Gretchen Roehrs

Sometimes in the course of my research/googles-gone-awry, I run into things that are too charming, interesting, or striking for me not to share. No advice, no pearls of wisdom- I’m definitely, pretty much, mostly very certain those are reasons you decide to stop by- just something cool that might brighten your day. This week? The fashion illustrations of Gretchen Roehrs.

Continue reading

Too Much Embroider-Drama For Your Embroider-Mama

We always reach a point in the season where Winter gets the best of me.

I’ve been trying to stay normal, guys. I’ve been really trying.

Knowing that there’s always a point in Winter where I lose it, I’ve tried to be very philosophical about everything. “This is temporary. It will get warmer. You will wear sandals again some day. This is not Narnia. It is not always Winter. You should stop mumbling under your breath now.”

But that doesn’t always work.

I have tried to keep myself distracted. I signed up for a ballet class. I signed up for a woodworking class. (I’m making a cheese block! For all my cheeses!) I’m even researching welding classes at the local technical college. “It’ll be like Flashdance!” It won’t be like Flashdance, but I feel like “welding” would fit nicely in my list of skills. Right between a “can make a chicken,” “claps good,” and “has a cheese block.”

I’ve really tried to keep myself together this year with mixed success, but ultimately one of the most sure fire ways I’ve found to keep the Winter crazies from getting to me is putting my hands to work.

Baby’s First Bohonkus Bag

My grandmother taught me how to sew when I was little. I remember embroidering my dog’s name on a Christmas stocking we made from a Precious Moments’ pattern. I remember her teaching me about forward stitch and back stitch on a sewing machine as she made my Glenda the Good Witch Halloween costume.

Continue reading

Weekend Plans: Labor Day Edition

When you remember you don’t have to work today, you must find your best pair of kickin’ jeans. And if you can’t find them, I’m sure Target keeps their kickin’ jeans well stocked.

Just don’t ask for kicking jeans. And don’t even think about binding your legs. Talk about embarrassing.

 

How-to: Mix and Match Bangles

Tonight I tried to teach myself how to crochet.

It was part of my Labor Day weekend initiative to  change up my rhythm and do something new.

Yesterday, I went antiquing in Milwaukee, and then to a drive-in movie. Today, I cleaned and tried to crochet.

I think we can all agree, I’m an exciting, thrilling person.

While the drive-in theater surprisingly left me with an “all is right in the world” outlook as I leaned my head out the window to stare at the stars, smell the first crisp of fall slowly moving in, and listened to Dory discover her potential as she looked for her parents, crocheting only left me with: “Am I just making fancy knots? Did the inventor of crocheting take knitting and say, ‘let’s make this harder and worse?”‘

And then I put my crochet hook down and decided to write a blog post.

You’re welcome.

I really love clothes. Not in a way that suggests people should dress in a certain fashion and those who don’t are uneducated yokels, but in a way that allows for self-expression and variation and color in what is otherwise a world filled with graphic t-shirts at work and Green Bay Packers jerseys at the grocery store. And let’s face it, those are the only two places I go.

But clothes cost money. And despite the recent email from my student loan provider saying, “We’re like you! We have loans too! Don’t hate us!”* they still expect me to pay them a lot of dollars every month.

And actual, true thing included in an email from my loan provider.

So many dollars, that I suspect they don’t actually have loans, but are, in fact, the actual Devil. That, or I made a really questionable life choice, and I need to reconcile myself with that every month for forever.

I’m pretty fortunate in that I have a job that allows for the occasional shopping spree in the Target clearance section, but sometimes I try and think up tricks to shake up my wardrobe while not actually changing my wardrobe.

Guys, I’m about to do a how-to post.

I don’t really do these. When I picture myself explaining to people how to do something, it is usually how to form a mental map of the public restrooms in the East Village of New York or how to make real chicken and dumplings.

My cooking instructions mostly go, “No. Don’t do it like that. Let me google the real recipe…” And then I forget to Google the recipe, and my friend knowingly remains silent.

But this post is actually pretty handy for anyone who wants to shake up their accessory game without spending too much money.

I recently watched Iris, the documentary about Iris Apfel, business woman known for her unique sense of style. Watching this movie, I was struck by her amazing bracelet collection. Here are some particular winners:


I, on the other hand, have one set of bangles I bought two years ago with the dregs of a birthday gift card. And, sorry fashion friends, accent bangles are a hard sell when you’re looking your budget in the face.

Taking what I had, my four bracelets and a big pile of silk scarves, I decided to go off script and try and create my own. Not revolutionary, but they do the job.

Needed:

  • Bangles (various sizes are welcome and encouraged!)
  • Silk scarves, old t-shirts, bandanas, any random fabric that you might have around. Either folded or cut into 1.5″ to 2″ strips

Accumulated over many years of birthdays, Christmases, and only being able to afford silk scarves when thrifting.

How-to:

  1. Start by wrapping the fabric around the bracelet, leaving at least a two inch “tail” of fabric to knot off at the end.
  2. Wrap the fabric some more. I jest, but this is a pretty straightforward trick. The one thing to remember is don’t overlap the fabric too much. The bracelet will feel like it shrinks in size regardless, but if you overlap the wraps too much, you won’t be able to put the bracelet back on.
  3. Knot the fabric. Knot the fabric with whatever “tail” you have left. You can either tuck the excess fabric into the folds, or leave it hanging for some flare.

