Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"Here's a good thing to do if you go to a party and you don't know anybody: First, take out the garbage.  Then go around and collect any extra garbage that people might have, like a crumpled-up napkin, and take that out too.  Pretty soon people will want to meet the busy garbage guy."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bounce Goes the Bauble

Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Steve Madden, Ross
Shoes: Alloy
Bag: Gap
Tights: Kohl's
Necklace: The Tote Trove
I don't know about you, but I still get excited when I see one of those old-school bouncy ball vending machines.  Knowing that just a few coins are all that stand between me and a colorful, rife-with-new-rubber-scent toy adds a special something to my day.  (Plus, bouncy balls are so much more dignified than those plastic domes full of slime.)  Designer Erica Domesek must be of the same mind, because this Big Ball Necklace is the very first project in her tons-of-fun do-it-yourself fashion book, P. S. - I Made This

Now, you know that I'm not usually a fan of how-to craft books on account of their precise instructions and narrow ideas of how finished projects should look.  But Domesek's book is more of a sounding-off board for inspiration than a get-this-wrong-and-you're-a-hack primer.  The directions for the Big Ball Necklace were so easy that I read them twice just to make sure I wasn't missing something:

1.  Grab a pair of sheer stockings and cut off the legs.  Leave room at both ends (so you can tie your necklace together when it's done).

2.  Knot one leg (leave a little room at the end) and drop in bouncy balls, one at a time, tying knots between them as you go.

3.  Repeat the process with the second stocking leg.  Make sure that one leg has more balls.  This will serve as the bottom strand.

4.  Attach the legs together by knotting them.  P. S.  Get creative by mixing balls of different colors and sizes with a variety of textured stockings and tights.  The possibilities are endless.

The only bit of editorializing I have to add is that you should use the cheapest, sheerest pantyhose possible so the colors of the balls show through.  I began with a relatively pricey pair of Sheer Energy hose and needed to run out for some No Nonsense instead before I got it right.  I found mine at CVS, but you can buy them from any drugstore, or Walmart.  Also, my bouncy balls weren't as bright as I would've liked.  The fluorescent ones featured by Domesek were surprisingly impossible for me to find.  (And as long as I'm being honest, I got mine at A. C. Moore and Target as opposed to from the aforementioned and much-romanticized vending machine.)  Finally, I used too many balls and needed to extend the length of my hose with black tulle to use as ties.  Which begs the question, is this pantyhose and tulle contraption secure? I have no idea. I may very well find myself on a mall escalator in the near future sending balls flying and taking out shoppers.

Okay, so that was more than a bit of editorializing. Still, this project is so simple and fun that you'll (and I apologize in advance, but come on, you had to know it was coming) have a ball.  

Jacket Jam

 Jacket: Gap

 Jacket: She Said, J. C. Penney's

 Jacket: Xhilaration, Target

Jacket: Abbey Dawn, Kohl's

I was in Macy's the other day when I saw a mint green Members Only jacket.  Like so much of what came out of the 1980s, it was both laughable and magnetic, pulling me into a vortex of color-drenched madness anachronistically set to Beck's "Where It's At."  (Although I know that the line "Members only/Hypnotizers/Move through the room like ambulance drivers" has nothing to do with the jacket, I can't help but see that satiny silhouette whenever I hear it.)  I wanted to buy it but resisted,  instead choosing the spiffy (and surprisingly pricier) turquoise Target slicker pictured above.  Riding on that retail high, I thought it would be fun to photograph my most colorful jackets (as you do in such situations).  And I was right.  Even if I did discover that out of more than twenty pieces, only four proved to be rainbow-ready.  Perhaps I should reconsider becoming a Member . . . 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Something New and Sparkly - Fire and Ice and Something Extra

Dress: XOXO
Cardigan: August Silk, gifted
Shoes: Chaps, Kohl's
Bag: Kohl's
Necklace: The Tote Trove

