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School Clothes Post 2

Monday:Monday Post 2

  • Skirt – Old Navy (Knit)
  • Shirt – Target
  • Belt – Target (Elastic)
  • Shoes – Guess, Rack Room Shoes
  • Necklace – Coban Effect, Chain Fringe and Crystals

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday:Tuesday Post 2

  • Shirt – Derek Hart, purchased from Goodwill
  • Skirt – Old Navy
  • Shoes – Dansko
  • Necklace – Turquoise and Silver, family heirloom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday:Wednesday Post 2

  • Shirt/Dress – Gap
  • Belt – Target (Elastic)
  • Leggings – Target, clearance rack
  • Shoes – Boots purchased in Turkey
  • Necklace – Coban Effect, Lapis Lazuli and Chain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday:Thursday Post 2

  • Skirt – Purchased at Highway Robbery in Boone, NC
  • Necklace – Purchased at Highway Robbery in Boone, NC
  • Wrap Shirt – Purchased at small local shop in Turkey
  • Tank Top – Old Navy (Lace trimmed)
  • Shoes – Ros Hammerstein, purchased from 6pm

 

School Clothes Post 1

Working in education affords one the luxury of dressing outside the realm of traditional professional dress. The position does not require formal attire, although I personally prefer not to wear casual clothes to work, so one can deviate from the business attire required of many professional positions.

I plan to post a weekly visual summary of each week’s ensembles as I put thought and creativity into my weekly work attire. Most weeks I only have four outfits worthy of sharing as Fridays are ‘jeans day’ and I rarely wear anything on that day that warrants sharing with the internet viewing audience.

 

Monday:

  • Monday Post 1Pencil Skirt – Gift from Mother in Law, purchased at the weekly street market in Turkey
  • Sweater – Bebe, purchased used from Twice online consignment store
  • Shirt – Tan boat neck shirt, purchased at street market in Turkey
  • Shoes – Guess, purchased on clearance from Rack Room Shoes
  • Earrings – Coban Effect, Onyx and Crystal

Onyx and Crystal Earrings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Post 1Tuesday:

  • Button Down Shirt – Old Navy (Linen), purchased from Goodwill
  • Denim Pencil Skirt – Gap
  • Belt – Elastic and Faux Leather, Target
  • Shoes – Bass, purchased at Bass Outlet Store
  • Necklace – Coban Effect, Lapis Lazuli and Chain

Lapis Lazuli and Chain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday: Outfit 3 Post 1

  • Skirt – Old Navy, coworker cast off to which I add the feathers using acrylic paint
  • Sweater – Target
  • Shirt – Target
  • Shoes – Rack Room Shoes
  • Necklace – Coban Effect, Indian Coin from 1890 with copper chainmaille and leather

Indian Coin and Copper Chainmaille Necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday:Outfit 4 Post 1

  • Skirt – Batik, purchased at Turkish outlet mall
  • Shirt – Ann Taylor, purchased at Goodwill
  • Shoes – Mudd, I painted the soles and bottom rims yellow using gesso, acrylic paint and polyurethane
  • Necklace – Coban Effect, Copper Chainmaille and Turquoise

Copper Chainmaille and Turquoise

 

Consignment Shopping Convert

I have almost completely dispensed with purchasing new clothes because what can be obtained from the consignment store is so much better than what I can afford to buy new.

I have become such a fan of my local Goodwill that it has colored my perspective at stores selling new clothes, even TJ Maxx clearance rack seems pricey. I also enjoy knowing that my purchase at Goodwill does not trigger an increase in production. My grandest Goodwill scores of late include:

  • Mavi capri pants
  • J Jill linen pants
  • Bass linen tank top (new with tags)
  • Etienne Aigner leather coat circa 1978
  • Anne Taylor skirt
  • Calvin Klein white button down shirt
  • James Perse white button down shirt

While I very much enjoy shopping Goodwill it has its limitations. If you are looking for something specific, then it is likely that Goodwill will not have what you are looking for. Goodwill also requires a measure of consumer determination, as the shopper must comb through many racks of clothing to find something worthwhile.

