Thursday, April 26, 2012

Birthday Haul

Instead of giving me one huge present for my birthday this year, my husband decided to give me a series of smaller presents over the course of April. I got my first gift on April 1, and I got the last gifts during my birthday party. Getting my gifts this way definitely made the whole month special for me! And I really loved the presents he chose -- catering to my Anglophilia, haha! -- most of which weren't even on any of my wish lists. But I totally love them all!

Doctor Who Encyclopedia (most recent edition, December 2011). Of course, you can browse the encyclopedia online, an advantage of which is the fact that the online version is more promptly updated. However, I love having the physical book -- with all the awesome pictures -- ready at hand to flip through whenever I feel like it. I leave the book on the coffee table for everyone and anyone to enjoy.

Downton Abbey DVDs, both Season 1 and Season 2 (unabridged UK versions; the PBS versions were apparently edited for showing in the US). Since we don't have DVR/Tivo at home, we weren't able to record the second season of Downton Abbey when it aired on PBS. (And we can no longer be bothered to sit down in front of the TV at specific times.) So we decided to wait to watch the second season until it came to Netflix. But now we don't have to! I can't wait to sit down with the hubby and with my girlfriends sometime to re/watch both seasons.

LEGO Harry Potter game for the Wii (Years 1-4). I'd been saying for a while now that I wanted to get this game. I've been a fan of Harry Potter since the first book came out in the US. So, a very long time. My old room at my parents' house was PACKED with HP paraphernalia, like hanging Hedwig owls and bookends and pen and paper sets. I have hardcover, softcover, and CD audio versions of the series, and of course I have the movies as well. After I realized I enjoyed playing the LEGO Star Wars Wii game with my kiddo, I wanted to get Harry's version. Now we have it. :-)

Owl apron and washi tape from ModCloth. These were both on my wish list. The apron is ridiculously awesome, made by a brand with the also-awesome name Kitsch 'n' Glam. I love, love, love the pattern, and the fabric is very sturdy, almost canvas-like. The pockets that open into the center panel of the apron are a very nice touch. And yes, it really gives you an attractive shape when you put it on, just like you see on the dress form. I was so impressed that I went ahead and bought myself the matching oven mitt. I want to figure out a way to replicate this apron pattern and make it myself!

Jane's Austen's Sewing Box. I opened this one during my party, where a couple of my friends -- also Jane Austen fans -- were able to witness it. I definitely need to sit down with this book and go through each project carefully. I want to try making a bonnet, though my friend M thinks bonnets from that period were actually pretty ugly (mashed in the back and whatnot). But I think they're charming, as Mr. Bingley would say!

Vintage shot glass made in the shape of a thimble, with the words JUST A THIMBLE FULL embossed on it. This was another present that I opened during the party, and it made for some laughs. It is adorable. Plus, I am a "lightweight" when it comes to drinking so I could get totally drunk on that much (hard) liquor. But I didn't use it that night, and I don't think I could ever use it since I want to simply put it up on a display shelf and laugh to myself whenever I walk by. (By the way, the headband that looks like a fascinator and the bracelet were gifts from my friend E that day. It really was one of my most favorite birthday parties.)

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Shoes: Vintage Fluevogs

Introducing my Natalias (Halo family):

When you think "vintage," you usually think used. But these beautiful shoes were deadstock; they were made in 2003 but never got sold off the shelf. I bought these through eBay about a year ago, when an old shoe store going out of business in Texas (I believe) decided to sell all of the old stock online. I was really lucky they had the small size. For new Fluevogs, these were a steal, about $80. I loved the style, mary jane flats. The colors and art deco-ish design really sang to me as well.

When I bought these shoes, I decided to gift them to my sister-in-law-to-be (at the time; she has since married my bro). Part of the reason was the size. The Halos, or at least this style of Halos, apparently ran small, but these are still size 7 which means they're a touch too large for me. My sis-in-law wears the same-size shoes as I do, but her feet are on the larger side. I thought these would fit her perfectly.

However, she was unable to find the right outfit to wear them out with, and then she got pregnant (with twins!) a few months ago, which means that her shoe size has increased quite a bit. She then decided to return these to me last week, after she found them languishing in her closet.

