December 30, 2012

Polka Dot Fold Over Clutch

Two and a half years ago (had it been so long?!) when I lived in Spain and was just getting into sewing, I made this interesting circle skirt:

It was definitely a cute idea, but I don't think I ever wore it. 

It ended up being a smidge too short and a bit loud. Plus I miscalculated the wait measurement and it ended up more around my hips, which wasn't ideal.

So, forgotten and unworn, this skirt has been sitting in my room in Cambridge since I moved back from Europe in 2010. 

Last night, itching to use my machine for something simple, I was poking through my mom's sewing box and found a navy blue 7-inch zipper. 

I'd had it in the back of my mind to make a fold over clutch, after seeing so many pretty ones on Pinterest, and that zipper was about the right length, so I got to looking for a coordinating fabric. 

After sifting through my old clothes (prime specimens for being repurposed) I came across this navy polka dot skirt which matched the zipper perfectly!

So I got to work cutting it up and came up with this polka dot fold over clutch! 

I didn't have any magnetic clasps and I was feeling impatient, so I used snaps instead, which work great! 

The zipper is exactly the same navy blue! 

I even put in a little inside pocket for my iphone so it doesn't get mangled by my keys at the bottom. 

It's the perfect size for your essentials on a night out or to tuck under your arm on a warm spring day. 

(The colors are decidedly not wintery).

I mostly just made it the way I would a regular zippered pouch, just elongating the length, but it you want to recreate it, this is a pretty good tutorial to follow. 


Oh, and before I forget, Happy New Year! 

December 29, 2012

Foul Weather Friends

I was lucky enough to have this entire week off of work, which meant I could come home for nine uninterrupted days to relax and spend the holidays with my family. 

Then my bestie, Molly, who lives in Minneapolis and whom I never get to see, was going to be in New York for less than 48 hours, right in the middle of my week off. 

Without even thinking I booked a two-day trip back to New York to see her. 

Molly and me
I knew there was a chance I wouldn't see her for another six months and I wanted to get in some quality time when I had the chance, even with the inconvenience of taking an 8-hour round trip drive over two days.

Delicious Korean BBQ feast
We met up in New York, along with Molly's sister Eliza (who also lives in the city and is quickly becoming one of my besties there) and started making all these lofty plans.

Visiting the new Fulton Fish market in the Bronx, having dinner in Harlem, getting Korean BBQ.

Generally painting the town red.

Beautiful sisters, Eliza and Molly
Little did we know the weather was about to take a spectacular dump all over our wonderful plans.

Wednesday morning it was snowing lightly, but that quickly turned to clumps of slush careening from the sky, accelerated by violent winds and a bitter, bitter cold.

We could have given up and sat around my apartment lazily, bemoaning the inclement weather.

But we didn't.

Besides wisely canceling our foray into the Bronx world of late-night fish dealing (we took a raincheck for warmer weather) we did everything we'd set out to do.

Red Rooster in the rain
Korean BBQ, boozy Upper East Side lunch, battling the bargain shoppers at Nordstrom Rack for sparkly NYE dresses, dinner at Red Rooster in Harlem.

We even added impromptu drinks in midtown with a grad school friend of mine.

Our parents thought we were crazy for running off on Christmas day to see each other in New York for such a short time, but that's just what Molly and I do. And now we get to add Eliza to our fun tradition!

Eliza and me and a bottle of Cava :)
We couldn't spend New Year's together this year, so when we found out we'd both be on the East coast at the same time, we worked with what we had, despite the slush storm.


Some people have fair weather friends; I have friends who turn up even in the foulest of weather. 

December 28, 2012

Blogging Over Breakfast

Blogging Over Breakfast

Over the weekend before Christmas I was super busy running around finishing to shop for presents and preparing our annual Christmas Eve party that I didn't really have time to spend on my computer.

The few times I did it was only for a few minutes, so I didn't bother plugging it in.

Then on Tuesday I saw it was down to 17% so I decided to charge it... but it didn't work.

I tried all combinations of outlets, locations, even different chargers (my brother had some extras) but nothing worked. I was extremely frustrated because my computer is just over a year old, hence no longer under warranty, and so I was going to either spend the afternoon yelling at someone at the Apple store, shell out $45 for  new charger, or both!

But I was going to NY for a couple of days to see my friend Molly, so I didn't have time. Plus I have an iphone, which pretty much does everything my computer does, just in a reduced capacity, so it's not like I would be totally internet free. I figured I would take care of if this weekend.

Yesterday I got home and hopefully tried again. I thought, what the hell, maybe this time it'll work.

And it did! 

My charger magically started working again! Sure, the problem might still happen, it's probably a bad contact, which means I'll probably have to look into getting a new charger anyway. But it's not something I have to worry about this second.

