Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The studio.

In the 13 years I've been actively designing and sewing, I've gone from using the kitchen table, to the spare bedroom in our twin home, to now having my own larger space in our new house. To say I'm excited about this space is the understatement of the year (I can say that now because we are almost to the end of 2017 - crazy!). We close on the new house in 23 days and I can't wait to get into my studio. I already have plans to redo my desk, make a lounge area for clients and a screen divider for when my clients are changing into their custom made piece.
 

My office desk will be painted from the original oak to a clean looking white. I went to Hobby Lobby yesterday and became overwhelmed with all the knobs to choose from. I've narrowed it down to 15.


I'm working on revamping a chair from dark wood arms and brown cushions, to gold arms and a floral print cushion. I saw a wicker chair with a cushion on a Facebook sale group that I have my eye on to redo for my lounge area. Maybe painted white with a colorful cushion? Yellow? Teal?


 



Then I just bought a teal trunk at J's Funky Market in Moorhead, MN that will be used as the coffee table. Can't you just see Vogue and InStyle sitting on it with a small centerpiece?


After the artwork gets hung, curtains are put up and an area rug is put down, I can get to work on creating more pieces for clients and inviting them to my studio space to try on and fit. This space will get creative juices flowing, you're welcome to stop by anytime.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Destash.

We are days away from selling our first house and moving into our forever home. The new house is perfect. Over double the square footage and it just feels like our family and kids could grow up there. There's only one problem; the master closet is smaller than my current closet. For example, my current closet has 6 feet of dress space and the new closet has 2 feet. Did I mention that I'm a total dress girl? You would think that a smaller closet would be a deal breaker, (Next! Let's move on!) but there are so many other parts of the house that out-weigh this small space. You'll have to see my studio space! It's ahhhmazing!

As a result of this downgrade, I've had to destash and get rid of some things. In total, I removed 54 pieces from my closet. It seems like a lot, but when you look in the closet now, it's still hard to see the dent I made. Let's not get crazy, I still need my clothes (I don't live on a nudist island - North Dakota is far from that!). My plan is to interchange seasons. Since we are in the tundra season now, I'll keep my warm pieces in the closet and bring my summer items to the spare closet in the basement. And when the weather gets warmer in 400 days (it feels like), I'll switch them out.

Some things I gave away or donated were New York & Co. colored pants, Forever 21 dresses, Loft dresses, JCPenny blouses, The Limited sweaters, a Paul & Joe Target blouse, Old Navy cardigans, Payless shoes, Gap blouses, Banana Republic tanks and a couple pieces of jewelry.


I have to admit that when I took them off the hanger, I ran through some ideas in my head of how I could still wear them and what to wear them with. But then reality set in and I'm pretty sure I said out loud, "Yeah, right. If I haven't worn them by now, I'll never wear them like that."

It does give me some joy knowing that others will benefit from my donation and that I'll be able to make room in my closet for new items. My husband will still have to use another closet, but with a bigger house, everyone can get their own closet!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

How do you do it all?

That's one of the questions I get asked most often. And honestly, I question that myself most days. Compared to some other moms and women I know, I feel like I do less. I'm constantly in awe of those who have children and find time to blog, write books or home school. While what I accomplish seems like a lot to others, it is very minimal compared to these other women I know.

At any given moment, new ideas are running through my head. This is not a complete list of projects I currently have waiting to be finished - I have others that I probably forgot about. A few weeks ago, I bought a chair that I planned  reupholstering that is waiting for the perfect blush pink fabric. I painted the arms gold a few weeks ago and it sits in my garage just collecting dust and fallen leaves that blow in when I open the door. It will be something beautiful eventually when I am ready to finish it and put it in my studio.

In my studio I have a 3 part garment in progress that consists of a long bell sleeve, open back burgundy crop top. A lingerie slip/skirt and a mini black velvet skirt over top. It only needs a few more stitches and a vinegar bath to get rid of the old smell from the vintage fabric I used and it will be finished. But for now, it is on my list of things to do.



My oldest son will be 8 soon and those who know me, know that I tend to go out of control for birthdays. I have some ideas running through my head (science experiments and painting), but I have yet to get anything ready. Added to my already lengthy list.

