Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Bet You Didn't Know...

Top: Lowland Rugosa Tank/Anthropologie
Cardigan: Halogen/Nordstrom
Jeans: Gap
Boots: Abound/Nordstrom Rack
Head band: H&M
Necklace: Aaaaall over the place
Bracelet: Gifted

First and foremost, allow me to apologize for the funky lighting in the photographs. Apparently I managed to stand in the only -- and I do mean only -- patch of sunshine to be found in Seattle today. What are the odds?

The last post I wore jeans in seemed to be a big hit with all of you, my beautiful, wonderful, oh-so-spectacular readers, so I figured I would post another jeans-centric outfit. I wasn't sure about pairing the dark blue top with the dark blue bottoms, but I think the cardigan and boots did a nice job of breaking up the monotony. You can't tell in the photographs, but the embroidered flowers on the top literally glow. Thank you, metallic thread! Swoon! I kept looking down at my shirt while I walked, and mumbling random phrases like, "Preeeeeeeetty" and "mmmphmmmph glooooooows! mmmphmmph." (Note: for the purposes of this post, "mmmph" = random mumbled noises) No one pulled their children away from me today, but I did get the stink eye from a couple people. It's okay, though; I had my beautiful glow-y blouse to soothe my wounded spirit.

The ever-beautiful and exceptionally sweet Alex of Delayed Missives recently gave me two new blog awards! Hooray! A fellow Scotch lover, I'm eagerly awaiting the day when Alex comes to Seattle -- or I go to New York -- and we can bond over our mutual love of malty, peaty goodness and, of course, fashion. ;)

These awards carry with them the requirement that I share 7 random facts about myself. Ruh roh... this could get interesting.

1.) I love coffee. Have I ever said that before? I don't think I have. I love coffee so much, in fact, that I have at my disposal at least a dozen different ways to brew up a cup and/or pot. However... ahem, unfortunately for Mr. CP I'm terrified of most (read: all but one) of the coffee-making implements we have -- I'm illogically convinced they are going to explode on me -- so until very recently it was among Mr. CP's many duties to make sure that I was caffeinated in the morning. In an effort to "empower my womanity" (his words, not mine), we bought an idiot-proof, user-friendly Nespresso machine. I can now make my own coffee. I feel empowered.
2.) I will maintain until my dying day that a three-pronged fork should be called a "threek." I therefore refuse to call it anything else.
3.) I have an inexplicable attachment to hoods. It's a fair bet that 9 times out of 10, if I'm sitting around the house, I'm wearing a hood. 
4.) I once got a concussion while having a nerf war. It's a long story, but I'll boil it down. Mr. CP stole my nerf gun and tried to run away from me; I latched on to his leg, and stupidly refused to let go (I'm tenacious that way); he pulled me along the floor (he's tenacious that way); I bonked my head on my jewelry armoire; I got knocked out. Fin.
5.) I talk in my sleep. Apparently my favorite thing to ask about is "cantaloupe." For the record, my favorite fruit is bananas.
6.) The absolute last place you ever want to find me is in the kitchen. I'll either end up burning the room down, or producing something so foul that not even alley-scavenging raccoons will want to eat it.
7.) I don't talk about it much on here, but I love reading. Lately, I've been wading my way through Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard (headache much?), and also re-reading the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson. I recently finished re-reading Silas Marner by George Eliot (one of my very favorite books), Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, and Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault.

Now I get to pass on the awards to some other lovely people! =D Hooray! In the interest of spreading the love, I tried to give these awards to a different group then last time. ;)

Dotty at Dash Dot Dotty
Karla at Frugal Big Girl
Gazel at Bonjour Gazel
Loren at Frock Stock

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Love Millie!

