Just like Madeline

Just because I am so in love with the outfit I am wearing tonight. I feel like a grown up version of Madeline (cartoon about a little French girl in Paris). Basically, dressing up is fun!

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Making a Dress

Most of my friends know how I”ve been getting into tailoring my own clothes lately, and learning what I can about sewing. Well, Thanks to my friend Teni being just as enthusiastic, I’ve started making my first dress. I have a pattern, and I hope the end product turns out as cute as I hope it will. Here’s what it’s supposed to look like in the end: 

Teni is making one too. We’ve re-traced the pattern, started making what adjustments we could figure out, and cut out the muslin with lots and lots of seam allowance space just in case. After all, we are first time dressmakers. We are leaving lots of room for screw ups. Hopefully we get something that works well before we get into our real dress material. But to help that, we’ve decided to make our own dress forms! This got us super excited last night. I had read about a woman mummy-style wrapping herself up in duct tape to create a shell duplicate of her torso. So we did this, and yes, we needed help and had to get ourselves cut out of it, but in the end we had doubles of our torsos. Today I stuffed it full of old clothing stuff that doesn’t fit me anymore that I was going to donate to goodwill,and sealed it up. I also mounted it on an old music stand I had and voila!  This is going to make dressmaking so much easier!

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It’s been a while…

I meant to write about Lindyfest a few weeks ago and now I don’t remember what I wanted to say about it. I do remember having an amazing time, and having a few dance-revelations and awakenings. Sorry I’m not able to get more specific, because it’s really just boiling down to a new “feeling” I’m trying to achieve for myself, and hopefully my dance partners, and that’s damn vague. I’ve been wanting to make this sort of a change for a while but never knew the best way to approach it, and classes at Lindyfest gave me the tools to finally put these thoughts into practice. I’d like to thank Peter and Ramona, and Skye and Frida’s classes most of all for these insights. And I’d definitely like to thank Mike and Laura for helping me decipher all this post event.

Basically, I’m trying to work on being a more honest follow. Eliminating most of the variations and stylizations I tend to do “on purpose” and just seeing what comes out of the connection with another person. I don’t know if it’s really working at all, but lately I’m feeling lighter, and more solid, quiet, and explosive when I dance. It’s not where I want it yet, but I feel like I’m on the way.

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Sewing is awesome!

How did I not realize this sooner?!

Being rather um, petite, I grew up with my mom or aunt or some other female relative hemming my new pants, dresses, and whatever else I may have so that it fit me better, and mainly, didn’t drag on the ground. I sort of learned some basics. I’ve been able to make really simple hems by hand in the past but they take so damn long to do that way! For a while I’ve been toying with getting a sewing machine but have been to cheap to really go into the expense.

Well, I finally got myself one, after having spent about $36 just on two simple alterations this last December. It finally hit me how much money I could have been saving if I just learned to do it myself, with the proper equipment. So yeah, I got the Singer 4423 at an amazing deal on Amazon earlier this month, and have been playing with simple hemming, and alterations these past two weeks — and I LOVE the results!

My first week, I took a dress I had of some very friendly (ie. not too delicate and scary to deal with for a sewing newb) cotton material dress and shortened the skirt on it. I hadn’t been able to wear it dancing yet because it was way too long and made me look stumpy short in my Keds.

Next I took an old jumper dress I haven’t worn in  forever because the top was always large on me (I  don’t have a long torso), and shortened the straps on  it so it didn’t poof out unattractively at the bust. I  probably won’t be wearing this dress, since it’s so old  and out of style, but it was great practice.

Then I got super excited at the prospect    that someday I might be able to make my own clothes  to fit perfectly all around, and not just fix up  individual problem areas. So I found this  beautiful vintage inspired dress pattern and bought it  right away. I have a list of the materials I’ll need once  I’ve learned enough of my basics to take on this  project. I’m also logging all of the posts of a vintage  fashion blogger as she conducts a sew-along of this  dress so I have added guidance when I need it. I’m so  excited.

