Sunday, September 29, 2013

Guest Post: Laura of Relatively Offbeat

 Hey there! My name is Laura and I'm a lifestyle/travel/fashion blogger over at Relatively Offbeat.

When Sally asked me to write a guest post on her blog, I was psyched! I met Sally back in high school when she was a student assistant for one of my sophomore year classes. I'll never forget my initial thoughts of Sally when I entered that class for the first time. It went something like this: "damn, that girl has the most amazing shoes". I just adored her effortless, vintage-inspired style. We have known each other now for 10+ years and am still constantly inspired by her style, work ethic, and ability to create such beautiful, recycled and eco-friendly products.

So here I am! I'm really excited to bring some Michigan back to Sally's blog. Some of you may have heard about the huge art festival that is hosted in Grand Rapids every year, but for those of you who haven't, let me introduce you to ArtPrize. Sally recently told me about a similar festival that will be coming to Jacksonville called One Spark. The really exciting part? The One Spark team is in Grand Rapids, MI right now to meet with coordinators of ArtPrize to discuss best practices for their future Jacksonville festivals. You can read about it here.

Here's a bit more on what ArtPrize is like here in the city of Grand Rapids:

ArtPrize is an independently world-wide art competition with a $200,000 first place prize voted completely by the public. It's so amazing to see hundreds of Grand Rapids venues hosting all sorts of art forms. It lasts for two and a half weeks and spreads out around a 3 mile radius of the heart of the city. Art from all around the world is hosted indoor and outdoor venues of all kinds. Each year is more exciting than the last. If you ever get a chance to check it out, I totally recommend it.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Guest post: Alexz of Bird Trouble
"An introduction & making my passion a reality"

hello everyone! i'm alexz sandoval, a designer, seamstress, & blogger for Bird Trouble. Sally's been so supportive of me over the blogging years that I've known her (I think it's been about 4 years). I appreciate her & find her work drive as an inspiration to me. I've guest posted here before & she's blogged about how she digs the sustainable bags & accessories I make. She even has a few bags! You can see my work & blog on my website, you can follow my wild & free life through my blog with bloglovin', you can see what's in the Bird Trouble store, & you can say "oh hey!" or say whatever you want to me through twitter
i'm really excited to be a guest blogger this weekend while Sally is soaking up as much NYC fun as she can and share with you a little bit of my last few months & some pictures. i promise not to bore you. this isn't going to be like "and then yesterday… i did this…", but i do love personal posts & i feel like i have an exciting story that could hopefully inspire a lot of you. i'm going to be talking about my move from Chicago to Mexico, what drove me to pick up & to go: Making my passion a reality & not just a dream. 

It was sometime in late June & I was walking home from a long day of working at the salon. I used to be the Social Media & Marketing Manager for a four location company. I loved my co-workers & being around them, but not so much my work or the environment anymore. It had been 3 years & I wanted to focus on what I had outside, my life, but I was being so affected by the company that by then, what I wanted in my life seemed so far. I'm very judgmental over myself & so was my previous boss; but I also have a very hard head & know what I want - which has always been to not conform to someone else's life. I can thank the punk rock culture I grew up around & my dad for telling me to be a leader for this hard head. That one day in June, I thought "Why the heck not Mexico? My parents live there." I had been thinking about moving for months because I was distracted & it kills me when I can't do what I love. Money was the issue (I know we can all relate with that) but I knew my mom would love for me to come home. It was a really bright light bulb, almost blinding & right in front of my damn face. 

I'd put in my notice at work after I consulted with my best friends. That day & my anxiety almost put me into cardiac arrest because I'm an over-thinker. I also found myself weirdly timid & getting nervous. I know that's because I sometimes felt I was back in high school as the awkward girl being judged by that awful popular cheerleader. It came down to telling myself this over & over - Do not let yourself feel that you are not good enough to move forward. Moving forward should be exciting & exhilarating. Why was I waiting to do what I wanted to do? More so - good riddance to any awful popular cheerleader type. I sold all my furniture or basically gave it away. I put my textiles, craft supplies, 1/4 of my clothing, & my 104lb dog into my dad's Explorer & left. It all happened so quick. 