Dress: Emily Hallman/Millie Dress (here)
Sweater: August Silk/Nordstrom Rack
Tights: Hue/Macy's
Shoes: Naya/Nordstrom Rack (here)
Head band: Nordstrom
Bracelet: Gifted
Sweater clip: DIY

I hold these truths to be self-evident, that all cardigans are super duper awesome, that they are the perfect compliment to my favorite garment ever -- the dress -- and that the combination of the two is endowed with inalienable awesomeness. That to create the perfect outfit, beautiful dresses are created by exceptional designers... Okay, okay. I'm done. I could continue to take artistic license with the Declaration of Independence, but I think I've made the Founders roll over in their graves quite enough for one day.

I'm a little bit obsessed with this dress. I have been since I first saw it on the Emily Hallman website. This dress just happened to be the first thing that caught my eye, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that I could quite happily own every single item from the label.

The brains and beauty behind the label, Emily, is absolutely lovely. Because my measuring skills are roughly akin to those of a dimwitted monkey zygote, when the dress first arrived it was waaaay to big. Emily very sweetly offered to alter it for me, though, so I popped it back in the mail, and waited on baited breath for the day when I could clasp the dress in my eager little paws again. It arrived a little over a week after I sent it off, far quicker than I expected, and it fit like a dream. I may or may not have worn the dress around with my slippers that night. Maybe. Possibly.

This dress, friends, is my new favorite item of clothing. It fits like a glove, it spins (oh boy, does it spin!), and it's really, really comfortable. I wore it our for my breakfast brunch, and was shocked when the valet guy randomly complimented my dress. I feel compelled to offer up a warning regarding this dress, though: it will make you want to spin to the point of dizziness. It may also inspire you to sway from side to side when no one's watching just so you can watch the fabric swishing to and fro. In my case, people were definitely watching, and they definitely thought I was certifiably insane. They pulled their children away from me suspiciously. Meh. What are you gonna do?

At any rate, today is my birthday and I'm off to celebrate with a low-key movie marathon and exorbitant amounts of food. Emily was kind enough to answer some questions for all of us, so I'll leave you with her answers, and a cheeky wink: ;)

CP: When did you first know that you wanted to be a clothing designer?
I've known for most of my life that I have certain creative talents. It took a few years, however, to hone in on exactly what those talents were and how to best execute them. My love for clothing truly began when I was about 8 and I made a suit for my younger brother using only copy paper and staples. When I discovered that I could actually study fashion and build a career around it, I jumped at the opportunity. Since I graduated from college, not a day has gone by that I haven't sketched, researched, created patterns, or sewn something. 

CP: What's your design and/or fashion philosophy?
I simply love creating beautiful clothing, and I sincerely hope to encourage women to disregard our society's current obsession with thinness and unrealistic celebrity beauty and embrace a healthy body. I don't care what "size" a person is, it's irrelevant to me. We all need great clothes, and my goal is to provide clothing that anyone can wear. The fact is, I adore pretty clothes and I like to feel pretty in my own everyday life. I want all woman to feel that way when they gets dressed, and I am thrilled to be able to contribute to that.

CP: What is your design process?
The design process is considerably longer than you might imagine--for me, it's about 5 months.  I approach each collection with ideas already in mind about specific looks I want to incorporate. I do an insane amount of research and source my fabrics, sketch, re-sketch, edit, draft new ideas, and tweak the overall collection prior to drafting the patterns or sewing the samples. I then spend weeks drafting every single pattern and test the design, fit and comfort before final design approval. Once the fabrics arrive, I sew my samples (yes, each and every sample is cut out and sewn by me). It's a long, long process and that doesn't include photography or website updates and edits. Oh, and I always have to think ahead to the next collection--there is never any break. It's a constant mental marathon! 

CP: What's your favorite thing about what you do?
Being creative! I also adore meeting the beautiful, wonderful women who have discovered the Emily Hallman brand and responded so positively to the aesthetic--not much is more motivating than that! 

CP: Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by lots of things--fabrics, historical costume and vintage fashion, art, architecture, interior design . . . the list goes on! 

