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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gimme some rope I'm comin loose

I'm at the end of my rope! (title of post is from Foo Fighters, btw) Many times when I had previously claimed to have been at the end of my rope, I was wrong, and still had much more to lose! Like all those times I've thought that I had hit rock bottom, thus had nowhere else to go but up. LOL nope. Throw me a rope, I've fallen into a pit of despair!
All this talk of rope is going somewhere. I wanted to show this necklace:
 Then, this kickass anchor embroidered L.L.Bean skirt from Savers:
There's actually a whole body around here, somewhere.
  Finally; I will continue with the topic I was prattling on about in my last post. You see, it's that sad time known as the end of summer. When you wake up one morning to a light breeze and feel like you missed out on enjoying your whole summer (and by that extension; your whole life) and you just turned a year older and you're watching your youth slip away. Oh, and it's going to be fall, so you can't wear your nautical themed stuff any more. Ain't no one gonna be on a boat anyway. 
To begin this week's tale of loss, I take you back...
The time was August, 2012. People were jamming ironically to the sounds of  Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe." "The Dark Knight" was in theaters. Barack Obama was in the White House...Ok, it wasn't exactly that long ago. I had just gone through a summer of change. It was filled with ups and downs, alcohol and tears, and it ended with me resigning from WAW Wrestling, which was an important part of who I was. It was a hard time, but I what I didn't know was that my hard times were only just beginning.
I showed up on the first day of school, still not knowing what my assignment was. I was a teacher, but feeling lack of confidence in that role, I was instead working as a paraprofessional. My job is to work with students who have special needs throughout their school day. On that late August day of 2012, my boss handed over my case load: Three little boys in kindergarten. The classroom teacher, Jamie and I went outside to the playground to meet our new students. (who's names will be abbreviated for their anonymity, duh).
One little boy stood out. B was an adorable little boy with blond hair and blue eyes. He stood nervously, with his grandmother by his side as he clutched his Cars lunchbox in his hands. As we introduced ourselves, he pretended to sneeze. 
"He does that when he's nervous," his grandmother said. We were about to head in. I wasn't sure how he'd react, but wanting to ease some his fear, I held out my hand.
"Would you like to hold hands?" I asked him. Much to my delight, he reached out and put his hand in mine. From that moment on, I knew I would have a bond with this child.
Interjecting some outfit-of-the-day pictures, throughout the story. Because blogs need pictures.
Classroom life wasn't always about the joy of teaching cherubic little five year olds. My little boy, K was visually impaired and very shy, but usually an easy kid to work with. M was a well-dressed, handsome little sweetie who worked very hard at avoiding work. B's issues seemed mostly emotional.  
In other grades, teachers make up classrooms in certain ways because they know the kids. They'll spread out difficult students, and avoid certain pairings. In kindergarten, you don't know what you're gonna get. Our class was rife with tantrums, disagreements, and all around poor choices in behavior. B would copy what other kids were doing and he would even come up with his own naughty routines.
 I remember him pulling at my dress, as I tried to brush him off and walk away in order to ignore his plea for attention. He would use swears (although usually incorrectly) and other "naughty" words. One time, for no reason at all he spat the word, "bitch!" at a little girl who knew very little English. She looked at me in horror, as she apparently knew that word. I comforted the girl, reminding everyone to try and ignore behavior like that. One afternoon, he ran laps on the ramp area of our room and eventually hollered to me, "Ms. C! I am running on the ramp!" exasperated that I wasn't stopping him. 
"I know you are," I replied, as I read with K. "I'm paying attention to a child who is behaving." I explained that he didn't have to act foolish for my attention because I liked him.
B had an unusual background. Removed from his parents, the year before, he was raised by his grandparents whom he called Papa and Meme. It seemed he was very well taken care of. Both grandparents were such kind people and good to him. He was always prepared for school and on time. If he had a note from home, he would take it from his folder and give it to us, first thing--just like they told him to. I remember him complaining about a hurt knee and saying that he fell while playing football with his papa the day before. I couldn't believe that this older gentleman worked all day, and then still had the energy to toss a football. He was in good hands, but I was worried that whatever happened in his life before his grandparents still haunted him. 
