Wednesday, January 30, 2013

New Shoes: Fluevog Worlds

Sweater/Cardi: Motel Rocks via ModCloth | Top: Old Navy | Jeans: GAP | Loafers: Fluevog Nzame (World family)

This past season I have been craving flats as much as heels from the Fluevog line, mostly because I want shoes that I can quickly slip on as I run out of the house to drive my son to and from school everyday. Of course, I could have spent less and gotten, say, more Blowfish flats, but I actually got these gorgeous red loafers on very steep sale through Amazon earlier this month (they were less than $55 for me but are also on sale right now at Fluevog for $99) ... meaning that, for just a little more than a pair of full-price Blowfish shoes, I got these amazing, supremely comfortable leather shoes that will last me YEARS. I can attest that they hold up well for dancing, too; after several hours of dancing contra last weekend, my toes didn't feel so much as a twinge. :-)

(Sorry, not to rag on Blowfish. After all, I have five pairs of their shoes -- 3 flats and 2 booties -- that I still wear sometimes. I just meant to use it as an example of cute, good-quality shoes that nevertheless are not made to last. Fluevogs are obviously in a different league; they are far more comfortable and they mold almost perfectly to your shape once broken-in; and given the choice, with price being comparable, I'd simply pick Fluevogs every time.)

{Oh, and don't worry. I've been selling off some of my minimally-used Fluevogs to make room for new pairs. These didn't fit me that well, so I rarely wore them. If you're in the market for some beautiful vintage size 6 Fluevogs in excellent condition, let me know! See here, here, and here.}

Fluevog World: Nzame (also comes in black, cream/brown, and purple/blue colorways)

I tried these on when they came out in last spring's line, and for some reason I remembered thinking that they were comfortable but a little big for me. I was willing to overlook that when I bought them, however, because they were supposed to be quick to slip on, anyway. But it turns out that they fit my feet just fine and are snug with socks on, so I would say they run almost 1/2 size small (I own the size 6 but am a true 5.5).

They're such an easy and comfortable way to add color to my boring everyday outfits as I run around getting errands done. This is a representative of what I've been wearing everyday this past fall and winter: jeans, a casual tee, and some kind of sweater or jacket. Usually not this already-very-bright sweater, which I don't wear more than once a week or two weeks outside the house. (Inside the house is different. It's been cold here, and the sweater is like wearing a cozy blanket all day. Prrrrr. It's among the best purchases I've made at ModCloth, and that's saying something!)

Something interesting about the red colorway that you might or might not have noticed: If you look at the stock photo above, you'll notice that the tassels on the right shoe are longer than those on the left. I believe that's the case for every red pair that was made. When I first received the shoes from Amazon, I considered returning them or complaining because I thought they were defective, but the stock photo on the Fluevog website showed the exact same issue. It's not the case with the other colorways. I'm sure other folks have noticed too and were bothered by this, but you know what, I actually like the subtle difference between the left and right shoes. Makes them more special that way, at least to me. :-)

xo, Gladys

P.S. Do I need to trim my bangs or what?!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sewing Inspiration: Enchantment under the Sea Dress

One of my goals this year is to finally make a dress for myself (my Halloween Regency dress doesn't count because I can't wear it more than once a year).

After buying Stitch Savvy: 25 Skill-Building Projects to Take Your Sewing Technique to the Next Level by Deborah Moebes of Whipstitch, I think I've found the perfect candidate. It will be great for spring and summer. I mean, look at it!

Granted, I'll probably make the option with the straps. After having a kid, my body just ain't built the way it used to be. ;-) This is made with regular quilting cotton, too, so it'll be something that won't stretch my limits too much but will still be lovely and fitted to my measurements. Looking forward to it!

xo, Gladys

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sewing: Wonder Woman Stuffed Pillow

This stuffed pillow was an Xmas present for Joanne, who is a huge Wonder Woman fan. (She's still on a search for the perfect Wonder Woman boots for her.) As you can see below, it was meant to be a stuffed doll. I bought the fabric from Spoonflower, and I was quite excited to make it. However, after I carefully cut out the front and back according to the directions, I found out to my deep dismay that they were not mirror images as they are supposed to be if you're going to sew them right sides together. Fabric design FAIL. So while it is a cute image and a great idea, you should know this before buying the fabric yourself.

What to do?

Well, it took me a while to commit to it, but I decided to applique the Wonder Woman cutouts onto fabric and create a stuffed pillow that would complement the birthday pillowcases I made for her. For added strength and to prevent the fabric from wrinkling while appliqueing, I used fusible web (Heat'n Bond Lite) on the backs of the cutouts, then I ironed the cutouts onto the pillow fabric.

Above is a closeup of the applique. Not too shabby ... but this is another skill that I'd like to practice and perfect.