CP: How would you describe the quintessential "Hallman Woman?"
First and foremost, the Hallman woman is  . . . a woman. I design grown-up clothing for confident, chic women who enjoy ladylike clothes made with the finest materials. Here is what we love about the Hallman woman: her clothing is an accessory to her personality, not the definition of it. She dresses to feel good, and isn't impressed with passing fads or amateur design. She loves special details, exquisite tailoring and proper fit.  The Hallman woman is smart, charming, funny, and incredibly stylish. 

CP: How would you describe your collection's aesthetic?
Classic and supremely feminine. I incorporate silhouettes from the 1940s and 1950s, but update the look with modern fabric and modern design sensibilities. I love incorporating special details like trims, contrast stitching, fun linings, and hidden pockets. 

CP: What are some of your current favorite pieces?
The Mille dress is probably my favorite piece from the fall collection--I love the print, the silhouette, and the special topstitching at the neckline. It's so feminine and flattering, which I love. I also have a soft spot for the Georgia pencil skirt and Tillie trouser from the holiday collection. As much as I love dresses, I love the versatility of separates just as much (okay, maybe a tad more). ;) You can't go wrong with a bright red pant during the holidays, and a sequin pencil skirt is always a show-stopper.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Dress: Tolani/Nordstrom Rack
Cardigan: Rubbish/Nordstrom Rack
Boots: Abound/Nordstrom Rack
Tights: Hue/Macy's
Head band: H&M
Bracelets: Vintage, Target, Forever 21, and DIY

Earlier this year, Mr. CP spent two and a half months abroad in Italy doing research for his dissertation. I, unfortunately, couldn't join him the entire time, but I did manage to get over there for ten days. I had always wanted to visit Italy. In fact, I took several Italian classes in college in preparation for that far-off day when I would be able to visit. We had determined early on that we would much rather visit fewer places and explore them more thoroughly, and so we decided to spend 5 days in Rome and 5 in Venice. Below, I've listed my 4 favorite memories from our time in Italy. (Note: I know 4 is an arbitrary number. I was initially going to do 5, but this post is already super duper long.) 

1.) The food. May I just say that I will forever and always worship the culture that introduced both pasta and pizza into the world? I'm convinced that Italy possesses some sort of magical powers. I literally ate my body weight in pasta every day, and actually lost weight on the trip. Logic tells me that it was probably because I was hoofing it everywhere, but emotionally I believe otherwise. It was magic. Magic, I tell you!!!
2.) On one of our first days in Rome, we stumbled upon an amazing restaurant called Zeus. We decided to go back a couple times before we left, and ultimately befriended one of the waiters, and the crazy Sicilian chef. So desperate was the SC (Sicilian Chef) to converse with us that he brought out an Italian newspaper and started gesturing and pointing at it frantically. To this day, I have absolutely no idea what he was saying -- the waiter couldn't even understand what SC was saying, despite the fact that he was Italian -- but SC apparently liked us, because he sent out a special dessert he whipped up just for us as a going away present!
3.) Completely unintentionally, we arrived in Venice on the last day of Carnival. Our hotel was right off St. Mark's Square, but we had no idea at all how to get there. We headed in the vague direction of our hotel with our giant ass backpacks only to find that everyone else was trying to get into the Square. My solution: use my overstuffed backpack as a battering ram. It worked relatively well... until we got lost. Mr. CP had to dump me in an alley with our backpacks while he went off in pursuit of the hotel.
4.) I'm a huge art junkie. I haven't got any artistic abilities whatsoever -- even my stickmen look like shapeless blobs -- but I admire the artistic productions of others. The day we spent at the Vatican Art Museum was overwhelming and amazing. The mosaics, in particular, were astonishing. There are no words, and that's saying something for someone as long-winded and verbose as me.