Sometimes, when he was upset it looked like he was reverting to a baby's coping mechanism of crying out and flailing his hands. When he took a little spill on the playground, he sobbed and cried "owee!" When I pointed out that he didn't have any cuts, just some sand on his palms, he quickly calmed down.  We made behavior charts for the boys, throughout the day. Each activity had a space where we could color in green, yellow, or red (blue if you did something really awesome) to indicate behavior. I remember the first time he had a good chart with some positive comments. I told him that his grandfather was going to be very happy when he came to pick him up. He seemed surprised. "He's gonna be happy?" he asked, as if he didn't realize how that worked.
One particular moment from this time will always be with me. One of our other tough cases, BP, was not a SPED (special needs) kid, but a smaller and younger boy who was prone to tantrums and outbursts. During an autumn recess, B and BP ran up to me, each with their pointing fingers extended at each other shouting "he threw sand at me!" What a sad little sight, two angry little boys covered in sand. I told them I don't know who did it first, but pointed out they didn't solve a problem, as they were both all sandy and they were both mad. We went in and it looked like B had some sand near is eyes. I grabbed a wet paper towel and gently wiped it off so he didn't rub it in. Suddenly, he smiled at me as if having some moment of clarity. "Mama!" he exclaimed. "Thank you, mama!"
Oh nooo...How on earth does one respond to that? "Honey, I'm not mama," I said with a smile. "I'm Ms. C." and that was about the best I could come up with.
Anyway, fall turned to winter, winter to spring. K moved away, and my remaining boys got a little bit bigger and even lost some teeth. B's tantrums were fewer and fewer. He still got himself into trouble, usually in the cafeteria, where it was noisy and crowded. Sometimes, I would send him to a time out in the room next door. He would leave our room, furious, his brows all furrowed. When I would collect him, he looked up from the time out spot with this big smile. His anger subsided, he was ready to return. I asked him if he understood that I put him in time out to help him and I pointed out his smile. He was sorry for "using potty words." He was learning. I was so proud of him.
While this was going on at school, my life outside of work was spinning out of control. By April, I was at an all time low. (The details can be found here!) After a particularly awful night, I somehow managed to drag myself into work the next morning and was told I had to go to another class and cover while that teacher was in a meeting. I went back to my kindergarten room about 20 minutes after the start of the day. 
 Upon my entrance, M and BP (who looked like they were just loitering) ran and wrapped their arms around me, with cries of "you're here!" Jamie looked to B and said, "See? I told you she was here," as a beautiful smile of relief came over the little boy's face. 
Holy crap. It's not like I had never been out sick before...what's up with these guys? M hadn't even hung up his backpack, yet. I had a moment. I realized that my little, insignificant life had a purpose, at least on that day. I had to go to work. I would have to find a way to get out of bed each morning and go to school for these children I pledged to be there for. There was a reason to go on; somebody needed me. 
In a way, I guess I needed them. I'm about to lose my sense of purpose.
Well, now seems like a good time to call it quits for the day! I'll totally finish this tomorrow. I'll leave you with some pics of how I adjusted this skirt. It was loose around the waist, and I planned on taking in the waistband with a couple pinches in back. That didn't work! The zipper wasn't long enough to accommodate my ass! I would have to do some kind of elastic thing. 
Do you see what I did there? Yes, it's all bunched up, but I'm ok with that. I was able to open up the seams on both sides and push a thick elastic through just the back section. 
See? On the right, that end is sewn into the seam. On the left, it's safety pinned. I tried  it on and pulled the side with the pin to where I wanted it and then sewed it in place like the other side. A completely easy task that anyone with two hands can do. Love easy stuff.
I'm just not feeling my rope necklace. It's made out of craft store rope attached to a ship pendant, which for some reason has two jump ring attachments, instead of just one in the middle. The other side is a piece of black chain with two buttons hanging off. The anchor button was just silver, but I painted it blue and then wiped it off the surface, so that the paint remained only in the cut away part. Looks cute on display, not so much as a necklace.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

If it weren't for bad news (story and a dress)

You know the saying; "If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have none at all." I'm just going with "bad news," because it's probably not about luck. Oh, and I did an almost instant dress refashion:
I previewed this thing on my last refashion post. Ooh, look at that thing. That's so bright and flowery. That's sure to be a fun dress.
