My latest adventure in metalsmithing: a bar bracelet I made in copper.
I like that it’s simple, but interesting. Shined up, it kind of has a nice rose gold finish.
My latest adventure in metalsmithing: a bar bracelet I made in copper.
I like that it’s simple, but interesting. Shined up, it kind of has a nice rose gold finish.
So remember when I asked you all to help me chose which Warby Parker glasses to get? I know you’ve all been in utter suspense ever since, but there have been two little problems that have come up and kept me from blogging about it.
Problem One: I realized I needed to go back to the eye doc first to make sure my prescription was up to date before ordering new glasses. Sidenote: It’s the same. This should be good since I suppose that means my vision is not deteriorating, but I was a tad disappointed. Both of my eyes are the same prescription and have been for awhile now. I find this suspicious because in the past, my eyes were always two different prescriptions. How did they even themselves out like that? I had this theory that the eye doctor was just generalizing the state of my eyeballs. Like, “Eh, close enough. Just make them the same.” And that maybe if I had the correct prescription, I would put on my new glasses and it would be like a whole new world of crystal clear shapes and colors and I’d get that amazing feeling of seeing the leaves on the trees again. Anyone who has ever had glasses understands the “leaves on the trees” thing – the car ride home from the eye doctor when you get your first pair of glasses, and you’re like, “I can see EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL LEAF on every single tree!” So, I explained my suspicions to my doctor last weekend questioned if it was weird that my eyes were the same. She said it’s common to have the same prescription in both eyes and said I was completely normal. (But her laugh said otherwise).
Problem Two: I asked you guys to vote for the pair you liked best, and, this was the biggest problem: You all chose wrong. No one liked the ones I liked best! Wa wah. My favorite are these, a frame called the Bensen:
This is probably not the best picture and the reason you didn’t vote for them. I think we all know that I should have used a controlled variable and had the same face in every picture. Science fair fail. They’re really cute in person though, trust me. Todd, who is the only person to see the glasses on me in real life, liked them best. They’re oversized but not obnoxious, have a cute tortoise shell pattern, and are thin and lightweight (as I said in my last post, I’ve had a problem with thick, heavy glasses hurting my nose in the past).
But you liked these the best:
I can tell you for a fact my “Oops!” Coppertone baby face are what sold you on this pair more than the actual glasses. Unfortunately, these particular frames are actually not right for my face in real life (a little too narrow). But, I LOVE the round frames and think they’re so fun and different and obviously you guys like that style too, which is awesome and made me really excited.
There is an obvious solution here: Buy two pairs! I am going to start with the square Bensen’s and then eventually get a second, round pair (there are a few I’m choosing between that are wide enough). I like the idea of having two pairs so I can switch things up, and at $95 per pair (includes prescription lenses and shipping) I can actually afford it.
Problem solved. Thanks, everyone!
I have been wanting new glasses forevvvvver. The pair I have are okay. JUST okay. They’re not completely OUT of style, yet not exactly IN style. I’ve had them for…hm. Now that I think about it, I think I’ve had them for almost 10 YEARS! Can that be true? I seriously think I got them around 2003. Ugh, the shame. I take it back, they must be out of style because the shelf life of glasses cannot be 10 years.
Those are the old ones. I bought a new pair about a year ago (with a Groupon), but after wearing them for awhile, they started hurting my nose. They’re just too heavy and hipster for me. Even wearing them for short amounts of time now, my nose starts hurting. I can’t live like that.
To find my new glasses I am trying out Warby Parker. It’s this super cool online eyeglass company that offers free home try-ons with free shipping and returns! You start by choosing five pairs of glasses. The best part is that you can filter by frame width (narrow, medium, or wide), which is nice because I need WIDE. No joke. WIDE. The sample frames with plastic lenses are shipped to you completely free, and you get to try them on and test them out in the comfort of your own home. You can show other people to get their opinion, and wear them for extended periods of time to make sure they’re comfortable. INGENIOUS.
I ordered my glasses earlier this week and they came three days later. In nice packaging.
It feels very Rent the Runway. For your face.
Annnnnd here are my glasses! Tell me which ones you like best.
From now on, all photos of me will be taken in the bathroom. A magical place with very good lighting.
OMG OMG! I almost forgot the best part! All glasses are $95 and that price INCLUDES the anti-reflective prescription lenses. If you wear glasses, you know this a great deal. The main reason I’ve been putting off buying new frames is because it never feels like the right time to shell out $300+. Also, Warby Parker donates one pair for every pair they sell. Very TOMS.
Which ones do you like best? I already know which pair I am heavily leaning towards, but I like a lot of these. Tell me your favorite in the comments! I will reveal my winning pair in my next post. I KNOW, the suspense is killing me too!
This little guy started as a block of wax. Now, he chills on my finger.
More adventures in metalsmithing going on the past few weeks. Check this out:
I made that stuff!
