Thursday, August 11, 2016

Too Darn Hot

Blah, I do not like heat waves! I have enough energy problems, without the weather making even a smallest chore a huge effort. I haven't even been wearing fun clothes, because it's too hot to get dressed up (and most of my time has been spent at home in the air conditioning!). 

This outfit is actually from a couple weeks ago. It was still hot then, but slightly more bearable. I was supposed to attend an explorer themed escape room with some friends, but in the end the room was unavailable when we needed it. However, I still dressed up even though we just went for lunch instead. I decided on a 1930's style dress and a scarab necklace, and set my hair with some 1930s wave clips. Sorry if the photos are a bit washed out, but there has just been too much sun! 
 Still loving the henna! My hair has darkened a bit from the original shade, but I love it more and more each time I have it coloured.

In other news: while I haven't been up to a whole lot lately due to my health, I have managed to get a few projects done between naps:
My cousin and his wife just had a new baby boy, so I made him this cute little bunny. I love sewing stuffed animals so it's great to have an excuse to make one! He's not my best work (the woven fabric buckled awkwardly along a few of the seams when stuffed), but I thought he turned out alright and the baby isn't likely to know the difference,

I painted my nails with polka dots (which just happens to match some new fabric I bought for the shop):

Speaking of the shop, tutoring has slowed down for the summer, so I've been trying to spend my precious few hours of energy getting a few new garments ready. I've already brought back the spiderweb garments from last year, and have started on a couple other "halloween" items. Here is a sneak peak at one of the dresses (you can also see my new giant spiderweb shawl on the hanger, also coming soon). 

Aggie hasn't been allowed outside due to the heat, which means she has been bouncing off the walls. Luckily by afternoon she settles down for a nap. She only goes outside on a leash, but it's just waaayyyy too hot for her to go for her usual walks at the moment. Hopefully the weather breaks soon so she can wear off some of that energy!
I did a quick sketch of her while she was in the window (so I could actually see her facial features which are almost invisible without direct light!) using ink and watercolour pencils. It's not my best work, since I was racing to get it done before she moved (start-to-finish in under 10 minutes!), but I still quite like it. 

Between the heat and my lack of energy, I've been feeling rather cranky lately. To cheer myself up, I treated myself to some new art supplies. While drawing Aggie, I realised I didn't have a proper set of regular watercolours anymore so I bought this cute stackable set. I also treated myself to some new inks (black, gold, and silver). I am dying to try drawing an Edward Gorey-style flapper with the inks (maybe using the gold/silver on her dress). It's been a long time since I played with inks, so I'm excited to give it a go!


Also, an update on my Skillshare class: I have created 20 free spots in my class available to my blog followers. I didn't actually know how to do that before, but once I figured it out I saved 20 spots just for all of you! Click here to sign up. As I mentioned in my last post, my class goes into detail about how to use a serger/overlocker to make scarves (the same ones I sell in my shop). With the link you can watch my premium class for free, plus when you sign up there are a bunch of great free lessons/tutorials you can access by other creators. There are only a limited number of spots, so if you are interested please sign up! 

I hope everyone is having a great week!

That's All.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Scarves


I love adding scarves to an outfit. I came across this great article from 1924 which gives a few different ways to tie a scarf: 
 (open image in a new tab to view larger)


In other related news, I have just published my first class on Skillshare! Skillshare is a video-based learning website where you can learn new skills in a variety of categories (illustration, design, crafts, cooking, photography, writing, etc). Each video lesson is usually between about 10 and 35 minutes, and teaches you how to create a project or apply a new skill. Some videos are available to watch for free and the some require a premium membership.
My first video for the site teaches you how to make a scarf using a serger/overlock machine, and goes into a fair bit of detail on how to do each step. I had a heck of a time editing it (I'm so used to only making silent films!), but even if a few of the edits aren't perfectly smooth, the lesson has a lot of useful information in it for anyone wanting to create a scarf. My scarf tutorial is only open to premium members, but you can view the intro without subscribing. 

If you do want to sign up or watch the intro, here is my referral link to my class: http://skl.sh/2amYg0M
Normally premium memberships are $10 a month, but you can get your first 3 months for only $0.99 if you use the link, so it's very inexpensive way to give it a try. (For full disclosure:  I do get a small referral bonus from anyone that signs up via my link). It's honestly a great website and these are so many great videos on there that I hope you check it out! (Or you could always watch my intro video if you just want to hear what my voice sounds like. Am I the only one with an odd fascination with how other bloggers sound in "real life"?)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

That's All.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Soft Grey and Corsets


Hello everyone! I'm rather behind on posting both here and on my youtube channel, but I was pushing myself too hard in June and my health suffered for it. Two years later and I still don't have a firm diagnosis, but it looks like I most likely have chronic fatigue syndrome. I've been doing a lot of research and think the condition may have been triggered by a horrible flu I had in 2014. Some of the research suggests CFS is either a virus that never really goes away or somehow messes up the immune system (or possibly the gut bacteria balance). Not much is really known about CFS, but I am researching all I can. Most sources suggest if I feel the need to rest I should rest instead of trying to "push through it", as overexertion can cause the CFS to get a lot worse (which is what happened...oops...). So I've been taking it very easy the last 2 weeks and am slowly getting a bit better. 

