Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year!

A short post today as everyone is likely busy preparing for or already celebrating New Year's Eve.

One of the other parents brought over a Panettone, it's a sweet Italian loaf which is part of the Christmas / New Year's festivities there.  Big J says it's similar to Spain's Rosca de Reyes.  It came with a nice ribbon bow, so of course, I nabbed it for the wreath - there's an update pic at the end of the Wreath post.

Here is Abba with their Happy New Year song:

It's funny, this video is from the 80's? and if you look closely at Anni-Frid's  clothing, she is wearing a lace blouse.  So it's true what they say about fashion happening in cycles.

Happy New Year Everyone!  Feliz Año Nuevo!

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Friday, 30 December 2011

Fashion Cape

Capes are finally accepted fashionable attire.  For a sci-fi/fantasy and historical fiction buff like myself, this is great news.  I don't know how many times I've day-dreamed about striding across the moors in a flowing cape.

A few years ago when shawls were all the rage, I got quite a few.  I still wear them regularly - and people just assume its because of Big J being Spanish.

Now, I'm glad that capes are in style!  I haven't seen any super-affordable ones in the stores yet, but found some quite cute ones surfing the web:

I really like this style, the length is good and it has those useful armholes.  I am not sure of the fabric - it looks like it would catch on things and run:
Fashion Cape

This next one has great fabric - it looks like a sherpa jacket and would be great for winter.  It looks a bit short though, and the sleeves are not very weather-proof being all open to the elements.  It's probably expensive too.
Blake Lively Sherpa Cape

My favourite, is this one which is an authentic traditional cloak and cape with a deep hood.  I imagine it's similar to those in the books I read.  There are 2 kinds, with and without the overcape.  I like it with.  I guess it somes with arm-holes in the cloak underneath.  It looks over-dramatic for everyday use though:
Hooded Cloak

I also found this poncho-y vintage cape: Check out the site
Vintage Cape
Lovely Cape, Skirt & Shoes!
This cape really reminds me of one that my mom has.  It's a Welsh Tapestry cape similar to this one, but the colours are closer to the vintage cape above.
Welsh Tapestry Cape
I wonder if my mom still wears it?  Mom?

On another note, I've updated the look of the blog and have added a translator.  What d'ya think?

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Thursday, 29 December 2011

Wreath Refab

It's Thrifty Thursday again.  One of the thrifty money saving things I do every year is shop at the Boxing Day sales.  I used to get a new ornament for the tree every year, but now I wait until Boxing Day to get several ornaments.  Since the tree is still up, I hang them up and we enjoy them for a few days until next year.

A few years ago, I wanted to put a wreath on our front door.  All the ones I looked at pre-Christmas were super-expensive and I considered making my own, I checked out the "ingredients" at Lewiscraft and Michaels, but it seemed quite pricey.  Then, on Boxing Day, I found a rather bedraggled looking one for about $7.  Still not cheap, but to get the supplies and make one myself would've cost way more.

The first year, it was a sorry sight.  Many of the ornaments had fallen or been ripped off - you could see the headless stems.  I added a few gift ornaments to it and left it at that.  Now, I'm always on the lookout for things that can spruce it up, and add to it every year.

Here is this year's pre-Boxing Day wreath:
Christmas Wreath
Still a sorry sight
Originally, only the 2 beige-y things, and the three (you can barely see them) thin gold ornaments with tartan ribbon (2 trumpets and a violin) came with the wreath.  The red apples and pine cones were from tops of Christmas gifts which I snagged over the years for the wreath.  The 2 little ball-like things on the bow are actually hair ornaments!

This year, I got 2 candle holders, some tinsel and some bells. I wanted to add some sparkle and thought the bells might jingle.  The candle holders were cheap (50 cents) and red, so I got them too.
Wreath Refab
Wreath Refab
I attached the candle-holders using the tinsel and used some green twist ties to attach the bells.
Wreath Refab

I started with just one bell per twist tie, but you could barely see the bell in all that green-ness so I ended up attaching two or even all three for greater impact.  The bells don't actually jingle at all but do add a bit of colour.  And I like the sparkly tinsel, so might add more next year.

