Thursday, March 31, 2011

On the Cheap: Work Appropriate

My office has a dress code.  It's nothing too strict, because certain departments are allowed to wear jeans everyday (thank god), but I'm still getting used to dressing like a young professional.  Perhaps because I don't feel like a professional?  Wait, that sounds bad.

I used to work at a radio station and people could just show up in whatever.  Dirty sweatshirts?  Yep.  Baseball caps?  You betcha.  I wasn't quite THAT casual, but still, switching over to a "real" office was a big change.

Blue striped tunic, marked down to $22.99, felted wool computer bag $68, mermaid locket $26, and J. Simp. floral pumps, $59.95.

Does your office have a dress code too?  Any weird rules?  (We're not allowed to wear sandals that go between our toes, even if they're not flip-flops.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Housewares: To the desk!

I've been talking about re-doing my office at home for a loooooong time.  And now it's finally happening, because my sister has agreed to remove the thorn in my side and take the desk!  Woot!  To jog your memory, it looks like this:

Well, you've probably only seen it like this:

This was a few weeks ago. I've cleaned since then.

It's a desk/hutch/filing cabinet combo from IKEA.  It's not falling apart or anything, but there aren't enough shelves anymore.  I've filled the three that exist, and spend the rest of the time cursing the useless magazine racks on the left side.

So now I'm going for a slightly smaller desk without the space-wasting THING on top of it so I can put up wall shelves.  Perhaps one of these:

The masculine feel of a sawhorse desk will create a nice juxtaposition with the girly details I already have in the room. $169.95.

Of course, I have to consider IKEA.  It's practically a rule.  $119.

This one is amazing.  Too bad it's $700.

The more I look at the first option, the more I love it.  What do you think?  Where's your desk from (if you use one)?  Do you require a many-shelved solution like I do?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DIY: Dress Update

You'd think that somebody with a college degree could figure out a sewing machine.  Especially when said machine still has the instruction manual.


Now it makes this WHRRRRRRRRR noise whenever I press the pedal.  And then the needle jams.  So... I guess I have to take it somewhere to be fixed?  I should note that the machine is probably 20 years old, so it's not like I got a lemon or something.  It's just being difficult (as I feared).

It might be winning FOR NOW, but look what I did without it:

Relax, it's not done.

Choppity-chop-chop!  No more flappy sleeves.  I fixed the slip, too, but you'll have to take my word for it.

Unfortunately for me, now that the sleeves are gone it's more obvious that the bodice is a little big.  So now that has to be taken in, and all of a sudden I'm doing major reconstructive surgery on what was supposed to be the easy part.  Womp, womp.

Has anybody else ever gotten stumped by a sewing machine?  Some other contraption, perhaps?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shop Update: Now in stores.

BIG NEWS.  As of 5:30 yesterday evening, my jewelry is officially for sale in stores!

It happened so fast.  I wandered into the store on Saturday, spoke on the phone Tuesday and Wednesday, met with the owner in person yesterday, and she bought my samples on the spot.

Aaaaah!  And I might be doing more business with her in the near future.  Fingers crossed.  Knocking on wood.  Avoiding stray black cats.  (Wish me luck.)

On a related note, I've been working like a madwoman on my new, fancier line for Etsy.  None of these are in the shop yet, but they're coming soon--probably way before my original May 1st timeframe.  Whaddya think?

As always, any feedback is appreciated.

How are things going with your shop?  Any fun projects in the works?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On the Cheap: Those are from Payless?!

So, I should be on the hunt for a new pair of silver sandals (because the ones I bought last year fell apart while I was wearing them) but I got distracted.  Again.

I saw these in a magazine last night and I MUST have them.  Hubsey thinks they're ugly, but he also doesn't like Ghost Adventures, so we clearly can't trust his judgement.

And these are among the few booties (bootlets?) I've ever liked.  I think it's the tiny zipper that gets me.  And hey, they're kind of silvery!  It must be a sign.

Bought any shoes lately?  Perhaps some silver sandals?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

DIY: Sew Busy

Last week I mentioned that my poor sewing machine hasn't been getting any action.  I was torn between tailoring a dress or making one from scratch, and in the end, I decided to take baby steps.  Let's see how I well I do altering this:

I got it about a year ago when I went to visit my sister in Indy, and it's been getting to know the inside of my closet ever since (my bad).  It's a house dress from the '50s, seemingly homemade because there are no tags.  The dress itself is completely transparent, so I had to track down a full slip, too.

Here's how they look right now:

The dress doesn't need much work--I'll probably just get the sleeves under control--but the vintage slip is a nightmare.  I have teeny tiny boobs (booblets, you might say), and the only slip I could find that was long enough was ALSO made to wrangle somebody else's huge chest.  Awesome.

I should mention that part of the reason I chose these items is because this kind of fabric doesn't work with Unique Stitch.  I'll be FORCED to use the machine, even if it misbehaves.

I'll keep you posted.

