Books I Read in August

Well, actually, I only read one book this month, but it was a good one!

Little Bee by Chris Cleave
My friend Brian recommended and lent this book to me, and I'm so glad he did!  I don't want to tell you too much about the actual story (because the back of the book actually instructs me not to...seriously, it says "Once you have read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds.").  I can tell you the basics though:  this is a story told from two different perspectives, one teenage refugee girl from Nigeria, and a 30-something British women's magazine editor.  Their lives have already been intertwined before this novel even begins, and continues to be as the story progresses.  Cleave does an excellent job writing through both women's voices, a fairly amazing feat in my eyes considering how different their respective worlds are.  Both have seen and felt tragedies, some almost unspeakable, and while it has the potential to be a very sad book, Cleave has some humorous moments of relief provided by the language barrier of the Queen's English and one very hyper child who thinks he is Batman.  This book explore several topics that I either know very little about, or rarely read books about, so it was a nice departure for me.  All in all, a good read!

Anyone else read this one?


Polka Squares Blouse

I actually made this little cap-sleeved beauty a few weeks ago, and have worn it twice since then, but just never snapped a pic.  Until now, of course!

I used the same pattern that I drafted myself for my Chambray Addiction Shirt for the basis of this top.  I just cut the front on the fold instead of leaving space for the button placket, and then drafted a new pattern piece for the cap sleeves, which I feel the need to fully disclose to you is actually just a half circle.  Not rocket science here, people.

With a top this simple, the fabric needed to be interesting.  Well, it is!  It has sporadically placed shapes all over it, but they aren't circles like a polka dot....they're squares!
Thus, I present to you: The Polka Squares Blouse. Now it all makes sense, right?


What Irene Looked Like From Washington Heights

Mid-tropical storm (look closely in the middle pane, and you'll see a BOAT out there on the water!)
Two hours later
Four hours later
24 hours later

It's nice to be reminded that the calm comes after, as well as before, the storm.


Make Way for Irene...

Here is an actual list from weather.com's Hurricane Watch warning of what you should bring to a shelter with you:


Are you seeing where "games and books" falls on that list?!  Before a radio, a phone, a flashlight, a blanket, your ID, and money.  I like weather.com's priorities.  When in crisis, entertainment should always be at the top of the list.

Fellow East Coasters, be safe this weekend!



Turns out all those experts who say how important it is to get enough sleep at night were right.
Last night, I was in bed by 9:30 PM, and I woke up this morning at 7:00 AM practically leaping out of bed!  I felt absolutely glorious - so well-rested and finally no longer exhausted!  Does it take anybody else a looooong time to recover from vacations?  Even so, at least I got to spend my 9.5 hours of sleep last night dreaming of Key West...and Scott's Christopher Walken hair.


Purple People Eater

New skirt alert!  These pictures are especially exciting because they also display my Key West tan (which is still about 12 shades paler than what most other people would classify as "tan") and also my slicked back, middle part, unwashed hair I'm rocking today.  Awesome!
I've been wanting what the style experts classify as a midi length skirt for some time now.  I searched through my stash a couple weeks ago to see if I could find anything appropriate, and sure enough, here was this dark purple jersey just begging to be a midi skirt.  It was so perfect, in fact, that I used up every inch of it I had!
No pockets for this one, but it does feature my absolute favorite thing of all time:  (everyone knows about it by now, so we can all say it together)  ELASTIC WAISTBAND!
I love the color and I love the length.  This will be a perfect little addition to take me into Self-Stitched September and beyond!


Key West: Four Days in Nineteen Pictures

All thanks to Mom & Dad Bryant!
We had such a wonderful time.  Thank you so much for taking us with you!


Self-Stitched September: Round 2

It's that time again...get ready for outfit posts!

Last September, I started this blog with the sole purpose of documenting a little challenge that goes on in the online sewing community called Self-Stitched September (started by Zoe).  Amazingly, it's almost that time of year again!  So this means, for me, another month of wearing only clothes that I have made myself, AND my blog's first birthday.  YAY September!

I, Valerie of threadsthoughtsthings.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-Sept '11. I endeavour to wear complete outfits of self-stitched or altered garments each day for the duration of September 2011.

I've spent three months of the past year wearing garments that I've made myself:  Self-Stitched September, Me-Made March, and Me-Made June.  I'm excited to do another - this stretches my creativity and reminds me once again why it is that I love to sew.


What Scott Built This Time

A work bench!  So he can build MORE stuff!

Yes, this is inside our tiny NYC apartment.

P.S. Here's the bar he built before.


Little Tiny Shoes for A Baby Who is Not Related to Me At All

More baby shoes! Unlike the ones I made a few weeks ago for my cousin's baby shower, these shoes are for a baby I have no relation to. These are for my grandma's best friend's great niece (try to keep that one straight). I had too many cute ideas in my head for these little girl shoes, so I just made them all!

Strawberry shoes
Ruffly shoes
Fancy times shoes


Seeing Spots

So on the left of this picture is my Grandma, Adele (yes, of Dottie Adele, my Etsy shop, fame!).  Isn't she classy with that cream colored blazer trimmed in navy?!  So timeless.  Next is my very handsome, very tall Grandpa.  Then my older sister, Kelsey, rocking the nautical look.  Some things never go out of style.  Also, her hair bow is gigantic, along with her glasses.  I'm the little blond one who is sort of hiding and clutching a trophy with an Aladdin lamp on top of it.  This picture was snapped at an awards banquet, at which I won an award for that book my mother is holding so proudly, titled, "The Day Bab-Y Jesus Bron" (hey, I was five years old, four out of six words correct ain't bad).  And there on the right is my beautiful mother wearing, yes, you saw that right, her dalmatian dress!!!!!

I talked about this dress a couple of weeks ago in a post where I reflected on what exactly it is that has always kept me coming back to sewing.  I had my mom dig up this picture, scan it, and send it to me because I have a little idea about it brewing in the back of my mind...

Imagine my surprise and extreme delight when I saw that this was NOT a dress, as I had remembered, but was actually separates - a blouse and a skirt!  And the skirt....HAS AN ELASTIC WAISTBAND.  AKA, my favorite feature on a garment EVER, OF ALL TIME!  Not to mention the red trim, the shoulder pads, the huge sleeve cuffs...just amazing.

This picture was taken in 1991, and now, 20 years later, I have to say...I still think this dalmatian ensemble is as beautiful as ever.