Tuesday, September 8, 2015

InPursuitofGlamour in Fashion

I've been considering adding fashion posts to this blog for quite awhile now. At first, the thought of stepping in front of a camera to capture my looks felt daunting. But, I've been documenting my daily outfits for over a year now, so it feels like the right time to go live!

As a costume maker, textiles have been a huge part of my life. Historical and current fashion trends have long fascinated me. Like decorating and hosting dinner parties, fashion is another avenue through which I enjoy pursuing a life of authentic glamour.

I have so many fall outfit ideas planned that I can't wait to start sharing with you! Here's one last end of summer look. 

Necklace: Vintage
Bracelet: Vintage

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Ice Cream Social

It seems fitting to post pictures of our Ice Cream Social on this last hot weekend of Summer. Summer seems to be having a last hurrah this weekend with hot temperatures into the night, but the forecast promises relief and the beginning of Fall weather (and fashions!).

A few weeks ago my husband, Vince, and I hosted an Ice Cream Social to welcome the new neighbors in our apartment building. We've been fortunate to have amazing neighbors in this building and our last and have met some of our best friends through events like this.

I had been wanting to host an Ice Cream Social for awhile and spent many a summer evening gathering  inspiring images and dreaming up decor for the occasion. I fell in love with the idea of Jadeite glass cake stands as the inspiration for the rest of the decor. But where to get them? Shipping on three or four cake stands seemed a little steep, so I began to call around and discovered a treasure trove of vintage inspired glassware at Rosso Wholesale Glass.

I love the work of Rifle Paper Company and used cutouts from their paper to decorate chalkboards around our dining room.

I created a Pinterest board to collect images to inspire my own Ice Cream Social.

The Invitation was a chalkboard placed in the lobby of the building.

Confetti cut from the extra floral paper was scattered about the dining room.

Our building is called 'The Cloisters', so a fitting welcome was scrawled on the chalkboard.

Chalkboard signs cut from metal and painted with chalkboard paint marked the types of Ice Cream available. The Ice Cream was served in loaf pans.

Ice Cream was served in Vintage Sherbet Glasses or the cone of your choice.

Raspberry Lemonade Punch was served in a thrifted punch bowl.

Ice Cream Chalkboard Art paired nicely with the Rifle Paper Co. flowers.

The Ice Cream Social was a success and we had a lovely evening with our neighbors.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Speakeasy: Party Like It's 1922

One last 1920s Party post before moving on to pictures of the Ice Cream Social. These pictures were taken by our friend, Esther, the other lovely lady in a white dress above. She captured some great images from the evening that I couldn't resist sharing with you.

Above are the ladies that I've had the privilege to be neighbors with for the past five years. We've shared many lovely memories together over the years.

Our  bartender for the evening, our friend Isaiah, did a fantastic job!

Billie and I tasting treats from the dessert table.

Billie and Esther tasting their drinks.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Jadeite Glass Cake Stands

Tonight we host an Ice Cream Social in our apartment building to get to know our new neighbors. From the start I had my eyes set on one or two...or maybe three or four...Jadeite cake stands as the centerpiece of the decor. In my search for Jadeite near Pittsburgh, PA I discovered that the manufacturer of Jadeite cake stands, Mosser Glass, is located just two hours away in Cambridge, OH. And then I discovered that a glass wholesaler was just half an hour outside of Pittsburgh in McKeesport - Rosso Wholesale Glass. I made a trip to their store and was excited to discover a treasure trove of reproduction glassware! The owners were both very friendly and helpful. And, I was able to find all four sizes of the Jadeite cake stands. These are beautiful, high-quality pieces. As you can see, they also come in several other colors including milk-glass (white), blue, clear, red, and light pink. Rosso also had many other styles of Jadeite pieces.

Here is one of the several isles of glassware at Rosso Wholesale Glass in McKeesport. So many beautiful pieces! Stores like Anthropologie and Sur La Table purchase pieces from Mosser Glass, so it's a treat to be able to find such fabulous glassware in abundance.

I will definitely be visiting this store again soon!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Speakeasy: Party Like It's 1922

Finally! A few pictures from the party! Not the best, but hopefully better pictures will follow soon - one of our friends snapped lots of great pictures throughout the evening.

Above: My brother, Dan, and his girlfriend, Amy, get ready for the party.

I made Amy's headdress from a beaded scarf and fabulous vintage belt buckle.

Leah made her own headdress - it was stunning!

My dress is a lovely beaded vintage dress - but it's not 1920s - so I added beaded appliques and the strips of fabric to the side to make it look more 20s. I wanted the perfect pair of Blue Satin T-Straps to wear the dress but couldn't find them anywhere so I purchased a pair of dyeable heels and painted them blue with RIT dye. It worked pretty well...I think I'm hooked on dyeable shoes.

John and Leah

Our bartender, left, admiring one of his delightful drinks.

