It’s been a while since I’ve gotten gussied up in my 18th century gear! With a gorgeous snowy morning as my backdrop, I pulled out my red chintz Italian gown and styled it for a wintertime scene. I wore my dark red petticoat, a 1970s silk Dior scarf as a fichu, a black silk wired ribbon and pair of long black gloves. I powdered my hair and arranged two feathers in it. I went a little more dramatic with makeup (please tell me I don’t look like a badger?) and I felt so beautiful posing for these images!
With the end of the year just 11 days away, I’m pretty pumped to report I kept my New Year’s Resolution this year! Maybe for the first time ever? For 2018, I set a goal of only shopping second hand first with a few exceptions. That’s right - no mindless $100 Target checkouts, no more Nordstrom sale, none of it!
The real push behind this change was wanting to get as far away as possible from my old blog, What I Wore. Creating near daily content for 10 years took a huge toll on my wallet and although I wore and re-wore my clothes all the time, I still bought a lot. A lot more than I needed. I genuinely liked my clothes, but how many pairs of jeans do you need? How many coats or striped shirts? Olive jackets? I’ve always bought things that had a timeless appeal and I’m happy to report that nothing went out of style in one year’s time. I’m still wearing the same pair of Rag + Bone booties, Lee Jeans (LOVE THEM) and self knit sweaters. The one thing that does need retired? My old Anna Maria sweatshirt (as seen in a million of my instagram stories). That thing is ratty AF.
I think the reason this resolution worked is because it was something I truly wanted to do, not something I should do. If you’re not fully committed, it’s probably not time to start something you’re not 100% keen on.
Exceptions to the Rule
Of course, there were exceptions. I bought myself two new bras after I completed 16 months of breast feeding and my size changed. I purchased three pair of Thinx undies in hopes I could turn my cycle into a no waste experiment (jury’s still out on them. They are great for light days but I probably need a few more pair to feel like I’m not constantly washing and hanging them up to dry).
And there were some new additions to my closet as gifts. A pair of 18th century shoes care of my mom, a few pieces from my MIL and a jacket and tee shirt from my husband.
I don’t count fabric for sewing my own clothes against my purchasing habits so my whole 1780s look fell into the parameters of my resolution too.
As for my kids - they get almost 90% of their clothes from the grandmas - a mix of new and second hand. Everything I buy them (minus socks and undies) is from a kid’s resale shop called Once Upon a Child. So many of the things there are never worn or maybe worn a few times and in like new condition. This goes for their boots, snow gear and coats too!
In my home I also focused on second hand first. I did this bedroom makeover without buying anything first hand and my sunroom was completed last year without any 2018 decorative purchases (but the rugs and one new chair were bought new in 2017). Some have asked about construction supplies - those are usually new too. When i can find an old light fixture I’ll use it (like in the laundry room), but in some places where 5 lights are needed (like the lighting in the sunroom), you just have to get new.
So what about 2019?
I’m still committed to second hand first (here’s how I normally attack a thrift shop), but in 2019, I’d like to go a step further by sewing my own clothes. I have some denim I want to make into overalls and I’d like to try making a bathing suit (and I already have that fabric too!). This might be the year I try to make my own bras (why not?) or maybe a grey sweatshirt (I’ve never sewn knits, but if I like it, maybe I’ll make tee shirts too?) I found a new to me fabric store in Adam’s home town and I think it’s going to help make all of my sewing dreams a reality. It might cost me more, but designing and sewing my own pieces is one of my favorite things to do. I won’t skip an amazing vintage piece from the thrifts, but my days of Target shopping sprees are over.
Was it hard? No! We have great thrift stores in town and if I’m not in a hurry to get something, it will eventually show up (I’m looking at you, donut pan!). I’m also a person that loves hunting and digging. It’s like I can scan the junk and the treasures just pop out at me! Also: I love a bargain. It was a great experiment and I’m so happy I’ve changed my shopping habits!