Which brings me to the dress I'm wearing above. It was my love of those mosaics that inspired me to nab this dress when I saw it at Nordstrom Rack a while back. It reminded me vaguely of the beautiful, vibrantly colored mosaics I saw in the Vatican Art Museum, and brought back all the wonderful memories of my time in Italy. When I told Mr. CP this, he insisted that it doesn't look the faintest bit like a mosaic. I did the mature thing. I shrieked, "YES IT DOES, BUTT HEAD!" and dramatically sashayed out of the room. Because that's just how I roll. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Take Four: Saturated Hues from Coast to Coast

Dress: Hazel/Pink Ginger Boutique
Cardigan: August Silk/Nordstrom Rack
Cami (actually a cami bra): Le Mystere/Nordstrom (here)
Tights: Target
Shoes: Naya/Nordstrom Rack (here)
Earrings: Random boutique in Rome
Head band: Nordstrom

Oh, my. Oh, my, my, my. I don't even know how to explain all the colorful (?) things going on in the photos above. The first one starts out normal enough with me smiling cheerfully at the camera. I mean, that's what you're supposed to do, right? Smile at the camera as naturally as possible, presuming of course that you aren't going for candid shots? The second photo is essentially a pinched and clenched version of the first. I would imagine this is what my face looked like the first time I read Swift's "A Modest Proposal": equal parts amused, horrified, and shocked. And then there's the third photo. That face! That hair! This, my friends, is what I look like every morning when I wake up, minus the makeup, and plus drool. For the record, the photos on the camera were essentially this progression writ large. Instead of 3 photos chronicling whatever is going on up there, there were around 40.

In case the title of this post didn't tip you off, this is another Take Four post! Hooray! Huzzah! Woohoo! This week we focused on saturated hues. I have a cobalt blue dress that would have been suitable for this particular trend, but I ultimately settled this dress. As far as saturated hues goes, this dark green velvet number is a bit unusual. When I think of saturated hues, the first color that comes to my mind is cobalt blue. I wanted to wear something a bit more unexpected, though, and this dress fit the bill perfectly.

Be sure to check out Bekah, Gracey, and Karla's posts! Without fail, they always look absolutely adorable!

Bekah at Matters of Merrymaking
Gracey at Fashion for Giants
Karla at Frugal Big Girl

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two Blog Awards

Hello, hello! I'm officially back from my brief trip to Colorado. I have yet to edit the photos -- that's my task for tomorrow morning -- but I'll post those sometime tomorrow. =D

While I was away, Karla over at Frugal Big Girl gave me my very first blog awards! Hooray! I'd like to offer up a great big thank you to Karla. She really is one of the sweetest people you'll ever have the good fortune to meet. I was so excited when I saw that she had given the blog the awards below, and I couldn't wait to get back and share the news with you.

Here are the rules:

Link back to the blogger you got the award from
Write 7 random things about yourself
Fill in the question form below
Give the award to 10 other blogs and let them know

7 random things about me:

1. I love poetry. I can't write it to save my life, but I thoroughly enjoy reading it. My favorite poets: Tennyson and Rilke.
2. I'm terrified of spiders. Jump-on-the-bed-and-screech-at-a-pitch-that-only-dogs-can-hear terrified of them. They're a-holes. And I maintain that they occasionally growl at me. 
3. I played the role of Ruth in my high school's production of The Pirates of Penzance. I dyed my hair gray, too. It didn't come out for... well, longer than I would have liked. 
4. I've read all of Jane Austen's novels 5 times (that I can remember). I hate them all, and have since the first read through. I just keep thinking I need to give them another chance... and another... and another.
5. I like Scotch, Bourbon, Stouts, and IPAs, which apparently makes me unique among women.
6. I rock first-person shooter video games. I have no idea why or how, but I do. I can't for the life of me play any other sort of game, but shooters? I put both Mr. CP and my father -- both avid gamers -- to shame. (Ruh roh... them's fightin' words)
7. I worked as a historical consultant on a documentary about the Alaskan Gold Rush. I thought it would make me more like Indiana Jones. It so didn't. At all.

