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Flashback Fridays: Minnie Mouse

26 Oct

Last year for Halloween I knew that I wanted to be Minnie Mouse about a few months before Halloween.  This gave me plenty of time to perfect my costume; I already yellow pumps but needed much more.  All summer I watched and waited until the red polka dot fabric went on sale and bought it. 

I made a red polka dot dress with a full circle skirt and trimmed it with lace.  The next thing that I needed was ears.  I cut black circles out of felt (just traced the bottom of a glass) and attached them to a black headband.  I had some polka dot fabric remaining so I made a giant bow, stuffed it with fiberfill to give it volume and added it to the headband.  For accessories, I wore black tights, white gloves, my yellow pumps and fake eyelashes. Here are a few pictures at my friend’s Halloween party.

At work each year, we wear our costumes to the office and vote on the best costumes.  However last year, the power and phone lines went down at work for a few hours. We were told to take an hour lunch and would reaccess the situation when we returned.  Panera seemed like a good choice for lunch so several co-workers and myself went.  I got a few interesting stares at Panera in my Minnie Mouse costume.  The Panera workers were good sports, they kept referring to me as Minnie and when my order was ready yelled “Order for Minnie” Most people would probably be embarrassed, but I was not.  I looked good in my costume.  When the votes were tallied at the end of the day I won the prize for cutest costume, which I happily accepted.  The fact that I made these cupcakes, may have helped my cause.

The ears are peppermint patties and I used toothpicks to keep them in place. The eyes and nose are M&M’s and pull and peel Twizzlers for the mouth.

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Flashback Fridays: Princess Jasmine

12 Oct

Continuing with my Halloween costumes, this week we are going back to 2009.  Andy had recently been transfered to Chicago for work and Kerry was moving there with him on November 1.  The roommates and I were devastated that Kerry was moving away and had to say a proper farewell.  This meant a Halloween costume goodbye party.

I had already decided months before that I was going to be Princess Jasmine for Halloween, (I think this was when Megan and I were in our watching Aladdin and drinking margaritas phase) The contruction of the costume was pretty simple.  The pants are modified pajama pants and the shirt is the top that I use on most of my dresses, I just added wider straps to it.  I made a headband and added a blue jewl to it and the costume was complete.  I added large gold hoop earrings and necklace.

Friends from all over where coming in for the party.  I told Will that I was going to be Jasmine and he automatically said that he would be Aladdin.  I knew this was a great plan as Will goes all out for Halloween. (When children came around the dorms trick or treating in college; Will dressed up as one of the Incredibles however they kids made fun of him) The key to a great Halloween costume is the accesories and Will brought all of them to the costume; Abu, a magical carpet, sugared dates and pistachios. I think we look pretty good.

Flashback Fridays: Flappers

5 Oct

Welcome to October and some of my favorite flashbacks, Halloween.  I absolutely adore making Halloween costumes because they are so much fun.  In college, Halloween was a big deal and you had to have a great costume.  Every year I would contemplate what my costume should be as each year has to be better than the last, which is a tall order. (especially since I am only 5’3)

So flashback to fall 2005 the 7th floor of the suites, (or penthouse as we called it)  a young Missy and I were watching the movie, Chicago, on Friday afternoon waiting for Megan to get out of lab.  I am not sure what we were waiting for her to do, but it is not really relevant.  As we were watching the movie, we decided to be flappers for Halloween. 

Flappers would be perfect; they were cute, had lots of embellishments, and would be pretty easy to make.  I knew exactly what I wanted for the design; a sequin dress with fringe, matching headpiece and big beaded necklace.  So Missy and I went to the fabric store and each picked out colors for our dresses.  There were lots of options for fabric but not much coordinating trims, so we went with purple and blue.  I brought all the fabric home over Columbus Day and had plans to make the costumes then.  That plan was foiled as my sewing machine was not working and I was devastated.  So all the fabric came back to PC with me.  Since I was working in the costume shop at the time, I asked if I could go in over the weekend to use the machines, which was granted.  So I headed in on a Saturday and left with flapper costumes a few hours later.

Missy and I wore these costumes out on Halloween that year.  In 2007, our first year out of college, Missy and I both wore the costumes again on Halloween even though we were living in different cities.  (Missy was in New York and I was in Boston) 

The flapper costumes have definitely gotten made their rounds.  Missy and I have each worn for two Halloween’s and our friends, Alicia, Athena, Slesh and Nicki have all worn the costumes as well.  What can I say, it is a great costume.

