Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sundress Time:ootd

    This week we wrapped up our last session of co-op classes for the summer.  While we continue to have class on our own year round, I'm both sad and relieved to end the co-op stuff for a while.  Sad because this was our last session with some very good friends who will be moving on and sad because during class I could just sit in a corner, plug in my headphones and doodle in my sketch book for an hour or so.  But, I'm also relieved to have one less thing on the schedule each week and because it means that summer is on the way.  Summer of course means sundresses and I am ever so ready to start wearing those.  Winter seems to get longer every year and summer seems to get shorter.  Maybe that's because last summer was such a mad rush of activity we barely had any time to relax and enjoy it.  I'm determined that this year will not be the same.  So, bring on the sunshine and the beach.  Bring on the picnics, the long walks, and bring on the cute dresses!

Shop the Look:
Bulldog Dress from The Other Sparrows
Mak Cardigan from ModCloth
Red Jelly purse from Ebay
Forever 21 Peter Pan Top

Friday, April 29, 2016

Accessorizing your Accessories

    Did you ever have a small piece of your wardrobe that spoke volumes?  That novelty purse or statement necklace that was so wow it brought more life to any outfit?  Or maybe it was so full of statement that you just didn't know what to wear with it?  Pieces like this can be wonderful and they can be tricky.  The key to wearing them is to build a simple outfit around them.  I have an acquaintance who is the Mozart of sewing.  She makes the most amazing cloth dolls and purses.  My girls have two of the dolls she made and they were so beautiful I hesitated to give them to my children only to be worn to pieces.  But, I did give them the dolls and they treasure them still.  
    This crafty lady sent me a purse that she had made from up-cycled items and asked how I would wear it.  It has so many lovely, warm colors and a boho feel to it that I immediately thought of a casual dress and leggings.  It just so happened that I had bought a TopShop dress with the intention of wearing it for some family portraits, but once it arrived I realized it would be shockingly short.  Not to worry, I paired it with some leggings and this purse and headed out for a day of running errands and hanging out at the park.
Start with something simple like two solid color items.  This burgundy dress and dark chocolate leggings and flats are also quite similar in intensity.  By itself, this outfit is understated but not bland.

Adding a statement piece like this really adds visual interest to the outfit.  The purse has so many colors, it was easy to find things in my wardrobe to go with it.  With the striped print, fringe, and floral embellishment, it really livens up the outfit.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Goodbye, Dear Creatures

    Sad news as after nine years Dear Creatures closes its online shop for good on April 30th.  I've been wondering why they haven't come out with a new lookbook and I guess I got my answer.  It's unclear to me as to whether or not they'll continue to operate a brick and mortar store or use marketplaces like ModCloth to carry their gorgeous dresses, but in any case I'm sad to see their shop close.  They're having a sale of course.  It's worth having a quick look, and I say quick because there isn't much left to choose from.  I hope this isn't goodbye for good.  If anyone has the inside info on whether or not they'll continue making dresses, feel free to comment below.

Nanohana: The Mustard Flower

     I love this time of year.  Everything has that brilliant glow of new green life.  It's the only time of year I don't feel too awkward wearing these bright green flats.  The birds are back, the flowers are blooming, and the cantankerous old squirrel that lives across the street has returned to carry on his morning ritual of screeching at the world.  I even love the rainy days (of the non-typhoon variety) and today was one of those days.  
    For our first couple of years here my girls and I used to go to a nearby campground for nature walks. It was the only quiet place around and even though it took about 30 minutes of walking to get there, the girls indulged me in seeking solitude and tried not to complain.  They knew how much I needed it. 
    On one of our visits my youngest saw a yellow flowering plant and took some seeds home to scatter in our yard. Then we all forgot about it. This spring I noticed something coming up that looked a lot like broccoli. Since we've never planted broccoli, we were a little perplexed, but out of curiosity we decided to let it grow.  As it grew it turned into this enormous flowering plant. It's called Nanohana (mustard flower) and is in the same family as broccoli hence the similarities. Since this will be our only year to enjoy it, I thought I'd snap a few photos to remember it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Geronimo Vintage: Artist Spotlight

