isn't it a lovely day


I don't have any pictures for this post. I would have, but they're no good. So you will just have to be contented with text. If you feel you need some picture loving, scroll down to the previous post. :) [Edit: I've added pictures after all!]

Today was a very happy mail day. I got my business cards that I designed and had printed and they turned out PERFECT! I was afraid they would be fuzzy or something, because I wasn't quite sure how to upload the image on their site. But it worked out and I'm very very happy with them. Now I just have to start handing them out. No more will I feel bad because all I had to hand out were crappy home-made business cards. I now have some professionally printed cards that I designed all myself. Yeah, I'm happy!

Also got the new Built-By-Wendy book in the mail, which I'm giving to my friend Meg. I hope you're not reading this Meg, but if you are, you know what I got you for your birthday (that is about two months too late!) I had it sent to me instead of directly to her, because I wanted to take a look through it first! I purchased several more Built-By-Wendy patterns last week when Simplicity was having their 1.99 sale at JoAnn's. I know I've said I don't like some of her patterns and how un-fitted and pregnant-like they are, but she also has a lot of cute patterns. And I think some of the pregnant styles can be made more fitted if I like. She also has a new pattern out for a hoodie (pattern # 3694)! I'm going to make it and the plan is to embroider some sort of design. I think maybe a cloud that is raining and then under it the words, "isn't it a lovely day to be caught in the rain?" Thanks to Irving Berlin for coming up with that. I was inspired after watching Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire sing and dance to this song in Top Hat. Perhaps embroidering at the coffee shop will become a new past-time, besides the occasional knitting and sewing I do already. Embroidering on a hoodie...what fun! Now I just need to figure out how to do it so it doesn't look tacky or too childish looking. Also need to decide on what colors to use. Did I mention I need to find the time first??

I went for a walk this afternoon and decided to bring my camera along.

:: iowa cornfields ::

:: old shed - that would make the perfect little sewing shop :) ::

:: reminds me of one of Jane Austen's novels - if they were set in iowa, that is ::

:: i like the fence ::

:: flowers by the roadside ::

:: things - in detail ::


:: ready made - my new favorite magazine ::
ready made

:: this is what i look at all the time ::
all in stitches

:: pleating silk taffeta ::
pleating silk taffeta

:: i look at this quite a lot as well ::
iron setting

:: what i'm listening to ::
wilco - sky blue sky

:: quite possibly my favorite movie ::
the philadelphia story

:: i love pretty packages ::
i love packages

:: the last rose ::
last rose

:: ginger peachy ::
ginger peachy

a few thoughts on style


Today I went to the mall with some friends. I haven't been there in awhile and we had nothing else to do. So off we went. To be honest with you, that place kind of depresses me. Even if I come home with something that I got for a great deal and it's something I love or it fits perfectly, I just hate shopping at the mall. Most of the stores sell A LOT of crap. And I'm completely serious when I say that. Nothing is original, most of it is tacky and poorly made. Or it has their brand name plastered all over it. Who wants to walk around with American Eagle brand or Aeropostale brand everywhere?? Okay, lots of people do. But I hate that. And I admit, I used to shop at those places and buy the brands, if they were on sale mind you. ;-) I still wear that Aeropostale sweater around the house because it's comfy and it was a hand-me-down from my sister. Just hate the huge advertisement plastered right on the front. I'm actually thinking of making my own hoodie and maybe adding a little embroidery with some witty phrase or something on the front. Just a thought I've been toying with. Not that I'll actually have the TIME to do it, but I like to think about these things you know.

About the only store in our mall that I actually shop in is GAP. It's still not the greatest store, but they sometimes have decent sales. I'm always in there for the sales and their plain T's always fit me pretty well. Once in awhile I'll find a pair of jeans that I like, but you can never tell with that place. One thing I have noticed is the music they play. I have found their music is a lot different than the music you might hear at, say, Marices. (It's a good thing.) I was rummaging my way through the sales rack when I heard a song that sounded pleasantly familiar. I paused, listed a little more (there was music going on in another store and it kinda mixed in with the GAP music). They were actually playing a Camera Obscura song. Not that anyone knows who they are, but they just so happen to be one of my favorite bands. Reminds me a little bit of Belle and Sebastian, but with a girl being the main singer. I have to be in a certain mood to listen to their music, but I have never ever heard their music played in a public place, much less the freakin' mall. Most people I know don't even know remotely who the heck they are. It's a band I happened upon over a year ago and instantly fell in love with. What a lovely diversion. Of course this has nothing to do with anything, but you know I just had to mention it.

