I wanted to do one more little post regarding Me-Me-March before it officially starts tomorrow (woohoo!).  In case I didn't explain this challenge very well, here it is in Zoe's own words, because they are super inspiring:

The purpose of Me-Made-March '11 is to encourage those of us who make and/or refashion clothes to actually wear them in their everyday lives. Rather than spend hours on projects that then languish unworn and unloved in the bottom of a drawer, I believe we should be proud of our achievements and creations. Let's show ourselves, as much as anyone else, that our efforts are more than just a pastime, that we have been slowly developing valueable skills that we can use to actually clothe ourselves, damn it! Let's learn to love our creations, to look past any flaws we can see in them (that probably no-one else would even notice).  Why not take an opportunity to learn about what garments work best for our bodies and lifestyles so we can make more informed choices when sewing/knitting/refashioning etc. in the future?

I took the pledge last week, but I wanted to lay out my rules here a little bit more specifically (because I had to create a lot of loopholes for myself, and I want to reassure myself that I'm not technically cheating!).

This month, I will be wearing things that I have "made" - which includes anything I have made from scratch as well as any garments that I altered (Scott's sweaters, a few pairs of pants).  Basically, anything I've taken a sewing machine to counts!

The following items that I wear will not be self-made:
Tights/Leggings (I wonder how you even make tights?)
Outerwear (that is, coats and/or jackets)
Shoes (again...how do you even make those?  Actually, now I'm kind of interested in finding out...)

Here's to March being a fun, inspirational, slightly self-congratulatory month on my blog!


Jumping on the Fanny Train

On Friday, I enjoyed a post on Girls of the Wild Frontier (a fabulous blog written by three girls I know in real life!) about C's designer fanny pack.  I loved it.  Then soon-to-be-a-Mrs. Heidi of the Future (who I also know in real life - and I watched her get engaged!) wrote her own post about her fanny pack that displays her love for a certain Mouse.  I wanted to join in because I've got a pack that's near to my heart as well.

C's fanny pack is fancy.  Heidi's is personalized.  Mine is neither of those things, but it did serve me well as not only a carryall, but also a camera case/butterbeer mug holder.  Awesome.

Oh, and Scott wore it too.

Anybody else out there have a fanny pack and want to join the train?


What Scott Built

He built this inside our NYC apartment, from start to finish, without a blueprint, with his own two hands.  It may just be because I'm his wife, but I have to say:  I'm impressed.


Two Tanks

After one epic failure of a garment over the weekend (seriously, I should have taken pictures, it was so bad.  Completely unwearable), I came back strong and made these two tank tops, each in just a few hours.  Fairly unpractical considering as I write this it is currently 30 degrees, but what can I say?  I have Spring on the brain!

Left:  super easy tank literally made from 6 differently sized rectangles, fabric from leftover lining for my Winter Coat!
Right:  Simplicity 2998, which this dress actually came from as well, red/grey striped knit from Fabric.com

Anybody else anxiously awaiting the days when you can have bare arms again?


Hiya, Kids! I'm Flat Stanley!

My husband's cousin's daughter (got that?) is in 2nd grade, and her class sent out Flat Stanleys all over the place a few weeks ago, including one to us!  I'm basically a Flat Stanley pro at this point, since I think I've gotten three others before from various cousins, so we were more then happy to take the little guy around and "show" him the sights.

(Read about the Flat Stanley project and the Flat Stanley book)

Here's what we sent back to Brooklyn and her class back in Oklahoma (isn't Stanley cute?!  Brooklyn made him!):

Dear Brooklyn,

Scott and Valerie were so surprised and excited to see Flat Stanley arrive in the mail!  What a treat to have a visitor.

We live in New York City, New York, which is a big, BIG city, with over 8 million people living here!  Can you believe that? 

The first thing we showed Flat Stanley was the BIG bridge we can see out our window.   It is called the George Washington Bridge, and it was named after the very first President of the United States.  You can take the bridge across the big river to visit New Jersey, a completely different state! 

Next we wanted to teach Flat Stanley how to get around town, because here in New York City there are so many people, we don’t have our own car!

Instead, we use things like the subway, which is an underground train!  You can ride one to wherever you want to go.  We showed Flat Stanley the subway map that shows him how to find his way, and then we waited for the next train to arrive.

Here it is!

Our first stop was Grand Central Station.  It is a giant train station, where people ride trains into New York City from all over the place!  Places like Connecticut and Massachusetts and New Jersey.  In Grand Central Station, there is a tall, painted ceiling – isn’t it pretty?

Then we decided to take a walk around the city a little bit to see the sights.

Flat Stanley really loved to see all the tall, tall buildings.  You have to look way, way up to see to the very tops of them!

Next, we showed Flat Stanley how to ride in a taxi cab.  A taxi is a yellow car that you can hire to drive you where you want to go.  First you have to wave to a driver so that he will come pick you up.

