Search This Blog

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Bedroom Remodeling

This is what I came home to last Tuesday:
(Boxes and boxes of wood panels)

Brent ordered a new bed frame a few weeks ago and it finally arrived.... in pieces. This "two hour" assembly was quite a chore!

Here's the skeleton of the frame. My favorite feature are the 6 pull out drawers for storage.

Not the best picture but this is the finished bed frame and new down comforter with a red and white striped cover (with cute little red buttons that close everything)

I have been slowly trying to add some character to the bedroom and it's finally starting to come together:
The blue and silver wardrobe is something I picked up from Good Will right after I moved to Cincinnati. It was stained in a light wooden finish. I had never done any refinishing before but it really wasn't too hard. The piece reminded me of an old refrigerator so I went for blue paint with silver paint accents to mimic the metal handles. A high gloss finish helped to achieve the shiny look.

I also acquired a lovely vanity when my neighbor moved to Colorado (I miss you Sue!). I like to keep pretty little nik-naks on it... I thought it might be too much clutter but it hasn't bothered me yet.

I love the big mirror - it actually makes me excited to get ready in the morning!
I suppose the next room to tackle is the living room... there is a pile of things and furniture that we aren't using but we are too lazy to carry them down the stairs! The room could definitely benefit from another couch/more seating.
What are your upcoming fall projects?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Education

As a university employee, I am lucky enough to have the benefit of free tuition! I am finally taking advantage and had my very fist class this week.

[Back to school]
I am taking Design Communication: Fashion Figure Drawing and Illustration. This course is supposed to be for non-DAAP majors (college of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning). However I show up and find out that there was a glitch in the system and it is in fact strictly for fashion students. Sigh. Well I stuck around for the class anyway and couldn't help but want to continue on! I spoke with the teacher after we were dismissed and he said I could give it a shot. He seems like a really fantastic professor, he also said that he really enjoys working with students who were "out in the real world" and "had some life experience". I guess that's why he's giving me a chance.

Another goal for the class is to develop your own personal fashion style. This should be everything about your persona, from the way you dress to the way to draw to what you design.

I am so excited about this challenge!! We already have our first assignment and although I'm very nervous, I have already had such a blast working on it.

So for our next class we have to prepare two assessment sketches (eek!). These are 2 examples or our fashion work in thick lead pencil. They can be anything; an original, or a sketch of some lovely couture gown that catches our eye. He left it VERY ambiguous but from what I understand, the sketches are to get an example of our baseline skills as well as a feel for our style.

To start off, I looked through our amazing book and tried my best to learn the correct proportions. I skimmed through the chapters for some ideas and simple poses.

I worked on this one last night. The middle is my take on Dior's "The New Look" from 1947. This is one of my most influential and memorable pieces of fashion. It really made me look at clothing in a different way. I love the peplum style jacket and the angles (not so much in my rendition but in the original photo). The others are just some styles that I thought complemented the look... lots of collars!

For the second sketch I used my own wedding as inspiration. I would love to have a Film Noir sytle affair so this is my take on the wedding gown and bridesmaid dress:

As you can tell... my "people" don't have faces! Ha... one of the many skills I would love to learn from this class. I can't believe I'm actually excited for our next assignment!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Trouser Catastrophe

Can we talk about how darling these 40s style ladies swing trousers from Heyday vintage are:

I fell in love with these and had to give them a try despite what I knew about what does and does NOT work for my body. I was convinced that they would be a great addition to my wardrobe.

So I finally bit the bullet and ordered a pair in tweed.

Now, before I tell you the outcome, I have to express the trouble that these caused before I even had them in my possession:
  • they were somewhat expensive so I was already feeling guilty about spending the money
  • my bank put a hold on my debit card b/c they had to verify this transaction "because it's from London".... weird. So I had to go through top secret security and answer all sorts of questions about myself before it was taken off hold.
  • the parcel had to be signed in person and of course, I'm not home during the day so I was forced to drive to the post office during my lunch break to pick it up.
So I finally get them and well... they were terrible! Not quality mind you, they were beautiful pants and the fabric was fantastic - a thicker type tweed that would have been wonderful for fall and winter. They just looked awful on me. Not only would I have had to get the pants hemmed about 6 inches but the look just didn't quite work. So sad! At least I was able to return them but I still had to pay for shipping (understandable) so now all I have to show for my adventurous pants purchase is $20.00 less in my wallet!!