Finally, yesterday I snagged a rare find — a Stop  Staring brand vintage  dress for only $30! (See  my previous post for more details on how this  came  about) But the dress was originally waaay too long on  me. I”m only 4’10”  after all. I have short legs.  Luckily, the torso needs no adjusting. But the  skirt  was a challenge. I was very very careful today as I  measured, marked,  cut, and re-sewed the bottom  flare up about 4 inches on the skirt. And voila!  It  worked!  I actually did it!

Here’s a rather poor quality photo of the end product.  I kind of wish now I  had taken a “before” shot to  show just how long the skirt landed on me.  Imagine  the lowest edge being somewhere around the middle  of my calves  or just below them. Can’t wait to wear  my new dress!

Posted in Life, Wearables | 2 Comments

Retail Heaven

So this morning I got up and did my usual thing. And there was a blog post by Indiana Adams of AdoredAustin.com. That’s kinda normal. She updates her blog regularly. Always a fun read, and usually some useful info about where to find secret gems here in Austin at affordable prices (which I definitely appreciate seeing as I’m unemployed).  Today’s post let me in on a city-wide boutique gathering of sorts, called Le Garage Sale. All these boutique shops get together for two days only, and put out their overstock merchandise at supreme discounts. I got super excited.

I called up Teni and off we went. And boy did we feel like we won. We found a boutique with Stop Staring brand dresses! The dresses at their boutique were originally priced at $298. At best, online you can usually find them in the neighborhood of $150. We got them for $30!  We were thrilled, to say the least. Now, I couldn’t add the picture onto this post for some reason, but here’s a link to a dress I got: My new Stop Staring dress. We snagged a few other awesome finds during the day. It was great. I gave myself a budget for the event, and stuck to it, and still felt like I got everything I wanted.

Next time Le Garage Sale comes around, Teni and I are getting there nice and early, on the first day to make sure we grab the good stuff before it sells out of our sizes! 🙂  Thanks for the tip Indiana!

Posted in Life, Wearables | 3 Comments

Want!

I think I’ll have to restrain myself to make sure I really want / should get them… but … Damn, these are cute!

Chelsea Crew Nico Green Perforated Dancers Heel – $64.00.

Size 6? For me?

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Black Swan

Yes, I know I’m a bit late to this party, but I finally saw this movie, and I must state just how much I loved it. After being informed that it was from the same director that brought us Pi, and Requiem for a Dream, it made perfect sense. He did brilliant work with this story.

I don’t want to give any of it away if anyone hasn’t seen it yet and wants to, so I’ll say this film made going crazy a very intriguing and beautiful thing to watch. I was legitimately frightened at times, but couldn’t look away. A friend compared the smooth transition into craziness to Donny Darky and I’d agree… I was left with the same feeling of   “woah”  in the pit of my stomach.

I want to watch this movie over and over again. My favorite favorite part was perhaps the protagonist’s, final and climactic transition into the Black Swan. It was beautifully done.

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Lone Star Championships 2011

Man, what a way to get the new year rollin’!  This was my second Lone Star Championships ever, and it was sooo good! It was going to be tough to beat last year’s awesomeness but Scott and Tena somehow pulled it off. Ok… where do I begin…

Thank you’s:
-- My houseguests (Gina, Breanna, Mary, and Andrew): You guys rock. Thanks for being as easygoing as you were, even with all our individual crazy schedules for the weekend. It all worked out and I loved hanging out with all of you.

-- Nathan Bugh: Thank you for taking the time to work on stuff with me Friday night. You gave me a peek into your dancer/musician brain and it was really frickin’ cool. I’m still trying to sift through all that information, and I feel like I will be sifting through it all for a long time but I’m glad for it. Dancing with you was super fun and I’m so honored to have been able to compete with you.

-- Dargoff: We need to have more dances! Because you sir, are incredibly fun.

