I haven’t had a moment to even think about blogging since the Reign of Spring Quarter Terror began showering down its projects, due dates, and never-ending processional of assignments, classes, forms, and tests. Its so frustrating screaming through these months because I love this time of year and want to do so many things that never make it on the YOU HAVE TO DO THIS TO SURVIVE list. Despite all the screaming though, I couldn’t escape the fact that it is April and full-blown wedding season. I was so excited to be forced back into some creativity by a client asking if I would make an apron for the future “Mrs. O.” I love it when there’s a special purpose for my pieces. Of course, each one is unique and special to make, but when I know a little about where its future home will be and what sort of girl will be wearing it, every stitch is just that much more exciting. This client was requesting the apron for a surprise gift for a bridal shower. She asked if I could embroider the bride’s wedding date and new last name initial on the waistband and I was so happy to oblige her.
Way back in December I mentioned that VMMV’s Etsy shop was going to be published and guess what? It’s here! I’m so excited to give everyone a little preview of my article in the beautiful new issue of Apronology. I got my own copy a few days before it officially hit the shelves but I was holding off from revealing my spread until everyone had the opportunity of buying it so I didn’t spill any secrets. I was so, SO incredibly surprised when I got my issue because people, I MADE THE FRONT COVER! I’m not the gorgeous pin-up apron on the front, but the “turn to page 86 for a 1 apron 2 styles” plug on the cover is…me!
I am so honored and so excited to have made it to the front. I hope you all go out and find this magazine; Barnes and Nobles should carry it and if they don’t, ask! It’s Stampington & Company’s newest magazine and it has so many beautiful aprons that some amazing sewers create, I can’t get over that I’m among them. The editors were so wonderful to work with, I can’t gush enough about the experience. My apron is just one of so, so many gorgeous ideas, please go support this new magazine and read about all the new and wonderful ways artists are updating aprons.
If you haven’t noticed, there’s a new little badge over on my sidebar under “features.” Take a minute to check out the issue and if you don’t feel like finding the magazine in a store, use the link and order online. This article is coming at the most perfect time. I’ve been so swamped with school that I haven’t had even an hour to spend on this space and it’s been a nagging sort of disappointment. This article forced me to make VMMV a priority just long enough to share and it feels good. I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to a new month. I’m hoping to be able to pop back in to share a valentine recipe for a sparkling wine cake that is super yummy so stay faithful please in my frequent absence! I so appreciate all of you. In the meantime though, go read about aprons!
I really can’t tell you how excited I am for this. A few months ago, I was notified that “Apronology,” the newest magazine to join the Stampington & Company’s fabulous collection of magazines, had chosen one of my aprons to feature in their next issue which is set to come out in February 2014. I couldn’t believe it really; of course, I believed there was something special about my aprons, which is why I originally opened the shop, but to have an entire magazine agree with me blew me away. Aprons aren’t exactly a niche market, and take one quick search just around Etsy where the VMMV shop is centered and you quickly realize the apron field is pretty densely packed so I am incredibly honored that one of my babies will have it’s own spread in Apronology’s next issue.
The shop facet of the blog has always been something I’ve been hot and cold about. Initially it was too much: launching and managing the shop and the blog at the same time along with the rest of my life was overwhelming. I didn’t have time to make either site what I wanted them to be and it became frustrating and exasperating. For most of this year, the shop unfortunately took a backseat while I zeroed in on improving the aesthetics of the blog. When I met with my blog designer to redesign this site, I was even toying with the idea of completely eliminating the shop but she convinced me that it would be better to have a place for it and to eliminate later than to start slashing ties right from the beginning– and I’m so glad I listened to her!
I have no expectations from this article. The fact that I just have an article about one of my pieces is enough of a mountain-top experience even if nothing comes of it. Everyone’s Mt. Everest is different I’ve discovered: Some events could be the peak of Everest for certain people, while for others those events could just be the base camp from which they look ever higher and higher, looking for more, and pining after bigger things. For now though, this is the tip-top of my Everest for the shop: it’s validation they really are so adorably cute, it’s confidence that other people outside my immediate and wonderful support group think they’re something special, and it’s something to put on my desk and crack open to take a peek at the page with my apron smiling back at me whenever I begin to feel a little blue. It’s not for lack of ambition that I’m not necessarily hoping this is just the launching pad for bigger things for the shop, it’s more satisfaction that something did in fact come of sharing my pieces, and for 2013, that’s plenty of achievement for me. Whatever else comes of it will just be blessing heaped upon blessing.
