Monday, April 30, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Emma Watson

Happy Monday everyone! I know I am probably one of the very few who look forward to the week because I do crave some "me" time after hectic weekends. I love my family but I am more productive during the week. The house gets cleaned, and errands get run. Most importantly, I get to go thrift store shopping. Just kidding.

I love Emma Watson. Brits are fantastic, they have rapier sharp wit and I adore their comedies. Mind Your Language, Goodness Gracious Me, 'Ello "Ello to name a few. These all go back in the 80s and they would not be shown now because they are so politically incorrect.

I love what Emma is wearing. She is showing off her very nice legs and I love the juxtaposition of her soft florals and rugged leather. I have four leather jackets but nothing cropped like hers so I went with my denim one.

This was initially what I came up with.

After I took the photo, I thought that Emma's outfit was more about mixing patterns and I was more color blocking. So I had to re look at my skirts to come up with something closer.

I read from home decor magazines that when it comes to pattern mixing, one could mix bigger patterns with smaller ones so this was what I did with my skirt and my top.

The necklace was a gift from my neighbour's 15 year old daughter. Her youth group at church had this program where they tried to raise awareness for all the hungry people in Latin America and she fasted for a whole weekend. She baked cookies, sold them, wrote to her teachers and neighbours to be sponsored and raise money. She managed to raise three times the total amount of all the other participants there. As a thank you gift, she gave this necklace to me, made by one of the village people she was trying to promote. I am shocking, I don't remember which part of the world it is.

Hope you have a good week ahead, I am so excited that it will be warming up from Thursday onwards, I get to wear skirts and dresses, woo hoo!

Denim jacket: More than 10 years, from Malaysia
Top: From Singapore
Skirt: From Singapore
Wedges: Dolce Vita, from TJ Maxx $39

Linking up to Two Birds.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Copycat Friday: Dahlia Capris

It is that time of the month where we get to copy someone who inspires our sense of dressing. I love Bee from Atlantic Pacific, she is the Queen of Layering and piling on the bling. This is the image that inspired me.

I had purchased the capris from Jcrew when they had their spring sale and have worn them several times. As it is my first pants purchase from them, I was uncertain about the fit but as it is a final sale, returns were not allowed. It is just a tad loose in the waist but nothing a belt can't fix. I also have the same shoes as Bee - I love them so much. I just need to walk very carefully with them as they are about 10cm heels. (4 inches)

I love these Blog challenges because I would not have considered pairing my capris with a military style jacket until now. I tend to click my images in Pinterest and save them for later, not really scrutinizing them. Are you like that too?

Shirt: From Singapore
Jacket: Forever 21
Capris: Jcrew (Available here)
Shoes: Zara
Bag: Coach, thrifted
Necklace: Consignment Store

After the photos were taken, my youngest son ran excitedly to us to inform us that a bird had built a nest on his brother's bedroom window sill. After a bit of reading on the net, we found out it was a Mourning Dove. Towards the night, my son who was so captivated with it, scared it away by getting too close and there were two eggs in the nest. We are really sad about it because the night is freezing and the bird has not returned. Does anyone know if the eggs will survive a cold night, about 40s?

Linking up to Frills4Thrills here. Join in the fun if you can!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Sara Rue

This week's inspiration, a short dress with a statement belt. Doesn't Sara Rue look so cute in this? I did not have a nice wide belt to wear so I just went with what I had.

I started taking photos in my front yard and suddenly my neighbour came out with his tractor to mow his lawn and he was peering at me, probably wondering what on earth I was doing, all dressed up and standing in front of a camera with various poses. I had no idea how long he was there but I was really embarrassed. I didn't even say hello, I picked up my tripod, without taking my camera off it and just dashed inside. He must think I am a freak. One day after I have recovered from this I might be able to explain that I am doing this for a little blog that probably less than six people read. 

I bought this dress from Ebay and I suspect it is from the same factory that produces Zara clothes in China because they were selling Zara pieces at discounted prices. The problem I find with buying on Ebay is that you can't do returns most of the time but this seller had a reasonable return policy. I wrote to them asking for specific measurements. The response was swift, in broken English but the dress was less than US$30 including shipping so I thought it was going to be fine in a size S. 

The dress arrived in less than a week from China and I was pleased, but when I put it on, the armholes were too big and the top of my bra could be seen. There is also a billow of fabric particularly around the belt area. I wrote back to them and asked for an exchange in size but - silence. I wrote several times and no answer. In the end I decided not to pursue it because to send it back to China was probably going to be expensive so I tried to modify the arm holes by shortening the top of the shoulders by two inches.

