Happy Halloween...

from Andy Gourd-hol!
(Get it?  It's okay if you don't.  No one else did, ha!  It's a pop art jack'o'lantern, so we named him after Andy Warhol, but made it Andy Gourd-hol instead, because he's a pumpkin, which is a gourd!  Maybe a pumpkin shouldn't need that much explanation...ha!)

Tonight, we're celebrating spookiness by watching The Blair Witch Project!  But last week, we went to Mary's Pumpkin Carving Palooza and made this work of art.  Here's everyone else's masterpieces!

Proud pumpkin parents :)

Happy Halloween!


To the two women I love most.

Happy birthday to my sister (today) and my mom (tomorrow)!

I love you, Kelsey, for your obsession with Jane Austen and British miniseries!  I love you, Mom, for telling me how to long to microwave baked potatoes and for reading The Hunger Games!
I love you both for always making this face with me!

Happy birthdays!


Miscellaneous: Necklace, Treasury, Twitter

For today:  three little nuggets of fun!

A few weeks ago, I entered a giveaway over at Lo's blog for one of her charming necklaces she sells at her shop, Printed Peaks.  Tons of people entered, but wouldn't you know it?  I won!
I've been wearing it every weekend, all weekend, since I've gotten it.  It goes so well with absolutely everything and is so perfect for fall, and probably ever season beyond!  I'm so happy to wear this necklace from Lo because I know all the hard work that went into it.  She's also been so supportive of my shop - we Etsians have to stick together!
Thanks again, Lo!  To read the story behind Printed Peaks, go here.

One of my favorite parts about Etsy is when one of my pieces is included in a Treasury (collections members can curate of favorite things or themed items).  Today I was featured in one of the prettiest I've ever seen.  Aren't these colors just gorgeous?  (click on the pic to go visit)

Also, I got the Twitters.  @ValerieSews.  See you over there?


Looking Forward (again)

In 8 hours:  Book club meeting!  We read The Paris Wife.  I feel really connected to Hemingway after reading this and visiting his home this summer...yet have never read anything of his.  Ha!  What kind of English major do I claim to be?!

In 2 days:  Pumpkin Carving Palooza.  But how will we ever top last year's pumpkin?

In 29 days:  Back to Oklahoma for Thanksgiving!  I hear we're going to Golden Corral.  That's exactly the kind of place I miss.  I am fully supportive of anything all-you-can-eat.

In 38 days:  All my adolescent dreams will come true.  And a lot of my grown-up ones, too.

In slightly less than two months:  The epic road trip around Kansas and Oklahoma better known as "Home for Christmas."  We would (and do) drive anywhere to see our families.

In 2 months and 6 daysSam comes to visit for New Year's!  I'm sure it will be just like this:

In 3 months and a few days:  We'll be visiting all these people (and more!) in the Mile-High City

In 5 monthsThe Hunger Games movie.  Give us a real trailer already.  I'm too anxious.

In 6 and a half months:  Yet another girls' trip with my favorite ladies!  We're working on settling on a destination now.

In 1 year and 7 months:  I'll upgrade from "dental student's wife" to "dentist's wife."  Love the sound of that.

In 40ish years:  retirement


Merchandise of the Month - September, October, & November

The end of 2011 is drawing near, and I have to say I'm somewhat happy about it, just because it will also mean the end of my resolution to only buy one item of clothing from a store per month!  I wish I hadn't included shoes in that when I first began, because I'm pretty sure 7 of the months have gone to shoes.  (Holy cow, that means I've only bought 4 pieces of clothing all year long.  Is that even possible?!).  Well, the past three months were no exception.  Here are the three pairs I welcomed into my shoe family for my Merchandise of the Month in September, October, and November:
Leopard flats - Target
Grey suede wedges - Target 
(they're out of stock online, but you can check to see if they have them in a store near you)

Only one month of this challenge to go!  I think for December I might treat myself to a sweater :) 

What I bought in:  January, February, March, April, May/June/July, August


What We Learned from YouTube Last Night

After watching about 25 monkey/gorilla/chimpanzee videos in a row last night, Scott and I topped things off with this one.
The lesson? It is pretty darn cute when baby monkeys are afraid of other monkeys.
Also, poor Felix!


