Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Tabs in My Browser

How I fart around on the internet, currently:

1.  I made latkes for the first time tonight, and bought lox (also for the first time) to top them. There's plenty of smoked salmon left, so next I'mma make this New York style breakfast.

2. Photos from the best date I've ever had--The Rock Show here in Cedar Rapids. Carissa and I spent a solid 2.5 hours looking at gems, minerals, and fossils, and only saw one other person rock-nerdy enough to take photos. I bought a lot of jewels, a new age pendulum to help me make decisions and/or jokes, and built a new belt buckle to replace Jake's beloved but broken favorite one.
Photo of beautiful geodes by Carissa, who was the smart one that brought the camera.
3. Erica's thrift haul from a trip to Florida. Thrift porn! I am guilty of being the reader that made the request...

4. Ridiculous and amazing pinball machine themes! Last Supper (yes, it's a Jesus theme!), Bill Paxton, and GasAttack!

5. This would be a fun project, and would be easy to make as silly/sweet/encouraging/crude as you wanna be.

6. I keep this map in a tab each time I craigslist for Chicago apartments, which is often. Looks like our winning neighborhood will be Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Humboldt Park, or Irving Park. I'll be working in River North. Come be our neighbors!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Recycled Notebook Project, Pt 3

Generally, I don't give myself too much credit when it comes to crafting. I do it mostly for the fun and adventure of it, to see what I can get away with and to keep my hands busy. As mentioned a thousand times before, I am not good with perfection, planning, measuring, exacting, tidiness, etc. I'm The Tornado! Crafts for me are generally experiments, hidden once completed (or half completed). 

But look! I kind of successfully made something kind of neat!
Side view...ooooh, the colors.
Back, crooked and Mod Podge-y...
Yes, it's still plenty sloppy. For my ego's sake, we'll call it "folksy." My general strategy is "slap it together and cross my fingers." Form isn't everything, because this baby is totally functional.
Front and pages glamour shot
  • Map of Iowa, laminated with acetate adhered with Mod Podge
  • Tons 'o blank sheets of notebook paper salvaged from old notebooks and cut to size (with minimal waste/scraps, I promise!)
  • Mod Podge, Mod Podge, Mod Podge to bind the pages and the cover
  • Portion of a hardcover children's book for a sturdy back
  • Embroidery floss for color, cutesies, and to ensure it all stays together
So, anyone want a little notebook? I have plenty more materials and an itch to crank 'em out...Whoa, I am riding high today with project success. On another high notes, my sewing machine came back from the sewing machine hospital and is ready to get down to business. I'm hoping to bring as few unfinished projects as possible to Chicago--time to get 'em done or get rid of 'em!
I gave this handsome guy this handsome guy haircut.
Post-ending cat photo: Bill and Emme discuss who should wear the infant overalls first.
Tonight, I'll be wearing green for some stand-up comedy at the Mill in Iowa City. Buddies and I will be supporting Ramona's Boone County Comedy Troupe while they open for Lipstick Homicide and Bitch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dirtbag Goofball Cheapskate

Tuesday's Outfit, 100% Handed Down from Friends Over the Years = FREE DOLLARS!

Recycled Notebook Project, Pt. 2

I have two separate notebooks in the works. The second is doing a new round of drying. Here is the first, completed this evening:

Successes:  The stitching I used for the binding worked really well. First, I criss-cross stitched the pages together, then did a straight-across stitch with the covers. The acetate Mod Podged to the paper looks pretty nice and fairly professional (with the exception of the imperfect snipping job I did...measuring and exacting are not my preferred methods). Loving the map of Iowa as a cover, because Iowa always gets RESPECT.  

Failures: The map is an actual road map, and the creases from being folded definitely compromise the cover's shape. The square of acetate was put on crooked (again, no measuring or exacting here), and the wonky map on the cover is annoying me a lot more than I'd anticipated. Major failure in forgetting to use something sturdy for the back of the book, rendering it flimsy and nearly impossible to write on without a table.  

This would make an excellent scrapbook/inspiration book/journal/photo album, and less of a notebook to carry about. It's not exactly what I'd planned, but the fact that it is functional at all is always a pleasant surprise. Luckily, I realized how flimsy this was before working on my second notebook and made the appropriate changes. Look, I'm learning!

The next little recycled guy should be ready for internet fame tomorrow!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recycled Notebook Project, Pt 1

Do you have a notebook problem like I have a notebook problem?

First of all, I am unable to dispose of a notebook once I begin using it...or once I finish using it. I have a habit of skipping pages, leaving one or two or ten pages blank between used sheets. I'll even skip to the back, leaving the middle fresh. I'm left with piles of notebooks I cannot bring myself to recycle, with miscellaneous clean pages within.

