With the changing of seasons comes an excuse to buy new clothes and as I was browsing around the internet the other day, I noticed something... interesting. It seems as though designers didn't quite come to a consensus for their Fall 2017 collections and decided to take an eclectic approach. They're called "spliced" shirts for obvious reasons and I can get behind the power clashing of patterns, but the misalignment of the neck and hemlines just seems like poor construction to me (what with my vast knowledge of sewing and all...). I recognize bold choices are not uncommon for retailers like Asos, but then shirts like this kept popping up including t-shirts, blouses, and flannels. It got me wondering how many instances of a certain style constitute a trend and also how often trends are created from designers just messing with us...
P.S. Those of you who prefer a more masculine fit, fear not... there are shirts for you too!
When I was younger, part of my artsy kid aesthetic was to dress myself as brightly as possible. This also might have been a reaction to wearing a uniform to school for 8 years. I've since grown up... a bit... and my current wardrobe consists of mostly neutral tones. I still have an attraction to vibrant colors, I just don't display them on my person. Some might think this project is a little much, but if I can't wear these colors I can at least have them in my home... more on that later. Once we settled into the new apartment I immediately started looking for potential projects because this girl can't handle down time. This girl also couldn't handle diving into a sea of job postings right away. Luckily, this guy I now share an apartment with is cool with my compulsion to craft and agreed to let me zhoosh (zhush? jzeush?) up our seating situation a bit.
The technique itself is extremely simple and a process with which any preteen girl in the early 2000s should be familiar. Those of you for which this does not apply, listen up. In order to let everyone back home know you had just returned from vacation, preteen girls in the early 2000s would wrap a section of their hair in colorful embroidery floss and leave it that way until the floss unraveled or their hair fell out, whichever came first. Cute, right!? The hairwraps pictured above are available for purchase on Amazon and I honestly wonder if they are someone's personal collection of disembodied relics. I tried to locate photographic evidence of myself sporting this trend, but my mom wasn't able to find any in the family archives. I will give it another go when I'm home for the holidays and share my findings so... stay tuned!
In the somewhat later 2000s, I have come across various articles of furniture and home decor similarly wrapped. You can find some examples here, here, and here. Having matured, the 2010s have opted for a muted and monochromatic approach instead, but I chose to meld the two aesthetics and bring some color back in. Here's how I did it:
I started by tying the twine to the top of my stool legs and securing the knot to the metal with hot glue. From there I just wrapped the twine making sure the knot tail was tucked under and periodically tightening the twine as I wrapped. Once I got to the bottom I secured the twine to the metal again with hot glue. (Note: I switched colors at the natural separation of sections, but if you intend to switch between colors as you go, start by tying all colors to the top of your item and tuck the colors not currently in use until you would like to switch, then tuck the color you had been using and begin with another.) The only really tricky parts were the points at which the metal pieces overlapped. I ended up criss crossing the twine until the metal was no longer visible and then proceeded as normal until the next intersection.
The final touch was to sand, repaint, and gloss the seats to lighten up the overall piece. With this project, I was looking for something reversible and easy to do; this technique meets those requirements, however it is incredibly time consuming and tedious so keep that in mind before you start wrapping your own furniture in twine. Otherwise, I'm happy with the result and now have a surplus of colorful twine for more projects!
With the new school year approaching and in an effort to provide some justification for my extended absence, I'm starting a new series of posts highlighting some student artwork produced during the '16-'17 school year... oh yeah, did I mention I was an art teacher for a hot second? It was the most demanding/rewarding/high stress/fun/exhausting job I've ever had. I loved it and produced more in 9 months than I had in my previous 5 year position. I could gush for hours about how wonderfully thoughtful, smart, and silly my students were, but no one wants to read all that I'm sure so instead I will be featuring their amazingly creative pieces along with the lessons that prompted them. Here's a sneak peak:
After sitting on yoga mats in the living room for two weeks, our beautiful comfy couch finally arrived and immediately became the object of my accessorizing. The color choice of this couch was strategic; match Wallace as closely as possible to minimize the appearance of cat hair and thus the necessity to clean it. Since we now have this large neutral backdrop I decided to use pillows to bring some color into the room. A perfect opportunity to utilize my aforementioned newly acquired sewing machine. The hitch here is that I've never used a sewing machine before. So it sat gathering dust for months until I found the time to properly introduce myself to the machine, luckily now I have plenty and we can become well acquainted. If you're cool with your teacher knowing as little as you do, this is an opportunity for anyone interested to learn along with me. The plan here is for me to screw up so you don't have to! My first endeavor was very high school Home Ec (RIP), a decorative throw pillow!
