Thursday, March 26, 2015

~ tightly laced ~

I've never been able to call myself a talented seamstress.  I usually stray from the pattern (or don't read the pattern and assume I can just figure it out on my own), don't take measurements, and then get frustrated when (BIG SURPRISE) it doesn't fit.  So let's just call this my justification for the heap of bragging you're about to encounter.

To no surprise at all, my fascination with corsets began right along side my fascination with period dramas and was perpetuated by ballet and theatre costumes .  I can clearly remember watching Gone With the Wind for the first time and being totally enraptured by the corsets.  Then came the BBC's Daniel Deronda and that pushed me totally over the edge.

So here I am, many years later, and I've finally gotten around to making a corset for myself.  Like a real, honest to goodness corset that's better than any push up bra I've ever owned!

The long wait was due in part to the fact that I've been under the impression that corsets were nearly impossible to sew and it would take me years and years of duds before I made a good one.  Well maybe it was beginners luck, or maybe it was the inspiration I found from scrolling though every single post from Before The Automobile and Rococo Atelier , but I finally finished an historically accurate Elizabethan corset and I couldn't be prouder of myself! (I warned you about the bragging)

The pattern came from (definitely check it out).  

 I couldn't wait to finish one hundred percent before photographing it - so just kindly ignore the pins on the bottom.

All together it called for about a yard of fabric, 10 yards of boning, and a hell of a lot of thread.

I know people complain all the time about inserting boning, but I found it to be very easy, once I got the hang of it.  And as for the grommets (or lack thereof), they are ridiculously expensive so I did without - instead I hand stitched 9 buttonholes on each side, which only added to my deteriorating eyesight.

But I suppose in several years when my prescription has doubled in strength and my back is permanently sore from awkward sewing positions, I'll be comforted by the knowledge that my ability to replicate the most famous waistlines through the decades has been made infinitely easier.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

~ blue skies ~

Spring has finally hit Florida and I couldn't be happier!

I've buried all of my sweaters deep in the closet.  Dresses and skirts and shorts have come out of storage.  The flowers are blooming.  The bees are busy.  And the daytime temperatures are in 80s.

All I need is a Doris Day record playing in the background and a basket of flower pedal to occasionally throw like confetti.

{vintage dress from Avant Garb)

Oh I love this time of year!  I don't want anything to change.  I would be perfectly content watching period dramas in a bathing suit and drafting corset patterns with the windows open for the rest of my life.  Happy Spring!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

~ panama city ~

I love things that are older than me.  Vintage clothes, songs from the 1920s, british actors in their late 30s, etc., etc.  Maybe this is due to always having been surrounded by people, places, and objects older than myself, throughout my entire childhood.  Most of my friends were older than me, I was the youngest in my family, most of my clothes were hand-me-downs, my furniture was antique, my favorite books were from the 1950s, the movies I watched from the 30s, and the music I listened to predated 1990.  This love of old things hasn't dissipated or grown weak with time (as one might think), but instead, has taken over my life and slowly taken over my closet.  With this in mind, it wouldn't take a genius to figure out that one of my favorite things to do is go antiquing - and I don't mean in those fru fru shops that sell antique bird cages and feedsack pillowcases with "live, laugh, love" embroidered on them.  I mean serious antique shops.  Crowded, dark, slanted floors, packed with interesting old stuff, probably a fire hazard.  You know what I mean.  The more cramped, the better.

There are few antique stores that live up to my incredibly high standards, and the best one is a two hour drive from home, so I don't get to visit it that often.  But when I do, I arrive with plenty of cash, a fully charged phone, and a snack, in case I find a bathing suit from the 40s and get light headed (it happens, people).

If you ask me, there's no better way to spend a spring break...

{the coolest movie theater}


These magazine ads came home with me.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

~ ripe city ~

Well, spring break 2015 is wonderfully uncomplicated, so I figured I would go ahead and start a new series on this ole blog.  A brief spotlight on some of my favorite small businesses around town!

In the last few years, Tallahassee has become overflowing with small businesses - restaurants, art galleries, bookshops, vintage stores, boutiques, bakeries, food trucks, and urban farms, among others.  Some have gone out of business, but the majority have hung on, thanks to good planing, good advertising, a public support.

The first local business in this series is the awesome Ripe City, an urban farm right smack in the middle of town.  I've always been passionate about the environment, and in particular, gardening.  Growing up, the day's activities were dictated by what was growing in the garden that season - almost every summer evening was spent picking (or digging up) our dinner.  Corn, butter beans, green beans, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, and tons and tons of herbs.  Now that my life has gotten more complicated and gardening has taken the backseat, it's so great to see a group of people who have dedicated their days to providing people and local restaurants with fresh vegetables.


So if you're looking for great local, organic produce, check out Ripe City - both online (website, facebook, pinterest), on Instagram (@ripecity) and in person.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

~ creativity ~

"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have."
~ Maya Angelou

Well said, Maya.  As I am currently experiencing a creativity dry spell due to lack of inspiration, lack of sleep, and lack of time, I figured writing about it couldn't hurt.  So here we go.

Creativity is a fickle thing.  It can be fully present one minute, and miles away the next.  And as it isn't a physical thing, but instead, a state of mind, there is no way to "capture" creativity or hold onto it and not let it go.  If that were possible, then everyone who was creative during their childhood would remain creative, far into adulthood.  

Not that I'm an expert in child-rearing by any means, but it doesn't take a genius to notice that most kids love doodling on various objects - paper, walls, dried up leaves ( keep in mind I was a hippie child) - with crayons, colored pencils, or smashed berries (again....I was a hippie child).  However, in many cases, this natural creativity is funneled out of a child at a certain age instead of being refined and shaped into a unique set of skills.  I was one of the lucky ones who grew up according to no one else's standards and who grew into no one else's mold.  My childhood was free-range - I could play as much as I wanted, draw as much as I wanted, and try new things, without the promise of/pressure of success.

As I'm now (technically) grown up, and my childhood is now (technically) over, that natural creativity has been allowed to grow as wild as it wants for close to twenty years.  For the most part, it's consistently present, but I still have times where it seems to whither away and for a week or so I fear that it won't ever come back.  Just ask anyone who lives with me or has spent a significant amount of time with me - every few months, right on cue, I have a minor midlife/I've-lost-all-my-creativity/I'll-never-amount-to-anything crisis that leaves me downtrodden and defeated, and that seems to vanish as quickly as it came.

So before I resign myself to an uncreative and unsatisfying life of cubicles and khaki pants (not that there's anything wrong with that), I'm giving myself complete freedom to do as I please - playing as much as I want, drawing as much as I want, and trying new things, without the promise of/pressure of success.


Monday, March 2, 2015

~ the straight and narrow ~

Cigarette pants and high waisted jeans both hold a special place in my heart (and in my wardrobe).

{Today's outfit (and fresh curls).  Gap pants, gap shoes, vintage top}

In fact, I'm pretty sure I could live the rest of my life without ever wearing another pair of boot cut, wide-legged, or low cut pants again.  

{Yesterday's outfit.  Gap pants, gap shoes, target top and faux fur scarf.  And Teddy)

They're perfect for any weather - rainy and cold like yesterday, or sunny and in the 70s like today.  Not only that, they're comfortable, practical, and perfect for these days when it's still too cold to wear a skirt.

Levi's ad

Levis ad 1950's

As I'm prone to get into outfit ruts, let's just hope my supply of pants is as deep as the rut itself.