Category Archives: Viva Las Vegas

Thick and Tired

Over the summer, my life unexpectedly upheaved. (I know the syntax is incorrect. Poetic license.) The pain of events has diminished, but still lurks and pesters and sneaks up behind me and taunts and is generally very mean. I have progressed, however, from not being able to eat much at all, to apparently attempting to bury alive my sorrow with dairy products. I mean, really. Butter? Awesome stuff. I’ve been allowing myself to eat as much as I want of whatever makes me feel good.

But I don’t feel good. I’m bloated. My pants don’t fit. My lower back is starting to hurt. And I feel, generally, like poo.

I know that the “holiday” season isn’t yet over. I know that resolutions typically start on January 1st. But I’m sick and tired of feeling thick and tired. So I started today. I won’t be doing anything crazy, no cabbage-juice-and-bird-nest diets, but I am very much looking forward to being more conscious of what I eat, what I drink, and to feeling better. And to once again fitting into that spectacular dress that I bought just in case I go to Viva14.

Here’s to good health.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Some very dear friends in Chicago sent me a gorgeous and meaningful teapot (see above) for Christmas. It will make the whole drinking-plenty-of-fluids thing that much more graceful, and will continue to remind me how lucky I am to know such cool people.

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Filed under food, friends, holidays, Viva Las Vegas

What I wore to VLV13

Because I have friends who are unusually interested in the contents of my closet. Because those friends were unable to attend Viva this year. And because I received a number of lovely compliments regarding my wardrobe during the course of the weekend, and perhaps some of those people are coincidentally readers of my blog.

THURSDAY

Thursday’s dress is technically vintage, but a 1980-something repro (by Steppin’ Out) of an earlier style. The print is typical ’80s, though. The black patent handbag is “properly” vintage, although there is no brand mark. I originally bought it for the shop, but fell in love with the chevron and bow detail, which you unfortunately cannot see in this photo. Now I can’t seem to part with it. The shoes, by Miss Me, are thoroughly modern. The snood is from V-Male Detroit Vintage. This outfit and many that follow were worn with vintage RHT stockings by Queen Mary. I brought 4 sets of vintage stockings to VLV, but this one pair managed to get me through the whole weekend without a run, and I cherish them for it. Also because they fit, feel great, and have a nice, dark back seam.

Thursday evening’s dress is one of my all-time favorite vintage finds. Made by Sportlane Deb, the pale pink brocade bodice is decorated with rhinestones and pearl beads, and the dress has side-seam pockets. POCKETS. ::swoon:: I found it for a song in 2008 in the (gasp) Halloween section of a local thrift store. True, it has some popped stitches on one shoulder and a few small stains (which may very well come out with some OxyClean but I haven’t dared to try) but if anyone noticed them, they were polite enough to not say anything. The vintage Lucite purse is also studded with rhinestones, but the “privacy” hankie makes them difficult to see. I must find a better solution. The shoes, by Madden Girl, are silver slingbacks with Lucite heels.

FRIDAY

You may recognize Friday’s day dress from some of my previous posts. It was my first attempt at grading (and altering the silhouette of) a vintage pattern, and Nick likes to point out that, true to the 1940s motto of “make do or do without,” I made it from old bedsheets. Really cool, high thread count bedsheets, but bedsheets nonetheless. The crinoline is vintage, made by Cherie of California. The purse was purchased at Hobby Lobby, of all places. Belt by Accessories by Pearl (thrift store, probably ’80s) and the shoes are by Go Max. I bought them a few years ago on eBay, but it’s a brand apparently carried by K-Mart!

The evening ensemble consists of a dress I bought from Boss Vintage for an Oscars® party back in 2006 or 2007. Erin would remember which. Perhaps I should have taken this photo from behind, as the back of the dress has an eye-catching (and back-baring) slit, and the heels of the J. Reneé shoes are hand-painted and studded with topaz-colored rhinestones. The gold lamé purse is also vintage, and like the dress, unlabeled.

SATURDAY

Saturday’s car show dress is a modern cotton/spandex fabric construction by Moda International. I shortened the hem by four inches, and it still hits below my knees. The deep side slits are original to the dress (a gust of wind is displaying more leg than usual). The patch on the back is vintage, a gift from Nick who put the matching patch on one of his jackets. The sunglasses are by Ray-Ban, in a cat eye style called Lisbon (W0959). Be wary of vendors selling “vintage” Ray-Ban sunglasses: like this pair, some older styles are periodically brought back into production and may not actually be vintage. If the price is right and you don’t care how old they are, go for it. The shoes and belt are repeated from previous outfits. The cute fella is “Filthy” Rich, bass player for The Infamous Swanks. Photos by Nick, who borrowed a pro Canon from a friend.

The cheongsam was a thrilling find, as I’ve only before come across cheaply made exports. This vintage version is a beautiful heavyweight brocade, fully lined, and fits perfectly in the bust (just a little roomy in the waist). It came complete with a matching jacket, although it’s boxy and unflattering. I thought perhaps it was meant to be a male counterpart, but it has shoulder pads. If anyone has info to share about these, I’d appreciate it. The silver lamé-encased-in-Lucite box bag is of indeterminate age. From the exterior, it looks every bit the mid-century part. The interior, however, is lined in vinyl and has a Made In China tag. So go figure. The satin shoes are by Chinese Laundry.

