Monday, November 29, 2010

Lovin' "Above All Fabric"

I am all about supporting like minded people and the online shop Above All Fabric  is no different. (Hello, they offer rewards points on purchases aaaaand have a blog, yay!)

Some things that I most certainly have on my wish list from the great selection?

Parisville Fat Quarter Bundle in Mist (Pretty Please with Sugar on Top!)

Robins Egg Strawberry Fields (manfriend 2 yards please)

Amy Butler Sandlewood Jacket Pattern ( Don't you think this would be magical to make?)

Gold Fish- Purple (Ummm I think I would scoop up whatever is left of this. Something about this fabric draws me in)

Anyhoo, I have to watch my sweet moola these days and make smart decisions on what I decide to purchase buuuuuut that's why they call it a wishlist, right?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Ummm Have We Seen Lanvin for H+M?

So Lanvin has created a limited collection for H+M which should ideally be more affordable for us common folk. Yes, I am excited. Very similar to some of the lines that have been done for Target (Rodarte, Zac Posen, Mossimo), the designers seem to be reaching out to the women who can't afford to buy their $1,000 shirt off the rack at a high end boutique on Newbury Street.

I must say that the Lanvin collection for H+M makes me happy, whether I am lucky enough to snag a piece while it lasts ('tis the time of year we should give rather than recieve). It's just nice to know it existed.

Photos from the Lanvin for H+M Couture Fashion Show

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, People!

So being that today is Thanksgiving, I give you my wish of good family, good times and good eats. We musn't forget that Thanksgiving all started with some pilgrims who were hard up for food, people (Native American Indians) offered their help (they befriended Squanto)and they had a glorious dinner with maize and turkey and other such yummer things. Yay Mayflower and Yay for a holiday where we can give thanks for what we have!

I thought I would take this moment to say what things I am thankful for, of which there are many:

My faith, my awesome family, the love of a good man, amazing friends, my puppy and kitten, a job during this tough time for our country's economy, a nice place to live, Groupon, the Sun (it keeps the Earth alive afterall), the Earth (let's take care of her), Indian Food (mainly Chicken Korma), Grapes (to make wine with), Cookies, Fabric Stores, Twitter, Electricity, Clorophyl (more like Borophyl), Ibuprofun, Conan, Sleep and the list could go on and on...

We must not take things for granted. Life is too short to not be thankful for what we have... whatever it may be.


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NYC Jaunt!

This past weekend, manfriend and I hopped on the Amtrak from Providence and jaunted down to NYC for the weekend. One of my besties Nathalie and her man, Dave, moved to Brooklyn this past summer and we hadn't seen them in MONTHS! Gah! Nat and I share a mutual love of Kate Nash (as she is amazing, check her out) and Kate just happened to be playing in NYC (perfect!) sooooooo what better excuse to head down, right?

Manfriend had never really experienced NY so Nat and Dave offered to explore the city with us and it was just plain fun. Obvi, Manfriend and I are tiiiiiiiiiired but that being said, we had an awesome time; so it was totally worth it.

Highlights, you ask?

Kate Nash at Terminal 5... please do yourself a favor and look her up!

Manfriend and I in Times Square

Nat and I in our hand crotcheted hats from Nepal!

Big Bird Sighting in Central Park!

This is that bull on Wall Street... there were too many people taking pictures in front.

So obvi, we plan to head back to visit them in the near future and take in a show. Now that we know how easy it was to get in and out by train (we highly recommend the ease of travel), we will be making it a habit to get out more. Gah, I miss Nathalie so much already!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Caught in a Hat

Manfriend caught me in an awkward state but yet both mittens and hat are prominently displayed here

Manfriend and I went to NYC this weekend to visit my friend Nathalie and her manfriend(full on exploration post to come) but I could not wait to share the one and only thing that I spent money on (besides food, drink and transportation): This hat and matching fingerless mittens, hand crocheted in Nepal and hand warming my heart. Can you believe how unbelievably adorable I look in this matching handmade set? I know... don't be jealous. To boot? All of Nirvanna Designs products are supporting local women in Nepal, Indonesia and Thailand. Gotta love it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So I was reading Harper's Bazaar before bed last night (because who doesn't love a little fashion before ni nights) and was immediately struck by one of the magazine's "People to Watch"... well obviously I get sidetracked pretty easily because this post is actually about Harper Bazaar's recent online article about Parisian Street Style (I'll let you figure out how I got from A to B.) I wish that women in the United States felt more freedom to wear whatever they feel best in and also expresses their personality without feeling silly.

Now I am not saying that we don't express ourselves, because we certainly do. I am just saying that in the times that I have been out of the country, I have been utterly smitten with their fashion sense and seemingly personal styling. I was in England before women were tucking their skinny jeans in their riding boots... but it wasn't really before because they were doing it there... did that make sense? Anyhoo, maybe I am just a fan of being up to the fashion challenge without being made fun of.

Some of my faves from the Parisian Street Styles you ask? Of course, I'll share! Something about the hats... I always have bought hats, hoping I would have the guts to wear them... and rarely, if ever, do I wear a hat that is not plainly functional. Maybe I need to muster up some hat-full courage?


