May 30, 2012

thooooose were the daaaaays


my day 11 outfit for mmm reminded me of just how awesomely intricate RTW pieces were back when our parents walked to school uphill-both-ways-in-the-snow, so i had to get some close ups for you.  like i said, i'm pretty sure this was a mommaballoona maternity dress.  look at the embroidery on this little piece of cotton heaven!  i love all the angles and the little insets and trim... the buttons are from my stash, it used to have small plastic jobs that didn't seem to have the same standards as the rest of this dress.  i topstitched it like crazy in gold, carefully hiding and tucking all the worn places away.  it feels like a faded photograph on, and i always just barely iron it for fear of it disappearing completely.

i found this frock in my parent's magical attic (no longer in existence, sadly for me and probably a source of great relief for parental kalkatroonans).  it didn't matter how many times i'd sneak up there, i would Always. come out with some treasure.  the magnitude of the prize dictated whether i would show it to said parents, or stuff it in my overnight bag.  in my mind this was not stealing; it was a rescue mission.

i like my mind.


this stitched belt was rescued by ruggy from his dad's Oh My God We Are Getting Rid Of EVERYTHING period.  you know that phase, yes?  when you can't stand your closets and shelves and cupboards any more?  and then lament over everything you maniacally tossed?  oh, the wondrosities that were fated to boxes by the side of the road.  and the thing is, i probably wouldn't have known to save any of it even if i'd been there.  i looked at ruggy like he'd been hit on the head with too many sports related flying objects when he brought this belt home.  it came with a joe namath polyester button down (as in, the tag said joe namath menswear, and the shirt had repeating drawings of joe namaths surrounded by women) and a pair of acid purple bell bottom jeans.  i was all into the jeans.  sadly, my ass was NOT.  circa 70s ruggian dad apparently had a booty the size of one of my thighs.

even though papa ruggy was eager to let this stuff go, he made us promise we would never get rid of the shirt & belt.  (the jeans were abandoned shortly after arrival.  it was too depressing.)  i'm glad we made that promise, as i wear the belt constantly now... we'll see if joe namath ever makes it into heavy rotation.  (ba DUM dum.)


i left many, many accessories behind in NY, so the only embellishment for this outfit was a pair of earrings found last christmas with mother ruggy.  they were fifty cents.  THEY WERE FIFTY CENTS.  hand painted!  i lurve them.  

(now... dad du kalkatroona, if only you'd find that lions head gold necklace, i could dub this ensemble the Parental Parade Package.  or was it swallowed by magical attic?)

May 28, 2012

mmmmonday the fourth




you shouldn't go from manhattans to burgundy back to manhattans and then on to champagne.  i'm just saying.

my me-makes this week started out with a serious test of seams on my hipster camo dress, which i wore to work. i had to propel my five-foot-two-and-three-quarters-inches onto a six-foot-three-thousand-and-seven-billion-inches man.  repeatedly.  my knees are bruised but the seams held.  huzzah!

the Perfect Shade Of Blue vintage tent dress was shown the town in its first ever outing, and boy did it have fun.  i stole was graciously bequeathed this dress by my mom, i believe it was a maternity dress.  the color and the gorgeous embroidery (and the fact that my mom wore it... maybe i wore it too?) made me lovingly schlep it unworn from move to move, and i finally found the guts to refashion it into a patio dress.  it was a LOT of work, and thanks to y'all i've decided refashions that were a LOT of work totally count.

did you see the rock and roll hall of fame ceremonies this year?  HOLY SHIT THE BEASTIE BOYS TRIBUTE WAS JAW DROPPING.   YOU MUST YOUTUBE IT.  AS SOON AS THERE IS A DECENT VIDEO I'M PUTTING IT UP HERE AND IT IS MANDATORY THAT YOU WATCH IT.  i'm sorry, i shouldn't be yelling when there are peeps nursing hangovers in the vicinity.  this xxl t shirt has 3 refashioned seams running up its low cut back, and a cool twisty embellishment at the neck... but who cares, IT'S A BEASTIE BOYS T SHIRT.  i'm sorry.  i will chill.  the skirt is the bottom half of the magical schizophrenic 4 in 1 hack of this vintage dress.  though the skirt half was mostly seam rippage, an hour of pulling threads qualifies in my book.

whoah hey, one more mmm left!   i have no finish to this post other than that (see: first sentence).

