Perfect coat in navy.

Yesterday I got to work to find the usual pile of merchandise on the floor to steam and put out on the floor. It's great because then I get first pick of things, and how I get lots of what's in my closet, the most memorable, bird hat. Well, I'm going through everything, steaming away, and at the bottom of the pile is my perfect black coat. In blue. I tried to think of a way I could dye it black, but finally came to accept that this will be my new navy coat, because it really did have everything I wished for, only in a different color. I'll be wearing navy for a while...

Coat, shoes- The Urban Eccentric

Purse-Michael Kors.

The rest-I don't even remember, that hat was a garage sale maybe...

Oh and I took the stockings back to the store, then spent the money at the bins. It was SO BUSY! I almost wanted to leave as soon as I got there, but then I started finding things which is always encouraging.


Knitting pattern fashion.

I got about a half a dozen vintage crochet and knitting pattern books a few weeks ago, and thought about keeping them just because the pictures were adorable. Then I realized I could just take pictures of the pictures. What a concept. Here's a few of my favorites, not only for the sweaters, but also for the poses, and fresh smiles. Maybe I should start modeling like this...



I'm getting rid of coats. Thats right. The crazy coat lady will become just the crazy lady. Ok, ok, so I'll still be the crazy hat lady, but I'll get to that collection someday.
At one point I had 23. That was a while ago, I'm afraid to count now. And this cold season I've been paying attention to which ones I actually wear, and which ones I don't. Not to mention how long it takes for me to find a coat or jacket to wear with my outfit each day, because I don't have "basics" I have a bunch of really funky cool, multiple personality coats. Ask Sam how long he waits for me to find a coat after the half hour ordeal of getting dressed, and he'll roll his eyes. So you see, I'm trying to save both time and space, and you my friends get to benefit from my closet purging. So next week there will be a bunch of vintage coats in my shop, and I need you to get them away from me as soon as possible.

In order to let go of so many coats though, I'm going to get one nice, black coat. I know, sounds kind of dull, but trust me, when I find that coat, paired with red lipstick and my giant rhinestone bow brooch, it will be far from dull. Although I must say, I think I've looked at just about every black wool coat on the internet, and nothing pleases me. So, if anyone knows where I can find a black coat, about knee length, with a fitted bodice and sleeves, button up, a-line skirt, with two side pockets and collar (not too wide), let me know. Oh, and not $1,000 like a Burberry one I liked, 'cus that was misleading, it was in the "Sale'' section. And it was one sale, just...not enough. Besides, if I'm going to pay $1,000 for a coat, it shouldn't have plastic buttons. Come on Burberry, spring for some quality buttons.



My mind is asleep so I'll just leave you with Coco Chanel's wise words:

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."

Coco was too cool for school.


Funny words.

Vintage paper words

A few years ago I began a mental list of words that made me laugh or cringe. Once I made this known, people began speaking up, saying "Hey, I don't like that word either." and possibly starting their own unpleasant word list. So here it is, the bad word list, with some good ones for a positive note :)

(First three words make up the worst sentence ever)

1. Moist-This is the word that almost everyone I know dislikes. It's uncomfortable for your mouth to say. But, I will find myself saying it once in a while, because there is rarely an alternative to "Yum, this cake is nice and moist." You cant really say damp, or dewy, it pretty much has to be moist. It weeds it's way into my vocabulary, therefore I hate it all the more.

2. Bargain-In my little thrift store hopping world, I hear this constantly. Unlike moist there are other alternatives. Like moist, its uncomfortable for your mouth to say. There is no attractive way to say bargain.

3. Panties-Such an odd word for a grown person to say.

4. Ma'am-At work every now and then, someone will call me "Ma'am". I'm 19 years old. Now, when you are a middle aged mother of three, calling a person half your age "Ma'am" is socially inappropriate and insulting. Even when I am 90 years old, if you call me "Ma'am" I will punch you in the face, and you wont be able to do anything about it, since I'll blame it on being senile.

5. Artsy-When I was in an art high school I dreaded telling people where I went because 90% of the time people would respond with "Ooooh, so you're artsy...".

6. Babe-is a pig.

Words I love.

