Ready for Winter!

10/03/2012

Ok, so we’re two full months away from winter coat weather here in Nashville, but I decided to try on Ali’s winter coat from last year. But not the one I wrote about here. At the end of January last year I bought a London Fog 2T gender neutral olive green (so it can be passed on) winter coat for Ali. It was huge on her but it was really intended for this coming winter. When my mom, who loves to keep her babies toasty warm, found out how cheap I got it for, she ordered Ali a 12 month size girls’ version in lime green. Turns out the 12 month size is a perfect fit right now.

I don’t have the link from last year’s coat, but this one is a similar style: London Fog “Glitterstar” Insulated Jacket (Sizes 12M – 24M) – periwinkle, 18 months

Here’s a picture of her wearing it at the end of last winter, at about 7 months old. It made propping her up in a shopping cart easier!

Grandma K (Jason’s mom) made Ali this adorable owl hat for this winter. It MELTS me!

Owlie Ali.

I’m not sure if it was on purpose or coincidence, but it’s purple and green so it matches either coat. Yay!


Lessons from the Thrift: Settling for Relative Best

08/16/2012

Jason and I had a pretty decent thrifting weekend. With minimal effort—a couple of yard sales and a brief stop at the Goodwill—we walked away with a pair of mid-century lamps, a tiny hairpin leg footstool and a pair of sneakers for Ali.

If you do much thrift store / yard sale shopping, you’ve probably had moments like I had Sunday evening where I look at one of my purchases and say, “What was I thinking?!”

As we were walking through the used shoe section of the store, Jason spotted a pair of brown leather, slightly-dressy sneakers. They were clean and classy-looking but too small for him. They fit me! I bought them for $6. Later, when I tried them on at home I realized not only are they too tight, they’re most certainly mens’ shoes and I’m not sure I even really like them that much.

What happened? Compared to all the dirty, beat-up, well-loved shoes surrounding them, these sneakers practically jumped off the rack. They were the best shoes—relative to the crap surrounding them. I’m pretty sure there’s a bigger lesson here.

Jason, a passionate guitarist for almost 20 years, has often said, “If you’re the best one in the room—get out!” Best in the room doesn’t automatically equate to greatness. If you surround yourself with mediocrity, you’re in danger of lowering your standards and settling for less than the best. That’s exactly what I did.

All that to say, I need to constantly check my filter to make sure what I’m seeing as good is truly excellence and not just the relative best.


Lights, Hairpins and Little Kicks

08/15/2012

Jason and I did a little casual pickin’ this weekend. We stopped at a couple of yard sales on Saturday and at one of them scored a deal on a pair of vintage lamps and a small square footstool with hairpin legs. Jason may or may not have an addiction to buying mid-century lamps…

Sunday after church we swung by the Goodwill for a quick look. Nothing MCM but I did snag a pair of navy blue sneaks for the kid for 2 bills. She’s quite close to walking which means crawling all over the place and pulling up/cruising along anything. Which means very dirty feet if we’re out in the public. I know they’ll only fit for a couple of months so I’m happy to pay $1.99.


Annual TN-52 Yard Sale Finds 2012

06/04/2012

This year my mom and Precious and I hit up the TN-52 yard sale for a couple of hours. Nothing compared to the all morning adventure a couple years ago where we found a ton of great stuff. But, I did walk away with a few great pieces and a bag full of stuff for Precious, all for less than $20. For the mid-century modern lovers, this:

It’s a solid wood (walnut?) night stand or end table. The top needs to be refinished, or else the whole thing needs painted. I haven’t decided yet.

The rest of the finds are for Precious except for some necklaces I got for myself (costume jewelry, 3 for $0.50). I’m pretty excited about this handmade wooden play oven. It’s needs a little TLC but for $7, it will be worth it.

These suede Baby Gap apple boots are size 7 and Precious is just barely fitting a size 3 now. But… they were $0.25. I couldn’t resist. The Etnies sneakers are way too big too. They’ll either fit in a couple years or they’ll be for a future foster daughter.