Nope. Let's see: I've been dealing with a recent issue so difficult that I didn't plan on discussing it here. Let's just say, "huge change in living situation." I'm devastated. But, it's the end of summer, and although this is traditionally a hard time for me (get a year older, weather gets a little colder, general feeling of "not ready") I wanted to be back to work. You know, the school year.
Throughout the last year of my blog, and the year before that, I have been through many troubling events. I've been knocked down so many times, and felt so low that I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed. I was ashamed of what I had become. Of course, through all of this, I have always had one saving grace. I had one very important thing that I could be proud of. My work.
(Record skip noise) Hold on. Wasn't I supposed to be showing off a dress refashion, rather than launching into a story of woe several years long? Fine, I'll do both.
On Tuesday, I completed this dress in the easiest way possible. It was a no-sew that I turned into a some-sew. Also, I stole the idea. (Ahem: Refashionista). 
 Like my best refashions, this one came off the $0.50 rack, alongside this gorgeous 80s-made-but-1940s-style purple peplum dress that I may or may not have ruined by hand-washing it. As soon as I saw this piece, I wanted to make it work. It was so tacky and outdated that it actually appealed to me. This was bought from Outfitters, the store I pass by on my home from work.
So, I added my tweaks to the dress on Tuesday night, planning to grab some pics and write up the post the next day. I woke up yesterday and did some chores, making a trip to the post office and stuff. I decided to check my work email, see if there was anything I needed to know.
 For those who don't know me or my life, here's the rundown: although I have a degree in elementary education, I am not currently working as a classroom teacher. I work in the special needs department of the same elementary school that I attended as a child. I mostly work with specific students in kindergarten to help them meet their goals. I do a lot of behavior management (positive reinforcements, consequences, etc) and helping the students function with less anxiety by giving them a clear, expected schedule. 
I have found this job to be very rewarding. I watch these children learn and grow, dealing with everyday struggles that the average child might not have. I do my best to teach them how to do their best and I see the fruits of my labor in their successes. I love what I do and take a great deal of pride in it. 
Our school has within it, an onsite pre-school program. It is for 3 and 4 year olds, many of them with special needs, a lot of them with mobility issues. Many of them are still in diapers. 
Anyway, I loaded up my school email inbox. There was a message to me from my principal. It read: "Just wanted to let you know that you will likely be placed in the pre-school program."
My heart sank. That's not good news. Not at all.
Oh, hello. I'm just modeling a dress I'm about to list on Etsy. Just wanted to use a picture to illustrate my despair.
My degree is in elementary education. I'm qualified to teach a class, k-8. For the last couple years, I've used my limited position to do great things with "my boys" (and yes, they are almost always boys). I'm not trained in early childhood education, nor do I have children of my own. I don't know how, nor am I at all comfortable with changing diapers. 
I've seen non-verbal, non walking children pushed in wheelchairs and spoon fed in between physical therapy sessions. I'm more of an educator, I don't want to work in a nursing capacity. That's just...not what I do. I've filled in for aides in preschool, during the year that I worked as a roaming teacher, working in different classes all day. It was fine for a few hours, but I knew it just wasn't a good fit.
Being in pre-school kind of takes me away from the general population of the school. I'll be in pre-k, I won't be with my peers and co-workers that I've been working with. I won't be with the kids I've come to know. I won't be doing what I love to do. I will have to look for a transfer, I'll need a new job.
For so long, I've been battling depression and it just gets harder and harder with each setback. I am in the middle of a financial crisis and I've been filled with anxiety as I prepare for my next difficult step. I wasn't sure how I'd handle that, and now I've got another huge loss to deal with. 
Another dress I'm modeling. Here, I'm expressing a defeated exasperation. Moving on.
I don't write this stuff for sympathy. Surely, my sorrows don't seem too awful to anyone but me. It's just...I needed this job. My work gives my life meaning. It motivates me to go on. No matter how awful everything is, I would show up each day and give my children my all. With all that I've lost; how could I lose this, too?
So, you wanna see the damn dress?
I somehow managed to set up my tripod and get a few pictures. The show must go on, or something. 