Monday, November 15, 2010

Finally Finished!

So I have been working on this bag, off and on, for the last month or two and am.finally.finished. Take a look at some previous posts regarding this labor of love... just to get an idea of where I was coming from and what brought me to this amazing and rewarding place of completion. It's just one of those things, when you accomplish something that you feel has worth (to you or others) or has that something special/unique. That is this bag for me.

Please excuse my mannequins... In retrospect, I should probably dress the mannequins so that they aren't so blatently nakie buuuuuut I was in a hurry to get these pictures taken so I could schedule this bad boy and scamper off to bed.

What do you think? Was this bag worth my time? Should I stick with the smocking and the individual blocking for the base of the bag? If I have a direction, I can work on making things more efficiently.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"A Crafty Holiday" for One, "A Crafty Holiday" for All

Anyone who follows my blog or twitter or both (or if you live with me, ahem Manfriend) has heard about my participation in A Crafty Holiday Blog Hop... and how much I have been looking forward to it.

I have always been a huge fan of anything handmade, crafted, painted, whittled, fashioned (insert many more here).... all of these words mean to me that a little of some one's heart and love was put into their work. That makes it really special to me...and as cheezeball as that sounds, I stand by it. When something that has been hand wrapped in butcher's paper and tied with twine is delivered to me, my heart jumps for joy. I want to share this feeling with others, and that is why I plan to buy handmade for this holiday season whenever possible... and am here to encourage you all to do the same. The opportunity to share something special with someone who is special to you, is truly a cool experience. Can I get a Hollaaaa?

Now you are probably wondering what is on my list of wants and needs? What I plan to buy for others? What I would recommend for a stylish, unique little gift? Well I am about to give you the rundown. You'll see a lot from my wish list because I do spend a great deal of time perusing (wink) but there are also some items I could get for loved ones that would make their little hearts melt!

First we can hit my wish list from some of my favorite artisans out there right now:

CINNAMON STICK - Bliss Soy 10 oz Premium Jar Candle by Bliss Candles

I happen to love anything Cinnamon. To me, the scent of cinnamon makes me think of Fall straight through to New Year's and I love it! So obvi, I would like to partake in the soy goodness of Bliss Candle's Cinnamon Stick.

 You could get me anything by Riverbasin Outfitters. I happen to just be a fan of her aesthetic and love the idea of reconstructed clothing. Once loved, loved again.  I have a practically snugly re purposed Rugby shirt with screen printing and added pockets which has made for an absolutely adorable comfy dress fit for Winter. Some of my most recent Riverbasin crushes?

From Riverbasin Outfitters' Forest Girl Fashion Show in October 2010

I love headbands with any sort of embellishment. I guess you could call me a sucker for snazzy-ness. Allorahandmade has a variety of colors to choose from so I guess I could pair this adorbs headband with soooo many outfits if manfriend were to let me buy multiple! (Pretty Please?)

Now this is something that I would want for myself. Being that my tastes are eclectic, I could totally envision multiple outfits surrounding this crocheted beauty. Now only if manfriend reads this blog post.


Some of the things that I am hoping to grab for some loved ones? (and yes, I worry they will read this blog post, but I am willing to take my chances). The variety out there, astounds me:

I happen to love anything knit or crocheted (if you hadn't noticed). I can totally envision my sister (with her new rocker blond and black hair do) wearing this in NC during the winter. It doesn't get as cold there so she can be fashionable without being frozen- esque.

How can you not love these unconventional earrings? Made with vintage sequins and oxidized copper pins. Love, Love, Love! I am keeping these on the backburner for sister and cousin. I really think they would be ALL over these. Wouldn't you be?

Ramona Rose - The Sleepy Woodland Bunny Plush from Sleepyking

Something I was thinking of getting for my cousin's new baby. I really think this made to order plush would really add a stylish twist to any infant's room. This is just one of many really cute animal plushes with unique expressions that Sleepking offers for purchase. Not just for holiday, I would recommend as a great addition to baby shower gift as well.

I have bought a few necklaces from Chewlry in the past and have gotten nothing but compliments on her designs, which claim to be "jewelry with a bite"! My "green kangaroo" sister will probably be all over this trinket, being that it is awesome and unique.

I happen to have eight of Popwheel Art's watercolors in my bathroom and have decorated around these pieces. There is something whimsical about her artwork. Here's me shouting it from the rooftops. I would probably grab one of these for one of my besties Nathalie; she has also shared in her adoration of these watercolors. Add a cool frame and you have a pretty rad gift for a pretty rad person!

OK and how about one more things;-) Actually, I might get one of these for a couple of my besties... because... It's adorable.

Life is Sweet Necklace from The Rusted Chain
Dude, Life is Sweet. So are Cupcakes. Enough Said.

To me, buying handmade and personally designed items, is a way of encouraging artistry while also gifting unique items for my loved ones (and myself of course). There is something so lovely about something crafted by some one's hands. I cannot encourage you enough to check out local artisans, local craft shows, Etsy, and any other means of getting something creative and one of a kind for your fam! Besides, isn't it more fun to check out your favorite crafter than to fight with crowds at Walmart? I thought so!

