A Good Old-Fashioned Closet Cleaning

Dec. 2014 Group 2 426While cleaning someone’s clock seems to have a negative connotation, (I guess depending on whether you’re the one being hit or the one doing the hitting.) cleaning someone’s closet is close to the nicest thing you can do for a person. And since not everyone will let you into their closet just because they know your neurosis is strong enough that you may physically die if you don’t get your hands on it (Thanks, Amanda. I know you truly love me!) I suggest doing it for yourself. A little post-holiday pick-me-up. A gift for your nerdy side, if you will.

It’s one of those things that we dread and put off for months-or years- and are astounded by how little time the task takes once we actually do it. Nothing like  killing yourself with shame and anxiety over your procrastination on something that takes 5 minutes to do!

In the case of my bathroom closet, it  took 25 minutes start to finish. I timed it because I wanted to know just how long this task I had put off for, hmm, at least 2 years would actually take me. 2 years of dread vs. less than half an hour of work. Our mental procrastination scales are very warped, aren’t they?

Here’s my closet the way it was. Belts flung around, piles of stuff stacked on top of piles of other stuff. Clothes, empty toilet paper rolls for crafts we never do, a blue basket of who-knew-what. Every time I looked at my closet I thought “I need to clean this.” And then I never did. Sure I would tidy it up, but it wasn’t functional because nothing had a great place of its own.

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And everyone knows (or should know) the only way to remedy that is to empty the space you’re cleaning completely. Set a timer if you tend to get carried away with the details. Leave that for another day. This is not the time to start washing out your makeup brushes or sampling your array of lotions. This is a purge and sort. Keep the big goal in mind, which is to put your closet back together in a reasonable amount of time so that it’s organized and will serve all your space needs.
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Here’s all my crap. I had like 3 or 4 of those gigantic peroxide bottles! I could have kept Lady Gaga blonde for months! This is the point to pick out the trash and/or giveaway stuff. Since this was my bathroom closet, I had no “Goodwill pile.” If it was my coat closet, I would have needed one. After picking out stuff you no longer have use for, pick one category of stuff to work on and put up everything in that category…and only stuff in that category! I did my towels first, since they were easy and getting them out of the way made it look like I had a lot less stuff to deal with. (Organizing sometimes takes strategy just to overcome our own excuses!)

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Here’s my top shelf. First aid and medical on the right and makeup on the left. I DID NOT sort my makeup on this day! I know it’s a temptation of mine to get off onto cleaning tangents and before I know, I’ve spent hours organizing all my hair clips and bands, and I’m still surrounded by huge piles on the floor and I have no more energy to put it all back together. If that’s your cleaning story, you need to remember to set a timer and not get caught up in the little stuff!

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Hair stuff…Also not sorted, well at least not in a way that everything’s standing up straight and it looks magnificent, but that wasn’t the purpose of this. The styling products, combs, and brushes are on the left. The headbands, clips, and beads are on the right. And that’s GOOD ENOUGH!Dec. 2014 Group 2 428

***TANGENT ALERT*** I had to really, really work hard to get to a point where I could be okay with “good enough” instead of “perfect”- which doesn’t really exist anyway. A lot of people with messy, unorganized houses are actually perfectionists, surprisingly. They don’t clean because it takes them hours to do what most people do in minutes and it gets exhausting. If you fall into that category-and I did-work on the “GOOD ENOUGH” philosophy! It will turn your life around. If you take on one project, don’t let it become ten projects. If I did this closet 5 years ago, after an hour, I would have ended up with perfectly organized hair stuff and makeup. (I would have started on the tiny items first.) I probably would have gone shopping for the perfect containers and I probably would have left the new baskets by my front door and piles of stuff sitting around the closet floor for a week or two until I got back to it. Trust me. Focus on Finishing your organizing project. You can always go back and take one category and go nuts. One day I’ll get my makeup better organized-probably. But if I don’t, it doesn’t really matter, because I know where it’s all at. And I can get to everything else in my bathroom easily. My family can quickly find everything they need and the best part is, my husband didn’t come home to a gigantic mess and ask what happened only to be confused by my response that, “I’m cleaning.” If that scenario rings a bell for you, we share a private laugh. And I love you!

