Capsule Wardrobe: my finished embroidered Alabama Chanin tank top at Commissary at The Line

alabama_chanin_tank

Alabama Chanin tank, GAP skirt from 2001, UO hearty leather sandals, gifted DogEared necklace

I love actually getting dressed and going into town to see old friends. I recently went to celebrate a good friend’s birthday and got tucked in by chef Roy Choi (of Kogi food truck fame) at Commissary at The Line Hotel and Break Room 86 which, hey Crystal, is just down the street from our old stomping grounds in K-Town! My, how things change. Oh, and by tucked in I mean we ate at his hotel restaurant.

Tracing the pattern

Tracing the pattern

Noemi (Yelp Elite) and The Other Helen Kim have a penchant for always knowing just the place to go to experience food and culture. Corbin’s ironic cocktail came in a tupperware container so you know this place is the hip bee’s knees.

Walking to the super swank Break Room 86, I told Matthew and Corbin about the time I was invited to a birthday party in Hollywood. I thought it was at someone’s apartment, so I dressed comfortably (we’re talking Midwest church outfit — loose khaki pants, loafers, and button down) and brought a large cheese platter on a stone board. I should’ve been the wiser once I saw that the “apartment” had a bouncer. I walked in to the dark room, and to my chagrin, HWood was a club with celebs and all the most beautiful people right in front of me, NOT wearing khaki pants and sweater vests I might add. I panicked and stashed my cheese platter in a corner and nonchalantly went to join my friends. I’m surprised the bouncer didn’t see my platter and point me to the service entrance.

Well, enough about swanky places that are too cool for my blood. I wore my finished Alabama Chanin tank top!!! I love it so much, I wear it every week. It’s comfortable, upcycled, handmade, and a little piece of fashion art. I didn’t finish embroidering the whole thing, but from time to time will work on it while we’re watching a movie, on a roadtrip, etc. I wore the top with a crocheted mini skirt (old) and some new grey clog-like sandals I hemmed and hawed over but love now (Michael Kors past season.)

Climbing Daisy stencil

Climbing Daisy stencil, Cretan stitch for the arms and neckline

Here are the items I needed to make the tank:

  • The sewing pattern from my Alabama Chanin Sewing Studio + Design book
  • Sky blue Gutermann hand quilting thread to sew it together and embroider it
  • Peach embroidery thread
  • Climbing Daisy stencil from the book.
  • An old men’s t-shirt size large to make a size medium women’s tank top. You’ll need the leftover scraps for the arm and neck binding.
  • 5mm cotton tape (embroidery ribbon) from Alabama Chanin (I haven’t purchased this yet)
  • alabama_chanin_climbing_daisy

I had SO much fun making this. I loved bringing it with me in my project bag to ballgames and constructing a garment without sitting by my lonesome in front of a sewing machine. My favorite part was sewing the felled flat seams to sew the entire top together… by hand, say what?! Sewing the tank top is really quick. Making the stencil, transferring the stencil, embroidering the arm and neck holes, and embroidering the flowers is a long process, but very meditative. It’s like knitting since it takes forever, but it’s something fun to do while you’re also doing something else like hollering at Nori Aoki at Angel Stadium.

original: Getty Images

original: Getty Images

 

The only thing I would change is make sure the arm holes fit just right. I think I may have stretched it out a bit before sewing it all together. The amazing thing about Alabama Chanin-style clothing is the style is so classic, like your favorite delicately embroidered cardigan. It transcends trends, so even though it’s not a plain t-shirt, you can still style the pieces with so many things. This is a key piece in my Capsule Wardrobe Experiment. I love you, new blue shirt.

Have you filled out the short Capsule Wardrobe sheet to assess your closet yet and make your life a lot simpler?

Linen and flannel bird blanket sewing project: cool in summer, warm in winter

Happy Fall 2016 everyone! All-American girls, break out the Pumpkin Spice Lattes! Or save that $25/week ($1100/yr) latte habit to invest in a house, but you know, to each her own.

Today I’m sharing with you a linen blanket I just loved creating, but first, if you want to learn about an opportunity for you to donate items to our shipping container home development for veterans in Orange County, look at the comprehensive list of needed items here!

cotton_flannel_throw

Cotton and linen throw prayer blanket

Linen and Flannel Birthday Throw Blanket

I was perusing Pinterest and saw the loveliest hearty linen throw blankets with mitered corners and had to make one for my friend Noemi’s birthday coming up. I think blankets are such a special gift, especially if they are quilts laboriously made by hand. I remember watching my mom making thick comforters for us. My grandmother-in-law also made a quilt for every one of her grandchildren. Before Matthew and I got married, it was the only blanket he had. Now he’s married into about ten blankets- a lot of blankets for a single gal. What can I say, I’m one of those blanket hoarders. The first throw blanket I ever bought with my own money was a yellow knit Martha Stewart throw from the Cherokee K-Mart when I was in high school. I was obsessed with Martha Stewart and I just had to have this one.

I got enough fabric to make a 40×50 blanket. I looked at all of the cotton flannel and was torn between a rustic plaid and the cutesy blue bird. I settled on the bird because she loves birds, and it’s a serene fabric for when you want to feel cozy with a cup of tea on the couch. I followed Sew Much Ado’s tutorial on how to do a mitered corner blanket. I also had to watch a few videos to get it down. What made it difficult was that my blanket wasn’t square, it was a rectangle, so I had to miter the corners in a different way — the Julia way.