Here are both sides appliqued. I pinned the fabric right sides together and sewed the edges of the pillowcase closed, but I left about six inches unsewn so that I could stuff the pillow.

Now time to stuff. These huge clouds were Poly-Fil and I used the majority of my bag. After stuffing, I stitched the opening closed by hand, using an even slipstitch.

All done!

Here's an iPhone photo of all of her three pillow(case)s together, courtesy of Joanne. (Nice Fluevog sandals, chica!)

xo, Gladys

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cousin Love

Whereas before he was indifferent to them (or maybe even jealous), my son recently decided that he really loved his 3.5-month-old twin cousins and wanted to learn how to hold them. Here are the adorable results of that, with the babies taking turns being hugged on his lap. The babies don't look like they mind, do they?

And here's a funny animated GIF of the kiddo chugging down a bit of root beer at a recent party. What a party animal ... or perhaps sugar fiend.

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sewing: Pillowcases Galore

I made several pillowcases for holiday presents this past season. I'm embarrassed to say that one pillowcase took me until last week to finish, but they're all finally finished and mailed off. I'm saving the last-made one for a later post this week, but here are the rest. They are all fun in their own way.


You've seen me make a pillow like this before ... except the back fabric is different, and at this point I've basically perfected the envelope pillow cover. I made this for my dear friend Dorothy (one of the MotleyFlue), who loves Master Yoda. The measurements on this baby are almost exact. French seams inside. I dig how badass Yoda looks.

Thomas and Friends

My nephew wanted another set of Thomas pillows for Xmas. I made a set using different fabric for his birthday last September, but I didn't blog about it. I sewed the previous pillowcases as envelope covers. These are more like the typical pillowcases that you buy, open with a wide hem on one end. I just used a standard-size pillowcase that we already had to create my measurements. Again, my measurements for these were meticulous, and they needed to be because of the directional prints.

Invisible Zipper

I made these color-block pillowcases for Joanne's birthday which was in early December ... and, um, she hasn't received them yet. (She'll get them along with her also-late Xmas present, hopefully by tomorrow.) She asked for simple pillowcases to brighten up her couch, but I couldn't make the easy version, i.e. envelope. I knew I needed to use zippers on these. Thing is, I'd never sewed zippers on the edges like this, and I'd never sewed invisible zippers before. I had to do tons of research and look through different tutorials online to psych myself up to do it. In the end, it worked, though I used a slightly different method for each pillowcase. The stuffed pillowcase above isn't how it's supposed to look, but I just wanted to show you how invisible the invisible zipper actually is. (It's supposed to look more full and stuffed; I used a smaller pillow form than what Joanne has, just for demonstration purposes.) I'm happy with the way they turned out, but I am planning to practice sewing more invisible zippers. It's not that difficult, but it is a somewhat fussy business, and this is one of the sewing skills I'd like to perfect ... because I am seriously planning to make a dress for myself in time for spring. :-)

xo, Gladys

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recipe: Chocolate Chili

Just wanted to share some photos of recently-made chocolate chili. I've mentioned this chili recipe before on this blog, but it's so good I want to share it again. I won't reprint the recipe here, so just go to The Clothes Make the Girl blog, whose writer Melissa Joulwan is the author of a great cookbook that you should consider getting, Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat. My only note is that I use two full tablespoons of cocoa rather than the 1.5 tablespoons on her blog recipe. I make it with two pounds of ground beef and it is basically gone in two family dinners or less. We eat it over hot dogs or baked potatoes (I know, not very paleo) with a veggie on the side, some sour cream for me, and maybe some dried chives. But I've also eaten it straight up from the pot, no sides or toppings necessary. Seriously, seriously delicious. Seriously.

Ready to eat!

xo, Gladys

Monday, January 21, 2013

Space Brogues at the Space Park

We spent a lovely Sunday morning in the park, with a plan to feed the ducks and geese and chaperone the kiddo as he biked around the park's perimeter. We brought the camera, so I got some photos of my outfit as well. (I don't know who that blond kid is. I got photo-bombed!)

Cardi: GAP | T-shirt: Next Level Apparel via California Science Center | Jeans: GAP | Socks: Sockdreams | Shoes: Fluevog Alli (Adrian family)

I rarely wear these shoes, which I bought secondhand via eBay a couple of years ago. I think it's because they take a bit of work to put on (the straps) and are a bit heavy. However, they're quite fun and stompy and have a great profile. I like the brogue look as well. I'm not sure why I thought they'd be appropriate for a morning at the park, but I was able to easily run in them while keeping up with my son on his training-wheels bike.

I'm quite fond of the socks as well. Sometimes I think the design is meant to be abstract daisies, but usually I think of spaceships when I see it. I wore the socks to match one of my newest graphic tees, depicting the retired space shuttle Endeavour, which I bought when we visited the California Science Center late last month. And I wore the tee because the park, which is in an airport, is named after the Apollo space mission.

