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Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Little Ta-ta For Now

Sunday, April 6, 2014
This blog can't even be considered to be on life support. Like my GigaPet gold edition kitty that couldn't make it through the end of my sixth grade year I fear the worst has come for the little blog. As much as I'd like to devote more time and energy to it I just don't seem to make it the priority I want it to be. I have lots of post written in drafts but they don't inspire me. If they don't inspire me how could they possibly inspire any reader who just happens to come across my tiny space in the net universe?

...But because I want it to be something eventually someday I can't let it go completely. So consider it on an indefinite hiatus. If you just so happened to be a regular reader who lurked waiting patiently for a new post my sincerest apologies to you for letting you down. I hope to come back to this space soon, but until then I bid you a fond "see you later" because around here we just don't say goodbye.

Claire Lynette

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wedding Bolero Update

Friday, February 21, 2014
A little update... Yet another post that has been wasting away in my drafts folder.

The bolero was finished with time to spare before the wedding. The bride seemed happy though I had a sneaking suspicion from the beginning that she wouldn't need wear it despite her fears of being cold on her big day. There's just too much excitement and dancing to be done to bother being cold and I was right. Because I was so right and because the bolero was taken to its home only minutes after it received its final press I have no pictures of the final project. Not yet anyway. Once I have them I will share them here with you. Can I say the project was a success? Considering the amount of time I had to create it I'd say 'yes'. Would I make changes being the finicky designer that I am? 'Of course'. Did the bride seem happy regardless? 'Yes'. Is that all that matters? 'Yes'. Am I okay with that? 'Trying to be.'

Until next time,

claire lynette

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pink Pants!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
That two week long hiatus? Three week hiatus (after having this post in drafts for ages). Definitely not intended this time. So my sincerest apologies. Horrendous weather and an even more horrendous illness kept me from you. The skies are a little brighter and I'm feeling much, much better.

I finished the pink pants well before my birthday only to have my birthday plans canceled thanks to a little sleet, ice, and snow... Ahem, but festivities were postponed to the following weekend and much fun was had. I don't have any pictures of my pants from that night so I restyled them here for you today. I'll do a proper review of the pattern in another post but for now let's just say Simplicity did several things right.  Here they are in all their bifurcated glory!

Simplicity 1696 pink

Slim Pants Simplicity 1696

Pink Argyle

Janet Collection Mommy Wig

Sweater, Mossimo, Target; Earrings, Forever21; Pants, pattern by Simplicity 1696, sewn by me; Pumps, "Faryl" by Delman
Wig, "Mommy", Janet Collection
Weather: High 76º, Low 60ºF. Overcast, breezy.

Until next time,

claire lynette

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Create Anyway | Mad Birthday Project

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Every year I become the epitome of indecisive during the month leading up to my birthday. I can't decide on a cake, where to have dinner, if I should throw a party, what to wear, nothing. Nothing that is until a few days before then suddenly I know what I want for EVERYTHING and usually by then it's too late to do all the things I dream up especially if it involves sewing.

Despite my history of starting projects too late and being dissatisfied with the (rushed) end results I've decided I need pink pants to wear on my birthday. I can't tell you why. The idea just popped in my head so here we go. I can't buy them off the rack and have them fit properly (be long enough and wide enough in the thigh) so they must be made. Let's hope it works out. I promise I'll let you know how it turns out ;)


claire lynette

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Of Course There Are Resolutions

Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Long before the streets became littered with dying/dead/used/spent Christmas trees, before the ball and red stick dropped, and long before there was a polar vortex whirring across the North America I wanted to write about the coming new year and the one we all were getting ready to leave behind us. Because of my focus elsewhere that hasn't happened until now. These are a few of my resolutions for the new year. Some are continuations of old ones that just are good to keep in mind.

1. Accept things and people as they are (especially myself)
My dad was great at this and perhaps he was so good at it because before I came along to witness his awesomeness he had a whole lifetime before me to perfect it. He would always tell me that it's much easier to change how I react to things than to change the thing I am reacting to whatever it may be. To meet people where they are and not where you wish they could be is a better way to live life. I can appreciate them for everything that they are right now: flaws, hopes, dreams; and learn and grow from that. It's wonderful when you can do that especially when you do it for yourself. I think doing this one thing as contributed to the constant serenity and happiness that I've been experiencing these past few months. It doesn't mean not to work on improving and doing my best to inspire that in others but it does mean not allowing myself or others to fall by the wayside in a pit of judgement. After all you can't judge a painting until it's finished and as far as I'm concerned we are all works in progress.

