Monday, January 26, 2015

New Years' Resolutions and Blogging Goals

Before the month of January completely disappears, I thought I would share some of my New Year's goals and resolutions. These are going to sound very similar to last year's goals so please forgive the redundancy! So here we go!

Sewing/Blogging Related

1. Buy less fabric and use more from the stash. It can be soooo hard not to dash out and by more fabric when you want to start sewing something new. Really, who can resist a good fabric sale?? I give in to temptations which is why I have so much fabric. Not that I'm complaining! I do know for a fact though that for three of my up coming sewing projects I already have the perfect fabric in the stash so that's a good feeling. If I dig around I'll most likely find the perfect buttons, etc. too.

2. Sew more practical items that will be worn more often - i.e. blouses, pants, skirts. I really enjoy sewing dresses but I find I just don't wear them that much on a daily basis. I need items I can mix and match.

3. Get my sewing room organized! OK, I know I said this last year but since our move to the new house I've had to start over creating a good workspace.

4. Sew one thing that's truly amazing, even if it goes against resolutions 1 and/or 2. I think we all have a few dream projects. :)

5. Get a handle on that pile of UFOs! So far this month I finished an 18th century crewel embroidered stomacher that I started, errrr, a few years ago. I'm making good progress on a 1930s/40s blouse using left over material from my 2014 Sew For Victory dress. I also replaced the zipper in my Fan Print dress so now I can it  again!

6. Start a tangible sewing journal where I can keep notes about each pattern and project. There are lots of great suggestions/tutorials on the web for these. I looked at many of them then created my own using Word. It will be very useful to have a notebook of some sort that I can keep with my sewing books and refer back to.

Blogging Goals

1. Continue to improve my blogging skills. i.e. better pictures, more details, etc. It's hard to believe that Emily's Vintage Visions is four years old now!! (My blogging birthday was January 3rd. I think this calls for a belated celebration, yes? Special birthday post with a giveaway perhaps? I need to do something!!) There are so many amazing blogs out there and there is always something more to learn!

2. Write up posts on some of my past sewing projects. I already have a couple drafts started. There will be lots more 18th century sewing projects. Including the crewel embroidered stomacher I mentioned.

3. New series of posts - "Behind the Seams" posts that show the details of some of the vintage and antique goodies in my collection. This was something I intended to do last year but life just got so busy. Fear not! It will happen in 2015. I have already started photographing some of my favorite pieces and have even started drafting patterns for a few of them. The first two blogs I have planned will detail a 1920s black silk dress and an 1860s bright blue silk waist/corselet.

A few Life Related Goals

1. Do more things that make me happy even if they seem silly. Correction, especially if they are silly! Things like playing croquet with with friends using pink plastic flamingos and a stuffed hedgehog... Yes, this is a thing. :)

2. Dress in a way that makes me feel good about myself. It's time to start working more vintage into my everyday wardrobe.

3. Clear away the clutter. It's time to really go through and get rid of things. Cori and I are both collectors and things just seem to find a way into the house.

4. Eat better and be more active. Because I have a desk job, and even though I say these thing every year with the best intentions, I really need to be better about it

5. Spend more time outdoors and more time with friends.

So there you have it! What are your goals for the New Year?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 - Year in Review

2014. What a busy, busy year it was. It went by so fast as each year seems to do. There were some big changes, lots of new friends, and many great memories. Overall I'd say it was a good year despite the major stress of wedding plans and buying a house. Here is a quick recap of my sewing projects, events and other fun things.

 2014 Sewing Projects
Events and fun things in 2014
I started the year with a simple and fun sewing project making aprons using fabric and buttons from the stash. Next I made a 1940s dress using Advance 4199. I listed the dress on Etsy and it sold in a flash which was very exciting!

Spring was a busy sewing time for me. I made a blouse using McCall 5623 to go with my aviatrix outfit for the GBVS's 1920s White Lightning Ball. In April I made this dress for the Sew for Victory challenge. Once that project was completed I began working on the Breakfast at Tiffany's Dress for my friend Abby to wear for her senior prom. Then it was time for another birthday dress for myself. I'll be continuing the tradition this year too. I already have a pattern and fabric in mind. It's a color a don't normally wear so I'm pretty excited about it.

Somewhere in between finishing Abby's prom dress and my birthday dress I managed to complete two outfits for our June trip to Reading, PA for the Mid Atlantic Air Museum's big air show and WWII reenactment. I made a blouse, slacks, and a dress. For that same event I also had the chance to wear a new to me vintage dress. I call it the "fan print" dress. I really enjoyed wearing it but will need to replace the zipper before I can wear it again. We have big plans for the air show this year. I can't wait!

