July 30, 2012

Why I Love Thrift Stores, Reason #14

I bought this shirt in early May. (I only remember this because it was the same day we bought our new-to-us car, and that's the sort of thing that sticks in your head. Not shirt-buying. That would be weird.)

Just a regular run-of-the-mill cheap shirt to wear on these screamin' hot summer days.

It's been through the wash probably less than a dozen times, and lo.

Pilling. My favorite.

This stretchy, jersey cotton fabric is from Satan. It's official. Not only does it pill like a mofo, but it always seems to collect grease stains in my washing machine. I don't know why this is, but this is the only type of fabric I've ever seen that goes into the wash cleaner than it comes out.

On the other hand, things I've bought at various thrift stores and secondhand via Ebay and Etsy, for even less money than I paid for this shirt from Hades:

A modern garment made in China, but made of silk.

Actual cotton!

More silk. 

A vintage dress, made in the United States. 

A vintage slip, made in the U.S. The mind boggles. 

Vintage Pendleton! Wool! Not outsourced! 

The concept that mass-produced low-cost clothing has less-than-awesome quality is nothing new, but bears repeating. Buying vintage and/or secondhand, paying less money, and getting better quality garments? Makes this girl very happy. 

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July 28, 2012

The Lomax Collection - Photos from 1934-1950

Woman sitting in car, Texas - 1937
Doc Davis of Bog Trotters Band, with autoharp, and unidentified woman, Galax, Virginia - 1937
Zora Neale Hurston, Rochelle French, and Gabriel Brown, Eatonville, Florida - June 1935
Mrs. Isabella Salazar at Casa Ricardo Hotel, Kingsville, Texas - September 1940
Candy seller, San Antonio, Texas - photo taken between 1934 and 1950
Mrs. Valbertina Kimball, Mrs. Minnie Smith, Mrs. Elizabeth Fulks, at home of Mrs. Fulks, Stanton, Texas - September 1940

These photos are from the Lomax Collection and can be viewed at the Library of Congress web site. All photos taken by either John Avery Lomax, Alan Lomax, or Ruby Terrill Lomax. The above photos, plus hundreds more from the Lomax Collection, can be viewed by clicking here

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July 26, 2012

A 1st Blogiversary

Today my wee little blog turns 1. I would have sworn my blogiversary was in August, because that's me, always together.

After a year of this, I have no idea whatsoever if this blog is good, bad, or indifferent. All I know is that y'all are reading it, and I'm still enjoying writing it.

To mark the occasion I thought I'd do another round of Ten Things.

Ten Things You May or May Not Know

1. I don't have a cell phone. There's no reception at my house. So while everyone else in the world age 5 and up is updating their statuses and tweeting on the move, I'm at a PC. Hello from 1999!

2. I don't have a Kindle or iPad either. Hello again from 1999!

3. I desperately want a pet turtle.

4. I hate exercising. I get bored with it easily and have to keep switching to different things.

5. Speaking of, why can't someone invent a pill so you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight? That shit would put Viagra right out of business.

6. I'm afraid of the dark.

7. I'm allergic to cats. Majorly. Like, eyes-running-and-face-swelling-sort of major.

8. I don't know why people still wear Uggs. I just don't get it. Once you see a pic of Marlon Brando (may he rest in peace) wearing Uggs, the whole trend should be sort of over. Really.

9. I can't wear stiletto heels without teeter-tottering all over. My heels gots to be chunky.

10. My idea of a perfect day involves sitting on a beach somewhere, or being in the mountains. I'm flexible. There's a reservoir in the Gallatin National Forest outside of Bozeman, MT that fits this description to a T, by the way.

So, here's to another year!

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July 23, 2012

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The 20th was our 5th wedding anniversary, so the Mr and I took a little weekend trip to celebrate. We usually don't do anything except dinner and a Julia Child dessert for our anniversary, so this was a big deal.

Also, really? 5 years of marriage without a stabbing incident or an attempted suffocation? We're golden.

We headed to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore outside of Munising, MI. Lake Superior, waterfalls, white sand beaches, a boat tour of shipwrecks, hiking trails, and finding sand in the unlikeliest of places. It was wonderful.

We were utterly exhausted by Sunday evening, but it was worth it. Hope your weekend was as good as mine.

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July 20, 2012

Unfortunately, This is Typical

We only wanted to hang a punching bag.

First, we had to find a place to hang it in the garage. No big, except a truck was in the way. And it's not really a truck, it's a truck frame. With a cab on it. So we pushed that outside.

But then the ginormous bench that's holding the truck box is in the wrong spot. So that had to be jacked up and pushed over.

And then the truck frame is outside, and it's starting to rain, so we better get that moved. Except we can't push it uphill, so we need the tractor.

But it won't start. The battery needs a jump. No big. Except that it dies halfway down the driveway. Because it's out of diesel, even though it had 5 gallons in it. Which means that not only does it hemorrhage oil (which we knew) now it also leaks fuel. New development, there.

The Mr. drove to the gas station, got the diesel, got back, and attempted to fill the tank but oh hey! There's a wasp nest in the engine. Spray that, fill it up, jump the battery, and bingo! We're finally running!

Hook the truck up to the tractor and pull the truck up the hill (I was in charge of steering. Go me.) and then unhook it, turn the wheels the right direction, and push it back inside the garage.

Except that we couldn't get it over the lip of the concrete slab leading into the garage, so we had to use the tractor to shove it in.

1.5 hours after we began, we hung the punching bag!

Please tell me that we're not the only people this sort of thing happens to a on a regular basis. 

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July 18, 2012

How to Make Homemade Frozen Pizzas

I do not keep much processed food in the house. For the most part it's expensive and unhealthy, and I like to cook anyway, so most things get made from scratch.