I'm working on some embroidery pieces to add to some jeans to give them more detail. I have a couple earrings sketched out that I'd like to start and finish in the same day.

In addition to all this, we recently sold our house and will be moving into a new home in one short month. With packing, inspections and completing my list, I don't know how I do it all. I need a really long vacation to a deserted island during this North Dakota winter.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A daily reminder.

Mondays are always hard. It begins the work-week and waking up at 5 am. Besides this blog and my stylist/design career, I also have a full time job that keeps me busy during the week. It is constantly challenging me to be positive and reflect on the blessings in my life. Work can often bombard me with stress and negativity, but it's those days that I remember 3 little words; You are Loved.


I made this bracelet for the constant reminder that no matter what happens, I am so loved. Even with the negativity in the world or even in my workplace, I am loved. It's not always easy to remember the positives when you are struggling or in the dark places. But having a reminder on your wrist can help even the strongest 'mommy brain'.

A few weeks back, the sermon at my church was about setting our hearts on things above and not just for earthly things. This hit home and I had to take a step back and realize that what I enjoy (fashion, shopping, material things) are not what should bring me joy. They do and it's ok to enjoy them, but to know my limit. I am challenging myself to direct my focus more on bringing others happiness and showing them style in a different way and by providing truthful compliments.


What do you do to keep your focus positive and in the right direction? Are you trying to bring a negative conversation into a more positive view? Or do you remind yourself that 'this too will pass'? Whatever you do to stay positive, remember, You Are Loved.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

It finally happened.

Since February 2016, I've wanted to make a skirt Kelly Ripa had worn on Live with Kelly. I was tired of just thinking about this skirt that was never going to make itself and I was never going to find it in a store, at least not in one I could afford a button on one of the shirts sold. So I ordered some fabric from Etsy (not the same as in this blog post) that was coming from India. I'm always leery to get fabric online if I am not able to feel it or see it first to make sure it works for my design. Reminder: I need to study fabrics more and which ones work for what design. But it turned out great and I'm in love with it, although it took much longer than I thought and even the tracking thought.


This was a new McCall's pattern. The difficulty level of the pattern was low, it is essentially a wrap skirt with just a hook/eye closure. Leave it to me to screw it up. I ended up cutting the pattern out wrong on the fabric, so some panels of the skirt were backwards. Usually, when you cut out a pattern, you need 2 pieces of each side (front/back bodice, front/back leg). Although this one you cut one piece of fabric per pattern piece. Oh well, no biggie. As Tim Gunn would say, I 'made it work.'


I take inspiration from everything around me. My children, the fall colors, my husband. But I take my style inspiration from people like Katie Holmes, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kelly Ripa. Since they are not in my life daily (Live with Kelly & Ryan does not count), I look to my friends as well for inspiration and ideas. Who do you draw inspiration from?


          

I can't wait to get started on my next piece. When I was in Joann's Fabrics last time, I walked past this galaxy cotton print that stood out to me. It's so beautiful. It's a mixture of stars, galaxy colors (purple, blue, orange) and some smaller planet looking shapes. Stay tuned for that creation!

XX,
Kari


Friday, September 29, 2017

Flower stamping.

When I went to the Fiber Arts Festival this past summer, I saw different dying techniques and stamping that I wanted to try. I knew that you could use tea to dye fabrics, but I never thought of using flowers to get a print. It's become a new favorite technique.

Since it's the beginning of fall, there aren't very many flower options right now. I did manage to find some mum like daisies in the floral area at Wal-Mart - why buy expensive flowers that you're just going to smash up? This bouquet was only $3 and worked perfectly. Since I like how this turned out, I might splurge and buy some roses or tulips next time. Or during the summer, cut some lilacs off a bush to try. Can you image how that one will smell? Heavenly!

I placed the fabric on each side of the flower and laid it on a cement paver to hit with a hammer. If you don't want the print on each side of the fabric, you could use wax paper on the side where the hammer will hit. Each side turned out pretty great and would work perfectly if you want to do a border.