Here it is post-Boxing Day, ready for next year:
Christmas Wreath Refab
See a difference?
It's actually starting to look like a Christmas wreath!

Update:  Here is the wreath with the new bow from the Panettone:
Christmas Wreath Refab
Lovely Bow from Panettone!
I think it balances out those 2 other beige-y things don't you?  Hmm, I'm noticing the wreath looks lopsided.  It looks fuller on the left.  Will have to do something about that next year.

What do you think of this refab?  I've just added a "Rate This" checkbox to all the posts, so you can use that without having to comment.

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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Wednesday Weigh-In

Well it's Wednesday which is weight loss day.  I'm not expecting much progress what with Christmas, food, chocolates, more food, cookies, still more food and so on.  Here is a mussel/prawn dish from a dinner.  
I'm not sure if I'll make this again. The poor little mussels are alive and get killed by the boiling liquid.  My pot is also not quite big enough, you really need a giant stock pot.  It was tasty though, and the family ate it all.

Anyway, back to Weight-Loss Wednesday:  today's weigh-in was 161, which is down two lbs from last time, but again I think it is due to time of day etc.  I did get in 2 sessions with the elliptical trainer (and 2 episodes of Stargate!).

I don't have a pic of the scale, it's solar, so is very difficult to capture in a photo.  You have to give it enough light to run, and then when you hunch over it to get a photo, it blocks the light, and the display goes.

So instead, since I was dressed already:
What I Wore Today
It's soggy out, but warm
As you can see by the pic, today is quite mild for winter here. But "Winter is Coming" (a Game of Thrones reference for the sci-fi/fantasy fans).  And here is my scrunchie for today:
This was made from one of those 25 cent pieces of fabric from my favourite notions store.  I made it years ago to pile up wet hair in my swimsuit-wearing days to go with a favourite swimsuit.  Those days are long gone, but the scrunchie is still useful.

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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Holiday Lights

It's Tuesday Tutorial! I know this is the wrong holiday, but last Hallowe'en, I was looking around for ways to decorate the front door area for the trick or treaters and stumbled on these:

Halloween Jars
When I clicked on the link, I discovered a tutorial for making these: fabulous pumpkin lights .  This would be a great way to avoid having to carve a pumpkin! If you checkout Amanda's Page, there are all sorts of wonderful craft tutorials, but I especially like what she does with glass bottles and jars.

I researched glass painting a little more and it doesn't look overly hard to do, so have added it to my list of want-to-try crafts.  I have a big 2 litre manzanilla olive jar saved:
Big Glass Jar
Our family goes through a ton of olives, so by next Hallowe'en, I should have a big supply.

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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

As it's Christmas Eve here, we are super busy.  We normally celebrate tonight, but this year guests are coming tomorrow night. I probably won't be posting for a few days but there is time for a quick post today.  If you are also celebrating Christmas, I leave you with:
Happy Christmas Everyone!

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Friday, 23 December 2011

Sweater Dress

It's Fashion Friday again.  Winter has arrived and it is quite cold now. So what do you do when you want warmth, but don't want to look like you're dressed for playing in the snow?  Sweater Dress!

There are cute sweater dresses on sale at Ralph Lauren - although for me, the price is still too high:

Ralph Lauren Sweater Dress
Sweater dresses are great for the cold.  You can wear them as is, or if it's freezing out, you can add vests, cardigans or jackets over top for extra warmth, and they still look work-appropriate.  I really like the extra long one, but I think after 8 hours sitting at a desk, they would get baggy knees, so the best buy is likely the shorter one.

I just happen to have 3 in my closet which I have been wanting to not refashion, but adjust.  They are a modified tunic style, slightly more casual as they have pockets, but which might look better with the waist taken in.  Unfortunately, every photo I took today has come out fuzzy, must be the late nights of  Christmas planning taking it's toll.  But here's a pic instead:

Sweater Dress

Sweater Dress
They are about 3 or 4 years old now, and it's time to refresh them.

