Monday, January 31, 2011

Photo shoot recap!

Last night, in a cold building in downtown Augusta, my friend David photographed a handful of my new pieces. With my friend Chrisi modeling, Sarah and I dressed her in my lingerie and Sarah's jewelry and accessories.

I took all these pictures with my SLR and no flash. I wasn't even going to consider using a flash since David had his light boxes and remote flashes set up. I wanted to take some "behind the scenes" shots when Sarah and I weren't dressing and undressing Chrisi. They're all quite grainy and some slightly blurry, can't really help it with 1/10 of a second shutter speed, some 1/4 of a second. According to David, I have a pretty steady hand. Ha.

Chrisi's tattoos set against the backdrop of a half tore down wall and very feminine, sexy lingerie was genius. She is so beautiful! And her body is perfect for my work. Just the right amount of curves. And it's a huge bonus that she is comfortable with her body to wear some of my sheer pieces. Can you believe this girl has a child?!

This two piece set was given to me by my friend Sarah. She believes it was her mother's, given to her on her wedding night but her mom never wore it. It was originally blue, and when I dyed it purple, only the fabric absorbed the dye, leaving the lace still bright sky blue. Quite reminiscent of a White Snake video, the underwear were cut really high. Changing the cut of them just a little bit, they're absolutely charming!

This piece is one of my favorites. Chrisi couldn't see any of what she was wearing, but some of the pieces she'd remark how great they felt, and I believe this one was her favorite. I originally made it for myself to keep, but it's just too pretty to keep. I have to share it. Er, sell it. Someone else should enjoy it.

It was probably 50 degrees in the building, and poor Chrisi was barefoot, sometimes kneeling down on the ground for jewelry and headband shots. And the ground was freezing. By the time we got to this piece she was visibly shivering. This piece, one of the first that I made (below), is one of my favorites. The lace bodice is completely see-through, except for little petal shaped pieces covering the nipples. Very sexy.

I can't wait to see David's photos! We all went to Bees Knees around the corner after the shoot for some Fireball shots to warm us up, Tapas food (the bruschetta was amazing), and a few celebratory cocktails. There is nothing better after a long day than a draught Guinness, poured correctly of course. I will kill someone if they mispour my Guinness. Ha.

This was all a pretty big deal for me. Professional photographer, model, a real shoot. I've been sewing for years and years, running my business for almost three, and I've never released a "line" of anything. I'm legit now I guess. It's only uphill from here.

I just put in my two week notice at the bridal shop where I am employed as a seamstress. Now I will be able to focus more on my work at home. Sew full-time again. I have four vintage wedding gowns I'm also reworking and repurposing. Plus more lingerie. Spring clothes. Dresses. The works.
All this lingerie will be up soon in my Etsy shop. Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's all coming together

Yesterday, after a long day of sewing, cleaning, dying lingerie, organizing, and my general Saturday regimen, Sarah came over. I love Saturdays. After I had finished half of a pizza, yup half, we went to Joann's to get some crafting supplies while my coupons were still valid ($10 off $10 or more is a pretty sweet deal).
Sarah purchased modeling clay in 10 different colors she is going to use to turn vintage clip-on earrings into plugs. Sometimes I miss my 00s, especially with Sarah's new plugs. 
Sarah makes amazing jewelry by reworking vintage jewelry. Since my photoshoot is tonight, I thought pairing each piece with some of her jewelry would be a great way to cross promote our products. We picked out a pair to go with each of the 15 or so pieces. 

Off to David's Bridal soon. I'm working open to close today. I hope the day flies by! As soon as I get out of work, I'm racing home, picking up all the pieces, and heading to David's studio with Sarah and my model, Chrisi. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

So proud.

