Wednesday, December 31, 2008

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding~

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

how to make '80s garments current

Thrift stores these days are over-flowing with garments from the 1980s. Lace prom dresses, boxy jackets, day-glow blast jackets, pleated blouses.

Many of these garments look cool, but it can be hard to imagine them fitting into your modern wardrobe. Here's a couple tips I've learned to update and alter your 80s finds.

This is probably the #1 way to update clothing. Most shoulder pads are tacked in with thread or string, so they can be easily removed with scissors or a seam ripper.
(Don't get me some cases, I like shoulder pads, so long as they aren't costumey. Just decide for yourself whether they suit your figure and style or not.)

Buttons are a tell-tale way to date clothing. 80's clothing tends to have large, flashy, or matchy-matchy buttons.Replace them with something a little more subtle or unique for a modern look.

Many 80s dresses and skirts have mid-calf length hems. This look isn't particularly flattering on most people. Try hemming your skirt or dress to knee length.

Over-the-top, obnoxious sleeves are an 80s staple. Try cutting them off and leaving the armhole edges raw or finishing them with bias tape. You can even add new sleeves if you like. If you've removed the sleeves of your dress, try wearing it like a jumper with a fitted long-sleeve shirt underneath.

Now that you've updated your thrift finds, try combining them in unexpected ways. Pair your 80s stonewash jeans with a simple tank and a modern scarf, your loud 80s dress with black tights and oxfords, your bright boxy jacket with a knit black dress and and ballet get the picture. Send me photos of your 1980s-style outfits and they may end up on my blog!

Coming soon: outfits centered around 80s garments I've thrifted recently....

Images courtesy of and

Monday, December 29, 2008


I made this blackberry pie today. I'm sure my blackberry pie recipe would be nothing new, but I decided to share my crust recipe because it's super easy and delicious.

Favorite Pie Crust

(recipe makes 1 crust; double for 2-crust pies)

-2 c. all-purpose four
-1/2 tsp. salt
-2/3 chilled butter
-1/4-1/2 c. cold water
Note: I use my food processor to make crust (just recently got one of these, and it's miraculous), but I've made crust most of my life without one, so I'll include instructions for both, with special processor instructions in green. I use the little spinny-blade-thingy with my processor.

1. Sift flour and salt together into large bowl (or bowl of food processor).

2. Cut butter into 1/2 in. chunks and add to flour mixture.

3. Cut butter in with pie cutter (or pulse with processor) until mixture has the consistency of bread crumbs.

4. Add water and stir (or pulse). Start with 1/4 c. water and slowly add more until mixture retains shape when packed together with your fingers.

5. Pack mixture into a ball (if using processor, dump mixture into a bowl before doing this; I don't want to be responsible for missing fingers :).

6. Spread flour on your work surface, and roll out dough with rolling pin, sprinkling with flour and flipping occasionally to prevent sticking. Dough should be about 1/8 in. thick.

7. Fold crust into quarters (in half, then again) and position in pie pan with folded corner in the center.

8. Unfold, press into place, and finish the edge as you wish (I use the Fluted Pinched method from this page).

9. Bake according to your recipe and enjoy!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

gold yarn

-Handmade scarf
-Necessary Objects dress
-H&M sweater
-Target tights
-Vintage sandals

I've had a marvelous Christmas! How about everyone else?
Plus, last Sunday I bought my first Blythe doll! Pictures coming soon.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Everything at is 50% off through Dec. 31.

Take advantage of the great deals!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

christmas curls

I rag-rolled my hair for our Christmas church service this morning. At first I thought I looked like Art Garfunkel, but I tamed it with a headband and I think I like it now. Our service was beautiful (complete with a ballet dance, candles, and carols), but it's -3 F today (with a wind chill factor of -30 F ) and I'm just glad to be home and bundled up in a turtleneck and hoodie.

I'm going to take a break from blogging until after Christmas, so Happy Holidays to everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

barbie at the movies

I'm currently working on a series of Barbie outfits influenced by costumes from classic movies. This is the first, inspired by one of Judy Garland's dresses from Meet Me in St. Louis (I watched that last week on TCM and I definitely recommend it).
This dress should be for sale in the shop within the next few days.
Edit: this dress has sold! Please contact me if you'd like to purchase a similiar dress.

Monday, December 15, 2008

rose-colored shoes

-H&M blouse
-thrifted skirt
-Target tights
-thrifted shoes

Sunday, December 14, 2008

{book}mark my words

You can only give someone so many zipper pouches. This is the case with a particular friend of mine, so I had to sit down and think a bit to come up with a Christmas present for her. She's quite the bookworm, so I went with a fabric bookmark.
I made this up as I went, and here's how to do it for everyone who may have a bookworm in their lives too.

This particular friend is a feminine, Meg March-ish type, which is why I went with the girly color scheme, but this project could easily be amended to suit your comic-book-loving niece or foodie grandpa.

Here goes....

1. Assemble the following:

+Two 3 1/2" by 8" fabric rectangles (iron stiff interfacing on one of them)

+One 2 1/2" by 7" contrasting fabric rectangle (I penciled diagonal lines 1/2" apart and sewed over them with some fancy machine stitches, but you could do whatever you like: hand-stitchery, applique, horizontal or vertical stripes, etc. Once you're done embellishing it, press the edges under 1/4")

+One 15" long piece of ribbon (loop a shank button through it like I did, or sandwich two buttons over the end and glue in place, or string some beads on it, etc.)

It should all look something like this:

Center the embellished rectangle on the interfaced rectangle and edgestitch in place. Baste the ribbon in the right corner (I sewed it in the left, which I discovered doesn't work if you want the ribbon to hang over the book binding).

