Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Flowers and Happy Blues

Amazingly, here's a second outfit post for the week. (Aren't you amazed? I am!) It's another simple ensemble. The weather yesterday was wonderful, so I pulled out this dress and was happy that I didn't have to layer a long-sleeved tee and pair of tights under it. It's the first time I have worn bare legs since late last fall. (Luckily I managed not to cut myself with the razor.)

Dress: Chuti via ModCloth | Mary jane clogs: Fluevog Guide (Prepare family)

(Ooh boy, I need a tan!) As promised, I'm showing off my new haircut. I know what you're thinking...why not leave it long and PERM it instead? My stylist nixed that idea, sadly. I am not joking. I actually asked if going curly would work, but she thought my hair was too heavy/thick for it. Oh, all right. So I asked for a straight bob. I know what you're thinking again...BORING!


Can you NOT imagine it styled smooth and sleek under a beautiful cloche? How about this one? Or how about this darling paperboy? I was thinking vintage 1920s. I think I can make it work one of these days! And, yes, I bought such hats. They are on their way. Wheeeeee! :-)))))))))))

So I loved this outfit, simple as it was. The dress has pockets! and a lace collar! and a shirred waist! And the shoes are amazing! (Of course they are. They're Fluevog. These are my current favorite pair.)

I felt so Spring-y! I had to put on some makeup and bright red lipstick to match the new flowers. Happy Spring!

xo, Gladys

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Snapshots: March

The kiddo took this photo of me with my iPhone while we were outside pruning rosebushes.

Learning to write his capital letters (I draw hearts next to the letters that he writes by himself, with no help.)

I drew the kitty.

Tea and scone, out with friends

Z brought her own mini teapot and teacup -- SUPER adorable.

What Stella likes to do all day -- sit on unopened mail

Grain-free brownies (a Pinterest test-drive)

My chocolate addict getting rid of excess batter

Handmade birthday card (I love scrapbook stickers.)

First rose

This dog LOVED being pushed around on the doll stroller.

He didn't want to take off this lamb-ears headband.

Have a great weekend!!

xo, Gladys

Thursday, March 29, 2012

16 of 30: Green Stripes

This is so dumb, but I've had this very simple ensemble in mind for months now and have only just been able to take photos of it. Lucky #16. I wore the same outfit a few weeks ago but didn't get a chance to get photos, and given the way my clothes cycle through the wash, sometimes it takes a while for a hand-washed sweater to come back into my closet.

It's become clearer and clearer that my closet and style of laundering do not mesh with 30 for 30 challenges -- however, I still want to finish this challenge (in my own, ridiculously drawn-out way) since I do like the idea of clothing longevity in the first place. I mean, it's pretty cool that the same set of clothes can be worn over the course of three seasons. (Although it might turn into four....) Of course, I live in Southern California where distinct seasons don't really exist.

Sweater: Cooperative via Urban Outfitters | Jeans: GAP | Socks: old, Kohl's, Target, or even Mervyn's? | Flats: Blowfish via Amazon

I had my mom take the two bottom photos. I didn't tell her what for, only that I liked the outfit and wanted to remember it for another time. So I was stiff during the picture taking (not to mention my poor posture). Also, I did want to show you how my hair is in serious need of a cut and style. I finally broke down last week and called my stylist, so I'll be getting a haircut before the day is out. I'm not sure if I'll go short again or if I'll just have her restyle the layers. I'll try to put together another outfit photo set to show you what I decided. :-)

xo, Gladys

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Crafty Better Half

Last month, I wrote about how my husband comes from a crafting family, and I mentioned that I wanted to share photos of the special box he made for my birthday a few years ago. I'm finally getting around to it now.

He and I were talking with our friend M about our hobbies a couple of days ago, and I remarked that I was starting to become obsessed with fabric. I jokingly said something to my husband like "You were hounding me for a long time to get a hobby besides reading, but now I bet you're sorry." He responded, "Not at all. I'm just jealous since I haven't been able to work on any of my hobbies."