Could I possibly look any sadder? I purposely did the sad sack, slouched over, head hanging pose to go along with my story. That is one depressing floral party gown. Meh. Wanna see how I did it?
That's the Refashionista in the dress re-style that I ripped off. Here's how it's done:
First, you put the dress on, keeping your arms through the top, not placing them in the sleeves. Button it to fit. Your sleeves will be hanging uselessly at your side.
I twisted each sleeve toward my body a little and then tied them together, like so. You see what I did there?
Brianlessly simple. I just wanted a little more stability. I am often leery of strapless, and have a strap adding habit.
Oh, I also have a thread losing habit. Like, a month ago, I couponed some black thread at Joann; the good stuff; "Gutter" something. I can't find it, and I'm not sure why it would be anywhere other than in or at my machine. (edit: found it under my bed which is right next to my sewing machine) Seriously? I had to grab something at Walmart, so I grabbed some thread there. I also needed some black elastic for which to make straps, as I was all out. (Maybe I'll show you what I did with it, later). Walmart was all out, too. Only had packages and packages of white elastic. Grrr--wait! What is that item carelessly tossed near the sewing supplies? Do you see what I see?
A pack of two elastic headbands, $1.50. Looks like straps to me. Thank you to whomever changed their mind on headbands and tossed them out.
Why do 80s garments always have so much extra material? I had to cut that thing out of the back for easier strap placement.
 Straps placed. I actually cut one headband down the middle and used both sides. Hell yeah, frugality. Now, I have a spare headband/elastic. Oh, and I moved a button from the bottom to replace a missing one in the middle. Let's just do the sweaty, sobbing fashion show.
Filter added to protect you from glare of pale, white leg.
I love the rounding of the boob area. Can you see how there's a ruffle in back? The long back of what was once the collar looks cool hanging in back. Lemme get a close up.
I 'shopped out the back moles. I'm embarrassed by them. The black chain necklace was a conscious effort to badass up the dress which prominently features pink flowers. The black bandana was worn in an attempt to camouflage my too-hot-to-style hair in a pony tail.
Guess what? This one's gonna have to be a two parter. I've rambled on enough already, and I didn't get to what I wanted to write about. Later.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

It is mah birthday. Here's an August refash

Not sure if it's simple summer malaise or my usual personality, but today is my birthday and I wish I could add some exclamation points to that.
Some time ago, I showed you this muumuu:
I have this annoying habit of wanting to keep dresses as dresses (or in this case, old lady nighties as dresses.) I'm always a little bummed when refashions are dresses to skirts. So, I gave this article of clothing a try.
 I took it in in back, and added some darts in front. I just folded up the sleeves and sewed them like that. Then, I did the sash waist thing. Not bad, but I just didn't see myself wearing it. I knew what I had to do.
I folded and pinned. Raw edges, don't care, it was a $1 muumuu. I sewed up a nice casing for the elastic.
I used that thick elastic and it was pretty easy to work with. So...now it's a skirt. Not totally exciting, but I love midi skirts. Now I have an item that I'll actually wear. Here's my outfit:
Posing is kinda hard.
 Oh, hello, midriff.
Terrible posing aside, how do you feel about the skirt? I like the big roses and the fact that it's pretty much just a sack of fabric, thus pretty comfortable. This is my go to summer outfit. A mid-length or long skirt with a cropped tee. You see, a skirt can be long and granny-ish, you just have to wear it with a tiny top. It all balances out.
Speaking of big, obnoxious flowers, here's a teaser of another dress that I hope to complete some day:
It kinda looks like I have crazy eyes. I do not have crazy eyes!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thrift Hoard: Under Pressure

Can you believe it's been two whole weeks since I last blogged? I can. That's pretty typical of me. For frequent Craftthriftordie lookers, remember when I whined about how April is the cruelest month?
I take that back. August. August has been rough. 
I totally meant to write this last week, but then I wanted to work on refashions and two craft projects I was in the middle of (and wanted to blog about. I completed neither and did no blogging. If you can't finish one thing, why not try and finish twenty things? I always walk the line in between tuning out out into "no fucks given" zone, or busting my ass and getting shit done (while using profanity, apparently.)