So here I am now. I've been in this mountain town called Ajijic since August 14th & have been loving every day. I'm currently typing this on my dad's roof where I have so much nature around me the view of a lake & more mountains. I'm here temporarily before I move in with my mom to the city, Guadalajara (half of these pictures are taken there). You can see how lively it is & I want to go toward the fashion & networking opportunities there. I have days where I miss seeing my friends terribly, but that's where Skype & Viber iPhone applications come in. There are growing experiences & challenges with learning what works best for you when growing a business. I'm learning more about it & myself every day while I try not to judge myself so much. Just trying to go with the flow, you know? 

I'll leave you today by telling you not to wait to do what you want to do. What do you desire? You have one life. You are the boss of it. I'm not telling you to leave your job suddenly like I did (I like excitement, what can I say?) & I'm not promising that I will succeed (though I have no doubt I will). I'm just happy my life is exciting & I'm living it. In the words of the dude who inspired my blog post, Henry Rollins (I know Sally's going to like this one!) "The repeating factors of my life have been application, discipline, focus, repetition." "I manage myself. I know where I'm going. I might not finish it. I might not survive it, but I'm the one booking it." You can view that video here

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shelby sets up at Sky City

Another weekend in Augusta? Most of you are probably thinking, why in the world would Sally and Shelby go back to a small town in Georgia two weekends in a row to sell handmade goods? Well, I'll tell ya. Augusta is awesome. Well, the city leaves a bit to be desired sometimes, but the people in Augusta are awesome. And we had to go back when invited by the owner of our favorite Augusta venue, Sky City.

Sky City played host to all three of our "Sally Ann Lingerie Fashion Shows" in the past two years, and even right next door, the gallery where I had my gallery exhibition (Videos of each runway show: 1, 2, 3, and gallery opening) . There was a local art festival a few blocks down, and Coco, the owner, asked us to set up shop in front of Sky City on Friday and Saturday.

It was amazing seeing old friends and acquaintances swing by the shop, even those that I didn't know that contributed to our Kickstarter fundraiser to finish Shelby. While we didn't have a lot of unique visitors, many friends came by to show their support and purchased their own one-of-a-kind Sally Ann pieces. Enjoy some photos of friends and customers donning their new wares!

The lovely Carrera in a Sally Ann bow. Love this lady! She also purchased a beautiful scarf, one of four made from fabric my sister, Rachael, purchased in Bahrain during her career in the Navy. I made four scarves from the fabric last week, kept one for me, my BFF Sarah bought one, Carrera the third, and friend's wife bought the fourth. I knew they'd go quick. It's the scarf you'll see me wearing in this post and many, many more to come.

Liv in her Sally Ann Lipstick Dress. She purchased it last weekend at The Big Local, and I was pleasantly surprised to see her Friday night, pairing the dress with a cute denim jacket. Ahh, I'm so happy to be getting out my denim jacket for my New York trip this weekend. I forgot how much I LOVE denim, with this hot summer in Florida. I digress, but Liv is awesome, and I'm so happy to have met her.

And the best thing ever on Sunday, I ran into my friend, Grace, at Nacho Mamas in downtown Augusta, after I was done selling for the weekend, and she was toting along her new purse she'd bought from me the day before. It's my most favorite thing ever when I run into people wearing something I've made, and put my heart into.

As I was leaving downtown, I opened up Shelby especially for these three friends of mine. Grace, Carrie, and Brittany. Each found a special piece just for them. Grace the purse I posted the video for yesterday, Carrie a scarf, and Brittany a purse. Love these ladies and so happy I captured this moment with this picture!

And Shelby's last stop for the weekend. I met back up with Liv, her sister Lexi, and two twin sisters, Megan and Ashley. I think this is Megan above. Hard to remember since they're identical. I made this special stop to their home in Evans, just down the road from Augusta, where I was staying with Matt's parents for the weekend.

These past few weeks of sewing, selling, and driving have been a huge blur and whirlwind. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, when Matt and I fly to NYC for a long weekend. While the outsider may see my travels and pictures online as all funtimes, this will be the first real vacation we've had in a while. We're always always working and playing at the same time, but this weekend is strictly play.