My sister, Rachael, just sent me this picture to my cell phone of the new elastic band on her workout pants. She said "the awesomeness of my sewing ability, inspired by my sister Sally Ann." 
I explained to her over the phone how to replace the exhausted elastic in these pants she has had for years. They're her favorite and she was smart to fix the waist band rather than get new pants. She evenly spaced out the elastic and held the fabric taught while sewing. She did such a great job! I'm so proud!
Today has been very eventful. I was dying more slips purple with the help of my little Stella. Her favorite spot in my apartment is on the fleecy blanket on my couch in the living room absorbing the sunshine. My cats are so lazy.
I realized I needed more purple slips since the majority are pinks and fuchsias. I use Rit dye, three gallons of hot water in a five gallon bucket, and a 1" wood dowel to stir. Stir constantly for 30 minutes and rinse. It's so much fun. AND! I got to listen to my new Yo La Tengo on vinyl. 
Loving my Stella. Notice her pink little Softpaws.
She was a little interested in the contents of the bucket. But she hates water (especially baths), so as soon as she realized the bucket contained water, she fled. 
Tomorrow is the photoshoot, about 20 pieces! I'm so excited! Have a great Saturday night everyone.

Oh! And be sure to enter the giveaway over at Jennifhsieh. She's giving away an Orient watch to one of her readers. She's super cute, she won the dress I gave away for New Years.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Valentine's preview!

Another busy day in my sewing room! I'm up to almost 20 pieces of lingerie finished for the photo shoot this weekend. The first portion of my lingerie line will be up by Valentine's Day! I'm working on about 100 pieces but only some will be ready in time for the holiday. 
Since I work back-to-back shifts at the Bridal Shop and the bar the next three days, I've really been going nuts today and yesterday. I sewed this teal piece today, the scalloped lace was so fun to sew! All the pieces I've repurposed started out long and white. 
They were hand dyed and altered to liven them up, make them sexier, and update the look entirely. Most of the slips I have were made in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Meant to never be seen, they're always white or off-white. I love taking these "undergarments" and making them something you can show off and enjoy wearing. I've fixed any flaws from wear and tear over the years but most weren't worn more than a few times.
This yellow piece, once an accordion style slip, dyed yellow and restyled with the accordion bottom reattached at the natural waist. Very fun and feminine!
Pale pink slip from the 1950s. Hand dyed. Another accordion style slip shortened and extra ribbon sewn into a bow and sewn on at the neckline.
 The final sneak peak, a slip from the 1960s. Hand dyed slate grey. Ribbon from the original hem sewn on at the bodice in an asymmetrical fashion. Shortened.
So much more to come early next week when everything will be up on my Etsy page. Have a great week everyone. See you all in a few days!

Monday, January 24, 2011

David Bowie Wall Hanging

Using all recycled materials, and things I had lying around my apartment, I made this David Bowie wall hanging back in December. I finally purchased a staple gun the day I made this and just couldn't wait to use it! I don't know how I lasted this long without one.
The tank top came from Hot Topic in Lansing, Michigan about 4 years ago; they were on clearance for $3, and I bought the last four that they had. Knowing I would do something with them eventually, I wore the smaller sizes and stored the larger ones. Three years ago, when I finally opened up my Etsy shop after selling my purses for almost a year, I made a tote from one of the tanks and it sold almost immediately!
These wood frames came from two La Fave Marushka style silk screen prints I took apart to make a purse back in February of 2010. I saved them since I can't get rid of anything and knew I needed a staple gun to be able to stretch something new over them. 
Since the tank top wasn't as long as the wood frame, I took scrap turquoise from one of Kaitlyn's reconstructions and sewed the fabric along the bottom edge, right beneath the edge of the screen print.
Placing the fabric face down on my work table, I centered the wood frame on the fabric and trimmed down the fabric with a 2" edge on all sides to leave enough fabric to wrap around the frame.
Starting at the top, staple the fabric to the frame. Keep checking as you staple that the fabric doesn't slide. Then staple the bottom, keeping the fabric stretched tightly.
Next staple the sides, again, be sure the fabric is centered and tightly stretched!
Use extra staples at the corners. folding the fabric as shown below.
Voila, new wall hanging!