***February 2014 sounds rather far away and I don’t mean to rush us all into the next year, but I couldn’t wait to share any longer. I will of course be sharing again once the issue is published and to remind all of you to dash out and buy a copy! For now though, the shop has a new “about” page and a bit of a new look so if you haven’t checked it out in awhile, humor me and give it another glance***
About a week ago, a very excited, soon-to-be-first-time Grandmother contacted me about a custom apron project. Custom projects are my most time-consuming option of my shop but they’re also my favorite. I love working with people to create a real-life version of their mental creative picture. This project in particular was an unusual one, but when she shared her story with me I couldn’t refuse the experience and joining in on what seemed to be a special bond between she and her daughter.
When my customer was a first-time mother, a friend had given her an apron that had a dish-towel sewn into the waist-band in order to protect her clothes from the frequent and usually ill-timed baby-messes of new motherhood. When her daughter expressed interest in becoming the second-generation happy owner of her mother’s nostalgia-filled apron, her mum asked me to provide an updated, fresh version of the dish-towel apron complete with the new mother’s embroidered name, the parents’ alma mater colors: Oklahoma State orange, and the new baby’s nickname embroidered on the towel. After a deluge of Etsy conversation exchanges, some fabric shopping, and brain-storming, I came up with something we both loved:
In keeping with my shop’s theme of convertible aprons, I wanted this apron to have the option of wearing it with or without the dish-towel attached. I placed snaps underneath the waistband edging to hide the connection when “Rebecca” didn’t want to wear the towel, or, when she wanted to throw the towel in the wash and wear the apron by itself. It turned out fantastic. I love how personal it is for the new mum, both nostalgic and practical: a little nod to the college where she and her husband met, washable for any mess their new baby creates, and inspired by the apron her own mother wore when Rebecca was just a baby making her own messes. I am so happy to be part of their story in my own way, I wish them the best on their journey with this new little life.
The Linen Closet is just a piece of this blog, a piece that is constantly being re-thought, and, unfortunately, a piece that is often pushed aside and left to idle while my creative brain-power is being used someplace else. It’s also a piece that I don’t want to constantly flood into my writing, however, I’ve decided a monthly update is probably a good thing since I don’t want to completely lose track of my original vision just yet. Some of the ladies who ordered from me during Christmas-time left some lovely feedback on the shop and they also gave me some great ideas to update it in order to get the ordering process a bit more slick. Custom items are a little tricky on Etsy, so I’m still unraveling the how-to’s over there. In the meantime though, if you haven’t seen it, I’ve updated The Linen Closet page of this blog with some better explanations of available options, including, two different sizes:
The apron piece of the blog has been a bit like a thesis that you know in your head exactly what you’re trying to get across, but when you write it down it doesn’t quite fit into the right words. If you’re confused by “convertible apron-top,” “mix and match aprons,” or really what the big deal is about yet another apron thrown into blog-world, hopefully this will clear things up a bit.
I’ve been taking a break from my sewing room during the craziness that was December, but I’m hoping with this post to get inspired to get back to sewing, or, at least re-think this piece of VMMV. I think there’s something a little bit different about my aprons from everything else on the market and I’m not yet ready to throw in the towel on these kitchen-buddies. Happy Wednesday! (see, you weren’t even counting and it just happened…we’re already halfway to the weekend!
This week free-time has become sew-time. Some more orders came in for my aprons and it’s been quite the job to fulfill them! I’m loving it though. It’s so much fun to see what combinations look good together, searching through yards of trim for some vintage-inspired laces, and making people’s visions come to life.
