Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

You may recall that the plan was to dress up as this fine lady for Halloween 2011 (Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter, for those unfamiliar):

Well, I did! Here's how it all came together:

shirt: F21
skirt: H&M
corset: I made it
tights: Target
shoes: from the depths of my mom's closet
wand: leftover from Halloween last year

All told, the entire look set me back $4. I had to buy the felt and ribbon to make the corset, but everything else I already had--which is kind of ridiculous. Who knew I dressed like a crazy ex-con whose sole agenda is to kill that mudblood Harry Potter?

Did you dress up this year? What were you? Anybody else skip the store and make your own? Feel free to link up to any posts or pictures in the comments--I want to see!

Friday, October 28, 2011

On the Cheap: Goldenrod

I don't know what's up with me and yellow lately, but I'm ALL over it. I've been adding more of it to my wardrobe, spray painting one of my $4 candelabras, and putting a lot into my favorite items on Etsy. I also half-joked to Hubsey that we should get a yellow entertainment center, and he didn't even answer. I think because he was too excited for words.

Anyway, back to the aforementioned favorites on Etsy. Lots of yellow, indeed:

Starting top left, the recycled paper ornament is $10, the patterned lumbar pillow is $38, the cheerful charm necklace is $14.50, and the adorable "together" pillow is also $38.

Are you starting any new color fetishes? Anybody else on Team Yellow with me?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pinterest #9

Ah, Pinterest. You delivered again on the sweet stuff this week. I've already mentioned the custom console I can make out of unfinished kitchen cabinets, and here's some more pinny goodness:

An updated version of all the Scrabble projects floating around:

Still the lazy reluctant chef, but I'd be willing to put in the extra work for these burgers and fries:

Spray paint candle holders to match the candles, something I'm considering for Christmas decor (in different colors, don't worry):

I'm drooling over the pretty details on this dress:

And it wouldn't be a Pinterest post without a kitchen:

If I could just find a similar piece of furniture to the one they used for this island, we wouldn't have to worry about storage in the living room anymore. Sigh.

What did you pin this week? Getting any Christmas present ideas?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Now Accepting Holiday Sponsors!

As we all know, the holidays are fast approaching--which means that it's time to open things up for holiday sponsors! If you have an online shop or a blog to promote, Final Clothes-Out is a great place to get started. My little corner o' cyberspace features topics like fashion, bargain-hunting, and DIY projects, and I'd love for you to be part of the fun!

With over 650 followers between Blogger, Google Reader, and email subscriptions, FCO is a great jumping-off point for a small shop or blog. There are three sponsorship options to choose from, and rates begin at a very affordable $5. And since this is the holiday season and we all have gifts to buy, I'm offering a special for new advertisers: two months for the price of one.

New holiday sponsors will have their ads posted for November and December, will be included in two Sponsor Spotlight posts, and can choose to participate in an optional group giveaway.

Sounds pretty good, right? Full details can be found on my sponsorship page, and you can always shoot me an email with any questions:

Hope to have you on board!

Another Adventure in Carpentry?

One of the lame things about living in a small condo is the lack of storage. (Even lamer is that nobody wants to buy a condo right now, so we have to Tim Gunn this and make it work because we're not going anywhere.) We had plenty of space when I moved in, way back before I opened my shop. But as my business grows and my beady children multiply, I need more and more space.

So the Hubs and I have been thinking about what we can do to make things more functional around here, and we started eyeballing this guy:

Nice to look at, yes, but not very useful anymore. The shelves are especially annoying because they have no sides or back, hence the weird stacking of books and magazines. We have a couple of options for making it better. First, we keep the TV stand and add "real" side-shelving:

Our front runner is the Hemnes from IKEA. I like all the space, and for $180 it's hard to beat the price. However, I'm afraid that at 35½" wide, two of them will be too bulky on that wall, and having only one will look bizarre. Hmm...

On the other hand, we could ixnay the whole setup and start fresh with something totally different. Like THIS:

The small(!) version is 10.5 feet long, which is the perfect size. I'm intrigued by the idea of having one giant console instead of a traditional entertainment center. The problem? It's from Pottery Barn and is $1,489--before shipping.