-- All the awesome DJ’s: All the DJ’s were great and playing stuff that made me want to dance no matter how tired my body was, but this goes out to Peter and Naomi in Particular. Naomi played some great music during the comps, and without that I wouldn’t feel as at ease as I did this weekend. All my competition nerves go away when I hear great music. And Peter’s soul party set Sunday night was so great. I usually feel awkward during non-trad swing dances but Peter does a good job of starting the night out with some more familiar tunes that put everyone in the right mood.

-- Austin’s musicians: During comp finals, it was incredibly calming to feel that I had friends all around, even in the bandstand. When I had a spotlight (particularly during the solo charleston comp), I felt as if you guys were playing just for me. Maybe it’s just because I know most of you… but still. Thanks!

Other highlights:
-- Brooksie dancing like a wild man on one leg… I was a little scared (lest he fall and injure himself further), but damn that was inspiring.

-- Invitational Jack & Jill. Of course. Everyone loves this comp. It’s always so full of the  awesome, and ridiculous. I could watch that final all skate all day and not be bored. Air guitar battles, Karen doing grande jete’s across the ballroom, hair flips, and Dirty Dancing aerial lifts… can’t EVER get tired of that stuff.

-- Dance Central at Scott’s place Friday night. Damn that game is cool. And it was kind of great to see so many amazing and talented lindy hoppers looking awkward with weird video game hip hop moves. Just made them all a little more accesible … or whatever the word I’m searching for is.

-- Finally being brave enough to ask one of my “intimidating” leads for a dance. There are still so many leads I have yet to ever dance with and it’s all because I still fear rejection, or fear giving them a bad dance such that they might not want to dance with me again. I am working on getting over that. Asking this person to dance was a big step for me.

-- Geeking out with Mary over our shared love of I Love Lucy and weirding everyone else out. That conversation really just made me so happy.

Videos:
The Invitational Jack & Jill (entire video). It’s about half an hour long, but SO worth watching over and over again.

Solo Charleston Comp… somehow, I made it to the final three. 3rd Place. 🙂

Invitational Strictly, w/ Nathan Bugh (2nd couple)

And finally, my 1st Place spotlight in the All-Star Jack & Jill with Dargoff

Aaaand from another angle (this one really shows how much Dargoff moved us across the floor and used the space.. I kinda like that.

Posted in Dance, Event, Lindy Hop | 1 Comment

Yet another redesign…

Yes, I felt it was due. Sometimes, (and this may just be me being all girly-like) I just need to update the look of this thing to help in writing- inspiration.

The new banner photo (yes, it’s me) is part of the Austin Swing Syndicate’s “Sweethearts of the Syndicate” pin-up calendar. It is a fundraising effort to get the Austin Swing Syndicate a new sound system for the Fed so our weekly dances can be extra awesome sound-wise. Right now, most of our DJ’d music sounds a little fuzzy in the mid-range. And the ballroom’s acoustics certainly don’t help. So it would be great to have a new system to help make up for that.

Here’s the original calendar photo:

Laura Glaess (Ms. December) did the awesome photoshopping of the original shots.

If you’re coming to Austin for Lone Star Championships and want to pick one up, I do believe they’ll be available for sale 🙂

Did I mention the calendar is also filled with lots of useful Lindy Hop information for the year? I mean things like local, regional, national and international events, birthdays and other dates of historical record. This thing is sweet.

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Lindy Focus IX!

Ok…. this is a temporary post….. most likely…. that is, if I don’t get lazy. It’s the last night of Lindy Focus — aka, New Year’s Eve/Morning … 7:35am precisely. I’m exhausted but still wired from all the dancing tonight and how much fun I’ve been having. And I just couldn’t keep it to myself. I’m in my room typing in the dark as my fellow hotel roommates sleep. I can’t see a thing and I’ve made so many typos you can’t imagine in the process of writing this. But yay! What a good time. I have other comments or thoughts about the week but that can wait till later. Tonight has been so energizing but I”m going to force myself to go to sleep. More later folks!

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