I haven't really gotten dressed up as often as I would like, but I managed this cute Victorian inspired look a couple weeks ago. My original outfit was very different, but the humidex was very high that day and I needed something lighter. I settled on a Victorian underwear look instead of the prim-and-proper look I had planned. The "dress" is actually a nightgown I've had since I was a child, which I tried to dye black a few years ago. That obviously didn't work, but instead turned the material a soft, mottled blue-grey. I paired it with my What Katie Did corset, a cameo necklace I made from a broken earring, and a pair of Victorian inspired boots. 


I have so many videos planned for my youtube channel, but just haven't had time to film them. I'm hoping in the next few weeks to start a series about making vintage perfume from old recipes. I also just bought some awesome new 1920's wave clips I want to try out (I think I have a wave clip addiction! They are so neat!). For those of you who haven't seen it, I posted a video over on my youtube channel on how I did this hairstyle a couple weeks ago:

I hope everyone is having a good week!

That's All.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Victorian Summers

I have been feeling very inspired by Victorian and Edwardian style lately. I would love to add a few Victorian/Edwardian inspired pieces to my wardrobe, assuming I have time to make some or can find some to thrift. I suppose summer isn't the best time to don such clothing (especially during this heatwave!), but nonetheless I have been gathering inspiration images and trying to decide how to incorporate elements into my wardrobe. 

Here a few of my favourite summer inspiration images:




In other news my Etsy shop is on temporary hiatus due to the looming postal strike. I just haven't been able to find a good alternative shipping option, so have made the decision to close down for a couple weeks. 

However, I have reopened my second Etsy shop! I had big plans last year for my second shop, but didn't have the time/energy to follow through with them. But since I can't ship anything at the moment, I decided to at least add some more printables to my shop. I have some more designs in the works, but for now I have added some new Victorian/Edwardian inspired printables using images from my antique magazine/postcard collection. I've also listed three knitting patterns I wrote several years ago (they are also still available on Ravelry). All my printables are only $3 CAD (approx $2.40USD) or less.
To check it out click here!



Hopefully this postal strike is resolved soon and I can get my main shop back open. It really couldn't have happened at a worse time, since as a tutor I don't have much income during the summer. My Etsy shop provides the majority of my earnings during the lean months and I really hate having to close it. Oh well, I may be on the path to fixing some of my health issues so there may be a career change in the not-so-distant future.

I hope everyone has a great weekend (and a happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians)!

That's All.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Almost Birthday

While technically my birthday is tomorrow, I did a lot of my celebrating today. I didn't want my actual birthday to be too hectic, so I shifted most of my birthday plans back a day. Tomorrow will still feature a nice dinner and gift opening, but today I wandered around Port Hope/Cobourg, antique shopping and sipping coffee. It was very relaxing and an excellent way to spend my "almost birthday" day. 

I haven't worn anything 1920's for ages, despite it being my favourite decade. I sew mostly for my Etsy shop now and have been very neglectful of my own wardrobe. My lack of summer clothes became apparent during the first heatwave, so I quickly made a couple lightweight pieces including this 1920's style dress. The plaid fabric was leftover from a skirt I helped a friend make, and I combined it with leftover grey material (from the half-circle skirt I wear all the time). For a "scrap" dress, I am quite happy with how it turned out. It feels so good to finally have a casual 1920's outfit. Once I finish some stuff for the shop, I will have to make myself a few more dresses!




My friend, Jochen, and I already celebrated my birthday last week. He treated me to a lovely day out and gave me a couple adorable Buster Keaton themed gifts, including a movie poster and a necklace! I have proudly displayed Buster above my desk and can't wait to wear the necklace.


I've been feeling a wee bit better this week and have done some sewing for the shop. Once I get back, I will be listing a bunch of new items. For now here is a mini sneak-peak of a couple garments:

While working hard, I've been trying to not over-do it and have been relaxing with Ruth Goodman's "How to be a Victorian". It's quite a fascinating read and, even though I've read only a small portion of it so far, I've learned a lot of interesting tidbits about Victorian life. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the nitty-gritty of the daily life of the Victorians.