May 26, 2012

three squares a day

i think three day weekends are all the more delicious when you unexpectedly have them OFF.  walls are coming down at my place of work, so i'm free.  freeeeeeeeeeeee!  we left the house at 10am and had an (also unexpected) adventure day.

breakfast:  coffee in our new favorite shop.... greg's garage, also known as trystero, where he serves up macchiatos in twice a month tastings, made from beans he roasts himself (that he will gladly deliver to your door).  this beat intelligentsia, yo.





what do you spie with your little eye?



lunch: pulled pork sliders and cheddar burgers in a converted warehouse, also known as golden road brewery. ruggy won with his choice of meat, but i won with my choice of brew: get up offa that brown english ale.



we parked our happy asses here.

dessert:  VINTAGE FABRIC FROM 1976 AT FIVE BUCKS A YARD.  in between beverage adventures, a sign proclaiming "a thousand fabrics" caught my eye (i yelled when i saw it).  on the way home, ruggy was happy to listen to the top 100 albums of all time while i greedily devoured my dessert.



don't ask me how i missed the floral awesomeness underneath, i was blinded by the all the sunshiny wovenosity (and tipsily concentrating on my host's hand, who delighted in showing me the year).  still thirsty, we grabbed some vermouth on the way home.

you know, for dinner.

May 24, 2012

like to take a peek?


i've made a facebook page for le blog.  peer pressure finally did me & the rugster in, so i thought why not throw a little oona love in there.  (also, during our battle to see who would get to 100 friends first, i wondered aloud if i should link my alter ego, and ruggy was all YOU HAVE TO GET A FACEBOOK PAGE BEFORE SOMEONE TAKES OONABALLOONA.  and yes, he said it in all caps.)

(ruggy won.)

(i'm not quite sure how we got so into facebook.  many of our friends think it may be a sign of the apocalypse.)

for now i'll be posting sneak peeks of what i'm working on that won't appear here until the project is finished... i'm thinking of it as oona hors d'oeuvres.  would you like a pancetta wrapped date stuffed with marcona almonds?  how about a few strawberries with goat cheese and a balsamic reduction?  i won't have any of those over there.  but there will be bits of lace and thread and probably cocktails.  so if you're into the facebook thing, go on over and like it if ya like

May 22, 2012

the po'tus with the mo'tus


you have to see this right now.  i applauded in front of my computer at the end like a DORK.

May 21, 2012

mmmmonday the third




as you can see, my beau is highly judgmental of my last outfit for week three.  he should be.  indeed, it is not a head-to-toe me-made look, but a thrifted silk top (sides taken in, length taken off, ties taken up) and a pair of stretch jeans (front pockets hacked out and sewn closed, pants hemmed a la lady danburry's awesome pinched hem tutorial).  it totally doesn't count but at least i had it all under a sewing machine at some point... 

hey, LOOK y'all.   what.   sunday was, as they say, day one of le month  (and i'm not talking me-made-month). that day.  Is Always.  Stretch Jeans Loose Top Day.

moving back in time!  friday saw the purple yardage of my perfet summer wacay dress, quite drunkenly blogged about in days of yore.  this is only the second time i've worn it!  what the fa, oona.  it had stretched out lengthwise about 18 inches (i kept it on a hanger, jersey does not want to be on a hanger, did you know that?) so i finally cut the excess off, and gave another inch of breathing room to the armholes.  GO ME MADE MAY.

