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Sunday, January 1, 2017

"Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses, 1981

Wrapping it up, that is. Christmas Wrapping is one of the handful of Christmas I can appreciate.
Lyrics like "Evergreens. Sparkling snow. Get this winter over with!" give it a snarky, sarcastic tone, but it's actually kind of corny. I love its frantic, fast pace that matches so well with the tone of the season.
I shall now bring you the tale of my ugly sweater Actually, it's not just a sweater, it's a sweater-dress. Also, it's not all that ugly. Here it is in "before" form:
The cliche that is the "ugly sweater" hails from the early 2000's when hipsters started hosting parties where guests were encouraged to wear an obnoxious and tacky garment from a second-hand store. Today, ugly sweaters are so ubiquitous that you can buy them right off the rack at Walmart and Target.
I found this dress at an early fall Savers sale and thought it would make an easy refash that stood on the border between cute/tacky.
My process: Removed shoulder pads. Cut the elastic cuffs off sleeves. Trimmed the hem.
I rolled up the sleeves and left a raw edge of the hem. A no-sew! Here's how it looked.
+
It actually looks pretty cute, but I was having a problem with that waist. I guess I wanted to make it a little more snug or maybe higher. I tested this out with safety pins.
I just pinched up the waist and safety pinned. This worked for me.
Well, that's a natural looking pose. Sleeves are rolled again. The sparkly metallic gold thread seems dated, but I must admit; it's not ugly. I was now low on time and needed this to wear to work. I figured I could add a tacky corsage thing?
I had a bunch of plastic, Christmas-y, flower decorations. I took that piece and pinned it to my dress. I also added the little Santa hat I picked up that week.
That outfit gets a "meh" from me. I like the hat and big brooch thing, but they don't go with the sweater dress. I think it looked best after the first cut; the picture seen after the "before" pic.
Finally...the green, silky, fancy holiday dress!
There's the "before." I got it a few years back on the cheap and figured I would sell it on Etsy. But as you can see, it just doesn't look appealing. The only thing I liked about it was the little diamond print. I didn't see it selling, so I kept it around as an eventual refashion. I finally got around to it.
It's a big '80s dress, so I'd have to start with my usual routine of paring it down. Off with the sleeves, in with the sides.
See those pleats? They were a problem. They seemed to stick out. So, I carefully sewed down each little pleat. I pinned down one side of the asymmetric button down bodice, leaving the buttons on the other side. It had a cool, kinda "new wave" look. Still, the length of the dress was too long.
Despite my love of long dresses, this one definitely held tight to its old lady look even without the sleeves. I was about to cut and pin the hem and I was like, "ughhh...I don't feel like it." There's got to be something easier, right?
Here's some clickbait:
What I did to this dress will leave you speechless!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Holidazed

I'm glad the holiday season is about done, but I still get those "party's over" blues. Also, I concur with many others who have shared this sentiment when I say that 2016 can suck it. I'm never ready on time to share seasonally-appropriate material on this blog or in social media. That's why I'll be showing you an "ugly Xmas party sweater" long after I wore the damn thing.
That's not it.
Let's do a little review of the last two months.
November brought us the election and an end to all the annoyance that comes with it; and it ended in a horrible twist that I sure didn't see coming. Not sorry for the political opinions. I do feel sorry for anyone who had to discuss our president-elect at their family Thanksgiving table. 
Thanksgiving. I had been dreading it for months. Mom said we had to all agree that there would be no political talk as it was going to be hard enough for us due to our huge loss.
Jesse...months go by and still I think about him every day. Here's the full story. Thanksgiving and Christmas are prime grieving seasons and I knew I'd be missing him the most during these times. Sometimes I think back to last April and the accident and I think, "Did that really happen?!" His absence at the table really drove that truth home. 
I made something, though!
See that? It's a big sweater with some clothing scraps. I combined them. 
I don't know where I got the idea. I guess I wanted to make a memorial that wasn't so obvious. I decided on that black sweater in that picture up at the top. That would've been a "before" shot, but it wasn't working out. I bought another long, black cardigan as long sweaters are something I pretty much wear round the clock in winter. (Savers $3.50, by the way.)
The scraps that I would use like patches were from t shirts that I'd been collecting. I wanted angel wings, cars, and I wanted sneakers.
That was his thing, he liked collecting sneakers. I was thinking I would have to print out an iron-on or something if I wanted sneakers. I actually looked through boy's clothes at Goodwill and found a red t shirt that was exactly what I needed.
I decided where I would place them and pinned them in place. The sneakers would be the focal point on the back with this wings over them. The cute little muscle car would go on the front, but it looked odd due to its small, elongated shape. I sewed the car to a scrap from the shirt I got the wings from so there was less negative space on that side of the sweater. Then, I carefully sewed them in place.
I finished it just in time for Thanksgiving.
The picture is all filtered and really doesn't do it justice. I grabbed a few pics one night at my aunt's request. My family loved it! I wasn't sure how I felt about it, but my aunt, uncle and other cousins really thought it was great.
The dice are mostly symbolic of the arbitrary nature of the events in his life. I found myself taking a chance on college because of his inspiration. Then, out of all the schools and grades in my city, I ended up doing observations in his kindergarten class. It's been said that having a baby is like playing the genetic lottery and my aunt rolled the dice on this one and managed to hit the jackpot. And in the end we all lost.
Wow that's depressing! I'm gonna call it quits for the night, here's a preview of what I hope to share within the next 24 hours.
To be continued.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