    I've found this little place on Etsy with the most gorgeous vintage dresses.  I just had to share.  It's called Geronimo Vintage and is chock full of gorgeous dresses, skirts, and more.  I've included it in my Artist Spotlight because restoring vintage pieces to wearable condition takes true skill and patience.  Prices vary by the piece, but dresses run in the neighborhood of $100-$200, a small price to pay for a unique and authentic piece.  
    Bernadette, the shop's owner, restores these dresses herself and says that, "it feels good knowing that each garment sold from my shop will be admired & loved again by clients that share the same Vintage passion that I do."  Well said.  She clearly has a great eye for these beautiful pieces.  Keep up the beautiful work, Bernadette!
Mint Green Dress $139  &  Polka dot Dress $158
Daisy Stripe Dress $98  &  Pink Ribbon Dress $115
Grey Stripe Dress $175  &  Blue Bombshell Dress $95
Blue Green Plaid Dress $148  &  Blue Vines Sundress $248
Rainbow Stripe Dress $118  &  Novelty Print Dress $145

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Forever 21 Floral dress:ootd

    Love this floral dress I found on!  You can see the other outfit I've worn with the dress here.  It was a little too big in the bodice, but even though I had to take it in at the back and lose the pretty cutout, it's still a gorgeous print and just the right length.  Of all the alterations I've made to my clothes over the years to get just the right fit, folding in this cut-out and sewing it up was probably the easiest.

Shop the Look:
Dress and Pearl Necklace from Forever 21
Necklace is handmade
Charter School Cardigan in Sage and flats (which are sold out) from ModCloth  Here are some similar flats that are on sale

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Forgotten Styles:ootd

      I switched out my camera's memory card and found several more outfits that never got posted for some reason.  The past week was spent planning and throwing a joint birthday party for my girls.  I find birthday parties extremely stressful, so this year, even though their birthdays are far apart, we picked a place in the middle and had one big celebration.  It was wonderful, but I need a few days to recover.  So, while I'm recuperating, I'm going to post all these forgotten outfits.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Blooming Spring Sundress Review

Another sweet sundress from Larmoni, now also available at their new shop The Other Sparrows
This dress is made of  100% cotton, but it feels like linen.  Very cute, love the print.  I normally wear a size XS, but when I looked at the sizing chart, I decided that for this brand, a medium would be a better fit.  These dresses are short, meant for summer days, which is an added bonus to buying the medium as it comes with an extra inch or two of length.

Shop the Look:
Blooming Spring Sundress
From the RoundUp Purse by Nila Anthony
Earrings from ModCloth
Soda Flats are old
Cardigan is by J. Crew

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Quick Post

What a week!  It's not over yet and it seems like it's never going to quit.  Today I'm running on two hours of sleep and getting ready to throw a "Pink Poodles & Paris" party for a dozen giggling girls.  So, I'll keep today's post short and sweet.  These are a few photos in my first sewing project under the cherry blossoms a few weeks ago. 

Breaking Up and Getting Back Together: musings

Second and final Update 4/29/16:
I have just won my case against this awful buyer!  Sure, they froze my account for a week and it took several calls and forms, but Ebay ruled in my favor that the woman was abusing the returns guarantee.  A small dose of justice in this silly world.
Update 4/21/16:
Sometimes I really hate being right.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my experiences as a seller on Ebay.  I mainly focused on the negative experiences since they were the reason I decided to stop selling.  But, with a few things in my closet needing to find good homes I decided to give it another try.  Of the dozen items I ended up listing six of them sold.  Of those six I've only heard from two of the buyers.  One was glowing and positive.  The other is demanding a refund because she doesn't like the fabric of the dress.  I apologized that she's unhappy with the dress and suggested a slip might help.  No, she wants a refund.  I told her once again that I'm sorry, but it was clearly stated at two different places in the listing that all sales are final and I do not accept returns.  And now, I wait.  Ebay covers returns if an item was incorrectly described, but being unhappy with the material of an item isn't really the seller's fault.  I don't think it matters.  All she has to do is say that it "wasn't as described"  and it doesn't matter if I gave accurate sizing, condition, and provided material info.  She is most likely going to open a case against me and I'll most likely be forced to give her a refund.  Either way, I've made up my mind.  That's it, Ebay.  This time we are broken up for good!! 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Matryoshka Dress At Last!