A fall jacket for Precious and a warm winter coat that should fit her this year. It would work well for a boy or a girl. Not the cutest thing in the world, but again with the $0.25. I’m a sucker for a good deal.


Altering Jeans: Bootcut to Skinny & How to Hem Jeans

02/16/2012

Recently, I was shown how to turn a pair of looser fitting jeans (flared, bootcut, straight leg, wide leg, etc.) into skinny jeans with a simple technique. I decided I’d give it a shot and combine that with the hemming technique I’ve done once before for shortening a pair of jeans.

I’ve had these jeans for years. They’re bootcut and too long. I have hardly worn them because I always felt like they were a little boyish fitting, even if I cuffed the bottoms. The waist and hips fit fine—I have a feeling that’s key in this technique working well.

To start out making my loose jeans fit like skinny jeans, I laid out a pair of jeans that fit well on top of the inside-out ill fitting jeans. The pair on top are actually a little too short but that doesn’t matter at this point. I lined up the inner leg seams and the crotches.

Then, I pinned along the outside edge of the template pair. The goal is to gradually meet the existing side seam of the loose jeans. This can even happen at the base of the pocket, as long as the rivet still shows.

Once both side seams were pinned, I was ready to sew along my pin line.

I didn’t take a picture of the sewing. You can imagine what that looked like. Just a simple straight stitch up the pinned line. I decided to sew a second stitch to give the new seam a little extra reinforcement. Cutting off the excess material is optional, though it makes for less bulk inside the pant legs. I left my edges unfinished where I cut and I don’t have a surge machine. That’s another benefit to having two stitched seams, in case the denim frays back after being washed several times.

Time to try them on! They were still way too long at this point so it was hard to tell if the fit was better. Cuffing is no longer an option because of the extra material or unfinished edges.

I folded up one pant leg to the length I wanted (my left leg). See the difference? The right leg is about 2″ too long. The length is a personal preference. I like for the back of the pant leg to just barely touch the ground when I’m wearing a pair of flats. If you where heels a lot, longer is probably necessary.

There is a neat trick to hem a pair of jeans while maintaining the original stitching at the bottom of the leg. The extra material was folded upwards, inside the pant leg.

Then, I stitched around the fold, as close to the edge as possible but making sure the tan threads of the original hem are still visible. I used light blue thread because it was already in my sewing machine. A little darker blue would have been even less noticeable.

Close up it looks a little strange but after ironing the seam and once they’re on, it’s almost impossible to tell they’ve been hemmed.

The finished jeans:

It’s a subtle change (made even more subtle by my poor DIY bathroom mirror photography…) but I feel like I got a whole new pair of jeans for free.


The Best Time to Buy a Winter Coat

01/30/2012

…is probably the end of the winter, right? Much to my mom’s dismay, we’ve managed to get through the winter thus far without a winter coat for Precious. She has a giant snowsuit that my mom bought her but we’re tired of wrestling with it to get her into the car seat, especially since the majority of her van rides are under 10 minutes. Next year, however, Precious will be a toddler, a year a half old, the age/size of Ladybug (hard to believe!)…and she’ll need a proper winter coat. Since she’s growing an inch a week (it seems), I decided to hunt down a unisex, warm, hooded coat that Precious can wear next year and we can reuse for our future kids. It was surprisingly difficult to find a unisex (ie. boys) coat that was all one gender-neutral color…yellow, red, black, green, gray, brown. After a small bit of research, I decided on London Fog. I was pleased to find this artichoke green jacket on sale for just $18 and free shipping. Score! (Extra bonus: It came the NEXT day!)

It’s 2T size so it should be perfect next winter. And, she can even wear it for the last month of winter this year, too. Happy, Mom?

As someone who lives in an artichoke colored house and loves artichokes on pizza and pasta, I do with this “artichoke” was a little more yellowish green like the website images and a little less hunter green. I’ll just have to dress it up with a girly hat and mittens next year.


Phone Photo Friday

01/06/2012