The resulted the waistline going up by two inches as well and it sits higher than my natural waistline. Hopefully this is not too noticeable when I wear it.  However, this is probably the last time I would buy clothing on Ebay, my experiences have been more of a miss than a hit. 

I also experimented with my hair for this post to resemble Sara Rue's a little. I have never really worn my hair any other way except in a ponytail or just loose.  Wendy from Wendy's Lookbook has a fun hair tutorial which I followed. I love her style!

 Wall hugger.

Customary weird picture at the end. "What's that? I can't hear you?" but there was no one around except my lonely camera.

Shoes: TJ Maxx (last year)
Belt: Came with the dress.

Linking up to Two Birds - join in the fun if you can! Have a good week and thanks for dropping by once again.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Getting Floral

It's been so gorgeous out today I couldn't resist wearing this floral top from H&M I bought a few months ago.  I am starting to get into florals, but have not had the guts to invest in a pair of floral pants or jeans just yet so this was a good compromise.

I love the butterfly sleeves

Top: H&M $9.99
Capris: From Singapore
Shoes: From Singapore (Sorry I cannot remember the brands but they were from a big mall called CK Tang)
Bag: Thrifted, new with tag, $8.00
Sunnies: H&M $6.95

What do you think of the floral trend hitting the fashion scene this season, do you think this will  transcend to be a classic look each spring?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Tunic

I have to be honest, when I saw this week's inspiration picture, I wasn't very inspired. I wasn't sure what Kerry Washington was wearing - was it a very long shirt or a very short dress? Nevertheless, I wanted to do this because it makes me take a hard look at my wardrobe and forces me think outside the box in terms of how I would suit this to my style.

What I did like about her tunic was the studded effect - I don't have anything like this but I do have a chambray tunic which I bought from Ebay for $6.00. I have never worn it because I bought it in winter and have been waiting for the weather to turn warmer. Today is a GORGEOUS day, around 25 deg C (over 70s) perfect for photo taking.

At first, I wore this tunic like a short dress, just like the picture. It was very short, I felt it was "incomplete" as my son, who took my picture, said, "Mum, go inside, you forgot to put on your pants." He was embarrassed, the poor kid. Then I put on short leggings but I didn't like it either.

Excuse my pasty legs, they need to see some sunlight, something I intend to remedy with the warmer days coming up!

 See, I look like I am just wearing the tunic like Kerry Washington?

Aha, but underneath, I put on the a pair of shorts, for a bit of "protection"! I wish that I had different coloured pair of shorts. But the idea is  to look like I am wearing a short dress but, just in case the wind blows hard, at least my private bits are left...private. Wouldn't want to blind anyone!

Since my chambray shirt is pleated, it is already very busy so I decided to bling it up by wearing loads of my old bracelets collected over the years. In my collection is - a Fossil Mickey Mouse watch, I used to collect all things Mickey Mouse at high school, so this is a very old watch! All other bracelets were from Jordan, Australia and Malaysia - a reflection of  the countries we lived in, and given to me by friends from those places.

I only remembered to do my silly shot after much later:

I noticed that my shirt shows up in different shades of blue for each photo because I stood in the bright afternoon sun and the others, I was in my gazebo.  The true colour is the silly shot above.

I hope you have a great start to the week, the weather is looking really super and thank you for dropping by!

Chambray shirt: Miley Cyrus (she was one unfortunate person who had her private bits photographed recently, would have helped if she put on some underwear, lol) from Ebay new with tag, $6.00
Shorts: Very old pair!
Shoes: Etienne Aigner, TJ Maxx $29
Silver necklace: From Chatuchak Market, Thailand
Bracelets: See above

Linking up to Inspiration Monday.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Inspiration Monday: Miranda Kerr

Hello and welcome back! Hope you all had a great Easter! Spring break has just about finished and it has been great being able to sleep in and I even managed to sneak in a trip to New York with my youngest son. I love New York and would move there in a second except that my boys have grown to love their school so much and would not move for anything. When we first considered our move to the USA, my husband was contemplating two jobs and one of them was in NY. I really wanted him to take the one in NY and not DC because I have always been a city girl (DC isn't - it just wants to be like New York!) and we did not have to buy a car. However the role involved 40% travel to Afghanistan out of a year so it was really risky for him. He said no.

