03.26.08 {mary quaint quote}

I still haven’t quite finished that dress I posted a sneak peek of on Monday (the polka-dot material was snipped from the most major alteration I did). It is just missing the voile ruffle, but I dare not show the entire piece until it is complete! hehe. Hopefully by Friday I shall have eked out an hour of sewing time to finish it…

Anyhow, I spent a little bit of time the other night, winding down with a cup of chamomile tea, my pretty little cahier (I found the website of the manufacturer–they are some other, absolutely delicious notebooks!), and a pile of inspiring images that had been sitting on my computer.

03.26.08 {art nouveau inspired}

As you can see by this page, Art Nouveau has been absorbing me quite a bit lately! Design History class this week we spent most of the three-hour class discussing the movement and viewing utterly gorgeous slides!! I was in heaven! I think I took nearly four pages of notes… hehe! I just love the color and vibrancy of line; I think it fits quite well with the mood springtime brings. Do you ever feel a stylistic look fits well with a particular season?

03.26.08 {unfinished details}

I think perhaps next week I shall declare it A Week of Thrifty Finds! I’ll post a photo (or two…) of some lovely goodies I have happened upon in the past months, since I have been so bad about sharing them (and its quite a pile now! hehe!). Is anyone else game for five days of blog and thrift-fun? Do let me know… perhaps we can organize an informal little something.

Oh, and before I dash off, I wanted to remind you that the deadline for signing up for the Creative Cacophony Swap is nearing! Be sure to drop me an email by Friday evening if you’d like to be included… I think it is going to be so much fun!!!

03.26.08 {japanese style}

Have a lovely Wednesday, all!!


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p.s. Ali, is having a week of Amelie themed posts!!! What a perfectly lovely idea… a whole week of basking in Amelie goodness! Read all the posts (thus far) here. Discovered via Frolic!.


03.24.08 {polka-dot progress}

I haven’t talked much lately about what I’ve been doing in school (besides the emotional turmoil of midterms), which is a pity because in Design History it’s starting to move into the territory that I find fascinating! Specifically, we’re beginning to cover the Arts and Crafts, and Art Nouveau movements, which sadly are only briefly covered in the book–I think I could devote a whole semester to studying it. I just love the marriage of influences (Eastern and Western), the creative and artistic energy and exchange of ideas that one perceives, and the beautiful legacy of this era in design history.

Going over the assigned reading, it struck me how closely both movement mirrors the current revival of interest in the creative pursuits that is going on right now. Aesthetics, and returning to a sense of the wonderment art can produce, and creative exploration seems so prevalent right now. Perhaps it is just me, but I can’t help but think there is a bigger movement going on that is touching so many areas. I suppose the best label to slap on it is “DIY culture”. It has influenced so many areas of the arts and created a sort of frenzy among artists of various types to reach out and express their own vision of the world (whether real or perceived).

Yet as I was reading my textbook, this paragraph caught my eye and resonated: “…art historian Herbert Read once suggested that the life of any art movement is like that of a flower. A budding in the hands of a small number of innovators is followed by full bloom; then the process of decay begins as the influence becomes diffused and distorted in the hands of imitators who understand merely the stylistic manifestations of the movement rather than the driving passions that forged it.” I can’t help but feel that we’re beginning to see the diffusion of the DIY Movement into commercialism and the greater, societal “aesthetic”. Take for instance the oft-cited Urban Outfitters, a company that peddles a wide variety of “faux handmade” items in an effort to bring the look of DIY to consumers who may not fully embrace (or understand) the concept. In a way, is Urban Outfitters (and like, mass retailers), not cheapening and causing the “decay” of the original movement in its effort to cash in?

There is no doubt that the “handmade look” resonates with quite a few people; I think in many ways the DIY culture is a reaction to the overly sleek and impersonal manufactured goods that are available to the wider market. Its a return to the feeling of “soul” in a piece because someone, not a machine, put thought into the design and process of creating those goods. I know I personally am drawn to making things myself, or purchasing them from other artisans, because it gives a feeling of integrity to the piece; that it wasn’t just slapped together thoughtlessly, nor am I just following some whim or trend without thought.

But where does the line between “bloom” and “decay” become crossed? The popularization in the social consciousness of the DIY movement has in a way, I believe, created a movement away from thoughtful creation and effort to protest against impersonal consumerism, to a more frenzied appeal to “standing out” and looking “handmade” at any cost. While I applaud anyone who does take an interest in engaging in DIY (after all, I do encourage everyone to find their creative outlet!), when mass marketers and manufacturers begin to mimic the essential “look” of handmade, have we lost the edge and have begun to witness the beginning of the end?