AND! I have a real treat for y'all. My boyfriend, Matt, asked to be a guest blogger this weekend. So while I'll still be in the picture, he'll be the man behind the keys, bringing you an inside look into our little weekend getaway in the Big Apple.

Happy Thursday, friends! I'm off to pack. AGH I can't wait to dig out my jean jacket!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vidipop goes behind the scenes at Sally Ann.

An oldie, but goodie. Watch me make the Danish Denim On-The-Go Clutch last year in my studio in Georgia. Oddly enough, this clutch just sold to my friend, Grace, on Sunday! I spent the weekend selling my wares out of Shelby in Augusta. Watch the above video for a behind-the-scenes look into what goes into the sewing process. Recycling is so much fun! 

Thanks to my friend, Armard, at Vidipop for the awesome video! We had so much fun making this video, and I'm so happy to see it!

More Vidipop videos shot for Sally Ann:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Big Local

Last Saturday, my best friend Sarah and I had yet another chance to set up next to each other at a show. This is how we met. Crazy how that was almost four years ago. I had a little 6 foot table at First Friday, a month after I moved from Michigan to Georgia, and she was the jewelry booth across from me. I asked her to watch my booth while I went across the street to get coffee. We got to chatting, and next thing we know, we plan to hang out and get a beer at a bar down the road when we pack up our booths. The rest is history.

Sarah designs jewelry from found vintage jewelry. "Vintage Made New". You can find here Etsy shop here. And this weekend, when I go to Augusta, we are offering BFF coupons to all our shoppers. She'll be set up at Arts In The Heart, and I'll be up the street in front of Sky City. Buy from her, get 20% off to my shop. Buy from me, get 20% off to her shop.

The Big Local was so much fun. It was at the Lady Antebellum Amphitheater at Evans Town Center. Presented by United Methodist, a local church group, and 100% free! A friend of ours invited Sarah and I to set up, and we were two of just a handful of vendors. The event was family oriented, with free food, drinks, activities, and music. 

There's something to be said about the awesomeness of a completely free event. Gosh, Matt and I went to the Jerk Chicken Festival here in Jacksonville, and they charged for parking, admission, and then we watched in horror and disbelief when the rude security guards patting us down at the entrance wouldn't allow the family behind us to bring in a cooler full of water for them and their 4 children! Not even water allowed?! And then after we paid already to get in, waters were $5!! If we had children, big if, ha, we would never attend an event like that. This is another reason why I was so happy to be a part of The Big Local.

Girls on golf carts, all day, drove around tossing out water to everyone, pushing water on me jokingly since we didn't take much from them, as Sarah came prepared with a cooler so we wouldn't have to buy any, since we didn't realize just how much they were providing. I ate lunch for free, and they had your choice of a hot dog or pulled pork sandwiches. 

Adam, our friend that invited us to participate in the event, told me at the end of the day, the inspiration behind the event. An old man in hospice, presumably with not much family, had a good bit of money to give away before he passed. He donated this large sum to United Methodist. Sure, the church could have paid their employees, supplement their salaries, fix the church, or spend the money within their congregation. But no. They decided they wanted to give back to the community by hosting a 100% free event for Augusta. An event, not just for Christians, but for the community. 

Bluegrass and folk music played throughout the park all day, with children running around with hulla hoops, climbing a rock wall, jumping in the bouncy house, and enjoying the atmosphere. It was truly a great day, and I'm so honored to have been there to be a part of it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Revisiting Augusta

Last weekend, Matt, Zeus, and I drove up to Augusta, our old home, for Matt's stepdad's birthday, and for my first show with Shelby. Initially, I had planned on staying in Augusta, and doing my usual Saturday market at RAM, but a friend of mine invited me to participate in a local show to benefit the local Hospice center. It didn't take much twisting of my arm to give me a weekend in Augusta, and a day show with a booth next to my best friend. 

We drove in Friday morning, heading straight to Matt's family's house. A little pool time and visiting were definitely in order. We hadn't been back to see the fam in a few months, since we'd surprised Matt's mom, Susan, on her birthday. That two day trip came and went, with little time to visit with friends. I had been missing all my girlfriends like crazy, and had to make sure I made time for them.