That made me a little sad. It's mostly because he's been working so hard on the yard at our new house that he hasn't found the time to clear off his work bench in the garage, but I know that he needs a creative outlet given the kind of person he is. When he said that, it made me want not only to ensure that he gets some extra time to himself to work on personal projects (and, yes, I need to get cracking on clearing out the random boxes in the garage), but also to share some of his work with you.

First, here is the palm-sized wooden puzzle box that he made for my birthday. There are four pieces all together, made using a scroll saw and sander, and they have to be put together in a specific order to close properly. Hence the "puzzle." He shaped the agate into a heart and polished it. I love the gorgeous color of the stone -- he knows me so well -- and it contrasts perfectly with the stained walnut. When I opened the gift, I admit that I teared up. Wouldn't you have? :-)

This lovely wooden grasshopper is actually a pull toy that he made for the birth of our good friend E's son. He doesn't quite like the way it turned out functionally (the back wheels don't turn when the toy is pulled by the string because they are too small to power the long legs -- a leverage issue?), but I think it's SOOOO adorable! And so do our friend and her son!

Finally, this is a cookie-sized dealer button that he invented for our good friend M mentioned above, who loves card games and taught us how to play Texas Hold 'em poker. We were using random kid toys to designate the dealer during our games...which was fine until one of the kids wanted to play with them. The picture of the winking kid on the back of the button was taken from a package of horchata mix, to which she also introduced us. This button took a long time to make as he was experimenting with paint color and finish. But it turned out fantastically, and the vintage-y look is icing on the cake.

Cheers to my crafty better half! I'd love it if I were half as talented!

xo, Gladys

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Zaza, My Precious

I figured it was time for another outfit post.

Jumper: thrifted | Blouse: via ModCloth | Navy tights: Foot Traffic via Sockdreams | Shoes: Fluevog Zaza (Mini family) | Headband: made by me + Joanne

Once again, this was all about the shoes. This was my first time wearing my Zazas, bought gently used through Amazon. Usually, the smallest size in the Mini family of Fluevogs is much too large for my feet, too big even if I place insoles in the shoes and wear thick socks. But apparently Fluevog will sell other retailers like Amazon rare colors and rare sizes that are not available at the Fluevog stores. This pair was one of the rare sizes, a 5 (the Minis start at 6 at the Fluevog stores). The left shoe fits me perfectly, but unfortunately, the right shoe is still too big, more like a 5.5 -- and my right foot is bigger than my left, so that is a noticeable difference in size between the two shoes. This is probably why it was resold by the previous owner. But with an insole it worked for me, so I couldn't give up, and it was ~$75 which is a steal for like-new Vogs, particularly the most popular styles. Just check eBay if you don't believe me. I've lusted after the Mini styles for a long time, being saddened by the fact that they usually don't fit me, and the Zaza is my favorite Mini style -- at least, my favorite non-boot style in the family. Too bad there aren't more size 5's available in other styles. Or not. My wallet is shaking in fear at the thought.

I have to say, I really like the idea of this outfit, but I think it would have been more appropriate for a day spent at a university either teaching or taking a class. Especially with the glasses. It was a little too business-like for going to a local tea place with some friends. Also note that I didn't wear my hair like this when I was out; I just decided to take photos afterward. Besides, I'm growing out my hair right now and it looks sooooo unkempt on most days. Even blow drying makes it look crazy! I can't figure out what to do with it, and I think it is still too short to do the fun stuff I planned with longer hair. Oh well. I must be patient.

xo, Gladys

P.S. Can I just say how much I love Sockdreams? Here's how they describe their color tights (made by Tabbisocks): "Opaque enough to cover leg hair, but not opaque enough to totally hide tattoos." ROFL. Love it!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Birthday Extravaganza

Hand-made birthday banner

We are still recovering from my now-4-year-old's birthday parties this past weekend. Yes, I wrote PARTIES, as in plural. Well, two to be exact, but they were back-to-back, one on Friday night for our local friends and the other on Saturday afternoon for our extended family from Long Beach. My husband described preparing for the second party as changing out the riders on a carnival ride, where you're putting the ride back together and cleaning out whatever needs to be cleaned out for the next set of people in line. I thought that was funny, and pretty apt.