What are your thoughts?

To reward you all for having read through this rather tedious, muddled post (thank you if you stuck with me the entire way! hehe!), here is the Vintage Monday feature for today!! Hurrah for pretty things!

03.24.08 {vintage monday loveliness}

Another, pretty 1840s print! Although this one is just black and white (I think I’ve posted most of the hand-colored ones), I love the details and lines of the gowns.

I hope you have a lovely Monday, all!!!


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p.s. I was aimlessly surfing the web yesterday, and stumbled upon Julia Kuo’s pretty little illustrations. I love how light and storybookish they are; go take a look!

a pretty little nothing...

[ a pretty, vintage peignoir I thrifted recently! ]

I meant to post this earlier today, but despite my best intentions, this day has definitely been “one of those” Mondays! lol. I feel somewhat like Garfield, who preferred to sleep through Monday… if only! hehe! I’m playing catch up today, because L. was back home this weekend! I hadn’t seen or talked to him for a few weeks (aside from our constant stream of emails), so needless to say I pretty much avoided my computer between Saturday morning and now.

sporting the

It is quite frigid today… only in the low 20s! It seems so weird to think just last week it was pushing the low 70s, and today I’m bundled up and making lots of hot tea to stay warm (should I admit to the fact that I had four cups of tea before noon?! Oh my!!). Before it got so icy-cold, I did wear my “new” cardigan I refashioned! The pictures are a little odd, and I look rather serious (I was trying not to grin like an idiot! hehe!), but here I am sporting my revived cardigan!

my meditation time

I also have been working in snippets of time that I eke out on the Annabelle paperdoll. My fingers are slowly starting to remember how to paint, hold a brush comfortably, and manipulate the paints. Its so calming for me to just sit at my desk, perched on my stool and concentrating on the light washes of color as I build up shadows and depth. I can let my mind wander a bit, or just listen to music (Iron and Wine, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Be Good Tanyas are in heavy rotation these days)!

Thank you all so much again for your feedback last week on Vintage Monday features! I’ve uploaded the first one this week, which is the beaded necklace that I mentioned. I really want to try my hand at making one of these; if only because I think it would be a great way to use up the beads I’ve been collecting and hoarding for years! hehe. You can click on the image above, which is to the little preview image on my Flickr, or view and print off this large version! I wish I could offer it as a .pdf download, but alas–I only have Adobe Reader. So hopefully it isn’t too teeny-tiny when printed!

vintage monday... instructional!

Have a lovely Monday, my friends!! I’m off to do some cleaning and reorganizing in my room (my “early spring cleaning” fever has hit!)…

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

02.04.08 {paints}

Watercolors! How I love thee! Let me count the ways…

Suffice to say right now I’m having a love affair… of the art supply sort, of course!! My brand-spankin’-new tube watercolors are so gorgeous an I’m quite entranced with how beautifully they mix and apply. I had forgotten what a joy it is to work with really high-quality materials (I admit it: I tend to buy “student grade” for a lot of my art-application classes, which means that at the end of the semester I don’t keep much of anything because its so cheap!). And oh! The color theory class I took waaay last spring is really starting to pay off… After consulting with Blaze about what colors she uses, I decided to go with the primaries (in warm and cool hues), black and white. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the exact color I want, but I am not quite as afraid of mixing as I used to be.

02.04.08 {yummy new yarn}

[ nothing to do with watercolors… just some new knitting I’m eager to get started on! ]

And may I also be allowed a few sentences to wax poetic over my new paintbrush! I splurged and got a very, very nice, natural bristle liner, and am having a ball using it. It holds the point so much nicer than even the natural bristle brushes I’ve bought at Michael’s over the years. I definitely know what I’m saving my pennies for!

Enough art-supply obsessing. I’m sure I’ve bored the majority of you to death! lol! Here is this week’s Vintage Monday inspiration. Again, it’s the 1840s (I promise we’ll move onto another decade next week!!), but I just love the lines of these garments… so elegant!!