John and Tricia put together their fabulous costumes the day of the party. Don't they look great? John even had a vintage looking sheriff's badge on his vest - just in case he decided to bust the party. By half way through the evening he had removed it - I guess he decided to stay and enjoy a few drinks!

Felipe and Karen

My husband and I had so much fun throwing this party that we're dreaming up other period parties to host!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Speakeasy: Party Like It's 1922

Transforming the dining room into the centerpiece of the event - the bar - became quite time consuming but was well worth the effort in the end. I started my event planning in earnest ten days from the event. First, I compiled inspiration images into a Pinterest board to keep me on track in my vision. Next, I got to work hunting for glassware for the event. I made three trips to scour thrift stores for enough vintage glassware to last twenty guests through an evening of flowing cocktails without having to wash or re-use a glass. After washing all of the glasses I was able to get to work rearranging the dining room and setting up the bar area.

Chalkboard art was necessary on all five of the large chalkboards in our dining room. I didn't want to spend too long on the chalkboard art, so I copied elements from chalkboard art and graphic designs that I found online.

This is my brilliant masterpiece. Our living room flows into our dining room through a large entranceway where giant french doors once stood in the mansion's former life. I arranged our old church pedestal - one of our first furniture pieces (I know, not very practical, right?) - so that it was the centerpiece of the room and visible from the living room. This was our bar. Alcohol and glasses were arranged on the shelf off to the side.

There was a punch table. It proved remarkably challenging to find a 1920's punch recipe without alcohol (you would think it would be easy, right?), so I went with a sparkling raspberry lemonade from Trader Joe's. It was delicious and easy.

Since I was putting so much effort into the party decor and costumes and our apartment kitchen is tiny I decided early on to purchase all of the food from Trader Joe's. I love that store! I did my research on what types of food were available and popular during the era and set out to find similar foods at Trader Joe's. There were plenty of great options - stuffed mushrooms, steamed clams, cheeses, fruits, mini hot dogs (which were a new thing at the time!), etc. It worked out really well! We had planned to follow this course with Chinese foods (newly in vogue in 1920s America) - also from Trader Joe's, but it would have meant too much time in the kitchen prepping while our guests were here so we ended up skipping that and had plenty of food anyway.

With the leaves removed from our dining room table it made the perfect dessert table. We had a mini champagne tower. Since I had never done one before I wanted to start small. Maybe next time we'll go all out!

The desserts were also from Trader Joe's.

Now the stage is set for a roaring good time...next up, photos of the event!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Speakeasy: Party Like It's 1922

"New York. 1922. The tempo of the city had changed sharply. The buildings were higher. The parties were bigger. The morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper. The restlessness approached hysteria." - The Great Gatsby

Two weeks ago we invited our friends to join us for a roaring good time set in the prohibition era of the 1920s. It was an evening of flowing cocktails, plentiful hors d'oeuvres and decadent desserts. Our guests showed up in their glitzy and glamorous 20s attire...most with a little help from my costume collection.

I spent two weeks prepping for the party full time, and in the end, all of the effort was worth it. Mid-process I told myself I would never throw another 1920s party, but come the day of the party, I was ready to throw one annually...at least!

Fortunately, most of my effort was in the dining room decor - transforming it into a bar area - a space for our guest bartender to make his magic. In decorating our apartment I was inspired by the glamorous flat of Delysia Lafosse in the movie Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. I combined Art Nouveau and Art Deco inspirations with many treasures collected from thrift stores, antique shops, and most frequently - Etsy. Upon researching 1920s decor in the midst of party prep I realized that our living room was pretty close to the mark. So, I left it as is and added only a few elements to heighten the drama for the evening.

One of my favorite photos from the evening. Taken about half-way through the evening. We went through quite a few drink glasses that evening and kept our bartender very busy.

Two similar antique gold frames were converted into trays for our giant tufted ottoman by inserting a layer of galvanized sheet metal spray painted gold into the frame. They were finished just in time for the party and served their purpose perfectly.

Welcome. This is the view as you enter our front door. 

I created fascinator headbands using velvet ribbon, feathers, beaded appliques and vintage jewelry elements for guests to borrow for the evening. They were fun and easy to make!

Our Alphonse Mucha prints were perfect for the occasion.

The golden peacocks are a staple of my mantel, but the peacock feathers were a last minute addition. I think that they really pulled the living room together and gave it a distinctly bird theme for the evening.

One of my favorite ideas for the party was stocking this vintage chocolate box with chocolates.

More peacocks on the desk with vintage ostrich feathers arranged in vases.

This metal ottoman frame was found in the dumpster out back of our apartment. Can you believe someone would throw that beautiful gold frame away? With the help of my husband, Vince, the frame was given new life with a chenille tufted top.

I couldn't resist purchasing this reproduction phone for the party. It was a fun prop that guests enjoyed posing with.

Tomorrow I'll share pictures of the dining room party transformation with you!