Question Form:

Name your favorite song: My all-time favorite song is "Let Go" by Frou Frou. Not far behind are "Guns Gold Girls" (Metric), "Supermassive Black Hole" and "Map of the Problematique" (Muse), "Houses" (Great Northern), and "A Sight to Behold" (Eisley).
Name your favorite dessert: It's my very own Sophie's Choice. Pumpkin pie. I love good pumpkin pie.
What pisses you off: People with a sense of entitlement.
Your favorite pet: I just love animals. I don't really have a favorite.
Black or white: Black.
Your biggest fear: Spiders. See above.
Best feature: Probably my eyes. They're green, my very favorite color!
Everyday attitude: Happy and friendly, with a dash of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.
What is perfection: Perfection is entirely subjective. However, I will say that I don't really believe in "perfection." I think that what makes life fun and interesting are all of its imperfections.
Guilty pleasure: The Vampire Diaries. It's like Dawson's Creek with vampires. FTW.

Bloggers: I Pick You!

Gracey at Fashion for Giants: I think she already has one or both of these, but I'm mentioning her anyway. She's friendly and hilarious, two of my favorite qualities in a person!
Caroline at Second Hand Shopper: She's one of my UK blog friends! She's so adorable, and has some seriously fantastic items in her closet.
Lenore at Lather Write Repeat: We have a lot of the same things in our closets. It's unsettling.
Reading in Skirts (Tia): She's seriously awesome. She rocks some of the coolest hair ever. She also leaves consistently hilarious comments on my blog that never fail to make me smile!
Reading in Skirts (Mia): Another hilarious commentator on this blog. She has some of the cuuuutest skirts ever. I often squeal when I visit her posts.
Nicole at Ruby Nite: She has an amazing collection of dresses and petticoats. She's fantastically adorable. 
Lilli at Frocks and Frou Frou: What do I even say about her? She's adorable, and she has a magnificent dress collection.
Inna at Skippy Says: I love this girl. She's sassy. She's hilarious. She's sarcastic. She's stylish. In short: she's awesome!
Laura at The Blog of Worldly Delights: I heart Laura. She's beyond swell. =D She's funny, she's smart, and she's a whiz with the sewing machine. Put simply, she's ah-mayzing!
Bekah at Matters of Merrymaking: Bekah is, indeed, a merrymaker. She also has some killer outfits. She always looks comfortable, put together, and super duper cute.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cold Weather Lovelies

Mr. CP and I are heading to the beautiful Rockies tomorrow! Hooray! I'll try not to disappear completely while I'm on my trip, and I promise I'll come back with lots of photos to share with you.

In honor of our trip, I thought I'd share with you all some cold weather accessories I've been coveting lately. I've posted some of these to Tumblr and Pinterest (where I keep track of all the beautiful items I find on the internet), so for those of you who follow me there, you may see some familiar items.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What the what?!

Hooray! We still have blue sky in Seattle... in November! That never happens! I felt compelled to wear something ever-so-slightly spring-y in honor of the cloudless sky.

Sweater: Target
Skirt: Joseph Walker/Pink Ginger
Tights: Hue/Macy's
Shoes: Mia/Nordstrom Rack
Head band: Ann Taylor
Earrings: Vintage/Gifted
Necklace: Juicy/Nordstrom Rack

I dread going to the Post Office. In large part, it's because I feel like Post Offices are swirling vortexes of doom and darkness; you know, the sort of places where happiness and joy go to die. I've always suspected that it has something to do with the doom-and-gloom postal employees and the ever-buzzing fluorescent lights, but my theory has so far gone untested. Whatever the case, I never manage to walk out of the Post Office without something ridiculous happening. Yesterday was no exception.

