Style Imitating Art: The Homecoming

2016_06_23

What I Work to Work Today: Thursday, June 23, 2016
Shirt: Ann Taylor
Pants: Gap
Shoes: Payless

The Style Imitating Art choice this week from Librarian for Life and Style is a woodcut print by Bertha Lum called The Homecoming, likely an initial print for other pieces that year. In addition to the simplicity and vertical lines of my clothing, I included the top of the garage door frame to recreate the frame in the image and my shadow as stand-in for the reflection.

2016_06_23 SIA woodcut

2016_06_23-001

5 years ago today: remember when I used to do all that refashioning?
Little cubicle on the prairie

2011_06_23 cardigan  prairie dress before

June 23, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, What I Wore to Work Today, Words. 2 comments.

Quilt Design Wall: Before and After

design wall after

After

design wall before

Before

When I moved at the end of last summer, the sewing+office room in my apartment changed to separate sewing room + office room in my house, smaller individually than the previous space with more square footage altogether. I rarely use the office, though, which also functions as a guest bedroom when I have overnight guests. (The one weekend I had one overnight guest.) (Maybe more will visit sometime?) The largest benefit was being able to keep a full sewing room wall free to turn into a quilt design wall.

I browsed assorted tutorials online, bought 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ foam insulation boards from Lowe’s and gray flannel from Joann Fabric, and buckled down one night during my week of at-home vacation to make it happen. My version started in a similar manner to this one at Sew Can She, except I attached the individual pieces to the wall. I started attaching the first large board to the wall with removable tape (I’m renting), said “yeah no that’s not going to happen”, and happily went at it with a hammer and nails. The flannel ended up being just the right amount and the last piece of foam is on the opposite wall holding my rulers.

Fabric sticks to the flannel on its own and I use retired pins for security with bigger pieces (the foam board pins easily and protects the wall). I took the photo above the morning after I finished the board – it varies depending on active projects while the blue and green nine patch blocks multiply.

January 25, 2016. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, Projects, Words. 1 comment.

Front yard mulch: Before and after

Front bed before and after

I decided to add mulch to the old not-actually-flower beds in front of my house that were now mostly dirt, old bark, weeds, and a sprinkling of cat poop. I walked into the closest big box store nursery section and asked the stocker to point me to the mulch section.

“It’s back in that corner. Or I have a few bags up here on clearance for a dollar-fifty,” he said.

“Sold!” I replied. There were three bags of red mulch sitting on a cart, exactly the number I needed in a red color that was just fine, marked down because of holes in the bag. A few minutes later and my house looked much nicer.

front side bed before and after

front house after

October 23, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. 2 comments.

Doggie dinner station: Before & After

doggie dinner station before doggie dinner station after

My dog is a sloppy drinker. She splashes water and doesn’t have the excuse of prodigious jowls or floofy ears getting in the way or youthful enthusiasm that cannot be restrained. She’s just messy.

More than a year after getting the little weasel I finally made a doggie dinner station placement using a piece of this home dec fabric roll I got at Goodwill. I also moved it to a dedicated spot in the dining room so it’s not directly next to the garbage and recycle anymore. Same floor, just different lighting for a different appearance.

Doggie Dinner is the magic phrase and soon she’ll probably learn “supper” too, which is what I say when I want to talk about dinner without drawing her attention.

blue and white goodwill home dec fabric

October 22, 2015. Tags: , , . Dog, Pictures, Projects, Words. 1 comment.

1966 vs. 2015: Party Dress

Mom's bright blue and white dress 1966 - single picture

When I was a small child I would play dress-up with my mom’s vintage fancy dresses, swallowed by what seemed like yards of material. Sometime around middle school I stopped playing dress-up in the same way. Years went by and one day I opened the box of old, creased dresses to find that instead of them being much too big I suddenly couldn’t even fit into some of them.

In my mid-twenties my mom shipped half a dozen boxes to me, stuff that had been left behind when I moved out after college. She felt confident that I wasn’t returning to the nest and instead of tossing my boxes into the garbage she sent them to me halfway across the country, which was generous.(Thanks Mom!) One of the boxes was full of her old dresses, now mine.

I moved into a house this summer after 5+ years in an apartment. While packing the dresses for the move I eyeballed one, estimated that I might have a chance at zipping it up, and tried it on. Success! Somewhat constricted breathing in the very tight bodice, still success?

I wore it to a Hummingbird Society gala in Sedona, AZ when I knew it would be for just a couple hours. My mom designed and sewed this dress herself when she was in college in 1966.

Sedona, AZMom's bright blue and white dress 1966 - two pictures

mom dress blue and cream

October 4, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, Words. 1 comment.

Before and After: Paper Towels

on the counter

Before

above it all

After

My new kitchen is smaller than my apartment kitchen, with less storage and unusable counters tucked in corners and cabinets that are suited for somebody 6’2″ and not 5’2″. Also, there’s not a single cupboard large enough to hold a cookie sheet, and no there’s not a drawer under the oven.

There is a wide ledge outside the kitchen window, which looks onto the large patio and backyard, so that part is cool.

