The Wannabe Craftster

The Highs and Lows of a Fashionista and Craftster Wannabe

I Can’t Help Bragging!

cherrielegacy

This is my MIL who is director of social services at the Salvation Army in our hometown.  The local paper wrote an article about her.  Tried to scan that in but didn’t come out well.  May try again soon.  It’s worth reading.

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January 5, 2009 Posted by | inspiration, Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

My Current Vintage Obsession


My personal style could never be described as “Jackie O”.  My hair tends to look windblown at best, and my dressy clothes are, these days, gathering dust in my closet.   Park days, piano lessons, gymnastics lessons, and speech therapy sessions don’t usually demand pumps and a slip.  More likely, you’ll see me in jeans or yoga pants with some oversized shirt.  Glamorous!   My mother is tall with narrow shoulders and a slim face and wears the styles I never could–full skirts, fussy tops, vests.   She could never understand  why her 5’1″ daughter with the big, full face and broad shoulders couldn’t float through the room in a circle skirt like June Cleaver.   Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to tolerate the clothes I wanted to wear–empire waist dresses, wrap sweaters, and straight skirts.  There was a compromise here and there, but she could be a bit of a bully about it all.  The one thing she couldn’t stand was the one thing she could do nothing about–my hair.  She would have loved it had I adopted a Grace Kelly do, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  Classic good looks were NOT mine, and my style, though stifled for many years directly by my well-meaning mother and even after by my desire to please her as an adult, was actually more boho.  You could read in her eyes the one thing she was thinking but wouldn’t say–TACKY!

So, at this stage of the game, why am I obsessed with 60s suits?   (I’m a 70s girl!) Is it the desperate need to  break out of my rut?  Could the yoga pants and oversized t-shirts of my husband’s finally have caused some sort of meltdown?  Am I secretly planning to shock the yoga pants off everyone else?  Am I just missing my mom and wanting to please her?

One extremely appealing characteristic of these suits is how streamlined they are.   Not many bells and whistles here.  The extravagance would be in the choice of fabric and in lining.  No embroidery, no ruffles, no crochet and NO SHOULDER PADS!  I used to rip them out of my clothes, even in the 80s.  Those of us with broad shoulders don’t need them!  Never did!

Something else has me hypnotized, though.  When one lays off the distracting embellishments, one gives oneself the opportunity to LAY ON THE JEWELRY!!!!  Back up, people!  I’ll need some room for the next post!

October 31, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, jewelry, patterns, vintage | , , , , | 3 Comments

Ooh La la!!!!

My sister had this pattern back in the day.  I thought it was the sexiest thing I’d ever seen and wanted it for myself.  You can find this at http://www.lanetzliving.net/

October 10, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, patterns, sew, sister, vintage | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Back When I Was Pretty and Other More Important Observations

Visited Sissie this weekend and had a marvelous time.    She took me out to eat and out shopping–all her treat.  We were talking about sewing and decorating.  She has made her apartment look like something fit for a design magazine with mostly items from Big Lots.   That’s right.  You read correctly.  She makes everything look beautiful.  I don’t think I saw one thing she made herself or even painted.  Very unusual.  BUT, she’s got a much more demanding job now and is enjoying some instant gratification here and there.

Shopping for clothes!  Yes!  We went to Ross and a few other places that had super-cute blouses (because I just can’t find pants to fit anymore) at ridiculous prices.  She was thinking that sewing to save money is an idea long past, and I had to agree.  I want to sew for the fun of it and the control of design and fabric.  Problem–when you’ve gained a good bit of weight, it’s much harder to find clothes that fit and look nice.  So, discovering that a finished piece of your own sewing just doesn’t fit the bill, then what?  Tears?

Sissie turned  me on to I Can Make You Thin’s Paul McKenna.  Now, this is the same Sissie who “encouraged” me many years ago to join Weight Watchers.  I blew her off for at least a year.  But, when I finally went to Weight Watchers, I lost 20 pounds and stayed skinny for years.  So, although I was skeptical of Paul McKenna, I watched.  Well, she also told me to watch, so I was scared not to.  It’s a sister thing.

http://www.mckenna.com/

Well, I watched two of his videos that she had recorded, and I have to say…it makes sense.  It makes a whole lotta sense.  And, frankly?  After listening  with a semi-open mind, I’m not thinking about my day in terms of food and how to fit my day around eating.  Part of his technique is something like aversion therapy.  He asked people to imagine some gross things associated with food.  What yucks most people out doesn’t do much for me, but to tell you what I pictured might make you never want to eat again.  For those of you who are curious, I may reveal my image in another post.  But, boy, it is super-sick.