And you can see part of my TARDIS spaceship iPhone peeking out of my jeans pocket. I'm such a nerd!


There were hundreds and hundreds of ducks and geese at the park. I won't lie, it got a bit scary at times! Some were quite brazen and crept close to us, not even a foot away, almost the moment they saw the bag with the flour tortillas in it. I even got spanked in the backside when a goose spread its wings as it tried to mark its territory. And some of the taller birds tried to pluck the tortillas right out of my son's hands. Thankfully, however, no one got hurt, and much fun was definitely had. :-)

xo, Gladys

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Happy Holidaze

Here's another brief recap of my holidaze, this time of New Year's Eve, which was chock-full of dancing, cute kids, and cousin love.

Nephew R

Nephew N

OK, I admit it. We were dancing to "Gangnam Style" here. The boys loved it. Lol

Twin face-off


Cousin buddies

My kiddo has a moment with his baby cousin

Dancing in jammies

All the grandkids

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recipe: Garlic Shrimp

This is a very simple appetizer dish that doesn't take long to make. The hardest part is peeling the shrimp if you don't use already-peeled frozen shrimp. This recipe is very easy to double or more for large parties. Also, feel free to play around with the quantities ... more or less garlic, more or less sauce. Maybe add a pinch of an herb or two that you like. Oregano? Basil? Thyme? I love how easy and flexible it is. This recipe is an adaptation of my mom's wine garlic shrimp. She uses white wine instead of the tomato sauce and chicken broth combo, which is also extremely delicious.

Garlic Shrimp with Tomato Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 10-12 large shrimp, defrosted and peeled
  • salt & pepper


In a frying pan or wok, melt the butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until it just starts to brown, then add tomato sauce and chicken broth. Heat to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until slightly thickened. Add peeled shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes or until completely pink. Try not to overcook them. They should be completely opaque but still soft. Go ahead and test one, or two. Gotta make sure it tastes good. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Keep warm, or serve immediately if possible. Serve as an appetizer, or over rice or pasta -- the sauce goes wonderfully with either starch, if that's your thing.

Nota bene: I do like to peel the shrimp myself instead of using already-peeled frozen shrimp. That way I can keep as much of the fat in the head as I like. This extra fat makes this dish extra rich, which means you can share more of it around. :-)


xo, Gladys

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Playing Hooky

Last week, my son skipped school so we could go to Disneyland with one of his cousins who was on the last full day of his trip in L.A. before going back home to the Seattle area. Verdict? Better than school. I was always what they called a "schoolgirl" since I enjoyed school so much, but going to D-land kicks school's butt. We didn't stay through the evening like we usually do when it's just my little three-person family (me, husband, and son), so the little guy was pretty sad when we had to leave before it got dark. We got in a few good rides, though, and saw Mickey first thing upon entering the park in the morning. And given that the park wasn't completely packed that day, it was very much worth it.

xo, Gladys

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Shoes: Vintage Fluevog Sopranos

Dress: Fun 2 Fun via Modcloth | Necklace: ModCloth | Belt: Kohl's | Leggings: Foot Traffic via Sockdreams | Boots: Fluevog Inge (Soprano family) via eBay

I wasn't even looking for these shoes. My Fluevog pusher and generalissima, Joanne, found them on eBay and gave me several "pushes" via early-morning text message. ;-) She was definitely looking out for me as they were in a completely different size from her feet. After consulting with one of our Fluevog dealers (Denny at the Haight store) about sizing, I decided to go ahead and get them. These boots, now vintage, come up for sale from time to time but at quite high prices. This particular pair was well below $200 and apparently in great condition. Plus, teal is one my favorite colors.

When they arrived, I admit I was a little disappointed. The color was much more sun-faded than I expected from the eBay photos; they're now almost aqua instead, and if you lift up the flaps, the color difference is quite marked. HOWEVER, I am quite fond of aqua as well, and it turns out that I had the perfect dress and accessory with which to wear these aqua boots.

I wore the outfit to a birthday party and got compliments on the boots. It was a particularly cold but sunny day in L.A., and I feel like the combination of colors and textures worked wonderfully with the weather.

This is one of my more inspired outfits as it came together suddenly, as if from inspiration. When I got out of the shower that morning, I was in a hurry and had NO IDEA what I was going to wear for the day. It actually started with the dress, and then when I realized what colors the stars were, I immediately grabbed the boots, and the tights and necklace were almost natural additions. The only thing I didn't like was the hair -- too much conditioner so it was all floppy and not very style-able. I'm going to need another trim for my bangs soon. They grow so fast!

xo, Gladys

Friday, January 11, 2013

Sewing: Small Totes for Small Ladies

I'm so behind on blogging that I'm still recapping the holidays. But I wanted to share this anyway.