You must be my lucky star

Yeah, I know these blog posts are coming fewer and fewer, my bad, so sorry, etc. Here's a great refash of a really cool dress.
There's more...more of my poor blogging habits. There's no "before" picture. I know I took one at some point, but it doesn't seem to exist. That's because I started this project awhile ago and I'm just writing about it now.
Fear not! I drew up an artist's rendition of it:
LOL you guys. As you see, this dress has many of the common themes of '80s clothing. Actually, a common theme of my refashioning is complaining about the problems of '80s clothing. Such as:
-Oversized fit.
-High necklines. 
-Poof sleeves with shoulder pads and when you take the pads out, you're still left with a bunch of room at the top of your dress.
-Weird waistlines. Dropped waist? I don't get it, I don't want to have a square shape. The darling dress as depicted in my little drawing had a regular elastic waist. What it also had was an extra layer sewed into the shoulders and neckline and falling below the natural waistline.
One of my biggest complaints is a large top that flows over the waist band like so:
What you haven't seen is the incredible print my dress has.
Stars. Black background, silver/blue/pink stars. I should have sold it, but I needed this incredible print to be mine.
I really dropped the ball on the pictures for this project. I actually did something really cool with it. I can try and describe. Oh, and I can wear it three ways!
I took off that extra top layer.
Since it was all connected I had to repair the neckline and I went ahead and made it a little lower.

Pardon my pretentiousness. I'm like, "oooh, I'm glamorous!"I also hemmed it like, one inch. I think I actually took a small chop off the bottom and then realized I should not have. I folded the hem once and then used this stretch lace
to hide the raw edge:
I just wanted to show that cool vintage packaging.
So, I had that top layer I wanted to do something with so I did. I just can't exactly what. I think maybe I sewed up an arm hole and used the neck hole for...let's just look at the pictures shall we?
Ok, so here's the dress with the top layer. (Look, a star necklace too.)What's happening here is I've got one arm through it and the ties (scroll back up to my drawing) are still connected to the top and are tied around my waist so it's like a wrap dress that has a peplum look on the left (your left) side. Close up?
I love a good asymmetric look. Here's another way to wear this thing:
Now, I've got the top on sideways or something giving me one side with a big, flowing arm hole. Words are really not working with me here. More close up.
That's a selfie closeup. Can you see I connected the two layers with a brooch? Here's a picture of it alongside the necklace so they can be better appreciated:
Here is the dress with a belt on it:
Here's a line up! The one labeled as 3 is my favorite.



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hello Halloween!