Frozen pizza was one of the only exceptions to this rule. Cooking on weekends (when I'd rather be doing something else) is never fun, and it's sooooo easy to just throw a pizza in the oven and call it a day.

It only occurred to me about a week ago that it was probably possible to make homemade frozen pizza. I Googled. And sure enough, it's possible.

For this mission, should you choose to accept it, you shall need 2 el-cheapo pizza baking pans. I got mine for a buck each at a dollar store. You'll use these to bake the pizza crusts on, and to store the finished pizzas nice and flat in the freezer. 

Homemade Frozen Pizzas

- Pizza dough, homemade or store-bought*
- Pizza sauce, homemade or store-bought*
- The usual suspects - grated cheese, pepperoni, pickled pigs feet, olives, whatever you like on a pizza.  Joking on the pigs feet.

* I make my own dough and sauce. If you'd like to do the same, the dough I use is similar to this one. For the sauce, I cook a few cloves of garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil until fragrant, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and 1 (15 ounce) can crushed tomatoes. Add salt and pepper, and a few pinches each of thyme and oregano. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until thickened. Add fresh basil if you like. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 pizza baking pans and sprinkle them with a bit of cornmeal if ya like. It's fancy.

Divide the dough in half and smush into the baking pans. Prick the dough all over with a fork to keep it from rising too high. Place in oven, bake 8-10 minutes to just cook the dough through. Set aside until completely cool. 

Top each pizza with the desired amount of sauce - go easy on the sauce! If you use too much, the crust will be soggy after it's baked. Leave a 1 inch border around the edge. Top with cheese and other toppings. For these, I used pepperoni, mushrooms, and thinly sliced onion.

Leave the pizzas on the pans and wrap the whole shebang in several layers of plastic wrap. Store in the freezer.

To cook, bake in a 425 degree F oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown on the edges. (How long you bake the pizza will depend on how long you preheated the oven, how may toppings there are, etc. But 20 minutes is a good starting point.)


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July 16, 2012

How to Make Tap Pants

Good Lord, I'm talking about underwear again. My parents will be so proud.

Anyway. Those of us that love to wear dresses are always aware of the 'skirt blows up and shows everyone your bizness' danger. While store-bought tap pants or pettipants aren't that expensive, they can be made at home easily. And with cuter fabric, which is of utmost importance.

A while back I made bloomers from this free Colette pattern. The original post can be read here. While I still like the bloomers, they are rather voluminous and can be bulky when worn under a dress.

I figured I could use the same pattern to make tap pants. And I was right! It only needed one small modification - just hemming the legs instead of inserting ribbons or elastic.

I use one piece of elastic in the waist instead of two, as the pattern suggests.

A plain old hem on the legs means there is less bunching and bulkiness - they can be easily worn as tap pants under a skirt or dress.

I promise this is the last time I'll talk about underwear on here. For awhile, anyway.

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July 15, 2012

A Sunday Shop Update

As browsing on Etsy is a wonderful way to waste time on a Sunday, I thought it was a good time for a shop update!

Peep-toes from the '30s. If these had fit me, they would never leave my side. 

A Mason jar of buttons. And wooden spools of thread. 

'60s black leather Florsheims. Again, if my skis feet weren't so big, they'd be stayin' with mama.

Awesome and terrifying all at the same time: a '60s space heater. 

And this little guy, who just reeks of cool: a '50s food processor. For reals. 

And that's that! I'll be back tomorrow with a sewing project that's easy-peasy and will protect your virtue. Honest. Pinky-swear. 

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July 13, 2012

Gibson Girl Hair Tutorial : A More Elaborate Version

When I posted my first Gibson girl hair tutorial, it was the simplest version of the style - sort of a flatter topknot secured with pins, with plenty of big-hair-height. I promised a more elaborate version, and this is it.

Be forewarned - this turned into a hot mess. The style isn't known for being super-neat, so I decided to post it even though it looks like a tremendous case of bedhead. Even if I can't follow my own damn directions, someone else may be able to follow the tutorial and get better results.

So. Here we go!

First, part your hair straight across the top of your head, from behind one ear to behind the other ear.

Gather the hair and pin it into place on top of the head. You can tease this section for height, or just push it toward your forehead before pinning into place. 

I call this section the Front Pouf. Because I am a dork. 

For a simple Gibson girl style, the remaining hair would be gathered into the aforementioned topknot and secured with pins. For this style, sections of hair are going to be taken from just behind the Front Pouf and they are going to be left down. These sections can be as large or as small as you like, depending on how you want to style the hair. I took 4 small sections from behind the Front Pouf. 

Leave your sections down. Gather the rest of your hair and flip your head upside down. Brush the hair to make it smooth. Form it into a loose coil or knot and pin it in place just behind the Front Pouf. 

Now take the remaining sections of hair and do whatever you like with them. Large sections of hair can be swooped from one side to the other. Small sections can be formed into curls and pinned around the Pouf or the topknot. 

I pinned my bangs back at this point.

I took one section, looped it around the topknot, formed it into a curl, and pinned it to the back of my head. Which you can sorta-kinda see in the photo below. (BTW, this is where this started to go downhill for me. The Victorian Era was known for its elaborate hairstyles which required salon visits [or lady's maids] and I sure as heck could have used an extra hand or four at this point.)

The remaining hair was divided into 3 sections and formed into pin curls which I pinned at the front of the topknot.

You can kinda-sorta see the curls here. But not really.

And at this point the style was finished, and I had to laugh because WTF. I somehow deflated my Front Pouf, the pincurls were sticking up all over, and I had more hair flying away than I had pinned down.

But it's like a Monet. Up close it's a mess, from far away it's not so bad. Maybe. 

Well, if anyone attempts this and has better luck than I did, let me know!

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