Refashion Friday: Overly Colorful Dress

S on SnowdoniaThis dress is another one from the stash of things my mom brought me from the thrift store this summer. Because my mom is the best!

The print is really super colorful, which was too much on this dress. It has that bottom ruffle that I dislike on pretty much every dress ever (why would you ruffle a print this colorful? I don’t know, it’s too much). And the shape was pretty frumpy.


I decided to do it without dyeing the fabric as a challenge. And because I wasn’t sure there was any dye that would look good over all of those different colors that also wasn’t black. The best way to make that work was to make this dress into two different pieces that can be worn separately. So! The first thing I did was remove the offending ruffle from the bottom and take the bodice off the skirt. I forgot to take a picture of the spare ruffle piece. But then I took the ruffle, cut it in half, and then sewed the two halves together like this:

ruffle sewn together


Then I sewed those two pieces to the bottom of the bodice to make a new waist section. Unfortunately, there was a weird bunching in the back, which was true on the dress in the first place:

bunchy back

I took out that bunching section that was too big and ironed it out. This is too long for across my shoulder blades:

too long back

So I cut out a chunk and sewed it back in. That was the end of the top!

top done

It’s cute, but it’s not really “me.” So I’m planning on donating it right back to the thrift store. But the skirt is cute, and I’m going to keep it. To make it, I removed the elastic from the skirt section and laid it out. I put pins in it to make it more of an a-line shape.

(Sidebar: This refashioning is teaching me a few basic sundress construction conventions, many of which I’m finding are easier to sew than other techniques, but which tend to make a dress that’s quite unflattering. The ruffle at the bottom is one, the two triangles bosom shape is another, and the “make a tube of fabric and throw some elastic on it to make a skirt thing is another. I find that the tube of fabric skirts tend to puff out too much right under the elastic, creating a weird ridge in the appearance of the body line. I much prefer the a-line shape, which widens gradually from the elastic waistband and makes a smoother visual line on the body.)

skirt reshapingI sewed along those pin lines and then made a new elastic casing. I put the elastic back in my new casing with my fun bodkin:

putting elastic back in


And then I hemmed it and I was done!

skirt done

Ooooh! Work-appropriate! And way less overwhelmingly colored!

before and after



Paint is Awesome

S on SnowdoniaMost of the walls in our new house are renter beige, since we’re renters. The third floor, where the teacher lives, is bright lavender, which is pretty awesome. But we had permission from our landlords to paint, so we decided to do it.

We aren’t painting every room. The living room is bright enough with the purple doors and grass green rug (I guess we should give a little tour of the house one of these days, but it will have to wait until after the paint). I don’t think it’s worth the work to paint the bathrooms or the hallways or the mudroom, and K and the Artist don’t want to paint their bedroom because it’s too big. So we’re painting the dining room, the kitchen, the Architect’s and my bedroom, and K and the Artist’s insanely awesome bathroom.

The first room to get a new paint job was the dining room. It had a chair rail, so to save ourselves some work, we decided to just paint the wall under the chair rail and leave the top. That would also make it a nicer transition to the hallway since there isn’t a doorway. Here are a couple of shots of the dining room before paint. 

The first one shows the china cabinet into the hallway up the stairs. You can see our giant purple doors in the living room through the hallway.

dining room before 2

The second picture shows our library. The dining room had this little nook that I can only assume was supposed to house the china cabinet, but it fit our big awesome new bookcases so well that we had to go with it being a cozy library nook. The Architect’s office recently moved, and their new space didn’t need these, so he brought them home with him. They’re huge! They’re eight feet tall! (Good thing our house doesn’t have low ceilings).

dining room before library

So we bought some red paint and got our paint on. And it looks so good now! Like a room that someone put some thought into rather than a renter space with some furniture thrown in. (You’ll have to forgive the haziness with the light in some of these. It was raining out, so I had to turn on the chandelier even though it was too bright). 

