Wednesday, August 31, 2011


You probably don't know that I grew up in Vermont. ALL of my family still lives in Vermont- I left for college 7 years ago, and I haven't moved back yet. 

You probably have heard about the damage Hurricane Irene caused in Vermont. Thankfully my family suffered very little damage- they lost power for a short time, and have some very soggy lawns. But other areas in Vermont were not so lucky, including places that I used to go to/by all the time growing up. Looking at these pictures is just heart wrentching for me, so hard. 

Something like 30 bridges were washed out, including at least 4 covered bridges. Three people are confirmed dead, possibly four, and others are missing.

You can help directly by donating to the Vermont Food Bank. Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10. The Vermont Foodbank will help turn your $10 donation into $60 worth of groceries for local families in need, or go to their website to make your donation:

Water in some places was like 7 feet high. In particular, the river that runs along the edge of the backyard of my house growing up was over 17 feet high on Sunday, with 8 feet considered "flood stage."

Cars completely submerged at a Vermont State College (Castleton-- their students just moved in at the end of last week! What a welcome to college!)

A camper was swept down the river and into this bridge..

The main street through Brandon, totally flooded. Just down the road from here a well known pizza house was moved 20 feet off its foundation as a result of the water.

This was one of my favorite swimming areas growing up- its the New Haven River/Bristol Falls. That road used to have trees on both sides, and an embankment along the river!

Ironically, Friday was such an exciting day for the people in my old 'hood. You see, just under a year ago the Champlain Bridge which connects Addison, VT to Crown Point, NY was deemed unsafe and closed immediately. Detour routes were generally about 100 EXTRA MILES EACH DAY, which was an extreme hardship on the people that lived in NY and worked in VT, or vice versa. After a few months they were able to install a ferry near where the bridge was, which runs 24/7. This alleviates some of the problem, but still adds time to peoples commutes. 

Well, they've been working nearly 24/7 on this bridge since late December, and Friday they added the top of the bridge, making it *look* finished. The area was all abuzz about the bridge being finished and how its going to improve life. Even though I'm 1000 miles away, I could feel the positive energy myself through the phone. People are just EXCITED about this bridge being completed.

So please, donate to the Vermont FoodBank. Or donate blood, where ever you are. Thanks!

(All pictures taken from Burlington Free Press)

Linked to Centsational Girl's "Favorite Things in My Town" Party...just took a different turn

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunburst Mirror

I don't need to tell you that sunburst mirrors are a hot decor item these days, as you've likely seen them all over blogland and in stores. So I'll just cut to the chase. 

I made my own sunburst mirror, using some bamboo skewers I picked up at the grocery store, silver spray paint, a small mirror from a craft store, some cardboard and hot glue. 
I started by spray painting the skewers silver. I then used my little hand saw to cut the skewers to various lengths. I cut off the pointed ends of the skewers, with the intention of having that end glued to the back of the mirror. 
Once the skewers were cut, I arranged them in somewhat of a pattern around the back of the mirror. I started by using a pencil to draw lines cutting the mirror into 8ths on the back, and put my longest skewers along those lines. I then filled it in by placing a skewer in the middle of each remaining section, while varying the lengths, really by eye. At this point I also giggled about how in theory I would need an infinite number of skewers to fill in my mirror. Perhaps some of you will appreciate this too.:)
Lastly I glued the cardboard circle that I made by tracing my mirror (before gluing on any skewers) over the skewers. I thought this would make it easier to hang.

It looks nice on the wall to the right as you come up the stairs to my apartment. The walls in that area are very large and very empty, so this is a good step towards adding some interest there.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chair Project!

About 2 years ago I scored this little side chair for $5 at a lawn sale. I really liked the size and shape of the chair, and the low price didn't hurt either. The chair itself had definitely seen better days, and the seat itself was in need of some repair. 

The underside of the chair. A mess.

It actually took me quite a while to remove the old fabric- because it wasn't secured with staples which allow some leverage, but with small carpet nails. In addition to the hundreds of nails I had to remove (stabbing myself in the leg with a screw driver in the process...don't worry, I'm ok) this chair was dusty. Yuck. 

Working on removing all those tacks

Close up of where the buttons were...naw, this fabric isn't dirty at all!

What the frame of the chair looked like after I removed the fabric
and the cats helped with a little scratching

Originally I was planning to use a piece of textured grey fabric I scored for about $4 a yard. It was on a clearance table for something like $10 a yard at Joann's, and on that particular day it was 50% off all clearance, AND I had a coupon for an additional percentage off my entire purchase. I didn't have quite two yards, but more than one.

But when I put this fabric onto the chair to see how it might look, I was bored. It looked clean and nice, but just not exciting. So I looked through my fabric stash (yup, I have a stash now) for something that was appropriate to use for this chair, and found some fabric that I have left over from another project that I thought fit the bill.

Much more interesting, right?
 Honestly, this is not a tutorial. But the picture below shows how I used the old fabric to make a template for the new fabric. I literally just traced.

And its done!?