Dottie Adele: New in the Shop

 It's that busy time of year!  From October until the end of December always feels so crowded with holidays and activities and things to do.  I've been feeling a little swamped lately, but in the midst of it all, I've also managed to add a couple new items to the shop!

First off, I have now listed the Heart-Shaped Waistband Skirt - my most popular item to date!- as a custom order.  You can choose any color at all!  Really, any color you can think of.  I promise, any color your brain can dream up, I can find that color.  Click here to get one!

The second new item is this white blouse (which I am actually wearing today at work!).  It's made of a nice, flowy fabric called rayon challis, and really has a beautiful drape to it.  Add on elbow length sleeves with cuffs and a scoop neckline, and you've got a pretty great basic for your closet!
 Here I am modeling it yesterday with the sun shining directly in my eyes.  Charming.
You can get it here.

And on top of all that, I also had a short interview and feature on Little Somethings by Lo Hood!  Stop over and read it here.  I felt really honored she wanted to toast my Etsy shop today!


10 Steps to Incredible Yumminess

The recipe I used was actually for "Fudgy Coffee-Toffee Brownies."  But when the recipe called for coffee granules and toffee chips...I just substituted them both for chocolate instead.  And I wasn't sorry.


Your Lucky Day

Well, this starts with my lucky day first.  At the end of September, I won a free sponsorship spot on Pie 'N The Sky!  I hardly ever sign up for giveaways because it just seems so unlikely I'll win, but this one I did win!  Now I sign up for giveaways all the time!

As part of my sponsorship of Melisa's blog, she asked if I wanted to participate in her week of giveaways this month.  Of course I said yes, and then I decided the Scalloped Hem Skirt in Mustard would be a great addition to someone's fall wardrobe!  If you would like to sign up to win one of your own (I'll custom-make it to fit your measurements), click here, become a follower, and leave a comment!  It could be your lucky day next :)
And of course, if you just can't wait until Monday to see if you've won...you can also buy your own. :)


Retirement Party: Round 2

At the beginning of this year, I held a little Retirement Party for a few of my handmade garments who had seen their last wear.  Some more of my clothes are about to meet the same fate.  It's hard to let go of clothing in general, when we often associate what we were wearing with certain memories and seasons, and we become quite attached.  For me, these are even a little bit harder, since in addition to the normal attachments, I also made all these with my own two hands.  But these aren't being permanently discarded!  No, they are only going to live in a box on my closet shelf, within easy reach to get that back down should I decide I want to wear them again, or just bask in some familiar memories.

To my Paisley Blouse:  It's not you, it's me.  Oh, it's completely me.  I tried you on once when you were being made and saw you were too big, so I decided to just take in a couple inches on each side.  Without measuring.  No surprise here that you turned out too small.  I tried to wear you anyway, just without breathing all day, but now your buttons are falling apart.  You poor dear!  I've destroyed you with my too-big ribcage.  I'm sorry for that.  I hope you find peace in your next life on the closet shelf.

To my Sunny Sundress:  I never thought I would be able to say this in my entire life, but...my boobs are too big for you.  It's true!  I can hardly believe it!  You can't contain them!  As hard as it is to believe, it's a fact, and therefore, you must be retired.  Maybe someday you can be passed on to someone even flatter-chested than me.  If that person even exists.

To my Snazzy Vest:  Just look at you, being all jazzy.  I can't wear you without feeling like I'm either in Cabaret or on a catering crew, no matter what I attempt to pair you with.  You will never be forgotten, though, as you are the first garment I ever made a lining on, ever!  Thanks for your contribution to my sewing expertise.  Auf Wiedersehen.

To my Sound of Music Skirt:  Like so many before you in this blog post, you no longer fit me.  Either I grew or you shrunk, or maybe some combination of both, but either way...I'm letting you go.  It sounds like I'm firing you rather than letting you retire, but that's not the case.  Since you're nicely made and rarely worn, I think I may even donate you rather than make you live in the box on the closet shelf.  You are set free!