Upon entering the Post Office, I vaguely registered two things: a frazzled looking mother trying to control a rambunctious three-year-old, and a sullen looking old man pulling out a wedgie (ew, Random Old Guy. Just... ew!). Everything went smoothly until I was about to leave. I had just finished tucking my wallet inside my purse, and was about to walk out the front door when I saw a tiny little blur out of the corner of my eye. I didn't think much of it until I heard a very loud "THUMP." Apparently, the ringleted little three-year-old I initially noticed when I walked into the Post Office had decided to stage a jailbreak. Somewhere between scampering away from her mother and the Post Office door, I managed to trip her. And she face-planted. On the concrete floor. Hard. The little girl didn't even seem to notice -- she hopped back up, and kept running for the door. I was actually impressed with her dedication, to be honest. Her mother, however, did notice what happened, and started walking over to me. I imagined one of two things happening: she'd slap me, call me a harlot (or maybe a slattern, I never settled on which), and storm out the door with her rambunctious (and seriously hardcore) child in tow; or, more likely, she'd give me a firm chastising that would leave me feeling like I was about the same age as her child. I was shocked when she walked over, patted me on the arm, and thanked me. Say what?! Yep. Her exact words were, "Thank you for tripping my daughter," followed by an audible and tired sigh. By the time my shock subsided, she was long gone. That poor, long-suffering woman.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Take Four: Fall Accessories from Coast to Coast

 Woodland Creature Dress: Shana K/Frock Shop (here)
Leggings: Target (here)
Leg Warmers: Avenue
Head band: H&M
Earrings: Marc Jacobs/Nordstrom Rack
Scarf: Anniversary gift! Mr. CP made it! =)
Necklace: DIY
Bracelet: DIY
Boots: Abound/Nordstrom Rack

In this week's Take Four series, we decided to present our various interpretations of fall accessories trends. I chose to style a knitted scarf (they're everywhere right now!), leggings, leg warmers, and knee high boots. I have absolutely no doubt that Gracey, Bekah, and Karla's interpretations of this particular trend are adorable and swoon-inducing, so head on over to their sites and check out their interpretations of fall accessories trends! 

Things have been unsettlingly normal around here for the past few days -- which history has taught me means that something hilarious/shocking/horrifying is about to happen -- so I have exactly zero funny stories to share with you. Instead, I figured I would actually say a bit about my outfit for once!

Mr. CP and I decided several years back that we would handmake our anniversary presents. We both agreed that we liked the more personal aspect of handmade gifts. Last year Mr. CP learned how to make chainmaille, and gifted me with a stunning bracelet (which I'm ashamed to say has yet to make an appearance on this blog). This year, Mr. CP learned how to knit, and made me this beautiful lacy scarf. This Take Four post presented me with the perfect opportunity to debut my beeeeeautiful new accessory. I've pretty much been wearing it constantly since he gave it to me last week. Coats, pajamas, dresses -- you name it, I've worn this scarf with it over the past week. I think Mr. CP is a knitting savant; he's only been doing it for about 2 months and he can already make a scarf like this.

One of my favorite things to do when I'm sitting around in the evenings is whip up jewelry. I don't end up wearing a lot of it, so the vast majority gets shipped off to my girlfriends, but this week I decided to go ahead and wear a couple things I made last week. I had a whole bunch of rings sitting unused in my jewelry box that I've held on to for largely sentimental reasons. I picked out a few with the happiest memories attached, and created this bracelet. Who says you have to wear rings on your fingers? As for the necklace, I like to raid antique stores and flea markets for vintage components, and refashion them into new items. That's precisely what I did with this necklace. The two pendants started out as an earring, and a suffocatingly short necklace. Let me know if you'd like to see tutorials for either the necklace or the bracelet!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

One of Those Days

Excuse my makeup-free face. I didn't feel like wearing any. It happens a lot. =P

 Top: A to Z Tees (Alhambra Outlet)
Cardigan: Halogen (Nordstrom)
Skirt: Vince Camuto (Nordstrom, and it's on sale right now!)
Tights: Target
Boots: Enzo Angiolini
Head band: H&M
Necklace: Marc Jacobs (Nordstrom Rack)
Earrings: Marc Jacobs (Nordstrom Rack)

I had a feeling yesterday morning when I woke up that I should stay in bed. I really should have listened to my instincts. 

