Monday, July 29, 2013

Feeling Inspired

I am so endlessly inspired and moved by colors, patterns and brights.  Colors are so invigorating to me- whether in nature, or in man-made textiles.  The past few weeks I have been feeling more and more inspired to seek out vintage fabrics and wares, to embrace colors (of course) and have fun with my style. I have been making good use of a lot of the vintage in my closet (after I shared in my post a few weeks ago that I have a habit of treating my favorite vintage pieces like museum specimens).  This green dress is a newer find from (one that I literally stalked for weeks until I saw it go on sale!).  The day it arrived I took it with me to work and hemmed it during some downtime.  It was a maxi originally (although a bit too short for me) and now it is a charming dress just above the knee. 
I took these photos less than a mile from my childhood home, where my parents still live.  I walked these tracks almost every day in college, escaping from the busy hustle and bustle of campus, thinking about love and life and relationships.  When I was upset about something I picked up rocks, imagined they were my troubles and through them into the creek.  Sometimes I went off the path and found old milk and perfume bottles, colorful rocks or pretty flowers.  I used to feed the horses straw that lived on the farm up the hill- they are no longer there and the fields are several feet tall, with one clear-cut path for walking.  Suprisingly- things are actually a lot more quiet out there than they were when I grew up.  A local center has bought a lot of the properties that outlived their residents and mowed them over in the favor of trees.  There's a lot of pros and cons to that- but one things is for certain.  A once "quiet paradise" is now even more silent; other than from the song of  cicadas, birds and frogs. 
I've had this turquoise flower power dress for about five years now and it continues to be one of my favorites.  Just look at those flowers!  Funny enough, there is a permanent rip on the back above the little key-hole cut-out from a wipe out I took off the railroad tracks!  I don't even remember what I was doing, but I know I lost my balance and rolled down an embankment of gravel; got home and realized that my dress had ripped on the back.  I've sewn it up several times since then, but it looks rather Frankenstein, so it's good I plan on keeping it, anyway!

I have had so much fun wearing these pieces this summer, and I know they'll all get plenty more wear!  I've been working on a pact I made with myself to go for LOVE over like with my purchases- and it's going well now :)  I am focusing on finds that I absolutely love rather than just "kinda like" which makes my closet a treasure trove of things I always want to wear, rather than stuff I need to get rid of to make room for more.  Sometimes that means spending a little more on the stuff I really really like (and fewer items), but I'd rather do that than spend 10 or 20 bucks here and there for stuff I know I'll want to get rid of in a year.

I get excited thinking about what piece of vintage I will be wearing the next day.  I've been doing more buying and picking for the boutique I work at and it's really deepened my love for vintage clothing and wares.  I feel so inspired to recycle and reuse- to seek out unique vintage and handmade pieces rather than buy mass produced.  I still fall victim to the occasional Forever 21 purchases, yes, and I do still love many new pieces.  But I must say that I have grown so appreciative of vintage and handmade items, especially ones that were made with so much care and craftsmanship.  And I gravitate heavily towards the new pieces that are better quality with unique prints and patterns.  I only hope that I can learn to be patient and have the skill to make my garment with as much care so they can be loved for many years, too!

Are you feeling inspired by something right now, too?  I am hoping this post may inspire someone, anyone!- even if it is just to seek out what inspires them personally, too.  Sometimes I find my times of inspiration to be both a blessing and a curse.  Suddenly all of these wonderful ideas and concepts are floating through my mind, but I don't feel like I have all the time and resources I need to fulfill them all.  But I am thankful for feeling inspired and will continue to roll with it!  Thanks for reading :)