In my last post, I gave a nod to one of my fave Queen songs (Fat Bottomed Girls) and received praise for it. So, this week, I give props to the Queen/David Bowie hit, "Under Pressure" with my title.
My plan for last week was to show you awesome crap that has been acquired and then provide some commentary on the state of yard sales and flea markets.
As I scope out my fellow thrifting blogger's posts, it seems we all have a similar mantra: leave no metal racks behind. Look at that little side table. It's just so sleek and didn't cost me an arm and a leg. That was one of the first things I bought when my sister and I hit up a flea market a couple weeks ago. First trip of the summer, what took me so long? I gave it a quick spray of black Krylon and listed it up. black metal side table
I also picked up that lovely lamp. It's just so beautiful with its curves bold color. I love how it's art deco, but looks like it was clearly inspired by nature, as well. Art deco doesn't usually have anything to do with nature, right? That period was in the 20s, with the jazz and the industrialization, and such.
Anyway, another unmarked piece of lighting that I've seen attributed to Royal Haeger Pottery, but I don't know. Also, this lamp was a steal. One can't always tell when forking over 3 bucks at a flea, getting all giddy at the deal, what the actual condition is. This one is kinda scratched. Seriously, who cares, it's an old lamp, and it's still nice! $20 for my green lamp on Etsy
Oh yeah, I was supposed to provide some commentary, a little editorializing on matters, if you will. I don't want to lose your attention, so first; here's another pic:
I purchased these slightly beat up canisters on that day.
You know what would be great? If one could get slightly better service from the rag tag dealers at the flea market.
Woah, don't look at me like that! I'm not talking about you people. 
I'm just saying that it would be nice to spend a leisurely morning browsing for old, rusty market treasures without having to hear about chips being implanted into the brains of patients under Obamacare. My word! Is everyone who sets up a booth in these places a tinfoil hat-wearing nutbag? I came to the flea market to rifle through your junk and then pay small amounts of money for neat, albeit sometimes useless items.
Like these vintage watercolor tins. What are those for? Free, so who cares.
Why yes, the United States is a great country where people can spout off whacked out conspiracy theories whilst trying to hawk vintage dishes and old nudie mags! Hey, if that's how you want to spend your Sunday...
Oh my god, I can't believe someone made this GIF. This is the GIF I need!
If you want to take the customer's money...maybe make an effort to not be a total creep? Maybe pay attention to the people who want to give you money in exchange for goods instead of shooting the breeze with the guy in the next booth about the Illuminati's plan to contaminate your water supply?
Hey. I'll show you some more pictures of things. Here's an adorable vintage Kodak Brownie in its cute little box. 
And that's a cute little Kodak "Flashfun" in a nice coral color. They're a package deal for $25.
Oh, and let me tell you about yard/garage/tag sales...
I wouldn't want to have one. You take the bulk of your spring/summer weekend to haul your old stuff outside, and if you're smart, arranging it nicely and attaching price tags. Of course, the price tags mean nothing, because no one (myself included) actually wants to pay for anything at a yard sale. So, to you brave souls, sweating away your leisure time for the sake of clearing out unused items to get some pocket change; I salute you.
However, to the folks who sold me this lovely 60s birdcage...Please remember that it's a yard sale, not Sotheby's auction house. This was an interesting sale. I'm assuming the man was a dealer, as his garage runneth over with good stuff. Clearly, this was not just a one day thing. It looked like the stuff had been there awhile. There was a considerable amount of digging and rummaging necessary to unearth good shit. And there was cobwebs and dirt.
Now, I don't mind that sort of thing...but it's gonna cost you. The people didn't want to budge on any of their "off the top of their heads" prices. The way I see it, if I have to knock a spider web off of an item, I'm practically doing you a favor in taking it off your property! I actually overheard the guy telling someone how much an item would go for on the internet.
I understand what he was saying; but we're not on the internet. You pay a much lower price when you brave the summer heat and dig through filthy, dusty boxes to find a filthy, dusty treasure.
So, of all the cool things they had (ships' wheel wall lamps, old dissection kit, mid century dollhouses, etc.) I just left with the bird cage that I paid 5 bucks for.
See, you can put plants in it! Aqua bird cage on Etsy.  
