Saturday, May 31, 2008

CRAFT: Issue 07 Release Party!

If you live in the Portland area, don't forget to head on over to Twisted tomorrow to the CRAFT 07 release party! I had to miss the last one because it fell on the same day as Crafty Wonderland but am excited that I will be able to make it to this one.
It's sure to be a good time with craft demos, prize giveaways, refreshments, deals on subscriptions and crafty schmoozing with peeps like Susan Beal and Sister Diane who are hostessing the party.

CRAFT o7 Release Party
Sunday, June 1st
at Twisted
2310 NE Broadway in Portland

Portland is one of five lucky cities that are hosting CRAFT: parties - the others are in Austin, Detroit, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston. Check out the CRAFT Magazine blog for more info. on the other cities.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Dress!

Oh My God! Did I really post about New Kids on the Block?! That's what you get for sewing all day then blogging late at night! Yikes!

I've been sewing like crazy for the last week trying to finalize the design for my new Bossa Nova Baby dress. I've cursed my sewing machine on multiple occasions, ripped out stitches many times and thrown away a crap load of dress-gone-wrong pieces...but alas, it is finally done and I'm pretty happy with the finished product.

I love coming up with new designs, but the process I have to go through to get there is incredibly frustrating and painful. I always have to make at least 2 or 3 bad versions before I figure out exactly how the perfect version should be put together. Usually the original idea I have is impossible to do or just too labor intensive to consider making in multiples.

This time it was bias tape. I was planning to edge the entire dress in quarter inch bias tape in a contrasting color. Cute right? Well, I got out the bias binder attachment for my machine and the damn thing just wouldn't cooperate - not sure if it was the attachment or my machine but there were lots of skipped stitches and tangled threads! (If anyone out there has any bias binder tips I would love to hear them.) So I nixed the bias tape idea and had to completely re-think how the dress was going to be put together. I used several commercial patterns (both vintage and new) to get the proportions and sizing right then totally tweaked them to create my own design that fits a modern body but is vintage in style.

Here it is!

It's styled after the cute house dresses of the 1940's and 50's with a little bit of waitress uniform thrown in - notice the pointed cuffs on the sleeves! The one thing I think may change is that waistband - I'm thinking it needs to be a bit more narrow.

I made it a wrap dress so it would fit a wide range of sizes (and because my motto is "No Buttons, No Zippers!"). I was hoping to make it in 3 or 4 sizes but it looks like for now there will only be two - just like my skirts. I will add sizes as needed and will happily do custom orders. This dress is about a size 10 - my dress form is tiny and doesn't quite fill it out the way it should!

I heart pockets on my skirts and dresses - so a pocket was a must!

Now to name the skirts are called "Betty Skirts" so I'm thinking that this dress needs a similar vintage lady name...perhaps Vivian, Flo or Mabel? Any suggestions out there?

I'm planning to have a handful of these dresses in assorted cute vintage fabrics at the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn. They will most likely appear in my Etsy shop soon after that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who Knew!?

File this one under "Holy Crap".
So I'm looking up movie listings online and was shocked to see an ad for none other than New Kids on the Block playing a concert here in Portland in on sale later this week! A simple Google search later and I find out that this 80's boy band has gotten back together, is coming out with a new album and is launching an international reunion tour!?

The original Boy Band is now a Man Band!

And FYI, Donnie was always my favorite New Kid.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Skirts in the Works!

I'm in full swing getting ready for The Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn next month - can't believe I'm leaving for NY in just over 2 weeks! I'm working feverishly making new skirts and working on my new dress design. I love coming up with new designs but working out the kinks can be extremely frustrating! So far I have put together two dresses but neither one is just right. I'm planning to debut the dress at Renegade so hopefully the third one will be the charm.

Here are some recent fabric purchases that are destined to become skirts (or dresses?) in the next two weeks!

I found this vintage sailboat pattern fabric at the thrift store the other day. It totally reminds me of my upbringing on the south shore of Massachusetts - looks like the kind of fabric that adorned the wrap skirts that the local preppy ladies would buy from Talbots and wear to the sailing club. I was traumatic and that is why I now live 3000 miles away in Portland, OR! But I can't help but be drawn to this 80's preppy stuff - I'm making my own version of the sailboat skirt!

This pretty floral cotton fabric is another vintage thrift store find that will soon become several skirts.

I love this pink cotton fabric with a Mexican motif - while it looks totally vintage, it is actually brand spanking new and purchased at the Fabric Depot outdoor sale. If you live in the Portland area and don't know about the Fabric Depot outdoor sale - you gotta check it out! While you do have to weed through some terribly ugly stuff, you can find the occasional treasure for anywhere from $2 t0 $6 a yard.