Another consignment store I enjoy, which is a step up from Goodwill, is the online store Twice Clothing.  Having a small child makes Goodwill shopping difficult if not impossible. Twice clothing allows the shopper to filter clothing by size, type, color and brand. Twice clothing reliably sells gently used clothing rather than the mixed bag of clothing quality at Goodwill. I have only made one purchase from this site thus far but I was more than pleased with my purchase.

Need a Workout in a Pinch? Head to the Playground

We have been visiting family in a town outside of Istanbul, Turkey for the past 10 days which cramps my workout routine. This would not be a problem if I was a runner, but alas I loathe few things as much as running.

If we were in the US, I would look into getting a week pass to a local gym; however, gyms in Turkey are not as common. There is the additional difficulties of no transportation to and from the gyms available as they are not within reasonable walking distance and the lack of air conditioning inside the gym.

My solution to this conundrum has been to workout at the playground across the street in the early morning hours, because not exercising for ten days is not an option.

I have found this solution to be a decent, although I will not be trading in my YMCA membership for a trip to the local playground.

I knew of this situation before we left home so I brought my jump rope, ipod and suspension trainer. Out of the ten days I worked out four with two days for legs and two days for arms. I was also able to use the money bars for hyperextensions, reverse hyperextensions and upside down crunches.

My leg workout consisted of:

  • Jumping rope
  • Body weight squats
  • Plie squats
  • Split leg squats
  • Split leg jump squats
  • Single leg dynamic plank
  • Upside down crunches
  • Hyperextensions
  • Reverse hyperextensions
  • Reverse frog crunches
  • Suspended glute bridge
  • Assisted pistol squats
  • Suspension trainer pike

My arm workout consisted of:

  • Jumping rope
  • Suspension trainer rows
  • Parallel grip pullups
  • Hanging crunches
  • Hanging l-sit
  • Suspension trainer clutch
  • Suspension trainer overhead triceps
  • Pushups
  • Suspension trainer pushups
  • Spiderman pushups
  • Assisted one arm pushups
  • Close hand pushups
  • Tricep pushups
  • Pendulum abs
  • Suspended Side Plank with Arm Crossover
  • Suspended Side Plank with Hip Raise

Working out in these circumstances required me to try some new exercises that I have not had time to attempt such as the spiderman push ups and suspension trainer clutch. I really liked the upside down crunches but there is no where at the YMCA to do this exercise maybe I can put in a request for such a piece of equipment. I have seen a similar exercise done on youtube by hanging onto a punching bag with the legs and doing crunches. I plan to try this exercise as soon as a punching bag crosses my path.

Cast Iron – Awesome Kitchen Purchase

I recently purchased the single most useful piece of kitchen equipment I have ever owned. A cast iron pan!

While the cast iron pan is probably not news to the vast majority of people who spend anytime cooking, it was a revelation for me as I had never had positive cast iron experiences in a modern kitchen. I have been exposed to the majesty of cast iron cookware in my father’s kitchen and cooking over an open fire at reenactments; however, in my home kitchen I have not had positive experiences. I had a cast iron pan in Turkey but I realize in hindsight that I was not able to properly season the pan without an oven so it fell into disuse.

I am now the proud owner of a large cast iron pan which is well seasoned, thanks to my father. Two of the biggest advantages to the cast iron pan which I have found are: cooking eggs with little oil because they will not stick and cooking potatoes on the stove and then transferring them with the pan directly into the oven.

Added bonus, cast iron pans are very reasonable priced. I got mine at Target for about 20 dollars. I plan to invest in a small frying pan with low sides in the near future, as soon as Target restocks them. I need the pan with low sides for cooking crepes, injera bread, pancakes, etc. as it is so easy to flip flat breads when the pan has low sides.

I have seen that a chainmaille stainless steel pan scrapper is ideal for cleaning cast iron pans. I plan to make one of these for myself and one for my father in the near future. Look for them in my etsy store soon!