My favorite of all the things I made so far is the faceted ring.
To make it, I first had to carve a ring out of wax (literally, like whittled away at it until it was the shape I wanted). The wax carving is used to make a mold, and that mold is used to make a metal ring. That’s the short story. The long version involves kilns and blow torches and centrifugal force and it’s all so COOL. You have to heat little bits of metal with a blow torch until it becomes fluid, and then force the molten metal into your mold using this contraption that spins it around really fast. The process is called casting. We’ve done it once so far and my teacher told us it would be an adrenaline rush, and it is. Because you’re really relying on physics (or for us non-physicists, COMPLETE BLIND FAITH) to keep this molten metal from flying up at your face.
Here is the ring I carved out of blue wax:
And here it is after being casted in bronze:
Some of the facets are smooth, others have a rough, filed texture. I love it because it looks like a big, chunky gemstone.
Here it is stacked with another ring I made with the wax and casting process. The triangle piece on my ring finger is a simple guy I made when we were first learning to solder (fusing metal together with heat).
PS, my nail polish is OPI Glitzerland and Essie Splash of Grenadine. This diagonal business is easier to do than it looks. If you’re confident/lazy, just freehand it. It’s not as that hard, really. Unless you are a perfectionist, and then it will drive you crazy. In which case, use tape like in the Scotch tape nail tutorial.
Lastly, a pendant I made out of brass. Actually I made two, a small and a large. It’s hammered and rough and has a worn look to it that I really like.
When my sister was planning her May 2012 wedding, she had lots of fun, creative, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THAT kind of ideas. She’s a designer and its just how her brain works. Before her hair and makeup trial, Lauren emailed me some of her ideas for updos and said she was thinking of wearing her hair in a big bun. Awesome. But not just a bun…a bun with colored extensions added to it. COLORED EXTENSIONS!
Photo: Laura Holmes, Hair & Makeup: Bridal Beauty Chicago
The contrast of a ladylike bun with bright streaks of color is just so cool. I don’t think I was that articulate when I told her I liked the idea, though. Nope. Here’s actually what I said in my email: “OOOOOHHH I love the hair color in the bun!!!!!!!” Seven exclamation points worth of excitement. Apparently, someone else felt the same way.
Oscar de la Renta SS13 show a few days ago, 9/11/12:
Photo: via OscarPRGirl on Pinterest
Back to my sister’s hair trial, exactly six months prior, 3/11/12: Granted, colored extensions would go along with Lauren’s wedding theme a little more than most. Her wedding was bright, bold and graphic with a CMYK wedding theme. (CMYK stands for the four fundamental colors in design: cyan, magenta, yellow, black). Photo: Angela Renee Photography
Lauren has played around with colored extensions in the past, so it really wasn’t SO out of the realm of possibility for her to have a blue streak of hair on her wedding day. In the end, she went with a more classic look and decided not to use them. It’s for the best–girl was ahead of her time. She’s still the raddest.
I’ve been talking about wanting to take a jewelry class forrrevvvverrrr now (as some of you know) because I have all of these vision of jewelry designs that need to exist in reality and not just my head. So after my sewing class ended, it was time to get serious. I enrolled in a metalsmithing class and a wax and casting class at Lillstreet Art Center–which started last night! Our first task in becoming metalsmithers was to create a simple pendant out of brass or copper. What I love about this class already is that right off the bat, we were allowed to create our own designs. It’s not as if we all created the same pendant–we were told to sketch out whatever we wanted and go for it.
Here’s what I made:
It’s the state of Illinois! And, if you look closely–a message for my fellow Illini fans.
I actually created two, but I want to go back over the larger copper piece and physically cut out a little letter “I” to mark where Champaign, IL is.
To make this piece, I started by sketching the design on paper. I knew right away that I wanted to do the state of Illinois, so I looked up a map on my phone and drew it out. I am not taking credit for the concept of a state necklace–the idea came from a something I’d seen before. There are many versions out there, but I like to think my little “I-L-L” brings some originality to the table.
I sawed out the design, filed it smooth, drilled a hole for a jump ring and connected it to a chain.
My teacher said to make sure we keep our first pieces, because she likes for us look at them at the end of the program and see how far we’ve come. So what you’re saying is, I should be embarrassed of this? Because I might never take it off. Then again, I love absolutely anything with a U of I connotation. I kind of owe everything to this school: my career, my friends, my husband for crying out loud.
In front of Foellinger Auditorim, my favorite picture from the engagement photos we took in Champaign after Todd hired a photographer off Craiglist for a grand total of $50.
For my first attempt, I’m pretty much in love with this necklace. Maybe I’ll design an entire U of I collection. Who wants a KAM’S necklace?
