03.31.08 {reading}

The weather has been going back and forth, forth and back, for the past two weeks. It is now starting to affect my head on a daily basis! I woke up this morning with the distinct impression that I had cotton stuffed between my ears… which has made my morning a rather muddled, and entertaining mess (thank goodness for to-do lists!)! hehe! So I apologize in advance if this post is a wee bit… well… out of it. lol.

I relaxed all weekend; which was nice after the ups and downs of the previous week. I try not to get into personal matters on this blog, but let’s suffice to say that we had a situation with an extended family member, taking up a good deal of emotional energy. Its been stressful for my parents especially, so I’ve been having to step in and “hold down the fort” as my daddy likes to say. hehe. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this week will be just a wee less dramatic. So, as a result, I feel rather bad that I don’t have a ton of exciting things to blog about this morning. But I hope you will understand…

I have been doing some reading–non-school reading! Hurrah! On Saturday afternoon, my sweet mum surprised me with my own copy of Bead Simple. Thank you, Mom!! I am now plotting what to make next… and being quite bad spending time searching through Etsy’s wonderfully-tempting bead supply category. I already made a few little purchases. hehe! But I’m trying to be a little good, and “go shopping” through my collection of vintage jewelry that I don’t wear often.

I’m also reading the utterly inspiring and delightfully-written Anti 9 to 5 Guide by Michelle Goodman (per Kate’s recommendation). I haven’t gotten terribly far in it yet, but the first chapter has made me feel quite a bit more at ease about my seeming “inability” to stay motivated working a normal job. hehe! I shall have a full review when I’m done!

Something I wanted to share with you all; a super-simple project that is perfect for adding a bit of sweetness to any outfit! Last week, in a fit of needing some new, pretty accessory for one of my “tried and true” outfits, I pulled out some antique dress trim and whipped up this little bow pin:

03.30.08 {

Its made from an antique, 1880s dressing gown I purchased years ago (the photo is of an art project that I showed last spring in the school-wide art show, in which I used this gown). Its falling apart, but the moire ribbons are still largely intact. Which means perfect for salvaging and reusing! Just stitched together and to a pin back, it makes for a quick, and interchangeable little bit of flair for any outfit! I’m thinking perhaps I need to make one up in a piece of wide lace as well–and maybe one of my favorite, vintage cotton prints (with the edges unfinished–just so it doesn’t get too time consuming and complicated!). Do you have any favorite, quick and easy tricks to liven up an outfit? Do share!!

Now for this week’s Vintage Monday feature! This is from a 1947 pattern catalog in my collection, which I am constantly referencing for ideas! Just look at the sweet ruffles and shirring along the skirt! Would be so pretty in a modern dress too, I think–perhaps with a more modern fabric or even something like a knit!

03.31.08 {vintage monday!}

Keep an eye out for the first Nifty Thrift post later this afternoon! I’m so excited to launch a week-long thrift-love fest!

Have a lovely Monday, my dears!!!


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03.28.08 {polka-dot procrastination}

First things first: Today is the last day to sign up for the Creative Cacaphony Swap! Be sure to email me by this evening (with the information outlined here) so I can add you to the list. I’ve been quite surprised by the enthusiastic response–I think its going to be loads of fun!

03.28.08 {simplicity}

Alas, I still haven’t attached the ruffle to the dress. It’s turned out to be one of those weeks, where everything is just zooming by far to fast. hehe! Not that I mind, but I am definitely spending some serious time with my machine this weekend… once I finish leftover homework, that is! However, I have gotten some creating done! I checked out Bead Simple from the library yesterday (after Tricia posted a glowing review), and managed to try out a few things with my stash of vintage bits and bobs collecting dust. lol. I made this super-simple, but very pretty, necklace using some odd chain I had and about fifteen minutes of time while making dinner. I’m itching to try out a pair of earrings, or perhaps another necklace!

I must, unfortunately, keep this post short; I’ve got a to-do list nearly a mile long! hehe. Take care, my friends; enjoy the links and have a simply wonderful weekend!!!