Well, that being said, I started thinking about clothing I already own that seems like it was made for my body type and I kept coming back to my favorite jeans: Bernie Dexter Siren Capris.

So why fight it? (I have them in black as well!) It's good to try new things but let's face it ladies, good fitting pants are hard to come by! Perhaps I'll take a look at what other style's the lovely Bernie has for sale :)

What are your favorite pair of jeans? Did it seem like they were made just for your measurements? You should try going back to that company and seeing what other styles, fabrics, or colors they have available.

Pumpkin Beer Review

If you couldn't tell already, I'm mildy obsessed with pumpkin so when autumn comes around that also means that I get to enjoy pumpkin beer!

Thanks to Ludlow wines for supplying me with such delicious pumpkin beer selections (all are from there except the Smashed Pumpkin).

These are not listed in any ranking. Also, I am no expert and my "review" is nothing fancy, just what I picked up from each beer, hope it helps you to pick the best pumpkin beer for your tastes:

Southern Tier - Imperial Pumking

$7.99/1 pint

Smells like pumpkin and sugar cookies. Tastes like an autumn harvest! Malted caramel and burnt sugar. Unlike the others, just a hint of pumpkin complimented w/ other spices esp. cinnamon.

Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin

$8.99/1 pint

Smells like pumpkin, ginger, and burnt brown sugar. Tastes almost creamy like pumpkin butter. Hints of burnt malt or caramel flavors also.

Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale

#8.99/4 pack

A hint of nutmeg in the aroma. Tastes crispy, you can really taste the spices and brown sugar. Refreshing!

New Holland Brewing Co. - Ichabod Pumpkin Ale

$10.99/six pack

Spicey aroma. Not much sweetness - no caramel or burnt sugar unlike the others. Just roasted pumpkin but not too overwhelming. Would be good for someone who really likes ales but doesn't want the pumpkin taste to over power the beer.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Woes of a Vintage Bride: Wedding Gown

About a month into my engagement, the ritual wedding planning has begun. I really felt like I had no idea where to start so my sister and I took a trip up to the Reading Bridal District (about 30 min away).

As we are driving on Reading, approaching our destination, I am already feeling weary of the ominous sea of white tulle, lace, and fluff. We happen to see Talk of the Town, a vintage shop that I had just heard about and was well aware might be on the way to the bridal dist.

"Ooh Kelly let's just go in there" I begged my sister. She convinced me that we should at least see ONE bridal shop before I got completely sidetracked.

So I pick European Bridal, unknown to me, the most expensive boutique in the area. I walk inside and am immediately bombarded by a saleswoman who began drilling me with questions about the wedding. All of the answers were along these lines: "um, I haven't figured that out yet" or "I don't know" or "the location? well probably Cleveland.... oh that's not what you meant was it?"

Then she asks me what kind of dress I think I would like. Now here's a question I can answer right? Wrong. I thought I could just look around and pick out what I wanted to try on. Wrong. She proceeds to tell me that "I can't leave you alone in the store". So she picked out dresses that she thought I would like. So weird.

She returns with some HORRIBLE dresses.. She gets me a corset and I try the first one.... it is a sample size of 10 or 12 (which I come to find out they ALL are) so she has to clip me in with these industrial metal/rubber clothespins. I look and feel ridiculous so naturally the next step is to parade out of the dressing room and into the room (arena) with all the awaiting friends/sisters/mothers of the brides-to-be. Then you have to step on a pedestal and look at yourself while everyone talks about what they like and don't like.

I only had the patience to try on a few more to the point where I decided to definitely rule out any dress that weighs more than me. I knew I wanted something sleek and sophisticated, all the lace and tulle on huge fluffy dresses just isn't for me. So we walked upstairs to the Couture section. Bad idea. I actually found one that I thought was quite gorgeous and flattering. But it was about $4000. And even for all that money, it had this jewel beading all around the bodice that wasn't quite for me.