It's hard to tell from these messy pictures (keeping it real, people.) but something wasn't right. The original upholstery was structured, where in this iteration, I just covered it the way you would a dining chair.
I lived with it for a day, but it just really didn't look the way I wanted it to. So I removed the fabric off the seat portion, and made a more structured cover using my sewing machine. I considered adding some pipping, but this project was already dragging on, and I've never done pipping before, so for my sanity, I decided that would be for my next project (which I already have in queue...wink wink).

So here are some final after pictures of the chair, and my cats being total hams. You should know, I took these pictures early in the morning, BEFORE I headed out to work, because the light was good--or at least as good as it was going to be. This is serious, guys.

For the back, I am considering adding some nail head trim, sort of like what's pictured below. Still thinking about it. Not sure yet. What do you think? Should I add nail head trim?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fall Wardrobe Plans: Part 1

For the fall, I decided to pick a several patterns and make them as my "fall wardrobe." I'm not going to claim that my fabric choices will make it highly coordinated, but that's not my goal at this point. Here are the first couple patterns I've picked and my proposed fabrics. At this point I really only have access to a Joann's (I'm scared to order online! I have to touch the fabric in order to know what to use it for!) at this point-- although I'm about 45 minutes from Haberman's, which is apparently an awesome fabric store in metro Detroit. I'm hesitant to go there because I'm not confident enough with my sewing skills to buy really nice/expensive fabric. I'm fairly comfortable with the price ranges at Joann's, and I don't feel bored there YET, although reading other people's blogs and seeing their beautiful fabrics might send me elsewhere.

1. Pants: Simplicity 2562: I am planning to make these pants in a navy blue, probably a gabardine although perhaps a wool if I find one I like. 

2. Dress: McCalls 5927. I plan to make the view with cap sleeves, with a black w/white specs suiting fabric from Joann's. I also have some cranberry fabric that was given to me (gabardine? I'm not sure) that might end up in this style.

 3. Dress: McCalls 5974. This pattern is for a knit, which I have recently started playing with.Honestly, I'm not sure what color I will use for this. Maybe a  turquoise color similar to the dress shown below. I plan to make the version with the wrap detail and 3/4 sleeves.

 4. Jacket: McCalls 6041: I like this pattern because of the similarity to Channel style jackets. I'm hoping to find a tweed or boulce that has a bright color in it- pink, red...

 5. Another Jacket: McCalls 6329. Again, not sure what color, or even which view. I'm hoping that I have a good experience sewing the view shown in khaki, and then I can attempt the wrap style view. I've seen a linen fabric at Joann's that has some sparkle woven in--I could see that working well for this jacket. (And also a skirt, dress and pants...I'm in love with that fabric)

In my next post I'll finish up showing the patterns I'm planning on. Yikes, this looks like a lot. I better get sewing! Besides these things for myself, I'd also like to make Christmas gifts again this year. I already have ideas for my mom and sister, but brother, aunt, grandma, dad, stepdad and stepmom are still unknown. What do you sew for boys anyway? Dress shirts seem quite scary. PJ pants/boxers? Seems kind of lame.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Glittered Heels

For a while, I've been obsessed with glittered shoes. Kitten heels, pumps, open toed pumps...Kate Spade, Jimmy Choo, Mui Mui....
The problem with this is I can't afford to buy a pair of Kate Spade shoes...but even more, I'm unsure how practical they will be for "everyday" wear, which is the test I put all of my clothing and shoes through. 

Glitter Heels

Christian Louboutin platform pumps
$895 -

Christian Louboutin glitter pumps
$805 -

Miu Miu glitter pumps
$476 -

Jimmy choo shoes
$495 -

Betsey johnson shoes
$119 -

High heel shoes
$120 -

JustFabulous glitter pumps
$50 -

I've seen a couple DIY glittered shoes around the internet, and I decided to try it myself.
I had a pair of shoes I felt were good candidates, but I liked them as is too, so I set out on a hunt for affordable shoes to glitter. I went to the Salvation Army, and as luck would have it, I found an awesome, brand new pair of black opened toe ankle strap pumps. 

I bought them, but by the time I got home, I was already unsure that I wanted to glitter them, as I loved them in their current state. Also, the ankle strap and heel height made them slightly more dressy than I was intending. So, I decided to glitter the original heels and keep the "new" ones I had bought black! The shoes I ended up using are from Target, from a couple years ago. They're comfortable and I actually have them in two colors. 

All you need for this project is a pair of shoes, some glitter, modge podge, a little newspaper and some clear enamel spray paint.
 It was beautiful out that day, so I decided to work outside on my balcony.

Mix some modge podge and glitter- I used Martha Stewart's smokey quartz glitter, bought at Michael's for $3.99. I really just eyeballed it, no exact recipes here.

First Coat 
It took me about 4 coats to achieve the level of uhh...glitteirness that I wanted. As you can see, I also glittered a barrette I had laying around. I find when I have glue and glitter mixed, and even a little bit left over, I get giddy looking around trying to find something else to glitter.

I stuffed some newspaper into the shoes to protect the insides, and then sprayed a coat of clear enamel that I bought at Ace Hardware, also for $3.99.

Voila! The finished project. Prepare yourself, friends. I will be wearing these around town starting tomorrow morning!