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Thursday, 22 December 2011


For the first Thrifty Thursday post, I thought I'd talk about sourcing items for refashion.  We all know you can raid your own closet or go to your local thrift store to find items, but what are some of the other places you can get the goods?

Hand-me ups, downs and across.
Your friends and family are a fantastic source because:
  • They know what you like or don't like
  • They are not likely to have strange diseases
  • Parents are a great source of retro and vintage items
Victorian Fashion
If several of you refashion, you can hold swap parties and trade with each other.

Store Sales
The department store is an often overlooked source, but can provide a wealth of refashionable material.  My local Sears store has a discount centre which sometimes has "extra 50% off" the already discounted price on their own brands.  Quite often the super large sizes are left on the rack and you can get an item which has been marked down to $4.99 for $2.50. 

Bulletin Board

The Company Bulletin Board
Some workplaces have a bulletin board or webpage where you can post a "wanted" or "for sale" ad.  I've seen people who have lost a lot of weight put their entire closet up for one lump sum.

Liquidation Centres
These are stores which buy up stock from other stores which are closed, have gone bankrupt, or are selling off their previous season's wares.  They usually have a mish-mash of other household goods also, but many have a great clothing section.  I've seen name brand clothes for well below the retail price.

There are lots of places to get your "before" items.  You just have to keep your eyes open.

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Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Going Up?

Well it's Wednesday, so it should be Weight Loss Wednesday but as you can see by the pic, the weight loss is still not going very well.  Here is the weight right now:

Perhaps the weight loss project will have to wait until after Christmas.  There are just too many things going on!   Now it looks like I've gained since the weight is higher than in the last weigh-in, but I don't think that's actually the case.  I am usually very steady (same weight for years). This weigh-in is right after dinner wearing my regular work clothes and clunky nuk-nuks, whereas the last one was in the morning while wearing PJs.

Here is a shot of the clothes:
What I Wore Today
Lots of layers today - it was around zero degrees - everything was frozen.  See the polka-dot top?  I have in mind a possible refashion of sorts for it.  The top is two layers: navy blue with sheer dots over a beige-y under layer which makes up the dots.  It's the beige-y under layer which I think can be replaced with an under layer of a different colour.  Just wondering how to do it without wrecking the top as it's flimsy.

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Drapey Cardigan

As it's Tuesday, it's feature-a-tutorial-which-I'd-like-to-try day.

I work in a fairly nerdy-geeky computer work environment - lots of men and most people do not regularly wear anything trendy or fashionable to work.  So, even those cardigans that have the drapey front bit are rarely seen. 

I have a giant sweater which used to belong to Big J.  It was his favourite, but it shrunk and is now too short for him.  It is not too short for me, but is too wide  and I've considered just taking it in, or doing another capelet, but then I found this tutorial which I think would be better suited: Elizabeth Abernathy Tutorial

Here is a pic of her before and after:
Sweater Refashion

And here is a pic of my (wrinkly) sweater which is amazingly similar to hers:
Sweater Refashion

I'm a bit leery to start since my refashion skills are not as good.  I'm not sure if the sweater would fall apart as soon as I start cutting.  Will have to research that a little more before starting.  Maybe I can stitch it down first.  The other thing holding me back is that it really is a nice sweater and the first cut is always the hardest.

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Monday, 19 December 2011

If The Shoe Fits

One Hallowe'en, I was dressed as a "prior era" person - which means I didn't really have a costume, but just made something up to wear to work.  I tied my hair up in a low pony tail, wore a gold-trimmed jacket and lace ascot, rolled my pants up to my knees, wore knee socks and some plain black shoes.  This is how I imagine people dressed in the 1700's.

The refashion item for this post are the shoes.  The ascot doesn't count because it was just a length of lace folded around the neck.

The shoes were just some plain square toed ones to which I added a belt buckle.  It looked great!  People even asked where I bought them!  I wore them as regular shoes later on.

