Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Promoting a Sense of Community

Recently, Brittany over at Eating Bird Food had a great post about rising above negativity.  Initially, I thought her post was about negative blogging (it wasn't, she covered some great tips about how to handle negative comments left on your blog/fb pages/twitter accounts) but it got me to thinking about the blogging community and, by extension, the social network communities.

As a relatively new blogger and etsy seller, I have not yet directly experienced negativity from my readers or customers (and since you're all so wonderful, I don't expect to ;), but as someone who has been buying vintage for a while and follows a number of blogs and shops online, I have come across the occasional unsavory post, tweet or status update either snarking about fellow etsy members, bad mouthing customers or generally unloading about a personal bias.  Each time I've seen this kind of behavior, it has made me sad and a bit uncomfortable.

This is not to say that I believe people should not have different opinions or feel free to express their views, but I prefer to see it done in a constructive manner.  I'd like to see etsy entrepreneurs and bloggers supporting each other (I'm pretty confident we all do what we do because we have a passion for it!)  I'd like to believe we can share our expertise with each other, help mentor a new blogger or shop owner and generally offer each other our support.

Along those lines, I'm going to take this opportunity to promise to keep it positive.  My blog will be negativity free, and if I have an opinion to state, I will do so in a manner which does not judge.  I will appreciate and respect my customers and readers.  I plan to share what I learn with others and be a source of support for my fellow bloggers and etsy entrepreneurs.  (And I hope you will all keep me in line and let me know if you think I've gone off track!)

If you'd like to join me, please copy the badge below and post it on your own blog.  (Feel free to link back to this blog post as well!)


(On a side note, the lovely gals in this photo are my Gram and Great-Aunt with their friends.  How cute are they??)

Hugs and Smooches,

PS - I'd love for you to join me in promoting and mentoring my fellow etsy sellers!  ConstantlyAlice's Etsy group is here TogetherEveryoneAchievesMore

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review - Style Yourself

As someone who prides myself on having a unique sense of style, I often find it frustrating that so many style and fashion books are generic.  Prior to the closing of my beloved Borders (sigh) I would often lurk in the fashion aisle crossing my fingers that someone had come up with a great book that offered useful information and off beat suggestions instead of the typical socialite/reality star look.  Most of the time I would find myself walking away in disappointment.  That is until I discovered Style Yourself.

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Instead of offering the same recycled suggestions, this book asks several different fashion bloggers for their input.  The result is a quirky compilation of original ideas, valuable information on clothing styles and beautiful pictures for inspiration.
Image courtesy of Amazon

Image courtesy of Amazon

It also has the added benefit of listing the blog information for the stylists included in the book,
so you can follow them and get new inspiration daily!

Hugs and Smooches,

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fashion Obsession - The Yellow Swing Coat

I have to confess to a long time obsession with the yellow swing coat Cate Blanchett wears in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button".  There's something about the color and the way the coat swirls around her that caught my attention and has stuck with me ever since the first time I saw the movie.

I've been on the hunt for a similar coat ever since.  There are no pictures of it online, but here is the clip from the movie:

Seeing the movie on TV again last week has renewed my desire to track down a similar coat or make one myself..then, as luck would have it, I got an email about McCall's fall pattern offerings, and wouldn't you know it THIS gem was included:

McCalls M6446
Pretty similar, right?  A few modifications and I think I can get pretty close to the swing jacket!  Now I just need to find the right material...

Hugs and Smooches,

Saturday, August 27, 2011

ConstantlyAlice is off to Brimfield!

Ever since discovering the Brimfield Market a couple of years ago, I anxiously look forward to it's return each year.  Honestly.  It's Ah-MAY-zing.

That's right..those are all antique vendors.

This year I will be going in September with my wee Mum, my best pal and my sister-in-law (can you imagine a better group of gals to travel with??  No you can't!)  We decided we could not possibly see everything we needed to in just one day, so we are treating ourselves to a stay in a lovely local inn as well.

Stay tuned for some photos of our adventures and finds!

Hugs and Smooches,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meet the ConstantlyAlice Models!

I have debated (and if I'm being honest am still on the fence about) using live models for my pictures.  You may in fact see a few of myself in the hat or hair accessory shots if I feel that they look better on a full head of hair (as opposed to my gal Lola who goes for a more close cropped look.)

Personally, I feel like I am often distracted from the item being sold by the person wearing it.  Especially if I feel like they don't seem suited to the garment, or if the styling doesn't feel right to me.  I'd be delighted to know your thoughts on the matter..however, for now, these two lovely ladies will be my models.  Since it's likely I'll refer to them by name at some point or another, I thought it best to introduce them..

Esmerelda (aka "the body")


Bust - 33 1/2 (34 with her supportive undergarment that evens out her lopsided left breast..)
Waist - 24
Hips - 36

Likes - Vintage clothes, The Headless Horseman (she thinks he's a hottie..)

Dislikes - Hats, The cat, needles.

Favorite Quote - "The body never lies." ~Martha Graham

Lola (aka "The Face")

Likes - Hats, Einstein

Dislikes - Long walks on the beach...