So hey, let’s glance straight over the fact I haven’t blogged much recently (I have a million posts already written in my head, WITH photos, so just you wait) and let’s just get straight into it. This month, I went to an event hosted by Chicago magazine and opted for a pencil skirt and sleeveless blouse look. Dressy yet business-y yet fun
I have two things to point out about this outfit that make it notable and worthy of your eyes. One, the skirt I’m wearing is the J.Crew No. 2 pencil skirt, bought on sale. Great skirt, highly recommend. If you’re patient, you can usually find certain colors on sale. Boom. Sale.
But this post isn’t about a pencil skirt: It’s all about the collar holler. Button it UP. ALL the way up. The whole collar trend is possibly one of my favorites because A, I just coined the term “collar holler” and you heard it here first; and B, it’s not a new trend at all, just a way to style the clothes you already have in a way that feels current. That’s what this blog is all about: altering the things you already have to make them more stylish and fun to wear.
Crap. I just googled collar holler and it’s already in the name of some kind of Canadian folk song. Man, nothing is original. You still heard it here first, because let’s not pretend any of you were jammin to the “White Collar Holler” before.
Some collar holler runway inspiration:
Givenchy, Derek Lam, Marc Jacobs
(Fall 2012 runways, taken from harpersbazaar.com)
To make it trendy (and sellable), stores are now carrying all kinds of fun detachable collars, which are awesome (and scream DIY if I ever saw it) but so not necessary to buy (unless you want to, and then let me borrow it). Really, you don’t need to buy anything to participate. That’s the beauty of the collar holler–it’s totally inclusive. Just button up a shirt you already own and it looks instantly mod.
Literally, step one: Button your shirt.
Step two: Add a necklace underneath. Again, there are all sorts of collar necklaces you can buy, but any short, chunky necklace will do. I’m SURE you already own at least one.
This is predicted to blow up even more in the fall, so get ready to button it UP and collar HOLLER Honey Boo Boo!
I’m coming off of vacay high right now. This past weekend Todd and I took a little east coast tour of DC and NYC. DC was filled with great friends, lots of history lessons (like learning it was the 43rd anniversary of the moon landing) and tons of fun (like using the 43rd anniversary of the moon landing as an excuse to take celebratory shots. “To Buzz!”).
NYC was filled with first anniversary celebrations, good food (slash bad for you food), Newsies on Broadway (phenomenal) and…fabric! While walking back to our hotel, Todd and I stopped in Mood Fabrics–THE Mood, of Project Runway fame. I’m basically BFFs with Tim Gunn, so it was a must. Also, I really wanted to buy some fabric for the projects I’m working on in sewing class. Sidenote, Chicago has a dismal selection of fashion fabric, at least for non-designers. Lame.
So in comparison to what I’ve seen here, Mood was sensory overload.
So. Much. Fabric. Now I know why those PR contestants run around like maniacs.
I shopped quickly because I’m pretty sure the last way Todd wanted to spend his anniversary was in a fabric store. (Weird). Luckily, I found two fabrics I loved pretty much immediately and scooped them up. I’m going to make straight, short skirts out of them. (Hopefully).
Yelp alert: The staff at Mood is extremely nice. Twice I was asked if I needed help and the guy who cut my fabric was friendly and helpful. The store was busy and there was a mix of obvious tourists and real shoppers, but they had plenty of staff to handle everyone. So if you’re in NYC and thinking about stopping by Mood, do it!
Thanks, Mood! And happy first anniversary, Todd!
I started my first sewing class!
So Project Runway. Tchad LLC workroom.
Back in high school I took a couple sewing classes (Fashion I and Fashion II) which consisted of learning to sew boxer shorts (easy), a skirt (moderately easy) and a collared button-down shirt (SO FRUSTRATINGLY DIFFICULT). Don’t get me started on the sleeves. We also got to make an item of our choice, so after the shirt debacle I chose the simplest item of clothing ever known to man: the tube top. In college, I conned my mom into buying me a craptastic plastic sewing contraption so that I could make myself more tube tops, but that thing broke pretty much instantaneously. Which is too bad because I really could have used a tube top for every day of the week.
I’ve always wished I had kept up sewing and had a machine to use at home for simple things and to have as a creative outlet. And more than that, I’m really interested in learning how things are constructed and the mechanics behind the design. And…maybe I want to make more tube tops.
So I signed up for a class that’s pretty intense: three hours long, once a week for 10 weeks. It’s a small group class but everyone works on different projects at different levels and receives individual instruction from the teacher, so it’s really more like a private lesson.
I had my first class and…IT WAS AWESOME. The things I learned in high school are coming back to me (those little triangle markings, basting the darts) and the first three hours flew by.
Here’s what I’m making:
I picked out two patterns. I wanted to start off with something simple so that I didn’t completely frustrate and overwhelm myself. My first choice was to make a pencil skirt and my teacher specifically recommended this pattern. I also found this simple colorblock dress that I thought could be really fun with the right fabric color choices. I got to my first class and my instructor said I should make both!
Progress has begun. Perhaps you’ll see me modeling them soon!