Month: December 2016

2016 Christmas Decorations

It’s December 31st, and very uncharacteristically for us, the Christmas decorations have already started coming down. I am a big believer that the decorations should stay up until the twelfth night (i.e. The 12 days of Christmas). Unfortunately though, that usually turns into the 12th week after Christmas. We are having work done on the house starting January 2nd so really getting the decorations down is much more of a priority this season.

We have a big open house on Christmas Eve so decorating is a serious deal. I grew up always having a fake tree. My husband would never permit that. He also loves bringing nature inside so we always decorate with natural roping and boughs. Yes, it does make a mess but it is so pretty and smells great.

We are huge enthusiasts of the Charlie Brown approach to tree selection. We cut a tree at a tree farm. We are always looking for a large, untrimmed tree. Why buy a real tree if it looks like a Lego? The past several years we have ended up with cedars. I always just let the tree speak to me. Usually they just say “Oh hai!”I made all the stockings. My mom’s old stocking is missing so she got a new one this year. Kim stayed with us last year but didn’t have her own personalized stocking so hers is new this year too. Slothy Claws visited us in his sleigh. It took him a really long time to fill the stockings which is why he was still with us Christmas morning. Mine and Brownlee’s stocking need an update. I was really into kitschy Elvis when I made mine but I’m not so much anyone. These stocking can go to the old stocking graveyard with the one for my old cat Pixie who has since passed on. My Uncle Ronnie did the painting in the background. It hung in my grandparents house when I was little. I called it the bottle men painting. Other decorated spots around the house…  Do you like our fire?

  
  

We had to break into our bedroom right before Christmas. The old latch had slipped and despite our best efforts, we just had to hulk it. This was my rig to keep the door closed during the open house.  Finally, in honor of this brilliant post from Vintage Everyday, here I am in my Wizard Robes posing next to the tree on Christmas morning.

Mod Christmas Dress

The past couple of years I’ve been really good about making a Christmas dress. I decided this year I wanted to go a totally different direction than just making a dress in a Christmas fabric. I’m attending a couple of 60s themed costumed based events in 2017 (Costume College and Anachrocon) so I decided to make an outfit that I could wear both for Christmas and in the future. I opted to be a swinging Mod elf.

These two photos were my basic inspiration:

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I loved the look of the big tie and the jockey style cap. I figured the iconic 60s shift dress would also be fairly fast, easy and fabric friendly to whip up. I was sort of right.

I started first with the Jockey Cap. I used McCalls 8452 – Hat Wardrobe, View D from 1966.

I bought merino wool blend felt from Joann. The merino wool felt selection at the closest Joann is really small but luckily of the very limited color selection they had exactly what I wanted – red and green.

The hat went together really fast. I lined the hat with red and green reindeer print cotton that I had left over from some Christmas crafting of the past. I lined the felt with fusible interfacing which was probably a mistake. It bucked when I ironed my seams. I used red topstitch thread to give it a nice finished look and added a two tone felt pom-pom.

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For the dress I choose Simplicity 8844 from 1970. I used a lightweight cotton twill from Joann in red for the dress and white for the collar, pockets and sleeve cuffs. The tie fabric is the suitably groovy Moda Ho! Ho! Ho! Snowflake Bulbs Snow White.

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Despite this being a half sized pattern, the dress was way too long at the waist and put the hip in the completely long place. I shortened the dress almost 3 inches at the waist shortening line. I also had to add a half inch to all the side seams. I had already set the sleeves when I figured out that they were completely too tight. I ended up resewing them with a 1/4 inch seam allowance but they really could have used more. The fit on this pattern was just not ideal generally. Also, despite my shorting efforts, the dress was still too long on its original wearing.

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I wore two of my new Christmas brooches from Deer Arrow. I tried to do a mod eye makeup look but it was kind of mess. I just don’t have enough lid to get the fake doe eye from than era.

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The fishnets are from We Love Colors and the shoes are Mildred in Poppy Red from B.A.I.T.img_1898

Everyone loved my hat but I’m not sure this outfit was a complete success. One comment I received was that I had kind of a “fast food” feel. That had already kind of crossed my mind so once it was said I couldn’t forget it. I later wore just the dress with black knee high boots (no hat or tie) to a Christmas themed rock show. In the bathroom line one girl said I looked like Little Orphan Annie, another reference that I had inadvertently made. I forgot what my response was but the girl then asked me what I was going for. When I replied “Christmas” she seemed confused.

Post-Christmas my original thought was to swap out the tie and hat for something not Christmas so I’d already have something in the bag for my 60s events. I think I can address some of the previous issues by seriously shortening the dress and by making a really smart fabric choice for the new hat and tie. Maybe then it will look a little less like I should be asking if you wanted fries.

Oh well.

Ho! Ho!

 

 

Dumpster Fire Ornament Crafting Party

2016 has really taken a toll on me. It started out on a low note with the death of David Bowie. I was in the emergency room the very next day from a kidney stone attack. Then Prince and our never-ending renovation which went over time, over budget and saw us firing our contractor in the middle of the process. I was in London for the disastrous Brexit vote. And of course we in the United States are in the middle of the worst governmental quagmire ever with the results of our election.

Several friends have also had a year filled with the death of loved ones and loved pets, financial turmoil and various calamity.

Was it my worst year ever? No, it wasn’t but I’ve been feeling really sad for the world.

I read about Jennifer Brooks and her viral craft phenomenon, the felt Dumpster Fire ornament (tutorial here). I decided then and there to invite over a small group crafty friends to have a craft party / dumpster fire.

The invite was as follows:

To celebrate (?) this shitshow of a year, let’s make dumpster fire ornaments. I will get the supplies, you bring snacks / drinks. We will only listen to my David Bowie and Purple Rain records and maybe Ace of Spades. Or we can sing The Brady Bunch Theme. If you want to make something in addition to the Dumpster Fire, let me know and maybe I will get more felt. If it goes late enough maybe I will make a frozen pizza. Day drinking required.

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fullsizerender-1And the crafting began! My invitees brought some delicious “ball” themed snacks and a drunken highlight was the Milk Punch from the Baton Rouge Junior League Cookbook.

Everyone had a big time crafting, eating drinking and chatting. Some of us even made themed Dumpsters to commerate Prince and Bowie.

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My final ornament output.

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Jenn poses with her ornaments. Lori gave her the Prince one! What holiday spirit!

When the crafting was done, we all wrote down our grievances and also a few good things about 2016 and we outside to have our own “dumpster fire”.

Lori made an effige of Donald Trump to add to the flames.

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At this point we read off our notes, crumped them up and watched it all burn. It was pretty emotional, but also needed after this dumpster fire of a year. I hope you all are also finding peace and joy this holiday season.

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And by the way…why weren’t you at Elf Practice?

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