My Halloween costume in 2008. David Bowie-Aladdin Sane. I bought two pairs of silver spandex leggings from Wet Seal, turning one pair into a tub top by opening the inseam and reworking the fabric. My friend, Dana, and I went out to clubs in Grand Rapids. Someone asked me if I was the tin man and I almost slapped them. By far one of my favorite Halloween costumes.
I still have one more wood frame to use for another wall hanging. I think I might use photo transfer paper, ribbon, and applique to make a sort of portrait. Maybe I'll do something a little crazy with cat pictures. We'll see. First I have to sew more lingerie!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Finally, Beerfest arrived! For Christmas, I bought my boyfriend tickets to the World Beer Festival in Columbia, South Carolina. Yeah, I'm pretty much the coolest girlfriend ever right? Beer festival tickets! It's an understatement to say he was excited about it. We've both been looking forward to it all month. 
We made the 70 mile trip to Columbia yesterday. Held at the Columbia Metropolitan Center, we attended the 12-4 P.M. session, featuring live music, food, and lots of beer.
I was planning on giving Matt the tickets for his birthday a few weeks ago, but I was too impatient and he got them on Christmas Day. While working at the bar in mid-December, a customer mentioned the festival. Right away I made him give me the website, I went home and bought tickets a few days later. So it was Matt's birthday/Christmas present. Luckily, he brought me along; I would have been pretty disappointed had be brought someone else, ha. 

We had a great time wandering around the convention center, sampling hundreds of beers, and making funny observations while watching the other convention-goers. Some people went all out, wearing beer themed costumes. One guy was the monk from the Franziskaner beer. Even some college guys wearing full Oktoberfest costumes, leather shorts and all. We only snapped a few pictures; I forgot I had my camera in my purse. 
We look like giants holding a little beer glass. Everyone had little plastic glasses to have 2 oz. samples of beer from over 80 breweries. Some beer was amazing, some not so much. One of our favorites was Éphémerè Apple, from Unibroue Brewers in Quebec. Their La Fin Du Monde (the end of the world) was also one of my favorites. 
My favorite of the day, by far, was Ace Cider. It tasted like a green apple Jollyrancher. Although it wasn't beer, per-se, it was still fantastic! I was a little disappointed there wasn't more hard cider at the festival. Strongbow + Guiness, a layered pint, Strongbow on bottom, Guiness on top, has been my beer of choice lately. There were so many amazing beers! I made sure I grabbed the full brochure so I can find local beer and wine shops that carry some of what we tasted.
Matt bought me a pretzel necklace, I finally took a cue many other people in the crowd. On top of being super convenient, the pretzels cleanse the pallet so you can taste beer better. And they're quite tasty. Reminds me of when I was little and my mom would string cereal on necklaces when we went on trips.

It was so funny walking around the festival and having a few people stop to ask me, "Do you work at Stillwater?" Guess I'm pretty recognizable. I work at a bar in Augusta called Stillwater Taproom. There are 18 different kinds of beer on tap, all microbrews, imported and specialty beer. You want Bud light? It only comes in bottles there, ha. So I pretty much just pour really good beer for a few hours at Happy Hour every week day. I feel like I've become quite a snob lately with my beer taste. But Guiness will always remain my favorite favorite.
My new shirt! It took quite a few passes of the booth, and having beer samples for a few hours before I actually bought it for $15. Mint green with burgundy screen print "beer expert". I'm not a big t-shirt wearing kind of girl, but it'll be great for work at the bar. And pretty funny. I think I might lower the neckline and make it a scoop neck. That, or make the sleeves into cap sleeves.
Now I'm enjoying my lazy Sunday afternoon. It's cold here (I know, I'm whining); I think it's about 40 degrees outside. Sunday has become my sewing day, and a day for hanging out by myself. So much sewing to do. Hope you all are enjoying the weekend!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Sewing with my Kenmore!