xo, Alyssa

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Ice Cream Dress

More Wedding Bells this weekend!  This time it was my lovely friends Gwen and Frank who tied the knot- and I couldn't be happier for the two.  They had a really nice gathering in a Banquet Room overlooking the Wilmington Riverfront.  Boy, was it hot that day.  About 95 degrees, and probably couldn't be more humid- but it was plenty cool inside- and we had a great time celebrating the occasion!
I was SO happy I received this dress in time for the weekend.  This incredible dress is part of Caitlin Shearer's hand-drawn collection of illustration dresses.  As an aspiring dress designer myself- I have adored Caitlin's dresses from afar for quite some time now.  I finally decided it was time to save my pennies and invest in my own piece of her wearable art.  I instantly fell in love with this delicate print of ice cream cones and sundaes- could it get any cuter?
Outfit Details:  Dress:  Caitlin Shearer, Necklace:  Clothes in the Past Lane, Headband: Claire's, Shoes:  Forever 21, Clutch: Vintage
I kept the look pastel and paired the dress with my favorite vintage clutch- a rainbow of pastels!  My rhinestone necklace from Clothes in the Past Lane was just the right detail to set off the blue and green tones in the dress and really make it "pop".  The vintage inspired silhouette of this dress is my favorite.  The shape is so easy to wear, figure flattering and comfortable.  

My hubby Daniel wore one of his Nicole Rae Styer embellished button-ups and a vintage tie we thrifted a while back.  I love how he puts things together :).

We had a lazy day the rest of Saturday after the wedding and just relaxed, made dinner and watched some Netflix.  Sunday was a great day of browsing in West Chester, we found a few fun vintage pins and earrings and a $16 vintage dress that I'll be working on hemming later today.  This week I will be focusing my attention back on my own sewing projects.  Getting my moth fabric ready for it's first dress pattern, and hopefully an actual dress will be finished within a few weeks.  I still have a lot of work to do- but I am inching closer and closer to my dream becoming reality!  Thanks for reading :)

xo, Alyssa

Monday, July 15, 2013

Bringing 60's into the Kitchen!

For a number of years now the 60's have been a huge inspiration for me- both in my personal style, music tastes, and in just a general flair for decor.  I challenged myself to wear all vintage last week, and it really pushed me to use the pieces in my closet that I absolutely love but somehow surpass for more "updated" pieces time and time again.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my vintage clothing, but I have a habit of intermittently holding it in the back of my closet and regarding it as precious, almost more like art, and try not to wear it as often.  I decided that's sort of silly, considering they are my favorite pieces and I value them so much.  Why not wear the crud out of them, then?
Vintage clothing has so much character and so much history.  I love thinking about where the pieces I own have been, and what journey they took before they came to me.  I love the colors, the patterns and bold prints.  They just don't make them like that anymore!  And then there's the fact that you are recycling and reloving a piece of clothing and saving resources in the process.  Working with vintage is exhilarating.  I love when clients bring in their old things and tell me stories about them.  "I went to the Virgin Islands in that dress", "That was my prom dress from 1951", "I wore that in Australia as a traveling actress".  The stories that I hear really give me a special relationship with the merchandise that I sell, and that really means something to me.  The dress I am wearing above was part of a private estate sale that Sandi and I went through for the store.  I saw a square of the fabric peaking through heaps of other dresses and tops and was mesmerized.  It is a little large, but after a quick hem and bright orange belt, you can hardly tell how roomy it was! 
 So, with all of the inspiration I take from 60s fashion I have really started to adore 60s decor- flower power tea towels, mushroom printed aprons, and brightly colored recipe boxes...oh, I could go on!  This weekend Daniel and I went picking in some of our favorite flea markets and antique malls to find some deals and bring the 60s inspiration into the kitchen! 
 Moth balls are one 60s trend I won't be getting on any time soon, haha!  Especially considering that moths are my favorite "animal" and I do love them so!  (Not really the clothes eating kind, but luckily I haven't had any trouble with that).  As a kid I associated that smell with my Great Aunt, as she had a home chock full of them, and everything we received from her always carried the aroma.  I guess you could say it's sort of a nostalgic smell, or at least one that brings back childhood memories. 
These are the beauties Daniel and I came away with this weekend!  I had to have that 50s "Orange" teapot and the Strawberry sugar bowl was just too cute to pass up.  The deals?  $9 for the teapot, $10 for the sugar bowl, $3 for the entire set of short flower glasses, and $7 each for the tall flower glasses (They are just so gorgeous, and they used to be peanut butter jars, how rad is that??)  My goal was really to bring some more "flower power" and kitschy inspiration to our already colorful kitchen, and on a budget too.  With enough hunting around, we had a total success! 