Circle Skirt and Belts

While I have been not been busy blogging lately I have been busy creating and producing.

CircleSkirtI finally finished the half circle skirt, not sure I will ever undertake a full circle skirt just because I will have to hem it and I am not skilled enough to ease the fullness of the hem with a sewing machine. I am pleased with the result. Initially when I cut it out and started sewing it, a year ago, I was a bit heavier so when I resumed assembly a month ago I had to do some refashioning. I folded over the waist band, which was quite wide, and added some elastic to the waist instead of putting in a zipper as I originally planned. The polka dot fabric was a bold print decision but I think with the right styling I can pull it off. It was a bit thin and see through under the white dots so I lined with with some white broadcloth.

BeltObiAnother project I finished this week was an obi belt. I decided to make this belt because I like the fashion of wide belts, however, I could not find a wide belt in the stores. I suspect they might have gone out of style, fortunately I do not care if they are over because I’m going to sport my obi belt regardless of the fashion. I got the pattern free from burda style and I got the fabric out of the clearance bin at walmart. I liked the fabric because it had a stripe woven into the fabric and it is a color that will go with many of the things in my closet. I put a piece of stiff canvas in between the two layers to give it some body. I also used grosgrain ribbon as the ties because making a tube with the fabric would have made thick ties which would be unflattering when tied. ObiI also altered the pattern a bit to make the belt longer. Following the pattern the belt only wrapped around the front half of my waist so there was only ribbon in the back. I did not care for this look so I made the belt longer to go all the way around my waist. This was a really quick and simple project. I plan to make at least two more of these belts, one with brown canvas and white burlap and potentially a belt buckle, another with two neckties from Goodwill.

Belt3The final project I completed this week was a chainmaille belt with two hop drops. All the parts of the belt are a half persian 3 in 1 weave using rings with a larger aspect ratio so that the chains would be more flexible and the weave would have a more open appearance. I got the inspiration for this belt from an episode of Glee where they performed Bon Jovi and their attire for the performance with black leather and chains. I think I achieved my goal, the belt is figure flattering and has an 80s quality to it. Belt

More Goodwill Finds and Dabbling in Textile Art

I’m not sure what I have been doing lately with dye and fabric paint can be considered art but I am slowly figuring it out. I have always been a bit intimidated by painting and dyeing which was unfounded, not because it is easy but because you can keep redoing and modifying your piece until it looks like you want. I know one of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings has like seven hands where he kept repainting the hand. So I am working on dying some jersey knit that I got from the clearance bin at Walmart for 1.50 a yard, so not a huge loss if I ruin the fabric in the dying process. So far the result has not been what I wanted. I tried dying it a dark red color but it came out more wine color since I mixed bright red and dark brown. Then I tried adding stripes using tan dye a shibori technique from the rit dye website. It has not gone so well so not part of my fabric is just a darker hue of maroon. I think I am done trying to dye this fabric and I will proceed with making something with it, maybe a layered jersey pencil skirt. We will see how that turns out, it might just be 3.00 dollars lost. If nothing else it was worth three dollars to find out that I not an expert at dying fabric and to practice sewing knits with the sewing machine which I anticipate having a bit of a learning curve.

Ombre Dyed SkirtOn to talk about my successes of the last two weeks.  A moderate success was ombre dying a skirt I got at Goodwill. The color change is more subtle in the picture than it is in real life. I used a denim blue dye to ombre dye the skirt however it just tinted the fabric, which I anticipated because it is 60 percent polyester. I forgot to take pictures of the skirt before I proceeded with the dying process but it was a light grey-blue color with some spots that had faded to almost a yellow color. The faded spots are now gone and the color is a bit more vibrant than before. Dying this skirt was a risk because it is dry clean or hand wash only and 60 percent polyester both of which the rit dye website says should be avoided. But since I got the skirt for 3.75 at Goodwill if it was ruined in the process it would not be a huge monetary loss. Luckily I did not ruin the skirt; while, it did not turn out as ombre as I hoped, it is definitely something I will wear since I dyed it thus I consider it a moderate success.