I know this isn't a very exciting story, but it does touch on taking things for granted. At first, over last weekend, it was kind of a relief being unplugged, especially since my job is so computer centric.  But when I couldn't use my computer it was extremely frustrating, making me realize how much I actually depend on it.

Needless to say, it's lovely to once again be able to relax with a coffee in the morning, read the news, check google reader, and blog over breakfast.

December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Morning

As much as I love my new job, I couldn't have been happier to get out of New York and come home this weekend to spend the holidays with my family. 

My brother and I spent all of yesterday shopping on Newbury Street, and then I spent the evening finishing up some sewing projects and wrapping presents. 

Today we'll be cooking and preparing all day for our annual Christmas Eve party tonight, which will see old friends gathering around copious amounts of champagne, oysters, fois gras, poached salmon, beaujolais nouveau, and mont blanc. 

There will be nary a glass of eggnog or a christmas tune in sight. 

We do our Christmas French-style.

The rest of the week will be a bit insane--as I'm heading back to NY for two days to see a close friend before coming back to Cambridge until going back to NY for New Year's Eve--but I'm looking forward to all the friends and festivities nonetheless.


I wish you all a splendid holiday, and a very merry Christmas! 

December 20, 2012

Wish List: Mint Baubles

I'm pretty much done with my holiday shopping. Well, except for the gifts I haven't bought yet. 

But I do know what I'm going to buy, so I guess I mean I'm done brainstorming presents. 

But still, I was perusing Etsy amd taking a bit of a gander through my favorites. 

I'm not really buying anything for myself (I just treated myself to some new work clothes for my new job) but  I thought I could live vicariously by putting together a wish list of things I would buy. 

Tomorrow is the first day of winter and it's getting a bit dreary, so I though I'd liven up this place with a few pops of color.... mint! 

(My favorite)

Mint and White Chevron Studs
Mint & Gold Bar Bracelet

Mint Bubble Bib Necklace
Mint Braided Chain Bracelet
Aqua Mint & Gold Pendant
Aqua Mint Drop Earrings

Don't these lovely pieces almost transport you to a tropical beach with a crystalline blue sea?

Ahh, to be relaxing on a white sandy beach under the sun...

December 19, 2012

Lace Peter Pan Collar Sweater Refashion

Months and months ago (maybe a year?) I bought this vintage lace collar on Etsy

This one is sold out but there are similar ones in the same shop. 

My original idea was to applique it onto a cardigan, but my vision didn't really work out in reality, and then I got busy, so the collar was relegated to my trim box and forgotten about. 

Then this summer when my roommate was moving out she had a bag of clothes she was getting rid of and asked me if I wanted to look through it before she donated it. 

I found a super soft black turtleneck sweater with gathered shoulders (the sleeves were too short on her--never a problem for me), which I decided to keep. 

I'm not a huge fan of turtlenecks, but I'd successfully turned a turtleneck into a crew neck sweater before (by cutting off the turtleneck and hemming the opening with a stretch stitch), so I thought I could just do it again. 

But it was August and I had no use for sweaters then, so it also fell into the to-do pile, and both sweater and collar were forgotten about until I came across them while searching for glue sticks (I need a better craft organizing system, I know).

At which point the lace collared sweater idea was born!

I knew I could sew it up in an evening, so I put on a few episodes of Breaking Bad and got to work. 

Hand sewing the collar, pinned in place. Dainty stork embroidery scissors on a pink ribbon. 

They sleeves are a bit droopy on the dressform, but you can kind of see the gathered shoulder detail.

The inside edge of the collar was straight so to stitch it to the round opening I had to gather it a bit, giving it a little bit of volume. I also like how the tops of the big flowers peek up above the edge of the collar.

Normally when taking the neck off the turtleneck there would still be enough stretch in the knit, even after hemming, to be able to avoid cutting open a slit. 

But because I sewed the collar around the neck opening, and the collar wasn't stretchy, I had to cut down the back a bit to be able to fit my head through. 

This ended up being a blessing in disguise because the keyhole detail in the back adds a little something to the sweater, especially with a vintage mother of pearl button to clasp it. 

And for once I actually have a few pictures of myself wearing the garment! 

I put it on for an evening of snacks and presents on Sunday when a group of friends and I had a Secret Santa to exchange gifts. 

This one's a bit blurry, but it looked so nice with the pearls.

I styled the sweater with pearl studs, loose curls, dark wash jeans, and my Hunter Regent Carlyle rain boots (it was raining). 

Still mastering the art of the mirror self portrait.

Here I am, happily holding the giant pile of gifts I'm about to unwrap which turned out to be a mountain of chocolates! 

I am definitely going to have to have my roommates help me out cause there's no way I'll be able to fit into the sweater if I eat it all. 

This was a really quick and fun project--not to mention super cheap (the collar was $2.50 and the sweater was free!)--so I think I might try it again. 