I mean "Goodbye Halloween." It's November, but I wasn't gonna finish a project early just so I can blog about it in a timely fashion.
In my youthful days of joy, I would spend weeks planning a costume. Something sexy and fun, but not totally cliche. Then, I would prepare Halloween themed desserts, sometimes even a cocktail and celebrate the shit out of that holiday at what was always the party of the year.
Now, my sad ass just dresses up for school. I knew what I wanted to wear, whether it was age appropriate or not...
Helloooooo
So, if you read my blog over the summer, you'd know that I like Hello Kitty now. (Waves fist) You better be ok with that! (Why I like Kitty.) It's "kawaii" which means "cute af" in Japanese from what I can gather. The whole Sanrio-Kitty world is just so cute and endearing. The simplicity is what makes her over the top cute.
Oh, and I do remember the news story that came out awhile back declaring Hello Kitty "not a cat" and I declare "bullshit." Paws, whiskers, little cat ears...yeah, that's a cat, you can't pull a fast one on me!
Anyway...my costume. I searched Pinterest and Google images for some inspiration.
I wanted a cross between that strapless dress and that cute baby. She looks so comfy.
Here are some other ideas that could possibly be work appropriate. If I wanted to be recognized I needed the cat ears and bow, which I bought. For the clothing part, Kitty's usual outfit seems to be a jumper; something with shoulder straps like overalls. Her colors seem to have two basic schemes: classic red/blue/yellow or girly red and pink.
I didn't want to go subtle, so I figured I would construct a dress with images of Kitty herself. Even though that's kinda like this:
Milhouse: Check it out Lisa! I’m Radioactive Man!
Lisa: I don’t think the real Radioactive Man wears a plastic smock with a picture of himself on it!
Milhouse: He would on Halloween!
I started with this stupid garment:
I did not waste time modeling a "before" shot because it's not funny looking, it's just one of those terrycloth beachwear things. Obviously not a jumper, but it worked for me. Then I hit up the little girls' department of Savers and found this:
I almost felt bad about destroying it just for the picture of Kitty with the 3D bow. But I cut her out right around the head. The stretchy bathing suit material was kinda worn and pill-y. 
Then I went to Goodwill and found this one:
Oooh, sequined Hello Kitty face! Now, I want that one. Both dresses were $3 each, so...probably not money well spent for scraps. 
The transplant took place and the sparkle head was added to the front of my red "jumper." Then, I looked at the other one and wanted that one too. I made a pocket with it!
I didn't get a real picture, I just zoomed in.
Who has a pair of white leggings? Couldn't find any, until I asked my mom the night before. She said "Yeah, I think I do. And I don't think I've ever worn them. Why do I have them?"
The finishing touch was a really fun Hello Kitty necklace for $1.99. Actually, I drew on some whiskers. That was the finishing touch. 
Just a mirror selfie. My mirror just leans against the wall in my bedroom so I moved it into the kitchen for the white background. Here's one without the white:
The children loved it, and everyone was reminded of my darling little friend AB who attends a different school this year. (Scroll up and click the link in the second paragraph, that will tell you who AB is.) I definitely sent a pic to her Nana's phone so I could say Happy Halloween and remind her of how we all miss her.


Friday, October 21, 2016

Quick! Just blog something! Here's a necklace

So, it's fall now. I haven't blogged. When school starts, I seem to go through a little transition period. I'm like, "Woah, I have to get up and go to work everyday and get used to a new assignment! My mind is blown!" So, I haven't blogged in almost two months. I figured I better get something posted to break the blog fast. It's a necklace put together from scraps of three other necklaces.
I started with this:
A silver tone octopus pendant. Not exactly a rare find, but I found it at Savers for $1.99 and had a plan. You see, I love necklaces. I rarely wear my bracelets or rings any more and I almost never wear earrings. But necklaces I have in abundance. I like to find the right piece of neck jewelry to flatter my outfits.
When I wear something like a solid color t shirt or anything that lacks detail in the bodice section, I like long necklace. Not a long chain or strand of beads; I've found that I'm so damn particular that I can describe exactly the necklace I want to pair with a t shirt. It's got a cluster of stuff...
It has a long and multi-piece pendant and not a long chain. So, the good part of the necklace takes up space, not the chain. Examples from the internet:
I needed a chain about 24".
All photographs were taken using a Canon digital SLR potato. I added those tassels to that chain about two years ago (here's that post.) So there's that part.
Now scroll back up and look at the octopus. See how there is an extra hole there on its bottom arm? I don't know what that hole is called. I just needed something to hang from it.
Here is an understated little cubic zirconia necklace that I haven't worn in a while. This was easy to transfer because the bale was easily opened and closed. So, there's something.
Nice, but nope; it still needs more. How about one of them black tassels? Sure.
Aaaand that works for me. Didn't feel like fancying up for any decent pictures. Here's the necklace on a shirt!
I'll write about the school year next time, I have other news. That necklace ain't the only thing that's been chopped up. Look at this pic from a little while back:
Look at the neck area. See anything? Here, I'll embiggen and circle it...
I can barely see it either. That's because I tend to make them disappear in my pics. Here's the dark secret I've been hiding!
Nice to mole you.

Remember 2002? Here...
I've been very bothered by 3-dimensional birthmarks for quite some time. They don't look awful in the picture, but I assure you I noticed and the damn kids definitely noticed and some were curious enough to ask "What is that on your neck?"
Finally...nothing. Nothing's on my neck. Despite them being benign, I recently had them removed via surgery. Which I may not have elected to do had it not been for that other thing.
There was a huge, hideous bump in the back of my scalp near the hairline. I've had it since birth, but only in my adulthood did it grow to ginormous size. I did not get a picture of that. Nor did I get a picture of the fourth thing. The third now-removed mole, once located on my right axillary. That's the armpit.
On that note, I'll wrap this up. I have many, many refashions to show you so you better come back!