Before we moved here I was excited: a new home to decorate! How fun! Except once I realized how much stuff our little family had (both of us have hobbies, sports equipment, my clothes, his uniforms, rabbit stuff and now the puppy accouterments), and how little space we had since we had to downsize, I got discouraged. I knew logically things wouldn’t go in as seamlessly as they had into our Florida apartment because it was a different layout (much less open), but in my heart I was having a hard time with getting into the spirit of making this place our home. Which means that nearly six months after we moved in there are still pictures to be hung, the dining room set needs to be painted (cream and robin’s egg blue), and the sofa still needs accent pillows. The reason you’ve only seen the mantel area in the house? Besides the kitchen, that is the only spot I really feel is worth showing to the outside world–everything else is still a bit blah and unfinished.

Then I realized the other day why things were still in a half-finished state. I had fallen into that trap one can when renting: “we don’t own it, so why bother?” or “we’re only going to move eventually, so why put in the time/effort/money?”. I think this is especially easy if you live with a sense of impermanence due to a spouse’s job. But this is our home now despite it’s quirks, lack of storage and “cozy” layout. Our bedroom furniture may not fit well into our new master bedroom, the coat closet may be sorely lacking in size, or the dining room may have to share space with the dog’s crate, but it’s still home for right now. Not ideal, not the sort of place I’d buy if that’s what we were doing, but considering what else we could have ended up with it does for now! It needs a bit of personality though…

Which means that I have to get creative in a thrifty way to perk things up around here. I made a teeny list of spots I want to redo or add a bit of flair to. It makes it more tangible and–dare I say–exciting. I want to make this place a bit less “cramped-cozy” and more “homey-cozy”. The sort of place people don’t notice the wonky walls (bad past repair jobs) or the fact that our sofa is really too big for the space. Welcoming and comfortable, colorful and yet calming, a bit quirky too (anyone noticed the Captain America action figure on the mantle yet?).

I think this is a little pep-talk to myself. I get in ruts from time to time and get discouraged easily. This move and first six months have not been a shining moment in my life; and I feel bad that SH has had to come home from super-long days at work and deployments/training exercises to a house that still doesn’t feel like home. I know for him, it’s important to have that sense of calm and stability in his life since his work is so often the opposite. So here’s my little goal for the next six months: work on small ways to make everything fit (it’s like a jigsaw puzzle!), add some more color, finish those lingering projects, and for gosh sakes get the rest of the artwork on the walls (and maybe buy a few new prints on Etsy…)! lol.

First up: covering those ugly accent pillows on the sofa. The slipcover has been done for months, but the pillows remain uncovered. Yes, I’m showing you a picture of my rumpled, dog-slobbered sofa, topped with a quilt that has seen better days. That’s life right now with all it’s little warts and quirks. (See–I don’t have a Perfect Blogger Life by any means! lol.) I have a cute and wallet-friendly idea up my sleeve for those pillows though! (Aren’t they ugly??? Augh!) Stay tuned!

April 25, 2012 · 35 lovely thoughts
posted in around the house · tags: , ,

07.15.11 | red dress sneak peek

Random photo! Sneak peek of the red linen dress I finished. (More to come!)

Maybe I’m just the perpetually curious and nosey sort when it comes to my blogging, but lately I have been wondering: What would you like to see me post more of (or less of)? I know tutorials and freshly finished sewing projects are perpetually popular, but what else would you like to see? Am I in danger of posting too many tutorials of late? (Is that even possible? hehe!)

Here is a little list I compiled of post topics, and would love to hear your ideas as well as thoughts on what I already post that you’d like to see more of.

  • “Every day” outfit post (more often… I know I do this sporadically!)
  • Wardrobe remixing posts (one piece worn several ways. See this post.)
  • Sewing/craft tutorials (beginning level? More advanced? Perhaps some pattern drafting?)
  • Sew-along (have gotten several requests for this, and am tentatively planning on for the end of summer; look for an announcement next month.)
  • Vintage inspiration
  • What I have sewn/knit/crafted/in my sketchbook (generally creative stuff)
  • Decorating/cooking/homemaking
  • Thrifting finds and tips
  • How to refashion thrifted/older clothes
  • Video tutorials (usually of the hair or beauty sort)

Out of all these, which do you find most interesting? Anything not on the list you’d maybe like to see me cover? I feel in a bit of a rut lately; I’ve been blogging since 2004 and have started to get the impression that I’m just posting the same things over and over. So ideas and input would be appreciated! After all, this blog isn’t just for me: it’s for you too! I love the little community we’ve created here where we can chat through the comments, offer ideas, find some new links and generally have a good time. I just want to make it better and focus more on things that will resonate! Thanks bunches (in advance!) for your ideas and thoughts!

