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Free Pattern: 1950s Toss-on Bolero Knitting pattern

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Boleros are a must-have accessory for warmer weather, especially a basic like this that goes with everything. Knit this simple jacket from 1957 in every color of the rainbow.
See my free patterns page for more vintage crochet, knitting and sewing patterns

1950s free vintage knitting pattern easy bolero

Outfit: Do the Twist

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lately, I've been experimenting with baking and making a lot of things from scratch. I tried making pretzels for the kids school snacks a few weeks ago but they turned out more like pretzel buns. They were delicious but not pretzels. Yesterday I decided to try it again, this time using Alton Brown's pretzel recipe. I got the dough together just before the kids came home from school and then got a text from Pj that we were meeting his mom for dinner. I didn't have enough time to make the pretzels before we had to leave so I stashed the dough in the fridge.

This morning, after we got the kids off to school, I whipped up some quick breakfast with some veggies and soft boiled eggs from the chickens next door. Soft boiled eggs are one of my favorite things and nothing beats a happy back yard chicken egg!

After breakfast, I preheated the oven and got a pot of boiling water and baking soda on the stove and rocked out on some pretzels. We found that the pretzels are easier to manage in the boiling if we lower them down in a metal colander.

While we waited for the pretzels to bake, I took the compost out and tossed some goodies over the fence to the chickens. Every time they see me, they run to the fence to see what I have. They used to jump over and graze in our yard but they started digging in the neighbors garden beds and wandering too close to the street so my neighbor clipped their wings.

We started a compost bin this weekend and I didn't have a counter top compost bucket to keep our scraps so I decided to use this vintage coffee canister. I always buy vintage canister sets when I find them at thrift stores. They're often missing lids or pieces or they have little dings but they're great for stashing away sewing supplies, things in the bathroom, office supplies and of course, in the kitchen!
Pretty soon, my kitchen timer started to ring and our pretzels were finished! They turned out perfectly!

We finished the afternoon photographing a few things for my etsy shop. I added some pin curl scarves that I knit from this wonderful 1950s pattern and I took some extra photos of my vinyl tinsel bags and confetti mirror compacts. So many sparkles!

dress- made by me with Cotton and Steel Shag Carpet fabric from the XOXO basics collection, pattern made from an old dress
black top-thrifted
vintage daisy brooch- gift from a blog reader

Outfit: the color drained out

Friday, March 31, 2017

On Wednesday, Pj had another rain out day so we walked to the river in the morning so he could play with his new under water camera. I brought an umbrella along since it had been raining off and on all morning but we lucked out and barely had a sprinkle.

It has been raining a lot lately and the water level is much higher than usual. I love walking down there and seeing how the banks change. With each flood brings new rocks, shells, driftwood and fallen trees. Living so close to the river, we often get dense fog in the neighborhood. Spring hasn't coated everything in green yet and the scenery looked like everything had the color drained out of it with the exception of a few tufts of weeds sprouting out of the mud. While I was setting my tripod up, I was startled by a quick movement at my feet. I looked down and found this cute little guy! We put him in the fallen tree after snapping his picture.

 Today I tried my new clip-in bangs. I've never tried hair extensions or clip ins before and I was worried about finding something that would come close to my hair color. I like to play with bangs sometimes but every time I've cut them, I immediately regret the decision so this seemed like a pretty good alternative. I found these real hair clip in bangs on Amazon for less than $15. I didn't expect much for the price but they're not too bad. They arrived already red but I dyed them to match when I colored my hair and they turned out pretty darn close! I think my natural hair color is actually a mousy brown so next time I'll order the brown ones and see if they're even closer.

I haven't been wearing any of my beautiful vintage hats lately and this straw beret caught my eye on the way out the door. Since I knew it would be windy, I fastened it with a hat pin before we left home.

