I haven’t posted about it yet this year, and I’m honestly a bit behind already, but I signed up again for Ali Edwards’s One Little Word class at the beginning of 2017. I blogged sporadically about it last year, and this year I really want to do a better job of following through the whole year and keeping up with blogging about it — yes, it’s already April and I’m totally failing at it so far. But a lot of big things have been happening in my life beyond this blog, so I think that’s okay. 


I had a hard time picking a word this year, but I finally settled on HONE. This year is going to bring a lot of changes in my life, and I want to welcome in newness, but I also want to keep refining and perfecting the person I already am. I wanted to pick a word that acknowledges progress and process rather than focusing on an end point. HONE, for me, captured that idea of progress while also incorporating a goal of sharpness and clarity. It’s also a process that is done more than once, anticipating that the action of sharpening and shaping ourselves is something that can be redone and revised when needed.


I started out my One Little Word pages in a small scrapbook from Muji, but now that we’re a few months in, I decided to migrate them into a 6×8 Studio Calico album instead. When I started, I liked the idea of doing something a little different, but the blank pages felt overwhelming and made me feel like they were hindering the process rather than encouraging me to keep up with the project. I really like how my pocket pages are turning out. 

I failed at doing the February challenge in February, so I decided to just start when I felt ready — but then I accepted a new job in New York, and haven’t kept up with it at all. I might try again starting at the beginning of May, because doing yoga is really something I feel like I need as part of my daily routine, especially now that my life is swept up in the hustle and bustle of NYC.

I feel invested in really following through on One Little Word this year, because after setting some of these intentions, it’s amazing how many strides forward I’ve already made this year. I might be a bit behind, but I’m committed to catching up and sticking with it.

Here are a few more looks at my January pages: 

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ON MY RADAR: 

  • I’ve been wanting to swap out our headboard for something new for a while, and I love this easy and inexpensive headboard DIY from A Pair and a Spare.
  • I love how this home on Desire to Inspire is filled with books, and yet somehow still feels calm and uncluttered — a goal I have for around here.
  • I’ve been trying to expand my design horizons, so I’ve been browsing Furniture.com’s Tips and Tricks page for ideas outside my comfort zone.
  • I can’t wait to make this Cacao and Dandelion Rose Elixir from the Gold Sister.
  • This gorgeous pattern from Design Sponge is now on my phone.
  • I love this plaid & leather look from Vintage Splendor, and I have a feeling I’ll be interpreting my own version of it soon!

CURRENTLY: 

Reading: Over my notes, in preparation for defending my MA thesis.
Listening:
 I’ve been waking up by listening to the Meditation Minis podcast every morning. 
Making: 
Progress on my Pi Shawl.
Looking: 
Excited to see this exhibition of female photographers at the Philly Museum of Art that opens soon.
Traveling: 
To New York City and back again for the possibility of a new opportunity, and retracing my steps to some of my favorite places from when I lived in Brooklyn (like Sweetleaf, pictured above.)

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In 2017, I decided that I’m going to knit the entirety of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitter’s Almanac. And I’m going to blog about it, but it’s March and I’m finally doing that part. Oops! I’ll catch up on blogging January and February, but I figured March is as good as any place to start.

And with March, I’m mixing up my months. Because although the Pi Shawl pattern is technically July, it’s a knitting tradition to cast on a Pi Shawl on Pi Day. So I did.

I’m trying to keep this project as low-cost as possible, which isn’t always easy with knitting. For this project, I dug out some stash yarn. I had almost destashed it a couple times, unsure if I loved it or not, but now that I’m knitting it I’m so glad I kept it — it knits like a dream, and the variegated colors are perfect for this project.

I almost threw in the towel at the very beginning, when I looked at the pattern and realized that the cast on requires crochet. I can’t crochet for the life of me, and crochet hooks and I have never been friends. But somehow I conquered it.

EZ is right when she says to cast on in a quiet place. The first few rows are spectacularly fiddly,  but once you get going the project is a breeze. I kept knitting all evening, like it was a good book I couldn’t put down. 

She’s also right when she says this project is perfect travel knitting. I’m heading to New York today for a quick trip, so I’m looking forward to doing some knitting on the train. Look out for some updates on my progress on my Instagram.

 

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Thrifting vintage clothing can feel like a huge challenge when you first start out. Nothing off the racks in a thrift store looks anything like what you’d find in a nicely curated vintage boutique. The secret is to see potential in every item, and be willing to put in some elbow grease to cleaning vintage clothing, and fixing and mending discarded gems.

This is the first post in a sporadic series that I’ve been wanting to start for a while now: how to fix, mend, and restore vintage clothes. And I’m starting at the very beginning — with the two major secret weapons I keep on hand at all times. These are the secrets to fixing 1) odor and 2) dingy color.

Two secret weapons for cleaning vintage clothing:

Before:
cleaning vintage clothing: before oxiclean

The color was so dingy it threw off my whole white balance. Ick!

After:

cleaning vintage clothing: after oxiclean

Bright, white, and good as new.

Color:

When I thrifted this beautiful 1960’s dress, the color was dingy, which made the whole piece feel kind of bleh. But I knew that it was an amazing piece, with beautiful detail in the trim on the front. Plus, unlike so many vintage dresses, it’s sized to fit an average-sized woman of today — not easy to find, with so many vintage dresses being teeny tiny.

I soaked it for a few hours in Oxi-clean (Biz is also a great choice for this, and many vintage fans swear by it over Oxi-clean) before running it through the wash on the gentle cycle. (I hand-wash many of my vintage pieces, but this dress seemed plenty sturdy enough to withstand the machine.) Out it came, looking good as new. Most importantly, the white was bright white, no longer dingy, and even the blue and yellow trim was brighter.

Odor:

When odor is an issue with vintage clothing– musty smells are often the problem– I do a similar process, subbing out the Oxi-clean for vinegar. Vinegar does a number of wonders for clothing, from brightening the color and helping with colorfastness to removing odor. Once your piece is done soaking, rinse thoroughly. If a vinegar odor remains, try air drying outside in the sunshine.

And that’s it! With those two tools alone you can freshen up the vast majority of vintage finds, but be on the lookout for further posts that go more into stain removal, easy mending, and fixing other flaws.

By the way, if you’ve fallen in love with this dress like I did, it’s now available in my Etsy shop. 

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Welcome to a new weekly series! I’ve been wanting to commit to doing a weekly roundup post for a while, so here it is: my favorite links of the week related to all things vintage, thrifted, and sustainable, plus a little update about where I’m at and what I’m up to.

on my radar: 

currently: 

Reading:  The Moon and Sixpence, my copy dug from the Goodwill Outlet bins. 
Listening:
Really enjoying the podcast Bosses and Booze, which combines two of my favorite things: smart women and dark liquor.
Making:
Final edits on my MA thesis (at last!)
Looking:
Shawn Theodore: Church of Broken Pieces at the African American Museum in Philadelphia completely blew me away. 
Traveling: 
To New York City for the weekend.

 

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