Misty music video memories

I grew up in the suburbs.  My parents did their best to keep my siblings and I sheltered and conservative and protestant.  For much of my youth, both my parents worked full-time to maintain our safe vanilla existence, and parent-less suburban summers were the best.  Sleeping in every day, eating bowl after bowl of Cap'n Crunch, water gun fights with the neighborhood kids - until the jerk with the super soaker showed up and ruined everyone's fun... 

While my parents were busy working during these formative years, I was often left in the expert care of my older, bad-ass teenage rocker sister and her acid-jean-and-boot-wearin' best friends.  Our summer days were filled with fun activities like "doing our (their) hair" - a hot, sweat-inducing ritual involving crimping irons of various intensities, singed bangs, and can upon can of EXTRA STRENGTH Aqua Net, because more was always better where Aqua Net is involved.  I can still recall the feel of the thick, sticky spray on my bare feet in the bathroom...

The hair ritual was usually preceded by an afternoon of sipping clear Pepsi and/or Diet Coke and me observing sweet hand gestures/dance moves and expert lipsyncing to GNR's Appetite for Destruction while "laying out" in our (their) high waisted bikinis, weather permitting of course.  When the clouds rolled in, there was an almost daily slamming of the door in my face so the girls could three-way-call each other and maybe make out with their Poison posters.

Not weird at all...

But this is all just a guess because I was never brought into the secret fold of teenage girl room-time.  Much like a book in the Babysitter's Club series, getting shut out of her room and playing Barbies solo led to an AMAZING development of imagination, so thanks sis for that. 

Needless to say, with all this free time I watched A LOT of tv.  And movies.  I can't really testify to whether or not I feel like it was too much.  Every study I've read about too much tv tells me that my brain waves were probably highly affected and that I definitely have some sort of attention deficit disorder, and I am an armchair doctor so I would know.  If you've seen my vast array of half-finished (let's be real, barely started...) home improvement projects, craft projects and kitchen gadgets (make your own ____!) you'll venture to guess those studies might be onto something.

Every once in a while I had the genuine pleasure of watching MTV, usually at one of my sister's friend's houses while they ignored me.*

*I should also mention, that I love all of these girls who are some of my closest friends now, and my sister and I are best friends.  So for the most part I've gotten over it.

I don't know that any single activity from childhood made more of an impact, I'm very sorry and mildly embarrassed to say.  It doesn't make any sense to this day why I loved it so much.  Maybe because it was forbidden fruit.  But there was nothing better in my sheltered middle-class world than to see Steven Tyler prancing around like a mating rain-forest bird, or Bel Biv Devoe warning us, no, demanding that we listen: never trust a big butt and a smile.  The late 80's and early 90's were full of countless rock music video gems.  Living Color offered me a new perspective on wet suits and what metal bands should look like.  The limber and talented Tawny Kitaen cartwheeling across a car was highly motivating to exercise.  Chris Isaak's make out moment with a supermodel on the beach was certainly formative to a 12 year old's idea of (ahem) romance.  Life lessons learned, people.  Music videos brought songs to life visually for me and it some twisted way probably shaped me as an artist.

I think my favorite video might be Land of Confusion by Genesis.  It contains a rare gem of cultural context that some of might remember better than others: The Spitting Image puppets.

I had no idea what any of it meant at the time, just that it was hilarious in my 8 year old mind.  I watched it again for the first time in probably 25 years recently and still have no idea what it means, but was nonetheless impressed all over again.

As my kids get older, I sometimes wonder if I'm sheltering them too much.  I'm not ready to sit down for a Nightmare On Elm Street marathon/walk down memory lane just yet, but I kinda want to share some of this weird childhood MTV obsession with them.  Carefully filtered, of course.  I've shown them the music video that I worked on with Elk and Boar, but they couldn't be bothered because Mom made it, and how could it possibly be cool?

Thank the 80's gods for YouTube.  You can see all of your 80's/90's favorites if you dig hard enough.  Some friends and I conjured up a few playlists for our newly founded "80's ladies music video night" and it was the most hilarious and sadly enjoyable evening I've had in a long time.  I highly recommend adding 13 or so of your favorite music vid gems to a playlist, cracking open something pink and sparkling and inviting some same-aged girlfriends over for an all-night cackle-fest.  Truly the makings of a remarkable evening.

And thanks Mom, Dad and Sis for making all these glorious memories possible.  ;)


Dot obsessed.

I don't have enough dots in my wardrobe, so I decided I needed some.  I found this crepe chiffon fabric at the Pacific Fabrics outlet in SoDo on mega sale. 

Love the color and the drape!  I'm going to use it to make this shirt pattern (c), minus the random ruffly bits and opting to leave out the tie at the neckline.  I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

All of my recent sewing adventures have been fantastic.  I'm learning new skills and feeling confident in taking on new challenges.  What are you working on these days?  Link up your projects in the comments section so I can see!


Lacy little drawers ;)

I started off last week making shorts, and by the end of it I had accomplished sewing my first few pairs of undies, drafting my own patterns and learning that you generally need a LOT more fabric than you'd like to think you do when making unmentionables.  Now there's a reality check for you...

So I had this tablecloth.  It was huge, lacy and had a few holes in it, but I knew it was destined for greatness.  What's not to love about sheer mustard yellow and lace, right???
Yeah, maybe not so much with the yellow chairs...

But I loved the scalloped edge.
After making a camisole and shorts set, I thought I'd like to try a little nightie and tap pants set with this fabric.  I especially LOVE how the shorts turned out. 