This jacket is one of my new favorite finds. I thought the floral print and colors were very 1960s but its actually from Old Navy. It's very spring-like and good to throw over my pajamas when I walk the kids to the bus stop in the morning.

straw beret: vintage  |  cream top and blue skirt: thrifted  | jacket: Old Navy, thrifted  | shoes: ebay  | brooch: vintage, antique mall  | bangs: Amazon

Outfit: what will the neighbors say?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

There are many challenges in fashion blogging. The biggest for me lately is leaving the house for pictures. For a long time I took pictures in my back alley, which is pretty secluded and I enjoy the safety and pretty look of my front porch. I've been getting to know my camera a little better too so I can take pictures indoors, even when the light is a bit limited.

 I don't know about you but I especially love to read blogs with beautiful places as the backdrop of these wonderful outfits. I like to see where people live, where they travel, how they spend their day and the clothes that they wear as they do those things. Lately, I've been challenging myself to get out more and explore town.

My neighborhood is one of the prettiest and most interesting in the county. I live in Historic St Charles, Missouri, near the Missouri river. There's so much history, beautiful old buildings, mossy cobblestone streets and paths, Victorian gardens, lush parks and forests, charming pavilions. Why stay on the porch? Just within sight of my pretty little porch is an old school house converted into a church with beautiful blooming trees, old stone walls and a spectacular metal staircase on the side. There's a small park with a pond and pavilion where native flowers will be blooming soon. There are  businesses with interesting windows and brightly painted brick and alleys with pretty wood garages.

I thought to myself this morning, I could go over there, across the street and take pictures of my new dress today. But my neighbor is home and if she looks out her front window and sees me twirling in front of a tripod, I'll look like a total lunatic. The mail lady came by as I was walking back home to grab my forgotten camera remote in pink heels and I may have looked a little crazy.  I thought for sure at any moment, someone would come out of the church and ask "What exactly are you doing?"

Well, I did it anyway! No one came out to ask questions, no one gawked and honestly, people are more busy and concerned about their own stuff than we like to realize so they probably didn't even notice. I definitely felt a little awkward at first but I have so much fun taking blog photos and exploring the neighborhood so once I loosened up and just focused on my project, I didn't feel weird at all.  I don't think that something as silly as that should keep anyone from having fun and doing their thing so I'm not going to let it keep me inside either. 

I wore one of my new me-made dresses. I cranked out 4 of this same dress last month, two in solids and two in prints. I took apart one of my favorite vintage dresses to make a pattern for this. The original was so old and threadbare that the fabric was shredding in several parts. It had been patched to death and I knew if I wore it one more time, it would fall right off of me so I watched a movie while picking the seams out one day and I made a pattern. Its a pretty simple dress and I can get by with 2 1/2- 3 yards, depending on the fabric width so its very affordable to make, even in fancy fabrics. It has one pocket and these decorative fabric tabs at the pocket and bodice. The original had a side zip but I can pull this over my head to put it on so I don't even use a closure on them, which makes it even more affordable and easy to sew! Simplicity's reprint of Jiffy #1252 is similar.  I'm not much of a sleeveless dress kind of girl but I love the 60s jumper over a turtle neck look. I'm also not much of a turtle neck kind of girl so I paired it with a little black knit top.  My kids call this my "bacon dress" due to the rust colored strips on the print.  I think I will hunt down a plain black turtle neck and give it a try. I haven't worn them since I was in 5th grade so maybe I'm just reliving the awful 90s turtle neck Christmas photos of my past when I see them. I think everything is worth trying on at the very least!

I also wore my new pink Bettie Page Darla platform shoes, which are much more comfortable than they look! I typically wear a 9 1/2- 10. These are in a 10 and I think pretty true to size. I found them on Amazon for quite a bit less than other websites so if you're in the market for cute shoes, check there first!

60s dress- made by me with Paneling in Pink fabric by Kim Knight, Homebody collection for Cotton and Steel
black top-thrifted
pink Darla shoe by Bettie Page shoes by Ellie- Amazon

Outfit:: Rainy Sewing Day

Monday, March 27, 2017

Its a rainy spring afternoon and rain means my roofer husband, Pj is home from work. I do love rain days. Sometimes we run errands or go see a movie or tackle a big project while the kids are in school. Today is my favorite kind,  a rainy sewing day.