Looking for your own vintage flower power treasures?  The best places are of course Thrift stores, vintage boutiques, goodwill, flea markets and antique shops (not to mention Grandma's house)- still not finding what you're looking for?  Not to fear, etsy is here!  I have plenty of groovy items on my wishlist, and if you are a fan of the flower, I am sure you will find some for yours too! 
My Etsy Flower Power Wishlist:
1.Vintage japanese plastic floral necklace  2. Vintage Floral tray 3.  Vintage recipe Box   4.  Vintage flower power pans  5.  Vintage floral suitcase  6.  Groovy floral curtain panels  7.  70s Flower bowl/plate holders  8.  Orange floral blanket made from vintage fabric
 Are you guys fans of the flower too?  Do you garner any inspiration from the mod 60s?  
 xo, Alyssa

Thursday, July 11, 2013

     The past week and a half has been quite a whirlwind!  A very fun one, so I have some enjoyable things to update with!  Last week was my vacation week from work, so I spent it with (a little bit of work) teaching a half day summer camp for kids until Wednesday of last week.  I have to tell you- teaching is a lot of work, but I missed it SO MUCH.  I had a lot of fun planning activities for the kids, designing my own "butterfly bingo" and watching their eyes light up when I brought in my caterpillars.  We made some cool crafts too- one was a wooden owl mask that we painted and added colorful feathers and gems to (the girls ate that up)!  After the camp was over I celebrated July 4th with my family and went to Hockessin to watch Fireworks on the front lawn of Lancaster Shopping Center.  It was MOBBED, and took us about 20 minutes to get back out of the parking lot, but it was well worth it.  I wore a super cute mint and pink floral dress on that day, but unfortunately I brought the wrong photo card and had a photo shoot fail :(   

After the 4th of July was over Daniel and I took a ride on the MegaBus and headed up to New York City to visit our friends Mark and Karin.  Oh my goodness you guys, we had so much fun!  I got to go to the Metropolitan Musuem of Art for the very first time and saw the "Punk, Chaos to Couture Exhibit".  Wow!  It was amazing, and that place was entirely too big. I will have to visit again when I am back up to see more. This colorful Andy Warhol piece was one of my favorites.:)
 I also visited this amazing little vintage shop on the Lower East side called "The Family Jewels".  It is actually the only vintage boutique we ended up visiting because I found this amazing flower power dress there and I was totally satisfied!  At first I didn't want to try it on because it was a little above my price range, but Daniel convinced me it was too perfect; so I just had to.  And you know-once that happenned...
It was a splurge, but totally worth it.  I was giddy searching through this vintage Mecca.  There were colorful patterns, prints, and bold solids just popping out of every corner.  Some had Clearance Sale tags, others were pretty outrageous, but thankfully my dress fell somewhere in between, and even with all of the other expensive pieces I found there- this one was my favorite! 
I am totally on a flower power kick right now, and have pulling all of my fun late 60s pieces out for the past couple of weeks.  This week has been all out flower power and color, and I feel so inspired to keep moving with the floral 60s theme- I have entirely too many vintage dresses on my wishlist right now from Etsy!
The pin that I am wearing with this dress was also purchased at The Family Jewels; Daniel snuck that one in without me knowing and I was really surprised to see it because it matches a pair of vintage clip on earrings that I purchased in West Chester a couple of months ago.  Finally, the set is together again!
I hope you are all having a groovy week and enjoyed listening to mine!  Thanks as always for being my readers and I really appreciate all of your feedback and support.  Your comments always make me smile and really brighten up my day, I love you guys!  Oh yes, and please remember to add me on Bloglovin' soon if you haven't done so :)  I will remember to do the same for all of you, too!  Enjoy your day!

xo, Alyssa