Tomorrow's post is from Paputsi so please check in with her on the flip side. She is sure to have some great handmade items picked out for her crafty holiday. I personally can't wait to take a peek at what she has to show us all!

Also, look out for some of the posts from this rad blog hop. I have been sooooo happy to participate and urge you to check out others who helped make this so fun! Yay!

Here's to Happy Holidays filled with lovelies and huggles! (oh and obvi Handmade)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Day Job vs. My Night Hobby

I know that a lot of the artisans out there have day jobs and work on their hobbies on the side, in free time/in the evenings/on the weekends. That's the position I am in right now. I envy the ladies that are able to spend all their time building their businesses. I don't begrudge them this. I am happy for them but am obvi a smidge jealous. But hey, it's a waste of time to be jealous, because everyone's situations are different. No ifs, ands or buts about it.

Working 9-5 (or in my case 830-530 (sucky I know))leaves me drained and less than creatively stimulated on a pretty regular basis. I attempt to bring home enough enthusiasm and motivation for my crafts while also decompressing from a usually stressful day... this is often a lot to ask of myself, especially because my job in retail construction if often demanding and mentally draining.

Some days I just want to come home, sit on the couch and watch tv snuggled up with puppster and kitten.... but the productive Patty in me wants to use my free time to be a hobbiest. Productive Patty feels like I should be working on learning more about sewing, exploring new tutorials, honing my already "mad skillz"... In forcing myself to work on the craft, sometimes I view it as another job that I have to do. I don't need something else to stress about but in essence, I am stressing out about my "hobby", something I am supposed to enjoy.

Sewing would be mad at me if it had emotions. We have had such good times together and Sewing wouldn't want those good times tainted with the anxiety I bring from my day job. Gah, I struggle every day!

I have recently read some great articles about different women's struggles and successes with similar issues (but different at the same time because let's face it, everyone's path is different.) (Check out some of my faves from Blacksburg Belle and Maggie from Gussy Sews) Finding encouragement through other's stories has been pretty awesome and that's no lie... my time will come where my work life and hobby will even itself out, a happy medium will be reached (I hope) but in the interim, it's nice to know that I am not alone. Whether your a crafter, an artist,a musician, an indie game designer (manfriend?) or anything in between... there are so many people out there doing the same thing, yearning to let the creative juices flow... and just keeping on swimmin'... through those often bumpy waters.

PS. Shout out to manfriend who always encourages me, even when I am cranky or negative or both.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My New BFF, Rit Dye

My advanced materials, a bucket and a bathroom

I have found in my creating travels that one of my favorite ways to complete change an old fabric, a sheet, a stained shirt... the list could go on... is by using a dye bath. Yes, it can be quite the messy experience but if you are careful(and scared of what your boyfriend will do to you if the bathroom is stained red, you can totally transform almost anything with a dye bath.

My most recent besties...

My new best friend in this endeavor is Rit dye for two simple reasons. It is inexpensive and it is strong enough to get the job done. I have used other dyes in the past and have been less that impressed at their promises to give me lime green or magenta... never vibrant enough for me, folks.

The fabric and the golden yellow dye bath

I love experimenting with different colors and fabrics, sometimes pretty successfully (other times... not so much). One thing is for sure that a good dye bath can change everything for the better. I am going to keep exploring new techniques and colors to find out what works the best for my crafty goodness.

After tying the fabric around a tube and a black dye bath

One of manfriend's shirts (I bought it too big) in an experimental red dye bath
An old sheet that is basically new fabric with a little "sunshine orange"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Obsession Alert....Louis Vuitton's Spring 2011, Amazing.

The color combinations and sheer playfullness of the Louis Vuitton's Spring 2011 makes me want to work with metallics, silks and lace... in fact, I have some stretch lace that I think I might just take out in the near future.

I like to check out the designers, not that I could afford any of it, but take a little bit of this and a little bit of that... infuse it into my style, you know?

I have never been a huge LV fan but this collection is definitely the exception. These designs make me want to use different materials and colors. I'll take the inspiration, thank you.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

My Real Life Sewing Class

My history with sewing began at an early age when my sisters and I would spend time with my Grandma Louise during the summer vacations, while my Mom and Dad worked. It was there that I learned to sew; where my sister and I took turns making curtains for the kitchen slider. My Grandma did a great job of sharing her knowledge and also gave us the opportunity to explore our "crafty side"... that being said, I did miss a couple of lessons that I perhaps may have learned in an actual technical sewing class.(zippers, complex stitch settings, closures, etc)

So here I am, gearing up for my second real sewing class (my first was last Wednesday night) at Create Sewing Studio in Acton, MA (local to my house). I am making a skirt.And following a pattern.And not taking any shortcuts (which is hard for me!). I am actually REALLY excited about the structure aaaand the social aspect of it as well. I have met a couple great ladies who all appreciate the crafter in me and encourage the creativity... I am also learning some staples of the sewing diet. All in all, Wednesday nights until the middle of December are soley dedicated to building on my sewing foundation.

Natalie Dee