What does this have to do with the title of my post?  Back when I was thin and took a great deal more pride in my appearance…..let’s just say it–BEFORE CHILDREN…..I remember reminding myself to pull back from the table and leave food on my plate.  I actually did.  Now that I’ve let my weight stay on for so long, I’ve forgotten the mind-set.  While Sissie and I were out, we saw a couple of ladies behind us with their children.  They absolutely defined CUTE.  Darling.  And, they were all slim and well-dressed.  Hard not to sigh and think of yesteryear, you know?  One of the women was wearing a printed blouse with a rather unique though not unfamiliar trim, and I couldn’t help pointing it out to Sissie.

Today, I’m back at home in front of my computer perusing my favorite sewing blogs and what do I find?  The same trim on a little girl’s dress.  The red pom poms.  Ta da.

http://allsorts.typepad.com/allsorts/images/2008/08/20/dress.jpg

But, it was the post that stopped me in my tracks today.  The author’s mother is in ICU and not doing well at all.  Judging from the number of people who responded, it shook more than a few other people up as well.  It certainly put things in perspective for me.  My own mother called me just a little while ago to see how I was doing.  She, herself, has been very ill for a while now.  I’ve never thought crafting or pretty clothes were frivolous any more than images of nature that please the eye, but I am always aware, especially on days like today, that beauty doesn’t exist in a vacuum.   It is ever-present in the people we see it in and the people we share it with.

I truly hope Jennifer’s mother recovers, and I am so thankful that my own mother was able to call me today and laugh about my children’s latest shenanigans.  She may not know it or believe it, but she is truly beautiful.

August 23, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, sister | , , , , , | 15 Comments

Serendipity

I’ve been going through my kids’ old clothes and culling out what I could stand to part with.   As time goes by, it is becoming clear to me that I won’t be having any more, which means I’m having to give up on my dream of having a daughter.  Obviously, I can’t keep all the children’s toys and clothes and shoes.  BUT, there are some things I absolutely cannot part with.  This is one of them.

Try to ignore the hideous background.  This is a little suit my mother bought for my older son when he was a baby.   Since we live in Austin and it’s always hot, winter clothes are handed down in almost perfect condition.  It’s my favorite color–red!  The elephants make the whole outfit for me.  I’ve always loved them and looking around my house, I notice I tend to favor decor items that feature them.

Soooo, while I’m still not tossing this little suit out,  I was thinking that some new project with darling elephants might be in order.  First I was thinking another suit.  Right?  Again, since it’s always hot here, do I really want to bother making another one?    (I’m saying track suit, but what would you call this ensemble?  A lounge suit? Jogging suit? Play suit?  Ew, maybe not.)  On one hand my ds is 4 and is still not such a big guy that he can’t wear really cute clothes.  On the other hand, my ds is 4 and is such a guy that all clothes must be able to withstand his habit of using his shirt as a napkin.  Interesting.  Pajamas, maybe?

Or, I could make a tote bag for him, which he needs anyway, for MDO and the library.

OR, I could make something for ME.  Maybe a cute bag?

Sissie says I can always use coloring books to search for possible applique subjects.  Bingo!  Internet turned up NOTHING I wanted!

And, then I found this…..

http://www.dollsofindia.com/product/HF90/

Now, really.  Is there any better way to transition?

August 18, 2008 Posted by | inspiration | , , , , , | 7 Comments

If

If it ever got cool enough in Texas, I’d make something like the latest wrap/jacket that Erica Bunker has made. Her blog is one of my absolute favorites and was, if I remember correctly, the first one I ever bookmarked. Photography is great, and she has impeccable taste. Not perfectly matched with mine, of course. She’s tall like a model and I’m….not. I could never pull off some of the styles she favors and looks so good in. If you haven’t already, check it out.

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b16/eribunk/Projects/101_1746.jpg

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Austin, inspiration, patterns | , , , | Leave a comment

Coming in Summer 08

I first found The Naughty Secretary http://www.naughtysecretaryclub.com/shop/ online after watching THE coolest idea for a necklace EVER on Crafters Coast to Coast ……..

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/cr_accessories_jewelry/article/0,,HGTV_3225_3263016,00.html

Also, check out Austin Craft Mafia….

http://www.austincraftmafia.com/main.html

Cool TV Shows…

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/shows_dclb

http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/shows_dkng/

http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/shows_hclvr/

Now, to be perfectly honest…(and you know The Wannabe keeps it real…can’t believe I just said that)…some of the neatest people with the coolest crafts appear on programs that require some silliness. I know this. Frankly, there are times that I knit, crochet or paint very sternly!