(Click Here to view my post on why I blog about organization so much.)

Third shelf. Nuff said.Dec. 2014 Group 2 429

I love glass containers. They just pretty everything up! I stuck band aids in here instead of with the first aid stuff on the top shelf because my daughters need to be able to reach them. You know, for when they have those owies that they swear are there and are killing them, but you have to squint to see them when they point them out. Moms and Dads get it.

The point is, you have to find what works for you!Dec. 2014 Group 2 430

And here’s the finished closet, in all its simplistic goodness! 25 minutes! Best part is, it’s actually finished!

Perfectionists and Procrastinators, there is a better way…and it’s called GOOD ENOUGH!Dec. 2014 Group 2 426

Here’s your challenge, should you choose to accept it, and I recommend that you do: Pick ONE area that drives you crazy. Set a timer for a reasonable amount of time, take everything out, and put it back in so it’s nice and neat and WORKS! Don’t get carried away with details!!!! You’ll be surprised how quick and easy it is if you’re goal is Functional instead of Perfect, which, as I’ve already said, DOESN’T EXIST ANYWAY!

 

Making Due and How To Make An Easy Flower

IMG_2101What do you do when the rad concert t-shirt you turned into a one of a kind, hand-sewn, work of strappy-backed art gets a hole in it? You make due with what you have, that’s what! One of my favorite sayings is “When life hands you lemons. . . you freeze ’em and throw them back so it really hurts like heck.” Or something like that.
What is design but making something where there was nothing before? So why did I let myself get all bent out of shape when the shirt I had just made ended up with a hole in it? (Stupid Cat!!!) I was just about to list it on Etsy when I noticed the anomaly, and I just let it hang in my sewing room for months. (Thanks to that lack of decisiveness that creative people are often plagued with.) I didn’t want to darn and mend it and then sell it. I didn’t want to list it with a hole in it. I felt like a flower over it may be too out of place. So I just left it. Ever been there?
But I did the brave thing and finally got it out. A flower was my only option for true repair that didn’t look awful, so that’s what I went with. It may not be part of my original design or intention, but aren’t happy accidents the part of design that I’m always touting, anyway? So now I have a kick-arse (Can I say that?) Led Zeppelin shirt that, yes, has a flower on it, and I love it. It’s edgy and pretty. Together. And because of that, in a happy accident kind of way, it embodies my whole design aesthetic. Thank you, fate. (I don’t actually believe in fate. That was a literary device lest you think I’m totally naive. I do like to personify ideas and attributes to sound like I’m talking to them. I also like to over-explain what I’m doing. You’re welcome.)

Who knew such a tiny hole could cause so much anguish?IMG_2088

Luckily, I had some scraps from the fabric I used to make the godets for this shirt. (The little triangles I added to the sides.)

IMG_2089I cut out a shape that would work for a flower-It was already there. I just tidied up the edges a bit. If you’re using this post on a tutorial to make an easy flower, take any jersey knit (t-shirt) fabric and cut it between 6-12 inches and taper it so one side is wider than the other. I liked the curved edge for this flower.IMG_2090Using a running stitch, sew near the bottom edge of the fabric all the way across. Don’t worry about the stitch being perfectly even. Unless chaos kills you inside. Then you can be perfectionistic if you want to.IMG_2092-0

I used Button & Craft thread. It’s heavy duty stuff. It’s cheap. And it will last. Highly recommend it!IMG_2091-0

After you’ve stitched the edge, pull the thread to gather the fabric so your flower crinkles up. Cute, no?IMG_2093Using the same length of thread, sew the flower together. Just take the needle in from the back and out the front and vice versa. Make sure your stitches aren’t noticeable and don’t sew down that cute fullnes in the middle of the flower! Once it’s sewn together adequately, secure it with a knot in the back.IMG_2094