I'm not ready to recycle the actual notebooks themselves (HOARDER!), but I know it's necessary to let those blank pages fulfill their destiny. One productive and motivated evening long ago, I went through the whole pile and ripped out the blank pages. Today, I finally make use of them!

Here is a sneak peek into the unfinished, super-DIY recycled notebook project. Using my limited (read: non-existent) book-binding skills, all of those loose-leaves have regained their purpose. Iowa map + acetate + mod podge + embroidery thread + lots of holes punched. The final project (success or failure!?) will be revealed when everything dries.
I set the custom timer on my camera for 10 photos and just move around while flash goes off. This is why I usually look so foolish. And yes, that's my bathroom.
Craftin' Outfit
Top: Aztec print, thrifted $.25
Earring: Single feather dangle, gift from Luxe Debris
Jeans: Clearance rack at Target, $5.00
Shoes: Not pictured, trashed work Keds, gift from the beau
Belt: Not pictured, pink belt from Thrift Mart, $.25
Approximate Total: $5.50
Top detail. Wonderful colors and print for a quarter.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dueling Prints

This week's jam is Sly and the Family Stone's "Every Day People." I can't quit it. Do yourself and dance to it. Affirming and rump-shaking.

A meeting with Sonya, Ramona, and Carissa inspired this thrifted outfit. Our meeting smoothed out a few details for our Eco-Fest Fashion Show and Open Studio, where we will showcase our methods of thrifting, reconstruction, and wardrobing in the name of sustainability. The studio and show will be on April 16th at Gatherings in the New Bohemia District. It's free, so please come check it out!

I chose to mix and match patterns, like my lovely cohorts have done in the recent past. Their boldness left me drooling for my own pile o' patterns:
  1. Ramona's competing/coordinating stripes.
  2. Carissa's extreme checkers with dainty floral belt. Scroll down just a bit, but first check out how Greg cheated to beat me in Bananagrams.
  3. Sonya's proud stripes and precious florals.

Top: Dueling owls pattern. Thrifted, $.75
Cardigan: Blue and white stripe pattern. Thrifted, $2.00
Skirt: Jewel-toned floral pattern. Thrifted $1.50
Belt: Aztec print leather belt. Thrifted $.25
Tights: Clearance rack, $3.50
Shoes: Not pictured, brown cowboy boots. Vintage, $10.00-ish
Approximate Total: $17.00

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Small Token

This frame, found today at Goodwill, gave me a chance to give Jake a small gift. A token of my adoration. He is especially good at wrangling my breed of crazy, and acting like the things I cook are the tastiest ever. The best teammate I could have asked for. He and Muschi (my cat) make the same face when they want to snuggle. Jake moved here over a year ago to be nearer to me, and this summer we will be moving to Chicago together.  My stuff is going to be all mixed-in with his stuff. Geeez.

Drawn when my hair actually looked like this, and Jake's beard was significantly less ferocious than now.
The doodles are from The Notebook I Carry Around (most ladies I know have one). I traced the doodles on tracing paper I'd been handed down, and colored them in with nice art markers (also handed-down). I definitely like the original drawings better than the framed ones. Our rosy cheeks are accurate, but I wish I'd also added eyes or no cheeks at all. C'est la vie!

Total project cost was only $.88, the cost of the frame.

Thrift Store/Thrift Score

Whoaaa have I been doing chores or what?! Hint: I totally have. My tires are now full of air. The Linn County offices have been visited (and I have been snarked at by an official). The bank saw my face today. Taxes are about to be done. I sent my sewing machine off to the doctor with a gentle little pat for good luck. The apartment is clean thanks to a productive Sunday.

These obnoxious feats are accomplished, generally, with the promise of a reward. Today's prize was a stop at the Goodwill across the street from the Linn Co. offices, where I bought some new summer gear despite the fact that we are moving in about 3 months...and I know how much I hate moving all the crap I already own.

I will rationalize this behavior in the following way: big city thrifting is more expensive and less fruitful than Cedar Rapids thrifting. Thus, it is essential I get my fill in while I can.

