Monday, June 27, 2011

the fashionable Samantha Brown

I'm currently in the wilderness, but that doesn't mean I left you with no goodies to ogle! (heh. ogle is such a fun word.)

How much do you love the Travel Channel's Samantha Brown?  She's adorable, right?  What a great job too.  My dream job!

Something else I love about her...her clothes!  She has the most fabulous wardrobe.  I must not be the only one who has noticed...did you know the Travel Channel has a photo gallery with 8-10 photos of her fashions for many episodes??  Fun!

I love how casual but still classy this outfit is. Even the shoes are comfortable walking shoes, but still look fashionable.  Hard to believe it's just your "basic tee and shorts"!

 This is adorable too, longer shorts and a really cute print top:

 Another casual outfit, pretty, delicate floral top and jeans:

But she's not afraid to pack a pretty dress!  Love this color:

One episode I really enjoyed recently was the Route 66 episode, a "road trip" across New Mexico and Arizona.  She had the most amazing, casual, fun summer wardrobe!

 In particular, I was totally enamored of her playsuits.  This one is a metallic cotton or blend I think:

 And this one is in denim.  It might be my favorite!

When I've mentioned playsuits or "rompers" in the past, some of you have worried that you're too "old", and I've comisserated with you.  Since Samantha Brown is 2 years older than me though... now I think I'm good!

For at least 2 more years. Ha. 

I really need to try and whip one of these up before summer ends...

Bye for now...I'll see you guys when I return in a couple days!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

a little retro makeover!

I've been feeling like a bit of a blog makeover for a few months now.  My inspiration for this retro re-do was a very prolific pinup artist named Enoch Bolles. 

Not as well known as Vargas or Elvgren, but I love love love his style, and his "girl".  All of the girls on my blog were taken (and altered a bit for my blog design) from Mr. Bolles' "girlie magazine" covers from the 30s and 40s.  If you'd like to read more about Enoch Bolles and his art, I highly recommend this fabulous blog dedicated to his work.

And now we are off to the vast wonderful wilderness that is Yellowstone National Park. 

I've got one small but fun post scheduled for while I'm gone, but other than that it will be quiet for a few days!  Don't miss me too much!

(**Disclaimer: Copyright is a hard thing to grasp, and public domain availability an even harder thing to track down.  As far as I could find in my research, Mr. Bolles' suffered the same fate as many other unknown artists of his time and did not retain ownership or royalties rights to his work, and all publications ceased long ago.  Even though I believe Mr. Bolles still has living heirs, it would seem most of his pinup illustrations are in the public domain.  In any case, certainly no copyright infringement is ever intended here, and I hope my blog graphics will serve to play homage to a great pinup artist and introduce new fans to his work.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fave Blogs: Sew Country Chick

I just have to share this new (to me) blogger, Sew Country Chick.

Justine is like my kindred blog twin or something. I love reading what she's been up to!  She has one heck of a nose for a bargain too.  I'm always so jealous of her flea market and yard sale finds!

She's also as cute as can be and loves vintage dresses (and looks like vintage dresses"

And she does modern stuff with panache too.

These are all recent things...I'll leave you to explore her awesome archives on your own! 

Rather madly packing and vacuuming here in prep for vacation!  I may be able to post one more finished project before we leave, and if not I'll share the in-progress photo.  Have a happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BS 4/11 #135 tunic

I really hate tracing, don't you?  Unfortunately, most of the things I want to make (outside of vintage patterns) are from Burda Style or Ottobre!  Today I took the lazy route and chose a pattern I had already traced back in April.  This is a modified version of the #135 top/dress in the plus section:

Here's the pattern line drawing from the Russian site (strangely, the only Burda site I can navigate successfully):
Obviously I left off the band, and just did a simple hem instead (I lengthened it just a little too, so I had room for a hem).  It turned out to be a nice, breezy tunic!  No fitting required!

I used a size 48, and drew out to the 50 lines at my waist/hips, but I went back after the first try-on and took that extra back out.  This is definitely a roomy top.  The fabric is from my stash, a woven cotton plaid from the "homespun" section of my local quilt shop.  