Then you get to sit in the backseat while the driver takes you wherever you want to go.  Can you believe that all the taxi cab drivers know how to get anywhere in the city?  They really know their way around!

We let Flat Stanley ask the driver to take us to Times Square.  This is where they drop the big ball at midnight on New Year’s Eve on TV – have you ever seen that?

Flat Stanley loved looking around at all the bright lights!

While Flat Stanley was visiting, we also took a trip to another city, Philadelphia.  We took Flat Stanley to see the Liberty Bell.  This bell is very old – so old that it rang on the very first Independence Day, all the way back in 1776!  75 years later, a big crack appeared in the bell, all the way down the side (can you see it?).  It doesn’t ring anymore, but it is a neat part of American history!

We were so glad that Brooklyn sent Flat Stanley to spend some time with us!  We enjoyed showing him all around New York City, and we even sent him home with a souvenir.  Thanks, Brooklyn!


Scott and Valerie


The Classiness Scarf

Weather just never wants to cooperate, does it?  As most other Americans are probably experiencing, we reverted back to hardcore winter over the weekend after a blissful two-day sneak peek of spring last week.  So cruel of you, Mother Nature.  In fact, we even got snow yesterday!

The bright side?  More chances to wear scarves!  Like this one, which I made a month ago with Kendra, but never documented.  Until now.

It's a different sort of scarf, made from this tutorial on Colette Patterns' blog.  One side is velvet and the other is a soft and warm sweater fabric, so it really is quite warm, and I can even pull it up all the way around my ears!

Reverse, reverse!
I feel extra classy in this big bow-like scarf.  Cream is a classy color and velvet is a classy fabric.  Enough said.

And the static-y hair will continue, along with the cold weather...



'I, Valerie of Threads and Thoughts and Things I Love, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March '11. I endeavour to wear only handmade or refashioned clothing each day for the duration of March 2011'

Six months ago, I participated in Self-Stitched September, created by the stylish British blogger Zoe.  I pledged to wear one piece of clothing or accessory I had made myself everyday for the entire month...and I did it!  As all of you know, I've kept sewing diligently over the past 6 months, and I must say...my handmade wardrobe is seriously growing.


So when Zoe announced Me-Made-March a couple weeks ago, she challenged anyone who had participated previously to "step up their game" for this one.  I wanted to take the huge leap from one piece a day to everything I wore, everyday.  After taking a serious look at my closet, the combinations of outfits I can make from what I have made, finding the spaces in my wardrobe that need to be filled, and, yes, making an Excel spreadsheet...I decided I can do it!  (By the way, this is not including underwear, because I don't make underwear.  Nor would I want to.  It also doesn't include tights or leggings, because March is too cold still for bare legs!).


Okay, now that's done.  I've got 10 days to go before I wear only clothes I've made myself for the next 31.  Get ready for an overload of outfit posts!


Life's so sweet right here in the passenger seat...

Sometimes it's really fun to drive ourselves around New York, as it is very rare that we ever see the city from any perspective besides walking or from the back of a cab.

Last weekend, we drove down East River Drive.  Twice, actually.  It feels nice to be in the passenger seat.  You don't have to pay attention to anything but the views.  And sometimes you get to hold hands with the driver!



The Chambray Addiction Shirt

Yesterday I talked about making my first real pattern from scratch.  Today, here is the final result!  I made a shirt!  And it fits!  And I did it all by myself (with the help of Cal Patch!)!

I had really been itching for a chambray button-up shirt.  I just love the way they look so casual but put together.  Also, I've apparently just been nuts for chambray for the last 6 months or so (evidenced here, here, and here).

I added a pocket on the left and some tabs to the sleeves so I could roll 'em on up.

Rosie the Riveter!
I've never been a huge fan of the button-up shirt, but now that I have a pattern that fits me just right...that opinion might be changing.
I'm starting to like it when Scott's behind the camera :)
Oh yeah, I also blatantly copied this outfit from J. Crew when getting dressed today.  Except I want her shoes.

Floral tulle mini


Patternmaking: First Step to Ruling My Closet

This weekend I began my foray into a brand new world of sewing:  making my own patterns.  From scratch.  And using nothing but the tools below to create a garment that is made specifically for my own body.  (Also:  this is a perfect example of when you will use the math you learned in school in your everyday life.  If in your everyday life you want to make patterns, that is.)

The most important tool in the picture above?  The book of secrets.  Otherwise known as Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified by Cal Patch (she used to design for Urban Outfitters!  And her name is adorable like a bunny rabbit!).  At this point, my pattern has been drawn; the fabric cut and pinned and partially sewn.  All my final garment is lacking is a slew of buttonholes/buttons.  Perhaps I will be showing you tomorrow?  Fingers crossed that it all fits and my middle school math skills held up!

Once I conquer this book...my imagination is running wild with the possibility of being able to make any pattern for any piece of clothing I can dream up...I LOVE SEWING.