Another finished project is galaxy painting a t-shirt I got at Walmart. Again I did not want to invest a lot of money into the shirt as I was unsure of the end result. I read several tutorials online about galaxy painting clothing. It seems that there are two approaches: fabric paint and fabric dye. I chose the fabric paint approach. Several tutorials talked about using acrylic paint and washing the clothing very carefully but I would rather invest a bit more in fabric paint than spend time hand washing a t-shirt. I bleached the shirt first with a half bleach and half water mixture in a spray bottle. It is important to spray the bleach and then wait for it to work otherwise it is possible to bleach the shirt way to much. It only took a few sprays. I washed and dried the shirt before I started painting. I started with the back and I used blue, black, gold, silver and a flesh tone color paint. Of course I also used white for the stars. I used some painting sponges to apply the paint. After I painted both sides of the shirt I washed and dried it. I was still not entirely pleased with the result so I applied more paint and painted the sides of the shirt. For the stars I put white paint on a paint brush and slung the paint so that the stars would be random. In a previous post I mentioned getting a black skirt from Goodwill that I was afraid to paint. But with the success of this shirt I think I will attempt to do that same to the skirt. However, I do not care for the texture of the fabric paint so I want to try the galaxy effect using rit dye and bleach. I will bleach it in two phases so that some of the bleached areas will be lighter than others and I will use blue and wine colored dye in spray bottles. For the stars I think I will try using a bleach pen. This project is far down the list though so it will be awhile before it shows up here. Before I undertake that project I need to finish many other projects that I have already begun.

I have been off my blog posting schedule. We were on vacation and we will be moving soon so I anticipate weekly postings being difficult to maintain. Although I hope that I will get some projects finished before we move.

A Most Excellent Trip to Goodwill and a Completed Skirt Refashioning

Last week I went to Goodwill looking for a few key pieces I need for some upcycling and refashioning plans I had. I was looking for a denim jacket, a couple large men’s t-shirts and some men’s dress pants. I left the store after spending 33 dollars, a large quantity of money at Goodwill, but I did not have any of the items for which I went into the store. Instead I found some amazing items in new or near new condition as you can see in the pictures below.

I got a black Gap skirt that I think had never been worn because the two back slits had never been opened. I bought this skirt with the plan to galaxy paint it however I can not bring myself to paint on this skirt. I also found a tea length brown linen skirt from the Gap, a blue high-waisted linen skirt, and two pair of pants to refashion into skirts one from Bass and one from Geoffrey Beane. I also got a black and white skirt from Banana Republic which I think was surrendered to Goodwill because the black lining shows a little bit at the bottom, as you can see in the picture. Lucky for me I know how to remedy this, I plan to hem the lining. As you can see in the last picture, I also got a long, green and black striped, faux wrap skirt with buttons on the side. Refashioned SkirtIt is a bit frumpy so I planned to hem it, then a moment of inspiration struck and I decided that instead of simply cutting it off and hemming it I would make it into a bubble skirt. This required several attempts because the faux wrap section of the skirt produced some hiccups. But the third time was the charm and I successfully converted it into a bubble skirt, which I think is much more stylish and actually something I will wear.

Another Goodwill find, I mentioned in a previous post, was a green vintage wool and fur swing coat. I thought I would share some pictures of this fabulous coat with everyone. It is by far my biggest Goodwill score to date, which is why I forked over 15 dollars for it. It needs a little work, that collar was sewn on by hand and is starting to come off on the edges, which can easily be mended. Also the buttons on the coat, which I assume are the original buttons, are heinous. I think they are quite possibly some of the ugliest buttons I have ever seen. Thus I plan to replace the buttons with some flat buttons that will match the fur collar. I will share the results once I get all the alterations made.