Last thing I'll show you is this game that I found. The man gave me this and some cool tiki mugs, for $2. That guy gets it.
The letters are so fun and I see many repurpose possibilities in this game. I haven't listed it yet. Oh and forgot to photograph my vintage books from the free pile. I'm humming "Under Pressure" again.
Linking up with Sir Thrift A Lot and maybe I'll actually look around for some other link ups.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I'm So Metal

I find it ironic that I title this post "I'm so metal," at a moment that I'm thinking an 8:30 bedtime wouldn't be so bad. Back in my glory days, I would be out at the Chinese restaurant, downing scorpion bowls, and tearing the roof off that mother with my GN'R karaoke (that's Guns N' Rose). I don't rock any more.
Too lazy to even come up with a segue into showing you my recent haul. The bloggers from a living space recently blogged about metal wire stands and racks, and I swear I was not trying to copy. I just happened to have also found some of those.
I found this one a little while back, as part of my "sketchy" thrift haul. I wasn't in great shape, so I painted it red.
I just love the grate looking thing. Red metal thing on Etsy Here's another:
Ooh, that one's aqua. It was a faded old brass tone and I had seen a few just like it on Etsy. I thought a new coat would do it some good. Aqua metal thing on Etsy.
Here's a lovely roadside find! It's an umbrella stand!
That's a useful thing to have. An umbrella stand? Whatevs. I put a plant in it.
A fake plant; and then, I took lousy pics. That thing just didn't want to cooperate for the camera. Umbrella stand on Etsy
I haven't yet sold my big, 50s, "Breadette", metal breadbox, but I have this smaller one now, as well.
I had a hard time "styling" this photo. That's my "cat and ball of yarn" salt and pepper shaker set. The "yarn" piece was dropped by some bull-in-a-china-shop ex and had to be glued back together, so it's decorative-only. I'm not still irritated, a year later.
 After purchasing this bread box, I immediately spotted another one just like it in a silver tone and then a third one that looked like a newer version of this in a dark green. I don't need 20 bread boxes, donaters! Donate more lamps. Lamps every day.
Look at this handsome fella. Ah, the 1950s, chalk ware, "blackamoor" statue/lamp. (Not sure if racist...) Can you believe someone was just going to throw this out?
(Sad trombone sound) Can you believe it now? Call me a crazed, hoarding, nut, but I can't sit by and watch a sweet-ass lamp be kicked curbside, just because he lost a foot and a huge chunk of its base. I'm not about to "fix" it either. I have an unusual idea on how to deal with this thing, which I'm not going to tell, because you'll probably just tell me that my idea is stupid and won't work, thus saving me the hassle, and maybe I like wasting time.
Do share any ideas you may have.
This little lamp pair looks like two hard boiled eggs with their shells removed. Amirite? Other than that, aren't they adorable? They're small and they're twins! I looked 'em up on Etsy and found an identical pair in black. The black ones had Royal Haeger labels on them! Yeah, I've got a fancy pottery maker's lamps. And I will now have to convince buyers to take my word. Little sculptural lamps on Etsy.
Isn't that a lovely Siamese cat "lamp?" Don't worry, those quotation marks are legit...
(Sad trombone sound, again) Aww, it was a tv lamp! And now it's not! I actually picked this up earlier this summer at a yard sale. Of course, each cat was missing an eye. The woman running the yard sale still made me fork over $5. I had to take the kitten's single eye and put it in the mom's empty socket, then replace the kitten's eyes with new rhinestones.
That shiny blue lamp is not recent. It's an old buy, but I'm trying to do a theme here. I bought it ages ago for my own use. But I don't use it, really. So, I listed it and realized it's kinda sad listing your own stuff. Also, when describing it, I wrote a song in its honor: "Fat Bottomed Lamps." Like the Queen song? I'm humming it right now, if that helps. Fat bottomed lamp, you make the rocking world go 'round (on etsy)
 I have so much more. I started this post before I went to the flea market, yesterday, so I really have more. First flea trip this summer, my sister and I rolled in around 11AM and still scored some goodies. Such as, a metal wire stand and green sculptural lamp!
So...I should put this long as hell post to sleep and do some listings? Ok.
 Linking up with Sir Thrift A Lot and his faithful, weekly thrift haul round up!