2. Let go of what has let go of me
I've lost friends this past year and each time it was incredibly hurtful and emotionally difficult as anyone can imagine it would be.  I've always been a deeply loyal and supportive friend and I am reluctant to let people leave my life too easily, but I've learned that if someone wants to be in yours they will act like it. Two were people that I thought would be in my life forever and the other a new relationship that started with great promise and happiness. One I had to show the exit after a nearly unforgivable betrayal, another let go of me for reasons I still don't comprehend but have learned to accept (the new relationship), and another cut me out of their life completely when I was honest with them about what I needed from their friendship. The best thing is that though I've lost these three I've gained many more and have  reconnected with old friends. Nothing can replace the good things I've had with those friends I've lost, but I am ever grateful for those I've made since.

3. Maintain patience
I don't pray to God often. I find that I don't need to. The tools he's given me already are far and a way more than sufficient to accomplish any goal set before me. I keep his guidance in mind as I go about my days and I believe he and I are both very cool with that. However, about six years ago I asked him to give me patience and he certainly did. I am much more patient now than I've ever been, but it's only because my patience has been tested more than it has ever been and because of my desire to be better I withstood the temptation to rush through things. Everyday I think my resolve grows deeper and deeper. I keep looking on the brightside and I do my best to accentuate the crap out of the positive. It works and it keeps me happy.

4. Create anyway
I started this blog years ago as a way for me to chronicle things I create, mostly in the name of fashion, but now I want to share all my little passion projects and pursuits.  Since I started Thorn & Laurel money has been tight and until I'm financially stable again it's difficult to buy materials. Though I have all the time I could ever want now to make things if I had the materials I needed. The irony slays me since before I had the money but not the time. Yet, there are some things I can do and I will share them here with you since I am saving a little here and there when I can. In the mean time I'll have to settle for creating things that are relatively free: writing stories, sketching, painting, photographing, and using up the materials I already have on hand. Embracing my need to create is something that I think will help me become better. I don't know in what way better, but just better all around perhaps.

Life is ever changing and that just may be one of the best things about it. I change. The people and places around me change too. Sometimes the changes are hard, like losing once very close friends, and sometimes the changes are good like discovering you have a knack for something you never considered before. I know there are no regular readers of my blog so it's more of a vanity project than anything else, but keeping it going despite my personal setbacks and inconsistent posting (The blog has been rebooted twice and redesigned several times. After years of blogging I'm only just now reaching 100 posts) helps me keep focus of the things I care about. I hope that there is something in your life like that for you. Something that helps keep your eye on the prize, whatever that prize may be, and helps you move forward. We can't ever go back so we must make the most of going forward.

I wish you a very, very happy New Year and I will see you in the next post.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Finished Project | Lingerie Bag

Monday, December 9, 2013
DIY lingerie bag

lingerie bag tassels

lingerie bag lace

Materials: polyester taffeta, upholstery rope cord, tassels, polyester wrapped cotton thread, polyester lace trim

There are more pre-wedding customs these days than I ever knew about. One in particular: the lingerie shower. Is this a new thing? As in the last 15 years new? I have no idea but it is a cute idea. Kind of a mix between a bachelorette party and a bridal shower. Perhaps that's how they were born. At any rate since I can ill afford to buy nice lingerie for anyone including myself, I thought the next best thing was to make something. I decided a lingerie bag would fit the bill. I could have have used materials I already had on hand but that would just go against my nature. Essentially, I felt nothing I had in my stash was quite right at least not for this bride. It went over well at the party and all of the ladies in attendance encouraged me to make more to sell online. I'm considering the idea.

Construction is simple and I can make a tutorial for you if you'd like. Just leave a note down in the comment section and I'll start on it right away. It is patternless and an easy 2-hour project for someone with basic sewing skills. The material I chose makes it an easy care bag. All it ever needs is spot cleaning.

Wishing you a beautiful start to your week.

Until next time,

claire lynette

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thrift Store Windfall | Goodwill Finds

Friday, December 6, 2013
Two weekends ago my family held a long awaited garage sale (it has been on the schedule of things to do for about a year and a half now). We've never done one before so it was definitely an experience for us all. I was surprised we sold anything because I forgot to check the weather forecast before placing the ad in the paper. Garage Sale day morning was cold, misty, and blustery and after a day outside in it I was sent to the bed for the next two days with upset sinuses resulting from an allergy attack. Still, it was worth it to clear the house of things we didn't need or want anymore. With some of my share of the earrings I decided that I should go to an old favorite, the Goodwill, and look for a few things to fill out my closet. That way I could save my pennies and still find quality clothing while satiating my shopping jones. The friend of mine whom I'm sewing a bridal bolero for is  hosting a tea party as a "thank you" to those who've helped her out with the wedding, so I also hoped to find a cute, unusual little something to wear. I didn't quite find anything that said "tea party" to me but I walked away with these sweet little treasures.

