Thursday, August 6, 2009

My New Blog!

Not sure if this blog is even visited, but if so go here to visit my new blog:

blackdog finds

It's about personal style and thrifting.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Ideas

Spring is always the time of year I like to make resolutions. In New England it seems apropos to resolve to do something in the spring: people are coming out of hibernation mode, it's the time of year for spring-cleaning, there is way more daylight, which always is a motivator to me. This spring I would like to resolve to do the following:

~Make my first quilt. I've collected a bunch of vintage sheets and would like to recycle them into a simple quilt, maybe using this method.

~Finish my 3 sewing projects: a muumuu, the dress you see below on the dress form, and this skirt.

~Read voraciously.

~Learn to become more frugal. I really like the perspective on Kristen's post here re: thrifty versus frugal living.

~Redecorate the apartment in a vintage/retro vibe, which kinda flies in the face of the above resolution, I know, but I can't resist some amazing vintage curtains on sale from this sweet Esty seller:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Patriotic Spending

Now, what kind of American would I be if I didn't do my civic duty and spend that extra $40 in my paycheck this month? The point is to stimulate the economy, no? A mission I will gladly accept, Mr. President. Here's one way I can think to spend some or all of it:
Mad Men via F21
Mad Men via F21 - by kellsbells on

Looking to Forever21 for Mad Men inspiration, because honestly, right now my thrifting jaunts have been less than productive in finding vintage clothing.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How Am I Just Finding This Now?

LOVE THIS! I'm not into high fashion design, but I do love to watch people sew, and these women are obviously among the best seamstresses in the world. The rest of the mini-series is on YouTube, there are 5 episodes. It's inspiring and motivating. These women make me want to sew in perfect technique and form.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"I got bangs!"

I did. And I oscillate between feeling like a sexy 1970s actress a la Jane Birkin and a fifth-grader. I like them a lot, it's just taking some getting used to. Like, I actually have to comb my hair in the morning now versus rolling out of bed and throwing it all in a pony tail.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dress form, hurrah!

My first dress form was acquired from a friend who had no use for it. I've been wanting a dress form for so long but I kept waiting for a great deal to come along and my patience was rewarded with a free one! The dress on the form has been a UFO for almost a year. It's amazing the direct correlation of my level of motivation to receiving a proper dress form; it skyrocketed! Now I just need a name for her.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Comparing Unmentionables

I like to comparison shop, especially with products like t-shirts, make-up, and underwear. I like understand what makes some t-shirts worth $80 and others worth $10. I grasp the idea that the quality of construction and material make a huge difference, but really $80 for a t-shirt kinda blows my mind. Is it really that much better than a $10 or $20 t-shirt or just slightly better, or alternately not better at all but because X designer produces it the cost is justifiable?

Generally all I can do is wonder because I am unable to procure these pricier items for a true comparison. But occasionally I'll find something on deep discount (which, again, confuses me as to how these items can really cost what they do) and am afforded an opportunity for some comparing. Hence, the following example: Hanky Panky versus Target's Gilligan & O'Malley thongs. I bought a 3-pack of the Hanky Panky thongs at for $19.99 a couple months ago. These thongs generally retail for about $18 each . I then purchased 3 pairs of Gilligan & O'Malley which were on sale for I believe $3 which looked pretty similar to the Hanky Pankys.

The Comparison:

G&O- Runs large. I bought size small, it was a little loose. The line does not carry x-small.
HP: One size fits all, fit me perfect.

G&O- 100% nylon, made in the USA has held up fine after many washes. No fraying, fading, or sagging.
HP: 100% nylon, made in the USA, and ditto.

G&O- The fit makes it so I'm slightly more aware that I have them on, but not overly uncomfortable.
HP: Very comfortable

G&O: 3 pairs for $9, on sale
HP: 3 pairs for $19.99, on sale (offer no longer current)

If I could always buy Hanky Panky at that price it would be hands down Hanky Panky. But since that offer was for only specific colors and no longer available, not to mention I'd have to pay shipping, I'd have to lean towards Gilligan & O'Malley. I think for an inexpensive alternative to Hanky Panky, Gilligan & O'Malley is a great choice. They hold up remarkably well after washing; I've had Victoria Secret thongs similar to Hanky Panky basically fall apart after one wash. I think if G&O made sizing changes, or introduced a x-small size I'd probably never buy Hanky Panky even on sale. And thus concludes the longest blog post on underwear, ever.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reading leads to thinking, lots of thinking...

After finishing the Twilight Saga this past weekend I was feeling the need to seek out and read literature. I never know how to find a good book; it's easy enough to ask The English Teacher, but our tastes differ and he will read anything just to be reading- he gives every book a chance. One of my favorite books is Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, I love the writing style and stories about familial ties and origins. I Googled Middlesex to see to what kind of list the title might belong, maybe a "Top 10 Books of the New Millennium" or "Top 25 Novels with Verse-y Prose" to find titles to read. It actually was a much more obvious list I found, the Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction (Middlesex won in 2003). I love lists, so my goal for the following months is to read most, if not all, of the Pulitzer Prize winners. So to make a long post longer, I saw 2007's winner was Cormac McCarthy's The Road . My husband and other family members loved this book, and they all spoke rather wistfully about it. We had a copy of it lying around so I jumped right in and finished it yesterday.