03.28.08 {springtime skies - one}

such pretty, simple garments @ nooy [ via ]
how to properly rip out sewn seams
an artist we briefly talked about in Design History
to die-for vintage [ via ]
interview with Maira Kalman!
save polaroid. ‘nuff said
alana davis’s beautiful photography [ via ]


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p.s. Interested in doing a week of thrift finds? I’m blogging five days of favorite thrift finds next week, and if you’d like to join in the fun, please do! There is nothing fancy, no rules–just happily talking and showing off thrifted goodies! If you would, you are more than welcome to snag this button to post in your blog…

03.12.08 {page one}

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I have been so inspired lately by everything around me. Books. Music. Textures. Flickr friends. Its kinda insane; my brain is on overdrive, and I feel I can’t pull the ideas out of my head fast enough before they become lost in the jumble!

03.12.08 {l'incomparable}

If you were to open my sketchbooks, you’d be more likely to find a mish-mash of pasted cut outs, technical drawings, letter-faces I sketch, and a jumble of other odds and ends than any fine art. (Which leads me once again to believe my art professor who told me I’d never be a fine artist–but was more suited to design. That is a whole ‘nother post though!)

03.12.08 {scribble, scribble}

I like to pick apart designs that intrigue me: be it fashion, architecture, interior design, photography, or type (just to name a few). Which is probably why I have taken to cutting out so many pictures and doing little doodles of basic ideas. It is the notes next to the images that is where I really start to think. Pattern schematics, measurements, variation ideas, trims, fabrications, paint colors, etc. come alive on the pages. The little cahier I brought home from the National Gallery trip last week has been earmarked for my latest slew of springtime fashion ideas and inspirations! Here is a wee peek at some of the pages I have been filling up:

03.12.08 {springtime lightness}

Yes, most of the images are from Anthropologie! I have a serious addiction, evidenced by over three years of catalogs I’ve saved:

03.12.08 {the massive collection!}

Quite, quite bad, don’t you think? *giggle*

And look what yummy-inspiring book arrived in the mail yesterday:

03.12.08 {claire}

I have been dying to get my hands on Claire McCardell by Kohle Yohannan for years. I was really sad to find out it was out of print, and both Amazon and Alibris were listing used copies at astronomical prices. So, after bidding on a couple copies over the past few months on Ebay (and loosing), I finally got one for less than $10!! Only thing that is “wrong” with it is the dust jacket is missing. But I hate dust jackets, so that isn’t a problem. lol. Now I have a whole book of inspiration from my favorite, American designer!! Hurrah!!!

03.12.08 {wide belts & shirtwaists}

03.12.08 {so modern}

Speaking in inspiring music, I have to share this new music I discovered yesterday evening while watching a pod on CurrentTV: Radical Face is just amazing. I love the sounds, the haunting sing-song style! I am dying to dow It fits in very nicely with the rest of my current creativity playlist.

I’m off to do some productive things with myself today. And wait around for my sweetheart to call. I got a surprise phone call late yesterday night from him; after three weeks of not hearing his voice it was so good. I got that silly, butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling when I picked up my phone and saw who it was! I’m still smiling today.

Have a lovely afternoon, my friends!!!


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p.s. I got my hair cut yesterday! Well, nothing too radical (I am somewhat loathe to loose the length!), but I got some longish “bangs” cut, which I think gives me a rather ’70s look; what do you think? (Ignore the fact that I look depressed in this photo… rofl!)

vintage fashion inspiration... old school {1}

I promised you all I would show you my latest book treasures, didn’t I? One I thrifted the other day, and the other came via eBay; but both are about vintage clothing!! (I first want to apologize for the appalling quality on some of the photos of the books; my camera does not like taking photos of black and white photos! hehe!)

vintage fashion inspiration... old school {3}

vintage fashion inspiration... old school {5}
[ more photos on my flickr ]