While I'm sad that the shoes didn't give her any pleasure, she did the right thing by giving them back to me. :-) I've told her that I would be happy to lovingly and gently wear them, then return to her when her feet go back to their normal size -- which would give me about a year or so. Woohoo! I am looking forward to styling these babies soon!

xo, Gladys

Monday, April 16, 2012

Birthday Dress

I decided to have an early birthday party over the weekend to accommodate my local friends' schedules. (Moms are busy folks, if you didn't know.) Although the food theme was Mexican -- homemade tacos and quesadillas -- I wore an outfit that made me think of Paris. Not really sure why.

Dress: Sugarhill Boutique via ModCloth | Cardi/bolero: Old Navy | Tights: Foot Traffic via Sockdreams | Heels: Fluevog Vanny (Choice Hi family) | Bracelet: gifted

You can't really see here but the dress is printed with birds in cages, in olive green. It has spaghetti straps that totally show bra straps, hence the bolero (which unfortunately didn't fit the outfit very well). I loved wearing the shoes even though I haven't broken them in yet. I bought both the dress and the shoes sometime last year, and I've been waiting a long time to wear them to a party or some other big-ish event in my life -- so what better event than a get-together for my own birthday? :-)

My dear friend M, who convinced me to wear the dress in the first place, wanted to do a mini-photo shoot of me and so had me making some poses that I usually don't attempt when it's just me and the hubby or me and the tripod. As you see:

And these are the tamest ones of the bunch! Both my husband and son were good sports about the photos. Oh, and notice the slight chocolate stains around the kiddo's chin? They came from this absolutely-beautiful and ridiculously-delicious flour-less chocolate cake that tasted like the best brownies and like a bar of dark chocolate at once, that my husband made for me:

It was a super fun day, with loving family and wonderful friends and yummy food. I felt honored that they were there for me, and so very loved. A million heartfelt thanks to them.

xoxo, Gladys

Saturday, April 14, 2012


So, yeah, the TARDIS cover for the iPhone 4 that I mentioned two weeks ago arrived in the mail on Thursday. It's even cooler in person, although the blue is a little paler than I expected. The kit comes with a hard case as well as vinyl stickers for both the front and back (not sure why there's a sticker for the back since the hard case has the design on it as well, but at least this way you can keep the back of your iPhone clean). AND you're also given online access to the custom-sized image which you can then set as your wallpaper. (I set it as both my lock screen and home screen images.)


Lock screen

Home screen

Back of the hard case; you can see the vinyl cover peeking out from the hole provided for the camera lens/flash

Looking at my iPhone now seriously makes the Doctor Who fangirl in me happy. I'd been searching for a DW product to integrate into my daily life somehow, like, say, a talking TARDIS cookie jar. (!) But this TARDIS phone cover is perfect, and it's an enormous improvement over the previous covers I've used -- a generic purple soft cover that I got tired of and then a generic gray hard case that blended into everything so I lost track of the phone all the time. In case you were interested, I just checked on Etsy and it looks like the kit I bought is no longer available, but perhaps it's possible to convo SkunkWraps and ask if they can make it for you. Anyway, kudos to SkunkWraps!

xo, Gladys

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Olive Trench Coat

We're still recovering from what feels like an impromptu vacation. We spent a couple more days with my husband's brother and his family after Easter, but since their schedule had been unclear for a long time, my husband and I weren't able to pack very well for our extended stay. That's how I ended up with this outfit for a weekday beach outing: short navy lacy-collared dress, olive trench coat, and semi-fancy teal flats. At least it was interesting, if not ideally color-matched. The sailor collar and navy color of the dress were certainly appropriate for the occasion, but because I felt chilly I didn't take my coat off until the end, and sadly the hubby didn't take any photos of me then.

On the train to Carpinteria

Dress: Chuti via ModCloth | Trench: Old Navy | Flats: Qupid via ModCloth | Tote: Kate Sheridan via ModCloth

View from the front

Walking to the beach

I loved the kiddo's outfit here; he didn't like having his jeans rolled up at the hem, but he had so much fun playing in the water. The hat is just adorable.