What are you working on right now?  Anybody else sewing?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Housewares: Naptime

I'm dragging today.  It's my own fault because I was up late watching Sister Wives--which is weirdly fascinating, by the way--and now it's all rainy and dark so I just want to go back to bed.  But I'm in my cube at work, so I can only look at soft pillows until I can put my face on one again:

The supercool notebook pillow cover is $45, the yellow Hollywood Regency fabric is also $45 (and similar to chair upholstry I saw at Pottery Barn... but I totally prefer it as a pillow), the bright flower cover is $35, and the set of cases that spell out "nap" (how fitting!) in Scrabble letters are $55 for all three.

Anybody else have a case of the Mondays?

Before I go get more coffee, I was lucky enough to receive an award for the ol' blog:

The lovely Dianne over at Yonks (who also has a great Etsy shop) passed it on to me.  I have to share seven random things about myself, so let's see just how random I can make them:

1. I have a broadcasting degree.  No, I'm not putting it to use. The knowledge is sitting in my brain collecting metaphorical dust.

2. I'm addicted to caffiene.  I get headaches if I don't have any by early afternoon.

3. Making jewelry is my creative outlet/side business.  I like it more than any job I've ever had.

4. I've watched every season of Top Chef.  All-stars finale on Wednesday!  We're pulling for Richard.

5. My favorite books in order are: Harry Potter (let's just count the whole series), Jane Eyre, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

6. My car's name is Sugar.  She has a dent in one of her doors that I never got fixed.

7. There were 89 people in my high school class, which was abnormally small even for the town I lived in then.

And now I get to give the award to a couple of deserving blogs.  Lulu Grey features fun and unique items for the budget-minded person (like me!), and Dressed to the 9's has a pretty, romantic feel that I really enjoy.  Congrats, ladies!

Friday, March 18, 2011

What I Wore: St. Patty's Day

As I predicted in my other post about St. Patrick's Day, I wore a green scarf and shoes yesterday:

Hello, first day of humidity! Loving my frizzball.

scarf: gifted
dress: Savvy (the eco-friendly store in my town; the dress is bamboo)
shoes: Payless (4 years ago)

I really wanted to post the website for the company that makes this dress--because it's awesome and I wanted to share my joy--but they apparently don't have one.  Not even a blog.  SIGH.

But lemme tell ya, bamboo clothing might be my new favorite thing.  Aside from the environmental reasons to dig it, it's comfy, it's wrinkle-resistant, and I'm told it's hard to shrink.  And this particular dress wasn't too expensive.  It was $60, which did make me pause for a second, but it's a versatile style and I intend to wear the crap out of it.

Anybody else have any bamboo clothing?  What do you think?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Go Retro: Envy

I got a sewing machine for Christmas and have yet to use it.  Whenever I have something to sew, I stand there in my office and say, "Okay, self.  Do you want to learn how to use a new machine today and see if you can thread the bobbin without your sister's help?  Or do you want to use Unique Stitch?"

I think you know what I do.

So now it's three months later and I'm looking for a "real" project to use with the machine.  Something like this:

Yep, she's already sewn together, but she's not my size.  I would tailor her down, and then wear her to weddings, work parties, formal St. Patrick's Day get-togethers... the list goes on and on.  She's my favorite shade of  kelly green and, according to the listing, in excellent condition.  I want!  $135.

Or I could do the more affordable route and make a dress:

(Love that neckline!) Again, something I could wear all over the place, including work if I use the right fabric.  $12.

Do you sew?  What have you made lately?  Have you had success using vintage patterns?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Miscellaneous: Keepin' It Real

Spring!  A time of renewal.  And fresh starts.  And sunshine.

Also a time of impressive clutter.

I'm enrolled in the Indie Business 3.0 workshop right now, and it's gotten me thinking a lot about my jewelry line.  (Well, that and getting our taxes done. Ugh.)  My shop is going through a pretty significant re-vamp, and in the spirit of being honest, this is how my office looked over the weekend:

In my defense, it looks about 5% better now because I put away some pearls that were making a break for freedom.

Amidst all the crazy, I'm actually getting things done. Let's zoom in on some new products:


So far I'm coping with all of the planned changes, but it's a MASSIVE amount of work.  More than I thought.  Not only am I going to make, photograph, and then list about 20 new items (to start), but I'm also re-doing a lot of the existing photography for the shop, and doing a total SEO overhaul. Outside of Etsy, I'm designing a separate line for local stores, and building up my new stock enough for three upcoming craft shows.

Basically, I'm insane.  I know the key to not completely losing my mind is time management.  Do you have any other advice?  Are you making changes to your shop, too?  How's it going?

Monday, March 14, 2011

On the Cheap: It ain't easy being green.

I almost forget about St. Patrick's Day every year.  I'm not Irish, and I've never celebrated it beyond having a cupcake at school or something.  So it slips my mind, and I never remember until the last second.  Then I have to throw on some wrinkled whatever to avoid all of the, "Why aren't you wearing greeeeeeen? Pinch, pinch!"