What are you resolving to change in 2019?
We’ve had this little toy Hape kitchen with us since Felix was a toddler. It’s cute enough but I’ve never been a huge fan of bright orange and red it felt better placed in the kids’ room instead of out in the main living space. Bea really likes playing house, so I thought I’d give the little toy kitchen a quick update (I started this morning, so under 4 hours total with drying time) and move it to the family room.
See also: Mama loves a makeover.
So here’s what I did: first I unscrewed all of the orange parts - two front handles and the kitchen ledge and cleaned them well. I found some matte black spray paint in the basement and gave them a few light coats outside.
Meanwhile, I removed the backsplash and painted it white (again, with what I had on hand). After dry, I got do to the fun part - painting on the tile (or more accurately, the grout lines!) I used a pencil to make a 1.25” grid and then “painted” in the grout using a black chalk marker. I’ve always wanted to do this layout with subway tile, so this little project is a fun way to envision it. I made sure to do my pencil strokes on the light side so a quick coat of white paint would cover up pencil marks.
Once I screwed this panel back on, I ran my black marker along the crease were it meets the countertop to give it a crisp, perfect finish. I got pretty lucky that my “tiles” fit perfectly. I love how the small scale makes them look realistic!
I wanted to do something about the red knobs, but they weren’t coming off easily to be spray painted. I tried some craft paint but it didn’t grab onto the lacquered finish - so I just used the chalk marker on that too.
Finally I spent way too much time styling it out. Those little wooden “vases” are napkin rings and I grabbed some of my faux plants to make it cute. There’s also a little iron owl trivet on there.
Guys - this project was easy, quick and totally free because I used supplies from my stash. Also a good way to get out my need to renovate and finish a space while my other projects are currently being demo’d.
With just about two weeks until the new year, I’ve started to think about what kind of fresh beginnings I’d like to take on. I actually kept my 2018 resolution (second hand first!) and plan on only sewing my own clothes in 2019! But today, I’d like to focus on health. Guys, I have been eating so poorly lately and I feel it. Not enough good stuff (green anything? Christmas tree cupcakes do not count!) So much sugar and fast food - it’s no wonder I feel gross. My skin is crying out for help. My digestion is not happy. I need a change.
I haven’t done a proper, all out Whole 30 in years - I’ve been either pregnant or nursing for the past five (which meant I was nauseous or needing to keep my supply up) - and now that I’m not supporting another person - it’s time! My main goal - repair my gut and cure my acne (from the outside in!) I think I can do it by removing dairy, sugar and gluten from my diet - those are my most likely triggers, but by doing a full elimination plan (removing soy, all grains, and legumes, and then slowly adding them back in) I can be sure. On the acne front I am also going to be sure to eat more foods with probiotics (like sauerkraut and kimchi) and taking zinc to repair my gut lining. Plus I know I feel better when I’m eating real food. I’m about 15 pounds heavier than when I became pregnant with Felix, but I actually feel pretty good about my body’s shape. I wouldn’t mind a little breathing room in my jeans, but I don’t want to lose too much weight because I don’t want to sew a whole new wardrobe (well… I do… but there’s only 24 hours in a day!)
I know from experience, doing a bit diet overall can be overwhelming. I’ve combed through my archives for some posts that will help:
Healthy Meal Ideas (not paleo/Whole 30!)
Will you join me? What kind of health forward goals do you have?
For my latest historical sewing project, I’ve been working on a yellow linen Regency era vest. Before I debut the final piece (although it’s not a secret, you can see my progress on Instagram!), I wanted to share some of the inspiration behind my color, silhouette and embellishment choices!
Although I’m making my vest from an extant museum piece, I’m not copying it exactly. I’ve used popular color combos of the time (yellow and white), trims (Hussard inspired buttons and placement) and motifs (like the Napoleonic bee embroidered on back!). I’ve also modified the construction, but I’ll go into that when I show you the finished piece!
What are you guys sewing/crafting these days?