I drafted this pattern using a jammie bottoms pattern for reference, but cut them to look more like low waisted undies that are only fitted at the top.  Very cheeky indeed.  :)

Next I came across some polka dots in the fabric stash.  It's amazing to me sometimes when you pick up a piece of fabric, it seems to take on a life of it's own.  Somehow they transformed into this little set! 

Speaking of cheeky, the thong sort of just happened.  Maybe it's just because I ran out of fabric.  Either way, I will never wear these.  I don't even know if I own a thong anymore.  I don't think I have since I was in my early twenties (I've had two kids, so I generally opt for the sausage casing Spanx when I get all gussied up and don't want a panty line (Sorry if I burst anyone's bubble - but all this?  It's an illusion...)).  Maybe that's too much information.  But thongs to me seem like the most impractical of all undergarments.  Okay, rant over.  So, knowing all this, I still somehow managed to sew one up and don't totally hate it.  Because come on, how cute are polkadots, ruffles and bows?

Underwear making is fun.  :)


Ooh la lingerie

Last week was my first adventure in making lingerie.  I am not a big lingerie-wearer (sorry to disappoint) but I do have a special affection for vintage peignoir sets, nighties and chiffon.  A friend gave me a sweet blue nightgown she uncovered at the thrift store.  Someone had perhaps tried to tea-stain the lace, giving it a great vintage look.  While it was lovely to look at, the gown wasn't very practical.  It was long and flowy, so of course I immediately went at it with my rotary cutter and scissors, and thusly transformed it into a lacy little tank and shorts and this very flirtatious (ahem) chemise.

Making the chemise was very easy.  I cut across the width of the nightgown, and then marked a point along the cut 3 inches in from the side seam, and another 7 inches down from the top on the side seam on either side.  From that point I cut diagonally from the points at the side seam to the points at the top.  I finished the seams, and then folded the top seam over to create a casing at the top for the adjustable drawstring straps.  Lucky for me, I had some blue seam binding left over from another project, so I closed it up with a simple seam and ran it through the casing for straps.

The lace top was finished with a seam at the bottom edge of the lining.  Modifying a pattern I already had for pajama bottoms seemed to work just fine.  Thankfully the stretchy fabric was somewhat forgiving - I didn't make a practice pair before cutting, and I had very little fabric to work with!  Somewhat cavalier of me considering I've never made anything close to pants or shorts before, but it all worked out in the end.  :)

Tomorrow I'll share another creation made from an old tablecloth!  Sounds not so great, but trust me, it's lovely.  ;)


The Ice Storm

Just a quick post today to share these lovely photos from the intense ice storm we had a few weeks back.  There were plenty of broken branches and uprooted trees to be sure, but I was so impressed with these delicate impressions left in the ice (captured by my adorable husband.)  :) 

Linus loved watching the snow fall...
Now we're starting to see buds on the trees like we always do this time of the year in the Northwest.  Winter in this area is never very exciting - we Northwesterners tend to jump for joy when it actually does snow.  And when it does, it makes for a much more dramatic show when the seasons change, as Nature grooms herself and readies for another Spring.


Guess who's in Altered Couture? ;)

When I came home from my walk today, this was waiting for me.
I shrieked and my husband looked at me like I was a lunatic.  I am just so excited!

Remember this little dress?

(The little beige dress in the center...)
It was part of the photo shoot I did last year with Dee Jones for the zine.  We designed some looks together for our dreamy, bohemian, nature-inspired wedding.  I submitted the dress to Altered Couture (one of my favorite publications!  All about upcycling clothes...), and much to my surprise and delight, they liked it!  So I got to write an article about the process, and it's officially been published in their Spring 2012 issue!

For me, holding the magazine in my hands and seeing our names in print feels like validation for all the creative hard work I've been doing in the last year.  It's giving me a boost of confidence to keep pursuing the path I'm on.

And I couldn't be more excited for my incredible friend Dee!!!  She is such an inspiration to me and I really treasure her friendship.  The article is entitled "Kindred Spirits" because that's truly how I think of Dee (a la Anne of Green Gables.)  :)  If it weren't for her talent and hard work on the dress and photo shoot, this never would have been.  Lots of love, and thanks so so so so much Dee Dee!

So I hope you'll take a look-see!  I know they sell the mag at Joann's and I have seen it here in Tacoma at Artco (and maybe Michaels...)  There are so many gorgeous photos and inspiring creations, with step by step guides to how they were made.  It really is one of my favorites!!!


NW Vintage Wedding Fair Call to Vendors

 I'm so excited for this event.  The Northwest Vintage Wedding Fair is celebrating it's successful 3rd year this year, and is currently seeking vintage vendors and vintage-infused makers, sellers and services to participate on March 31, 2012 from 12-6.  See the website for info on how to apply!

I was thrilled to be asked to contribute this year as one of the event organizers and help to grow this unique event to it's potential!  Last year I was one of twelve vendors at the event held in Seattle.  The fair drew in an unanticipated number of people, so many in fact, that the event was expanded this year to accommodate 20-30 vendors, a cash and carry vintage market (with amazing vintage wedding goodies!) and more guests than ever.  This year the fair will be held at Greenwood Square and we welcome you to come and see the best of what the Northwest has to offer for vintage-loving brides and grooms.  Come early and enjoy a VIP reception complete with goodie bags, champagne and appetizers!  If you're like me, when it comes to vintage, I want to be there first to get my hands on all the goods!!!

Hope to see you there!