We rent an old house that was built in the 1920's. It sounds nice in theory, but in reality it means that the windows aren't insulated, the outlets are outdated, and the closets are hobbit-sized. It was the latter of these that inspired me to pick up a garment rack at IKEA recently to hang some of my most worn items on. Oh, IKEA. I love you... but I also sort of hate you. Every time I try to assemble something from IKEA, I end up staring blankly at the supposedly easy-to-understand instructions scratching my head like those monkeys you see at the zoo. Or ripping the instructions up into tiny little pieces, and promptly taping them back together when I realize that that the only thing worse than having the insufferable instructions is not having them (this has actually happened... several times). It took me an hour, but I successfully assembled the garment rack. So what if the screws don't screw in all the way? Or if the base is a bit wobbly? It's done, damn it. Victory was mine on this, the first day of November.

I decided to reward myself with a walk around the neighborhood. There's a church about a block down from our house with an absolutely beautiful courtyard. While tiny, the space boasts a beautiful tree, some lovely flowers, and a tiny bench. I decided to sit for a bit and enjoy the view of the colorful blossoms and golden leaves. I was happily musing to myself about the crisp fall air when it happened. The sprinklers flipped on. Happily enough, there happened to be a sprinkler directly underneath the bench upon which I was sitting, and two more between me and the exit. By the time I screeched my way out of the courtyard I was shivering, soaked, and (who am I kidding?) amused. I looked like a drowned rat as I sloshed my way home. Because it's just the sort of luck I have, both of our neighbors happened to be outside as I walked by. They cast quizzical looks my way, and wisely decided not to ask any questions. I'm fairly certain they've just come to expect bizarre things like this from our household.

Oh! And behold the other two pumpkins Mr. CP and I carved on Halloween. He carved a mockingjay from The Hunger Games. In a random and entirely characteristic move, I carved a Kiwi. I heart Kiwis. They're such tragic and unlikely creatures.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

DIY: Sweater Clips (Re-Post)

I'm not sure I had any readers when I initially posted this sweater clip tutorial. If you're one of the OR's (tee hee... Original Readers) who caught this the first time around, I'd like to give you a great big virtual hug, and simultaneously apologize for the re-post. I've gotten several requests for a sweater clip tutorial since I first posted this, and figured that rather than expecting everyone to go digging through my blog archives, I'd just go ahead and re-post the tutorial! I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see pictures of any sweater clips you make!

Below, I've shown you how I put together different sorts of vintage items to create sweater clips. It's really just a matter of figuring out where you can attach the chain, as you'll see. The fact of the matter is, with a little creativity, you can turn just about anything into a sweater clip. It simply depends upon the lengths you're willing to go to make something "clippable." I decided that I didn't want to have to glue pin-backs or clips onto anything, so I restricted myself to clip-on earrings, and pins/brooches. 

Warning: Picture heavy post! I may also have gotten carried away with the Photoshop arrows... ::shifty eyes:: In my defense -- and it's a weak defense -- the black arrows seemed so unnecessarily ordinary that I randomly started choosing other colors. It's only now, looking at the pictures, that I realize black arrows were the way to go. The other colors I chose just don't pop. But ya live and ya learn, right? At any rate, read on!

Step One: Assemble Supplies

I labeled the tools I used in the photo below, but you really don't need any specialized tools for this. I just happened to have these lying around from years of jewelry-making. Any pair of pliers and wire cutter will do, so break out that toolbox if you need to! If you find that you want and/or need to pick up some tools like mine, check out your local craft store or Walmart. They're bound to have what you're looking for.

All this chain... yeah... this is a prime example of all the random craft-related stuff I've acquired over the years. Friends, family, and occasionally perfect strangers like to foist random crafty stuff my way, so I had all sorts of new and vintage and store-bought chain to work with. If you're not a horrid pack-rat like me, though, just head to your local Michael's, Joanne Fabrics, bead store, Walmart, etc. You can pick chain up really cheaply, and you're not going to be using much of it, so one package will be more than enough to work with.

Also, Mr. CP pointed out that this photo is really blurry. Sorry. Um, the cat made me do it.

You're also going to need some open jump rings. You can see in the photo below that the ring has been sawed open. This is how you're going to attach the chain to the earrings/pins/whatever you've chosen for your clips. You should be able to find these wherever you pick up your chain. If not, you can certainly pick them up online.

