it in half to make a nice spring/summer scarf. The fabric is rather thin, so I’m not sure what else it could be used for.

Did you know that where I currently live there are chickens?!

Buckley is so intrigued by these little ladies. Sage, Thyme, Rosemary and Basil are four very brave, finicky, and vocal fowl.

This coming weekend we’ll be having a little sewing retreat at my cabin. Lots and lots of pictures to ensue. I am apologizing in advance.

I’m five days into the year of nothing new, feeling more inspired and motivated than ever. I have a mile long list of projects to complete and topics that I want to discuss. And I’m actually checking things off! There’s nothing like a good dose of accountability to put some skip in your step.

A large, and awesome, portion of the project will be buying clothes secondhand, something I already do enthusiastically. I have been transformed from the snotty teenage girl who would plug her nose upon entering a secondhand store, to that slightly odd woman that stalks those racks for hours. And often twice in one day. Sometimes, change is good.

To celebrate, and justify, my many hours spent thrifting, I’ve come up with a new series. My new secondhand purchases will be showcased every Thursday. I shall call it:

I waste way too many hours in Photoshop.

My first submission is a beautiful kelly green silk blouse from Nordstrom circa 1980. My mom informed me these blouses were pret-ty spendy in their day. And I scored it for $2.

Annndddd, I washed it in the washing machine, despite the Dryclean Only tag, without a snag in sight. Double score.

Images of Nasty Gal were on my mind upon purchasing.

And I don’t think the result was too terribly far off.

Okay, it looks nothing like the Nasty Gal blouse. Still, I love it.

Normally, I would have a tutorial about how I sewed my thrifted item into something fabulous, trendy and form fitting. Well, folks, I’m breaking the rules on the very first post. This item didn’t need any tweaking. So, let’s just pretend I didn’t mention the whole being accountable thing.

Check out my new Pin It button on the bottom of each post! Technology is rad.

Life is so hard. I have huge quantities of fabric and low quantities of motivation. What a conundrum. A total first world problem.

What’s worse is I’m well aware this problem will multiply if not handled in a timely manner. Soon, fabric is going to be stacked to the ceiling and will occupy the bathtub. It’ll cover the ground until no sign of carpet is visible and I’ll be sleeping in a tiny vacant corner. Soon, I’ll be crazily yelling at my family that I don’t have a problem, and that my fabric infested house and I are just fine!

My name is Allie, and I am a fabric hoarder.

Despite an obvious problem, I am continually hunting for fabric at the thrift stores. And about a month ago, I really lucked out.

This geometric print is a breezy polyester/silk type blend, says my mama. The combination of orange and purple look somewhat vintage, and it smelled old. But so does everything at the thrift store. Still, I’m betting this print was made into an awesome 70’s women’s blouse with the neck ties and all.

After perusing my new favorite blog, I stumbled upon this awesome pattern by Grainline Studios. I immediately used Oh Sweet Joy!’s discount code and purchased it, and it was in my inbox not long after.

And then you know what I did? The next day I took that vintage silkyish material and I whipped up that tiny pocket tank, sans pocket, in no time flat. Yep, that’s what I did. You betcha.

Photo credit: one adorable, little mama Olson. Thank you!!

Besides a few printing snafus, which were entirely my fault for not reading the directions before printing the pattern, this sucker was a breeze to make. And except for one rather violent button pushing, due to a machinery malfunction, my frustration levels on this project were nonexistent. Next time I’ll sew the size 2, but this pattern is definitely a keeper.

Secondhand fabric made into a brand new piece of clothing? This year of nothing new is the bee’s knees. Too much fun friends. Too much fun.

Oh friends. I have such grand dreams. Such ambitions, but sometimes little motivation.

My life feels like a constant battle between what I should do and what I want to do. I’m letting go, more and more, of the shoulds, and embracing the wants. And trying to feel less guilt.

It’s working. Slowly.

Enter my new project.

I’ve had a grand dream for a while now. It was conjured up during a walk on a Hawaiian beach with my amazing little mama. It has been lodged firmly in my brain since that November day, refusing to leave. It feels less like a should, and more like a want. So I’m going with it.

It’s probably going to be hard. And frustrating. And I’ll probably think about giving up more than once.

But, lately I’ve been loving that little quote, “They didn’t say it’d be easy, but they said it’d be worth it.”

This is going to be so worth it.

Confused? Yeah, I figured. So here’s the scoop.

Starting today, July 1st, I will not buy anything newly manufactured, firsthand. No new clothes, no new sporting goods, nada. Clothes will be bought secondhand. Broken items will be fixed, rather than replaced. And for those items that I use so rarely, I will simply borrow them from friends or family. For 365 days. One year, folks.

Of course, there are certain items that will have to be bought new. So my small list of excludables is:

-Food: No brainer. And kind of gross to think about used food. This includes the beagle’s eats.
-Toiletries: Also a no brainer. This includes anything found in a typical girl’s shower or under her bathroom sink. For hygienic issues, obviously.
-New edition textbooks that can’t be bought used.
-Possible purchases for a new entrepreneurial endeavor next spring. These are even grander dreams that we’ll save for another post.
-Digital files: Music, audiobooks, movies. Because if I didn’t buy these firsthand, I’d be considered a criminal. And I ain’t no law breaker.