This paper towel holder helps my kitchen feel closer to completion.

September 9, 2015. Tags: , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Before & After: Ivy RIP

ivy before

Before

ivy after sad face

After     😦     😦     😦

The night before the movers came I dropped off all my plants at my new house, leaving them near the front porch area on the east side of the house. The plants came from the dining room, the balcony patio, and by the front door of the apartment. By the time we showed up at the house mid-afternoon the next day most of the plants were sunburned and dying, even the ones that had been living outside in the heat all summer.

I don’t know yet how much of the two large plants from my dining room will survive. They might have healthy bits at the base to start growing again after I trim yards and yards of dead vines. It was not the triumphant moving experience I anticipated.

ivy in between

between the Before and After: it spent a year not growing

September 6, 2015. Tags: , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Before and After: Balcony Plants

In 2013 there was a single Lack Ikea table on my balcony with a spider plant that I had transplanted into a slightly bigger pot that basil was sold in and is not meant to be permanent. I don’t see any pictures of the original almost-dead little spider plant that I saw on the Lowe’s clearance shelf and said “I can save you!” The balcony also had a pack of lettuce that failed to grow and a big planter of dirt.

balcony before (spider plant before)  balcony plants

Two years later that spider plant has outgrown its actually-a-pot-this-time and would like another one, and the round planter has two basil plants that are doing ok. The Lack table is at the bottom of a pile of plants and shelves.

The balcony has assorted tables, shelves, and chairs. It has a hummingbird feeder, a seed bird feeder, and a bird bath. Some of the plants are thriving and others will get a chance at a better life at my new house soon.balcony plants cornerbalcony plants bird feeders

balcony plants low pots

August 1, 2015. Tags: , , , . Links, Pictures, Words. 2 comments.

Before and After: Front Door Planter

There are multiple sets of photos on my computer taken over the years with the plan to post Before & Afters. I’m moving to a house in a week and there won’t be many Afters for these. As I like to say, some problems resolve themselves if you wait long enough.

Before pictures on the left, After pictures on the right.

door planter before side viewdoor planter after side view

The ponytail plant didn’t make it so I bought a spiky $1.50 plant on a whim. It thrived even through a summer so I bought another when it appeared on the left-for-dead clearance shelf. The bit of white showing through between the plants is a seashell from my childhood. I had a shell collection as a kid and it’s the last one I’ve kept.

door planter beforedoor planter after

On a less successful note, the sweet little ivy plant is not growing well in the planter and it hasn’t exactly died either. Yet?

ivy before ivy after

July 31, 2015. Tags: , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Bridesmaid Dress Before and After

a beautiful bridelittle black dressI

How to wear a pastel yellow bridesmaid dress again: dye it black and hope for the best. I don’t have a true Before picture of this dress because I shortened it by a couple inches before realizing I hadn’t taken any photos. I added the straps myself, using wired satin ribbon. After the wedding, I removed the ribbon and dyed the dress black, which came out more of a dark gray. The polyester zipper and the thread I used for hemming didn’t take the dye, so I colored it in with a permanent marker. So classy.

Full disclosure: these pictures are from fall 2013 and I still haven’t worn the After dress anywhere except my balcony to take pictures. Turns out I don’t have many occasions to wear a “if you squint maybe it’s not a bridesmaid dress?” dress in my regular life. If this dress isn’t in the giveaway pile yet it’s headed there soon.

chuppah bearer

Several years ago one October I was helping a friend find a bridesmaid dress for a small, low-key wedding. We looked through rack after rack of dresses at inexpensive stores like Ross and a Macy’s outlet.

“This is so frustrating, I won’t be able to find anything pale yellow, that’s not a color in stores in October, and buying a new dress is expensive!” She was frustrated. I agreed that it was not at all cool that they asked her to find such a specific color and just a few weeks before the wedding even! She looked sheepish. “Um, well, actually they asked for my favorite color and when I said yellow they requested that I wear something in light yellow because the three women in the wedding are each wearing their favorite color in a pastel version. And, um, that conversation happened over the summer.”

She found a lovely cotton short-sleeve dress with eyelet hem detail for around twenty bucks. To alleviate her concerns about whether it was wedding-y enough we made a trip to Jo-Ann Fabric and she bought some satin in a pale bronze champagne color. I sewed a sash for her waist; she and the dress both looked great. She found the whole process stressful and costly and vowed that when she got married the people in her wedding would wear whatever they damn well please.

Fast forward a few years: She was engaged. The chuppah bearers were her friends, more or less bridesmaids. We were asked/instructed to wear $100-150 David’s Bridal dresses, short, in canary, with “a strong preference for satin or chiffon” (adding the note directed at me “I totally disregarded your advice there re: either direct orders or not stating a preference, but you’re not the boss of me anyhow”). The official bridesmaid were the couple’s collective sisters, and they were assigned long David’s Bridal cobalt blue satin dresses.

A friend and I went shopping together. We both chose the same strapless cotton dress, and I added ribbon straps to mine.

April 10, 2015. Tags: , , , , . Pictures, Projects, Words. Leave a comment.

Next Page »