At this point I knew that I wanted simple and sleek which ruled out about 95% of the dresses for sale. Don't get me wrong, all of the dresses we saw were amazingly beautiful but just weren't me. I felt like I deserved a break at this point so we finally went back to the vintage shop and it was so fantastic! Feeling back in my element, the owner and I got to talking and apparently she had been in Catherine's Closet, the vintage boutique that I worked at while living in Honolulu. Vintage is such a small world and I just love that!

We then had a great conversation about vintage wedding dresses:

Vintage wedding dresses are somewhat hard to come by for a couple of reasons:

(keep in mind I am looking for a formal wedding gown... not just a wonderful vintage dress that could work for an informal wedding, that would be MUCH easier!)

  1. Vintage wedding dresses are pretty hard to keep. The upkeep is expensive because the fabric is so fancy and because of the white/ivory tones. There are almost always yellow stains , rips in the lace, or missing pearls/buttons.

  2. If people keep any one article of clothing, it's going to be a wedding dress.
  3. Even if a vintage store can keep real vintage wedding gowns up to par, you won't usually see much selection in one shop. If you're lucky you might find 3 or 4 wedding dresses in any given vintage store and they won't come in other sizes or styles. They will either fit you or not. They will either suit your tastes or not.

  4. This leaves you with vintage reproduction. I LOVE vintage repro as long as it's made by a legit company. In other words, vintage repro is much different than just your costume-y pink ladies/gangster type deal. Good vintage repro companies use actual patterns from the desired era but make it a bit more modern (wearable) usually by substituting a more comfortable material. Plus it's brand new and won't have your stains/rips/etc. So all this being said, vintage repro that makes good wedding gowns is hard to come by as wel

So what have I gained from all this? I have at least decided a few things about the wedding dress:
  • I am going with Vintage Reproduction: I had a place in mind and this trip confirmed it! As much as I love vintage, it will be nice to have a new dress that's just my size and style. I have however, decided to wear an amazing vintage dress for the reception dinner. Some people on my side of the family will recognize it.... it was my mother's wedding dress!! It screams "MOD" and it's just adorable. It's a short shift dress, seafoam green with ivory lace details. I'm very excited about that.
  • Sleek, simple, sophisticated for the design seems to be the most flattering on me

  • I am NOT spending $4000 on a dress... that is ridiculous!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

California Road Trip Day 8: San Francisco (then home...)

This was the last day of our trip. Brent and I booked a late flight so we still had the majority of the day to explore the town.

We started out on a double decker tour bus. It was cold so I bundled up in all of my warm clothes and we set out...

We stopped briefly for a closer look at the Golden Gate bridge then had a slight detour when the tour bus backed into a van on the way out. He left a note....

So this is the way the tour bus worked: It took you around town and stopped at the BEGINNING of everything to let you off if you so desire. What's the problem with this layout? Well if you're on a tourbus in the first place you probably have no idea where/what things are so by the time you realize you would be interested in checking something out further it's too late.

Case in point: Haight Ashbury.

The tour guide just described it as a "hippie town" so naturally I was repulsed and didn't think twice about stopping. Then we started driving and I noticed a lovely little vintage shop. Hmm... then another. Then another... and then yet another. And when the bus finally drove by the Bettie Page clothing store (of which I've done LOTS Of online shopping) I made Brent get off at the next stop and take a cab back to Haight Ashbury with me.

Poor Brent. I was lost in clothing heaven and he was bored out of his mind.

So back to the vintage shopping. It was so fantastic, I was absolutely overwhelmed. Bags, shoes, dresses, skirts, hats, books - AHHH!!! I couldn't even think straight. Between Brent convincing me that I didn't have any more room in my suitcase for another pair of shoes and me being on sensory overload, I walked away empty handed!! Can you believe it?! But Brent found a handsome corduroy sport coat at least. So if any vintage lovers find their way out to San Fran, bring an empty suitcase:) It was all such good condition and reasonable prices too. While the majority of stores did focus on late 60s and 70s, there was always a good amount of 40s-early 60s which are my favorite eras. There was also a few stores that only had merch from this period including one that sold Remix Vintage Reproduction Shoes. I couldn't believe it. These shoes are really well known for being extremely authentic and very well made (and made to order in YOUR size). I had only seen them online or in pictures before as they are way out of my price range. Up close and personal you could tell they were very high quality.