First, we went over to our friend's house, Sanj and Rachael, to cook out and have a little gathering with friends. We got to visit with little baby Zooey, their 14 month old baby. It seems like just yesterday I was visiting Rachael in the hospital after having her. What did I do first thing to try to play with the child? I took a chip from her little plate and eat it in front of her with googley eyes and a snicker. Then, Rachael tells me that is how you make enemies with the food loving baby. Ooops. The next hour or so we played around and I pushed her buttons, playfully of course. But before we left Zooey was kissing my cheek and letting me hold her. I think we reconciled.

After munching on some awesome snack food that is definitely banned from our house, Sarah and Danny swung by and picked me up, time to hit up downtown! Danny and Sarah's brother, Joel, had passed out flyers for my upcoming shows all over downtown, to help with promoting Shelby's return. We had to put up just a few more flyers before headed the few blocks down to my old stomping grounds, Stillwater Taproom. 

I worked at Stillwater for two and a half years part-time, as the happy hour bartender every weekday. It funded my life and work through "Sally Ann", allowing me to work and sew full-time, pay my rent and taking the financial burden off a start-up and growing company. It was the best job ever! I got to see my friends everyday, and I made so many close friends through customers. Imagine a badass bar, that serves really great beer in a beautiful historic building, with bluegrass, Americana, and Yo La Tengo playing all day, and sudoku galore. Those were my days at Stillwater. Throw in a million laughs, and getting paid to be there and that was my "job". While I don't miss my retirement from bartending, I miss my friends in Augusta. I miss the social interaction of being surrounded by friends all the time. 

Since our move to Jacksonville, Florida, Matt's new job allows me to work exclusively for myself, taking on Sally Ann full-time, times two! I get to work 10 hours days most days, which is great because I'm a borderline workaholic. The only way I will ever succeed at being what I want to be is through hard work and long hours, and that's okay by me! Sometimes, I day dream about the possibility of both worlds, friends from Augusta, but working full-time in a bigger city that is now supporting me artistically. I wish I could have both, but c'est la vie, eh?

These girls make me miss the city of Augusta more than anything (and my bf Jessica, not pictured). Katie, Sarah, and Jessica are my favorite. The day that I told them all I was moving away from Augusta, I scheduled a "girl's night". We all went down to Whiskey Bar for burgers, and ordered our beers and appetizers. We got to giggling and chatting, as we all had super busy lives, and never hung out all at the same time. Sarah, in her normal straight forward manner, said, "What's the deal, Sal? Why are we all here at the same time. Either you're pregnant, getting married, or moving?! And I know you're not pregnant because you're drinking a Strongbow... So which is it?!" I came clean and told them what I had brought them all out that night to tell them... Matt and I were leaving for Jacksonville in a few weeks. 

They were all really sad, but also very happy for me. Of course the waterfall of tears came in the weeks to follow, when I had to say goodbye to my best friends. Oh man, did I cry or what! Like a big ol' baby. Even writing about it, makes me a little sad. These three girls changed my life and I love them so dearly. I was so thankful to be able to spend the little bit of time with them that I could.

Saturday, Sarah and I were vendors next to each other at an awesome first annual local event. More on that tomorrow... It was awesome! Gosh, I had such a blast. Sunday, we came back home. And here I am, sewing, sewing, and sewing.

This Friday, I return to Augusta, again, for a two day exhibition with Shelby. More info here.

I hope y'all are having a great week so far. What is new with you? What is on your plate this week? I'm sewing like a madwoman, of course. Listening to new Kings of Leon and getting excited for our upcoming NYC trip the weekend after Augusta. Seems like we're always traveling. I LOVE IT!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Peek Inside Shelby...

 ... at RAM recently. Oh man what a week it's been. It's incredible how much time just flies but. It was just June! And now it's fall?! Whaaat? I can't keep up with all the hours in the day that seem like minutes. Sewing is 90% of my day, and it's awesome. I spend the entire week sewing and tagging new work, photographing it and putting it on Etsy, and then I get the privilege to sell it at RAM. 