Tonight I stumbled across this blog that I like to look at every now and then, which posts pics of people on the street. I like to look at "Street Style" because it's what people actually wear. Not some runway fashion that looks ridiculous that only the highest of highest fashion gods wear. And somehow they can get away with it. Don't ask me how, because a lot of the runway fashions are lacking in a big way. But the main reason I love Street Style is because you will find so so many different styles out there. Some I like, others just aren't me. But that's okay, because everyone has their own style. I noticed this picture, how simple the girl's outfit was, but how perfect. And I had to post it. From that high waisted pencil skirt and the buttons on either side, to that plain white T. It's perfect. She doesn't look like she's trying too hard and she doesn't look like she spent a fortune on her outfit.


I really love how this girl describes her style:

This summer I absolutely adore high-waisted jeans and skirts. I prefer more classical shapes and most of the time less is more. I try to avoid wearing too much jewellery. Price/quality relationship is important to me. I also love window-shopping!
Maria & Cathrine,
Vanaturu kael, Tallinn

vintage splurge


So I splurged just a little. little bit. On this lovely lavender number:

purplerain3 purplerain2 purplerain1 purplerain6

I feel OK about it because one, I noticed this and was coveting it back in April. So when I found out it hadn't sold yet, I decided I had to get it for myself. Plus it's my size. And it's pretty. And it's summery. And I've also come to the conclusion that I love wearing vintage sun-dresses in the summer. Oh yes, and I *could* make a pattern off it. Yes, I could. So there.

Business Card

Business Card, originally uploaded by gracefullady.

I spent way too long designing this, but I like the result. Only with my luck, they'll probably turn out like crap when I get them back from the printer. I hope not...

Inspiration: 19th century newspaper ads. I love how everything was crammed in there. I hope mine is easy enough to read and understand, but I couldn't help but try a little creative cramming myself.

dance party


Today I feel like having a spontaneous dance party. I probably won't, but sometimes I feel like breaking into spontaneous dance. There's something about dancing that almost takes you into a different world. I love dance. love. I'm not THAT good at it, I've never taken any official lessons, except a few short swing lessons at Coe College a few years ago. I like to say I know a lot about mid 19th century dancing, but I'm no expert. I've never taken any music lessons. That is to say, I took a few when I was little but I never practiced and I don't remember one single note. I don't even know how to read music. Nothing. But I like to think I can hear music and understand it enough to know how to dance to it. I love feeling it. Whether it's a fast pace polka or spontaneous dance moves to 1980s tunes on Saturday night radio. I love moving to music. I don't always show when I feel the beat, when I want to break out into dance... But I'm always thinking of it when I hear music. When I hear a beat that would work for a waltz or polka, instantly I am looking around the room to see if there could possibly be anyone willing to take off on the dance floor with me. Most of the time there's no one and I find myself dancing with myself. Or simply just listening and imagining the moves.

There's something about dance that is like shouting and letting out all emotion. It's an expression like no other. You don't have to say anything, just move your feet and watch the room spin around you. The problem with most people today is that they are afraid of making a fool of themselves. It's not just something girls do! Guys can get out there and shake it up too! After all, it takes two to tango. Although I will admit, sometimes I am shy to get out on the dance floor. If I don't know what I'm doing, I tense up. (And this basically describes my life.) I don't know what people will think of me if I let loose. But when I've had a few drinks (not always, but in some cases a few drinks do help loosen me up), I'm with people who don't care...I am carefree and it is the most wonderful feeling.

There's nothing like having a spontaneous dance party with friends. This is the kind of dancing where you can really do anything. You don't really need to know any steps to make it look good. You just go out there and,! Crank up the '80s tunes or in my case, a mix of the original sounds as well as music I find on Swedish blogs that sound like they were made in the '80s. I love that sound. I thought I'd never say that, because I used to loath, hate, abominate, know generally dislike the '80s. But now that I've grown up a bit, I can appreciate the era I was born in a little more. Some of that music is just perfect to dance to. It doesn't really make you feel stupid like some of the music they play at bars. (You know, that crap on the radio they call music. Boggles my mind...) But somehow you can relate to that music. It's not quite vintage, but it's fun. It's free.