This is another vintage inspired cotton print found at the Fabric Depot outdoor sale. This one is in line to become the final version of the Bossa Nova Baby wrap dress! Fingers crossed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Vintage Finds!

There is a family in my neighborhood that holds killer yard sales several times a year. They put out the same fluorescent posters each time to advertise and I anxiously await seeing those signs. Well, they appeared yesterday and I quickly ran on over to check out the goods. They always seem to have lots of crafty knick knacks - fabric, trims, books and kits as well as finished projects. The guy once told me that he was cleaning out his mother's stuff and she was very crafty. Well, she must have had one hell of a stash because I've been to about 8 of their sales and every time I walk away with fantastic stuff. Here's what I came away with this time for a grand total of $3.25!

I'm so crazy about vintage crafts made from found objects - so naturally these little chairs that are made out of tin cans were a must have. I got this whole lot of 8 for only $2! Don't know what I will do with them but I sure do love them! I've seen them made into pin cushions with a little pad on the seat so perhaps that's what they will become.

I also found this tooled leather belt kit - complete with the original box and instructions. I just love the "Stylecraft" logo with the last half in rope script. I might try to look for some leather dye to fancy it up (maybe black or red) then the belt will be ready to wear.

I have such nostalgic memories of this kind of stationary. I loved using these all-in-one style notes to write to my pen pals when I was a kid - you write your letter, fold it over, seal it up and it's ready to mail. So cool! And the fact that these are jeans, complete with a butt, make them even cooler!

Last but not least, I got this instructional booklet put out by U and I Sugar called "Cynthia Scott's World of Holiday Sugar Fun". It includes instructions on Panoramic Sugar Molding - as in those cool molded sugar eggs with the scene inside that Grandma used to give us at Easter. I've been itching to figure out how to make these ever since I made Mexican Sugar Skulls and realized it was basically the same method. Can't wait to experiment with this one!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Obama in Oregon

So my birthday is over and I need to stop with all the pink poofy party talk...sorry for all the self indulgence over the last few weeks! Now it's on to more important worldly the Presidential Election!
I woke up Sunday morning not wanting to do much of anything but felt that the rally for Barack Obama was going to be a monumental event that I shouldn't miss. The whole family made the pilgrimage down to Portland's waterfront and slowly wound our way into the rally area about half an hour before he was set to talk. We were pretty far back but could still hear the speech and had a nice patch of grass to sit on.

It was an amazing Portland day, both in terms of weather and the turnout of supporters - reports were that about 75,000 people came out to support Mr. Obama - the largest turnout of any event so far in this campaign. Yeah Portland! Here is a little video I took of Obama's reaction to the scene right after he came out onto the stage...

He spoke for almost an hour, talking about his plans for everything from universal health care to alternative fuels to providing college funding for students who do community service. You could tell that he really believed what he was saying and was passionate about changing the nation and the world. I was seriously brought to the edge of tears several times while listening to him. For the first time in my life as a voting American, there is a candidate who I feel passionate about and am excited to vote for. In the past it was always a case of voting AGAINST the bad candidate...not voting FOR someone I really felt strongly about.

Mr. Obama talked about how when he decided to run for President people told him he should wait - that he was still a young man and should take more time to prepare. But he said that he felt that there wasn't time - that there was an urgency because of the state of the our government. I have felt for some time that we were in the midst of a dark time in our history - that future generations would look back and see things more clearly than we are able to see them now. I really hope that Barack Obama is the man who will bring us out of this darkness.

Oregon had it's primary this past Tuesday and Barack Obama took 59% of the vote and 31 delegates - bringing him within reach of the Democratic nomination! Go Obama!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Post Prom Wrap-Up

My big 40th Birthday Prom Party finally happened this past Saturday night and boy was it fun! I kind of went over the top with the details - but how often do you turn 40, right?! I bought a simple 1950's pink prom dress on eBay and pimped the hell out of it with sequins and tulle ruffles. Take a look at the before and after photos...

This is the Before pic taken straight from the eBay listing. It was real pretty but way too plain for my liking.

Here is the After pic once I pimped it with some fancy embellishments. I put another layer of tulle around the skirt since what was there was kind of faded and dingy looking. It took 8 yards of tulle to complete that skirt! Yikes!
I gathered thin strips of tulle to make the ruffles across the bust and around the waist. Then I added some bright pink sequin trim around the edges of the sash and at the waist ruffles. I was pretty happy with how it came out - my dream was to be part circus performer / part vegas showgirl / part prom queen. In keeping with that vision, I also bought myself a tiara and a scepter to complete the outfit. Like I was a bit over the top but extremely fun.