The first is Vintage Chic by Harriet Love (1982), which I found at the thrift store for $1. More of a book about sourcing vintage clothing (which is making me drool over the still-wide selection of vintage on the market then!), it has some lovely pictures and suggestions for incorporating vintage into your wardrobe. The text is peppered with loads of black and white photos of vintage clothing being worn in fun and creative ways. I love the fact that over 25 years after publication, self-expression through clothing is more acceptable than ever before, and some of the looks are still very contemporary (at least for me; but then I tend to favor the ‘80s romantic look a wee bit!).

vintage fashion inspiration... old school {7}

vintage fashion inspiration... old school {8}
[ more photos on my flickr ]

The second treasure is probably my hands-down favorite of the two. I have to thank the lovely Tara who posted about The Yestermorrow Clothes Book (Diana Funaro, 1976) recently. I rarely am subject to impulse buys in the book department, but after seeing the beautiful photos Tara posted, I had to have this book!! hehe! While it talks a bit about acquiring vintage garments for your wardrobe (a “few dollars” for a thrifted ‘40s dress?! If only it were still true! lol.), most of the book is devoted to alteration of your vintage finds. I love the whole “diy” vibe of this book; and am already finding much of the advice for revamping or repurposing a piece of clothing quite valuable. Things like: recutting a sweater, different ways to take shoulders in (taking in extended, ‘80s shoulders anyone?), and even making garments from other textiles. Very, very fun!!

One of the things I really appreciate about both books is making the idea of wearing vintage attainable. So many of the contemporary books I’ve read on the subject spend a lot of time talking about how hard it is to find pieces, how to bid successfully on eBay, and buying only perfect designer garments. While there is a place for all these, frankly most of the time I want creative ideas for how to beautifully incorporate vintage into my daily life, as well as repair and refashion pieces that are less-than-perfect!

02.03.08 working {1}

[ working on my sketchbook this afternoon… ]

I’m now thinking of new ways to thrift–since many of these concepts extend to thrifted garments too. Being a bit more adventurous when I come across a “damaged” garment, or something whose style I don’t fully like. Although I do a little bit of refashioning now, it helps to push my boundaries a bit more–and be more willing to actually do the work involved. And what better year for me to start?

02.03.08 spring wardrobe planning {2}

[ spring wardrobe planning!! ]

Hope you are having a lovely, creative weekend!! I’m off to break out my new watercolors and do a wee bit of painting (before I must work on the dreaded Algebra homework…).

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

to sleep, perchance to dream...

Happy New Year! I know… a wee bit late; but I have to admit it feels like the changing of the year snuck up on me! The time between Christmas and New Year was chock full of little events, get-togethers, working on Shoppe goodies, and spending time with my family. What a lovely–albeit exhausting–time I had!

… but I don’t want to bore you with the Post of the Century. So I shall try to keep brief the events that happened since I started my blogging break! (I know, I know… it’ll be a miracle if I do; I tend to ramble!!)

Christmas was absolutely lovely; I relaxed all day!! Its funny, but Christmas has really stopped being about what I get–I love watching other people open gifts and see the joy on their faces! I managed to keep about 50% of my gifts handmade (either by me, or one of the fabulous artisans on Etsy), which was a bit hard since I had new people to purchase for (L. and his family), and my father: who is notoriously hard to figure gifts for! I was delighted that I received many of the items I had requested on my Etsy wish list; including this gorgeous pair of earrings from Pear22:

the color of robin's eggs

The highlight, however, was the two books my parents gave me. One was the hefty, perfect-for-the-coffee-table Poiret book from the MET exhibit. I’ve been slowly paging through, reliving my wonder and inspiration over seeing these garments in person during my trip this summer to NYC. They also gave me Amy Butler’s Midwest Modern, which I have been unable to stop looking through and soaking up the philosophy of Amy’s amazing design and house! Mom and I keep snatching it from each other–we can’t get enough! lol.

little stack

The days leading up to New Year’s were hectic and full. Between various social commitments and realizing I had a deadline fast approaching, I panicked a wee bit. After a talk with L., who reasoned the whole thing out with me (whatever would I do without him?!), I spent as much time as I could working, creating, brainstorming, and redesigning packaging (to better reflect the aesthetic direction my website has taken). Once I got into the work groove, it was fun (albeit, exhausting!)!! Oh, and some new music helped too: The Shepherd’s Dog (Iron and Wine) and Chinatown (The Be Good Tanyas) have been my soundtrack and source of inspiration the last week.

more goodies!