Here is a little view from the top of the Rockafella Building. It's probably one of the most common views of NY but when we were up there, the city literally took my breath away. NY is awesome. It has this vibe that no other place has.

Anyway, this week's inspiration from Two Birds is none other than Australian supermodel, Miranda Kerr. I have a soft spot for her because she is Australian!

I said yes to this challenge this time because I have animal print jeans and a cropped blazer. So here is my interpretation!

There is a Singaporean designer who is very influenced by Japanese traditional wear and all his clothes remind me of Kenzo. The name of the line is Mu (I don't know his name, sorry) and I love the designer's use of knits mainly because of the weather there, it is too hot to wear anything other than t shirt type fabrics.  This blazer from Mu reminds me of bat wings.

I love spring time in DC. We are blessed to have cherry blossoms in our yard and at this time of the year, they are just such a joy to look at them every day. Too bad they only last a few days. I just wanted to share the pink flowers with you. In some of my photos, they are a little whiter but the hue is actually very vibrant. I had to lighten some of my photos so you could see the detail of the blazer.

The blazer, unbuttoned.

What animal is up the treehouse? My son sometimes does his homework here. I don't know what this tree is called but I love it.

And because I can never take myself too seriously for these dress up posts, here is the silly pose that is now expected of me at the end.

Jeans: Target 
Gray top: Target
Blazer: Mu (pronounced "Moo")
Shoes: Etienne Aigner,
 Bracelet and earrings: Thrifted

Linking up to Two Birds

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Asymmetrical Hemlined Skirt

Hello everyone, I have been missing from blogland for a long time because I found that blogging takes a big chunk out of your time. I was also trying to pull away from it a little because I was busy with classes and wanted to be more "present" for my kids. However, I am still reading my favourite blogs and spend too much time on Pinterest!

Asymmetrical hemlines are all the rage now, I saw skirts like that at H&M but what caught my attention was a skirt I saw on Gary Pepper Vintage's blog. The blogger is one of my very favourites because she is so exotic looking and beautiful to begin with. She wears clothes which are all very unique, mainly Australian designers paired with vintage things that she finds.

The Bindi skirt from Sara Phillips seemed to be only available through stores in goodness knows where and the website did not have the skirt available. However, the price of the skirt was listed as AUD$350 at the time of print and as beautiful as it is, that skirt would never make its way into my closet due to budget constraints.

So, I decided to make myself one! The challenge I gave myself was that I did not buy any new fabric, I would use what I had at home. The only thing I ended up buying was interfacing, although I considered buying some black brocade fabric as there is a slightly Asian feel to the print. But I wanted to see how it would turn out before I committed to buying more fabric!

Here is the process in pictures:

The first time I made the skirt, it was fine. I got a bit "flare-greedy" because I wanted the flare of the A line skirt to be more pronounced so in my second draft of the pattern, I widened the flare a few inches more. However, I did not transfer my second pattern to muslin, which was a mistake. I realized only after I had sewn it that it was too flared out.  I used interfacing on the printed fabric because I wanted it to be thicker - it was taken out of my quilting stash and it was too soft, but because of the stiffness of the fabric now, the flare became more pronounced to me.

I have not really dared to wear it out because it is - dare I say it, too short in front! I looked at how the blogger, Nicole wore it, it seemed pretty short but the skirt was less flared, and the back not as long as mine. Still it was a very good lesson for me, to try to draft a pattern from scratch by looking at a picture and felt a sense of having accomplished something.

Here I am, modelling it for the blog! Haha, I had to cross my legs just like Nicole's because I did not feel comfortable in this skirt -  I might have been feeling cold as too much wind was blowing down there!

 Eeks, so short!

 See how it flares out at the back? I have tried to adjust it several times but the thought of unpicking puts me off. I would rather sew a new skirt than unpick the zipper, lining and all!

What I learned from this project:
1. The fabric print of the Bindi skirt is really amazing. I felt mine was a little too busy. I have tried looking online for something similar but nothing yet. The pattern was an exact symmetry of each side, how clever!

2. Always do your sewing on a muslin, get it 100% right before using your good stuff. Even though my quilt fabric was from my own collection, it was something I paid at full price, like $25 per yard. (I bought it from Singapore and cottons are really expensive there)

3. The black panel needs to be wider and less seen of the printed fabric.

Thank you for reading!