You’re done with your easy flower! Now you can sew it onto a garment or accessory, or you can hot glue a piece of felt with a safety pin to the back so it’s detachable. I used black thread for this flower so you can’t see any stitching and since there are so many flower options, I’ll probably do a whole post on easy flowers and break down exactly how to sew them together for newbies.IMG_2096

I mended the hole before I attached the flower so it wouldn’t fray.IMG_2097This was the shirt’s original design.Finished front

And this is what I ended up with. I’m actually more it this way. You know, after all that unnecessary worry and feeling like I couldn’t possibly make a flower work.IMG_2098IMG_2099

And here are some of the details I love about this top.

The braided binding. Boy, this stuff takes forever to make, but it’s so versatile, strong, pretty, and unusual! Plus, this shirt was entirely hand stitched and it lends itself to that medium.

finished backIMG_2100

The godet panel and hi-lo hem.Finished-sideGodet finished stitching
And this beautiful contrast stitching. The hem stitch is a stretchy one that I learned from one of Natalie Chanin’s books. Love her!Hem Stitch

Also, if this 2 for one post wasn’t enough for you, here are some other ridiculous and fun lemons quotes. Enjoy:

If life gives you lemons, keep them, because, hey, free lemons!

When life hands you lemons, slice those suckers up and grab some vodka.

When life gives you lemonade, make lemons. Then life will be all like…What?!?

When life hands you lemons, make grape juice, and sit back and watch everyone wonder how you did it.

If life gives you lemons, sell them and buy shoes!

Unless life also hands you water and sugar, you’re lemonade is gonna suck.

When life hands you lemons, freeze them and throw them as hard as you can at the people making your life difficult. (Okay, this was the one I was thinking of earlier. I got it totally wrong!)

When life hands you lemons, it’s time for tequila shots.

When life gives you lemons, make bacon. Discard the lemons.

 

Why I Harp On Organization

Organization is something I talk about a lot on this blog. The reasons are tri-fold. Here they are:

Three Fingers

1. This blog is directed toward a creative audience and creative people are messy.

Maybe you don’t like to sew or design, but you love to express yourself creatively through your style. That’s being artistic, too. And the problem with creative, artistic people (aside from being completely mad) is that we’re generally pretty unorganized naturally. The nature of creative thinking means we take off on flights of fancy- over and over again. Our last great idea is trumped by a newer one, which isn’t necessarily better, but it feels like it to us because of the intrigue of it’s newness. So we scrap the old unfinished project for the shiny new project and BAM! We’re elbow deep in clutter- physically and mentally. Bottom line: We start a whole lot of new things and have a tough time finishing them! (Ok, maybe it’s just me, but I think it would be hilarious if at this point, the blog post just ended! Wouldn’t you wonder what project i’m off doing now?)

2. Being truly organized is my White Whale. I want that bad boy! And I bet you do, too.

I often describe myself as a “Messy Type A Personality.” My brother, who, I assure you, is a real Type A in the sincerest form of the term, endearingly calls me an “A Minus.” You’d think it would sting, but it rings too true! And the truth is, it would drive me crazy to be a legitimate Type A. Ugh, all that responsibility and the world on your shoulders? No thanks. I’ll leave that to all the firstborns of the world! But I do have enough of those personality traits to understand the value of a life well-planned and lived. I have the mental clarity that they have to see what needs to be done. I just don’t have as much natural ability to actually get it done. Maybe not ability. Maybe more like stamina.