Lately, at RAM, I've been setting up my sewing machine, letting children jump on and sew scrap fabric, in hopes of drumming up some excitement and getting young girls signed up for sewing classes this winter. These past few months being a vendor at the weekly market feel like a few weeks. I'm baffled that fall is already upon us. Thankfully, being in Florida, it still feels like Michigan's hottest summer days. When am I going to get to dress for fall?

The highlight of my wardobe this week was the day I got to wear jeans! Agh. Who knew I'd miss jeans so much. I can't wait for black TOMs, jeans, t-shirts, light cardigans, and infinity scarves. Oh I can't wait.
The back wall of Shelby is changing soon... I'm getting ready for have a closeout sale on all lingerie and sleepwear before starting fresh for the spring collections of Sally Ann goodies. Tomorrow, Matt and I head to Augusta, Georgia, where I'll set up Shelby on Saturday at The Big Local, and then head back home on Sunday. 

Another week of sewing in Jax, then back up to Augusta again for a weekend booth set up in front of my favorite Augusta music venue, where all my fashion shows have been held. All Friday and Saturday, I'll be selling the rest of my lingerie, and hopefully coming back to Florida with a very light camper. 

Back out to the garage I go, to finish packing up Shelby, make some signs, get dirty, and cover myself in sawdust and paint. We made a door yesterday, I can't wait to show you all. So much to do, so little time...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Video tutorial: How to make a zipper pouch

It's finally here! I've been wanting to film this tutorial for such a very long time, and last week, Matt and I sat down and shot it. Using an old cloth shower curtain, and a zipper, I made this little pouch in about ten minutes.

Hooray for video tutorials! I'm finally getting a little better at being on camera, and describing what I'm doing as I sew. That's the hardest part for me. For the longest time, I fumble when someone watches me sew. I'm always better when no one is around and I'm in my own little world. Getting comfortable with a camera watching every little move took some adjusting.

For this tutorial, you will need four piece of fabric, all equal size, a zipper that is a little bit longer than the width of your fabric, a zipper foot, and ten minutes. Watch the video and sew away!

Enjoy! (and I promise the next video will be over my shoulder, and not staring at the back of my presser foot. I'm learning how to teach as I go.) My favorite part is the end with Clem and Zeus being 'buddies'. It's a miracle how much nicer she is now after three years, even with the hissing and slapping.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Jacksonville Jerk Chicken Festival

What better way to spend our labor day weekend than on the water. After a long day at the market, Matt and I spent our Sunday at the First Annual Jerk Chicken Festival in Jacksonville, at Memorial Park. A few beers, people watching, music, and sunshine.

We're not sure why this dock was open to the public, someone forgot to lock the gate, so we took advantage of it, and wandered around the dock, with a great view of the Jacksonville skyline. Ignorance is bliss, right? We were also confused why they served us beer in bottles, but the Red Stripe was delicious, Matt opted for a Dos Equis.

Anyone recognize this dress? Maybe a few long time readers may. It's a thrift store purchase, only $2 from a thrift store in Michigan, and I tailored it to fit me just right. It's getting to be a little short these days, as the more weight training I do, the more my body lifts it to a shorter height. Maybe I should lay off the squats, or just thrift and get some more clothes. 

The night before we came to this festival, a friend of mine visited Jacksonville for the weekend, and we rode the local water taxi. It took us up and down the river, and to this dock. There is something so refreshing and invigorating about being on the water. I hope sometime during our time living in Jacksonville, for the next few years, that Matt and I purchase a boat. Something small enough to be affordable, but big enough for a few extra people, and even Zeus.

Plus! We live right across the street from a private dock and small marina on a river inlet off the St. John's River. We have so much storage space in our house, why not get a boat. Especially since Florida weather will allow us so many months out of the year on the water.

Days with Matt, on our adventures around Jacksonville, are my favorite. His job takes us everywhere around the city, and he's always up for anything. We're both very adventurous, active, and always positive about experiencing new things. I'm always so excited about where his job takes us next. (You can see Matt's video from the event here.)