Valentine's Candy Hearts: Olympics Edition

Clockwise from top (pink):

Go Go Go
Game On
Race Me
Play On
Jump 4 Me
Reach 4 It

I feel like these are "things you might yell at a sporting match/ways to challenge someone to a video game death match" as opposed to "things you might say while flirting with candy," but they still taste just as sweet!  (And I'm on my second box...)

Happy Valentine's Day!



Fabric stash.

Scott 'stache.

Here's hoping you spend your weekend doing things you love and with people you love!


And the results are in...

Sam announced the results to our giveway this morning:  Darlene!  Congrats, dear!  Can't wait to whip it up and get it in the mail to you!

Honest Scrap - Book Edition

Mel at Perfect Peace tagged me with this cute little award.  How kind of her!  (thanks again!)

The rules are to list 5 facts about yourself, but I've already done something similar not too long ago.  Instead, I saw that Courtney at Vintch and Mel had done a slightly different twist on it:  Courtney had listed her five favorite books and Mel had listed her five favorite memories.  I will be blatantly copying them :)

Well, here is one fact about myself:  when I read, I tend to let things completely consume me.  So for my five facts, here are the most recent five books I have read (listed in reverse chronological order), with what my life was like as I was in the midst of reading!

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
This book is my current read, recommended to me relentlessly by Mary (it's her favorite!).  I read quite a bit of Plath's poetry in college, so I assumed I would love this book as well.  I have about 50 pages left to read, but so far, I am certainly not disappointed.  Within the pages of this book, Esther Greenwood's slow descent into madness is disturbing, at times quite witty, painfully realistic, and, perhaps most frighteningly, seems completely natural.  With the added knowledge we now have of Plath's eventual suicide, each word on the page seems all the more haunting.

As I read it:  found myself hypersensitively monitoring my thoughts, just to be sure I wasn't slipping into madness myself.  Survey says:  I'm not.  :)

Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
This book truly shook me to the core.  It is a beautiful read in the strangest way.  Endearingly narrated by a Ukrainian tour guide, alternating chapters with his American client's engaging history of the village in which his grandfather grew up, it never lost my attention.  As the American searches for a link to the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis, the story brings together so absolutely perfectly the present and a multitude of pasts that I was left in shock after reading the last page.  A new favorite book.

As I read it:  simultaneously consumed with grief and joy.  It's hard to explain.  I was bursting into tears a lot, but couldn't quite explain why (thank goodness I read it quickly!).  Read this book, and let it take you over. 

The Bronze Horseman by Paulina Simons
If you like historically accurate World War II epics and achingly drawn-out semi-scandalous romances featuring large, strapping, dark-haired soldiers named Alexander, you have found your dream book.  It's over 800 pages, but trust me when I say:  the payoff is totally worth it.

As I read it:  constantly wanted to be extra close to Scott and ask him things like "If we were starving in the Soviet Union, would you give me your extra ration of bread?"  Also, wished I owned a white dress with red roses.  Read it and you'll see why.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
To be honest with you, this book is really, really weird.  Also, really, really thought-provoking.  Which means I liked it.  If you want to learn a new (invented) language that will be of no use to you in any of your future travels, as well as seriously contemplate the methods of our society's punishment/reward/rehabilitation system, this is the book you're going to want to pick up.

As I read it:  tried to start using words like "horrorshow" and "appy polly loggy" in day-to-day life.  Turns out that only works if other people around you have also read A Clockwork Orange.

A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
This book features the most gorgeous language I have ever seen put to paper.  Honestly.  Some passages simply took my breath away with the sheer beauty with which Vanauken strings together his words.  Add to it that this is one of the best arguments I have ever read in favor of Christianity, coupled with probably the most incredible love story I have ever heard, and plus the fact that this happens to be a memoir written by the man who actually lived it, and also throw in the fact that there are 18 letters within these pages written by C.S. Lewis himself, and is there anyone out there still not convinced to read this book?

As I read it:  for the large majority of my reading of this book, I was sitting in a wooden chair on the shore of a lake surrounded by trees that had just begun their change into autumn colors.  It was beautiful.  The book was beautiful.  It is truly one of my favorite memories of a reading of a book.


The Herringbone Pants

I was loving those high-waisted trousers I made a few weeks ago so much I had no choice but to make another pair.  This time I used a brown and ivory herringbone silk/wool blend (which was actually sort of hard to work with - I was surprised!).  And then I wore it with black and white stripes.  Which I'm still not completely sure was the right decision.  Too many neutrals in too many patterns?

Anyway, this is also my favorite hairstyle from the year 2006.  People who knew me back then, look familiar?  It was almost a daily occurrence.  I forgot about how much I loved it until today.

For these pants, to make them a little different than the last ones, I made the waistband about 1/2" thinner and I didn't cuff the bottom (also because I didn't have enough fabric to make the pants long enough to make a cuff at the bottom - it takes like 6 extra inches!).

Ouch,eyeballs!   Excessive varying stripes!

Today is the last day to enter the giveaway at Sam and I are doing, so don't forget!