1. Dame-or pretty much any word used in 30s gangster films. Dame, gams, dollface, clams, whatever. It's fun.

2. Flutter-The soft sound of a birds wings during flight. Such a pretty sound and such a pretty word.

3. Schedule-Really only good when a British person says it.

4. Cashmere-It sounds like it feels. And I cant help but elongate it, and say Caaaaashmere.

5. Portobello-I think I like it because it sounds Italian. Maybe it is Italian, what do I know.

6. Crimson-Explains the color beautifully.


Dont judge a product by its wrapping.

I love Wolford tights. At a minimum of $40 a pair though, I have yet to own a pair. They always have beautiful designs, the highest quality, and I hear are ever so comfortable. Which is also why you never find them on sale, or at discount stores. So when I was at T.J. Maxx today I did my look through all the stockings. Thats where I get all of mine, they always have good ones for good prices. Imagine my excitement when I found a bunch of Wolford stockings hidden in the back of rows of your average nude pantyhose. Beautiful tights, in designs and materials you wont find on many other brands. There were only two pairs in my size, one white open knit, and one pair gray and black thigh highs with an amazing abstract zig zag print. Pretty darn cool. AND they were marked down from $64.00 to $19.99. No question about it, I was not letting this opportunity pass by. So I buy the stockings and some peanut clusters becuase I missed lunch (they were alright...), and head on back home. Upon arriving home I open the package to try them on, and pull them out of the cardboard sleeve with the picture of the six foot woman with the tights on and wind blowing in her hair. I imagine that I too will be so cool that just the right amount of wind will follow me wherever I go to blow my hair back (enough so that it looks enchanting, but not so much that it messes it up). Pulling the tights out of the sleeve, a wave of disappointment pushes away the fabulous enchanting breeze, as the Wolford stockings I had already learned to love were absent, and in their place a pair of cheap black pantyhose. Some stocking hag switched my Wolfords, for a pair of nothings. Hey stocking hag. I hope your giant jagged yellow toenails rip those stockings in half. Lesson learned, check the product before you buy. And: I will constantly be on the lookout for any woman wearing my stockings. So if you walk down the street and I give you a dirty look you know why.

*Ok actually I don't hope that the stockings be damaged, but that karma slap her in some other way.


Borrowed Stetson

Nothing helps a bad hair day like Sams Stetson and red lipstick. Also here's the jacket I monogramed, instructions can be found below. As well as monograming it, I also replaced the plastic buttons with some golden metal ones, buttons makes such a difference.

Jacket-The bins.

Skirt and pin-The Urban Eccentric

Shoes and gloves-Discovery shop.

Tights-T.J. Maxx

Hat-Got it for Sam at a rummage sale


How to monogram

Monogramming is quite the lost art for lady's, along with other needlework skills once taught in school. Unless you have a grandmother skilled in monogramming, you'll have to go to an embroidery shop and have someone stick it under a machine to stitch your initials perfectly and unlovingly. Or. You could do it yourself. And at first it will be terribly uneven and you will have knots and loose stitches and tight stitches, and you may poke your finger. But when you are finished you will feel so accomplished. Because you have created something so uniquely you. Made by you, designed by you, and with your very own initials. And you will look at it and it will be your quirky, terrible, awesome monogram.
Weeks ago I did my first monogram on a pair of gloves. I did a cursive "S" one one, and and "R" on the other. This time I decided to try the art deco approach and do a three letter monogram in a circular shape. The sharp straight lettering was much easier to accomplish than the curves of the glove lettering, and can start out by simply tracing a jar lid, or box lid if you want it the also popular diamond shape. However I will provide lettering for cursive:

Click to enlarge.

Traditionally the order of lettering is set as follows: Your last initial is the largest and in the middle. First initial is smaller and on the left, and middle initial also smaller and on the right. I decided to get a little ahead of myself and use Sam's last name instead of my own, so that would be "Solanah Raquel Cornell" and makes the monogram "sCr". So there's the two letter approach I used on my gloves, three letters on my jacket lapel, or go the Lavern way and have a little mystery with one letter.

You will need: Something to monogram. I wouldn't recommend gloves if you are not familiar with a needle and thread, but a shirt, cotton scarf, or anything with an open back and no stretch will do fine. Small sewing needle. Embroidery floss. Pencil (not pen, no pens around clothes!). Paper. Tracing paper. A couple of pins.