The "fan print" dress. Cori and our friend Cameron debut their 1940s LADP impression at the Reading Air Show

In July my friends and family planned an amazing vintage inspired bridal shower. I also attended a polo match with friends, went to the GBVS's second annual 1920s Roaring 20s lawn party and a 1920s themed beach party. So much fun! In August my friends kidnapped me for my bachelorette party which turned out to be a trip to Star Island for the Gatsby on the Isles event.

At the end of September Cori and I closed on our new house and moved in. Two weeks later we got married. Craziness I say!

I participated in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress, hosted by Joanna of Dividing Vintage Moments, and got a chance to wear this very pretty vintage dress. I purchased the pattern for the November Swirl Dress Sew Along but never ended up making the dress as I was feeling very uninspired by the fabrics on hand. I took part in two Secret Santa gift exchanges. The first was hosted by Jessica of Chronically Vintage and the other by Beccie of Sew Retro Rose. They gifts I received are wonderful and very thoughtful! Thank you ladies!! I ended 2014 with a masquerade themed cocktail party at the new house.

My favorite sewing project of 2014 has to be the Red Birds Dress. Everything but the thread was vintage and came from my stash. McCall 5724 was one of those pattern crying out to be made but it was waiting for the perfect fabric and notions to come along. As surprising as it may sound my least favorite sewing projects were my wedding and reception dresses. It's difficult to enjoy a project when you are working under pressure. (I do have blog posts in the works for these two dresses, I promise)

Projects I wish I could redo or want to go back and alter? If given the chance I'd remake my wedding reception dress. The dress was made literally days before my wedding and I really didn't take the time I should have to properly fit the bodice.  I'm not likely to wear it again any time soon so it's very low on my list of things to do. I would like to alter the bodice of my Violets and Blue and Purple birthday dress. I love how it turned out even if it's a little big. 

Favorite blog post? Vintage Holiday Decor - Vintage Tree Bling. I haven't really done many tutorials on my blog but hope to do more in the future. I had so much fun taking pictures and decorating my little Christmas tree. Shiny things!!

2015 promises many good things and exciting projects. I have several sewing and life related goals for this year but I'll share those in another post. Thank you all for following along with me! Best wishes to everyone for a very happy 2015!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Vintage Holiday Decor - Vintage Tree Bling

Tired of using the the same Christmas ornaments year after year? Looking for something different and unique for your holiday decor? How about tree ornaments made from vintage jewelry! This is something I've wanted to do for a while and this year I finally did it! I used my collection of sparkly vintage odds and ends to decorate a table top tree. You can do the same!

Here is what you will need. It's handy to keep a list of the items you hang on the tree, specially if you are using small items like earrings. That way you wont loose anything.
  • Christmas tree (I should note that I use a small fake tree for this so there was no fear of pine pitch. No vintage was harmed!) 
  • Christmas Lights
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon
  • Assortment of vintage jewelry and sparkly bits
Start by wrapping your tree in lights. Necklaces, and some bracelets, can easily be looped or draped across the branches. Because earring are small I tend to keep them together or at least place them close to one another on the tree. Vintage dress clips and clip on earrings are great because you and clip them right to the branches. Thread a loop of ribbon through your favorite bangle and voila! Instant ornament! You can do the same with any pin or large brooch.

Most of the items shown here came in one large box lot from and antique shop several years ago. Many of the pieces I've picked up over the years are missing stones or are damaged in some way so I got a really good deal on them. But that's OK because you don't notice the flaws once they are on the tree. :) Keep your eyes open at yard sales, flea markets, etc. and you will find some good deals. One thing I sometimes see at antique shops are mason jars full of beaded necklaces and other odds and ends of mis-matched jewelry. That would be perfect for a project like this. I've found some nice non-vintage pieces at thrift stores too like the cat pin seen in this post. My favorite victory pin (the large V with rhinestones) is even hanging on the tree!

Here is what you do.
  • After selecting your vintage pin, cut a piece of ribbon 5-6 inches in length (longer if desired)
  • Thread the ribbon through the back of the pin. Even out the ends of the ribbon and tie a knot leaving a small tail.
  • Use your scissors to curl the ends of your ribbon OR tie the ends in a pretty little bow 
  • Place your ornament on your tree and you're done! 