Broken Heart Tango -Cloetta Paris

haircut time


The last time I got my haircut was back in December. When I had it cut by the hairdresser, I wasn't too pleased. It was OK, but not exactly the way I wanted it and it took me two weeks to figure out what to do with it. That included making some adjustments with the scissors and I decided I had to do it myself. So chop chop I went and it turned out to be my favorite short style yet. But since I've had my haircut pretty short for the last few years, I decided it's time to grow it long again. This obviously takes time and if I don't want to have a really bad hairday every day, that means it's gotta have a trim. I always stick it back in a ponytail, but there are a few times I've wanted to let it down, but the back hair was a lot longer than the front and it looked funny. So tonight I decided to once again pull out the shears and do some trimming. I hope I didn't cut off too much, but there's nothing I can do about that now! Here's some pictures I took to document my loss.

:: my tools ::
to get the job done

:: scary ::

:: talk about bad hairdo ::
talk about bad hairdo

:: yep, it's gotta go ::
it's gotta go

:: here i go again ::
here i go again...

:: much better ::
much better

:: chop ::

:: dead ::

:: my hairs! ::
my hairs!

:: mwahaha... chop chop ::
mwahahaha...chop chop

:: it's better than before...i think ::
it's better than before...i think

:: pretty flowers ::
more pretty flowers

i want to make this

Apparently this outfit was designed by Howard Greer in 1933 for Katharine Hepburn in her first starring roll. How cool is that? I love the jacket and I imagine wearing this type of garment in the Fall. Though perhaps a bit daring for me to pull off, but I'd love to try and make it. Not that I need a jacket and I don't even have time to sew for myself right now. But I can dream up ideas anyway, right?

cup o' heaven


IMG_4889, originally uploaded by gracefullady.

This afternoon I decided to stop by Brewed Awakenings for awhile to do some hand sewing and enjoy a cup of iced coffee. This is like heaven in a cup, as my friend Shaun says all the time. It's delicious, especially on a hot summer day. I highly recommend it. But be forewarned. You may feel the urge to break out into spontaneous dance after consuming this delightful substance. No joke. It's that good!


:: bill ::

:: bill, miss kate & dolly ::
Bill, Miss Kate, Dolly

:: orange tiger lilies ::

:: green shoes ::
Green Shoes

:: green apples ::
Green Apples

:: russian sage ::

:: enjoying the outdoors ::
freckle face

organic living


Lately I have been growing more and more interested in living organically. It actually started about two years ago when the skin below my eyes started itching and turning red. I had no idea what was wrong and it really bothered me. After getting so fed up with it, I decided to remove all my makeup and see if I could find out what the problem was. It's not as if I wear that much in the first place, but I did and do wear the basics which include mascara, eyeshadow and a little concealer for those nasty blemishes that seem to want to pop out every now and then. So to make a long story short, I ended up finding out that the Ponds Cleansing Towelettes seemed to be the culprit. Either those and/or the concealer stick. I have no idea what was in these products and it never really occurred to me at the time that it was necessary to check out the ingredients to see if there would be anything harmful to my body. The fact is that there is a lot of crap put into cosmetics these days and the majority of people out there have no idea how harmful these are.

Ever since that little incident with my skin, I decided to look for healthy more natural products that I could use. Of course the easiest thing to do would be to go without make-up, but although I don't always find it terribly necessary to slap on a little face, I still get a little self conscious when I go out in public without even a little mascara on my lashes. And then even if I did go cold turkey and swore off all cosmetics, I'd still have to deal with shampoos and conditioners for my hair. Now there's something you don't think about every day, even if you are the type who relies totally on your hairdresser to pick out your hair products for you. (If you have a hairdresser, that is, which I do not...) Do you really trust everything they tell you? Wouldn't it be safer to know for yourself what all is in these products before plunking down the money for something that could potentially cause you harm? I admit, I haven't always been good at reading the labels and finding out what the ingredients mean on the back of a shampoo bottle. But I'd like to start getting better at that.

Today I found this site: Skin Deep, that seems to be very helpful in finding out all that info. You can type in the product you are currently using and find out how good/bad it is and what types of ingredients it's got. Pretty cool, eh? I typed in a few of the products I used and found some of them weren't bad, others could probably be a potential hazard to my body. You can't always rely on the label. Just because it says it's "organic" or has some organic ingredients, does not mean it's OK to use on your body. I recently got some conditioner that had henna in it that I thought would be cool. Last year I dyed my hair with henna and it seriously was the best conditioning treatment I'd ever used. Not only did it dye my hair a bright red (it's already red, but this red was pretty dang bright, which is what I was going for) but it also gave my hair a lot of moisture and to top it all off, it's totally natural. Ever since then I have been looking for a similar treatment, so when I came upon a conditioner with henna at the local organic food store, I thought it would be OK. Well, turns out it's not the best option I could have chosen and it looks like it has ingredients that are linked to cancer. YIKES! Not cool! Later on when I have a little more time, I'm going to go through all of the products I use and see just how good I've been. Or bad... ;)

sewing. modern vs. historical.