What if--and this is totally crazytown--what if we just built something? I saw this on Pinterest yesterday and it got the wheels a-turnin':

It's made from unfinished kitchen cabinets that are available at most hardware stores. I priced it out at Home Depot, and we could build a 9 foot custom console for about $400.

That blows my mind.

Of course, there's the issue of WHERE we would build something that big, because we sure don't have a yard or a garage, but if we got all the wood cut at the store and only had to attach things...

But I'm getting ahead of myself. What's your entertainment center like? Does it have a lot of storage? Did you realize that unfinished kitchen cabinets could be so handy? Should I give it a shot?!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What I Wore: Country Wedding

I was faced with one of my larger wardrobe challenges over the weekend. Hubsey and I went to a farm wedding with a picnic reception, and the invitation urged us to "please dress accordingly."


Now, this might be my city-dweller imagination getting away from me, but when I hear "picnic" I think "ham salad" "jeans." And then I cringe, because where I'm from, one does not wear jeans to a wedding. Period. But then again, this wedding isn't in my neck of the woods, so does that make the jeans okay?

Anyhoodle, after several outfit changes and phone calls ("What are YOU wearing?"), this is where I ended up:

cardigan: Old Navy
blouse: Loft
jeans: F21
boots: Rack
earrings: I made them

"Dressy jeans" was the consensus. I probably would have been okay in my favorite wrap dress of all time--which was option #2--but I was afraid of getting chilly when the sun went down. So the jeans won.

I'm not gonna lie, it felt totally strange to wear them, but it WAS easier to dance without the squeeze of panty hose.

What about you? Jeans at a wedding: yay or nay?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Family Farm Wedding

Let me preface this post by saying that I can count on one hand the number of times I've been on a farm in my entire life. A couple of them were family reunions, one was a misguided trip where I was told there would be horse-riding and there definitely was not, and one was....

A wedding! And it was yesterday.

The invitation told us it would be a picnic reception and to "please dress accordingly" (more on that tomorrow), so imagine my surprise when I walked into the tent and saw oodles of dried flowers and soft lighting:

That's my kind of picnic! And I have to say, not at all what I was expecting when I found out it was going to happen on a farm.

The bride and her friends made all of the centerpieces (some tables had three!), hung the lanterns, and baked the 12 pies they had on hand for dessert. The head table, which I sadly couldn't get a good picture of, had mismatched antique chairs pulled from the farmhouse. It was fabulous.

And this wasn't part of the farm, but the ceremony took place in a beautiful little church. Kind of reminds me of where I got married:

Have you been to a wedding on a farm? Was it how you thought it would be? Does anybody beat my number for fewest-times-on-a-farm? Has anybody never been to one?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Easy (and cheap!) Fall Decor

I'm not much of a seasonal decorator. It's not that I don't like decorations, it's that we live in 850 square feet and don't have a lot of room. (We're investigating a shelving system for the family room to free up some coveted closet space, but that's another story for another day.)

Anywho, I did put out a few things for fall, spending less than a dollar in the process. First, meet Gourdon:

The magical gourd of yore finally bit the dust, so I picked up this little guy at Whole Foods for 69 cents.

This bowl was a wedding gift, and these are the same old pine cones I've been using for two years:

And because the pine cones work for fall or winter, this can sit out from now until New Year's without looking strange.

For a Halloween-y vibe, I put some old drippy candles (from IKEA) on the dining room table:

And that's it! I'm tellin' ya, it doesn't take much to decorate a small house, which is okay with me because the longer we live here, the more I like not having a ton of space to fill/clean/decorate/check for spiders.

How did you decorate for fall? Did you do the lazy smart thing and use versatile items that can stick around for a while? Anybody else buy a tiny gourd?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

October Sponsor Spotlight

I don't know about you, but October is zooming by at breakneck speed over here. Time to slow down and get to know my fabulous October Sponsors! The ladies are back with a lot of new goodies, so be sure to check out their shops and blogs.

This month, I'm excited to announce a brand new sponsor:

Goofing Off Sewing Supplies - GoofingOff Sewing Supplies offers sewing patterns, modern and vintage, Judaic fabrics, and other sewing supplies to enable all people who sew make their ideas come to life. My name is Eileen, and I love supplying that special dress or jacket pattern for a wedding or maybe a blouse pattern like the first thing someone ever sewed or had sewn for him or her. Offering Judaic fabrics is very special to me; I am one of the few suppliers of Judaic fabrics on the web. Be sure to find me on Facebook and Twitter too.

A Bird in the Hand Art - I'm Jenny and I have been crafting for most of my life. I love learning new techniques. I usually let the inspiration guide the technique rather than vice-versa. I have a background in biology, specifically animal behavior, and I have been inspired by the beauty of various bird species. Now I spend my days covered in fabric and paint and loving every minute of it :) Visit my shop for some one-of-a-kind accessories and home decor pieces.

Marilyn P Sushi - is a self-taught jewelry designer and mastermind behind Pulp Sushi. She is what happens when you cross a Retro Secretary with the Bride of Frankenstein. Creating jewelry pieces to help you express just a pinch of your playful, flirty, quirky side. You can find some of my jewelry along with items from other great artists (like the stationary above) at For your readers I would like to offer a 15% discount on their purchase at when they use the code FCOBLOG during checkout.

Nic's Button Buds - Nicole creates stunning bouquets, boutonnieres, shoe clips, and brooches out of buttons. Each piece is carefully made by hand and is truly something to treasure for years to come. She also enjoys quilting, and has a selection of fun fabric postcards in her shop.

Shabby Apple - Great dresses that make getting dressed simple. No worrying about flashing accidential skin or finding a coordinating cardi--Shabby dresses are designed to be a one-piece outfit. Easy! Plus, a portion of their sales benefit women in Asia and Africa. Cute clothes for a good cause? Yes, please.

GoatNotes - I'm Julia and my blog was started in October 2010 as a way to chronicle my adventures in motherhood as well as share updates about my Etsy shop, Emory&Olly. Over the past year my goals remain relatively the same with both ventures, however GoatNotes blog has shifted to focus more on intentional living, self sufficiency, celebrating all things handmade and has become a space of inspiration for myself and others.

Favor Creative - My name is Vicki and I own a handcrafted eco-friendly herb favors and event stationery shop dedicated to all things creative for life's special occasions. I am passionate about using all-natural and eco-friendly choices for event favors as well as my everyday life. My Herbs in a Box Favor was created using 100% biodegradable materials and packed and shipped with a conscious effort to reduce its impact on our earth.

A huge thank you to all of my sponsors for being a part of Final Clothes-Out!

If you're interested in becoming a sponsor for your own shop or blog, visit my sponsorship page to get more information. We'd love to have you on board!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paula Deen... Furniture?

I like Paula Deen. I think it's cute that she pronounces "oil" like "awwl," and while the amount of butter she uses in every recipe kinda freaks me out, I'd still eat anything she cooked for me.  I've also watched her various shows and thought, "Man, her kitchen looks great. Somebody has a good set designer."

Well, it turns out that she might have something to do with how her TV kitchen looks after all, because guess who has a brand new furniture line?

I. Love. Everything.

It's traditional, which to me just means versatile, and it's available in wood stains and the currently-trendy light paint colors. The only thing I don't like is that there isn't a catalog. You have to purchase through authorized retailers, and while I didn't look through every single one, the few I did poke through only carry a handful of her items.

On the bright side, it's all reasonably priced as far as new furniture goes. Maybe when we finally escape the condo and buy a house, we can rock some Paula.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mrs. Ronchetti Goes to Washington

As you might have guessed by the title, I was in Washington DC this weekend. It was my first time there and I LOVED it. All of the old buildings, the museums, how easy their train system was to navigate--heck, the whole city was easy for getting around. I'll definitely be going back.

One of our first stops was Union Station, which I have to say, is better than Chicago's Union Station. I mean, look at this:

Our moonlight monument tour left from the station, and while we were waiting, I took an exterior shot. This turned out so cool mainly because I had the wrong setting on my camera; I didn't do any color correction in Photoshop (not that I would have known how, anyway):

My favorite place was the Library of Congress. This room probably has an official name, but I called it the atrium:

More wacky cloud action outside the train station again, this time by the Christopher Columbus monument:

Did you know THIS is actually the front of the White House? Normally we see the other side, so I guess the Presidents are just like everybody else and like to have their parties in the backyard:

And finally, some fly-overs in honor of the brand new Martin Luther King monument (at least, that's what we think they were for). Either way, cool:

Have you been to DC? What was your favorite thing? Anybody visited all of the Smithsonians? (We only saw two).

Monday, October 17, 2011

Go Retro: I might need to renew my vows already.

I'm baaaaack! I took a little jaunt to Washington DC for a long weekend (and had planned to blog at least once while I was there, but an internet connection was $13 a day at my hotel--railway robbery if you ask me) so now I have some catching up to do.

Before I show you the pictures from my trip, I need to tell you about something awesome I found with a friend last Wednesday:

Pretend my head is there.

What's up, 1950s wedding dress? You have beautiful lace flowers, flattering sleeves, and you're in fantastic condition! And you're only $75 at the charity shop! I should take you home and tell Hubsey we're renewing our vows already. Nevermind that I couldn't zip you all the way. I would've made it work. I should go back and buy you.

In all seriousness, it was the prettiest dress I've seen in a while. This picture I took myself in the dressing room is more true-to-color. It's slightly yellowed by age, but still GORGEOUS.

The lace detail repeats again on either side of the full skirt:

And it had a massive train that took up most of the dressing room:

I was shocked to find something this fantastic at a resale shop. If it were mine, I would've hunted down somebody who wanted to wear it (like meeeee!), or sold it to a collector.

Have you ever come across a treasure at a thrift store? Something you can't BELIEVE a person would just donate? Did you buy it? I really want to go back for the dress, but what would I (realistically) do with it?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

A couple of smart people commented yesterday that I should post the haircuts I'm considering. To be honest, I hadn't thought about anything specific when I wrote that post (I'd only gotten as far as, "I'm tired of leaning back on my hair!"), but now I've got a few things in mind thanks to Pinterest:

Option #1: The Natural

I think this one is my favorite. Ignore the bangs, though. No more short bangs for this girl, not when they're finally to my chin and easily ponytail-able. My hair is naturally this texture, so perhaps some layers like these will make my life easier.

Option #2: My Imaginary Best Friend Kate Middleton

This is pretty much what I have, except it never looks this awesome. If I were to do The Kate, I'd just get a trim and dye it a few shades darker.

Option #3: Chopped

Hubsey is campaigning hard for shoulder-length hair. I think he's mostly tired of my Rapunzel locks clogging the bathroom drains, but that will happen no matter what. I'm not sure I want to commit to something this drastic, though it would be nice to save some time in the morning.

Decisions, decisions.  As a reminder, here's how the coif looks now:

Your thoughts? There is the hypothetical fourth option of getting hair extensions and rocking some Victoria's Secret model hair, but something tells me that would just add MORE time to my morning routine, and that defeats the purpose.

Thanks in advance.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Miscellaneous: Weekenders

It was crazy warm this weekend in Chicago. Normally this time of year I'm prancing around in boots and sweaters, babbling about going on a hayride and finding a new gourd, but yesterday I was marveling about this:

Leaves all over the ground, and I wore sandals. You'll notice that Hubsey did not, and guess who complained about being too warm the entire time we were on our walk? The thermometer in the car bounced between 83 and 85, so I feel like I made the right footwear choice.

Thankfully, it's supposed to be back in the 50s and 60s by the end of the week.

In other news, I was the lucky winner of a free printable from Bates Mercantile Co. (courtesy of Kristen), which I framed this weekend after I got tired of being outside:

I had forgotten how expensive picture mats are, especially in comparison to the cheap-o IKEA frame I had laying around, so I used scrapbook paper instead. It's photographing a tad yellow, but in real life it's a nice cream color.  I'm not sure about a permanent home yet, but for now it's sitting pretty on my nightstand.

How was your weekend? Any weird weather in other parts of the country?