Maybe a black collar on a white sweater? 

December 14, 2012

Fill In the Holiday Blanks!

Between the new job and all the holiday social events this month has really flown by! 

Can you believe Christmas Eve is in ten days? So much to do before then! 


1.  When it comes to holiday shopping, I  can't do it all at once, or I go insane. I usually need to do just a couple of presents at a time, which means starting early!   .

2.  A few things on my Chritmas wish list are...   a SodaStream (I love sparkling water!), a bunch of books (always) and some new work clothes. Maybe a kindle?   .

3.  An intangible gift I would like to receive is  a dressmaking class. I can definitely sew some nice stuff, but I'd like to have a bit of professional training  .

4. A gift I would like to give this year is    something handmade. I think I'm going to design and sew some custom pillow cases for my brother (don't worry, he asked for them, I'm not ruining the surprise) .

5. My Christmas will be spent   in Cambridge with my family, and a little bit (the last few hours of Christmas day) with my friends Molly and Eliza in New York.

6. My most favorite Christmas gift of all time was  my scooter! It was a combined graduation/Christmas present, and it was awesome. Best way ever to get around Rome .

7.  The best thing about the holidays is  taking a break from the day to day and catching with family and old friends .

Don't forget to link up with Lauren!


Have a great weekend! 

December 11, 2012

Wish List: Sewing Book Edition

I know that there is an unlimited supply of amazing sewing resources online. 

I mean, I taught myself to sew using only the internet--I've never even taken a class!

That said, there's something wonderful about holding a physical book, turning the pages, and seeing the beautiful and glossy illustrations.

Plus, most sewing books come with patterns included, which saves you having to buy or print them!

I already have a few sewing books, but there are a few more on my Wish List that I'd love to get my hands on, like these:

The Colette Sewing Handbook

Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing

The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting

Couture Sewing Techniques

Famous Frocks: Patterns and Instructions for Recreating Fabulous Iconic Dresses

Simple Modern Sewing

Are there any sewing books you swear by?

December 8, 2012


It's been a long week. 

It was my first week at my new job, which wasn't particularly stressful in and of itself (both the president and my boss were out of town so it was calm around the office) but it was still a lot for me to wrap my head around, meeting everyone new, figuring out how the organization works, and even starting some real work by myself--filing expense reports in multiple currencies!

(No small feat!)

My desk on Day 3: Covered in dozens of approved grant dockets in need of organization.

Needless to say, I was really looking forward to this weekend as a time to just chill.

I just wanted to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, and just relax. 

Then this morning--at the ungodly hour of 8 am--I was awoken by the dulcet sounds of power drills in my window.

Yes, they decided that first thing on a Saturday morning was the best time to start this construction, and they decided to start with my window.


And it wasn't just the noise! Because they didn't tell us about the construction, I didn't think to close my blinds all the way before going to sleep (I like some natural light when I wake up), so I awoke to a handfull of constructions guys that could see straight into my room while I was sleeping! Not cool!

Needless to say I was not amused and I may have written a (perhaps slightly impulsive) strongly worded email to my landlord.

Anyway, what's done is done and I might as well take advantage of my extra long morning to go for a run and do some  laundry.  Maybe I'll even treat myself to a few new plants to spruce up my new workspace. That'll make me feel better :)


Happy Weekend, Everyone! 

December 4, 2012

Good News!

So a few weeks ago I mentioned I had some good news but I didn't want to jinx it by sharing it too early. 

Well, it's now official and there's no way for me to jinx it anymore, so I thought I'd share! 

I finally got a job! 

I've been "working" since I graduated from SIPA this summer, but it hasn't really been anything serious. Besides some substantive freelance editing I did on a friend's dissertation, I was mostly temping at random offices, doing everything from answering phones, filing paperwork, and even fashion and beauty blogging for StyleList (first and probably last time I'll ever get paid to pin stuff on Pinterest!) 

But that was only to be able to afford staying in New York while I looked for a real job, which I've been doing since the middle of last semester. 

In August I interviewed for the position of Program Coordinator for the Office of Programs (I know, a mouthful) for Open Society Foundations.

I didn't hear back from them until the middle of November (until then I thought they'd filled the position), so it was a spectacular surprise when they called to tell me I'd gotten the job! 

OSF is a non-profit founded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros in the late 1970s. Originally started in Hungary to undermine the control of the Communist Party by increasing access to information and media, over the last 30 plus years it's grown into a huge foundation that funds dozens of human rights and social justice initiatives in over 70 countries. 

Ending up in an organization like this one is why I went back to school, so I'm extremely excited about working here! 

Plus it's super close to my house (20 minute commute) and the benefits are incredible. I feel so lucky!

Yesterday was my first day, which went very smoothly (aside from some inevitable IT glitches), and I'm looking forward to being here for a while! 

Yay employment!