Monday, June 30, 2014

Silk printed shorts - My easy DIY thrift store conversion!

Happy Monday Folks!

I was so excited about my recent thrift store conversion, a little project I did just for myself, that I wanted to share it with you all! In one of my past thrift store material hunts, I had picked up some printed silk shorts for about $5. The original pair were drawstring, with a very awkward length. I knew with just the right tweak, these could be some of my favorite shorts of the summer. 

Below a glimpse of the original pair. This print on long, dated shorts would be a bit overwhelming on any figure.  

I've been loving the trend of soft and easy printed shorts for summer. You can dress them up or down, they travel super easily, and they keep you cool on hot days. Mine are real washed silk - natural fibers breathe so much better than all of the many poly blends out there. That's one of my favorite things about treasure hunting in a thrift store - finding great quality fabric inexpensively.  
 This image courtesy of .

The Project

Step 1. I think short lengths in bold prints are all about proportion and you should find the one that works best for your body. Also, if your someone who is a little self conscious about wearing shorts, these are a great trend. They are not form fitting and I love that. I created a slightly curved cuff that worked best on me and pinned it in place. These is probably the step that takes the longest and might be easier if you have a friend helping you pin them. 

Step 2. I top-stiched this cuff down. I usually like to hand sew hems, but for these the sturdiness of the machine stitching worked better to create the shape I wanted with this soft silk. I then gave the finished hem a light tap with an iron and...   



I hope you had a great weekend and find a little crafty inspiration with this easy DIY project idea. Many thanks for following along! 

Have a great week!
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Live in Color: Sharing a few bits from my inspiration board...


I hope you are all having a good week. I'm in the midst of some freelance work by day and my own work on an ErinElsie collection by night. Getting inspired is always a great stress reliever for me so thought I'd pass along the gesture by sharing some of my most favorite bits of  recent inspiration. 

Above, some bathing suit designs by the artist, Sonia Delaunay circa 1920s.
Image found here: 

Sonia Delaunay was a painter, illustrator, textile designer, and clothing designer who was a pioneer of abstract art beginning in the 1920s. In 1964 she became the only woman to have had an exhibition at the Louvre Museum in her own lifetime. Learn more about this artist here: britannica/Sonia-Delaunay

Two models in Sonia Delaunay beachwear, 1927. I gravitated towards this image right away and love that these outfits could indeed look great in black and white or as colorful prints. 
Images courtesy of

How fun are all these pieces on the below vintage pattern? I'm still loving the trend of 2 piece sets and crop tops. There were so many fun takes on it in the late 50s and early 60s.  
Image found here: pinterest

I love sifting through old advertisements. Sometimes they can feel so dated and sometimes they can feel surprisingly modern. This ad below was for beach towels and I love love the prints and the idea that you could mix these patterns in a look. 

...and in the studio

I'm working on a few beach-y carryall bags. If perhaps you're intimidated by putting bold prints in your wardrobe, then try incorporating them with accessories. 

I'm also loving how this array of kimono-style tops is turning out! I'm trying to get this all out in the next couple of weeks.  

Alright, and now time for that glass of wine...I hope your week is going well, and if not - hang in there, the weekend will be here shortly!  Many thanks for taking the time to read along.  

Cheers friends,
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I've got mail...

Happy Wednesday Folks,

Just taking a break from the ErinElsie factory of one to share some recent goodies from the postman. To my delight, I received a couple of packages in the mail in the past couple weeks. 

One from a dear old friend (as well as her mother), that I jokingly refer to as one of my employees and material scouts. From wherever they are, they occasionally pick up materials with me and mind. I'm not sure what's better really: the fact that I receive these lovely curated vintage and thrift finds in the mail like little gift packages, or the fact that they are thinking of me and my work as they are out and about. It's such an encouragement when the people you care about appreciate what you do and are trying to achieve. It's a feeling that certainly never gets old and keeps me going!

A few of my favorite things from my package:

This yardage of beautiful vintage fabric. I love it so much I'm currently afraid to cut into it...

These awesome vintage Hawaiian postcards - such lovely color inspiration. They take me back to a time when people actually sent postcards.  Think of a time when you did receive one - so much fun isn't it? And the little journal - it's such a healthy thing to still actually right notes and inspiration down and I'm more motivated to do so if there's a cute little journal to use. 
Also, the costume gold bangles I love. such an easy way to add a little something to an outfit and a great accessory prop for my photos :)

This ornate, navy fabric. I love navy. It's so rich, season-less, and timeless. 