I made slight modifications to the pattern...I used a bias binding for the neckline (I'm not sure what the pattern called for, I didn't even read them!) and gathered the back neck just a bit to draw it in a little closer than drafted.  Here's the back neckline (and my upcoming Wyoming trip-inspired binding choice!):

I drew out an elbow-length sleeve rather than short or long sleeve pattern included in the mag. I gathered the sleeve edge and bound them in the same pink bandana print:

My favorite part is the front neckline though!  I added the slit from view #135 (the other views don't have this slit).  I love the pleats too; a little more tailored than straight "peasant" gathering.  Of course I couldn't resist adding a little bow at the neck edge:

I'll add a hook & eye, but I need to go buy some first.  I guess I'm out (which I discovered AFTER planning the bow.  Ha.)

Sorry I didn't snap a pic wearing it.  I really thought I had done that...All that book reading and pool floating I've been doing has melted valuable brain cells apparently.  Ahhh, who needs 'em!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Simplicity 3692: Built by Wendy top

A finished top AND two posts in one day!

The verdict?  Cute in theory.  Let's start with the good!

The fabric is very sweet, a vintage, lightweight cotton c. 1980 I'd guess?  My mom made me a blue rosebud nightgown out of very similar blue rosebud fabric in 1980 for a talent show...I sang "Would You Like to Swing On a Star", while my Brownie & Girl Scout troop flitted about behind me in costumes to match the verses.  Wish I had a video!

My piece of fabric was thrifted at a nearby flea market.  I had just enough for this little top.  Actually I didn't have quite enough to do the bodices & lining, so I cut the bodices on the selvedge and seamed them.  I covered the front with a raw-edge ruffle and a white bias tube:

Here's a closer view of the center front, I had to add a couple of tucks too; the front bodice was too wide:

The back, I just left seamed.  No one will notice!

I lined the bodices in white Imperial batiste, and used a bias binding of the same batiste for the armholes:

Simple turned up & stitched hem...

All well and good, right?  Bah.  I made this pattern last year or maybe it was the year before.  And I had a ton of trouble with the bodice.  I guess I never went back and fixed the pattern?  Because I had the exact same problems today!  The back bodice is too narrow, the front bodice is too wide.  The neckline is too high. I added tucks to take up the excess width, but then I get some pulling at the bustline that wasn't there before I added them.  

Also, the gathering is in the wrong spot, I think.  All in all, just not a pattern that works for my particular figure.  But, it's cool and not uncomfortable, so I'll wear it around home.  I did want to share a photo of me wearing it though...  No reason to only share successes right?

I guess this pattern and I are parting ways now.  A shame, as I really like the style.

reading obsession: Her 5-Year Diary

Are you reading this?

Because I'm totally hooked!  I can't wait each day for the new post.

Today I'm working on a Built By Wendy top...

I'm doing the sleeveless version, no drawstring/elastic.  I also lengthened it a bit.  I'm using a thrifted, super soft white cotton with tiny blue rosebuds.  Reminds me of a nightdress I had when I was 8.  (That would have been 1979 if you're keeping track).

So...I may end up looking like I'm wearing PJ's.  Hmmm...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

heating up!

I'm back from a quick jaunt and find that that ho bag Kristine has been movie-star boyfriend stealing (again). Woman.  He is still mine.

Oh yes, she is being all coy and rather passive aggressive with her "the dirtier the hotter" suggestion.  Which we all CLEARLY remember already being quantified right in this very spot some time ago.


She's right about this being most definitely a must see here too:


What was I saying?

Oh yea.  It's hot here.  But the wee-folk (who are both technically taller than me) and I are going out of town to much cooler pastures next weekend.  Maybe say, somewhere like this...

I have some tops to make before I leave so hopefully you'll never know I'm gone if I'm as good as I think I am and a) finish all planned items and b) pre-write all blog posts to post on their own.

(Of course I'm as good as I think I am, which is why SOMEONE is totally SOL on the movie-star BF stealing gig.)

ps...hi mom!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Amy Butler Sun Surf Halter

Taking my cue from Patty, and this oppressive heat we're having, I whipped out a super lightweight drawstring tank this morning.  (I cut it out yesterday.  Why are these "simple/easy" projects so hard to get motivated to start sewing when the actual sewing takes so little time?)