I've been collecting 1950s/60s rhinestone necklaces for a long time and these look especially pretty draped across the branches. I find them everywhere and have to stop myself from buying them all lol! Prices vary but on average I never pay more then $10 or $12 for a necklace. Often they are less then that. Occasionally I will splurge on a nicer piece like the one I wore for my wedding. Or blue and white one seen below that came with matching earrings. 

The rhinestone necklaces like those at the upper right are commonly found at antique shops. The necklace and bracelet at the bottom right I wore for my wedding.
Dress clips, shoe clips, and earrings can be clipped to the branches.  Tip! With a fake tree you can bend the ends of the branches so these little pieces sit just right.

Vintage Dress Clip Tree Ornaments
Vintage earrings make lovely ornaments too! The pink pair are from the Etsy shop of Chronically Vintage.
Thank you Jessica!
Have fun with this and don't be afraid to mix in some modern pieces as well. My little tree looks so pretty at night. Sadly my camera doesn't take very good pictures in low light but it's so sparkly! :)

Stay tuned for another post this week about vintage holiday decor! I can't wait to share with everyone how I decorated my fireplace mantel.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Wedding Planning, Budget, and DIYs

It's hard to believe it's been two months since my wedding. The year is almost over and it sure went by fast! I first wrote about my wedding plans in this post. Some of the planning was fun but some of it was extremely frustrating. We spent more then we originally wanted but certainly not as much as we could have. Good golly, weddings can be expensive!! Just mention the word wedding and prices sky rocket on everything! Cori and I are very practical people, or at least we like to think, so dropping the equivalent of a year's college tuition or the down payment on a house for one day of our lives was simply out of the question.

For us, as I'm sure is the case with most couples, the biggest expenses were the food, followed closely by the venue and our photographer. We saved a lot buy doing many things ourselves or with the help of family and friends. If we didn't already have something or couldn't borrow it we went with out. I think we spent a grand total of $75.00 on reception decor - and that's including all decorations, lighting, and center pieces! Save the dates, invitations, programs, and menus were all DIY. It did mean more work for us but in the end I'm happy we created these things ourselves.

Here is a breakdown of the various supplies, decorations, etc from our wedding and where we sourced them. The was very helpful in figuring out our budget, keep track of payments, and making a to do list. And the best part, it's free! You will find all kinds of information on wedding planning.

  • Corsages  - Made of felt by the very talented Lucy of 1940s Style for You.
  • Bouquets - Made by me using wool felt from The Felt Pod, floral wire from Joann Fabrics, and vintage buttons from the stash. This is one of the tutorials I followed.
  • Hair Flowers - Made by my wonderful friend Monica. Cutie Clips and more
  • Mums - Purchased from a friend's farm stand and used for both the ceremony and reception. They decorated the front porch of our new house after the wedding.

Wedding Attire
  • Cori already owned a 1920s tuxedo, which he pieced together for the Downton Abby event we went to in January of 2013. (Which is where we got engaged!) He purchased a beautiful 1940s pin striped suit from our friend Jennifer at Morning Glorious Vintage to wear for the reception
  • Both my ceremony dress and reception dress I made myself. One pattern I already owned the other came from the Vintage Pattern Lending Library. The material came from Joann Fabrics. I'm working on blog posts for each dress.
  • The groomsmen all wore their own suits with the exception of the best man and my brother who both wore WWII army dress uniforms. 
  • The bridesmaids all wore 1940s vintage dresses with the exception of one dress that was made from a 1940s pattern. Finding good vintage for the girls was rather tricky. I spent hours search Ebay and Etsy for dresses that were the correct size, dressy enough but not too formal, and reasonably priced. I've been a bridesmaid a number of times before so I know the feeling of having to spend more then you want on a dress you know you will never wear again. Also, none of my girls are really into vintage so this was a new area for them.I wanted to make sure they were happy and comfortable.
  • Originally I had someone scheduled to style hair the morning of the wedding. Long story short, that plan didn't work out so I styled my own hair plus my five bridesmaids. It saved us money but added to my stress big time.

  • We are so very fortunate to have friends who love taking photos and videos, and are darn good at it too! And it doesn't hurt that some of them are professionals. (457 Studios and Kris Jarrett Photography and Media Production.) We have more wedding photos then we know what to do with! lol! But seeing how much of the day is a blur I guess that's not a bad thing. Word of advise. Don't skimp on these two things. It's worth the extra money and you will be glad you have them.