My other surprise little package was a from my Uncle Mike! The extra specialness about this one was that is was so unexpected. I really love a good vintage Hawaiian shirt and the one he sent me did not disappoint! Happy and vivid prints inspire me and I can't wait to use it.  
Another great thing about these little packages, they always come accompanied with a lovely, handwritten note! In the age of email, it's fun to get a thoughtfully written little note. It's the perfect personal touch!

Also, thought I'd just share a purchase of mine that I received in the mail - and I love it! It's my new little vintage summer bag. It's was such a bargain and the perfect companion on a summery day out in NYC. I got it from a greatly curated vintage shop on Etsy called Thriftage. Check it out here: Thriftage 

Alright, back to work for me. I hope your week is going well, and if not - hang in there, at least it's Wednesday already!  Many thanks for taking the time to read along.  

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Monday, June 16, 2014

An infectiously happy print , my quick Saturday morning project.

 This past Saturday morning I was able to sleep in, rejuvenate, and unplug from the world a bit. I spent some time with my much neglected pile of "personal projects." These are projects that I set aside with good intention to at some point make for myself. At the top of my pile was this dated (and dated in a bad way) 80's dress with shoulder pads that I picked up inexpensively at a thrift store. I was drawn to it for it's beautifully bold print, and the soft ease of the fabric. In the warm summer months, I go for easy and comfy pieces, swathed in summery bright prints. 
The original piece

My quick idea to upcycle this particular dress was inspired by this Instagram photo of Karlie Kloss in this piece from the Reformation, It can be a little intimidating to cover your body in a bold print, so I love how this print is being broken into 2 pieces with just a little peek of skin. 

I also love that "crop tops" have emerged in a major way this year, but in a classy way - much like those of the 60's and 70's. Below is a vintage 60's pattern image I've been loving as inspiration for some of my summer pieces. Courtesy of Pinterest 

The Project

Step 1. Cut the dress into it's 2 parts. The dress had button closures all down the back, making it work especially well for turning it into 2 pieces. 

Step 2. Remove the shoulder pads. I wanted this top to be soft and simple for hot summer weather and the shoulder pads needed to go! 

Step 3. Refinish the top of the skirt and the bottom of the top by adding a hem stitch. I also gathered the front in the center a little to add some shape to it. This helped achieve the proportion I wanted.    

I think crop tops and bold prints are all about proportion and you should find the one that works best for your body. For this look, the higher waist of the skirt looks better on me. Also, if I'm showing a little tummy, I look to keep the rest of the top more covered. 


This was such a quick and easy project that even you basic seamstresses and seamsters out there can do. Not a bad look for an inexpensive thrift store find and a Saturday morning! 

I think there's something infectious about a beautiful bold print! As I took my new 2 piece look out for a spin on Saturday afternoon - it was warmly received with smiles and compliments. It is a simple thing, but your clothes should make you happy and feel comfortable in your own skin! I like to live in color :)

Also, a shout out to my awesome Dad. I wish I could have celebrated Father's day with him. He really sets a standard of what a loving and supportive dad should be and I feel like a lucky gal to have him in my life. 

I hope your week is off to a great start. Many thanks for following reading along! 

Happy Monday!
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Remnants, Repurposed into Accessories

Remnants,  Repurposed into accessories

As most of my fabrics are special, often vintage, and in small supply, it really hurts me to throw anything away- even the scraps. If they are lying around my workspace long enough, they often speak to me. I'll look at a little scrap and suddenly see the earrings that they can become. Once I have that visual in my mind, I usually start to work on it right away as I'm generally too impatient to sketch. They are often the perfect little distracting projects to work on while I need to step away from larger, more involved ones.

These pieced leather and lace earrings have such amazing color and are super lightweight, perhaps my favorite characteristic of fabric earrings. They won't take a tole on your earlobes. 

I always have earring in progress around the workspace, when I need a peaceful hand-sewing project. 

These are the only pieces I have left of this fabric and the print so perfectly worked as a pair. 

A bold statement and also so lightweight and easy to wear. 

I always keep inspiration around and I've been wanting to experiment with fringe...

 These leftover sweater parts were so fun and colorful and just spoke "statement necklace" to me. I'm glad I finally was able to use them. They are remnants from a hand-stitched sweater project- you can check out here  angora-mix-media-boho-sweater

It's inspiring to me when I can envision the beauty in something that someone else might otherwise discard.  Hope you can find the beauty in your everyday!

Be Well!
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tales from the road & What I'm working on now...


A lot has been going on around here; A visit/ road trip with my parents, a road trip for freelance work, and new design projects that I am very excited about are piling up in the workshop. Although I really love NYC,  sometimes the best thing about it is being able to leave it for a couple days! Within a couple of hours by train or car you can reach some truly beautiful nature and historic places. Here are some of the highlights with a little picture journal below. 