02.04.08 {vintage monday}

I need an opinion about the Vintage Monday feature. I know everyone loves the pretty, vintage fashion images. But would anyone be interested in occasionally (maybe once-a-month at most) having a “how-to” article from a vintage source posted? I have loads of needlework and craft instructions from the ‘20s and ‘30s, and would be more than happy to share them! (Some are really quite interesting: like weaving your own bird cage, or knitting a long, flapperesque necklace!!) Please comment and let me know your opinion…

Off to get into some sort of creative trouble or another! Have a lovely Monday, my friends!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

graphic design commission for VI

Thank you all for your sweet encouragement and sharing in the excitement at my “super-secret” graphic design comission! I was approached about a month ago by the ever lovely G. of Vintage Indie about doing a banner redesign for the blog. I was delighted to do this: it is just the sort of thing to use what I’ve learned in all the graphic design classes I’ve been taking for the past two years! She unveiled it on Saturday, so now I can share it with you all.

*dances about*

an explosion of pink!

Besides working away on that, I’ve been sewing… again. I think its the time of year; for some reason I simply cannot get enough sewing! I found some pretty-ish cotton at JoAnn’s the other day, and started work on one of my vintage dress patterns. (Is it just me or does this stripy pattern remind one of Marjorie’s delightful patterns in her artwork?) Of course, I needed to spend time doing the requisite adjustments (drat!), but it is turning out rather fetching, I think! I fancy myself wearing it come May, with one of my lacy slips peeking out, and maybe a flower tucked in my hair? Still needs a hem, but almost there–though it is far too cold to be wearing a short-sleeved frock!

such sweetness...

I’m off to do some knitting on that wee elephant I’ve been slowing working on. I need to finish it asap too… the little girl its for is coming home soon! Eeep! Have a lovely evening!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

the green skirt - unhemmed.

What originally was supposed to just be cutting out the skirt turned into an evening spent sewing! Somehow, that happens more often than not… hehe! There was a minor hiccup at the outset though: I was about 1/2 yard short for the wrap skirt. So after some pondering (and going through my pattern boxes to see if there was anything else that suited the weight of this wool), I decided to just eliminate the back wrap. An easy adjustment, that preserved the elegantly-curved waistband that drew me to this pattern. It is deliciously warm and delightfully bright… just what I need to chase away the winter blues! (Still needs a hem, but I need to procure some hem tape.)

I’m rather put out right now because I can’t ink my little w.i.p. that I showed the other day. My favorite inking pen is all used up, and although I purchased another recently, I came home to find the tip bent and dried out!! What use is a dried-up pen?! lol. But because of the snow yesterday (and rather treacherous conditions on the road period), I haven’t been able to get out and procure another pen. Miss. A. is waiting rather impatiently to be inked. She keeps making little comments whenever I catch sight of her. I’m sure its rather vexing being in such a state of uncertainty!


I must away… I’ve got a long laundry list of things to finish before L. and I go on an ice skating date!! Hooray!! Have a lovely weekend!

♥ inspiration [ twenty-two ] ♥
 9 ways to cultivate creativity
 classic children’s book illustrations [ via ]
 beautiful paper dolls!!
 I could look at these all day long…
 a cute idea for your Valentine sweets!! [ via ]

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

p.s. I just wanted to say thank you to G. for the lovely interview up at Vintage Indie today!!

The weeks are just flying by already… it seems hard to believe that I start back to classes tomorrow!! *sigh* My little “hiatus” from school was fun, but I knew it would come to and end sometime. hehe!

a new little adornment

Look what the postman dropped in my mailbox today! This sweet little pink, mouse brooch from the always-whimsical Marjorie!! I’m so delighted with her–I can’t wait to wear this with my green and pink cardigan refashion. Though my Mr. Bunny pendant (also from Marjorie) will have to vacate his spot pinned beneath the eyelet cockade…

sketching away!

Sketching has been forefront lately… my mind is just swimming with ideas! My latest little fancy… though she is very much still in progress and needs to be transferred to some board and painted!

Look what I treated myself to the other day while I was at Borders: the February/March issue of Mary Engelbreit’s Home Companion! I love this magazine anyway, but this is always my favorite issue because its the yearly artists’ studio tour feature! I’m always inspired by the beauty artists surround themselves with, their philosophy on art and the artist, how they got started… I just want to cut this issue to pieces and stick the images in my notebook!! But I have a “no cutting” policy with ME Home Companion (I have stacks of back issues!), so I just keep paging through again and again. Such a wonderful way to refill and refresh my creativity!

pages of inspiration...

Here is this week’s Vintage Monday Feature! I’m still stuck in the 1840’s (though that isn’t a bad thing!), and keep returning to the patterns, colors and lines of the decade:

vintage monday...

Have a lovely Monday, my dears!! I’m off to knit and draw some more… ta-ta!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

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