Dress: XOXO, Macy's
Shoes: Dollhouse, Journeys
Bag: Chinese Laundry, Bloomingsales Florist & Gift Shop, Brigantine

Top: Marshalls
Tank: Kohl's
Jeans: Marshalls
Boots: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Necklace: The Tote Trove

When I spied these oversized blank metal pendants in Michaels months ago, I knew they'd be the perfect backdrops for rhinestones.  But because I was in the throes of a custom order I was forced to table the idea.  So, while browsing Michael's last week, I was dismayed when I couldn't find them.  Stock moves on and out, I lectured myself as I made my way to the register clutching a packet of safety pins.  Then I saw the clearance jewelry racks winking with treasures near the front of the store.  Sure enough, I spotted the pendants nestled among the beads and findings, deeply discounted no less.

Back at Trove headquarters I thought they'd beg to be fashioned into overly ornate pieces.  I pictured bits of bric-a-brac mixed in with the aforementioned rhinestones, anchored by wires overburdened with beads.  But when push came to shove, I knew that would be overdoing it.  So, I stuck with the lone rhinestones as embellishments and exchanged the beaded wires for simple satin ribbons.  Although the final products weren't as over-the-top or as original as some of my other pieces, I was enormously pleased.  Sometimes it's nice to make something simple. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Etsy Favorites - Movie Magic

With the Oscars airing tomorrow night, I thought, why not center this week's Etsy Favorites around the silver screen?  I love watching the Oscars, although I seldom see most of the nominated movies, which tend to be of a dark and serious bent and therefore not on my radar.  But the drama and the dresses more than make up for that, and it was in their spirit that I unearthed these ten light-hearted (yes, even you, villainous Vincent), camera-ready pieces of jewelry.  Whether they celebrate concession stand favorites or iconic characters, they're sure to sprinkle a little star power your way.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

Something New and Sparkly - Shrimp Cockail, Shrimp Kabobs, Shrimp Casserole . . .

Caftan: Mudd, Kohl's
Tee: J. C. Penney's
Jeans (suitably wrinkled for when you don't care enough to press the very best): J. C. Penney's
Boots: J. C. Penney's
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Necklace: The Tote Trove

. . . shrimp necklaces.  You know, all of Bubba's favorites.  I'm not sure how I spawned the idea for this design.  I just love shrimp and thought it'd make a fun necklace.  I'm considering wearing it to a restaurant and ordering a basketful, if only to see the look on the server's face.  But I don't know if I have the Gump-tion.  Or the heart to plague the bf with such shenanigans.         

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jack Handey Quote of the Week

"I remember how my great-uncle Jerry would sit on the porch and whittle all day long.  Once he whittled me a toy boat out of a larger toy boat I had.  It was almost as good as the first one, except now it had bumpy whittle marks all over it.  And no paint, because he had whittled off the paint."

Something New and Sparkly - The Pink Badge of Kookiness

Top: Rampage, Macy's
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Madden Girl, DSW
Bag: Nine West, gifted
Belt: Wet Seal
Brooch: The Tote Trove

I don't think jaunty felt jewelry was what Stephen Crane had in mind when he wrote his classic tale of Civil War valor (or cowardice, depending on how you look at it).  Still, this brooch wields its own brand of power, a tough but tender one-two punch (of color) in a black and white world.  I especially like the way it stakes its claim on this plain gray sweater.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Something New and Sparkly - When Shapes Collide . . .

Top: Target
Skirt: Alloy
Shoes: Barefeet Shoes
Bag: Bisou Bisou, J. C. Penney's
Scarf: A. C. Moore
Necklace: The Tote Trove

. . . it's a beautiful thing.  Unlike when worlds collide, as George so emphatically pointed out in that fateful "Seinfeld" episode.  I think this is my new favorite necklace, in part because of the sky blue ribbons.  Well, at least until the next one I make.  Hear that, Smurfy?  Your days in the limelight are numbered.