You can pair different patterns together if you’re feeling crazy, or you can just wrap one as an accent.

I love this trick because if you don’t want to go “full Iris”, a statement bracelet is a pretty good way to shake up the basics.

For those who are saying, “but Meredith, what if I don’t even own one bangle?!” How on Earth do you spend the last five dollars of your birthday gift cards?!

That’s ok. A quick “Wooden bangle” google search produces countless purchasing options of less than five dollars that will do the job. Or, you could even just ditch the bangle, and wrap the scarf around your wrist. Or under your collar. Or in your hair.

Ultimately, I think it really does come back to Iris’ quote: “Wear something that says, ‘here I am today.'” Try something new or something that has been buried in the back of your closet for a few months. Try something that will make your office mate or boss say, “good for you,” but then they privately wonder if they could pull it off.

Or not. You do you. That’s always allowed.

—————————————————–

*What? What’s happening? Am I awake?

#Brave: Wearing Overalls in the Workplace

I made the choice to wear overalls today, and this is the conversation I had in my first meeting of the day:

Me to my boss as I walk into her office: Hi! How are you?

Boss: Wow. Look at you in your overalls. Good for you.

img_4849

my finest hour? probably not. But i got them from Old Navy, and they’re my new favorites.

First let me say, my workplace doesn’t have a dress code. So some things I’ve seen from the last 2.5 years:

– a signature top hat

– a Game of Thrones cape worn with cargo shorts

– a plastic horse head at a meeting

– roughly 45731 graphic tees

– bare feet seen in the bathroom and then later in the cafeteria and then later propped up on a wall in a meeting.

– A Peter Pan costume. It was not Halloween.

People wear what they want here, but based on the conversation I had this morning, I made the choice to wear overalls today, and it was the bravest thing I’ve ever done. 

As the saying goes, “wear overalls like no one knows you’re wearing overalls!”

I’m pretty sure that’s what they say.

Textile Tuesday: Raoul Dufy for Paul Poiret

Evening Cape by Poiret, Printed Velvet by Dufy, 1911

It’s amazing what you find when you’re looking for a new background for your computer. Above is an evening cape by designer Paul Poiret. However, one cannot be a shrinking violet in a cape like this.

Reason #1: It’s in a museum and you’d have to be a brazen thief to be wearing it. A brazen thief, I hope with good object handling practices.

Reason #2: Get a load of that textile. I’m drooling.

Possible reasons I haven’t been updating my blog…

1) I now fight crime.

2) I spent the majority of this week trapped in a snow drift.

3) Selective Internet Amnesia. It’s an epidemic.

The real reason? My grown-up-person-adult job occasionally required a grown-up-person-adult.

So as I compile my collection of make-up posts for the coming week, I give you my band of heroes that got me through the past one:

1) My water bottle system.

I realize it makes up 2/3rds of me, but I don’t really love water. I find five dollars in my pocket and immediately think, “Imagine all the diet coke I can get!” (Get out of my way while I start sprinting to the nearest grocery store)

I ALSO realize, however, that water is necessary and diet coke is not only NOT necessary, but may even do a little damage. So I have to trick myself into drinking water. First way I do this? An infuser water bottle. Put all the goodies in the bottom half, and fill ‘er up. My favorite go-to is lime wedges and mint leaves, but you could go with cucumbers slices, pomegranate seeds, raspberries. Go (the appropriate level considering it’s about water bottles) crazy!

IMG_0227             IMG_0374

Second way  – and I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out how I can say this and not discredit my master’s degree – make it cuter!* Enter my new Orla Kiely (for Target) water bottle. It’s glass, so no BPA and no weird plastic-y flavors (the scientific term).

While one bottle is infusing, you don’t have to wait, because you’ve got your charming green backup on hand. And when work gets crazy, WATCHOUT, hydrated Meredith is slightly-more-awake-Meredith!

You can find the water bottle on the left and other varieties at UncommonGoods, and the bottle on the right at Target store and online.

2) My Blanket Scarf

IMG_0353

It’s winter. And in winter, you hunker down. My blanket scarf is my new hunker-hero. Soft enough that you can still breath, but big enough that you are sure with some creative folding, you could literally hide in it.

My scarf is from Aerie, but for some more unusual patterns, head over to Zara. They’re basically the adult equivalent of a more-cozy-socially-acceptable-security blanket.

3) My Fresh Army

IMG_0373

Did you know it’s winter? Well, it is. And when you’re not hunkering you are trying not to let the cold suck you dry. Enter my Fresh Army of champions! I’m not going to lie to you, Fresh products are not inexpensive, but the title of MVP easily goes to the Advanced Therapy lip treatment. I could go into how “it makes me feel like my lips are taking a bath” or “if I got a raise, I would buy a tube to put in every purse and tote I own so I am never without one”, but I think that would make it weird. I’ll just say….it’s good.

Not cheap, but I hunt it down every time I return from being outside.

4) My French Press

IMG_0292

No really guys, it’s winter. Now that you’re hydrated, and cocooned in your awesome new blanket scarf, what else could be missing but coffee? And you don’t have to use your french press just for coffee, but that is a post for another day.**

This is a Bodum coffee press, but many varieties can be found.

*Rolls eyes at self.

**Preview: Iced Coffee, infused oils, whipped cream, maracas, pretending you’re a scientist, increasing use of the word carafe in your life…..this list goes on.