The china cabinet view again:

dining room painted 4The library:


The window with the Ti Amos in view:

dining room painted 2

And finally, the wall with the awesome art we commissioned from Kyle Fisher:

dining room painted 3Oh, and I should definitely point out the Architect’s tablescape. He’s famous for his tablescapes. A few new friends of ours are moving onto a boat, so they are getting rid of some of their belongings, including this Aalto vase that they gave to us. The Architect has a sense of humor though, so he put a silicone chicken pot holder eating a sprig in it. I love him. He’s awesome.

dining room after vase

The room is so bright and cheery now. Paint is such a good thing for making a space seem like yours.

If you thought last week’s bathroom was cool, just wait

K on treeSo, along the lines of S’ post last week about our move, I’ll be giving you more information about the bathrooms in our house, specifically, how awesome mine is.

The Artist and I somehow managed to end up with the master bedroom, which of course means the best bathroom. Of course we’ll let everyone use it because it would be unfair otherwise, but we’re totally stoked about the new space. Not only does it have a pair of sinks, but it also has a standing shower and a jacuzzi tub.

Not only a jacuzzi tub, but one set into an amazing platform with luxurious space around it.

Eh, voila, the photo:

Yep, you're jealous


Dick is quite happy with the standing shower as well.

The only thing we aren’t happy about so far is this bizarre electricity thing that’s happening. We had to buy a washer & dryer, but then the dryer stopped working. We figured we got a bad used one, so we called an appliance repair guy, who said we had too much power coming out of our walls which (possibly) had fried the computer in our dryer. So we had our landlord call the power company, who said it wasn’t their problem, that we had to call an electrician. So the landlord called an electrician, who said there was no problem with our electricity in the house. I guess the new theory is that the electric company is causing power surges in the house, but we don’t know yet, so we’re without a way to was our clothes at this apartment for the time being, which is annoying. Also, hopefully the computer on our dryer isn’t broken because then we’ll just have to buy another one because the cost to fix the computer will be three times what we paid for the used machine.

In happier news, the Teacher is all moved in! Here’s a pretty picture of her new room!!!

Pretty in Purple

New House and New Bathroom Curtain

S on SnowdoniaWe moved to a new house over the weekend. Pardon the dust, it’s piles of stuff everywhere that hasn’t been put away yet and things. But it’s so much bigger and better than our apartment, and there’s room for the Teacher, who’s arriving on Saturday. Yay! We are so excited for her arrival.

So, as you have probably guessed already, you are in for weeks of house project related posts as we get settled in our new space. Today’s project was quick and easy. During the move, our beloved elephant shower curtain got a pull and a hole on it, and was ruined. Sad face.

elephant before

So we went and got a new shower curtain with raindrops on it. We wanted to make sure the colors were similar, since we have a matching elephant soap dispenser. Look how pretty! (Don’t mind the towel on the floor. We have yet to find our bath mats.)

new shower curtainThen, we were left with the problem of the tiny bathroom window. It had an eensy weensy tension rod on it, but no curtains or blinds. Actually, our entire house doesn’t have any blinds. Alas, we needed a curtain because even though the view out the bathroom window is of a roof and some bamboo, I still need some curtains for after-dark showering.

bathroom window

And so I came up with a brilliant and money-saving plan for this window. I made it a new curtain out of the elephant shower curtain! Just a snip and a hem. Done! Except this picture is weird and washed out because cameras don’t like looking at windows that have light streaming in. I did what I could.

new curtain


Wee! New house projects! More to come, I’m sure. This house has a lot of firsts for us, so we’re figuring out how to work with them. It has: our first working fireplace, our first third floor, our first half-bath, our first bathroom on the main floor of a two-story house, our first whirlpool tub, our first mudroom, and our first place with FIVE residents. Five people. The Architect’s best friend said we are really starting a commune. Perhaps we are, but I say that old saying about the more the merrier knew what it was talking out. Having lots of people in your house is the best.

In other news, our half bath is pretty ridiculously big, especially for the overall size of the house. I have never seen a bigger half bath, even in houses that are much larger than this one. It’s so big, we had to put a table in there for it to make any sense at all. Look at that pretty table the Architect made. And some reading material. The book is called “All My Friends are Dead.” It’s pretty good. The Architect thinks we should replace it with “Everybody Poops.” I’m not sure how I feel about that. Thoughts?

half bath