Mitering corners

Mitering corners

The cotton flannel is a nice warm fabric for winter, and the naturally-antibacterial-linen is great for cool summer nights. I wanted to use hemp but since it is not readily available (you know, the whole illegal thing), linen is a wonderful alternative. Years ago I read in my book The French-Inspired Home by Kaari Meng (French General in Atwater Village) that hemp sheets are amazing to sleep with since they help regulate body temperature. No more tossing and turning! Linen has the same properties, and is a very agreeable alternative.

Mr_collins_agreeable_alternative_meme

What is a prayer blanket you ask? Well, I prayed while I made the blanket, then I went over to the church and Father K graciously walked back to the office to bless it for me. The prayers go with the blanket to offer comfort. If you are in the Orange County area, let me know if you are in need of a blanket for someone who is ill, made possible through the prayer blanket ministry.

My Case for Natural Fibers- I threw the biggest fuss when I went camping for the first time as an adult in Yosemite. I realized too late that the sleeping bag was mostly polyester, and that’s why I felt damp all night. Our next camping trip, which will be in Death Valley, I am going to sew myself a linen sheet, and just wait for the R.E.M. dream fairies to come rushing in.

Our little Linus

Our little Linus

And here is our pretty little Linus at Commissary at The Line Hotel. We had a great time celebrating this spunky gal at a fun venue. Friends for life!

Violinist & Knitter-About-Town, Mia


Creative Women Profile: Violinist & Knitter-About-Town, Mia

“When I was two years old, growing up in Austin, Texas, I saw a mariachi band playing in Whole Foods. Later at home I played dress up with a mariachi hat I had and pretended to play violin with a wooden spoon and a chopstick.  Because of that my parents got me lessons on a real one and 20 years later I’m still playing.”
mia_orchestra_dc
I love me some beautiful soul-stirring violin music (admit it- you cry listening to classical music too), and I also love knitters knitting. If you’re in the DC area, make sure to attend one of Mia’s orchestra’s concerts and tell ’em Trouvés sent ya!
Knitted mittens

Knitted mittens in the round

Yarns and Knitting: I’m a big fangirl for Quince and Co. and Madeline Tosh. I’ve heard amazing things about Looped Yarn Works (D.C.) that I’d love to visit soon.
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For me, my experiences in NYC and LA represent two sides of the creative process — LA felt more relaxed and artistic, the flowering creativity part of art; NYC was more driven and ambitious, the gritty side of art that drives you to get things out there in the world.  I’m really grateful to have experienced both.  I’m in DC now and I miss NYC a lot but my plans are actually angling more towards the West Coast each day.

Mia’s favorite things in NY and DC:
Music and DIYing, which at first maybe seem like separate interests but I think they’re really the same thing – creating structure and aesthetic out of empty space.
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Taszo Espresso Bar (Upper Manhattan Washington Heights) – It’s a locally owned coffee shop that’s become the heart of the community.  A lot of musicians live nearby and you can’t stop by without running into a friend hanging out or on their way to a gig.
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Bin 1301 on U Street (D.C.) It’s a really cool wine bar with live jazz on Saturday nights.  My favorite thing there (other than the wine) is their halloumi cheese board.
Hand knit tank top

Hand knit tank top

Cross stitching a fox

Cross stitching a fox

Knitted hoodie

Knitted hoodie

Contact Mia:
Blog: www.miaviolin.blogspot.com
Wedding music website: www.turtledovemusic.com
Instagrams are @miasphone, @2turtledoves.music, @knitpearlstitch
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mialaity

Opportunity for YOU to build shipping container homes for veterans

What a day- what a lovely day to use your talents to help restore your community. American Family Housing just broke ground on 15 shipping container homes for veterans that will be completed THIS winter 2016, but we need your help! You can drop off the donations at American Family Housing in Midway City Orange County, California or, depending on the donation, they can pick up. See the project in the L.A. Times. 

“With great power comes great responsibility.” -U.Ben, Spider-Man

Donations Needed for Potter’s Lane- New, unused items

Landscape irrigation materials

Soil amendments

Pavers

Paint

 

Light fixtures Quantity: 15 Hanging above dining table

Night stand lamp 15

Refrigerators 15 24” wide

Microwave ovens 15 small

Coffee makers 15 small

Dining chairs 30

Small breakfast table 15 approx. 24”x36”

Night stand 15

TV with wall mount 15 32” flat screen

Arm chair 15

Chairside table 15

Pots and Pans set 15

Silverware set 15

Towel sets 15

Trash bins 15 kitchen size

Hanger sets 15

Plate and bowl sets 15

Drinking glass sets 15

Kitchen utensil set 15

Kitchen towels 30

Pot holders 30

Alarm clock 15

Pillows 30

Full size sheet sets 15

Full size blanket s 15

Laundry basket 15

 

Art / Picture frames 30

Plants 30

Bachelor and Bachelor in Paradise Girls in Bridal Photo Shoot by Valerie Denise Photos

Check out Iowa/ Cali girl Valerie Denise Photos, shooting this beautiful Taylor Swift-inspired bridal photo shoot. This girl has talent, loves Jesus, and has the most fun, effervescent personality. Check out her work on Us Weekly!

Photo credit: Valerie Denise Photos

Photo credit: Valerie Denise Photos