In a nutshell, it's a post-apocalyptic setting with a father and his young son travelling the road from North to South, seemingly in the U.S., to avoid the coming winter. It's intentionally vague about why and how the world is as it is. It's dark. It stressed me out. I loved it.

There are many posts on others' blogs that thoughtfully review The Road and right now I can't really seem to express articulately what I thought about this book yet, so I won't try very hard here, but I would urge someone to read it. I will say the timing of my encounter with this book may have something to do with how I feel about it; my lackluster job, the word depression being thrown around on the Today Show, the Dow sinking below 7000, and various other crises I'm not sure if it makes me care more or less about them. One part of me reduces the situation in the U.S.- things could be a lot worse, we haven't resorted to cannibalism and another part of me thinks, yeah, yet. The less dramatic part of me just wants to take away from the book a notion of simplicity. What surrounds me in my life is actually necessary, do I work this well-paying, but mind-numbing job because I think it's what's necessary? Is it necessary for me to have a 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath home to sustain my existence?
I don't always get so meta about books, but I think I've been too long in reading a thought-provoking book that my brain is ready to latch onto new perspectives via literature. Vampires are fun and all and I did get swept up in the Twilight mania, but I much prefer getting swept up in examining my life because a well-written piece of literature moved me to do so.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wanted: Anorak

Either self-made or thrifted, so I can wear cutie-pie outfits like these:
Anorak love
Anorak love - by kellsbells on

I think this this pattern from Hot Patterns (HP 1030) might do the trick should my thrifting search be fruitless:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The English Teacher's Stepford Wife

I never read the Stepford Wives novel nor have I watched the 1970s movie, but I am the happy owner of the DVD for the 2004 version. Despite it's glaring plot holes (are they robots or just brainwashed?!) I watch this movie repeatedly- I am visually addicted to it. I love the color choices, the psychotic tidiness of Stepford, and the wardrobe choices. Example:

This screen cap inspires me to have a wardrobe full of spring dresses, particularly Faith Hill's dress with the little lace trim and the big, bright poppy print. It's not necessarily the dress styles that I love, but just the visual enjoyment I have when looking at all theses dresses together, the colors and the patterns, and the idea I could have that same thrill when I open my closet. It's only February, maybe by May I'll have sewn up a fleet of spring dresses, or at the very least collected fabrics which are sometimes just as fun to look at stacked together.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


During these dark cold nights while the Husband is doing grad-work I find myself at a loss for something to do. My homework is not nearly as intense as it has been in the last couple of semesters, so I do have quite a bit of free time. Last night I took out some of my jewellery making stuff, a random assortment of cheapie beads and wire, and decided to have a go at making some cluster rings. I've seen them on Etsy and they are so attractive to me, shiny, bright, cheerful groupings of beads bound together in an organic, random way. Here are the fruits of my labor:

I kinda just winged it (is that the proper past tense for that phrase?), but these YouTube video tutorials were extremely helpful for the technical stuff (i.e. construction, what gauge wire, how to wrap, etc):
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brevity Is the Word of the Day: Book Reviews

Love it so far, a bit cumbersome with all the names and separate accounts.

Slightly overrated, but provides excellent conversation material.

Love the idea, hated the projects. Uninspired and unimpressed unfortunately.

As a 26 year-old I probably should not admit the extent to which I loved it and that I am now obsessed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I was doing so well

...posting so often! Oh well, I've got loads of thrifty finds to share I just need to haul out the camera, but between oral surgery, work, and homework lately I've little time to do so...not to mention the dearth of actual daylight to take good pics. Will update soon!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ebay Look #2 Inspiration: 3.1 Phillip Lim

I really love the look of a minimal, monochrome look with a big statement piece. Once again I looked to eBay for vintage finds. While the sweater is F21, it's at least budget-friendly, however this style and color sweater is basic enough that it could just as easily be an investment piece if one wanted to splurge.

Sweater via Forever 21

Michael Kors turtleneck via clee2574

Pants via my_designerdeals

Necklace via savingsbay

Shoes via jessamyneast

Runway photo:

Thursday, January 1, 2009

So Fresh 'n So Clean

Happy 2009!

A year in which I will hope for the following:

.::the ability to let stuff go, stop dwelling on things already!::.

.::increased sewing/crocheting/knitting skills::.

.::motivation/desire to go to the gym again::.

.::a vet-free year::.

.::successful completion of an accounting class::.

.::(cliche disclaimer) to recognize the times where I should just be living in the moment::.

I hope for health and happiness for me and my loved ones, and for you and yours!