Start by folding your fabric in half with the right side (that means the pretty printed side) on the inside. Trace a round object 1 inch larger than your final piece (You can also create a compass of sorts by tying a pencil to one end of a piece of string, holding the other to the center of your fabric, and drawing a circle), and cut out both pieces at once. From there you can move over to your sewing machine, make sure your fabric pieces remain right sides together. Before you get started, it's important to do what I learned is called a back stitch... it took me several tries to figure this out, but apparently it's important so... do it I guess. Then I just used the basic straight stitch (number 01 on my machine) to attach the two pieces. Because you're sewing in a circle, work slowly so you can easily adjust the fabric as you go. Do this until you have about 2 inches remaining open, then back stitch again because it keeps your stitches from unraveling... or something.
From here you can flip your fabric right sides out and stuff it with polyfill (I just used the guts of an old pillow). A dowel (or any kind of stick really) can be helpful to evenly distribute the filling throughout the pillow. Use your invisible thread and this invisible stitch to hand sew up the rest of your pillow.
To cinch the center and add some buttons, I used invisible thread to secure the center of my pillow first, but you can just go straight in with the button thread if you're confident like that. Side note regarding the buttons: the buttons I had lying around were these gaudy plastic things so I used some fabric scraps and good ol' Weldbond to make them more suitable. To add buttons, double up your embroidery thread on a long embroidery needle, knot the ends together, and find the center of your pillow. Then pierce through the front side, thread through one button on the backside, come through to the front again, and thread through the second button. Create a square knot with the original tail and the remaining needle thread. Be sure to pull tightly so the buttons cinch the center of the pillow. Tie a couple more square knots and trim the thread so it is no longer than the radius of the button itself and you're done! So easy a high school freshman can do it! Despite its simplicity, I can't help but be extremely proud of this minor accomplishment.
I know I spend most of my time on here lamenting the steep price of superfluous items, but for me one area (creature) is the exception. What can I say? Wallace deserves the best. Being intimately aware of my quirky (read: strange and unhealthy) obsession, a dear friend recently introduced me to a product she knew I needed in my life. Katris is a modular cat tree/oversized Tetris game that provides endless entertainment for your furry friend and also yourself if you, like myself, have a low threshold for fun.
After trying to play it cool for a few weeks because like... whatever, it's no big deal...
I caved and purchased a set of five blocks for the most doted upon American Shorthair in the borough. I can now confidently say that it was money well spent and it is, in fact, a big deal... or at least Wallace thinks so. Each block comes with a pack of catnip to properly introduce your fur baby to their new perch and some plastic clips to secure the pieces together in whatever orientation you compose. It comes in a variety of finishes, but I went with the original cardboard because sometimes it's best to just let something be what it is... a teakwood veneer isn't going to fool anyone in my opinion. Also it was the cheapest.
If you are unable to commit to such a hefty investment, Petco sells an incredibly adorable substitute for the Katris. I purchased this cat couch long before Katris was on my radar, Wallace loves it more than I anticipated, and he's so stinkin' cute when he's propped up on his couch thinking he's people.
Hey uh... how's it been? Cool cool... so listen, I know it's been a minute, but is there any chance you'd want to start hanging out again?
We can get into the reasons for my extended absence later, the important thing is that I have recently found myself without gainful employment (again) and I would like to get back into this (again).
Last month, I relocated to NYC which has provided me with a new apartment (and countless hours) to fill. To stave off my usual job search psychosis, I intend to balance resume revisions and cover letters with various crafty creations and trendy critiques. I figure since securing employment historically takes me about 84 years, I might be around for a while this time. This go around, after posting a full tutorial I will make selected projects available for purchase on an Etsy page for anyone without the time or desire to attempt a creation of their own.
You can check out the shop at www.etsy.com/shop/imitationretailthrpy
At the risk of (unwisely) raising expectations, I have significantly upped my craft game over the past two years (has it been two years?!). I am now the proud owner of a brand new sewing machine, Cricut cutting machine, and Adobe Photoshop subscription. So I think what I'm trying to say here is that... It's gonna be lit... I know, I hate myself too. Please don't leave. Hopefully I have piqued your interest enough to stick around even if it is just to watch me flounder. See you soon!
P.S. Wallace is still crushing this whole Being A Cat thing.