the middle child of last weekend is dixie diy's (free!) one shoulder dress pattern, borne out of an intense surge of jealousy that engulfed me when i spied seek's awesome chevroned version last week.  it sews up super quick! though the bodice side seam step took a few minutes of puzzling... and i added some braid... and i bailed on the elastic... i'll be detailing that soon.  

soon.  i seem to jinx myself whenever i promise anything "soon", but i do really mean to have separate posts for new makes.  right now i'm in the middle of a bunch of things, as evidenced by the tree pose i felt necessary last saturday. the weekends are actually busiest for me, and although i've kept silent here & at your blogs i've been reading and chuckling and oohing to myself whilst my coworkers give me the side eye.  it's a nice side eye, no worries. though the one compliment i got on my outfits from last week was for my RTW fail day... hrrrmmmmm...

May 15, 2012

strange, and a little bit left of center


sunni's post on improving the angle of her chin got me thinking about my school years today.  (just to be clear, this isn't a response to her post.  this is my completely separate tangent.)  if those hallowed halls of my youth were divided in half between good and bad, i was a part of what you'd call the bad kids.  i wasn't bad (i don't think any kids are), but i always felt strange and a little bit left of center--and for me it was the best thing i could have felt.  much of my label, well, maybe all of my label, was due to my wardrobe.  not handmade, but much like it is now, only with stars and lightning bolts painted on my face, and teeny skirts with technicolor heels and lace scarves.

that might be pretty much exactly as it is now.

my mom used to say she couldn't wait to see what i'd come downstairs in every morning.  you really never could tell what i'd come up with.  it afforded me my sub-definition label, given me by the popular crew in my school: Weird Slut.  this was a constant source of humor to me, as i was one of the only Virgins in that very large school, but i stood my lace clad ground and wore what i liked.  my parents instilled in me a confidence and a respect for others that allowed me to be secure in who i was without bending to peer pressure, at the same time letting others be who they were.

my parents rock, y'all.

that's not to say the cliques weren't, as they always have been, overbearing.  but i'd walk around the halls knowing i had an air of other around me, feeling like that fox with moss surrounding it (the fox, by the way, is the work of kate innamorato, and is part of the rogue taxidermy 2012 biennial exhibit at la luz de jesus gallery, also know as wacko in silverlake.  go if you're close, it's wild and wonderful).  i liked that air.  it was a protective shield. a peer pressure force field.  i lived happily in that ecosystem for years, and was completely shocked when, in my senior year, i was nominated for homecoming queen.  in a weird way, i had become popular.  or maybe the male population was hoping to get in my pants?    in hindsight, that was probably it-- a popular boy (sub label; Jock) had asked me for a date which quickly ended when the answer was Hell No.  (and also Hell No, i didn't win. outcome having nothing to do with the date.)

my teachers rocked too.  maybe it was because i was secure in myself in the first place (though i was quite shy at first meeting), or maybe that had zero to do with it (there were plenty adults that dismissed my presence due to dress or race).  but i can think of at least ten teachers, one or more of whom i think of almost daily, their words sticking with me to this day, who propped me up in big and little ways they probably didn't even realize.    

i knew a lot of kids (quite personally) who didn't have enough of those words.  they had their labels, though, and without words of encouragement, for some it was easier to give in and be that label.  those necessary words are small advantages with big payoffs.  they can be easily given gifts, or easily thrusted daggers.  don't get me wrong, i think the role of Teacher is right in line with Brain Surgeon in terms of Difficult Frigging Jobs On This Planet.  but many of those kids were definitely smarter than me, and infinitely creative.  with some extra words, a little propping up, a little You Are The Best Thing Ever or even Always Remember To Replace The Marker Cap

i can't finish that sentence.  because every kid should be as lucky as i was, and i don't want that sentence to exist.

whatever your school year words were, whatever your label was, everyone had a teacher that affected them in some way.  i was lucky to have many, and i want to give a huge thank you to all of them.  Thank.  You.

who (edit: and what) were yours?  