Must be off… I’m playing nurse to my poor L. this week. I’m quite loving the feeling of being needed and useful to someone (and I think he’s loving all the attention coming from me)! Have a lovely afternoon my dears!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

more gratuitous shoe shots

[ new, pretty shoes! ]

I have been listening to Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell all day long. I’m usually not one for audio books, I suppose because I have definite memories of badly read audio books as a child, and that has made me shy away from them ever since. But this is so delightful! Besides being read very nicely, the story has me entranced! I listened to three of the twenty-six cd’s this afternoon while I worked on new stock for the Shoppe. Honestly, I almost didn’t want to stop for the day because that meant I couldn’t listen to any more (its my “business only” treat…). lol!

sketching, tea drinking & other oddities

The whole concept behind the book has caught my imagination. I suppose in a way the whole idea of magic never left me. I always wanted to believe in fairy lands, magic spells and the like. I remember even for awhile as a very young child I fancied that my toys did come alive after I went to sleep! My mother brought us up to be very imaginative children, and both my sister and I ran with it (and still do!). There is a part of me that still believes in magic, or at least wants to believe in it. Besides, I really think that there is magic in the every day. Not in the sense of transformations or snatching people away to foreign worlds, but rather the little moments in life when you step back and realize that everything is “just so”. Other people see this magic too; my Flickr friends definitely attest to that! I suppose I will never grow up in this sense, and all the better. Because I feel that when we loose that sense of wonder and imagination, we loose a vital part of what makes life joyful in certain moments. We stop looking around us, observing the little things, and realizing that yes, it is an amazing world around us!

Golly, I didn’t mean to get that long winded. See what listening to diverting literature does to me? lol. (And yes, I realize my vocabulary in this post is rather ponderous; I blame it on Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell entirely!)

mail goodies!!

I got a lovely package in the mail today containing my order from Bluebird Lane! I purchased some vintage seam binding from her, since that’s what I use on a lot of my pins (as opposed to traditional ribbon, which I find too stiff; I’ve thought also about using China silk ribbon, but it tends to be expensive!). Besides the wonderful, fast service, we also had a nice chat back and forth for a couple days, which is always fun with a fellow Etsy seller! She also kindly included a card with samples of some of the other colors of ribbon (I’m drooling over these!) and a little bundle of mini tags that she stamped and tea stained! Oh, I just love such thoughtful, attention-to-detail type packages! As I said to my mother this afternoon (after opening it and squealing!): I have met more really nice people through Etsy and the little network of creative bloggers!

drawing in progress - update

Thank you for all the kind comments about my drawing I’m working on! I say “working” because its turned into one of those art pieces that I can’t leave alone. What started out as a rough sketch to be inked later on, has turned into a full-fledge pencil drawing that is getting more and more detailed by the day. I haven’t even finished one of the figures, and the other is still very much in the sketchy stage! As my sister said wisely to me when she looked at it, its not going to scan very well! Oops! Perhaps I’ll just take a tracing and do a duplicate, less detailed, in ink. I have an awful habit of doing this, which is probably why my art output has been so small in the past few years. Yikes!

I hope you all are having a lovely Thursday evening wherever you are! Remember: take a moment for the tiny snippets of life that strike you. You never know when you’ll discover a little magic

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

hmmm... I wonder what this could be?