The best parts of the project: the clip-on earrings and pins/brooches! I thought the pirates were hilarious. I'm not really a fan of pirates in the way some people are (i.e. speaking in "arrrrs" and "mateys," stumbling around on a fake peg-leg, and/or wearing an eye patch) but I do have a deep and abiding appreciation for the random and the, shall we say, off-beat... as you can probably tell from the pieces I chose.

Step Two, Take One: Assemble!

I decided to make the pirate sweater clip first. It's far and away the easiest of them all. Also, is it just me, or do these pirates look kind of... Christmas-y?

You can see from the photo below that these pirates are just your basic, run-of-the-mill pins.

I used my wire clippers to cut the chain to the desired length -- I went with just over 5 inches -- and slipped the chain onto the pin. The chain isn't fastened to the pirates per se, but it's still secure, particularly when you're wearing it.

Step Two, Take Two: Assemble... again!

Next up, the crabs! (Whoa! Flashing back to my middle school Health class!)

You're going to take two jump rings, and twist them open so they look like the picture below. Do not try to pull the jump ring apart in opposite directions. Not only will it be considerably more difficult to open the ring this way, it will also bend it in all sorts of unsightly and unfortunate ways. To open the ring properly, grasp either side of the ring with the pliers so that the split part is in the center. At the same time you're moving one hand away from you, move the other hand toward you. Once you've done this, you should have a ring that looks like the one below! To close the ring back up, just do the same thing again.

Note: I used a gold jump ring as an example in the photo below simply because it popped more against the grey background. I did, however, use silver jump rings for the crabs.

As I mentioned above, part of the trick is figuring out where to thread your jump ring and the chain. I had initially planned on putting the jump ring somewhere on the back of the crab, but that didn't quite work. I found that looping it through the little guys' legs did the trick quite well, though. You can see in the photos below where I put the jump ring.

Step Two, Take Three: Assemble more

The giraffe and the rooster are up next. It perhaps goes without saying that this pairing is further evidence of my proclivity for randomness. These two guys were pretty easy to join together. I just had to find two different places on them where the ring and chain would fit.


Step Two, Take Four: Assemble... still.

I saved the relatively trickier one for last. Clip-on earrings, at least as far as I'm concerned, are perhaps best suited to being transformed into sweater clips. The downside to using clip-ons instead of pins, of course, is that they're more liable to pop off your cardigan. A friend of mine has a sweater clip made of clip-ons and she's never had any problems at all with the clips falling off, though, so I highly doubt I (or you, if you decide to make these) will have any problems.

Like all the other pieces I assembled, I had to figure out where the jump rings would fit best. I ultimately settled on feeding the ring through part of the clip-back itself. You can see in the pictures below where the rings ended up going.

Step Three (Finally): Bow before the majesty of your new sweater clips

At this point, you can do several things. If you're completely unlike me, you'll put your new sweater clips away until you're ready to wear them. If you're anything like me, you'll clip/pin them onto whatever you happen to be wearing -- all at once, mind you, none of this "one at a time" business -- and marvel at your beautiful new accessories in the mirror. I happened to be wearing multi-colored reindeer pajama pants and a plain old, eye-searingly bright magenta tank top, so I pinched some fabric and clipped on those earrings, slipped the pins on opposite sides of my shirt, and took a turn through the house modeling my new clips for... well, the cats. And Mr. CP.

Speaking of Mr. CP, it's a testament to how much he loves me -- or how strange I am, I haven't decided which -- that he barely registered that anything was out of the ordinary. He simply remarked upon how lovely I looked. I haven't yet decided whether he was mocking me or not.

Also, is it just me, or does the giraffe look like he's menacing the pirate? And isn't my random purple arrow pointing at the giraffe completely necessary, and appropriately used? ;)

Thanks for reading! I would love to see any clips you decide to make. Let me know if my tendency for tangential ramblings made the instructions difficult or confusing to follow. I'm always more than happy to clarify.