My trench was perfect for this poor little guy, who'd gotten drenched earlier and was shivering in his wet clothes. We took off his wet shirt, I placed my warm trench around him, and he was good to go.

xo, Gladys

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Dress

I don't celebrate Easter on a religious basis, but I do love celebrating spring...and Easter parties are a good opportunity to dress up. I definitely felt like spring in this outfit. :-)

Dress: Vivace via Amazon | Cardi/Bolero: Old Navy | Mary jane clogs: Fluevog Guide (Prepare family)

This year we spent Easter with my husband's parents and brothers in Ventura County, which is particularly beautiful this time of year. The weather was sunny, temperate, and just perfect. And, like at home, the flowers are in bloom.

It was a wonderful day for an egg hunt. The kiddo had a blast with his cousins (some of whom came all the way from Utah for a visit).

For part of the day, the other sisters-in-law and I were able to get away from all the kids and just shoot the breeze. There was a lot of delicious food -- honey-baked ham, homemade rolls, sweet potato fries -- as well as Easter-themed chocolate and candy. All in all, a very fun day with family.

xo, Gladys

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Bunnies and Candy

These adorable DIY bunnies were great to do with my four-year-old who, even though he couldn't cut the felt, sew on the faces, or sew together the bags, still enjoyed watching and helping and telling me which one to do next. :-) They're not very big -- about the size of your hand -- and we stuffed them full of individually-wrapped egg-shaped chocolates.

Great tutorial and downloadable bunny template found at Mer Mag.

xo, Gladys

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sewing: Full-Body Apron

I turned this...

into this:

This apron is a late birthday present for the school-age daughter of one of my friends here. (It's late because I really wanted to make the apron to complement the Williams-Sonoma cookbook for kids that I also got her, but I didn't manage to make the apron in time for her actual birthday.) She just turned 9 but is almost as tall as I am (although only about half as wide! lol). I could have edited the pattern down to fit her better but decided to be hopeful instead -- that she would keep the apron long enough to fully grow into it. And perhaps her mom could occasionally use it as well. Since both the neck straps and waist ties are adjustable, there's a way to make it fit different bodies.

As it is, I did make a couple of obvious edits to the pattern. 1) I squared the neckline because the v-neck/almost-sweetheart neckline bothered me. I didn't think it was appropriate. 2) I also kept the pocket design square to match the new neckline. 3) There's only one pocket in my version because, to be perfectly truthful, it was too hard to make another one.

Laying out the pattern pieces

Sewing on the bias tape -- a little tricky because of all of the curves

The pattern for this apron was the "easy" See & Sew B5551. It called for five yards of half-inch double-fold bias tape. If I had used the pre-packaged polyester/cotton-blend bias tape that I had bought, I could have been done with this project hours earlier, and I probably would have put in the second pocket. But instead, I decided to make my own bias tape. (I'll write up a different post on making the bias tape later.) For one thing, the pre-packaged stuff is plain and boring and I wanted something prettier than the solid color green I was going to use. For another, I mean, as a beginner sewist, what's the point of sewing something if I'm not learning something new and gaining new skills, right? :-) The upshot of making my own bias tape was that it was a little more tricky to handle, probably because the 100% cotton is thicker and my bias tape wasn't as sharply pressed as the store-bought stuff. (Note to self: I need a better iron.)

Both of the fabrics I used for this project came from Jo-Ann. They're both quilting-weight cotton, not particularly high quality. However, I liked the designs a lot, and I believe they were incredibly cheap (bought during Black Friday last holiday season or on clearance).

The finished apron

Pocket detail

Modeling the pocket

Back view (I particularly like the waist straps.)

Side view

It was my first time doing a big project with a striped pattern -- something I avoided before because I didn't want to end up with a crooked product. But I do believe this turned out pretty well! I hope my young friend agrees. And now I won't be scared to use patterns with straight edges and right angles anymore.

xo, Gladys

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Celebration of Spring

I just wanted to share a few photos of our yard, in celebration of springtime. In the desert where I live, we have spring weather for maybe three, possibly four, weeks out of the year. It is the best time to be here, in my opinion. The flowers bloom like crazy, and it's not yet too hot to play outside in the middle of the day. You can be outside all day, except when the wind gets a little too strong. But for us this year, it's also the time to start planting a new vegetable garden.

Bright red camellias

Apple tree in bloom

Two raised beds for planting seeds and seedlings

Bell pepper seedlings

Also, here is a preview of my latest sewing project:

It's all done. After I finish taking photos, I'll write up my experience with this particular pattern. Until then...

xo, Gladys
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