1. Draw out your initials. Practice until you get the correct size you want and how you want it to look. 1-1.5" tall works well for the middle letter, and about 3/4 of that for the outer ones.

2. Place the tracing paper on the main letter and trace. Do the same with the two outer initials making sure you trace them where you want, slightly overlapping.

3. Place the paper on the object you intend to embroider and pin down.

4. Cut a length of embroidery floss about 15" (38 cm) long, and split two threads from the floss. You will use only two threads at a time.

5. Pin the tracing paper to the area you intend to monogram. Stitch through the fabric and the paper on the outline using a back stitch

6. Once you have stitched the entire outline, carefully tear away all of the paper.

7. Using a satin stitch, start to embroider the middle letter, stitching just outside of the outline.

7. Once you have finished the big letter, move on to the smaller ones if you have them.

8. You are done! Congratulations! Pretty please send me pictures :)

The back is cool too.


Thrift store finds...

Today I stopped in the local thrift store before work and came across some wonderful finds for my shop. Among them a tea tray with antique silk trim set under glass, a Henri Bendel beaded clutch, and a Fredrick and Nelson clutch. Someone must have had a fabulous designer bag collection.

This is I think the most beautiful beaded clutch I've ever come across, and it's by Henri Bendel. If anyone has an idea of the value, let me know :)

Your average 60s sequin clutch, and an adorable heart bracelet.

The tray has strips of wide silk trim under the glass. Very beautiful and looks around 100 years old, but I cant be sure. For such fragile silk I'm surprised its held shape and color, but under a glass seems like a fine preservation.

All except the tea tray will be in my shop, and I'm going thrifting tomorrow, so cross your fingers I find all sorts of goodies!


New looking vintage, part 3.

I've been following MaisyBrownReproRetro's shop for a while now, and her designs never dissapoint. Be it a high waisted skirt or floral dress, all are designed and made with that extra special touch that will get you compliments anywhere you go.

Just a warning, if you visit the shop, you will want many things and be inspired to wear high waisted swimsuits (But then again, what else is there?).



Sewing machine, a girls best friend.

My sewing machine is making that "clink-clink-clink" sound. Its very sad. I got it for Christmas I don't know how many years ago, and I'm actually surprised it's lasted as long as it has. I've considered taking it in for a tune up, which may have to suffice, but really I'd love to invest in a solid machine that would last me a lifetime. Etsy seller Surender Dorthy does a spectacular thing, and that is taking old sewing machines of yesterday and restoring them to work just like new. Not only do most of the machines come from the early-mid 20th century, but they are most often quality metal, and beautiful as can be.
I remember being very little and we had a manual machine built into a table. I used to turn the wheel around, and watch the needle shaft bounce up and down, not quite understanding how it worked, but it was so pretty it didn't really matter.
So when the time comes I get another machine, I want it to be one of the beautiful vintage ones from Surrender Dorthy's shop. Meanwhile I'll take it easy on my own machine, it still has a few projects left in it.


Where did Alex go?

Today Nylon posted photos of Alexander Mcqueen's upcoming line for Target. Now. I've always been a quite a fan of his work, always so different, eccentric, and tailored to fit a woman's curves. E few years ago there was even some controversy over his choice of adding structured padding to make the designs seem more curvy and voluptuous, an obvious metaphor on today's shapeless models. For that I liked him even more.

Two lovely ladies in beautiful frothy jeweled dresses.

Why yes, I do want that hat.

If Elton John were in the military.

So you see, absoulutly crazy beautiful. Even in his lackluster seasons, he never failed in originality, and intense detail.

I was quite excited for his Target line. I knew it would not be near as spectacular as couture, but it would still have that lovely Alexander McQeen essence. Apperantly, I expected too much.

This makes me tilt my head to the right and furrow my brow.

Cropped leg jumpsuit. Awww yeah! (No. Really, no.)

It's like one of those slings you put a baby in, only...its missing the baby.

Remember what I said about that wonderful womanly tailoring?

As you can see these pretty much suck. The designs have nothing great to offer, they look cheap and so trendy, they are in and already out of style with the blink of an eye. And to top it off, the models are boys in some sort of robot high heels.

Alex? Where did you go?


Perfect purse.