Aggie doesn't normally sit still long enough for me to take pictures, but I was so happy to finally get a good shot of her the other day. 
Poor little Aggie is going to be lonely for the next week. I'm off to the cottage first thing Monday for a bit of R&R. Agg's technically isn't going to be alone, but with only my dad for company she is going to be extra needy. She gets upset when I'm gone for a few hours, so I'm not sure how she is going to do for almost a full week... Being a shelter cat, she has abandonment issues. I will be sure to bring her back a couple new toys as an apology for my absence.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend!

That's All.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Edwardian Pomade Recipe


I just posted a video for a great vintage hair pomade on my youtube channel, and thought it would be a good idea to have a set of written instructions as well. This pomade is seriously the best I've ever tried and love the look it gives my different vintage hairstyles.



And here are the instructions:

You will need:
  • A clean glass jar
  • Small pot 
  • Cocoa butter
  • Castor oil
  • Essential oil (optional) 

  1. Measure out the cocoa butter and castor oil, in a ratio of 1 parts cocoa butter to 4 part castor oil.  Exact measurements will depend on your jar size. (I used 10ml of cocoa butter and 40ml of oil for my small jar, which filled it about halfway.)
  2. Pour the mixture into the jar and stir well.
  3. Fill the pot with some water then place the jar inside. The water level should reach an inch below the top of the jar. 
  4. Slowly simmer the pot, while stirring the mixture, until the cocoa butter has fully melted. Then carefully remove the jar from the water. 
  5. Add 10 to 20 drops of essential oil (if using). I opted for 10 drops of bergamot oil, to give my pomade a light scent, but you can use whatever scent you prefer.
  6. Stir until mixture has cooled and thickened. (I cheated and popped mine in the fridge to speed the process along)
  7. Add a label and voila! Fantastic homemade hair pomade!

Label:
I've designed a free label for the pomade, using an actual vintage label as the base. Save the below picture, and print to size on label/sticker paper. Alternatively, you could print on normal paper and glue in place. If you use label paper, I would recommend doing  a test run on normal paper first to make sure it fits your jar lid. 
Let me know if you give this recipe a try!

That's All.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Summer Already?

Opps, I have been a very bad blogger lately. I do have a good excuse though! We have been property hunting and almost bought a house. It didn't end up happening (due to concerns with some of the mechanicals of the house), but I have been away quite a bit lately as a result. 

Things should settle down for a bit after the last few stressful weeks. Time to relax! I am enjoying the lead-up to my birthday (mid-June), and am scouring Etsy for possible birthday gifts. I'm on a tight budget at the moment, so my birthday is a welcome excuse to do some online shopping. Due to a possible mold allergy I have stopped collecting antique books, magazine, postcards, etc, and switched my focus to antique hair devices. I just adore vintage hair styling and am hoping to add at least a piece or two to my collection. 

At the moment it's too hot to do much of anything, including complicated hair styling. This morning, I had one curl from a Victorian-style curler experiment, which I simply pinned back and added a beret to cover the rest. I paired it with t-shirt and 1930's style skirt for a casual Sunday afternoon look. It was too hot for necklaces, so I opted for a simple pair of earrings as my only other accessory. When did it become summer? Even the air conditioning is having a hard time keeping up in this heatwave. 




 Despite my lack of blogging, I have still been fairly regular posting Youtube videos (that's a switch!). Here are a couple of my recent favourites from my channel:



I have plans to launch a series of vintage perfume tutorials after having so much fun filming this one (at about 2 am which I why I look so tired!):


I have so many videos planned and am looking forward to filming a few of them over the next couple weeks. I wish I had a bit better equipment, but I am still very much enjoying the process of creating videos. My videos take a lot of time to make (often including hours of research), but I love making something which I hope is at least somewhat educational. I'm working on a really great hair pomade recipe at the moment, so stay tuned for that!

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

That's All.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Forest Friends

My best friend, Britt, is home for two weeks! Yay! You may remember she used to be my model for my Etsy shop, and her and I used to hang out quite a lot. She moved to the other side of the country at the beginning of this year, which made us both very sad. However she is back for a little holiday and we are making the most of her short time here. 

We realized we don't have many good photos of the two of us together, so we remedied this by a photoshoot in the woods. Of course we couldn't just do a "normal" shoot. We played around with a few themes, and finally decided on a forest spirit/witch theme. It gave me a chance to play around with some special effects and made the afternoon a lot of fun. I won't share all the final photos here as there are too many, but here are a few of my favourites:











Levitation!







I love the mix of "proper", fun, silly, and slightly spooky shots we ended up with. We still have a few days together before she returns out west and we plan to make the most of it. 

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

That's All.