July 15, 2011 · 87 lovely thoughts
posted in misc · tags:

The recent discussion of cultural perceptions on beauty that we had has really got me thinking about beauty and how it relates both to women and history. I’ve been paging through my own small collection of vintage magazines, looking at beauty ads and contemplating how much (and little) things have changed over the generations. Realizing too that this push towards perfecting one’s “flaws” is something that, while not new (women have been in search of things to make them “beautiful” since ancient times), has been capitalized on by manufacturers and the mass media in more recent history. Certainly the spread of media has made this more easy to market to women, which is probably why the beauty business has in part become what it is today.

While I do own quite a few beauty products of my own and enjoy my “primping” time to play with makeup, it’s an interesting to observe how things have changed and yet not. Essentially women of the 21st century are the same as their great grandmothers in the 20s; we all want to look beautiful and are willing to hand over cash in order to become beautiful thanks to the latest miracle product. Which is why I think the visual and ephemera history of women’s beauty is so fascinating: it reveals deeper layers of cultural perceptions of women, both from a societal standpoint and of the women themselves. Over the weekend I ran across two videos that I found utterly fascinating. In them is an interview with a historian who has an amazing (dare I say I’m envious?!) collection of women’s beauty ephemera dating from the 19th century forward. She makes the excellent point about the correlation between body image and women’s history when discussing these beauty products. Definitely worth a viewing if you have the time (and now I’m somewhat eager to read her book!).

I also thought I’d add a few images from my own collection to the mix as well. Isn’t it interesting how in some ways things have become a bit more subtle in the modern age? Yet they still broadcast the same message, maybe just in more “sophisticated” (by 21st century standards) ways…

ladies’ complexion perfecting face powder, 1906.

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April 26, 2011 · 37 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: , ,

Dear Friends,

I’m keeping this post short just to let you know I’m taking a day off today. Some events in the wider world and my lack of Friday-post preparation have me a little distracted this morning, and I don’t feel I can fully put myself in the “job” of a post today. I’ll be back on Sunday both with the usual links roundup (always a favorite to put together!) as well as an update on my progress in the 30 for 30 challenge (and some wild pattern mixing in my outfits). Until then, I would so like to open this post up to you and ask you: what is one thing you’re intensely thankful for today? It doesn’t have to be profound, just something that you truly feel grateful for at this moment.

Me? It may sound cliché, but at this very moment I am intensely thankful for my husband, family and friends–and you. Wishing you all the best of days and a happy weekend!

April 8, 2011 · 70 lovely thoughts
posted in misc · tags: ,

dress: courtesy Trashy Diva | hat: old town San Diego | bow: The Loved One | belt: made by me last summer* | flats: Bakers | earrings: J. Paul Getty Museum | bracelet: thrifted

A big thank you to all the lovely gals who filled in for me last week while my mom was visiting! It was truly a treat to have such a group of talented ladies and seeing their spring-themed posts. I’m really ready for springtime now! My mom and I had a great week filled with lots of thrifting (and some truly amazing finds–more on that later), a fun afternoon tea at our favorite local tea room, and even some sewing! The highlight project was making some aprons from (thrifted) men’s dress shirts, using instructions from Vintage Notions. They turned out pretty cute! Now I just have to get back into the swing of things; if you’re waiting for an email from me, my apologies–I should hopefully get back to you soon!

Somehow, we managed to go an entire week without really taking any photos; I think these outfit pictures were the only ones that were taken during Mom’s visit. We were just so busy chatting and doing things that the cameras really never came out! But I’m glad I did get some shots of this dress; it’s a new favorite that Trashy Diva sent me recently. I already own one TD dress that I adore, and picked out this one to fill a gap I realized I had in my closet: a solid color, classic 1950s inspired shirtwaist dress! I’ve already worn it a handful of times because it’s one of those great pieces that can be dressed up or down–plus it’s practical with pockets in the skirt (and you know how I adore pockets!).

I am feeling somewhat quiet today; both because I’m missing my mom a bit, and also because it’s Monday. Mondays always catch me a bit off-guard, despite knowing they’re coming. lol. I’ll be back tomorrow with a fun little post, and hopefully later this week some sewing to show! Have a lovely day, friends!

[ the ducks were being unsociable and refused to stay put to catch them in a picture! all photos by my lovely Sailor Husband. ]

*Is anyone still interested in a tutorial for this belt? Just let me know–I think I actually have all the supplies on hand to whip one up!

March 28, 2011 · 89 lovely thoughts
posted in outfits + wardrobe · tags: , ,