Lades and gentlemen, I introduce to you, Clark. My new and perfect purse (I don't know why I named him Clark, it just happened that way). I've been keeping my eyes out for the perfect purse for a while, something brown, leather, big enough to carry lots, durable enough to last a long time, and stylish enough it goes with almost anything. I've found great purses before, but they are always missing something, that personality, that soft leather feel, or that payable price tag. This one is designed by Michael Kors, and I got it at a fraction of the cost. It's just so lovely and bold, the perfect mid winter pick me up ;)


My wedding dress...

For those who haven't heard the story, I purchased my dress pre-engagement at a church parking lot sale. I got armfuls of vintage goodies like hankies and a Stetson for Sam, but while I was waiting for everyone else I was with to finish looking, I thought I'd take a shot at the glum looking clothing rack, full of floral long 90s dresses. I came across a gray garment bag that said "Old wedding dress" on it. So I unzip it a tad and get a peek at beautiful cream lace. That was all I needed to see, I wanted it, probably for reconstruction, since that kind of lace would be damaged beyond any hope. I waddled to the payment booth, Stetson on head, and a pile of anything and everything in my hands, and set everything down on the table. Two old men ring up everything, then come to the dress, and look for a price. I tell them I didn't see one, so one looks at it and says "How about 75 cents?".

"75 cents?"

"Yeah, is that ok?."

"Um, yeah..."

So I buy it, take it home, and unzip the bag, not to reveal a tattered hopeless gown, but a perfect 1950s lace and tulle dress, with a full skirt, button up back, and matching veil and armlets. Fits like a glove. And that is how I got my wedding dress for 75 cents.


Elizabeth Bennet.

I'm a huge Jane Austen fan. I still haven't read all of her books (I'm a terribly slow reader) but my favorite book in the world is "Pride and Prejudice". I won the book in 9th grade from a school library contest, and while It was a challenging read, I enjoyed it and re read it again and again until I could fully appreciate it. Of course I've seen the BBC version, and watch it every now and then, as well as the most recent film with Keira Knightley. I also have the British Bollywood version "Bride and Prejudice" which is pretty funny, and oh so colorful. And seen a clip of the 1940s (?) version, but the wrong costume era bothered me, I'm just picky like that. But back to Keira Knightley. She wears dresses in the film that are very simple and sweet, made of wonderful cottons and linens. I really wanted a dress like that, something unfussy and earthy, something that would wear well and be flattering without cinching in my waist and bunching at my hips. Such a dress I would make myself. When I worked at a fabric store I came across a costume pattern, based off of the dresses in the most recent film, and decided that I could use this as a base and alter it to better flatter me and be a higher quality.

I also decided I would do every stitch my hand. Which is why it has taken me over a year to finish the bodice alone. For the skirt I'll be just doing something gathered, maybe with pockets, and make it shorter than an original dress from the era. But I am taking every stitch very carefully, and if I don't like it I take it out, and put it away for a time when I have more patience. Hopefully by spring I can finish it and have a pretty new dress I made myself :)
Which Goose has a poll going to see who likes what Mr. Darcy better, which is what reminded me of my project.


Spring is not here.

Adorable spring dress from Dewberry Vintage

I think maybe having such sunny weather lately has made me wish it were spring much sooner than I usually do. I kind of feel like a flower bulb. The sun is shining bright, the air is fresh, and I want to surface from all these layers and bask in the light. Once I get out there, its still freezing cold and the plants are still dead and bare.
I want to pull out all my suitcases from storage and trade the sweaters and wool skirts for cotton dresses and and circle skirts. I cant even remember everything I packed away, but then when I open up the cases it's like seeing the clothes with a new appreciation. But I still have moths to go, so I guess I'll need to find new ways to mix up my winter wardrobe. Anyone have any suggestions?


Officers Row

Today Sam and I went to Officers Row to look at one of the historic houses for a wedding venue. Always so charming, each and every house on the row. A friend of mine lived on the row over the summer, and we got to hang around and walk the grounds, all very pretty year round. Of course we loved it, and it was a beautiful day to imagine a wedding in the summer :)

I got these shoes at work yesterday, aren't they sweet? So 1920s, but the label is in another language, and I cant tell where they're from, but they are very comfortable.

Sam sitting near a bright window, and a cool couch.

Coat-Somewhere in New York

Hat and Shoes-The Urban Eccentric

Stockings-Sock Dreams

Skirt-Discovery shop