I was super-excited when a customer suggested some periwinkle, purples, blues, and corals for a half-apron. It’s such a lovely combination:
This one will be on it’s way to Chicago as soon as I’m finished. I’ve also been on a red-obsession after finding some gems earlier this week…
…and, I finally paired my custom mod-cat fabric I created with some blues, black and whites, and it turned out so cute! It might be my new fave:
As always, any bottom can be snapped on to any top to create a totally different look. I also have two different sizes now! If you’re thinking of one as a gift for Christmas or maybe a gift to yourself (my favorite type), check out all the listings here. There’s pre-made full and half-aprons if you want to see exactly what your apron will look like before you order, or, of course, you can always choose your own colors! The periwinkle one is calling me back for some attention so I’m back to sewing, hope everyone has a great weekend!
Last week, during all the party festivities, I was stirring enchilada sauce and mixing pumpkin-spice-latte cupcakes and I discovered I was very, very good at splattering. Apparently, when the enchilada directions said “simmer the sauce for ten minutes uncovered,” I read, “vigorously boil the enchilada sauce for ten minutes uncovered.” If you’ve never done it, a vigorous boil and a simmer are two very different things. If I had simmered, I’m pretty sure more of the sauce would have stayed in the pot instead of ending up vigorously boiling out onto the stove, my sweater…the wall? (wow), and the floor.
Needless to say, a half-apron for that meal just didn’t cut it. So, I began to think of how I could add a little splatter-safety onto my apron:
After a few shredded patterns, some misplaced darts, too wide of straps, and buttons that weren’t cooperating, I finally got it. My Etsy shop, Vintage Muses, is now offering convertible aprons. The bottom half hasn’t changed except for a few nifty snaps that the top can simply snap into for some vigorous boiling episodes, and unsnap again if you just feel like wearing the half:
Pretty nifty, yes? My favorite part is that you can have multiple different tops to snap and unsnap and each one can give you an entirely different look.
The top has two darts sewn in and a sweetheart neckline so the typical oversized, straight-across apron-top is a bit more feminine.
The bottom and top can be purchased separately or, of course, the two together. I’m really looking forward to this new option, and, also looking forward to using some of my custom fabrics I’m creating. There is definitely more to come!
If you’re thinking of doing some vigorous boiling soon for Thanksgiving, don’t do it until you’ve stopped by Vintage Muses first!
I was working a bit of overtime this weekend. I had hoped that I would be able to show you a new idea I’m working on for The Linen Closet but the prototypes didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted so the full reveal will have to wait.
Something I can reveal though is a few recent finds from my favorite vintage store. Vintage stores can be a little scary, but combing through some seriously hideous, 70’s beaded apparel, and some 80’s suits that I don’t think will ever be vintage enough to become attractive again, is usually well worth the effort. More often than not, they are usually full of hidden gems.
This wool, plaid skirt was perfect for entering the winter months. The best part about vintage stores is the clothing from the 50’s and 60’s was made so well that you can’t even tell the skirt is decades old. I will say though, the women must have been miniatures of modern women because, goodness, the waists are so tiny! A wool skirt in perfect condition for $12.00 was quite the find.
I thought this polka-dot ascot blouse would look lovely with a black pencil skirt. Besides, there’s something about polka dots that I just can’t put back, so it came home with me.
And, at last, my fav:
I fell in love with this coat the moment I saw it. After my first round of glee was over though, I was a bit hesitant to buy it. The color is not enhanced at all, it’s really truly THAT green. I’m definitely not one for neon colors, and usually don’t buy green that often, but I couldn’t get past the tailoring of it and I had to take the plunge:
What finally convinced me was thinking of Doris Day and her film-wardrobes, always chock-full of brightly colored coats that matched almost any outfit imaginable.
When shopping for outerwear it seems silly to get anything that you can’t wear with everything. So, I usually settle on brown, black, navy blue, or grey. Sometimes though, it’s just fun to be a little outrageous.
It did actually come with a matching dress, but the zipper needs a bit of help from a tailor and (don’t worry) I definitely won’t be wearing them together. Doris Day might be able to pull it off but I’ll stick to making my statements separately.
The first raindrops fell since I don’t know when yesterday. Needless to say I could have counted them on one hand, but I am going to be optimistic and count that as the official advent of colder days, necessary sweaters, and excuses for keeping my slippers on longer than usual.
November is proving to be quite the party at my house. With two birthdays in as many weeks and more birthdays and Thanksgiving on the horizon, I am reminded why I love this time of year: so many excuses to decorate, dress up, light candles, make gifts, and plan get-togethers it’s absolutely terrific.