Because let’s face it, creatives, following through is boring! Making a plan? Wonderful! Sticking to it? Blah- Not so much! Planning is creative. It involves imagination and ingenuity; it’s right up our alley. But living out the plan requires good memory, perseverance, and the ability to cope well with boredom. I wish I had even one of those traits! Or maybe I don’t. (Decisiveness is another trait on the list of characteristics creative people often don’t possess!) Because it’s best to know who you are, understand your strengths and weaknesses and be able to live a life directed toward your talents, not obsessing over your shortcomings. It’s okay (and necessary) to learn to be “Good Enough” in your weaker areas. We don’t have to be walking palm pilots with emaculate houses. But we do need to have a system that work for us, not against us, to foster our creativity.

3. Being organized promotes freedom.

I’m not trying to beat any non-Christians over the head with this stuff, but there’s such a close analogy with this to spirituality that I can’t not write about it: From the outside looking into church, religion, and walking with God, it seems so restrictive, doesn’t it? It seems like there are a million rules in the Bible and “why would I possibly want someone else telling me how to live my life?” Never mind that He’s the Creator of the universe and He made people and knows better than anyone else how we work. We just don’t want His rules! The beautiful dichotomy there is that once we decide to follow Jesus and be His disciple, we start trusting His Word because we love and trust Him. We want to try to follow His rules because we want to please Him out of our love for Him and because we know theoretically that they’re guidelines on how to live the kind of life He made us for.

And then, the incredible happens as we get used to following those rules…they make our lives better! We find ourselves happier and more stable- better parents, spouses, friends. We make more responsible decisions because we’ve become more emotionally healthy and want to live wisely. We find-miraculously-that those rules we fought so hard against for so much of our lives are really the framework for our freedom! We find that without God, we were never truly free and that the “straight and narrow path” that looked so boring and offensive to us before is really not so hard or unnatural when God’s the One we love most in life because He blesses us with the ability to live life truly to the fullest. It’s pretty phenomenal how He works that out in our lives!

Similarly, having external structure in your life allows you to accomplish your dreams! Once you find a system for organizing your space and your time that actually works for you, the cool part is your system takes over a lot of your workload. No more wondering where to put stuff or spending more time deciding what to do with your day that actually doing it. When you have a comprehensive, DO-ABLE plan, it provides the architecture around which you can build your life, your business, your hobby, what have you. And if you’re a nerdy creative like me, you’ve been dying to find a good mix of system and play. I strongly encourage you to keep at it. Get organized ENOUGH (not perfectly) to fulfill your dreams and goals. And remember, a little organization goes a long way for us. Keep your structure light and easy and, perhaps most importantly, changeable! We love a little chaos! We do. And when our lives are adequately organized, we can have all the chaotic, inventive madness we want- without it taking over our lives. Well, maybe just a little.

The Moral of the Story?

I’m gonna get myself and you guys organized if it kills me. Because only then are we freed up enough to be doers and makers. (I feel like that’s actually more fun, but sounds more boring than being movers and shakers. Hmmm. Someone should write their congressman!)

Refuel Your Inspiration

IMG_2070What Inspires You? Sure, a killer pair of heels and cutting edge fashion, but I’m talking about beyond that. As a designer, I was taught that finding inspiration was half the job. That’s the part you don’t get paid for, but without it, you have nothing to draw from. So we spend our time searching magazines, museums, nature, cityscapes, all to have our little imaginations filled to the brim with lines, silhouettes, colors, and moods we can paint our own portraits with. That is so vital for designers and any creatives! Still, when I ask what inspires you, I’m asking what has you down deep inside. What churns your soul and makes you willing and able to go on? Because sadly, those things are often the most neglected.

For me, when all is stripped away and I do a personal inventory of who I want to be, I’m reminded that the two things most important to my heart are God and my family. (This recent inventory is thanks to Karan and our newest Sunday School series “Simplify”) I neglect God a lot and I’m working on it. The thing is with Him, He has a way of always pulling me back. My heart is His, and He never forgets me. Although I forget about Him daily. That’s what’s so awesome about Him. It’s soooo obvious that He’s the One who saves me; because I have no ability to even remember Him consistently, yet I’m continually on His mind, despite everything I’ve done to deny Him at different points in my life.

My other priority, family, often takes a back burner to what’s going on in my life. I never realize I’m doing it because it always feels justified, doesn’t it? We have a deadline, or chores, or we’re running late, or we have to get the kids to the game on time. But are we actually spending real time together-where we connect and fill each other up with love and energy that will keep us strong for days ahead? Often, I go without that. My husband and I watch tv together instead of focusing on each other or my kids are playing while I’m doing chores. None of that ever seems too bad, until I’m asked to take the dreaded long hard look at myself and how I spend my time and then I’m forced to understand that I can’t remember the last time I really had a day of laughter with my childeren.

Today I had that. We played with our hair and played dress up and put on mini fashion shows and concluded it with a contest to see who could throw the most crackers up and catch them in our mouths. One at a time, of course. I lost. And hit myself in the face with a lot of crackers! But, Oh My Goodness, was it a blast! And as much as I love writing and it fulfills something in me that nothing else does, I can’t wait to finish this post and get back upstairs with them and keep playing. I set my dreams of designing aside for a steady job when I found out I was pregnant with them. It didn’t bother me. I didn’t resent it. It was wonderful to be able to provide for my children. And when I thought about how much I wanted to fulfill their dreams in life, I was so much more than willing to give up design forever to give them the stability I know is such an important springboard in life.

Then the deeper I thought on the subject, I wondered what I would want for them if they started families before getting established in the career they were passionate about. Would I want them to settle or fight through it and live their dream? I don’t think I have to say which one I would hope for. If you’re a parent, you know. And I thought to myself, how could I ever expect my daughters to live based only on what I say and not on what I do. Aren’t they far more likely to just follow in my footsteps?

That’s why I came back to my third love. That’s why I’m designing-and writing- again. I’m living my passion so that they’ll have the courage to live theirs. They are my inspiration! They are my joy and my fuel. When we’re not close emotionally, my “energy bucket” will never be full. They are exhausting (let’s just be honest!) but they help me recharge. Another one of life’s little paradoxes that shows beauty and love can never be fully understood, yet are meant to be fully lived out.

Here’s to spending time with the people who hold your heart!
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Looking Forward

random sketch of green eyes by oxcrushhed

Here’s to a New Year. . . with all the same problems, habits, and pitfalls of the previous ones! Why do we always expect something different? Why do we think we’ll be suddenly dosed with self discipline and transformed by sheer resolve? Why be transformed at all? Sure we need to always keep moving forward. Have a plan. Keep your vision in sight. But no need to masochistically list all of your chronic failures by arbitrarily stating how you’re going to change them. Especially as a seasonal event! (What a tradition, right?) The truth is, everyone’s exhausted by the end of the holidays. It’s the busiest time of year for a lot of people, yet we want to use those couple months to catapult ourselves into previously unattained success in not one, but many areas of our lives. I’m just gonna say it to help you out. This is crazy, people!

Who are you, really? To answer this accurately, you’ll probably need someone’s help. The reason I say that is because we are so critical of ourselves. Think of a few recurring themes on your usual New Year’s Resolutions lists. I’d be willing to bet a lot have to do with trying to fix something that’s not broken. Sometimes we punish ourselves for not hitting goals that are unrealistic or not needed in the first place. If your goals are unrealistic, figure out why. How can you break them into more manageable steps? Get creative about your goals and only attack them one (or maybe a few if you’re really type A) at a time.

It’s just stupid to have a list of 15 things we want to change about ourselves in the course of one year. We all know it’s not going to happen. We all know that leads to burn-out. Yet we all tend to bite off more than we can chew. Why? Human nature. We’re tenacious. We’re fighters. When the rough gets going, we…well, say we’re going to change. Problem is that lovable little nature inside us takes change kicking and screaming. So, whatever you set out to change next year (hopefully after a well-deserved recharge in January) make sure it’s something that’s worth changing. (If you meet that goal, will it add real value to your life? Or is the reason behind that resolution a personal insecurity that you really need to deal with? You may be killing yourself to lose weight for your husband when he loves your shape the way it is, for instance.)  Make sure you tackle one thing at a time and in small chunks. If you’ve made it this far in life without conquering the world, chances are, you’re not going to come January 1, 2015.

And lastly, make peace with who you are! Yeah, some of your “flaws” may drive you nuts, but they just may be the cutest little quirks about you! Instead of looking to the future full of hope for changing all the bad things about you, I encourage you to look at yourself a little less crtically. You’re not all the things about yourself that you think you should change. You’re not a to-do list. You’re a person. You treat others around you with love and respect and can embrace all parts of them. And I want you to  look at yourself with the same great scope of love and acceptance.

What is Beauty?

What is beauty? It is unique. It is individual. It’s your attractiveness to those around you, and most importantly, to the one you spend the rest of your life with.  That attraction may begin with just the physical glimpses, but as we all well know, that won’t sustain a relationship or a lasting feeling of self-worth. Do you feel beautiful? We all want to be beautiful and feel beautiful. That can be proven by the sheer amount of money spent on beauty and hair products each year. But can beauty come in a jar? Can beauty be tested and measured? I really don’t think it can- at least not without knowing who a person is inside. Personality is what makes beauty come alive- it energizes and animates beauty!

As a twenty-something in the world of photo-shopped models and Victoria’s Secret runway shows, it’s easy to forget about the true meaning of beauty. It’s easy to become superficial. And if I’ve become superficial, it’s impossible to be content with my appearance. I could sit here and name 20 or 30 things about my body, face, hair, and nails that I hate. It would be a stretch to name as many I love. But you know when I do feel beautiful? When I stop comparing myself to movie stars and models, and stop worrying if my husband really thinks my tummy’s too big and is just lying to me to be sweet. When I suck it up and remember that God made me-and the most beautiful part of me is my heart. When we’re comparing ourselves with others, we are using a ranking system in our minds. We all do it…I bet you can tell me who you think is prettier if I named two celebrities. And if I told you to think of 5 friends of yours, you’d be able to tell me where you think are on the rank of pretty. With a culture so geared toward pushing female sexuality and outward beauty, it becomes kind of automatic. We have tv shows, magazines, and web pages that all rank women’s beauty. (Just think about the “who wore it better” columns!)

When we subconciously rank ourselves alongside other women, we’re doing ourselves, the other women, and our Creator a real injustice. It’s not up to us to say who’s more beautiful. We don’t have the right to think we are more attractive or less attractive than anyone else. To think your more attractive is being conceited, obviously, but to think we’re less attractive is equally bad. And this is the side we tend to err on, I think. I’ve heard it said that supermodels have the worst self esteem. And I’m not sure if that’s true, but I bet there’s at least a grain of truth there. Why? Because they live in a world where they compete by their looks. Their beauty is ranked by others all the time. Sadly, the common populace is much the same way. Remember high school? It’s hard to shed old ways of thought, but I want to encourage you to let your beauty shine throughout the Holidays and beyond. Enjoy being who you are! That’s the part that won’t ever go away.

Finally, I realize not all of my readers share my faith, but this post reminds me of a very apt verse of the Bible that I try to remember when I find myself feeling ugly.

“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fear the Lord is to be praised.”  Proverbs 31:30

It all comes down to who you’re trying to please? The perfectionistic side of yourself that wants to be perfectly put together at all times, (she can be pretty selfish and vain) or the part of you that wants to give to the world and take care of the ones you love and be a real light? Because those things make a woman truly beautiful. I always tell my daughters they are beautiful, but it’s more important to be beautiful on the inside than the outside and they have very beautiful hearts.  And yeah, some people may rank your beauty, but who cares? You’re your strongest critic. At the end of the day, I’d rather people say that I’m a beautiful person that that I’m just beautiful. And when that’s your focus, you’re more beautiful than you can imagine!