To my Ruffle Front Dress(Remember how I gave you a zipper that was too short and I always have to become a master contortionist to get into you?  Turns out, Vanessa is not as bendy as I am.  Couldn't even get you on her!)  I have worn you so many times, through every season, with boots and heels and tights and flats, with cardigans and blazers and all different belts.  You have been so good to me.  I still love you, I just don't like you anymore.  I hope this makes sense to you.  Good-bye, my darling.

To my Grey Checkered Dress:  You still fit, you're made well, and since you're a neutral, you go with a lot of stuff.  I'm frankly just tired of wearing you.  Consider this retirement as only temporary, as you are going into the box, but may very well come back out at some point.  So this isn't good-bye necessarily, but more like a "see you later!"

Good-bye to you all!  Nice wearing you!


Weekend: Museum, Sonic, Six Flags, Ghouls

This weekend, we went to visit the Walkers in Philly.  We love to go visit them.  They love and miss Oklahoma as much as we do, and we always have a good time and laugh a lot.  Also, they happily submit to our demands to take us to Sonic and Target.
These are the Walkers.
But first up...Heidi and her mom had spotted this museum on a walk a few weeks ago and thought it would be perfect for me!  And judging by the name, I thought so too!
But turned out, that name is very misleading, and there was not fabric being made or displayed here.  Just a lot of modern art.  Scott and I just can't seem to get away from Laurie Anderson.

Oh, the streets of Philadelphia...

We went to Target and ran through the aisles with joy.  Okay, we restrained ourselves more than that, but only slightly.  I made a pile of shoes on the ground that I wanted to buy, but only walked away with one pair.  They are some leopard flats that Heidi already has, of course.  We love to have matching clothes.

Next we went to Sonic, which I love more than I can accurately convey in words.  Heidi sang in the front seat while Marshall placed our orders.

Sunday was the biggest day of the weekend:  our trip to Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey!
Parking lot excitement!

This was the first trip of our much-discussed Walker-Bryant Amusement Park Tour of America.  We want to become professional roller coaster enthusiasts.
Scott is the only person in this picture with his hands up, in the 4th row.  Way to go, honey!

Heidi and Marshall recovering from their first ever stand-up coaster.
Unfortunately, my back is still recovering from a couple of slipped discs, so no roller coasters for me!  But I did get to ride two rides.  The first was this parachute ride, where you sat on a little bench attached to a parachute and you went up in the air about 20 stories, and then straight back down.  That was the whole ride.  It moved about as fast as a regular elevator.  Pretty thrilling.
Here we are at the top.

Scott and Marsh, ready for Superman.
Here is my second ride of the day:  the classic log ride.  It was very, very tame, and everyone got wet.  But good news!  Even though it's the middle of October in a northern state, it was still 85 degrees out!  We dried pretty quickly.

Every ride had signs telling you how long your wait would be.  Scott used his stopwatch to time how long it actually took for every ride.  It was consistently about half the time advertised.  Be warned, people!  They are just trying to trick you into buying a Flash Pass!
Heidi and Marshall got photobombed while we wait for Bizarro.
Look at those fireballs!  I really wish I had gotten to ride this one, and felt the flames.
There's Heidi and Marshall getting strapped in, while I wait on the exit side like someone who is afraid of roller coasters.  Please note:  I was not afraid.  Just avoiding back injury at all cost.  Better safe than permanently damaged, we all agreed.

Marshall turned into the Joker while we were waiting for the Dark Knight Coaster.
Children are advised to leave the park by 6:00 PM.  Because that's when the parade of ghouls begins!  Spooky, huh?  They limp around the park all night and scare people.
Fanny packs, a park map, and orthopedic sandals:  this is how we do theme parks.
Chowing on some Dippin' Dots:  one happy man.
That kid doesn't know that ghoul is about to scare the crap out of him.
Then we Bolt Bus'd it home and slept the whole way.  Amusement park days are just so tiring!

Heidi and Marshall:  Thanks again for blowing up the air mattress for us and being great hosts!  Until next time :)