Reception Decor
  • Lighting - Patio lights purchased at half price at Rite Aid, some strands of Christmas we borrowed from a friend and others we already had.
  • Paper Lanterns - Purchased by my sister for my bridal shower and reused for the wedding reception.
  • Bunting - Made using scrap fabric from my stash and leftover lace from my wedding dress. I had lots of help making these!! There are lots of tutorials on the web for making bunting. It's really easy!
  • Chalkboard Seating Chart - The large chalkboard we used for our seating chart was borrow from one of my recently married bridesmaids. My sister wrote all the names. Thanks Stephanie!! :)
  • Centerpieces - These were the most fun to create. All but a handful of the items used came from either mine or Cori's vintage collection of stuff.
  • Tea cups and Tea -  Sourced at yard sales, flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores etc. We had lots of friends keeping their eyes open for colorful cups and saucers too. If you plan on doing something similar, plan ahead. It does take some time to accumulate the number you need. As it turned out we had more then enough so I'm using the extras as decor in my new kitchen. :)
  • Tin signs - We purchased four different tin signs at a local craft and farmers market. Each one is a reproduction of a vintage image. They are now hanging on the wall at home. You can find similar ones here.
  • Family Photo Table - Table was provided by the venue and we brought the table cloth. We decorated the table with "found items" - vintage gloves, hankies, and other wedding-y odds and ends. Next to the table we placed four family wedding dresses. The lace you see on the table is actually a detachable train from a 1930s wedding dress. I purchased it at a vintage trade show. Sure wish I knew what happened the dress! 
  • Sparklers - I blame Pinterest for this! The Forth of July was just around the corner at the time I decided I wanted a sparkler send off. So I figured, no problem, sparklers would be use to find. Wrong!! On July 5th there was not a box to be found! But luckily the Vermont Country Store came to my rescue. This was the perfect way to wrap up the evening. 

Some of you might recognize the vintage pattern booklets in the background from this post.
  • Wedding website - You can set up a free wedding website, when you create an account, using The Very helpful for both you and your guests for sharing hotel information, driving directions, etc. 
  • Save the Dates - Cropped a photo from a vintage magazine and used the free version of PicMonkey to create the card. We printed them at home.
  • Invitations - We used the monogram template found here, and printed at home. This particular template had response cards too. The invitation template seemed a bit plain so I used PicMonkey to jazz it up a little and add some color. Ribbon and buttons for trim from Joann Fabrics.
  • Menus - The background image for the menus came from The Graphics Fairy, again I used PicMonkey to edit, and had them printed at work.
  • Programs - Reused part of the invitation template and created the programs in Word, printed them at home. Ribbon and buttons from Joann Fabrics.
  • Table Numbers - I can't seem to find the template I used for our table numbers but if you do a web search for "chalkboard table numbers" you will find plenty of options.
I hope this post was helpful. It you would like to see more photos from my wedding please visit this post.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas at Hildene

I can't believe it's December already. Where did the year go? It's certainly been a busy one that's for sure. Today's post has been sitting, mostly finished, in my draft folder for a year now. Why I never posted it last December I'm not sure but as the holiday season is now upon us I decided it was worth sharing. :)

Hildene, the summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln
 Last December, about a week before Christmas Cori and I visited Hildene. Located in Manchester, Vermont, this beautiful historic house was summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln. Robert was the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood. Robert visited Vermont with his mother during the summer of 1864. In 1902, he purchased 500 acres of land and a year later began construction of the house. Today the house and grounds are open for tours and there are a number of historic displays throughout the house. While President Abraham Lincoln never visited Hildene (he was assassinated in 1865) you can view one of the few black silk top hats known to have been owned and worn by the 16th president.

The view walking from the Carriage Barn/Visitor's Center up to the main house.

Photography is not allowed inside the house so the interior photos I've included in this post are all from the Hildene Facebook page. All the rooms are furnished as they would have been during Hildens's hey day of operation. During the Christmas season the house is beautifully adorned with Victorian trimmings. Visitors are greeted by the sounds of a Aeolian Pipe Organ. This particular organ is believed to be the oldest residential pipe organs still in working condition in the U.S.

It was a chilly day! But We did manage a few quick photos outside. In the spring and summer months the gardens behind me are overflowing with color. Not so much this time of year!

A short walk from the main house visitors can enjoy the recently restored Pullman Sunbeam train car. Robert served as general counsel for the Pullman Palace Car Company under George Pullman. He became the company's new president in 1897 after Pullman's death. The Sunbeam, one of the finest examples of a wooden luxury care made by Pullman, was built in 1888. It was used by U.S. Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

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