I’ve been busy-busy today, working on stock for the Shoppe update next Monday! Most of what I’ve been making is under wraps for now (just to heighten the anticipation!. lol!) So as to not bore you all with little snippets and sneak peeks at what is being made, here are a couple reviews of books I’ve mentioned in the past week. I have a few others I’d like to go over as well, but I’m saving those for later…

Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting Design
Sharon Turner, Wiley Publishing Inc., 2007

knitwear design book

I mentioned this book last week, as a possible solution to trying to learn about knitting pattern design. I learn either by doing or looking at pictures, so the fact that this book is part of a series called Teach Yourself Visually was a big appeal! The book covers just about any garment or accessory you’d want to knit: scarves, gloves, mitts, sweaters, vests, socks, hats… Each section is set up with a “master pattern”, basically a pattern that is a base (much like a body block in sewing). You can match up your yarn gauge to the master pattern (it offers lots of options based on sts/inch), and it tells you how to many to cast on, decrease, increase, etc. The designs are very basic, so making them your own is easier I suppose (having not tried any of this, I can only speculate!).

I’m mostly interested in the sweater section, especially after Anthropologie’s Stitch catalog arrived in my mailbox. The sweater master pattern is just a basic, boxy sweater with various sleeve head options and two neckline options. It looks easy enough, but I am a little put-off by the fact that the sweaters are unisex; so sizing is a little wonky. Although the concept of a basic pattern you can adapt and change yourself is very nice, the book doesn’t offer much in the way of how to make pattern changes. So it would have to be used in conjunction with another book, or by someone who had a lot more knitting experience (or was just crazy enough to jump into a project, like *cough*me*cough*).

I feel that perhaps the assertion of the book teaching you visually is a bit misleading. Although there are a lot of diagrams and pictures, there is a lot of text, which made minimal sense to me. But then again, I do have to read knitting patterns over at least three times before I “get” them. (And even then, frogging rows isn’t that uncommon for me! lol) So I think although it is more visual than other knit pattern design books I’ve seen, it still has a bit of a technical tone that can be a little daunting.

That being said, I did put it on my Amazon wish list. I think used with a couple other reference books, I could learn how to make my own knit wear designs!

Metric Pattern Cutting
Winifred Aldrich, Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1987

pattern cutting book 01

This is one of the books that I was lent recently. Although I haven’t had a chance to read it thoroughly, I have given it a few glances and did read several sections. This book is really quite good; its British, so the style of body block it shows how to draft is quite different from the American style sloper. American bodice slopers end at the waist, and are attached to a separate skirt. European blocks, however, continue from the waist over the hip (this is also known in fashion as a French sloper). That means it covers the entire torso, which I’ve heard allows for a lot more flexibility and accuracy of fit.

The book shows how to draft a sloper, based on either standard British measurements, or for one person. The section on measuring for the block and then fitting the muslin are quite good, though no terribly extensive. I found the tone a lot more realistic about working with the figure variations that come with drafting blocks for individuals. One topic I was glad to see covered was fitting for curved backs; I’ve had to fit a very curved spine before and its tough. The instructions seemed very clear though.

pattern cutting book 03

Also covered is the usual one and two piece sleeves, separate skirts, loose fitting block, one-piece dress block, etc. What I really love (aside from the block drafting chapters!), is the diagrams on pattern cutting. There is a good balance of both diagrams and text, which means that I think people with different learning styles can benefit (I tend to be visual). The styles depicted are similar to the ones in most of the big, pattern cutting textbooks (I’ve got two huge textbooks that have so many variations its overwhelming!), but there were a couple that I hadn’t really seen covered in other places.

The copy I’m borrowing is older, but happily this text has been reprinted! Apparently several sections have been updated, including computer-aided drafting (which in the 1987 edition is very quaint by modern technology standards! lol), and an expanded section on drafting for knits. I’m hoping to be able to buy this one sometime soon, because its not an unreasonable price for a good, pattern drafting text.

lady lumberjack

Is anyone planning anything special for Halloween tomorrow? I know I’m going to dress up, but as who I haven’t decided! I’ll probably just cobble together some costume from all the bits and pieces I’ve got lying about. I have no where to go, but I think it’ll be fun just because! Have a lovely evening!!

Cheers & Creativity,
Casey [ email me ]

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