There is something liberating about turning 40 - I feel more and more that I don't really care what people think. I'm just doing what I feel like wearing a princess dress and carrying a scepter. I've been thinking that maybe I'm on my way to becoming one of those 80 year old ladies who wears red leather pants and lots of eye shadow.

Here I am with my Prom Court!
Ten of us went to a local beauty parlor and got beehives for the occasion - so amazing! Mine was so tall it defied gravity. Here are a few beehive in progress pics from the beauty parlor...

First they tease it up so you look like Robert Smith from The Cure...

Then with one big woosh! they sweep it all up into the's amazing! Vivian was nice enough to build my hive around my tiara. She used to do these kind of hair-dos all the time back in the day. Her clients would come in once a week to get it done and in between visits they would keep the do nice by wrapping it in toilet paper while they slept. Apparently one gal even slept in a chair all week so her hair wouldn't get smooshed.

I had every intention of keeping that hair-do in for a few days...but after a sleepless night because of all the poky hairpins I just had to rip it out in the morning. We were headed to the Obama rally here in Portland on Sunday and I thought it would be fun to have a pro-Obama slogan across my beehive...but alas, it was not meant to be.

I created a photo booth by decorating a cheap garden arch and hanging leopard fabric on the wall behind it. Prom guests were able to pose for Formal Prom Portraits taken by my ever talented Mom. To see all these formal shots as well at a bunch of candids from the party, simply go to my Flickr page. Enjoy!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Wash + Wax up the street from my house has this sign that they put personal messages on. We always look to see what is up there - sometimes they are pretty funny. Last year when my husband turned 40 I had them put a birthday message on there for him...well, he repaid me yesterday with my own great big birthday wish! So funny! I feel like a movie star with my name in lights!
I had a great birthday yesterday - thanks for all the well wishes. I'm finishing up my final preparations for the big birthday prom - it's going to be so fantastic! I'll be sure to take lots of photos - plus my Mom is taking Prom Portraits so all of those will be on Flickr next week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Four Decades.

Well, it's official. I'm 40 years old.
I keep thinking that I should be more bummed about entering a new decade but the truth is that I'm feeling ok about turning 40...for now anyways. There are definitely some new wrinkles, more than a few gray hairs and that stubborn muffin top that has been hanging around since I gave birth...but all around I feel pretty damn good. I think throwing myself a poofy pink Prom party and getting a big new tattoo is helping with the transition!

I plan on spending my actual birthday (Today) doing all the things I love to do...
*Thrift Shopping at The Bins and Red, White + Blue
*Lunch at Nicholas'
*A performance at my son's school
*Dinner and cocktails at The Farm Cafe
What a perfect day!

Ahh, those were the days when life was all about my favorite purple poncho and Toughskins jeans and running around with a stick was great fun! I think I'm about 7 or 8 in this classic photo.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Corsage Making Party!

Last night I gathered some crafty friends for a party to make corsages for my 40th Birthday Prom. As guests arrive they will choose a corsage to wear for the night then they get to take it home as a fancy party favor! Here are some of the fabulous creations from the party.

I dug through my enormous stash of vintage pieces and realized that I had been preparing for this day my whole life! Pretty much all of the weird vintage pieces that I love to collect can be used in corsages. It is going to be so much fun to see these beauties in action at the Prom - and will be interesting to see who picks which one. I wonder who will pick that troll one!?

This is the wrist corsage I made for myself out of my favorite vintage pink pieces. I'm thinking it might make a better tiara stuck to the front of my beehive hairdo! We'll see.

Corsage making supplies and cocktails spread out on the table.

Alli and Chad proudly showing their creations.

Getting crazy crafty with the corsages!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Back from Maker Faire!

I'm back from my quickie weekend in the Bay Area attending Maker Faire and selling at Bazaar Bizarre. It was such a fun weekend full of crafty goodness and crazy maker stuff. I met so many great people!

Since I was working my booth at Bazaar Bizarre (as pictured above), I didn't get to see everything at the faire... but what I did see was pretty freaking amazing.

People riding mobile cupcakes!

A dress made entirely of black office supply clips!

A giant soft serve cone!

Mucha Lucha!

Loads of olives at The Olive Pit in Northern California! We stopped there on our drive home and had soft serve ice cream...and olives.