 

***What is beauty to you? Leave it in the comments section.***

Sunday’s Best


Megan cropped 12-14-14IMG_1949.JPG

I had been planning on skipping Sundays for blogging, but it’s my favorite day for outfit spotting, and I don’t think I can wait until Mondays to share them with you guys. So from here on out, I’ll try my darnedest to post my favorite street wear-or church wear- outfit from the week. In addition to spotlighting great style in general, I want to show the fashionable side of the Hoosier state. (Indiana, U.S. for you way-out-of-towners.)
If only my photography skills could live up to this outfit! For one thing, the shoes look a little orange in the picture, but they’re actually a bright tomato red. If it’s not absolutely clear from the picture, I assure you it’s completely perfect in every way. I love the Sundays my friend Megan comes home from college, because it’s always a glimpse into a brilliant style mind. And into a closet I totally want to play dress-up in! I officially nominate her the vintage queen of our area- she always KILLS IT! Every piece of this look is thrifted-as is her entire wardrobe. Blows my mind! I do love me some vintage, but I have to admit, I often can’t resist a lot of the trendy, cheapy fashion of the chain stores. (I won’t exactly name names, but I seem to have quite a weakness for a store named after a certain damp aquatic mammal.)
I always tell people you can better achieve a high fashion look by buying vintage. Megan proves that- every day. (That’s pronounced urrr day if you’re a tried and true Midwesterner.) You can expect to see her as a repeat Sunday’s Best winner, and I can’t wait to keep posting pictures of great looks…as soon as it stops being weird to ask people out of nowhere if i can photograph them.

So tell me, guys, are you loving this look, too?

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Photo Oh No

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Okay, so part of this whole blogging and fashion thing is figuring out how to do stuff you’re terrible at. When you’re starting anything, you have to wear all of the hats. Luckily, I have friends including one very talented designer to help with some aspects, but I still have to continually educate myself on all kinds of things I’ve never done before. I love having this blog to document that learning process for you guys and hopefully as I grow in knowledge, I can shed some light on how to overcome the obstacles of being a one man-or woman-operation.

As much as I hope to impart wisdom and enlighten you on how to do things, I fear that during my learning processes you’ll actually see more on how not to do things. But hey, it’s trial and error- heavy on the error, right?

That being said, I suck at photography. I’ve never had a passion for it, and don’t know how to work a fancy camera, much less own one. But I need to keep getting better at taking pictures for this blog. And since I have no one to model, I also have to get good tolerable at that. It’s hard work, people! These girls really know what they’re doing. Man, they must have tough skin and great personalities, because my inclination is to laugh and cover my face in front of the camera.

I’m getting better at trying poses out and learning what to do with my stupid face, which is really, really hard! (It’s just not as hard as learning what to do with my stupid hands.) Some shots are actually decent- considering I’m working with absolutely zero equipment- unless you count the flat sheet I have thumb-tacked to my wall. I’m not showing you those today, though, because when I look back at my photos, the first thing I do is find the horrible ones, crack up, then send them to my best friend, who also cracks up. (It’s ok. I’d be insecure if she didn’t laugh at me.) So without further ado, I’m elevating you guys to bestie status and inviting you to laugh at me.

Here they are, in all their terrible glory. (To get the full effect, you have to read the captions in your mind as a very serious French or British Photographer. It doesn’t matter which, but it needs to be one of those two. Maybe ya switch back and forth!)

IMG_1929Pout, Monique, Pout. No seriously. Act like you absolutely hate life and everybody in it.

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Now, pretend to be a confused Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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You have something in your eye, darling. Go ahead and dig it out!

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 For this shot, you are very suspicious. There’s something happening by the wall and you do not like it.

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You are wrestling for attention with the cat. Make sure you win, puppet!IMG_1857

Dead Face.IMG_1715-0

Alright, you’re dancing with your friends and a man you very much dislike tries to dance with you. Show him you’re not having it!