That’s it.

This next year will be full of craigslist scouring, ebay auctions, and lots of Facebook posts searching for items I need. I will be spending many hours in thrift stores, and many more hours behind my sewing machine. I am so excited. Pumped, one might even say.

It’s not all butterflies and rainbows though. I’ve quickly realized that I am going to have to plan ahead for EVERYTHING. And I don’t do that. Ever.

No longer will I be able to hop on over to Target for a cheap basic tank for a particular outfit. New climbing equipment can’t be picked up at REI on my way to the mountain. My dreams of a shiny new ipad? Out the window.

Why am I doing this you ask? Good question.

For starters, I spend way too much money on things I just don’t need. Having to spend several hours or even days looking for, buying, and acquiring an item that I deem necessary will force me to reevaluate a need versus a want.

Also, I’ve found my creativity repurposing thrifted items has, well, rather blossomed in the last year, contrary to this post. This challenge only makes me feel more inspired. This might be the year my wardrobe gets an overhaul!

I’ve received some mixed feedback about this project. People are skeptical. Most don’t understand why. At this point, this project is for me. My soul feels like it needs this. Something to call my own, and something that will be so gratifying.

That being said, I’d love some support. Can you do nothing new?

 

 

 

I’m going to apologize right away. I would love to tell you this is the last time you’ll see a before and after photo of a men’s oversized shirt. Lord, would I love to.

But, I know myself too well. And I know I how comfortable I get with the same old routine. I know how much I hate change. And when I find something I am actually half decent at? Well, let me tell you, I exploit that talent (if you can call it that) until everyone is begging me to please, for the love of all that is good, just stop.

It happened in high school when some fool once told I had a good singing voice. I’m sure my parents will never again be able to listen to a Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride without getting a little nauseous.

I swear, one day, I will change. Maybe.

Back to the shirt. Or shit. (Am I the only one that often reads “shirt” as “shit”? I swear it happens at least once per day.)

The really special thing about thrifting in the metropolis known as Great Falls, MT is the thrift stores are practically untouched. Not a single Portland hipster or tree hugging Boulderite has scoured those racks leaving the only the occasional pit-stained, torn, sad Old Navy rejects. No sir, these racks are bulging with authentic pearl snaps, lovely silk blouses and versatile vintage skirts. What’s even better, shopping at Great Falls thrift stores almost feels like stealing, it’s so dirt cheap.

This pearl snap had to be some cowboy’s favorite shirt. The back is at least a shade lighter than the front, and the arms are worn down to that soft, nubby feel of my favorite sheets. I like to imagine that it was worn by a rancher constantly on his horse.

It was probably worn by a porta potty maintenance man.

Because that profession exists…and it’s not a pretty one.

I’ve heard.

On Sunday, I’ll be announcing my new endeavor. It will be interesting…to say the least. Stay tuned!

 

This weekend was deemed a “stay-at-home, be productive, and basically regroup” weekend. Eighty to ninety hour school weeks have made me…a little less than pleasant to be around. Some alone time was much needed.

I scored below average on the “be productive and regroup” part. But I scored above average, and some might even say excellent, at the stay at home part. Being a natural recluse played no part in this whatsoever.

I attempted to sew a dress and failed miserably. I designed a modern, felt legal pad folder for upcoming interviews that looked like a five year old was behind the sewing machine. (FYI: ripping seams out of felt is something I will now have nightmares about). And…I assembled my new screen printing table (finally, success!!).

But most importantly, I thrifted.

A local thrift shop was having a bag sale, where everything you could fit into one bag was $5. Obviously, there wasn’t a question about whether I would attend. I didn’t have any sort of project in mind for this thrifting adventure, which is usually results in a full on shopping spree, or a disappointing empty-handed trip home. This trip, I scored big.

Usually, I just browse the clothing racks. Yesterday, I left no stone unturned. Seriously, I think I was in the store for almost two full hours.

I picked up these beauties from the donated cards bucket. At .49 a piece I couldn’t pass them up. They’re brand new in the plastic! The designer is Sanna Annukka…my new favorite printer.

This one, especially, made me a little emotional. Reminds me so much of my cabin. We have a big Ponderosa Pine that sits on the point of our beach. This whole scene is a folksy little rendition of my childhood.

And it comes in a colored print!

I may have squealed a little when I saw this duo. I have a special place in my heart for ferns. My Nana’s name is Fern, and ferns line the perimeter of my grandparents’ cabin. At this point, I was near tears.

And this one, I thought was just adorable. I can’t wait for one of my friends to get sick.

This thrifting adventure was not without some store drama, of course. An attempted theft (of a $5 bag of goodies), made for a humorous addition to my afternoon.

Three pieces of clothing were also purchased, but are currently sitting (probably mildewing) in my washing machine. I should take care of that. They are all perfect as-is (no Big Love frocks this time), and you will certainly see them in a separate post.