Here's what I did:
Shoe Refashion
First, I sewed the belt buckle to a piece of elastic. You could actually use any piece of fabric, I just used elastic because that's what was on hand.

Shoe Refashion
Front View
Shoe Refashion
Back View
Then, I just taped it in place! This next picture is a bit fuzzy, but it;s just to show the masking tape:
Shoe Refashion

Fold the elastic and tape to the front of the shoe on the inside only.
Shoe Refashion
Et voila! your 1700's shoe is done:
What do you think?  The great thing is that if the buckles aren't right for your outfit, you can just untape them!

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Sunday, 18 December 2011

New Old Exercises

In my younger years, I would do only 2 exercises every day.  The first was sit-ups - I tried to do 23 because I read in a magazine that models did 23 every day.

Since those days, sit-ups have changed a lot.  The sit-ups used to be done like this:
Someone would hold down your legs and you would lock your hands behind your head and pull yourself all the way up using your neck muscles. 

Now, they are called crunches and you are supposed to do them in a controlled manner, while concentrating on your abdominal muscles.
You don't even hold your head anymore, but just place your hands by your ears or across your chest!  I've seen people adding all sorts of fancy twists and turns, bicycling their legs or holding their legs straight up in the air. 
So, what is the proper way to do a sit-up?

  • Lie down.
  • Put you feet flat on the floor with your legs bent at 90 degrees
  • Hold your hands at your ears/temples
  • Squeeze your abs and gently pull yourself up
  • Lower yourself just until your shoulder blades touch the floor.
  • 15 reps = fair
  • 30 reps = good
  • 40 reps = excellent
I can no longer even do 23, more like 4!  So I have a ways to go before reaching fair!

The other exercise I liked was a "waist" exercise which I just enjoyed doing because it was so easy.  All you do is:
  • Stand with legs slightly bent
  • Bend to the left as far as you can, trying not to move your torso
  • Go back up to centre
  • Then bend to the right as far as you can without moving your torso
  • For more stretch you can move the "upper" arm over your head.
I have great faith in these waist exercises, not only are they easy to do, they are almost fun.  So, I'm going to log my waist measurement today:  34 inches (that's about 86 cm), and again when the countdown timer hits zero.

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Friday, 16 December 2011

Daily Posts

This blog needs a bit of organization instead of just random posts.  It is quite difficult time-wise to do very many refashions, due to job, family etc.  Other blogs have themed days and I thought that perhaps for this blog it could be:
  • Monday:  Made by me - a refashion, craft or diy item
  • Tuesday: Tutorial - not by me, but ones on the web which I'd like to try one day
  • Wednesday: Weight Loss - There won't be much to report on at first, but maybe it will be about new things I'm trying etc.
  • Thursday: Thrifty Things - no need to explain this.
  • Friday: Fashion Finds.  For example, yesterday's Camilla Jacket post would've been a Friday Fashion Find post.
I'll try to follow the format, so, today is Friday.  Fashion Finds.

Apparently there was a chocolate fashion show in China.
They are opening a "Chocolate Wonderland" and had all sorts of things made out of chocolate.  The dresses don't look like they are entirely made out of chocolate, I don't think they are, but nice nonetheless.   They also had these LV bags:
Chocolate Louis Vuitton Bags

Too nice to eat.  Guess that's why they are under glass!

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    Thursday, 15 December 2011

    Camilla's Jacket

    I'm always on the lookout for things that I can refashion or copy.  Today I saw a pic in the paper of Camilla (Duchess of Cornwall) in a fabulous jacket.  I'm not a Camilla fan, not at all, but I thought her whole outfit looked very luxe and modern day royal.  
    Camilla Parker Bowles Jacket
    I'm thinking the jacket might be re-creatable and am now on the lookout for something to do this with. I especially like the big official looking cuffs.

