What I Can Share With You

I haven’t written in awhile, because I’ve doing things I signed my life away NOT to talk about, so there’s professional doom hanging over my head if I tell you who did what where, and what they were wearing.

Mostly though, I’ve been sitting at home sewing.  I can’t show you any of that though, because it all sucks. I’m working on three projects simultaniously – they have all turned out crap (I wasn’t using a pattern). So I’ve spent the past couple nights scouring the internet for cheap patterns and will await their arrival before I use my beautiful, expensive fabric as practice again.

I also made a duct tape model form. While waiting for my lovely assistant, Hilarie to arrive, I took the time to pre-wrap myself in Syran Wrap which I read makes it more accurate in the long run. It took her longer than expected to arrive, and I started shvitzing inside my self-induced torture chamber. I tried doing random things around the apartment to distract from it, but I had just limited my mobility to basically taking penguins steps. Boredom ensued, and all I could do was send humiliating pictures of myself in Saran Wrap to unsuspecting friends. Sorry, if you were one of those.

Once Hilarie arrived, I was ready to have her cut me free, but instead, she spent the next hour carefully placing duct tape on me, constricting me even more, while I complained of breathing problems.

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Since all you people have still been showing up daily and I’ve got nothing to share with you, I’ll send you over to my friend Sophie’s indigogo fundraiser. In a year she lost 100 pounds, and now has excess skin that causes rashes, pinching, and as she says “a deflated balloon” body. That sounds about as comfortable as being wrapped in plastic and duct tape. She’s raising money for reconstructive skin surgery, so do your good deed for the day and help a girl out. $10 will get you a BIG internet hug and a handwritten letter! Here’s some pictures of us being adorable in preschool, and even cuter this New Year’s.

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Sophie’s Transformation

I’ll be performing in a circus and hiking the Inca Trail soon, so check back with me.

xo ZZ

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The Sewing Studio Part 2

After finishing my drawstring bag in my sewing class, I got to work on two more projects. First, I made a zipper pouch, which required using the serger, my new favorite tool, and putting in a zipper. I think I’ll find a chain or piece of leather to turn it into a clutch.

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The last three days at sewing bootcamp were spent on making a skirt. In my naive mind, I thought it would involve wrapping the skirt around me and adding a zipper in the back. That was not the case.

Before even starting on the fabric, I had to cut out the delicate, tissue paper, pattern pieces, adjust it to my size, then lay them out like a puzzle on my fabric and pin it down.

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Once I cut out the fabric, I could get to sewing, which was even harder. Reading pattern instructions is like putting together Ikea furniture… and if you’ve ever seen anything in my apartment, you know I’m terrible at that. There is always a backwards facing piece somewhere, and a lopsided drawer. I ended up sewing my pieces together wrong TWICE, so I got lots of practice at removing seams. Silver lining, I guess.

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The skirt required sewing darts, pressing interfacing into the waistband, making a straight hemline and lots and lots of patience. Thankfully, my Sewing Studio teacher Nasya had enough patience for the both of us. I wanted to give up several times when I had completely sewn the wrong piece on the wrong place – but she gave me the push to fix it, and answer every single one of my (mostly stupid) questions.

I’m glad she did, because my first ever piece of clothing I made turned out pretty well. Cute enough to wear out in public! Not to toot my own horn, but Toot-Toot motherf@$%ers! (Exsuse the grainy pictures, they were taken in the uber-fabulous bathroom of Beauty & Essex, champagne complementary. Also, I can now check off number 16 on my Bucket List.

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I’m now taking orders for custom made clothing* by BZZ**, let me know in the comments what you’d like !

xo clothing designer ZZ

*Must be a short, pencil skirt with a slightly crooked zipper.

**Comments also open for designer name suggestions.

Watch out Calvin, here I come!

Since I was little, I dreamed of being a fashion designer. I spent hours sketching in my notebooks clothing I dreamed of making – for myself, and sometimes for my dolls. As I grew older it became less and less of an attainable dream career (or at least that’s what I thought) so I put it on the back burner. Going into college, I thought choosing to get a degree in fashion design was unrealistic…so instead I chose to live at Disney World for the 5 next years. Because that’s real life.

But now that I’m in New York I can’t get away from it. I get inspiration from women walking down the street, seeing the huge array of ideas on the runway at Fashion Week, the street style waiting outside, and even from the architecture on 77th street and Madison.

If I’m going to become the next McQueen, Wang, or de la Renta, I’ve got to start somewhere. And that somewhere for me learning to sew. So I found the Sewing Studio and signed up for their Intro Bootcamp. It’s a weeklong course, 3 hours a day where you learn how to use a machine, different types of stitches, how to follow a pattern, and all the other beginner necessities.

The first day we learned how to set up our sewing machines and practiced some stitches on muslin. Sounds silly, but I was pretty psyched to see that I had sewn two things together, and not by hand.

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The next day, using actually fabric we made a drawstring pouch. It looks simple enough, but it was actually way more gauging, pressing, and sewing that I thought. So I’m pretty impressed with myself that I finished it. Obviously, my standards are low.

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The final product…

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Who needs a shoe holder, laundry bag or toiletries case??? I think i’ll be able to recreate this on my own.

xo ZZ

Attack of the Beanies: DIY Jeweled Beanies

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If someone let me be in charge of the newspaper headlines last week, it would have read, “ATTACK OF THE BEANIES!!” (But, really, no one is stupid enough to let me near their newspaper. Can you imagine all the kitten related stories I would publish?) Anyways, Beanies are taking over the world. They are everywhere on the streets of NY. Women are dripping in designer clothing, Louboutin heels on their feet, and top the whole thing off with a hideous beanie. People are wearing them inside like they are necklaces. Even designers covered the beautifully done hair of the models, and sent them down the runway! That’s blasphemy to me. Beanies are meant for skiiers or robbers. No exceptions.