Last night we visited my mother in law and I asked her to cut my hair. Last time she cut it, she gave me a middy inspired cut and did an amazing job.  This time, she just gave it a trim and cut it blunt, straight across. I've been having a hard time reaching the back of my hair to put it in rollers so I thought this would be easier on me. My former layers didn't roll in the hot rollers very well either so it was probably time for a little chop. Today's hot roller set was much easier!

I had a big stack of stretchy-type pants that needed to be taken in. I added a split seam on some of them for a more vintage vibe. I may add some trim or cute buttons to some of these at a later date.
I also had two thrift store pants that I bought recently. I have such a hard time finding pants that fit well that I like. I almost sewed a few pairs but I really wanted to spend my fabric budget on dresses and tops instead. I found these too big pants at a thrift store and I thought they had potential. With some fitting and marking and a quick run through the machine, they were looking much better!

I made this adorable tiger print knit top a few months ago. It was my first time sewing knit fabrics and I was a little nervous but I found several helpful articles online and it was actually really easy to work with. I used the 1960s reprint of Simplicity 1364, View A , which is my new favorite top, similar to the Vivien of Holloway slash neck top.


Outfit: tiger slash neck top- made by me |  pants- thrifted  |  pom pom slippers- gift from my mom

Outfit: tic tac toe and style evolution

Friday, March 24, 2017

plus size 60s pinup style striped top, mustard pencil skirt, lace-up flat shoes and bakelite via Va-Voom Vintage

Spring break week is almost over. Rhys and Olivia go back to school on Monday and although it'll be nice to get back into the swing of things when they're not home, I've had so much fun playing with them and fixing up their playroom in the basement this week. Olivia and I played a few rounds of tic tac toe before lunch. She has a sharp eye so I can't take it easy on her or she'll beat me every time!

These past few months that I haven't been blogging, I've been reevaluating my wardrobe a bit. I love the 40s and 50s but my lifestyle has changed a lot this year and I feel like earlier decades don't suit me as much anymore.  I've been volunteering with the PTO, going to neighborhood meetings and planning girls night out with some moms from school so I haven't wanted to wear many of my delicate 40s dresses to do those things. When not doing that stuff, I'm at home cleaning house, sewing, knitting, working in the garden now that its spring. I needed more wash and wear pieces and I long for more fitted, youthful silhouettes, knit fabrics and dare I say....modern styles?

 I poured over my vintage sewing patterns, magazines and made a Pinterest board for inspiration and I think I'm really loving the late 50s-early 60s. Think Ann-Margret, Mad Men, a little Jane Asher. I re-sorted my closet and put away things I'm not feeling now but maybe I'll want to wear later on. I'm in love with the new things I've sewn and new thrift finds. This mustard skirt is a new favorite, as are the lace-up flats instead of simple ballet flats.

I've been wearing vintage for almost 8 years and I'm really happy to have a little style evolution. It sucks having a closet full of clothes and nothing you really want to wear. It also sucks thinking you can't wear things because they aren't "vintage enough". I'm sure I'll still pin curl and bust out my fab 40s dresses when I have somewhere fancy to go (or just want to dress up more for a day) but for a mom at home, running to school and doing errands and housework, I think a more wearable vintage style is a great thing for me. Its definitely motivated me to blog and post on Instagram more!  I  have an easier time dealing with my pin straight hair these days and I'm hoping to share some hair tutorials of later decades very soon!

plus size 60s retro style striped top, mustard pencil skirt, lace-up flat shoes and bakelite via Va-Voom Vintage
plus size 60s retro style striped top, mustard pencil skirt, lace-up flat shoes and bakelite via Va-Voom Vintage
bakelite necklace and 1960s flower brooch
vintage lady head vase and retro radio

vintage brooch: gift from a blog reader, belt and skirt: thrifted, stripe top: Target, lace-up flats: ebay

This weekend, I have several thrift store finds that I bought last month with the purpose of altering them a bit. Here's a little peek at some of the fabrics. I found some skirts, pants and a couple of tops that I think I can tweak a little for a perfect late 50s-early 60s look. I'll share a little of the process and pics of the before and afters here on the blog and on Instagram as I get them finished!