Well, maybe not THAT sternly.

I’ll just say that there are a few craft programs that….well…require participants to dance and make dumb faces, eventually making them all seem mentally challenged rather than craft-happy. I realize I may be directing you to one or two of those. However, if I could put up with some of the silliness at Weight Watchers, I can put up with it from DIY. Luckily, Tivo allows you to fast forward. If I could somehow apply that to Weight Watchers meetings, I might still be attending!

June 28, 2008 Posted by | Austin, inspiration, jewelry, thrifting | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Claire McCardell

Inspired by this post at Dress A Day, I began doing a little research on Claire McCardell.

http://www.dressaday.com/2008/06/meet-our-advertisers-3-marge-at-born.html

I must confess, I’d never heard of her. What a shame. You’ll think so too when you read this….

http://www.squidoo.com/clairemccardell

Scroll down and don’t miss the article at TIME magazine. Incredible that even in the world of fashion, women don’t get proper credit. We should all know this woman’s name, because like as not, many of us are wearing clothes that she inspired. I never got a real idea of what American Sportswear was all about UNTIL I read about its history and the major role Claire McCardell played.

Claire McCardell

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/amsp/ho_1997.193.2.htm

June 25, 2008 Posted by | Designer clothes, inspiration, vintage | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fixing Sissie’s Lunch

This doesn’t look exactly like the lunchbox Sissie used to carry when she was a teenager, but it’s the best picture I could find on the net. You’d better believe I wanted one just like it. Or better yet, I wanted Sissie’s. Everything she did was cool, I thought. She went to camp with a funky little suitcase, which I coveted, of course. She had a funky seventies pillowcase, which I wanted. And she got to go to school and carry her lunch in this darling little case in my favorite color—red!

This is the story of how my imagination compromised Sissie’s dignity.

One morning, as Sissie was preparing to go to school, I was inspired to remove her lunch from the case and pack it F-U-L-L of…what else? My underwear!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was pretending to take a trip, and it was made all the more real, because I was in reality riding along in our VW “Bug” in the backseat as my daddy drove Sissie to school.

I watched (having forgotten about my morning play as easily as children tend to do) as Sissie stepped out of the car, began walking toward the school which was, of course, SWIMMING with teenagers when…..oh what happened? That lunchbox popped open like a jack-in-the-box and out flew panties EVERYWHERE!

All I remember after that was teenagers laughing and pointing as Sissie frantically gathered my underwear off the road and stuffed it back in the lunchbox.

I’m amazed she still speaks to me, but I think she blocked this out of her memory. She probably comforts herself by believing I dreamed this. Or, as she often says, after raising children, she can’t BE embarrassed anymore.

If you like the lunchbox, head on over to Ebay. It’s a classic, anyway. Just don’t stuff it full of underwear.

http://stores.ebay.com/F-C-Inc

June 13, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, sister, Uncategorized, vintage | , , , | 4 Comments

Maggie Gay

While many of us pursue elegance in every aspect of our lives, others seem to be born with it. Case in Point–Margie Gay. For those of you who don’t know, Margie Gay was a little girl who starred in Walt Disney’s shorts called the Alice Comedies between 1923 and 1927. Margie was not the first Alice, but I did find a couple of pictures of her in one of ds’s library books this week.

Margie Gay with Walt Disney

What a relaxed pose, and note the hat.

Margie Gay

A beautiful example of twenties fashion for children. The grace with which this child wears a hat amazes me. Unfortunately, there was very little real information and few pictures, if any, of Margie Gay on the net. The big question I had was whether or not she would show as much poise in moving pictures. It’s quite hard to tell, since we would consider those shorts primitive, compared to the clarity we’re used to today, even from our own pocket cameras, but as with all things twenties, the films are fascinating to watch. Always makes me wonder if my grandparents may have seen the same cartoon/movie/etc and what they may have thought about it. Then, I think about the fashions and who in my family may have worn clothes similar. I have a gorgeous picture around here somewhere of my aunt in her twenties finery. I’ll have to post that soon. Right now, I think this blog will be solely dedicated to Margie Gay. More of my favorite decade later.

And joy of joys, I found another, and certainly BETTER, blog post about the Alice Comedies. ENJOY!!!!!

http://keepswinging.blogspot.com/2007/02/alice-comedies.html

May 28, 2008 Posted by | inspiration, The Twenties, Uncategorized, vintage | , , , , , | 6 Comments