Flashback Fridays: Bride and Groom Frogs

6 Apr

Last spring, my aunts and I were planning a bridal shower for my cousin Brianne.  We decide on a spring theme with pink and green and frogs.  Brianne has always liked frogs growing up so we were going to try to incorporate them into the shower. 

About 10 years ago I made stuffed frogs in bright floral attire.  At our shower planning meeting those frogs got brought up.  I do not remember who said it but someone suggested that I make the frogs only a bride and groom one.  I loved the idea, as did everyone else.

I made the bodies out of green cotton and stuffed them.  Then came the fun part; the clothes.  Mom and I went shopping together for the materials.  For the groom, I made pants, a dress shirt and a vest.  Shopping with Mom chose to be a challenge; she actually said “This fabric is a little thin, I don’t want him to get cold”  When making clothes for humans, I pay a lot of attention to fabric thickness, but for a frog?  He is not going to get cold, Mom. I finally chose a black pinstripe that was think enough for Mom’s approval. To spice it up, I added frog buttons to his vest. For the bride, I went with a white sleeveless dress with a sheer overlay and beaded trim on at the waist and hem.

The frogs made an appearance at the shower and at the wedding.  They were on either side of the cake and I snuck in to grab a quick photo-op with them.  There was an incident at the wedding were one of the googly eyes came off the groom, but someone had glue so I preformed emergency surgery at the reception.  He recovered quickly.

Flashback Fridays: St. Patricks Day 1985

16 Mar

Keeping with the theme of Irish week, we are going back twenty-seven years to March 17, 1985.  At the ripe old age of six days I was still dressed in festive attire with a green onesie.  After all I had to live up to my namesake, Shannon Kelley Gilligan.  As you may suspect I do not remember my first St. Patrick’s Day; I could not even hold my head up. (luckily Gram seems to have helped out a bit) and Courtney looks festive as well in her dress and pinafore.

Flashback Fridays: Wine Wreath

2 Mar

Did you know that March is national craft month?  Well it is and only seemed appropriate that I start of the month off with a craft. I had seen wine cork wreaths a few times and wanted to make one of my own.  Shortly after I moved into my apartment, I decided this is what I was going to do.  However there was one problem, I needed wine corks.   We were four ladies living together and drank a moderate amount of wine. So for about a year, we saved every cork from wine that we drank.  (I may have even fished a few out of the trash when someone accidentally threw them out)  These days a lot of corks are made from foam and not actually cork, but the foam ones do not make for a pretty wreath.  I soon learned which brands had real cork and which ones were foam.  (There may have been an incident where I yelled at Megan for buying Yellow Tail because it was on the black list; foam corks)  I had everyone on the prowl for wine corks, my Mom and aunt each gave me a few and Missy managed to swipe one from her wine tour in Sonoma.  After about a year, I had enough corks to create a wreath. There were a lot of foam corks that I had to separate out and then began arranging them on the wreath.  With glue gun in hand, I began gluing in a in a geometric pattern. There were a few instances of burnt fingers but eventually I had two rows of corks.   You could still see a lot of the wreath so I added a top and bottom row of corks.  At Christmas Tree Shop, I found fake grapes, so I added them to the wreath.  The last thing the wreath needed was a bow.  I search everywhere for ribbon with grapes on it; craft stores, online, anyplace; but my search was unsuccessful.  I finally went with a dark burgundy ribbon (but am still on the lookout for wine ribbon, so let me know if you find some)  I love how the wreath shows a history of the wines we drank, some with red stains and some with holes where the wine opener got stuck.  There are three questions that I get asked when people notice the wreath,  Did you really drink all of that wine, how many wine corks are there, and how long did it take you to collect them?  Yes, I drank the wine (with some help from friends) there are about 300 corks, and it took about a year.  The typical response I receive “That’s about a bottle per day,”  well I did say I had some help.

Flashback Fridays: ruffled tank and wool skirt

24 Feb

Have you ever bought a belt, pair of shoes, hat or necklace and created your entire outfit around it?  That is exactly what I did in December of 2010, when I found a silk Vineyard Vines sash with santa hats on it in the clearance bin of Filene’s Basement.  The sash was light green with dark pink/melonish santa hats.  I needed a shirt to go with the sash but finding something in a matching color was a challenge.  I could not find anything at the stores, so I decided to make something.  Even at the fabric stores it was hard to find the exact color, but once I found it I knew it would look amazing.  The pattern I chose was actually a dress, so I made the bodice and converted it into a shirt.  This was before I had the serger, so french seams were necessary to avoid fraying (sew wrong sides together, flip, then sew right sides together)  The French seams came out well and then came the ruffle.  This is a just a regular tank without the ruffle. The ruffle on this shirt is gradual; wider in the back and narrower in the front.  I stitched two parallel lines on the ruffle and gathered to create a full look, then stitched it onto the neckline. The first time I wore this tank I wore it with cream pants (My apartment is too chilly to wear a tank and a skirt together in the winter) However I did make a cream wool pencil skirt that does go nicely with the tank and have worn together since.  This tank is versatile, it looks good with pants, skirts, alone or under a cardigan. 