Amoebo music (still in Haight Ashbury)

We finally got back on the tourbus:

Everywhere you look (everywhere)
There's a heart (there's a heart)
A hand to hold on to.
Everywhere you look (everywhere)
There's a face of somebody who needs you

We made a stop in Chinatown:

We were amused by Little Paris, a "french cafe" run by Chinese, in San Francisco.
Also, I'm just noticing this now but there's a man wearing a beret in the picture, naturally.

Then we hopped a trolley

I think Brent left his heart in San Francisco... no really, he fell in love with it.

After that Brent and I set out to find some wine tastings to get us nice and sleepy for our red-eye flight back to cincinnati. We only had time for two. Although they were WAY more expensive than what I'm used to ($10 and $15), I'm glad we got to see a bit more of the town.

Travel Tips:
Double decker tour bus + wind + mist = bad hair day. I really wish I would have brought a scarf on the bus with me, it would have made my life much easier. Although I got my hair to somewhat stay in place with a lot of hairspray and bobby pins, the wind was pretty brutal and a scarf would have helped.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sailor Scarf

I was looking for a fun and quick knitting project to do that would also include a new technique for me to learn and I came across this: Knit Sailor Scarf

I changed the colors a bit, using heather gray instead of navy to make it more versatile for my wardrobe (although the navy is SO cute!)

Instead of carrying the white yarn across when I got to the vertical stripes, I split the yarn into two balls and the technique was more like fair isle knitting or intarsia (though not nearly as complicated)

I changed the pattern a bit because I didn't want to tie the ends together. I chose a double triangle pattern that is normally used in ascots.

With the ascot ends, you can just tuck one side into the other and it will stay in place without any tying

I love the back!

Me in my messy kitchen!

My next project is already under construction. It's a poncho for my sister's birthday (don't worry she already knows about it). I'm enjoying it so far - using very nice wool (%50 silk, %50 wool) and it's a lovely fall color.

Pecan Pie

I still have 2 more days to go in the California Road trip but thought I'd take a little break with some baking:

With an ample supply of delicious pecans straight from New Mexico, I made this pecan pie using a recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

I used the same pie crust recipe as always, it held up pretty well in the refrigerator for two days before I actually made the pie.

This was my first attempt at pecan pie and it was a bit intimidating but to be honest, when I put everything together it was incredibly easy.

Here it is all ready to go in the over for 50-60 minutes. I opted for 2 rows of pecan halves.

Brent was helping.

Here it is right out of the oven. It smelled great! I just love the color of pecan pies.

MMM.... the best part - eating! It was pretty good.

So don't be nervous about trying a pecan pie, it was much easier than expected. There aren't many ingredients and other than the crust, the prep is very minimal. Let me know if you want the recipe!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

California Road Trip Day 7: San Francisco

We woke up mid-morning and said goodbye to Garrett and San Jose. Then it was off to San Francisco.

The traffic was a bit packed on the bridge but luckily we were about to trade in the rental car for public transportation.

One of the first places we stopped was Boudin's Bakery. Yum. They are famous for their sourdough bread. As you can see in the picture, they make it into all sorts of fun shapes (lobster, fish, alligator, anything!). It smelled so delicious and there were conveyor belts full of breads and baked goodies going all over the place. What a fun idea!

Brent and I were basking in the glow of heavenly fresh breads.

While everyone else was looking out at the pier, I snuck off and found this vintage arcade. I only made it in for about 10 minutes before someone yelled at me and kicked me out for having a latte in my hand. Oh well... it was fun while it lasted.

There were all sorts of attractions at the vintage arcade, one thing I loved were the dioramas that put on a little show when you inserted the coin.

We took a walk on the pier and enjoyed the boats

and the crazies that were swimming (it was about 55-60 degrees out)

and alcatraz

Look at this fun little boat!

The carousel at the pier near our hotel.

We grabbed some delicious seafood from Neptune's, this was the view.

lots-o-sea lions outside of the pier. They look warm

My mom and dad - I love this picture!

Travel Tips:

Have fun with the nautical theme in San Francisco! I was so happy that I brought along a cable knitted heavy sweater with anchors and rope accents. It kept me warm and let me feel like a seaworthy tourist.

There's only one day left for the California trip. After that I've got some more fun things in store like a few knitting projects, beer review, baking, and wedding planning/headaches!