I used my leftover spotty voile from this project for the top and a cream/red dot cotton for the ties.

The Sun Surf Halter is technically full lined, but I skipped that part (did I mention the oppressive heat?  How about the humidity?)  The original pattern also ties at the back neck (I hate those) and has a simple rectangle back with elastic casing (not good for bra-wearing girls).  I skipped that whole mess and just used 2 front pattern pieces instead (one for front, one for back).

Since I didn't have a lining, I bound the armhole edges with some bias.

The tie is one long strip, ran through the casing front then across the "shoulder" area, through the casing back, and tied at the other side:

The bow is pretty saucy, if I do say so myself.  I'm going to enjoy having it peek out of my cropped shrug (which I'll probably wear this with most of the time).

This was such a quickie project that I can foresee making a few more from the lawns I showed you a few days ago.  Anything light and airy at this point in the summer is much welcome clothing!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

NP Passport Stamp #7: Pea Ridge Battlefield

Lu, G and I have decided that we're going to try to visit all of the National Park Service's parks, monuments, and historic sites that are within (easy) driving distance this summer.  Lu already had 6 stamps in her passport book from our Arizona vacation in '09. 

First up is Pea Ridge Battlefield National Military Park, which is an easy day trip for us.

Now, granted, I'm sort of a National Park nerd, but I got all excited by the park services building. It was so official and National Park-ish! 

It has a nicely stocked little gift shop (where you'll find the passport books and cancellation & stamp station!), super clean restrooms, and a small civil war memorabilia museum. 

G-man was fishing with his dad and missed this trip.  I'll have to take him back, he's actually our civil war buff.  He'll get a huge kick out of the little museum. There's also a short film that plays every 30 minutes, but we missed it and didn't hang around to catch the next showing.  There was park to see!

There was a nice little picnic area as soon as you enter the 7-mile driving loop around the battlefield, so we stopped and had our sack lunch first. 

(That happens to be MY birthday Wicked tee.  Silly thing was sized for a toddler I swear.  I had to give it to Lu!  Of course she didn't mind.) 

The picnic area is bordered by a Trail of Tears marker (we scored this stamp cancellation too.  I love getting a two-fer at a NP!)

The driving tour is mostly one-lane, with several pull-outs and overlooks.  You can get out and meander around the cannons, hike one of the trails, or read the storyboards.  There are horse trails too and we saw several trailers and horseback riders.

There were plenty of hiking trails (we only did a very short one to a scenic overlook.  It was HOT and super humid today!)  It's a really pretty area though, with lots of wildflowers and nature.

My favorite scenic overlook was this one, which was so expansive it was really hard to capture in a photograph.

Apparently the battlefield bordered a homestead and several years after the war there was a reunion.  There is still a house on the site  (the original was a log cabin, which was replaced by this pretty house at some point).  

There are also two marble monuments to the soldiers and Native Americans who fought at the battlefield. 

We were dehydrated and silly at this point.

The last bit of driving borders the other side of the battlefield, which is very picturesque with the rough-hewn fencing and cannons.  (There's a ranger out there weed-eating too.)

It was a good day!  We'll be visiting another National Park next week before I attend a 1-day school conference.  I'm way more excited about the NP than the conference.  I honestly don't know why I thought I'd want to do a workshop barely one week after getting out of school. 

The mojo is seriously lacking at Casa Angie too.  I think it's a combination of exhaustion, school burnout, and a really annoying medical insurance fiasco (the less said about that, the better).  I've never seen a more negative and irritable bunch of people in all my life than at my school the past two weeks.  We were all required to pack up EVERYTHING and vacate the building by this weekend.  (We'll be moving into a brand new high school in the fall!) You want to see people's true colors, give them an impossible to-do list and an air conditioner that shuts off every hour on the hour.  Ha.  It was not pretty.

Anywho...if you can bear with me for a few more days, I think I'll get back on my feet soon!  Meanwhile, I soothe my soul with my super wonderful kiddos.  That's good medicine.