Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Blue Ridge Pkwy

This past weekend was incredibly dreamy, involving all of my favorite things.
Open road.

Not to mention the howl of the flat six as Justin sped through winding roads festooned in a riot of colors.

The trip was spur-of-the-moment, planned in just a few days. Justin and I decided we needed to ride the Blue Ridge parkway and see what all the hype was about. He, of course, wanted to take the '83 911, a test of its mettle.We planned to spend a night with family, and one night in Asheville, NC.

We started from Louisville and headed east to my aunt and uncle's house in Mountain City, Tennessee. They live in the most glorious corner of the earth, against the south side of a mountain. On a clear day you can see all the way to North Carolina from their front porch, and a clear night makes the Milky Way visible to the naked eye.

The trees were just hitting their peak and seemed to change colors before our eyes as the weekend progressed. My aunt and uncle have the most glorious garden, growing everything from grapes to corn to mushrooms. They keep bees and harvest honey and take hikes to the top of the mountain behind their cabin. We were only able to stay one night, but it was so wonderful to catch up with family.

The next morning we hit the road with coffee in our bellies and a bag of candy corn in the glove compartment. We were going to take the Blue Ridge Parkway from Boone to Asheville, NC.

There was rain. There was fog. And there were incredibly stunning vistas.

 There is no greater felicity than this: to stand in swirling mountain air and look over the world. I don't think a king's ransom could buy such beauty. Every overlook that we stopped at was like a Christmas gift, each better than the last. The rain cleared up enough for us to take a hike to hidden waterfalls just off the parkway.

Yeah. We're cheesy. But it was the best.
We stopped off for coffee at an eclectic bookshop in Little Switzerland and dined in a restaurant on the edge of Mount Mitchell. Upon summiting Mount Mitchell, our whole world was enveloped in fog, making the day seem dark and late. It was like a page out of a Steven King novel. The temperature also dropped drastically, making it way to cold for me in my cut-offs.

Everything about Saturday was heavenly. From the panoramic views to the bustle of Asheville, every moment was golden. Justin and I drank navy grog and shared spaghetti and meatballs at Vinnie's and fell asleep with the rain dashing against our window and hum from the 911 still in our ears.

I still can't believe that I live only 5 hours from the parkway and had never been. It was just endless miles of smokey blue ridges and chilly air whipping through my hair. I cannot wait to go back.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lady Lace

A few months back I found the most gorgeous white stretch lace fabric at JoAnns. I had no idea what I would make but I had to get it. Impulsively I bought 4 yards of it. Basically, I stocked up for life.

Stretch. Lace. With all that fabric the only thing that made sense was to craft a maxi dress. I was thinking bridal meets boho. I wanted something with tiers of lace-y goodness and a deep open back. Like all things white and stretchy this could easily turn trashy. My fingers were itching to get to work.

This dress ended up having two tiers of fabric and was lined in white jersey cotton. The back opening is unlined and has a lace trim detail. I will be honest, I did not use a pattern for this dress. I totally guesstimated with everything. It is a bear to get on. Not only are you not allowed to breathe while you pull it on, but you have to dislocate your shoulders in order to fit into it. So not my greatest achievement. And yet…it is so pretty. Feminine and whimsical, all floaty and goddess-like. I had a moment where I considered dip-dying the bottom edges of the two tiers in hot pink. It could still happen, but for the moment I am just living with it.

Lately I have been searching my mind for some special occasion on which I pull this baby out. Can't think of anything except a fancy dinner date. Obviously I need a larger social calendar. 

As a side note, I am so excited about my future projects. On the never-ending mental list of mine, I am planning for a shearling-lined bomber jacket, a peter-pan collared shift dress, and possibly a fur coat. Thoughts? Suggestions? Keep me posted.

dress: self made, necklace: vintage find

Thursday, October 2, 2014

All Squared Away

I have such a sewing obsession. It is crazy, actually, the amount of dough I will gladly shell out for fabric. Comparatively, I wouldn't dream of spending the same on actual clothing. I justify and rationalize my expenses as investments in a skill, in a hobby. Right?


Anyway, the other month I spotted the most lovely of lovely staple dresses on Urban Outfitters. This square-necked beauty gave me fashion heart ache in the best of ways. It had to be mine, but of course I could't just buy it. So I made something in exchange.

I incorporated the parts that I loved the most from the Urban dress and popped them into my own. This dress has the same clean and foxy square neckline, tufted sleeves, and a floaty circle skirt. The fabric is a sweater-soft jersey cotton with tiny black and gray stripes. You have got to love jersey cotton, this dress only took 2 hours to construct and its fabulous. 

Until I made this piece, I did not own a single dress with a square neckline. I feel like I should remedy that mistake by making a ton of these babies. I also love that I did not have to use a pattern to make it. The simplicity of the design, the effortless prettiness harkens coffee dates, pumpkin picking, and long walks through orchard farms. Despite the 85 degree October days, I hold tight to my dreams of foggy mornings and cool nights that mean fall has really arrived.

Dress: self-made, shoes: Steve Madden, hat: thrifted