Black and white polka dot blazer
1. Black and white polka dot blazer | Label: Focus 2000 | Price: $4.99
I'll need to take it in at the waist for a perfect fit but I'm so glad the sleeve are long enough! We tall girls don't always have it so easy. I may add contrasting binding around the lapels so the line of the jacket isn't so lost in the print and swap out the black buttons for white ones.

long pink blazer
2. Pink three-button long blazer | Label: Morgan Miller | Price: $4.99
Another destined for the tailor's shop, just a little big. It was one half of a suit, but the skirt wasn't available and I probably would't have kept it anyway. It looks really good style with a white button down and blue jeans. I can't wait for it to be wear ready!

window pane print shirt
3. True blue window pane print long sleeved button down shirt | Label: Gianna | Price: $3.49
by far my favorite find of the trip and I almost missed seeing it in the store! All this late 80s/early 90s glory can't go to waste but I'll probably nix those shoulder pads. Isn't it amusing how trends always come back around? I wanted a window pane print blouse after seeing them start to pop up last year. So glad I snagged one and I like that it's in a blue print instead of the ubiquitous black and white that's so popular these days.

gold pearl necklace thrifted
4. Gold and peal chain necklace costume jewelry | Label: Unknown | Price: $3.99
My mother said it resembles a necklace my grandmother used to wear so I'm tickled by our shared taste. I'll need to clean off the tarnish but once that's done it will be quite the looker. Apologies for the not so clean clipping, doing chain is tedious and you get the drift I think.

Calvin Klein green polka dot print dress
5.) Green polka dot a-line sundress | Label: Calvin Klein | Price: $4.99
I remember seeing this bad boy at Dillard's a few seasons ago (maybe Spring 2009?) for $128. I really wanted it then but I couldn't bring myself to do it. It can still be found on ebay for around $30- $50. I'm still amazed that I found it in my size, though I suppose I might wear a 2 in Calvin Klein as this 4 is a bit roomy in the waist and bit finicky to get into thanks to those immobile straps.

express silk color block skirt
6.) Silk black and grey colorblock pleated A-line skirt | Label: Express | Price: $3.49
I remember seeing this maybe Fall/Winter 2012 or Spring this year and thinking "what a lovely little skirt and silk too, but not for $70". I almost didn't try it on since I saw it was a size 4 (I measure an industry standard 8 on bottom but in the age of vanity sizing I've bought clothes labeled 2, 4, and 6 so I can never be sure) but I followed the rule of thrifting: If you like it try it, and  it was a perfect fit.


The next morning after my shopping trip I played for an hour or so styling my new finds. I'm flummoxed with how I'll work in the polka dot blazer since I didn't like a lot of what I came up with. I feel like I need more colors on bottom and prints to play with. In time :) I'm down to one pair jeans, a few grey slacks, and some ill fitting twill pants (they grow in the waist throughout the day and lazy design flaw) that I was determined to make work. I couldn't and was faced with the age old truth that if it doesn't fit properly it never works. I barely wear them so they'll be making a trip to the Goodwill once I find replacements.

This year I've had to maintain a tight budget in order to get the ball rolling on Thorn & Laurel while I wasn't working. I'm so grateful to have had the this time to focus on my store and the next direction I'd like to go in life. Though I may have a had several headaches that accompanied a fair amount of frustration along the way I know I am truly fortunate. Because I've been such a penny-pincher (a lot more so than usual) I haven't bought anything for myself these past 12 months outside of the basic necessities.No new clothes, cosmetics (okay, the occasional $1.00 lipstick), shoes, electronics, music etc. I scaled back considerably on dining out and what I'd order when I would go and I limited my entertainment to the occasional movie.  I haven't missed much buying what I like when I want it simply because I don't tempt myself by going shopping: not brick and mortar shops, not catalogs, and not online. I even put my favorite fashion magazines down for a while because these days they are essentially nothing but nicely edited books of advertisements. I keep my eye on the prize knowing that making these few sacrifices from what I've been accustomed to will pay off in the end. Knowing that I can live well on a lot less is a very, very comforting thought.

Until next time,

claire lynette