So lately I've been feeling not so enthusiastic about historical clothing. I get into different moods. Sometimes the only things I want to make are historical clothing, mostly from the mid 19th century. While there are other times I'm itching to make myself some vintage inspired pieces to wear. I have a business sewing historical clothing and it's something I am truly passionate about, so I'm not complaining. But right now I have so many projects to get done and somehow I'm unable to get inspired about them. I'm even working on a different and more exciting project than the majority of gowns I tend to get commissioned to sew all the time. This one is made of silk taffeta and will have tucks on the skirt, modified pagoda sleeves, lots of ruching, buttons up the front and a small white collar and undersleeves to match. It should be really pretty once I'm finished with it.

But at the moment I really really want to make myself a pair of cropped pants. I thought about making them with a higher waist. Either something like sailor pants with buttons on either side or just make it with large buttons going up the front opening. I started out with a 1940s slacks pattern, but I forgot that slacks in those days were made differently than today and it ends up looking more like culottes rather than pants. Not something I'm really too eager to get into right now. But I do need some type of summer pants to wear. I hate short shorts. I'd wear them if I could, but my legs are too pasty white to really pull off that look. Not to mention I haven't worn short shorts since I was 17.

I've got a pair of those bermuda type shorts and they are okay, but I'm not sure I love them yet. I saw a picture on flickr of a girl wearing a pair of shorts that were about mid knee or sightly lower with cuffs. I really love that idea. I have the Built-by-Wendy pattern and I think I'm going to see how that works out. I've heard a lot of great things about her patterns, although oddly enough I'm not too excited about most of her designs right now. The baggy pregnant look is just not for me and most of her patterns seem to have this feature. At least the blouses and dress patterns do. I mostly like my clothing to be fitted. I tried to make a tunic once and I just looked like I was wearing a bag. I have a feeling these patterns are geared towards the inexperienced sewer, thus the easy pregnant styled clothing. Not to mention they're actually becoming popular?? There are too many people who can't pull off that look, but somehow they still wear this style. It boggles my mind, but whatever. I do appreciate these patterns coming out, though, because I wish more people would get into sewing and if these patterns help sewing become more popular, than I'm all for it! But I hate making clothes for myself that I will never wear. It depresses me when I make an outfit that I'm all excited about only to find it makes me look homey or pregnant.

So we'll see how these cut-off pants turn out. I may try to be adventurous after all and cut the waist quite a bit higher on these. They could turn out super cute, but they might also backfire and make me look like I'm trying too hard. Hm... I suppose it depends on my mood when I find the time to actually cut them out.

:: zinnia ::



I took this photo on Sunday in my mom's garden. Isn't it a lovely flower? Zinnias are so easy to grow and when they die, you can harvest their seeds for the next year.

a new beginning

So here I have finally found myself on blogger. It is a fact that I have several and probably too many blogs on the web already, but I've grown tired of most of them and thought I would start a fresh on here. I have no idea how often I will post or what I'll post about. Most likely I'll write about random stuff and then try very hard not to get too personal about myself. I tend to have a problem with that and then get in trouble later on when I find out people are actually reading my writings. It's not as if I'm a fantastic writer either. I just try to write as if I am talking to someone. To me this is almost therapeutic, as odd as that may sound. Whenever I try to write like I think I'm good at it, it's so obvious that I'm trying too hard and then I end up screwing it all up. A few people have told me they enjoy my writing style and that I'm a good writer, but I've yet to believe them. I've never been stellar at writing/grammar/spelling (thank God for spell checker!) when I was in school, but I have and do try to get better at it everyday. :)

That said, if you are reading this I do hope you enjoy it, even if I add one too many commas or make some huge grammatical errors. We'll see what happens with this journal. Or perhaps it will become like many of my other blogs and start to disintegrate in that wide unknown world we call the web.

heart, we will forget him!

Heart, we will forget him!
You an I, tonight!
You may forget the warmth he gave,
I will forget the light.

When you have done, pray tell me
That I my thoughts may dim;
Haste! lest while you're lagging.
I may remember him!

Poem by Emily Dickinson