SUNDAY

Sunday’s swimsuit is by Catalina, and to see it sans gold capri pants (by Euro Linea, probably early ’80s)  and bamboo-heeled shoes (by Foot Candy) you’ll have to watch the video posted at iCNN. I show up for a mere second at the beginning, but it’s only 2:12 so go ahead and watch the whole thing. The sunglasses are by… um… well, I bought them at… shoot. I’ve had them for so long, I just don’t remember. They’re modern repros, I know that much.

My evening dress was meant to be my day dress, but the sun was nearly down by the time I left the pool party. I found it at an estate sale, and although it’s distinctly too big on me, I love-love-love it. I took in what I could from the side seams, barring removing and reattaching the skirt, and trust the belt (thrift store, probably 1980s) to do the rest. The dress was missing its original shoulder ties, but a helpful clerk at Hobby Lobby fixed me up with the perfect shade of satin ribbon. The purse is vintage, no brand mark, and the shoes are Candies.

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NOTE: If you’re a regular window shopper of my online store, you’ll recognize that (with the exception of Saturday) these photos were all taken IN MY HOME, rather than at Viva. This is because Nick does not have a camera, and I am still not comfortable handing mine to someone and saying, “Please, could you take a photo of me?” Because in my head, it is followed by a silently screaming “I THINK I AM SO AWESOME YES MY EGO IS HUUUUUGE.” Yeah, I have some confidence issues. Stop looking at me like that.

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Filed under fashion, friends, sewing, vacation, vintage, Viva Las Vegas

VLV13: Prepare to Launch

If you know me, you know that my year pretty much centers around the annual Viva Las Vegas rockabilly weekender in April. Well, it’s that time of year again, and so off I go. My flight leaves in about 12 hours, and I am mostly packed. Ish. My planned wardrobe includes four vintage dresses, one vintage swimsuit, and one pair of vintage capris (which still need a tiny bit of mending, it will be a busy day!). Also, one dress that I made with the aid of a vintage sewing pattern. None of my shoes are vintage, because my feet are not an era-appropriate size. I do my best with modern shoes inspired by vintage looks (but I can’t afford the Rocket Originals or ReMix shoes that get all the details right). So let’s see, what’s on the to-do list before I boogie out of here? In no particular order:

– polish nails
– rip Elvis movie to iPhone (in-flight entertainment)
– mend capris
– pack/ship two shop orders
– eat something
– finish packing
– make like a tree and vamoose!

If you’re also heading to VLV and want to find me, today’s travel outfit is (at the moment) cuffed jeans and a red-and-black t-shirt. I hope to be sipping whiskey in the Crawfish Bar by midnight!

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Filed under fashion, music, vacation, vintage, Viva Las Vegas

Task: Vogue 9996

I bought Vogue 9996 in, I believe, 2008, the day that my friend Megan and I picked through a small basket of vintage patterns at an antiques mall about halfway to Wyoming.

Last month, I finally bought the fabric and notions necessary to make it. A plaid? Why did I choose a notoriously-difficult-to-line-up plaid? Oh, well. Today, I hauled out my machine (I have a PILE of stuff that needs mending before Viva; I may as well start with the most difficult project) and opened the envelope. 18 pieces in all. 18 pieces in the envelope.

But 6 of them are from a different pattern! That means that I’m missing 6 pieces! Although I’m not planning to sew the overblouse option… those pieces, I have. No, I’m missing every single piece of the bathing suit top, and the lower back facing for the shorts.

I am doing my best to recreate the missing pieces from a scan of the instruction sheet, scaled up to life size. I’ll keep you posted as to my progress. Keep your fingers crossed!

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Filed under collections, fashion, sewing, vintage, Viva Las Vegas

Drill Down to the Heart of the Matter

Dice bracelets. I originally made them just for my own use, but someone said I should sell them, and so I started adding them to my Etsy shop in early ’08. I wound up bringing a pound or two of them with me to VLV10 for my gal-pals and I to mix and match with our wardrobes. They’re fun, and handy for covering up those vinyl wristbands which can mar an otherwise cool outfit.

My bracelets are made with real, new, game-play dice. Not casino dice, which are not only expensive but also bigger, heavier, and have very sharp edges. Those edges aren’t something you pay attention to until you want to wear them for a few hours. I specifically buy dice with rounded edges because of their contact with delicate wrists. And I drill each and every single die myself with a corded drill. One. At. A. Time. It’s a tedious process, and being “off” with my pressure can break or, more commonly, chip the dice. But the most frequent issue that I run into, as shown above, is that my drill bits heat up enough to melt the acrylic content of the dice, and seize within the confines. There is no way to get a seized drill bit out, save for application of a hammer. It wastes a heckuva lot of time, not to mention the dice that are murdered for the cause.

I’ve conferred with The Guys At The Hardware Store about ways around this unique problem. I’ve tried bits made from different compounds, I’ve tried dipping the bit in cold water between each pass, I’ve tried drilling slower and faster and upside-down and sideways (no, not really). Drill: seize. Drill: seize. Drill: seize. After a few years of this, I am, as the kids say, Over It. I do not make enough money on these bracelets to outweigh the loss of materials, let alone the manual labor.

I’ll leave any existing listings in the shop until they sell, but they will not be replaced. I’m keeping my supplies on hand for special requests or for other projects that may come up, such as Chop’s occasional solicitations for “danglies” for his custom bikes. However if you’ve been thinking about getting one or two but can’t decide on colors, now would be the time to act. I’ve already started letting some listings expire, so if there’s a color combo you want but don’t see, don’t hesitate to ask. I may very well still have it available.

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Filed under fashion, jewelry, pet peeves, vintage, Viva Las Vegas