IMG_1706-0Make absolute certain no one sees your eyeballs, dear.

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Prison Pose.

(My friend said this one is makes her think of senior pictures. That makes me sad for seniors.)

Ok, guys, so what do you think?  You wanna see the  good slightly less horrific ones? 

P.S. I’m dying to see your failed shots…I know you have some! Post em in the comments, my dears!

Who Loves Pants? This Girl!

 

IMG_1805It’s become a running joke in my house that the only things I wear are jeans and sneakers, but the only things I buy are dresses and stilettos. That rings especially true in winter. I have a ton of cute fall outfits pinned on Pinterest, and almost all of them make me freeze to look at. Seriously. I’m ALWAYS cold. So while I would love to make a winter outfit with a cute burgundy skater skirt and funky tights, (I’m really digging the ones in the pic below right now:)  I’m leaning on my old stand-by. PANTS!

And who doesn’t love a good trouser, slack, or jean? Nobody, that’s who! I haven’t made a trouser pattern since fashion design school, and back then, I fit the measurements of the dress form we used. I found my figure has changed since then, so I had to do a pattern block from scratch. (It’s not as easy measuring yourself as it is a dress form or someone else, I’ll tell ya that much!) This picture is of me measuring my hips and finding out that I finally have some! Say it with me…YAY! I’m a 38 instead of a 36 inch hip now, which is proof that I do have a butt now. Sort of. Of course, the down side to that is the inevitable tummy issue. (Can I call it inevitable if it could be prevented by exercise, but I just don’t do it?)

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Now, unless you’re a total pattern nerd like me, the pictures above and below won’t excite you. If, however, you geek out a little over the pastime, you’ll share my butterfly-y glee. I had planned to be a patternmaker after school and work up from there. I strongly believe designers need a real sense of how clothing fits together. But long story short, life had other plans and now I’m making pants out of my living room. That may not sound very thrilling, but it is to me.

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I got so far as to cut out the muslin for the test fit. Nothing in the patternmaking world comes off without a hitch straightaway, so I know I’ll have to do some changes to this pattern block in order to use it for real patterns. But palazzo pants, 70s style trousers, and slim line tuxedo pants here I come! It won’t take long to sew the muslin together, so I should be posting my progress soon.  In the meantime, let’s all tip our slouchy hats to Miss Marlene Dietrich, my absolute fashion fave for making men’s slacks Oh So Cool for women!

See, I’m pretty casual. It’s no makeup Monday for me pretty much week-round. I sometimes wear makeup. I occasionally do my hair. I wear dresses on every full blue moon that falls on the 13th of May. If you see me wearing makeup…with my hair done…in a dress, I think an angel is actually getting his wings. Or something like that.

IMG_1798The moral of the story?

Pants are pretty spectacular! Although, I think that’s pretty much the moral of every story. I may be biased. The End

 

San Diego designers find loophole market for custom clothing

Custom Design. I’m a fan and it’s one of my passions. Just imagine…perfectly fitting clothing! These girls are doing it and, apparently, making a decent living off of it. Great article to spotlight the Slow Fashion movement!

JMS Reports

Victoria Roberts of WishNow shows off a pink, custom-made party dress in her studio. Fashion designer Victoria Roberts shows off a custom-made party dress in her studio. Photo by Liane Velasco

Two fashion designers have found a way to create special garments for their clients by using psychological methods and environment-friendly materials.

In a world where instant gratification has become the norm, mass production has inched its way to the front of the fashion race and understandably so. Unless you make a decent amount of money, customized clothing services are hard to buy.

JoAnn Jack, an instructor for merchandise marketing and product development at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, noted that unless a designer is producing evening gowns or wedding dresses, custom work is not worth the time or investment. People want a certain piece of clothing immediately, making custom clothing an extremely difficult business for fashion designers to dive into and survive financially.

“It doesn’t work because people won’t…

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