   It has been months of planning, preparing (and, I'll admit, procrastinating), but the dress is done.  I've wanted to make my own version of this Eva Franco dress ever since it first appeared at ModCloth several years ago.  It originally cost around $325 and the two or three times I've seen it pop up on second hand sites, it still sold for around $200.  It's beautiful and brilliant, but I can't justify spending more on a dress than I do for a week of groceries to feed a family of four.
    A few months ago I came across the same matryoshka print in a heavy canvas fabric, so I decided to try to make an apron.  It was my first attempt at sewing anything and I didn't use a pattern.  The results were less than stunning and I ended up giving the apron to one of my kids.
    In spite of that rough beginning, I was determined to persevere.  I found the right kind of fabric and the right patterns, and eventually the right situation (a wind storm that kept us indoors all weekend), so that I could succeed.  This is  only my second attempt at sewing a dress and once again it's far from perfect, but I'm getting closer.  The last dress was about 60:40 on the ratio of hubby's help to working on my own.  This time I'm pleased to report I completed about 80% of it on my own.
    This dress was a combination of two different patterns.  That was too ambitious for my skill level, even a bit too ambitious for my husband's skill level.  It didn't occur to me until all the pieces were cut and sewed, and I was ready to join the skirt to the bodice that the two different  patterns might not join smoothly.  They didn't.  Not at all.  My dear husband scratched his head, shrugged his shoulders, and left me to puzzle it out.  And I did...rather imperfectly, but I've learned from it.
    I'm already planning my next dress...and skirt...and I'm hoping to do a two piece dress as well as some sundresses for my girls.  I've already bought all the fabric, so I'm committed to seeing it through.  With typhoon season coming, I'm sure I'll have plenty of days trapped indoors, so finding time to devote to sewing shouldn't be too hard.  At the end of all those projects I expect that I'll either be hooked for life or ready to give up forever.  We shall see.

Shop the Look:
Vogue Pattern V8789 for the top
Simplicity Cynthia Rowley 1873 for the skirt
Japanese Matryoshka Fabric.  Find it here and here 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Boho Chic: ootd

    Forgive me for keeping my background rather plain this week.  I just felt that this dress didn't need much help to stand out.  This look is a new-to-me outfit.  The dress is Anthropologie's Daleka Day Silk Dress by Maeve and it's been on my search list for over a year.  Normally running at about $60-$90, I never found an excuse to pay so much for what would essentially be worn for running errands in the summertime and trips to the beach.  But, it is undeniably lovely, so I kept looking.
    ThredUp to the rescue again!  I swear, I don't work for them, I just really love this place. (And if you've never tried ThredUp here's a link for you to sign up and save $20 off your first order )  For $30 this little beauty joined my wardrobe and it is just as stunning in person as it is in the photos.
    The one thing I didn't care for about this dress, or any dress of this style is the waist. Which is to say, it doesn't have a waist.  It has a chest piece that goes right into a skirt.  The chest pieces itself is rather unflattering.  It smooshes everything while simultaneously making it look droopy thanks to the frowning arch created by the halter string.  If you're like me and already pretty small, it can make your chest look non-existent.  This in turn can make your bottom half and belly look bigger.  To fix this little issue, I added a thick belt at the bottom of the chest piece.

 Overall, I love this dress.  It's light and flowy, colorful and yet simple.  I kept the jewelry simple as well, but just using brass filigree pieces that I made myself.  And I put a few flowers in my hair.  After all, what's life without whimsy.

Shop the Look:
Maeve Daleka Dress and J. Crew Cardigan from ThredUp
Evelyn Thong Sandals are old and from Target
Samba Sash Belt from ModCloth

© Bleu Avenue. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.