Here’s a picture-review of the recent festivities to see you into the weekend as well as inspiration for a little project in case you have a rainy afternoon this weekend that needs filling:
The party was terrific. I made pumpkin spice latte cupcakes that turned out more like muffins but were no less delicious.Email me if you want the recipe. I could argue that these should be a new pantry-staple, at least for the month of November, but I think I should probably restrain myself.
Lately I’ve been seeing the cutest pictures of little, handmade creatures all over Pinterest and the blogs I visit. I wanted to figure out how I could do it myself– even if it didn’t turn out quite as well, I think creating them is so much more fun than just buying one. So, here’s my attempt:
This project does require a bit of planning if you want to create your own image for some custom fabric. Otherwise, you could just buy fabric with an image you like and cut it out.
This was my inspiration:
Nokona loves attention so he was a very willing muse. After I drew a funny cartoon of my little-buddy, I headed over to spoonflower. Spoonflower.com is my new favorite toy. Upload an image into their fabric shop, edit it however you like, and they will send you your cartoon in fabric form:
This was my first attempt using spoonflower so all I ordered was a tiny little test-swatch to see what it would really look like. It was awfully cute when I saw it though so I decided to turn the pretty much unusable piece of fabric into a doll:
I cut out two of the image repeats…
…and then sewed them together like you would if you were making a pillow with the right-sides together:
Don’t forget to leave one side un-sewn, you’ll need an opening to turn the fabric right side out again and then stuff it full of pillow-stuffing. Once its stuffed, just sew up the remaining open side and you’re done!
If you have a little-someone in your family, I think this would be such a cute just-because gift. If not, its a fun creative exercise that pretty much anyone can do.
Have a happy weekend everyone! Hope there will be a lazy afternoon to fill with a little creativity, or, at least a little pumpkin-spice.
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Skype, Gmail chat, Email, Flickr, Instagram…there pretty much are endless ways to keep in touch with the people you love that may have wandered far from where you are. Its brilliant. Photo-sharing, real-time video chatting, instant messaging. Its as if they’re not far away at all…only, they are. I love social media, its a great way to feel closer to people you normally wouldn’t be able to see often. Only, sometimes a quick Facebook message or an Instagram @shoutouttosomeperson isn’t quite enough. Have you felt it? its a sense of inadequacy, of meaning well but ending up not enough. Like giving plastic flowers to your Mum on Mother’s Day. You wouldn’t, would you? The thought is there but the love is missing. At least it seems to me like that.
Remember this though?
Its a POST OFFICE! You probably forgot about those. I do sometimes. Stamps, and letters (and yes, waiting a few days), and squeaky mail boxes. I get quite the thrill when I see a personal letter peeping out at me. It really is like spotting a friendly face in a crowd of strangers. Its unexpected and in the instant I discover who its from, I instantly feel so much love from them. Someone, somewhere, thought about you, sat down, wrote to you, and then took the time to mail you some love. They didn’t log on, search your name, and say “thinking of you.”
I can’t really think of a simpler, cheaper way to tell someone “I love you bunches and bunches” then writing them a letter.
Sometimes though, even a letter falls a little short. Birthdays and special occasions don’t stop coming around even if your loved one can’t.
When this little lady had a birthday without me, I had to take extreme measures. Facebook wouldn’t cut it. And a letter wasn’t quite enough.
My only option was to send a party in a box:
A banner made of paper-hearts, with a different memory we shared written on each one or a quote I knew would bring a laugh, and a little gift to open on each day of the week to make a birthday-away feel not nearly so lonely. A birthday box– simple to do, and the most fun I’ve ever had creating a birthday gift.
If your dear ones are scattered far and wide, don’t forget the mailbox at your own front door is a pretty fantastic way to share, and, who knows, someone may return a little love to the sender. Happy posting!
The Linen Closet
A little update for everyone: I was quite the busy-bee yesterday, if you want to see what I was up to, go to http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageMuses. There’s a new listing up with some seasonal colors to celebrate the fall weather that has (finally!) arrived. As soon as a cloud appears, that’s excuse enough for me to start baking. Here’s a bit of a preview of the newest apron in case you need a little something to give you an excuse: