Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Fall 2016 Collection

I was feeling quite nostalgic when I began my Fall 2016 collection and looked to my high school days for inspiration. I was an orchestra nerd/debate/FHA/skater/cheerleader hybrid with interests all over the spectrum. I used that background to build a collection with some prep school, grunge, athletic, and Gothic vibes and I'm pretty thrilled by how it all came together!

I got to shoot with some incredibly talented people: Jeremy McDougle and Marianne Liljenquist of Lunatic Fringe Salon. Their magnificent creative abilities made this shoot so fun and inspiring! We goofed around, exchanged lots of ideas and opinions, and in the end, came up with a beautiful collection of photos. So without further adieu, here is my Fall 2016 collection:

Look 1

This set is made from a buttery-soft, rayon/poly slub knit and subtly glittered organza. It features raglan sleeves, a deep V back, and a pull-on waistband that all contribute to the sexy, comfortable feel of this ensemble.

Look 2

Vintage lace, chiffon, and PVC pipe make this look both sweet and edgy. This is my favorite combination of pieces from the collection because I'm partial to the baby-doll look.

Look 3

I can't lie: I do have a bit of dominatrix inside me, waaaaay down deep. This top strikes a balance between naughty and nice with a mesh inset in front, a velvet collar, and a subtle-yet-delightful print of the tiniest wildcats. I like to think that I'd wear this top under a jacket so just a peek of that awesome harness could peek out.

Look 4

I originally bought this fabric 16 years ago and waited to use it I thought of the perfect application for it. The lace on top is deliciously soft and the finish on the bronze skirt is so seductive. It moves like a dream and definitely conjures up a slinky, sultry vision of molten metal. I also experimented with sleeve length and shape, creating an elongated, slim fit to draw the eye downward.

Look 5

This look is a collaboration of ideas between me, Jeremy, and Marianne. They were involved in the bodice design, draping, and styling and I feel like it's such a dream! Layers of tulle, lace, and velvet combine to create daring movement, bold lines, and lots of volume.

I have a few other pieces that didn't make it into this shoot that I'll post later; but I'm so excited for these looks to go live. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of these five looks.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Wild West, Mountain Men, and Fashion Inspiration, Part 2

If you read Part 1 of this series, you'll know that I currently have Utah history on the brain.  Here's another look from my mini-collection inspired by the Wild West, Utah's mining industry, and the beautiful mountains that surround my home here in the Beehive State.
You may recognize this lace; it's from the same Gunne Sax dress that I used to make a a skirt for myself.  You know me...if I can recycle, I will recycle! I am really excited about the combination of knife pleats and box pleats in this look.
The diagonal darts as well as the selvage edge trim turned out really well, I think; I love the way all the different lines work together to form some fascinating detail and were inspired by Stewart Falls, one of my favorite hiking stops along the Mt. Timpanogos summit trail here in Utah.

The very best part of this ensemble is that it cost me a whopping $3.75 since the lace was free (found in my mom's basement) and the stretch denim for the top was a remnant (and I used a coupon for extra savings). Ah, bargains...you complete me.

Stay tuned for one more installment in this series and have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Wild West, Mountain Men, and Fashion Inspiration Part 1

My two daughters have both studied Utah history this year in school which means that I have also studied it by default (why do my children's homework projects always end up being a 95/5% split among me/them? I'm trying to do better at relinquishing control!). Additionally, I've been obsessed with the AMC TV series "Hell On Wheels" which captures the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in gripping historical fiction. As you likely know, the Transcontinental Railroad was completed high in the Wasatch Mountains at Promontory Point, Utah in 1869 and I really love living in the shadows of those beautiful mountains. The mining, trapping, railroading, and homesteading history of Utah is fascinating and I'm glad to be learning more about my home state since I'm originally a transplant.

While frantically trying to design and create a few looks for a big project I'm working on, I decided I may as well run with the thoughts I already had in my brain and use Utah's interesting history as my inspiration. I couldn't stop thinking about the amazing natural resources that the Beehive State has to offer, so I got to sketching with silver, ore, coal, fur, ice, snow, water, and aspen trees on my mind. I'm thrilled by the results and feel an unusually emotional connection to some of these pieces because they represent everything I love about Utah.