Top: Thrifted, covered in hearts, $1.50
Jeans: Clearance rack, $5.00
Earrings: Rusty La Rue (can be found here), $7.50
Shoes: Not pictured, nasty Keds, gift from the boo
Hair: a hilarious, top-of-my-head disaster
Approximate Total: $14.00

A: On par with the return of my affection for the ballerina aesthetic. The yearning for sheers, pinks, frills, and lace is never too far away from me. The back has a giant sheer bow to tie, but doesn't quite zip up. This will either be fixed with the impending bike rides to come, or with the sewing machine. $.25
B: Salmon Cherokee brand jumper, loose-fitted like I want all of my jumpers to be. Perfect for rolling around in the grass. $2.38
C: Helllooo, thick, pasty legs! I can't tell if this is supposed to be a costume or not. Originally a one-piece, I already snipped up the crotch, ready to be sewn into a dress once my Janome is feeling better. Major pilot/military details like epaulets blur the line between costume and casual. I'mma wear the crap out of this! $5.00
D: 100% silk, vintage with its tags still attached--originally $200! The only wrap-around I've ever found that actually fits just as it's supposed to--the buttons meet all of their matching holes without tugging OR sagging. The colors are a dream come true. Now it's all a matter of going somewhere fancy...$5.00
E:  Not shown, but included in my $18.00 thrift bill: a string of plastic air-stream trailer party lights, a mug with a photo of a poodle for my collection (a collection of photo mugs, NOT a collection of poodles), a 25cent belt, a 25cent coogi/cosby sweater to gift, and a heart frame to fill with doodles for Jake.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cowgirl, Two Ways

A couple outfits to make me feel like I'm not ignoring the internet:

 Top: Vintage ascot blouse, with horse-head print, gift from Erica's discard pile (can you believe she gave this away!?)
Skirt: Target, bought in a pinch for a job interview, $12.00
Boots: Vintage, free dollars
Approximate total: $12.00, the cost of the skirt alone!

Top: Old Navy clearance from back in college, $8.00ish
Skirt: Vintage from thrift store, with pockets! $2.00
Boots: Vintage, free dollars
Approximate Total: $10.00

Friday, March 4, 2011

Classic Carissa, Part 2: The Sassiness

Gah! What a naughty blogger. 

Between a non-stop weekend, a ferocious work-week, and issues too whiny for the internet (but wasn't the internet made for whining!?), I have been lazy in both writing and dressing. I wore both men's pants and shirt today, for instance, and neither fit in that cute, slouchy kind of way. Yeesh.

Here is the run-down of Carissa's four consecutive birthday witching hours:
BLAM! The girl even looked like it was her birthday.
Karaoke at Gathering's, where velvet was worn and Josh sang that he's got "99 Problems" and Carissa is every single one of them.
Basement chat party, which felt like a rainy day at camp in the best way. Recommended for large groups: pin cards with names and objects written on them to shirts and make each recipient guess only in "yes" or "no" questions. Family-friendliness is optional based on the group.
Dancing at the bar! More velvet!
Recreational mall goth-ing. More evidence of this to come...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Classic Carissa, Pt. 1: Sappiness

Whoa whoa whoa.

What a weekend. 

Carissa's birthday was celebrated for four days of non-stop good times. There will be pictures soon, but first I need to wrap my brain around normal life all over again.
The first known photo of Carissa (second from right) and I.
Instead, I've included a nice n' syrupy run-down of my love for the witchy woman. Look, it's gonna get real sappy. Let me apologize for that in advance. I'm from sentimental, weepy stock. My dad cried the day my guinea pig died! Understand, I'm actually holding back here, ya'll.

We met in 2007 through her roommate and all-time best friend Ramona, who I have just as much loveliness to say about but will save it for another day. Ramona became a barista at Brewed along side of me, and introduced me to Carissa so that we could spend time together while Mona was on tour with Leslie and the Ly's. We met at a time and place when it seemed nearly impossible to find someone like-minded, or even my age for that matter. To find ladies like Carissa and Ramona in a place like Cedar Rapids...well, what the frick! How does that even happen!?
The first (of so many!) nights spent dancing at the now defunct Club Universe as a trio. These coordinating red, white, & blue outfits were unplanned--it was just meant to be.
Carissa has been the kind of friend that changes your life. From her, I've learned what it means to be loyal and to think constantly about others more than myself. Nearly every day I wear or use something she has made or bought with me in mind, and it's always pitch-perfect "Brooke." Her kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity, sense of humor, spirit of adventure, activism, and friendship is unparalleled. Through her, I am inspired to be a better friend, the kind of friend that is family.  Our friendship has encouraged me to embrace myself unconditionally, to wear each inch of "weird" as though it were a mile (a confetti and glitter covered mile!).
Carissa is not pictured, but these are her amazing creations.
Please visit Carissa's blog to witness it all for yourself.
Support her by buying her amazing jewels and vintage at White Rabbit, The Fix, or her Etsy.

I present to you, some of the "greatest photographic hits" of Carissa and I, following the break: