Updated: Jul 19
Blogging--A Job for Me?
Pure Grit Boot-Camp
My Website Analytics
A New Layer of Work
Time To Bare My Soul: Enochlophobia
Time For 'Make Believe': Napa BottleRock Music Festival
1980's Scott McClintock Upcycle
Blogging--A Job for Me?
Blogging is picking up for me. And what does this mean exactly?
Well, I went from blogging once every 2-3 months to blogging once a month, and now, I am blogging minimally 2 times a month. Going into July, I need to create 2 separate blog posts for 2 different collaborative styling projects, due at exactly the same time. In addition, I will need to write an addendum blog post about my very first clutch purse that will go with one of the collaborative posts. (Just talking out loud here...to make sense to myself.)
By the time you are reading this, none of this particular scenario will be in real time, but a similar more layered story line will take it's place...and will continue as I proceed down this blogging route.
What started out as an infrequent, and simple way of sharing my art & crafted thrifted textiles, has turned into a delightfully complicated process with projects layering upon more projects with different and/or the same deadlines--a balancing act of manual sewing and written production. Oh yeah, and I have a life too!
Pure Grit Boot-Camp
Thankfully I have a lot of experience with debuting. Sewing costumes for 4 years straight (one marathon lasted 9 months!), I had to once create a whole suite of American Colonial Costumes--40 to be exact!--for my first Walk Through The American Revolution.
I can't recall if I had more boy or girl costumes. One boy costume included a Colonial Jacket, Vest, Jabot Tie and Knickers and hat. And a girl's costume included a Corset Jacket, Stomacher, Full Skirt and Mob Cap. I had 30 days for production.
After days going into days with sleeping 4 hours a night for 30 Days--my production time for these costumes--resulting in 1 week of being bed ridden because I caught some bad virus from which my very tired body came under attack, I came out knowing I had fortitude...many could not have done what I did...but it was pure grit.
All that time making those costumes under tight deadlines was my Boot-Camp. I even remember thinking, if I could just get through that self-inflicted insanity, as I can say 'No' to no one, then everything else I attempt will be easy.
So as my blog work load increases from all the opportunities coming in, I still consider this Stressful Delight because I am finally doing what I have always wanted to do ever since blogging was a thing started back in the 90's (technically 1994 per Wikipedia, but not really popularly recognized 'thing' until later 90's) but was not able to really sink my teeth in until this past January.
Sorry for the cliff-hanger, but this topic really deserves it's own dedicated post because once I am done with it, I hope to get other women inspired to get off their tuckusses and follow their dreams.
But here's the partial spoiler: I did not start blogging until 2019 because I lacked confidence that I could write about anything consistently. You know how it goes, we stand in our own ways.
Simplistically, our Brain says we can't, therefore we don't.
So rebounding from all the wasted time in my life, I welcome piles and piles of blog work for something I love to do.
And here's the kicker, people are liking what I do!
When I see that my blog is getting into many nooks and crannies of the world, it's exciting : )
My Website Analytics
My early website analytics have revealed about 1,000 visitors to my website in the last 30 days.
To the professionals in the blogging game, they might give me the encouraging, 'atta girl' pat on the back. And that's ok with me. Everyone has to start somewhere.
However, the super interesting number which portends an industrious future for me is the average length of stay...on my website it's 3 minutes...and you understand averages, right? half are staying on longer and half are getting off sooner.
For a good average session duration, the industry standard is 2 - 3 minutes...enough time for a visitor to interact via reading and/or commenting on my website.
Promising, right? Encouraging!
What started as a hobby of mine, could eventually turn into monetizing, which I will not shy away from. However, I am not doing it at the moment because I want to focus on generating quality, educational, and entertaining content for my subscribers and visitors.
A New Layer of Work
In addition to my own self-prompted blog posts about refashioning/upcycling/alterations/styling/thrifting/costume creation, I am now collaborating with other bloggers and styling groups.
So far collaborations for me has actualized in a feature in online magazines, guest blogging for sustainable clothing line, an invitation for permanent residence within a styling group, and this month's invitation to Guest Blog for the Fab 40's styling group.
It was Shelbee, from Shelbee on the Edge, who invited me to join her group for July. Her chosen theme is 'Festival'.
"The Fab 40’s is a group of four fashion bloggers from around the globe. Each month they choose a different theme and invite a guest blogger who is also in their 40’s to join us. This group’s goal is to take on style trends and show how we each interpret and incorporate them into our own lives. With four widely varied views, you are certain to find something that speaks to you each month and encourages you to continue to have fun with fashion after the age of 40."
Shelbee is a woman that I immediately had connection with. Besides being around the same age, we both have been thrifting clothes since we were teens and have not stopped. She is truly inspirational in her heart felt blogs, which make you feel like you are her best friend. She puts so much energy and effort into getting to know all her subscribers. Her blogs are a blend of a showcase of her thrifted finds as well as a look into her daily life, kids, family, and friends. Please check her out--she makes me smile!
Here are the other ladies in the group. I've included their links as well:
Daenel of Living Outside the Stacks
Dee of Dee Sayz
Sheela of Sheela Writes
Suzy of Suzy Turner Books & Style
Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge
Time To Bare My Soul
When I started blogging, I did not think I would reveal too much about myself personally. But there's always a first time? Right?
Well, my heart sank when Shelbee told me the theme for her group's July was "Festival".
I was so excited to receive the invitation that I did not have the heart to tell Shelbee that I suffer from:
the fear of crowds
Enochlophobia is known by different names such as Ochlophobia and Demophobia. As the name indicates, this phobia consists of an irrational fear of large crowds and gatherings of people.