I hope that next week I will finally be finished hand hemming my two layered half circle skirt. I would hem it with the sewing machine but easing the fullness with the machine is beyond my current skill set and the fabric is polka dot so I have to switch thread color frequently. I don’t think I will ever undertake a full circle skirt just because of how long it will take to hem a full circle unless I learn to ease the fullness on the sewing machine. Next week, I also plan to share my first attempt at galaxy painting on a black t-shirt.

I also have some grand plans for future projects since Walmart has had white and off white jersey knit fabric on sale for 1.50 for the past week so I now have about 12 yards of jersey knit waiting to be dyed, painted and written upon then sewn into something fabulous. Thanks to Burda Fashion I have several patterns which I downloaded for free so I am ready to roll with the projects I have in mind. Now all I need is the most elusive part, time to work.

Upcycled Lace Shorts

A few weeks ago, I saw a pair of shorts on pinterest which inspired me; plus, I already had the materials. The shorts on pinterest had added lace to the bottom of a pair of very short denim shorts with the intention of making them a more wearable length. Personally, I am not comfortable wearing such short shorts with or without lace, so I made my shorts a bit longer. The pants I cut off the make into shorts were originally a pair of Gap jeans which I bought at Goodwill with the intention of making capri pants. As I mentioned in my previous post, when I attempted to make the pants into capris I found the flare at the bottom displeasing so I changed my intention for them and cut them off into shorts.

I left the edges of the shorts frayed and unhemmed. For the lace I used a crocheted table runner that I found at Goodwill a while ago. I washed the table runner in RIT fabric whitener as it was a bit discolored. Then I cut some of the crocheted pieces apart and then cut them in half. These shorts only required a small amount of then disassembled table runner so I still have plenty of crocheted lace for future sewing projects.

After I cut the crocheted pieces in half, I pinned and then basted the pieces along the inside of each leg of the shorts. On the outside seam of both legs I put one small crocheted piece, purely for decorative purposes. I hand sewed the crocheted pieces with navy thread and I angled my stitched to match the weave of the denim so that my stitches would be as invisible as possible. I also stitched some of the edges of the crocheted pieces together. Overall, I am quite pleased with the result, I think I will wear these shorts quite often. I am interested to see how they fray with the sewn in lace.

I am almost finished with my redo of the chalkboard paint spice jars, so I hope to write about that in my next post as well as the completion of another sewing project.

Sweater Arms to Leggings Upcycle

So I finally finished my two pair of boot leggings up cycled from sweaters I got a goodwill. I hope boot leggings are still in fashion in the fall because I finished these just in time for the end of cold weather.

Striped Boot Leggings Chunky Knit Gray LeggingsOne sweater was a men’s American Eagle, navy and khaki green striped, cotton sweater. The other was a chunky knit gray, women’s sweater from Express made partially of wool. I got both sweaters at goodwill for about 3.50 each. The best time to look for sweaters and coats at goodwill is spring and sometimes fall. These are the times when people are going through their winter clothes and discarding unwanted items. I got an amazing vintage, green wool swing coat with a collar made of real fur. Normally, I am opposed to real fur but since this coat was manufactured sometime before 1970 I don’t feel like my purchasing the coat supports or encourages the fur industry.

I digress, making the boot leggings was simple. I cut the sleeves off the sweaters, with pinking shears, as close to the body of the sweater as possible. I then hemmed my raw edge with a small roll hem and hand stitching. Sewing sweater knit turned out to be much easier than I expected. On the striped pair I added a strip of thin elastic inside the hem because they had too much flare at the bottom thus they were uncomfortable to wear.

I am considering adding some ‘flare’ to the top of the gray pair, maybe ribbon or a button. I will have to contemplate the options and see if anything looks good.

I am almost finished with one dress up cycled from a men’s shirt and my first effort at making a circle skirt. Technically, the skirt is a half circle skirt. I can see a significant improvement in my sewing skills lately. Suddenly everything is just starting to click and make more logical sense. I have not tried anything really difficult like a coat or topstitching but I really want to try a jacket with a peplum in the back, that will be a good test of my current skills and develop some new sewing skills.

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