What’s In My Closet

What’s In My Closet | oonaballoona by Marcy Harriell

Hands down, when we decided to get some breathing room away from the city this summer, the thing I stalled on THE MOST was what would make it into my suitcase. Well before I learned to sew, clothing was my armor, and once I learned how to sew my own armor? Forget it! Sewists know the meaning of a garment!

But. I gotta have a LOT of choices to feel right. I’m rarely in the same garment all day long. If the color I’m in suddenly feels out of sync, the music from the Emerald City scene in The Wiz plays in my head, I shout COSTUME CHANGE, and stomp off to the closet, Quincy Jones grinning at me from my mind palace all the while. Maybe this need is borne out of all the quick changes I’ve had to make as an actress? All that wriggling into gowns, into pants under dresses, out of bras and blazers; offstage in little cloth booths, in public LA parking lots, in empty NY stairwells, in just about anywhere but bathrooms (because public restrooms: gross)...maybe it trained me to want change.

One of my favorite casting directors once asked me to read for a different role than I was initially called in for, and said: “You can go home and change first. I know you like to have the right outfit on.” AND THEN SHE BECAME MY VERY FAVORITE CASTING DIRECTOR.

Costume changes have been infinitely easier these past six months, as a swap is no problem when you’re already locked down twelve feet from your closet. Silver linings, y’all. The collage above is some of what’s in my handmade, truncated closet, and you can see ALL of what’s in it, on my shimmying body, on Ye Olde YouTube. I was in the middle of boogying through this closet runway video, questioning my sanity, when Renee wondered what I’d packed. I took that question as a green light and forged ahead. You’ll either get a laugh out if it, or get a laugh at me. I’ll take either option. Most times, when I look at my filmed frolicking, I’m doing the latter.

(Oh, and jump to the end for a dancing Rob.)

How ‘bout it? Do you change your look to change your mood? If not, I highly recommend it! Making this video made me grin, ear to ear.


Finding Happy

Finding Happy | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Though the joy in these pics is 100% real, I’ll be honest with you, I started this week out plain DONE. Sad, angry, ugly crying, DONE. I don't have to tell you why, the great big bulk of us is experiencing this on the regular, for any number of well known reasons. Just keepin it real.

At the moment, however, I am whatever is the opposite of "done." I don't know what that qualifier would be; I'm sure there's some new term for it that would make me slightly queasy, but I'm hanging on to it when I get it (as I'm also sure the great big bulk of us is doing). 

Finding Happy | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Those little bows from my last post started the shift back to happy. I had planned on making full on barrettes, but four stores and no dice proved that there's been a pandemic run on...plain metal barrettes? Interesting. I have no idea what people are doing with barrettes, but there it is. I decided to forge ahead anyways and use the humble bobby pin, which gave me such immense satisfaction when it proved to be the perfect solution, I couldn't even be mad at the aforementioned fruitless search.  

I didn't want to usurp that post with any amount of frustration, just as much as I don't want to usurp this blazingly happy pink print with general world shock. For now, I think it's better to say again, and as always, creating is a cure, and I'm grateful to have the means to continue to do it. We'll get into all the rest for sure, because it has to be talked about. But HOW BOUT WE HANG ONTO THIS HAPPY FEELING FOR A MINUTE AND TALK ABOUT CREATING.

Finding Happy | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

This dress is the first garment from my Birthday Fabric Haul, and the print hails from House of Mami Wata. It's a riff on one of my self drafted patterns, but quite simply: if you have a princess seamed bodice in your pattern stash, you can get here. I'll do a little video on it, if you'd like to see how!

With six yards in a cut of wax print, there's really no excuse for poor print placement. And yet, as you can see, those angles don't match up under the bodice....

...and those curves at center front are serving you Georgia O'Keefe.

Always, always strive to have a manufacture's emblem down center back. Though with this print and social distancing WHO'S NOTICING

Plus the emblems don't start till below my butt anyways.

I have an EXCELLENT excuse for any dodgy print placement: Rob wants Jams out of this print. JAMS! I HAVE DOCUMENTED EVIDENCE OF THIS!!! 

Do y'all remember Jams? For those that don't, they are the most fabulous shorts in existence. Knee length, wild prints, with about twelve candy colored hues in every glorious pair. My Dad used to wear them on summer weekends, when he'd grill up a bunch of goodness on his speck of time off, on a deck he hammered together over more of those weekends. I loved helping him on those weekends! Once I helped by dropping an entire plate of barbecued chicken. Aside from that, I was an excellent beer-getter and plate-holder. 