This evening look was inspired by Provo Canyon where the pristine Provo River meanders between jagged granite deposits and the dichotomy between hot and cold (a constant struggle here in the high desert!).
  I added a large, antique brass clasp to the back of the shrug to add some contrast between the heavy, structured shrug and the slinky slip dress. 
 I love the way this photo captures the essence of Utah's mountain terrain and climate; cold and mud require boots!

I'm excited to share with you the other looks in my historical Utah mini-collection! I hope they inspire you to find and celebrate the beauty in your surroundings.  Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Everything Is Turning Up Green

Spring is in full force here in Utah and it makes me happy! My trees and flower beds are blooming, birds are chirping, and I love feeling the sunshine on my face. From as young as I can remember, spring has also brought with it a tradition of new Easter dresses for my mom, myself, and my sisters and I've tried to carry on the same tradition with my daughters. Some years we buy the dresses but most years I let them choose the color and fabric, and we always have a fun time coming up with a great design. My daughters share my love of watching seemingly mundane materials become something fantastic.

I found a bit of green rib knit on clearance at Joann Fabric a few springs ago and I could not resist the beautiful, verdant hue.  I knew it'd make a comfy top of some sort so I used a coupon to buy matching satin and came up with these gorgeous gowns.  I love the lines of the deep V and sash in the back and my daughters love the stretchy knit top and swishy, twirly skirt. The best part of these dresses is that each one cost only $7 in materials!

 These gorgeous and comfortable gowns turned out to be some of my daughters' favorite Easter dresses.
 They are playtime friendly and machine washable, which gives them top marks in my book!
 One daughter prefers sleeves and the other doesn't, so I added a small pleat on each side of the shoulder to add a touch of interest to the otherwise simple sleeves. 
I really adore the long, breezy silhouette of these gowns. 

May your world bloom quickly and beautifully this spring and bring with it an exhilarating sense of hope, new life, and possibility.  Happy Springtime!

Please check out Rachael Nelson Photography for more beautiful images or to book an appointment.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

No-Cost Embellishment for Cotton Blend Garments

You all know that I like to save every penny that I can when I create, so here's a great way to add pizazz to your garments without spending an extra cent.  It's quick, easy and I love the results!

I also used this technique on a chambray top that I made the other day. I think the subtle fringe finishes off those edges perfectly.

If you noticed that amazing turquoise jewelry and fell in love with it like I did, be sure to check out Kotah Bear Jewelry and marvel at all the handmade goodness they have to offer.
I'd love to hear how you embellish your garments, especially if your methods are pennywise. Have a wonderful day and happy sewing!

Hello, Again!

After being on a major hiatus, I'm happy to say that I'm back and so excited to share my latest projects with you. Stay tuned for great ideas on sewing, decorating, and cooking on a budget!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Recipe: Brown Banana Bread

Lazy cooks, rejoice! Here's a wonderfully simple recipe for banana bread that'll knock your socks off. It's a rich marriage of banana, browned butter, and nutty whole wheat flavor that comes together in just one pot (fewer dishes to wash...hooray!) and will fortify your love for the beloved, comforting quick bread. Be prepared to eat the whole batch yourself.

Brown Banana Bread

1 stick butter
3 large, very ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut butter into eight pieces and add to a Dutch oven over medium heat. Let butter melt, crackle and foam, swirling Dutch oven occasionally to brown the butter. Watch it closely because it burns quickly. Let butter cool, then pour half into a measuring cup. Set aside.

Add bananas to the cooled butter in Dutch oven. Mash with a fork until almost puréed. Add eggs and sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly incorporated.

Add flour, salt, and baking soda and stir gently just until combined (avoid over mixing batter as it will make bread tough). Spoon batter into a greased 12-cup muffin pan or loaf pan. Bake muffins 13-16 minutes or loaf 45-50 minutes.

Remove from oven and let rest in pan for one minute.

Remove bread from pan to wire rack and immediately brush surfaces with remaining browned butter. Let cool slightly and devour.

Banan apetit! Hahaha. Sorry! I couldn't resist.