After having my vintage Kenmore sewing machine for months and months, I finally got it serviced this week! I took it Branum's Sewing and Vacuum Center. For only $65, it was cleaned, oiled, completely serviced, and they added a presser foot. I was so excited when I got the phone call from them yesterday telling me it was already finished, in two days!
I purchased it last June for only $30 at Catholic Social Services, a local thrift store. I learned how to sew on my mother's machine that is exactly like this! It feels great to finally use a Kenmore again. They don't make sewing machines like they used to. Everything is plastic now, and all old sewing machines were metal, a lot more durable. In the last 5 years I've broken a Singer and a Brother, both plastic.
Since I've been having problems with the tension on my Janome, a machine I bought brand new two years ago for about $500, it was really time to get the Kenmore up and running. My friend Sarah helped me take it out of it's cabinet on Tuesday, and we brought it across town to Branum's. 
As soon as I got it home this afternoon, I put it back in it's cabinet, not easy doing it by myself his time, and then I worked on some lingerie. It sews like new! A little loud, but that's expected with a machine like this. I'm so happy I can put off buying a commercial machine for at least 6 months now. The Juki I'm looking at is abut $1000. I'll keep saving though.
I finished this amazing eggplant and navy blue piece. It's beautiful! It was one that I was originally planning on keeping it for myself, but it's too pretty. I have to put it with the rest of the collection.
It was originally very long. I shortened it, moved the lace up. I also used the excess fabric and lace to create the bow that I then hand sewed to the bodice. This is one of the few that will be in my collection of lingerie that was not dyed a different color. The original colors of eggplant and navy were too beautiful to mess with.
The winner of the MLK purse giveaway is Rachel Thomas. Congrats Rachel! Hope you enjoy your new purse. Another giveaway coming up in February. Probably going to be some lingerie. Just in time for Valentine's Day! 
Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Monday, January 17, 2011

MLK Day Purse Giveaway

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I'm giving away this awesome purse I just made:
My friend, Sarah, gave me this sweatshirt she bought in Virginia in 2002 and was made in the 80s. It was super tiny or I could have made it into a more wearable shirt. I decided to fashion it into a large tote using other recycled materials.
To make the tote, I cut the sweatshirt open along the side seams and up into the sleeves to make two large rectangular pieces. The handles are recycled from a macrame purse from the 70s and the interior polka dot fabric is scrap I've had for years. All materials used to make this tote are 100% recycled!
This purse would be great to use as a large purse, a grocery tote, school book bag, an overnight tote in which to throw a change of clothes, so many possibilities. It's nice and big! Very durable and comfortable handles so you can throw it over your shoulder.
To enter this giveaway, you must: follow my blog, and leave a nice comment below. It's that simple! Good luck to you all. The winner will be announced Friday.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kitty Cat Jewelry Dish

I received the best surprise on Friday from my friend, Sarah: a kitty cat ashtray/jewelry dish! She and my friend, Ryan, spent the afternoon thrifting and found this at Goodwill. Sarah said when she saw this she couldn't not buy it. As most visitors to my home know, I do not need more "cat things" but this was just too cute. It's a mamma cat and her four babies following her. 

Handpainted in Japan, it's a real one-of-a-kind. The tail was glued back on after breaking at one point, but that just gives it more character. Since I'm a non-smoker, I'm using it as a jewelry dish. I placed it on my dresser in my bedroom to hold all my jewelry of the day. While I have a jewelry box my mother made me from a vintage silverware case, it's great to use for my most frequently worn pieces.

I absolutely LOVE IT! Thanks Sar!

She also got me this funny little book entitled, "Crafty Cat Crimes: 100 Tiny Cat Tale Mysteries". Full of 100 short stories told from a cat's perspective. They are really funny and clever; I only read a few so far. I like that all the stories are nice and short.

The first one I read was told by a cat, whose name he won't reveal because "true names of cats are never revealed outside of their secret tribe". The cat belongs to Sherlock Holmes. The cat's favorite toy, a shiny locket, is "loaned" to Sherlock Holmes by the cat and is used to solve a crime. In the end the locket is on someone's neck, but still "his". They're nice quick stories, perfect since I'm so busy and never have time to read.

Currently, I'm reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy. I've wanted to read it since I saw the trailer for the movie starring Viggo Mortenson, and heard from friends it was worth reading. I found a used copy for $2 at 2nd & Charles! I'm enjoying it so far. I tried to wait to watch the movie until I finished the book but just couldn't wait. I cried for about an hour after viewing the movie. I'm sure I'll do the same when I get to the end of the book. It'll be a waterfall I'm sure.

I have a ton of sewing to do today; I'm making a Martin Luther King, Jr. purse to give away tomorrow since it's MLK day! So much work to do.. Enjoy your Sunday everyone!