That memory of my Dad's weekend uniform is one of my earliest inspirations to get to my current technicolor closet. 

So yeah. When Rob asked for Jams, I decided to re-prioritize print placement.

However I'm pretty thrilled with the side view at the bustline (cuz I cut the bodice twice, dontcha know).

And really. When have I ever shied away from highlighting reproductive organs, anyways?

Alrighty y'all, we're almost at the weekend! May you have Jams to wear, and a plate fulled of something grilled. And if you're at a "done" place... may you find a little time to create.


The Confident Stitch Swatch Service

The Confident Stitch Swatch Service | oonaballoona by Marcy Harriell

I’ve got more fabric for you today, in the form of perfect, petite, pinked swatches! Bite-sized chunks of cloth that I couldn’t resist putting to more permanent use. (I almost subtitled this post "All Up In My Hair.")

As usual, I’ve put the cart before the horse. Ahem. Insert chyron here: two months earlier....

The Confident Stitch Swatch Service | oonaballoona by Marcy Harriell

At the beginning of this otherworldly summer, Kate at The Confident Stitch reached out to collaborate on their new Swatch Service offering, and I had zero hesitation. Having experienced her choice in fabric firsthand with this barkcloth beauty of a print, I knew a curated swatch service would be on point.

The Confident Stitch Swatch Service | oonaballoona by Marcy Harriell

To be honest, I expected a little bundle of pretty fabric, fraying at the edges (only because that’s what I’ve come to expect from other services)....but nope. Would you look inside this perfectly presented trifold card?!

Edges pinked to perfection, adhered with precision. Makes the level in my head sing.

Just as good as the beautiful array of color and print is the information. A peek under each cut reveals fabric content, width, care, hand after washing, needle type, colorways, price, and a pattern suggestion. There isn’t a question left unanswered. 

Hi Kate! This is Kate, your Shop Owner and Guide To Goodness. Katie and crew also film videos of each fabric included in the quarterly swatch card, so subscribers can see how each fabric behaves in real life. As much as video can be real life. Is video becoming real life? 

Existential questions aside, when many of us aren’t going to fabric stores to fondle the goods personally, this is a superb solution.

The quarterly cards are $15 a pop if you want to go a la carte, and $13 if you subscribe. Three card types are offered: fashion fabrics in warm tones, cool tones, and quilting cottons. Each comes with a discount code good for 90 days, and the e-newsletter with your voyeuristic video. You can get the whole skinny here on their website.

(Of course I was drawn to the warm tones, Leo that I am ☀️)

Speaking of voyeur, these suggestions on the left sides of the envelope make me want to do all the things. Many of which are 2020 appropriate. I wonder if Kate and crew will put some lockdown life suggestions in the next batch? 

If you want to find out, they’re kindly suggesting to subscribe or purchase before September 9th, as these summer cards were so popular that several of the fabrics sold out!

Small businesses doing WELL. We like to hear that. (I am not speaking in the royal we, though I have been a Queen Brat, texting Rob every morning for coffee in bed. It is still August, and therefore still my Blursday Birthday.)

I'm thrilled to say this post is sponsored by The Confident Stitch. Kate has always supported her collaborators, and helping each other thrive is what we need to DO. I hope you check her shop and service out!


New Video: Birthday Fabric Haul!

Howdy weekend peeps! As promised, and against the wishes of like EVERY APPLE DEVICE I OWN, I've got some YouTube fun for you. At least, Rob pronounced it fun, and I figure if *he's* smiling at a fabric haul video, my sewsisters, sewmisters, and Sewasaurus Rexes might too.

In this yardage romp, I'm highlighting three Black owned, women owned, small businesses for you--I've "met" all these humans through the wondrous fabric of our sewing community, and truly consider each one a friend. If you don't already know about them, you're in for all kinds of goodness. I was in for extra goodness when a birthday box of MORE fabric arrived during the video, from my technicolor parents 💕 

Oh. Did I mention? As my hair adornment suggests, it's my birthday. Well, my upside-down birthday, as I have proclaimed the 9th to be. Birthday Actual on the 6th was lovely, but also: Apple device nonsense. So I get more birthday. This will surprise no one.