The juices from the base of the flower and stem didn't turn out as pretty as the flower petals themselves, but they still gave a cool light green color. I turned the flowers to the side, put them on their top and hit them with a pushing out motion so they would try to fan out like petals.


Overall, I'm pleased with how it turned out. I would love to buy a couple bouquets and smash them on the full skirt all over. I'm not a huge fan of a big border at the bottom of a skirt - but I wouldn't mind it at the bottom of a flowy dress or floor length. Or a border would be nice on the bottom and cuff of a blouse. That's what I'll be working on in the next few weeks.



It's a good thing I can always get flowers from the grocery store or flower shop. I seem to come up with big plans during the winter when I'm cooped up inside. Stay tuned for these one of a kind floral pieces. Each stamp will be unique and not like anything else.


Saturday, September 23, 2017

Stacked.

Every ring tells a story. Every ring is a work of art. I remember where I got each of these. Of course I have some jewelry that I can't remember where I bought it or who I got it from - don't tell the husband that. He thinks every piece in my closet is special, but I've been known to play favorites.


On my pointer is a ring I bought at the Fargo street fair a few years ago. It's a teal bead wrapped in wire. I had a brown bead one just like it but the wire started to poke into my finger and over time got pushed to the back of my jewelry drawer.

Then the gold stone ring is from Charlotte Russe a few years back. It came with 2 other stacked rings that I'm not as fond of. The braided band is different than the other ones, which might be why I like it more. Check them out here.

The next big cocktail ring with green stone I got at a thrift store. My absolute favorite is wearing it with purple. I love the color combination of green and purple. Since they are both warm jewel tone colors, they compliment each other.

The small gold band below the cocktail ring is most important to me. It's my grandma's wedding band. My husband wears my grandpa's as his wedding band. My grandma passed away in 2014. She was a big part of my love for style. As long as I can remember she wore pearls.

Going down my middle finger is a gold heart midi-ring I got at Forever 21. That store goes back and forth for me with what they have. I know that a lot of people don't shop there because of their cheaply made clothes or jewelry that tarnishes right away. I don't mind buying a $5 ring that I wear a handful of times. I understand the stuff won't be passed down to my grand children. F21

The next 2 stacking rings I just bought at Clothes Mentor as an impulse purchase. They were at the counter and I threw them on the pile of things I was buying. I wear them often and stack them up.

To be honest, I don't remember where I got this big stone ring. I do a lot of my shopping at Clothes Mentor, so I'm pretty sure it was there. They have such a great selection of everything you are looking for. I haven't been there in a while and I'm sure my discount coupon is about to expire. I need to go there soon.

On my ring finger, I used to shop on this app called Vinted for gently used clothes and jewelry. That's where I got this flower ring. It's quite small and can only be worn as a midi-ring, both on my ring finger or pinky.

The next ring is another stacking ring from Clothes Mentor. I think there was a mix of 4 different rings.

The next ring came from my grandma again. It's her grandchildren ring with my 2 brothers. I always loved that my birthday is in April and the birthstone is a diamond. My grandma always loved to tell me that this stone was a cubic zirconia, not a diamond. It didn't matter, she loved the ring and I love wearing it now to remind me of her.

The thin ring below the birthstone ring is another stacking ring in the combo from Clothes Mentor.

The next ring with the small rhinestone I got from the antique store in Moorhead. I've actually found several different things there that I've loved. Another one of my favorites is the vintage necklace from a post a few weeks back. Need a refresher? I would to look for a small pill box hat next time I go. They are having a sale this weekend on the booths.

This next knot ring I bought online from Kate Spade. It arrived in such a big box hat seemed a little crazy for this teeny tiny ring. The ring is adjustable and I love wearing it on any finger.

The last ring on my ring finger has a dangling A for my son, August. I bought this ring in California on a trip with my husband to see his sisters. We went to a massive antique store and I found this small ring in one of the cases. It's a little crazy to think that in this big store with millions of antique things, I found a small itty bitty ring that means so much to me.

Finally, on my pinky ring is a vintage green stone with a diamond in the center. My grandma got this ring as an engagement ring. She ended up not marrying him, but kept the ring. I'm so thankful she didn't marry him because I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't have this amazing ring. It truly is a beautiful piece.