Flashback Fridays: Tweed Suit

27 Jan

After watching many episodes of Project Runway, Michael Kors always says that anyone can make a dress, but the true test of a designer is if they can make suit.  Well dresses are my specialty and I have never made a suit before, so I figured that I should change that.  So this past fall, I was determined to make my first suit. But I did not want to make a boring suit, I wanted it to be modern, edgy, and make a statement.  I have a few pants suits, so I decided to go with a skirt suit.  I found the perfect pattern for the jacket, a military style with lots of buttons and cording.  The fabric choice had to be spot on and after careful consideration I went with a black and blue tweed.  After measuring about five times, I cut the pieces out.  I stitched the cording on the collar, sleeves and front panels, then the assembly began. A jacket is much different from a dress in that seams have to be more precise.  I have made many dresses that I can usually manipulate the fabric, but not as much with the tweed.  The original pattern called for hook and eye closures but I opted for a zipper instead. The jacket has a total of sixteen buttons on it (and after some poor math calculations, I had go back and buy more) The skirt was much easier, a pencil skirt with a kick pleat back. I received mixed responses from family and friends when they heard that I was making a suit, but most wear supportive.  Hopefully they were as pleased with the end result as I was.

Flashback Fridays: Molly and Ralph

20 Jan

When I was in seventh grade, I found a pattern to make stuffed dogs.  I had made a few stuffed animals before, but those were mostly panel cutouts. I used a soft brown sherpa for the bodies and added animal noses and eyes.  I filled their bottoms with pellets (think beanie babies) and stuffed the rest of them.  I stitched on the ears and tongues and the puppies were complete. 

Picking out the fabric for their clothes was the fun part. There were so many cute dog prints to choose from.  I finally settled on a pink and yellow Scottie dog fabric for the dress.  I finished up the hem with a yellow-flowered trim. (when my great-grandmother passed away I went through her old fabric and trims, the yellow trim was in that mix)  Yellow gingham matched perfectly fora vest, bloomers and a purse. Now onto the boy, a button up Dalmatian shirt and cargo shorts seemed to suit him perfectly. I added a black felt vest (also my first stab at blanket stitching) with Dalmatian buttons on the pockets.  Mom had the most fun picking out the shoes for them.  We went to Payless and found little kids sneakers, white T straps for the girl and black high tops for the boy.  Once the doggie duo was complete, they needed names.  After much deliberation, I went with Molly and Ralph.  I do not recall why I chose those names at the time, but they seemed to fit. (It was about thirteen years ago) I went on to make several more of the dogs, so many that the pattern has holes in it where I put the pins.  I do not even remember who got these dogs (other than the one Mom gave to her favorite patient when she turned 100) but I know they went to good homes.

Flashback Fridays: Little Black Dress

13 Jan

I love this dress for many reasons.

  • This dress was the first thing that I made with current sewing machine. 
  • It was the first dress that I had made for myself in several years, as all the sewing I did in college was for other people.  
  • Every girl needs a little black dress and this was very easy to make

Back in January of 2007, the Viking was fresh out of the box and I needed something to wear for 107 nights at Providence College.  We had a series of senior events at Providence and there was a cocktail party at the Westin to celebrate 107 days left until graduation.  I knew exactly want I wanted; a fitted halter that tied in a large bow.  Back when Fabric Place was still in business, I found an amazing stretch satin.  I altered the pattern to include long tails for the neck.  The construction itself was fairly straight forward, not too many pieces or intricate details.  The dress is simple and classic; a timeless look.

Now those of you that attended 107 nights may remember this night for another reason, as my coat was stolen at the “coat check.”  I was rather upset that my coat was missing and it was snowing. (I love this dress but it is not exactly warm)  I stayed behind to see if anyone would realize they had the wrong coat and return it, only that never happened.  My friend Will’s response was to take the remaining coat that was left at the “coat check” however that did not go over well since I had just made a stink about my coat being missing.  Being the gentleman that he is, Will let me wear this suit coat as we trudged through the snow on the last bus back to PC.