Both parties were really fun, though. This new house lends itself to partying much better than our old house did. We even managed to do piñatas, one for each, inside the house. We weren't sure about the weather (it's been pretty windy and sometimes rainy over here), so the hubby built a contraption made of a wooden beam and strong nylon cord to hang and control the piñatas in the large entrance hallway. I'm relieved that none of the kids managed to hit a wall or lamp with the stick, but there were a few close calls there. Point is, they had a lot of fun, which is what we were aiming for.

Here's Party #1:

Learning how to play Lego Star Wars on the Wii

Glow sticks for a night party

Homemade brownie cake

Photobombing his piñata time
(Details: Dress: YA Los Angeles via ModCloth | Cardi: I.N.C. via Macy's)

Hanging out

Here's Party #2:

I love how this photo of the 2nd party matches the one above of the 1st party

Cookies 'n cream with devil's food cake from Coldstone Creamery
(Details: Top: Kasper via Macy's | Cardi: AGB via Macy's | Jeans: GAP)

The hit that broke the piñata

Bonus photo of the kiddo's haircut a week before the party. The stylist offered some color, and he asked for green. Early happy St. Patrick's Day!

xo, Gladys

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sewing: Toddler Jumper Dress

This dress was another pattern from One-Yard Wonders, for another one of my nieces. It's actually a very late birthday present (she's a Christmas Eve baby and I felt bad that I only got her one present for the holiday instead of two). Here are the front and back:

In process: connecting the bodice to the skirt (pardon the night lighting)

Again, it's another cute pattern from this book. However, it was the hardest one I've encountered so far, partly because I started sewing late in the evening and I was getting tired. I made a couple of significant mistakes that turned my several-hour sewing project into an all-nighter (I'm one of those people that can't stop once I start something):
  • I mistook the length ("tall" dimension) of the skirt for the width, so the bodice didn't match up with the skirt. Out came the seam ripper.
  • I connected the straps to the wrong side of the fabric. Worse, I didn't figure out it was a mistake until two steps later, after sewing several loooong seams. I knew something was wrong when part of the straps got enclosed inside the bodice, but I think I was too tired and slow on the uptake. And since I used box stitches to connect the straps to the bodice (a square with an X inside), ripping the seams was even more tedious.
But the pattern does require several skill sets, most of which by this point I already have. It is called the "Classic All-Ages Jumper" and looks deceptively simple. The pattern pieces are simply six rectangles (seven including one piece of interfacing) that you measure out yourself then cut, but putting the pieces together requires interfacing (not hard), gathering (a little tricky), elastic (can also be tricky), and buttonhole-making (um...where's my sewing handbook again?...). Thankfully, I realized with joy at 3:30 in the morning that my sewing machine can both make buttonholes and sew on buttons automatically. Did you read that? Yes, I wrote AUTOMATICALLY. I love you, Singer Stylist! But I definitely needed to practice both techniques first...boy, that was a really long night.

Check out the by-products of my all-nighter: 1) the broken purple button that was my first test button (looks like Pac-man, no?), 2) the numerous messy buttonholes on the test fabric, 3) the very thick pile of clipped thread -- much thicker than my usual pile per project since I made such huge mistakes, and 4) the most useful tool in my world and my trusty companion for the night, the seam ripper.

To complete this review, one last issue is that the dress's straps in the book photo do not match the pattern directions. You can see in the photos below (taken with my iPhone) that the buttons were sewn onto the straps while the buttonholes were set into the bodice. The written directions, however, tell you to do the opposite. I was definitely confused since I had the book image in mind while making the dress.

If I ever make this pattern again, I think I'm going to make it so that the straps on both front and back are connected inside the bodice rather than outside, just as in the book photo. I only wish I'd had the foresight while reading the pattern last night to figure it out as I went along. Maybe if I hadn't been so tired? Oh well, next time.

xo, Gladys

Full disclosure: I'm a member of Amazon Associates, so if you click through the book link and purchase anything on Amazon, it may result in my earning a small -- very small -- referral fee.
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