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    Wednesday, 14 December 2011


    A lot of people think scrunchies are leftovers from 80's fashion, but they are great for someone with long hair like me. I don't use them the regular way to hold up a pony tail.  I usually wear my hair up in a bun and sometimes use the scrunchie to hold the bun together. 

    My favourite notions store quite often has square bits of fabric for 25 cents.  When cut in half and sewn end to end, they are just the right size to make a scrunchie.  Before I got a sewing machine, I would make scrunchies to satisfy my creative urge.

    Here is part of my collection:

    Scrunchie Collection
    These are the sewn ones.  Over the years I've accumulated lots both sewn and bought.

    I especially like it when they match my clothing.  This one was made from the shoulder pads of an 80's blouse:
    Scrunchie Refashion

    And this one was made from two 25 cent scrunchies sewn together:
    Scrunchie Refashion

    Here is my actual hair look from today sans scrunchie but with the Rose Embellished Cardigan refashion from the other day!.
    Rose Embellished Cardigan Refashion
    I just wanted to show the bun. On a side note, doesn't bun just sound so much more common and less chic than chignon?

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    Tuesday, 13 December 2011

    Refashion Book

    Being a super-busy mom who work's full time, there is not much time for the fun things in life like exercise, blogging, social media and of course refashioning.  So, I have a small notebook which I use to jot down refashion/sewing ideas as I think of them.

    Then when, or more to the point, if, I have time I'll haul out the book and find something to remake.

    Here is my book:

    Refashion Notebook
    It's small enough (about 3 x 5) to fit into my purse and I use it even when in stores when I see something that I think can be made or re-crafted by me.

    Here is an entry for a Ralph Lauren "dress" which is actually like a giant scarf stitched together.  It looked re-creatable, so I took down some notes right away and it's just waiting for the day when I have some time and a big piece of fabric to make it:
    I can hardly believe that this cost about $150 !!!

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    Monday, 12 December 2011

    Everything's Rosy

    Do you love cardigans?  I do.  They're really versatile, and if they're thin, can add just a bit of warmth or extra coverage without excess bulk.

    I have an old elbow-sleeve cardigan which I hardly ever wear.  It has a matching tank top but just feels plain and slightly old-ladyish.

    My favourite notions store had a length of rose embellishment which I'd had my eye on for some time, but it was $1.98 and I wasn't quite sure what to do with it.  It was quite pricey not because of the price but it just looked like some odd bits of fabric sewn on to a bit of netting - it looked like a more creative person than me could make one for 27 cents.

    Then, the notions store had a 50% off sale, so I broke down and bought one. I took it home right away and hand-stitched it in place et voila!  It took about 1/2 an hour.

    Rose Embellished Cardigan Refashion
     Here's a close-up of the neck area:
    Rose Embellished Cardigan Refashion
    See what I mean about the bits of fabric sewn to netting? I think it turned out okay though. I'm considering adding it to the tank top too but am not sure how that would look under the cardigan.  It might be lumpy.

    A craftier person could probably make their own twirly roses, but for 99 cents, I'm not complaining.

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    Sunday, 11 December 2011

    Early Birds and Worms

    When it's grocery day, Big J and I have taken to waking up très early.  It all started about a month ago when we went to bed too early and automatically woke up at about 5:30 am!  We decided to get our grocery shopping done and arrived at the supermarket at about 8am.

    What a difference a few hours make!  Instead of the crush of weekend shoppers and messy aisles with all the sale items already snatched up, the shelves are still being stocked.  The sale and discounted items are in good supply so we end up saving some money by being early birds.

    Not as many good deals as last time, we saved about $20 over our regular bill by couponing and arriving at the store early.  Also, no free items this time, everything scanned correctly.

    I've been continuing to work on the coupon binder and have found that business card holder pages from the $ store work well for those small coupons that get sent to the home.

    Coupon Binder

    The photo album pages are also working out well; they have a small slot (for negatives?) which I use to sub-categorize:

    I may need a bigger binder soon though.  I have an old CD binder which has a carry handle, but I think it is a little too big - the rings are about 4 to 5 inches.

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