Hope your Sunday is giving you nothing but happiness, and if not...hope this gives you a smile.


City Girl, Country Mouse

City Girl, Country Mouse | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

New photo backdrop WHO DIS?! Your city girl has gone country mouse for the summer. I've never been a fan of taking garment photos in front of greenery....but after a 6 month long, heady cocktail of New York winter, pause, isolation, and quarantine, GIVE ME ALL THE GREEN.

So. I meant to get right on keeping my promise of showing up here more often, but the last several weeks have been, sing it with me, a rollercoaster ride. Is anyone *not* on a rollercoaster ride at the moment? Be sure to scream inside your hearts, please.

City Girl, Country Mouse | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

I’m screaming with happiness, but keeping it in my heart and head, as I’m typing this at 6am. Apparently, I’m an early morning riser when there’s a front porch to look forward to. The only signs of life at the moment are butterflies, bees and squirrels. And hummingbirds!  Our first morning on the porch, Rob whispered, MARCY, and I looked up to see a tiny winged blur hovering about 6 inches from my face. Little guy thought my hair was some new species of treat. As I moved slowly from side to side, he followed my fro. 

I’m gonna stick some flowers in it one morning and see if I can get him to land. 


City Girl, Country Mouse | oonaballoona by marcy harriell

Our new Arkansas oasis is in the familiar surroundings of Rob’s hometown. I fell in love with Fayetteville the first time I visited, it's a beautiful college town with an open-minded outlook. We ran a gauntlet of rental car, hotel, two airports and two airplanes to get here, and after a self-imposed quarantine, I'm happy to say we're a-ok. As much as anyone is a-ok these days. Hey side note! LaGuardia's new Terminal B is gorgeous. But if you're connecting through American Airlines Charlotte, NC, and have a little time before your flight? STOP AT THE TRANQUIL ROCKING CHAIRS. GODSAKES, STOP AT THE TRANQUIL ROCKING CHAIRS. American had the brilliant idea to throw all of their flights into one tiny corner of a concourse, and it was a sea of humanity in various levels of masks. Most of which could only be called chin guards. Good times.

Happily, not the case here! Here, we’ve met our neighbors from 40 feet away! Here, every store has a "no mask no service" sign! Here, even the outdoor farmers' market complied without complaint! Fayetteville was one of the first (if not the first) cities in AR to adopt a mask ordinance, and now the state has followed suit. Our beloved home away from home really seems to be doing it right. And although it's easy to take a walk outside without seeing a soul, we've got our masks at hand. At neck? In pocket? Do you think we might need a conjugation of the verb to mask?

Oh yeah the dress! I made the dress. In fact, this might be the last dress I made before escaping New York. Since then, I haven't made a single wearable thing. Almost three weeks without a finished garment, that has GOT to be a record for me. Someone left the bobbins for her machine back in NY. Smooth move. The issue has been rectified, and I do believe sewing is happening today, right after I film a mini fabric haul for Ye Olde YouTube. Though I'm on the fence about YouTube vs Patreon. But really I just need to get off my ass and upload something. Because now that we have space and time, the year-old promise of a channel is another thing I mean to make good on.

Speaking of space and time, I was intending on writing about why we took a break from NY, but honestly, I don't want to spend the energy right now. I'll probably wax poetic on it at some point, but suffice it to say: it had been 6 months of watching the world turn upside down from behind barred windows, and it was enough.

DANGIT THE DRESS. (I say things like dangit now.) This dress is a modification of a self-drafted pattern, and the fabric hails from one of my favorite NY wax print joints, which now sells online!  This print is gone-zo at the moment, but they have a boatload of beautiful things. The fabric is perfect; the dress, she is not. Her downfall: sitting. She's fine below the waist, but sitting in any other mode than posture-perfect-high-tea-with-the-Queen is a peep show of tatas. I'm no stranger to standing-room-only dresses, but I like to treat my summer maxi dresses rough! I'm thinking of adding a crisscross pattern of rouleau ties up the front, or maybe thin horizontal bands permanently stitched down, sort of like latticework on a pie crust. HOW SOUTHERN IS THAT ANALOGY.

Well y’all, I hope this finds you at the start of a good and safe week. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see filmed or blogged or whathaveyou, as I aim to bring some happy, and hopeful, diversions for you while we’re here. Yes, there will be some serious talk too, but I think in the midst of...all this...bringing some happiness is what I’m good at 💗