May 14, 2012

mmmmonday the second






mmm is totally whipping my ass in the best way.  it's truly a challenge to do a head-to-toe-me three days a week, especially when i realize a lot of my garments stay on a hanger because they have one little thing off about them. so to succeed i have to fix them.  and i'm not even doing any stunt sewing (much)... the fixes are turning out to be surprisingly quick, i just didn't have the patience desire to win vodka challenge to make me revisit them.

the purple people eater batwing dress was one of them, it's a shapeless box on.   took in the side seams, took 3" off the hem, and now it's my 80's dancer-at-rehearsal dress.  

you might recognize the leopard print... it used to be this cocktail dress.  the bodice was always too tight across the bust, flattening my girls, who need all the help they can get.  burdastyle, baby, why you gotta wrap them up like it's 1942?  i finally hacked it in half and inserted a new super cute two-toned zip from my sis in law.  the side seam of this jammy is now the front seam, and since it was a rectangle to begin with there was no need to mess with the hem.

finally there's the tribal print dress, my first head-to-toe from last week, which i fairly trumpeted about at work. this was sewn on my maniacal day, i traced around a forever 21 dress, et voila.  no, not as easy as the french phrase would lead you to believe.  more pics and backstory on that one to come, as i'll be parading the new makes from mmm in separate posts soon.

i likes to parade.

May 13, 2012

with a cherry on top

virtual technicolor flowers for mommaballoona du kalkatroona...


(that's SOOC, mom.  ask big daddy.)

virtual technicolor pie for mama ruggy...


(please make this again.)

virtual technicolor drinks for EVERYONE!


(image source and sweet cherry gin & tonic drink recipe here.  more libations here, courtesy of my constant stalking of mickle's amazing pins.  you're welcome.)

HAPPY HAPPY DAY, MUTHAS!

May 7, 2012

May 3, 2012

tunnel vision


last week, najah wrote up a nicely analyzed view of how she'll balance sewing and life in the future (woefully forgetting a section for cocktails.  bad, bad najah!).  though i realize her weekly sew-flow chart may rob us of wonders from her talented hands (i mean seriously), i get it.  weekly challenges can kick your ass and take over your LIFE.  ask ruggy, oona does it! pretty much did me most of the time.  it made me think about how i sew now versus then (because really, it's all about me.  you know this, yes?  good).  back Then, it would take me a week to sew and document a single project.  but now i haz super skills.  now all i need is twelve hours.

WHEN I HAVE AN ENTIRE DAY TO SEW:

at 7 am, i wake up to bedside coffee, a la ruggy.  this stuff is GOOD, yo.  and i get a morning kiss, added bonus. surf le web for an hour, then stroll over to my sewing corner and study what's on the table.

THEN I MAKE STUFF!  CUT STUFF!  HACK UP PATTERNS!  DRAPE SOMETHING!  SEW A DRESS!  SEW THREE DRESSES!  IRON ON SOME METAL STUDS!  BLINDSTITCH SOME SHIT LIKE I'M PERSONAL SEWIST TO THE QUEEN MOTHER!

(realize eating is important and take a food break at 11am.)

11:02!!! SEW!!! SEW MORE!!!  HAVE AN EPIPHANY ON FINISHING THAT LACE BLAZER!  DO IT!!  DECIDE I AM THE BOMB FOR DOING SO AND PULL OUT MY INCREDIBLY FRIGHTENING FEATHERWEIGHT ZIG ZAG ATTACHMENT TO CELEBRATE!  COPY THAT FOREVER 21 JERSEY DRESS HANGING IN MY CLOSET!  HOLD MY BREATH HOPING I DON'T LOSE AN EYE AS MY IZZIE RACES A ZIG ZAG THROUGH A TECHNICOLOR PRINT THAT COULD MAKE ME BLIND IF A FLYING NEEDLE DOESN'T FIRST!