Like so (but with the ribbon in the opposite corner):

Pin that piece and your other larger rectangle, wrong sides together, making sure not to catch the ribbon in the edges. Sew around all sides except the bottom, and trim the seam allowances.

Like so:

And so:

Turn right side out and press thoroughly with a steam iron. Turn the bottom edge in 1/4" and press. Edgestitch around the whole thing, and you're done!

Need to wrap the gift you've just created? Check out my posts about Handmade Wrappings here and here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What I've Been Up To.........

Greetings from the big screen! Picture awesome-ified at

+Last night. Brian Regan concert. Need I say more? My cheeks still hurt from laughing so much. If you haven't heard of him (heaven forbid) here's his site.

+I've been on an Etsy-banner-making kick. I made a bunch of free ones for various Etsians (see them here). If you've got an Etsy shop and need/want a new banner, leave a comment, send me a Convo/email, yell across the house.....etc.

+Jeeves and Wooster. I read some of these books when I was younger, but I was just reaqquainted with them via Alexander Spencer's recordings of P. G. Wodehouse's beloved books. Both aforementioned men were geniuses of their respective crafts, and the combination of the two is delightful to behold. If they can't be found through your local library, here's where you can buy them online.

+Wrapping up more presents. Here's some (free) gift tags that are super cute:
-Black Apple Tags
-Paper Seed Tags
-Letters to Santa Tags
-House Wren Studio Tags
-Dr. Seuss Gift Tags

+Shopping for vintage patterns. I don't really need more, but I have this desperate feeling that if I don't buy them now, they'll be expensive and rare when I actually get around to buying them. Most of my favorites on Etsy right now are vintage patterns, right here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

May All Your Christmases be White

Paper snowflakes are a recent holiday tradition around here. Ever since I watched Christmas with Dr. Snowflake (it sounds like a dumb children's book, but it's actually a video made by this bearded snowflake whiz), I've been trying my hand at these paper creations every Dec.

Here are this year's attempts. I only made a few so that we can actually see out our back door. This is the method I use, except for I draw my own designs in pencil on the snowflake before cutting. Once cut, I iron them and tape them up!

For those of you of the digitial inclination (or with no paper and scissors handy) check out Make-a-Flake. Be sure to look at the gallery; there's some virtual snowflakes made by true paper geniuses. Or people who were really bored at the office one day.

Here's a couple of mine, jazzed up with my Paint program:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Top Ten.....Purple Dresses on

(photo credits property of their respective shops)


Vintage Sixties Mod Purple Apple Print Front Zip Dress


Green and Black Plaid

-Vintage necklace
-Vintage dress
-Personal Identity shoes
(that has to be the stupidest name for a shoe line ever)

I've had a nice weekend spent performing choir concerts and baking Christmas cookies. This is what I wore to church today. I love this dress because it looks Christmas-y without being cloying, if you know what I mean. The necklace is one of my favorites too.
(I know my pictures are kind of effects-heavy today; but I recently discovered and it's so much fun to play around with that I couldn't resist!)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Friday Favorites:

I'm not a big jewelry girl, but's plastic flower creations are simply irresistable. Bright, retro, and truly unique, they would make a perfect and interesting additon to any kind of outfit, from a cocktail dress to jeans and a sweater. Above are a few of my favorites; the rest of Shawna's jewelry is available here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

More Handmade Wrappings

I posted before about gift wrapping, and I've been busy since then getting ready for a full-on post about it. As I said before, I love gifts that are wrapped in creative, personal, non-wasteful ways; I think it's a strange and silly idea to buy a bunch of expensive papers, bows, and boxes, and then stuff them in the trash can when the party (or holiday) is over.

All the wrapping suggestions here use recycled or unconvential materials, and they're all very easy. I'm showing Christmas presents here, but these wrappings can be adjusted for any occasion.

1. Recycling Bin Wrapping

As the name would imply, I found all the supplies for this package in my recycling bin. I packed my present into a box from something I ordered online awhile ago (with tissue paper from a present I received). Then I wrapped it, using a page of newspaper comics for paper. I added ribbon and tiny note, and now it's a fun and retro gift that's perfect for my best friend!

2. Fabric Bag
For this package, I took a piece of fabric, folded it in half, and sewed up the sides. I trimmed the seams with pinking shears to prevent fraying and add interest. I put my gift inside, then tied up the top with a piece of vintage bias tape (ribbon would work just as well). For the tag, I grabbed a contrasting scrap of paper, pinked the edges, and threaded it through the bow. Done!

3. Reused Shopping Bag
I had a nice grey bag from a shopping trip to Ann Taylor; the only problem with these kind of bags is that they usually have the store name written on the front. I cut out a rectangle of paper with pinking shears, and glued 3 vintage buttons to the front. As soon as it had dried, I glued it over the store name. A completely free (and cute) gift bag!

4. Scrapbooking Paper Envelope
12" x 12" scrapbooking paper is often on sale at stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's for $.10 a sheet, and it comes in much more varied and modern prints than wrapping paper. It's perfect for wrapping small, flat items. I used it here to wrap a pencil case, folding it like normal wrapping paper at the corners. Instead of a bow, I used a flower cut from a piece of vintage trim.
Email me pictures of what you wrap at
If I get enough pictures, I'll do a post about reader's wrappings!

Monday, December 1, 2008

...on a Snowy Evening

-Old Navy Coat
-Jones New York turtleneck
-American Living Jeans
-Croft & Barrow oxfords

It really snowed for the first time this weekend, and now I finally feel like it's winter. Due to the cold weather I've been wearing my new Old Navy coat a lot, and I love it: my favorite color, mod cut, cute details.
I feel like baking sugar cookies and gingerbread, and wrapping presents. Hopefully, I'll get to do all of that!

How are you spending your December?

Please read this notice before emailing me or asking about exchanging links.