While sitting on the lawn of Metropolitan Park, we got to talking about how great it was that we weren't just sitting at home, relaxing on that Sunday afternoon. So many people just sit at home, waiting on something to fall into their lap, and complain that their city is "boring" or slow, or some excuse that they don't have any fun in their lives. Get up. Get out of the house. Pick up your local newspaper and explore! What do you have to lose. Sure, this event wasn't that great, but we had a great time together and experienced something new.

Life's too short to just sit around, waiting for something to jump onto your schedule. Reminds me of something Matt heard on an Anthony Jeselnik interview on the Alison Rosen podcast.. He's an atheist, and was talking about life in general. From what Matt explained to me, he said life, here on earth, that we are living, is heaven. Regardless of religious beliefs, I think it is so true. Choose the life you want, and live it. Sounding preachy? Sorry. I'm just in such a good mood, and so excited about things we have planned on our calendar and in our lives. 

How did you spend your labor day weekend? Matt and I rounded out our extended weekend with some bike riding on and around a beach community at Atlantic Beach. We got caught in the rain, covered in mud, and got a bit of a tan while riding. It was a superb weekend! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

DIY Belted Chairs

Living in a large single unit home for the first time, as a couple, Matt and I have been making big DIY plans for our home. When we first moved in and had barely any furniture, we made the promise to each other, if we can make it, we will make it. I'd seen this amazing tutorial on Scrap Hacker, and it's been on my to-do list for months. Every trip to the thrift store, I'd snatch up all the leather belts I could get my hand on.

Next step, find chairs with an open bottom. My sister just moved here to Jacksonville, and she had two sets of two chairs, two white, two brown, both wood, and both with open bottoms. It's amazing how difficult it is to find 4 matching chairs for a decent price. I settled on two sets of two, knowing that the chair bottoms will bring them together. They are also the same height, so they're close enough.

We started with one belt across the center of the chair. You will need about 20-25 belts, they must be leather, wood screws, a drill, a ruler or tape measure, and patience. It's easier to do this with two people. I don't think I'd attempt it myself. After attaching on one side, stretch across, and pull the belt as tight as possible. Make sure you have a tape measure handy so it is symmetrical, use drill to screw into the other side. Screw into the widest part of the wood, to ensure that it doesn't split.

This gesture isn't to you all. It's to me. Be careful with each other's fingers. I got a little carried away and smashed not one, but two of Matt's fingers with the drill bit. See the blood? Whoops. One person stretches and holds the belt, but move those fingers out of the way when you pick up the drill! No need to predrill either, just apply a bit of pressure and drill away.

Add belts back and forth on each side, weaving them in and out. Because this chair was wider at the front than the back, we attached all the belts to the backside and then equally spaced them out on along the front of the chair. If your chair bottom is square, you will space them out evenly.

Watch how you space out the colors of the belts. We made sure no two colors were next to each other. Used the reds sparingly, and added pops of bright belts here and there. When we make the chair bottoms for the brown wood chairs, we're considering only using neutral belts. And the other white chair will have more color, like this one.

We had no idea we'd use this many belt for the chairs, and have to spend more time thrifting before we can finish the others. So while our dining room doesn't look as empty, with four chairs and a table.. Just peek beneath the surface of the table, and any house guest will see you can only use one of the four chairs, haha. I'll post more pictures when the other three chairs are done, and we finish our dining room. 

Matt recently built an amazing record player stand for our dining room, that holds all of our vinyl records, our sound system, and record player. Soon, we'll wire the room with surround sound, and listen to lovely records during our dinners every evening. How romantic it will be, Matt and I taking turns cooking dinner every night, and then putting on a record while we sit across from each other in a room full of things we've made together. Awww.... isn't that so sweet? I can't wait!

Zeus pouted among the scraps of belts when we cut them to size, right next to the drill and hardware, pouting like a big ol' baby. He's the sweetest baby boy. I can't believe he'll be four years old next month! That white beard is definitely coming in.. I remember when he got his first grey!

So whatcha think? Personally, I can't get enough of these chairs. I am so in love with the belt holes that so on the front of the chair, and the natural weared look of some of the belts. I don't think I could have asked for more!

We are SO excited to finish the other three chairs!