Yep...that's me...one layer of my onion....
I don't go to Festivals, Concerts, Sports Events, and going to my child's graduation would have been a challenge for me, but I eschewed it, and only because of CV-19.
Does this mean I have never, ever gone to any of these? No. I have been to concerts for my girls like Katy Perry and Pink, and a Don Henley concert, only because my husband begged me and promised it was:
a sit-down concert
we did not have any seats in front of us
I had clear reign of a walkway
exits were close by
restrooms were available, not port-a-potties (another irrational fear)
we would leave before the last song
And, just so it's clear, I do not have agoraphobia--the fear of people. I love socializing and we have dinner parties all the time. I just don't like event crowds.
Self reflecting, it would seem that I don't like feeling trapped. Probably my self-perseverance--Fright or Flight--animal instinct is abnormally acute.
Time For Make Believe
So since I have never been to a Music Festival, I am going to play make-believe that I am going to one.
Not that I have never been invited...we've been invited numerous times to "BottleRock" a 3-day music, wine, food and brew festival in Napa, California. With 5 Music Stages, past performers have included Bruno Mars, Foo Fighters, Mumford & Sons, and Tom Petty--not a bad line-up at all! right?!
Enochlophobia aside, what would I wear if I would be going to this concert which is usually late May, but now postponed to October because of CV19?
Comfort is probably a must for this type of all-day in the sun, standing & dancing concert, but I know I would want to look super stylish too!
Since Puffy Sleeved Blouses are the thing right now all over Pinterest, I thought I'd upcycle a 1980's Scott McClintock dress that I purchased for a $1.00 on the thrift store's clearance rack into a back-corset style top, with lacing in the back.
Surprisingly, this was a fitted dress NOT a typical full skirted one (neither here nor there, but interesting styling for this dress at this particular time.)
As slender as I am (although the pounds keep adding on with the CV19 thing...), I still could not close up the back of the dress, thus inspiring the corset solution.
Temperatures in Napa Valley range from high 70's to low 80's in October. Since floral prints are starting to transcend ALL seasonal style rules these days as evidenced on Pinterest, I think the muted color of the lavendar flowers and green leaf print would go well for a fall day.
I will style my future ultra-feminine, pouf sleeve top, with army green shorts for a hot day and jeans for a cooler day.
That's how I see myself rocking out to Stevie Nicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Blondie--a few of the amazing acts lined up for this year!
With all this talk of going, I might actually talk myself into going!
Let's see if I was able to accomplish this!
LET'S START UPCYCLING & REFASHIONING!
Remove ALL lace around the dress--and there was a ton!
told you there was a ton of lace removed!
I will save and use for one of my historic costumes in the future
Remove the shoulder pads (there was still stiff tulle under the sleeve to help with the poof).
Remove the long zipper (save for later use!)
Mark with chalk where to cut the dress (and cross fingers that the crazy idea will work).
Look through options for back corset tie-backs, and in the end chose NONE!
Decide that the best tie-back is one made of the same fabric. (Realize not trying to create a Princess look with girlie ribbons ; )
Open up Key-Hole fabric borders with a seam ripper.
Fold fabric inward to create new back border edge.
7th Step--Make Double Seam For Corset Tie-Backs
Open up back seam.
Utilize excess fabric to make new interface and double seam.
Make a strip of fabric from skirt.
Pin the interfacing, print side together.
Sew up edge, fold over and press.
Cut 8 little strips of fabric, fold inward, and press.
Sew edges of mini-tubes.
Mark 4 evenly spaced spots on back of blouse. Repeat on the other side.
Fold over tie-backs like a loop and insert into corset back seam. Sew down the entire back edge to secure the tie-back loops.
Make long enough tube of fabric from remaining skirt fabric, and insert and cross-over in the corset loops.
Decide that I don't want to look like a Disney Princess and take off the ridiculous bows I was making.
Decide that it would be best to finish the loop on itself--no ties and no bows.
Cut off excess tie.
Sew tube upon itself to create infinity loop.
12th Step--Install Side Zipper
Pick side seam to open up.
Split side seam with ripper.
Measure where zipper will end.
Install zipper foot into machine.
Sew in zipper.
13th Step--Change Front V-Neck
There were a couple of problems with the sheer fabric on the V-neck. First it was not nice looking at the edge of the neck. And second, the neck curve was so high up on the neck that it limited my shoulders from moving! So opting to cut out the sheer fabric and drop the neckline solved both problems.
Remove sheer fabric from V-neck.
Determine size of triangle fabric.
Serge edges of triangle.
Sew in V-Neck.
14th Step--Clean Up Raw Edge
Cut off uneven fabric off raw edge.
Sew on extra strip of fabric from skirt to create a clean, straight edge.
Accommodate the zipper opening, and fold under and sew down.
15th Step--Sit Back and Enjoy the View!
Time To 'Style My Thrift'!
Putting A Look Together
The colors and the pattern in the fabric inspired the use of high-waisted army green Gloria Vanderbilt jeans that someone cut off into shorts, which I thrifted. The very casual shorts helped to balance the 'fancy' blouse, which I intentionally muted (remember, I did not add bows for a reason!)
Also, I had a pair of thrifted J.Crew mauve colored ankle wooden clogs to further 'casualize' the look of this outfit.
The mushroom colored round straw purse--which I bought in every color for $10 each when I visited my family last year in Poland--adds some nice visual contrast in texture.
I have to admit, I was hesitant at first whether or not this outfit would work--but it did! For me, that is!
I LOVE how it turned out!
....Now what's next for me to Upcycle???
...How about this?
Links To Other Puffy Sleeve Upcycles