An Oil Painting of a Proper Cuppa English Tea

I’m taking an oil painting class again I’ve taken a few times before so I’m back in painting mode! And if you know me in real life (IRL as the kids say), you may have picked up on the fact that I have an infatuation with England/London/Britain/the royal family/the Harrys (Styles and the prince one). Well the good news (not psychologically, probably) is that it’s recently kicked up a notch! Brilliant! This painting is the first result of that but you can bet your ascot there will be more coming soon.

So here’s my painting! I think it turned out pretty well, which just basically means that I finished it in two classes instead of five. I’m happy it moved along and I didn’t have enough time to struggle over it and grow to despise it (that’s the normal painting process for me).

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I got the “idea” (I straight copied it!) from this painting I found on Pinterest (if you want to see more of my “artspiration”, check out my board). It always helps me to loosen up my style when I imitate another painting that has that style. Maybe it will eventually morph into my own. That’s the plan, anyway. The other plan is to paint more of what I actually want hanging in my apartment as art instead of what I feel like painting. However, I am running into the difficulty that this place is beginning to look like a shrine to myself and my art…It’s getting weird.

Pretend this is a flip book and scroll fast for a quick zero to 60 painting in three seconds.

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What a rush! If only it went that fast IRL! Har har. But here’s the new problem: I don’t know what to paint next! Help! Spoiler: it will probably be British in theme.

The Weekend Antique Haul

I swear, I didn’t even mean to go antiquing. But that’s how some of my best finds started out. There’s really nothing better than a Saturday spent brunching and browsing at one of my favorite antique stores in town. This place is really insane. Three floors of wall to ceiling STUFF. Furniture, books, barware, and, yes, crap. It’s amazing. It takes some patience to dig through but, as you’ll see, it’s always worth it!

Here’s what I welcomed into a new home:

A green leather footstool that perfectly matches an antique green leather chair I got from the same store another time. I darkened the legs to make it match better with a wood touch up stain.

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A pink tapestry-style (I made that term up, FYI) blanket. I was unsure about this one, but I already love the pop of color it adds to my all-white bedroom without the commitment of paint. I also think the pattern has something of a regal, tapestry feel to it, no?

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This would also add a pop of fun and color to a chair or couch, again without the commitment of completely redoing the colors in a room. I can see this moving into the living room once spring comes…and I get a couch.

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And lastly, another antique umbrella to add to my collection. (Since I can’t stop purchasing these, they have become a “collection” and I’m much more justified in buying multiple ones.) Here’s the cool, molded handle and decorative tassel hanging out on my new deer bottle opener (from World Market).

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And the fully opened umbrella. The great condition and plaid pattern (it feels so British countryside) were irresistible.

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  • Footstool: $25
  • Blanket: $25
  • Umbrella $12

Not too shabby for a day at the antique store! As I stand and survey my apartment, I realize almost nothing in here is new from a store (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It makes me so happy to have unique furniture and decor that I’ve hand-picked piece by piece and that have spoken to me throughout the years. They all add up to an apartment that really reflects me and my taste. (I’ve been told my place makes me look like an “old soul”, whatever that means). That said, I think I am going to make this a regular “feature” on the blog. I find so many great items for my apartment at different antique, thrift, and vintage stores, I might as well share my goodies!

A Bicycle Dress Built By One

Another day, another dress! After the first dress I sewed went so swimmingly, I decided to make another while the motivation was still fresh. And, like the first one, it only took about a day to make! And since I could reuse the pattern, the total cost for the dress was even less.

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I used New Look pattern 6587 again. It’s a really great pattern in that it’s easy, fits me well, and has enough variations in the sleeves and other options that I can make multiple dresses that don’t feel or look the same. I fell in love with this springy bicycle pattern when I was hunting for fabric for the first dress and had to go back for it (and I’m glad I did). Since I needed under 3 yards of fabric and buttons were the only other expense, the dress was only about $20 from start to finish.

Everyone I’ve shown has loved the red buttons and I have to admit those are my favorite part too! They are a fun detail that add some color to the white dress (and make the pattern pop, too). The sash adds something unique as well and can easily be swapped out for a belt.

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I felt confident enough to make a few adjustments to the pattern this time around. I didn’t add interfacing to the collar so that it would be smaller and less stiff. I made the collar smaller overall and I like the less-prominent collar on this dress much better. I also took the bodice seams in a little bit to get a more fitted look. It worked out really well but if you’re trying it, remember to start with a tiny bit—you an always take in more but it’s harder to let it out!

Here’s the finished product. Now I just need spring to come! And maybe like, 4 more dresses.
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Sewing a Floral Sundress

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via Boden.com

I decided I wanted to sew a dress Saturday and it was done by Wednesday! This was seriously such an easy pattern and quick dress to make (and my first one ever) that I had to share! My inspiration was the below dress from Boden. I was aiming to replicate the shape (I love the summery shirtdress with a full skirt look) and the fabric too, to whatever extent I could. The first step was finding a pattern similar to that dress. It was a lot harder than it seemed! Every pattern seemed to be missing an important detail, like the collar or full skirt. Thankfully my mom had an extra 4 hours to kill, in addition to way more sewing experience and patience than I have (always a good thing—I wish I could rent her out to all of you for your own projects). The terribly frumpy fabrics they show on the patterns do not help in picturing the final product so you have to use your imagination. I landed on this one, deciding to use the pattern for the pink dress, minus all the ribbons and crap. Bonus: I love some of the other variations included, too! Extra bonus: All the patterns from this brand are only about $4! Some others I looked at were $30.

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Next, fabric. The fun part, right? Actually this was another tedious process, as, of course, I am not going to find an exact replica. Again, you really have to use your imagination to envision what the final product might be with all your tweaks. And speaking of tweaks, I bought extra fabric (a skirt’s length) so I could make the skirt fuller (because who doesn’t want a spinny skirt?). To do this, I added about 4 inches to the front and back pieces (on the waistline) to gather more fabric. Here is the fabric I chose (the top one) plus another close contender I loved.

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Time to sew! Once I got everything cut out, I spent most of a day sewing and finished everything but the buttons. You really can make this in a day! (I recommend living in the Midwest because I have zero interest in going outside in this windchill.) Here are a few fun incremental progress shots I was sending to a friend and a name for the corresponding apparel I’m modeling:

1. The sassy school board mom vest:

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2. The ultra-conservative Duggar prairie dress:

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3. The thank God it’s starting to look like a normal dress:

image1-5 Enough talk! Here it is! The finished product. It amazingly fits pretty perfectly, especially when I added a belt to cinch in the extra fabric and create a waist. (I cannot stress this enough if you are new to sewing—go by the measurements and NOT by the size number! I started making a dress in my normal size once and was halfway through before I realized it would be a better fit for a doll. This one I made is a size 12…don’t let the size scare you! Although, come on pattern-making jerks. No one wants to be a huge number of sizes larger than they really are!) Sorry I look so awkward in this picture. I am so bad at taking self timer pics. image4 I love the cute little cap sleeves. That’s what’s so nice about sewing your own with a pattern like this; you can customize however you want to. The only thing I was not a fan of is the collar. It’s a little long and large for my taste. image3 image2-2 Here’s a closer look of the details on the top and skirt: image5 I didn’t add up the cost to the penny but it was all only about $30-$35, compared to the Boden dress at $118. Needless to say with how quick and easy it was, I am mildly obsessed with this pattern! Expect another post soon as I am already started on another one. This time, it will be the sleeveless version with the sash at the waist, tweaked to make the collar smaller and less stiff by not including interfacing on that part. Check back soon! Happy sewing!