Favorite Quote - "If you're gonna be two-faced at least make one of them pretty." - Marilyn Monroe

Hugs and Smooches.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Style It - The Buckle Dress

I've decided I'd like to start a regular blog post that takes an item of vintage clothing and shows different ways of styling it.  What do you think?

There are several great reasons to wear vintage, but if I had to pick my favorites, they would be the versatility of vintage items and their uniqueness.  However, I've found that some people shy away from vintage clothing because they are afraid of looking dated or costumey.

Whether you style the item in a manner consistent with it's time period, or make it current is up to your taste and style preferences, but either way, it's easy to look fantastic in your one of a kind garment!

Here are two ways of styling the 1970's buckle dress I currently have in my shop. 

The first version has a 70's feel without going too over the top.  (I would suggest skipping the feathered hair and frosted lipstick if you want to avoid looking like an extra on "That 70's Show" ;)  Loose layered waves and natural makeup would be a great compliment to this look.

ChloƩ high heels
£795 -

Big buddha handbag
$110 -

ChloƩ leather sunglasses
$379 -

The second look is perfect for the office or lunch with the girls. I would suggest styling it with a low chignon and pretty feminine make up.  (Love how the little horseshoe charm gives it a bit of an equestrian touch!)
Office Equestrian

$7.99 -

I hope that was helpful and informative! Be sure to weigh in and let me know if you'd like to see more "Style It" posts in the future.

Hugs and Smooches,

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Upcycled Wool Jacket Tutorial

I have a thing for boiled wool jackets.  They are easy to find, warmer than a sweater but lighter than a coat and they come in such nice colors!  They typically range in decade from the 1960's-1980's and usually have a great shape to them, pretty buttons and sometimes have little details in the shaping or finishing of the garment.

Once in a while, I'll run across one with some small flaws (moth holes, stains etc.) or one that looks too "dated" (typically the ones from the 80's).  These ones are perfect for the project I'm going to show you.  They can be found in just about any thrift or resale shop and are very reasonable.

So, without further ado, what you will need for this project is the following:

  • Felt - You can get this a number of ways.  You can wash a wool sweater in hot water.  This will cause it to shrink and you will be able to cut and use the material like it is fabric.  You can also pick up squares of felt at your local fabric or craft store.  Make sure it is wool felt and not acrylic.
  • Needle Felter - This can also be found at any craft store.  I've shown it to the right, it's basically a bunch of long serrated needles attached to a handle.  You will use this to mesh the felt into the fabric of your coat.
  • Foam - This is for felting on.  You need something on the opposite side of your fabric for the needles to go into.
  • Thread
  • Seed beads
  • Yarn or Embroidery Floss
  • Assorted sized needles
  • Buttons (optional)
To begin, consider what you would like your pattern to look like.  I went with a bluebell pattern, but you will want to choose what suits you and what goes best with the color of your jacket.  Some suggestions are bees, anchors, roses, bluebirds or hearts.

Take the square of felt you purchased and cut out the shape that you wish to felt onto your jacket.  I did mine freehand, but you could also sketch them out or use a stencil to trace your design.

Once you have them cut (mine look like little octopus at this point :) pin them to the jacket where you would like them.  Take some time to arrange them carefully because once you begin felting, you won't be able to move them!

Now that you have them pinned, select the area you wish to begin with and place your foam pad underneath.  Take your needle felting tool and begin punching it into the shape, beginning at one side and continuing over the entire shape until it blends into your wool jacket.  Repeat with each shape you have cut out.

After your shapes are felted, you want to give them some definition.  I created a stem for my bluebells using black wool yarn and a basic backstitch.  You could also use the yarn to define the seams of your jacket if it has shaping, or to go around the outside of your object and give it a border.

Then, for a little texture and sparkle, I decided to outline my flowers with small blue seed beads and add beaded leaves.  At this point I would like to add the disclaimer that I don't bead often.  I am not sure if there is an official method for beading, but I basically bead the outline of the shape I wish to add and then fill it in.  Simply poke your threaded needle up from the back of the fabric, add a bead and then insert the needle back into the fabric as close to the initial stitch as possible.  Repeat until you have the desired shape.

That's it!  If you don't like the buttons you can change them out (like I did) but usually these types of jackets come with really gorgeous buttons.

I hope this was helpful.  If you decide to do your own jacket project, I would LOVE to see your finished results!

Hugs and Smooches,

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hooray for progress!

Hallo, friends!

I know what you're thinking..a blog post??  Whaaatt?  I thought she'd dropped off the face of the earth/was eaten by a giant sea monkey/moved to the moon!

The truth is, I suffer from chronic procrastination with a minor case of scatterbrain. 

But I'm putting that all behind me now because..*Insert drumroll*

I have posted items in my shop!


Please feel free to click the link above and go to my site to look around.  Let me know what you think about the layout, photography, items, etc.  I'm grateful for any feedback :)

Then go ahead and share with your friends!  Your cat!  Your Bruncle Charlie (we don't discriminate here, people.)

Hugs and Smooches,
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