I was pretty hard pressed on this opinion until I saw Candela adorn theirs with vintage headbands.

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Fine, I’ll be a glittering robber.

I scoured Brooklyn up and down but had no luck finding an art deco headband, or even a broach that was pretty enough. So I headed to MOOD to find some muslin and beads to make my own.

Instead I found an entire section of crystal, beaded, lace, wedding gown trim. It was impossible picking which one I liked best (especially since they ranged from $49-$150/yard). I also found Swatch.  (If you want to make one with beads, check out this DIY by Honesty WTF).

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Swatch the Mood store dog

The left is the trim I chose, then used tiny scissors to cut off parts of it to make a better shape.

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I stretched it out on a football so I would sew it on in the right place. Today I learned, my head is the exact size of a football.

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The final product – I’m in love.

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Beanie-wearers of the world, you now have my permission to continue wearing your hats – carry on.

xo ZZ

Hand-tooled leather bracelets

I know I may seem like this uber-cool, stylish, city slicker, but I am just as comfortable on a farm in Tennessee. If I’m using the word city slicker, I’m probably not a true New Yorker yet. I also ate as few bits as possible of the drenched-in-butter, southern food near the farm – so I guess I’m somewhere in between.

During the Christmas holiday, the family and I spent a day at my uncle’s farm, riding horses, dirt bikes and chasing cats.

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Tig and Floyd

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When it got to be too cold, I’d sneak inside the shop and fiddle around with the tools. As soon as the mallet hit the stamping tool to reveal a perfect indention in the leather, I was hooked. My friend Catie and I came back the next day to get a lesson from Uncle K on hand-tooling leather.

Working on my first bracelet

Working on my first bracelet

The result!

The result!

Next I wanted to try something a little more complicated.

Working on my first bracelet

Concentrating so hard on not messing up this basketweave (which I just noticed I did in one place)

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Catie working on her own bracelet

Catie working on her own bracelet

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I finally got the groove of the tools (mostly) and set off on making the rest. Can you tell I really love the Bluebird Cafe bird?

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I know, I know, my bracelets are the best thing you’ve ever seen, but check out Kelly’s real masterpieces:

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iPad cases! How country-chic is this!

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And just for your viewing pleasure, some flowers he did on scrap pieces of leather.

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Go check out his etsy page at HorseCornerSaddles, he’s only got a couple items up, but he can make you anything you want.

Alright, now who wants a hand-tooled leather bracelet by me??

Crafty Christmas Wrappings

There are a lot of us in my family, which means a lot of presents to buy. At the end of Christmas, we fill up our vans full of our new stuff and shove it into a corner of our already over-stuffed homes. So this year I initiated Secret Santa.  We were each given one name so that you could spend more time, thought, money, whatever on that one person. It turned out to be not-so-secret though, because I emailed everyone whose name they drew, and had to tell my SS they had drew me. Julian, it better be good!

Once I had found the perfect gift my giftee, I decided since I only had one present to wrap this year, I’d make it pretty and special.  I googled and pinterested pretty wrapping ideas, but my attempt at them was a failure. Apparently my wrapping skills were rusty because I ripped the paper, the corners aren’t folded neatly and the ribbons just look okay. I was too frustrated at the end, I finally settled on adding a special glittery tag to the box.

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I picked up two very small things for some friends, so I figured I’d dust my ego off and try my hand at this fancy wrapping again. I scoured the house for arts and crafts supplies, and luckily someone is a hoarder who saves every piece of vintage wrapping paper, faux flowers, ribbons, boxes, rubber bands – you name it, it’s in this house.

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Then came the two presents for my parents’ giftees. Two presents turned into four, which turned into about 14, and I was a present wrapping fool. I individually wrapped the limbs of a stuffed animal, covered one in rubber bands, and got a little sadistic with one (packing tape, wrapping paper, bag, styrofoam, box-in-a-box type thing).

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I hand-pinned sequins into the top of this box.

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It’s CatMan to the Rescue!!

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I obviously have way to much time on my hands…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Ya’ll.

xo ZZ

Halloween Tricks and Treats

Goul-morning, Halloweenies. It’s not to late to add a little spice to your nails for tonight’s (or this weekend’s) haunting festivities. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ themed nails or skeletons. Then I remembered who I am, and that I don’t have the skills, or tools, to do an entire, intricate painting on my thumb.

Even with minimal experience, I managed to pull off some cute stuff with the help of Hilarie. The cats were pretty easy to do. It just required a steady-ish hand for the ears. For the eye slits, I pressed my nail into the semi-wet, yellow eyes.

I’m only painting small, furry animals on my nails from now on. Seriously, how cute are these!! I wonder how hard a sloth would be… 

Also, in Halloween related news – if you’re a lazy bum who has yet to carve your pumpkin, you can use to it workout! It makes a great weight for upper-body workouts and squats.

When you’re done you can reward yourself by eating the pumpkin seeds. This year we seasoned with Texas steak seasoning and honey. It’s the perfect combo of salty, spicy and sweet. Win-win-win.

I hope everyone gets to be whoever they want to be tonight, no matter how old you are, no matter how little clothes it requires you wear. If you want to be a sexy pizza or Big Bird, go for it.

Have a spooktacular day,

xo ZZ