So last month I sewed up these tote bags from another Lotta Jansdotter pattern for a couple of little girls among our family friends here. It's a quick beginner's pattern that would be easy to embellish and adapt, and it went even faster for me since I didn't make the handles from fabric but instead used cotton webbing that I already had on hand from another project. It's not a perfect combo especially from an aesthetic perspective, but at least I know the handles are sturdy enough for preschoolers. The bag itself is pretty sturdy at the bottom since the contrast fabric is folded over the bottom of the bag, thereby creating a lining there. The totes can be stuffed with books and other fairly heavy things, and they should hold up well.

My only complaint about the pattern is that I wish it had included a note about using directional prints. Since both pieces of fabric are folded in half to create a seamless bottom, using a one-directional print (as I did for the larger fabric of both of these totes) means that one side will be upside down. I wasn't able to figure it out from reading the instructions or looking at the illustrations. If I'd known that ahead of time for the pink cat bag, I would have cut the fabric in half then sewn together the resulting two pieces so that both sides of the bag would have the print right side up. I guess I could have redone the bag (using my trusty seam ripper) but it didn't look too bad and I was on a deadline. I made the adjustment for the kitty-people tote, however.

Speaking of which, I really love this kitty-people print. I'd used it before on an apron I made for a friend's birthday last October, and this little tote was a good use of some of the remaining yardage that I had. The recipient told me she liked it a lot, and I saw it packed absolutely full with clothes and a huge stuffed bear. It ended up being the perfect size for a four-year-old. Success!

xo, Gladys

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Under Water

Spending quality time with my little guy at the California Science Center. He loves huge aquariums (aquaria?) and the one that was part of the Ecosystems exhibit gallery was no exception. Here we are in greenish light in the aquarium tunnel. He could not take his eyes off of the fish (including small spotted sharks!). This was our first time there -- we visited primarily to see the retired space shuttle Endeavour -- but we will definitely be coming back for the rest.

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gift Haul: Art and Aliens in the House

Exquisite painting titled "Area 51" by artist Jean Vengua, via Etsy

This past gift-giving season was pretty intense for me and my husband. We celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary in late November and, almost automatically, the celebration converged with the holidays. Thanks to his generosity, I made out like a bandit (although he didn't do so bad himself!). He bought part of my beautiful green Fluevog Elizabeth mary janes. And if you know me, you know I consider many Fluevogs works of art. Those shoes were more than enough. But he didn't stop there. Here are some of the other gifts he gave me, stocking stuffers and bigger. You might notice a theme or two. Maybe. :-)

My very own Doctor Who TARDIS! Well, printed on a beach towel, anyway. I don't know if I should use it or just hang it up in the craft/sewing/guest room. Hmm, decisions, decisions. :-)

Fluevog playing cards!

A book of Doctor Who sticky notes

What the notes look like -- fun!

Fluevog Angel key ring

There was also an owl purse hanger from Etsy. It's one of those hooks that you can attach to a tabletop at a restaurant or bar so you can hang your purse if there isn't a convenient method otherwise.

For my part, I gave him a pair of gorgeous black Fluevog CBCs (still on layaway), various drill bits and other electronic gizmos for his fabrication projects, and also -- my favorite -- some art prints.

I got him the art print below for our anniversary. It's called "Aloha" by Nidhi Chanani and it was just absolutely perfect for us, especially given that we had just come back from a vacation in Honolulu the month prior. I love that they actually look like him and me, well, coloring-wise. What a lucky find, for which I must thank Joanne who referred Chanani's work. The print is in a cheap frame of a standard size which is why it looks a little weird and off-center, but we wanted to put it up right away.

Print of "Aloha" by Nidhi Chanani

This one below was more for the "house" but really it's about us and what we love as a family. It's a mashup of two things we love from two different media -- Maurice Sendak's famous children's book Where the Wild Things Are and some unforgettable characters from film animator Hayao Miyazaki's oeuvre. Joanne also referred Justin Hillgrove's work to me, but our friend BJ Reyes was the one who gave me a heads-up on this particular print. Only thing is, we need to have it custom-framed as we can't find anything close to the dimensions of the print.

Print of tribute art "Studio Ghibli (Hayao Miyazaki) / Where The Wild Things Are tribute (Maurice Sendak)" by Justin Hillgrove

By the way, the alien doll painting at the head of this post was purchased by me for ... well, me, but it was done in the same spirit as the gifts my husband and I gave each other. I also can't tell you how thrilled I am to own such a gorgeous ORIGINAL work of art. I've done that only one other time in my life, and both times I felt like I got the better end of the bargain. The rest of my art purchases have been of prints. Anyway, Jean Vengua is incredibly talented in many arenas (she's a friend of mine as well), and if you like any of her work from her Etsy site, you're able to purchase prints of her paintings via Bluecanvas instead/in addition.

xo, Gladys
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