But this year, I thought about it TODAY. Plenty of time to get in gear:

The vintage pencil skirt is $24, the dress with the cute collar is $120, and the necklace is $28.

Is your green stuff washed and ready?  Will you just throw something on that morning?  Are you going to ignore the holiday altogether?  (I think I'll wear green shoes.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On the Cheap: Neutral

Can you believe it's already March 10th?  Spring officially begins in 11 days!  What?!  Father Time, feel free to pump the brakes; I'm getting whiplash.

My brain still thinks more snow is coming (and there might be--this is Chicago, City of Bizarre Weather), but everywhere I look is chirping birds and green grass.  I guess I need a metal adjustment:

Okay, so it's not all sunshine-y and bright, but it's a step in the right direction.

Starting top left, the flowering tree print is $12, the vintage peep toe shoes are $30, the sterling silver art noveau ring is $32, the lattice pillowcase is $32, and the bird's nest necklace is $24.

How about you?  Ready for spring?  Or do you feel like you fell through a wormhole?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On the Cheap: Adorable Aprons

I'm relatively uncoordinated, so of course, I get food on myself a lot.  Or I drop salsa on the carpet (which is another argument for hardwood floors), but until somebody designs a chic drop cloth, I'll just have to stick with aprons for catching food.

Happily, I found some cute ones yesterday:

All of them are $18 each, are hand screenprinted, and can be found here.

Do you have a fun apron?  (I have a sweet vintage one my sister got me as a wedding gift, but I'm afraid of ruining it.  So I wear it when I use the toaster oven bake.)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Housewares: White Hot

Here's something funny I just learned: Hubsey LOVES shabby chic decor.

We wandered into a shop the other day, and to be honest, the Hubs looked a little bored.  But on the way out the door he goes, "You know all the white furniture in there?  It's awesome!"

Say what?

And then a few days later, we strolled through Pottery Barn and it was pretty much the same thing.  He wants a white buffet when we buy a house.

Clearly, he means business.

Now, I'm not going to let him turn the condo into a cottage, but we have a lot of dark wood in Casa Ronchetti, so a bit of freshness will make for a nice contrast.

Hubsey doesn't have a nightstand on his side of the bed (because he "didn't need it" and now puts all of his stuff on the floor), so perhaps he'll like this one.  $110.

A friend is taking our desk in May, so that means I can choose one with a smaller hutch to allow for more wall shelving.  $206.99.

We also need a new dresser.  Like, yesterday.  The one we have was in my childhood bedroom, and let's just say I didn't understand the use of coasters back then.  I think Mr. Shabby would approve of this one. $195.

Do you have any white/shabby/French furniture?  Where'd you get it?  Any advice on places to skip?

Monday, March 7, 2011

On the Cheap: Blue Moon

Remember those peacock shoe clips I showed you in the Vegas post?

You can also buy the heels.

AWESOME.  They come in the lovely blue pictured above, plus purple or red.  And when you buy the shoes, they come with the clips.  $52 for both.

So now I'm all in the mood to look at other blue stuff:

Beginning at the top left, the smoochy giraffe t-shirt is $18, the "Let's Eat" print is $20 for an 11x14, the navy flower clip is $8.50, and the constellation embroidery kit is $15.

Maybe this is start of my very own Blue Period, except I won't be contributing major works of art.  (Sorry, Picasso.)  What color are you feeling lately?

Giveaway: And the winner is...

Utensils down, hands up Time's up!  The giveaway is officially over.  Let's see who will be taking home this little number from my shop.

According to, the lucky commenter is:

Congratulations, Melissa!

And if you didn't win, don't fret!  I plan on doing more giveaways and contests in the future.  Stay tuned for more information.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Housewares: Pillow Talk

Happy Friday!  It's kind of a crappy day in Chicago (rainy and humid--my favorite), but things just got instantly better around these parts:

The awesome speaks for itself.  Harry Potter as a pillow, $40.  (They also have Ron and Hermione.)

This got me thinking about fan merch in general and how I don't really have any.  I do have a Slytherin lapel pin that I've worn in public much to the embarrassment of people who know me, but that's pretty boring.  I need this pillow!

Tell me you have cooler stuff.  Any other HP fans?  Lord of the Rings?  Something else you're crazy about?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't yet!  The winner will be announced on Monday.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Giveaway: Birds of a Feather

My little blog has been growing a lot over the last month, and as a thanks to all the new people around here, I'm doing a giveaway.

What do you get?  This baby from my shop:

A fun little dose of springtime (which can't get here fast enough, if you ask me).  To give you an idea of size, the feather is just over an inch long.  An 18" chain is included.

You have four chances to win:

1. Become a follower of this blog, and leave a comment here telling me you are.
2. Tweet this giveaway. Leave another comment here if you do.
3. Blog about this giveaway.  Again, leave another comment with a link.
4. Follow my other blog.  You guessed it--leave a comment here if you do.

The contest will be open until 12 a.m. CST on Monday, March 7th.  I will randomly choose the winner by drawing a number, and then announce the lucky gal (or guy) that same day.

Good luck!