Exploring my own Brooklyn
A few days before the Memorial Day weekend, my parents are flew in from Louisiana for a visit. As they have already hit a lot of the more known, traditional tourists spots, they decided to stay in Brooklyn in an apartment a few blocks from me. It was great to spend some low-key, quality time with them and share a little of what my actual life here is like. 

My dear Dad on my block.

One of the unique tourist days we did do right here in Brooklyn was exploring the 175 year old historical gem of Greenwood cemetery. I live about a ten minute drive from it and can't believe I hadn't checked it out yet! I little excerpt from their website below:

Everybody loves a great story, and Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery has many of New York’s great stories to tell. Everyone who was anybody in 19th-century New York wanted to be buried there, and they were. As The New York Times succinctly put it it 1866, “It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the [Central] Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.”

Green-Wood is 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths, throughout which exists one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th- and 20th-century statuary and mausoleums. It's popularity helped inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Parks.

(courtesy of )

Mom, trying to capture some foliage.

Dad, tinkering with something and a beautiful old tree. 

"Green-Wood is a Revolutionary War historic site (the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 across what is now its grounds), a designated site on the Civil War Discovery Trail."
The Altar To Liberty, with Minerva (Roman Goddess of Battle)  was placed on the highest natural point in Brooklyn, also known as Battle Hill. She is in that spot to commemorate the Battle of Brooklyn, the first battle of the American Revolution after the Declaration of Independence was issued. From this point  you can see views of lower New York Harbor, New Jersey, the tip of Manhattan, and mid-town Manhattan.. With her arm upraised, she is saluting her sister, the Statue of Liberty, in the harbor.   

Mystic, CT
After completing our little tour of Brooklyn, which also included Coney Island and Rockaway, we headed to Mystic, CT for the Memorial Day weekend. Mystic is a quintessential New England cozy, boating town and was the perfect place to get away with my parents. They haven't yet experienced much of the New England area so this was a great intro for them. 

Our cozy and Historic Mystic Rental House for the weekend. The location was superb and our stay here was lovely.  Here's a link for more info: 1839 House

Spotted on one of our strolls, this made me smile!

Treasure hunting for myself or for sewing materials is one of my favorite things to do on a road trip, and Pennywise was a great discovery. For more info click here

I didn't buy anything this time, but it will certainly be on my list of for the future! 

There are many great spots to eat in Mystic, but the standout for this trip was the Captain Daniel Packer Inne, a historic 250 year old pub and restaurant. 

Ahh, Mystic serene. Other highlights were getting together with my future in-laws for more good times and good food. Hopefully my parents enjoyed their time here, as I sure enjoyed mine. 

Hudson, NY Area
My next adventure was about 2 hours outside of NYC in a different direction to the Hudson, NY area. I went along on this trip to assist my guy on a photo job for the Camphill Foundation. I am grateful that my freelance work can expose me to so many beautiful and diverse locations and people. Camphill Communities are unique and vibrant life-sharing communities of individuals, including adults with developmental disabilities. These communities bring together coworkers (long and short-term service volunteers) and individuals with developmental disabilities in therapeutic communities that foster mutual respect and human dignity.

There are Camphill communities all over the world, we just visited a few in the Hudson area. 

A beautiful spot while touring their Copake, NY location.

The disabled residents of Camphill communities make meaningful and useful products that they sell at their gift shops. I was lucky to shop at 2 of their stores and was so impressed by the artistry. Lots of woven items, candles, healing teas and oils, wooden toys, and on and on... 
Their downtown Hudson location

Picked up some items that I'm not going to share as they are Holiday Gifts ;)

I had a little time to check out more downtown shopping. Downtown Hudson has so many great shops, especially vintage ones, but my favorite was Antigo. 

My happy, treasure hunting place!

I did manage to pickup a couple of great finds. This great fabric chunk to contribute to my Kimono project...

...and this awesome clutch and statement necklace. I love picking up clutches from vintage/thrift stores. It's a less expensive way to find something unique with tons of character. This leather clutch was in perfect condition and the optional chain makes it perfect for keeping track of your bag on a New York night out. 

My super vintage finds and a lovely sunset were the perfect ending to my second road trip!

What I'm working on now...

Now I'm back to work in the studio, working on a collection of one-of-a kind, soft Kimono Jackets. I have been scouring everywhere for unique fabric in beautiful colors and prints and my pile is growing. This is the hardest and most fun part! 

A little sneak preview below and stay tuned for more updates on this collection!

Hope you are all having a great week and as always, many thanks for following along on this creative journey! 

Be Well!
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