(realize eating is still important, but not important enough for something involving effort, and down a handful of trader joe's dark chocolate peanut butter cups behind ruggy's back.)

GET 3 O'CLOCK SUGAR RUSH!  TERRORIZE THE JERSEY DRESS WITH MY SEAM RIPPER! TERRORIZE MYSELF WITH THE ZIGZAGGER!  DO THIS UNTIL 6PM!!! EMERGE VICTORIOUS IN THE FOREVER 21 KNOCKOFF BATTLE BUT DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO FAINTING!  REALIZE DINNER IS STILL AN HOUR AWAY AND FORCE MYSELF TO SEW MORE! CLEARLY I AM OUT OF SEWING MOJO AT THS POINT IN THE DAY SO I MAKE BIAS TAPE!!! EYE THOSE THREE DRESSES LIKE A PYSCHOPATH!!  SUDDENLY I AM CERTAIN THAT THE FINISH TO ALL THREE DRESSES IS IN MY SHAKY AND BIAS TAPE STUFFED PAWS! CRAWL TOWARDS MY IZZIE!  WRENCH THE ZIGZAGGER OFF AND TAKE A SHALLOW BREATH... THIS COULD BE THE DAY I FINALLY SEW THROUGH A FINGER!!! 

oona, ruggy calls.  pasta?

SLAM MY HANDS DOWN ON THE DESK AND FORCE MYSELF TO WALK AWAY.  THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO DO IT. QUICKLY AND FORCEFULLY.  LIKE A BANDAID.   EAT.  DRINK.  NOT NECESSARILY IN THAT ORDER.  WATCH BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER AND WONDER: WHY DOES EVERYONE DUMP ON SPIKE AND WHICH BIAS TAPE SHOULD I USE ON THOSE DRESSES.  NOT NECESSARILY IN THAT ORDER.

FIN.

it takes about thirty minutes to twist my brain back into normal functions.  about five minutes if there's a cocktail involved.

(and najah.... there must always be a cocktail involved.)

May 1, 2012

mmmoona


on a hike with ruggy yesterday, he asked what was happening in my sewing life.  (he's very good like that.)  i yammered on for a bit about me-made-may: i'll be wearing something i've sewn every day for the month of may! and noticed he had grown silent.  eyeing my RTW hiking gear, he paused: that sounds... crazy.... he finally ventured.

well, it is crazy, but when i joined up (over a glass of something red, i'm sure) i did think it was do-able.  after all, i have a closetful of stitched stuff.  what the problem is?  the problem is THIS: it's all fancified.  and i don't want to sew casual stuff.  so i'm amending my pledge over at miss zo's to this:

"i, oonaballoona, sign up as a participant of me-made-may '12.  i endeavour to wear a me-made outfit three days a week (excluding undies, cardigans, shoes and accessories-- well maybe not bracelets!) during the month of may, with no repeats.  i will strive to wear at least one me-made or me-altered garment (vintage, thrifted or RTW) four days a week."

i like this because it will make me choose my own fancy stuff more often in a sane way.  let's face it, i'm not wearing a teal lace scoop back dress when i leave the house today, but i should do this weekend.  when i dress up, unless i'm meeting sewists, i often grab someone else's label.  and injecting bits of me into the other half of the week could sway me into sewing some more casual things.  

cut the theorizing crap, really what it comes down to is this:  I LIKE COMPLIMENTS.  if i start getting compliments from friends who don't sew and strangers who don't know, it could give me the swelled head kick in the ass i need to make my closet fully me-made.

so there you haz it.  i'll be posting on the flickr group, and i'll do a weekly MMM monday post here, with one new outfit featured.  i've got some new fancy frocks to show you!

how much do you dress up during the week, whether it's you-made or not?  do you wish it was more or less?