The Linen Closet

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!

Hope you enjoy the new idea,

– <3 A. 

Scarf Secrets

Happy Halloween everyone!

Its supposed to be 82 degrees today–thanks California. Guess who is completely bummed though? Me. Yes, I hate it. But I’m thinking wishfully so I thought I would share with you a few fun ways to tie a scarf, so, if fall ever decides to stick around, you’ll be ready.

I love this little book. It’s a pamphlet from Nordstrom’s from the 80s and, excepting the unfortunate bowl hair-cuts on many of the models, it’s a really great step-by-step guide to tying all sorts of different scarves (oblong, square, bias) into all sorts of different ways. In honor of my series this week of showing how the addition of a few accessories can add some simple femininity to your everyday look, I thought I would share two of my favorite ways to tie a scarf.

The scarves I’m talking about aren’t the keep-me-warm-ones necessarily. Instead, these are more of the thinner fabrics that can be worn indoors–even after you take your coat off–and can add some elegance to a shirt and jeans, a plain sweater- dress, or with a collared button-down to keep it feeling girly.

These are some of my favorites:

how to tie a scarf

They really aren’t even scarves at all, but are actually about a half of a yard of fabric I bought for a few dollars each. Once tied, they look super-chic and not anything like a square piece of fabric cut off the bolt: cheap and the possibilities are almost endless.

Tie number one:

(I warned you about the hair didn’t I?) If you can’t tell what to do from the image, here’s a little more help:

1.) Drape an oblong scarf around your neck and about half-way up pinch one side of the scarf to the other side with your thumb and forefinger:

how-to-tie-a-scarf2.) Using a ring, push the pinched part of the scarf through the hole of the ring:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

3.) Keep pulling the scarf through the hole until you get it to the length you want:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

Tie number two

how-to-tie-a-scarfThis one looks a bit more complicated but it’s really not. It’s easiest to do with thinner fabrics otherwise the pleats get a little too fluffy and it looks like a mess. I used Alice to help me out on this one: 

1.) Drape an oblong scarf around your neck and tie a loose knot in one side about two inches from the bottom:

2.) Fold the other side into accordion pleats until it’s even with the knotted side…

how-to-tie-a-scarf …and hold onto the inside half of the pleats and let the other side fan out:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

3.) Push the pinched side of the pleats through the loose knot and then tighten the knot:

how-to-tie-a-scarf

4.) Arrange the pleats until they drape nicely:
how-to-tie-a-scarf

Easy, yes? Everytime I’ve worn these two knots, I always get people asking me how I tied them.

how-to-tie-a-scarf

It looks complicated but is actually very easy and, don’t take it from me, even Nordstrom says, it adds “a sensational touch of class.”

Hope everyone has a safe Halloween. Maybe tie a scarf around your neck to get into the mood if the weather has got you feeling more like June than October. I haven’t actually carved my pumpkin yet but I have big plans! Maybe I’ll share tomorrow if it looks as good in real life as it does in my head.

– <3 A. 

Shoe Emotions

I love routine, I have to have it. When I’m thrown off of it I get the feeling you get when you leave for a big trip and know you have forgotten at least three essential items.

Mornings especially, if my usual get-ready-line-up is thwarted I feel quite undone for the rest of the day: makeup first, then hair (because then the hair looks better), outfit, jewelry… then, finally, with usually two minutes to spare and whatever is visible, I grab my shoes. I began to think though, more than anything else, my shoes are often what inspires my mood for the day.

Boots: definitely powerful. Perhaps because they can tackle any-weather, I feel as if I can tackle anything. Dressed up, dressed down, and always able to add interest to the boring sweater+jeans fall uniform, it is beginning to become the season where they are my best friends.

Weekend shoes: instantly relaxed and motivated. Weekday, evening errands feel so much more fun with weekend shoes on. Perhaps because they are work-inappropriate, these guys exude a feeling of rebelliousness when worn mid-week. Try it.

Rounded-toe flats: When worn with a skirt or dress, for some reason I can’t get beyond feeling about this old:

Cute? Yes…but attractive? Productive? Competent…capable? Definitely a no.

Obviously the quickest way to get rid of this youthful incompetency is put on a heel, but sometimes, somedays, some situations, heels just really cannot work. Especially since I am already (truly) tall enough, heels are more often than not, not an option. My favorite substitute then is the pointy-toe flat:

You wouldn’t really think that adding a small triangle at the end of your toe could do so much, but it really is astonishing how it can change your whole mood. If you’ve never tried it, I’m not surprised, for some reason these little guys are ridiculously difficult to find. And I really can’t understand why…

…They make an otherwise not cute, un-feminine, unsavory little body part really very chic.

 In the fifties and sixties, these pointy-wonders could be seen everywhere. Surprise, surprise though, for some reason, modern fashion has determined the female foot would rather resemble an elephant hoove rather than a slim little ending to the leg. Because of this, I haven’t really found a go-to store for them. Gap had a few at one time on their online store but (surprise!) they quickly sold out. DSW.com’s Mia Limited Edition Audrey Flat is a fairly reasonable price and comes in a few different fun colors. Usually though, when I discover one of these rare gems it is through an obscure store. Collecting more of them is my new goal though; they can be worn with anything, anywhere, and feel elegant but not over-dressed, capable without being overbearing, and demure without being forgettable.

I might perhaps move “pick shoes” up a little further in my get-ready-line-up. I’ve discovered they might deserve a little more thought. If your hair is abysmal, your outfit not working right, your mood in a grump, be sure your shoes make you feel the way you want to that day.

For me though, no shoe can trump the feeling this one gives:

Slippers: “Don’t you stay at home of evenings? Don’t you love a cushioned seat in a corner by the fireside with your slippers on your feet?” (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

Happy new week everyone, hope you chose wisely this morning when dressing your feet!

– <3 A.