Monday, September 29, 2014

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue...

Hope your Monday is going well friends, I'm just returning from a long weekend in Charlottesville, VA from the wedding celebration of a very special couple. We had a blast - reuniting with great friends, cheesy buttered bacon grits, front porches, green grass, beautiful weather, and lots of love all around. 

The bride and her husband feel like a second family to us. A while back while visiting at their home, she handed down some of her grandmother's sewing bits and notions to me. She lost her grandmother earlier this year, and it inspired me to make a little wedding gift that could be a keepsake as well. I realize that objects are just objects, but I think it is possible to inject meaning and memories into them. I wanted this gift to have that. 

For the materials, I used:
- a zipper, blue remnants for the lining, and ribbon for the zipper pull (all from Aimee's grandmother)
- some vintage linen and lace from the my wedding dress materials.

We celebrated the wedding on a beautiful farm. The weather could not have been more perfect. Truly a special weekend all around. 

Photo above courtesy of the glowing bride.
Dedicating this blog post to the happy couple pictured above! Thanks for letting us share in this love-fest Mike and Aimee!  

All the best,
Follow along on Instagram: ErinBlank_Designer

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Repurposing Project: My Uncle Mike's Hawaiian Shirt = A Sleek, Modern Dress

As mentioned a few posts ago, I've been working on a few transition repurposing projects, uniquely inspired by this weird time of weather. (You can read that original post here http://erinelsie.blogspot.hey-september-upcycyling-project-sneak). I've finished one of them and I'm excited to share a little about that process and the results. 
In case your wondering, that's a tape measurer in the photo above. It seems to be my biggest accessory these days. This one in particular was my grandmother's and I love the idea that I use this item almost every day that was hers. It's a little way to still feel connected to her.

When my Uncle Mike unexpectedly sent me one of his old Hawaiian shirts, I was immediately inspired by that sentiment as well as the vivid print of this shirt. I really love a good vintage Hawaiian shirt and the one he sent me did not disappoint! I might generally do something a little more frilly with a tropical print, but the fabric of the shirt was thicker than usual and the way it draped lent itself to a more modern look. 

The back of the original shirt's print was like a mural, and that further inspired the direction of the dress- that part became the front. I reshaped the sleeves and the silhouette to create an A-line shape. The  shirt collar became a little kicky detail on the back of the skirt.   

I know it's technically fall now, and I love that this tropical print is sort of dark and stormy. The sleeves and the simple shape help it transition into a season-less dress. I can definitely see rocking this with a leather jacket and booties on cooler days. 

A big shout-out to my Uncle Mike for sending me his old shirt, and thanks to all who are following along on my creative journey! I hope you've picked up a little inspiration along the way. 

All the best,
Follow along on Instagram: ErinBlank_Designer

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Coffee Talk, R&R and Homemade Chicken Soup for the Soul

Greetings Friends!

 It's finally starting to feel a little more like fall here and I love it. I've just finished up a long freelance styling job. It was a little intense and physical, but I love that I get to meet and work with interesting and nice people, and it beats the cubicle any day (no offense to cubicles, it's just not the life for me). It's the non-structure that allows me to work on my own design efforts and I'm grateful for it. I'm a under the weather with a cold, so I thought I'd just share a few recent reflections of gratitude and inspiration. 

 The first day after wrapping that job, I was excited to jump back into ErinElsie Fall/Winter design projects, but unfortunately I woke up with a sore throat, runny nose, and achy body. I was forced into a day off of rest and recovery; probably a blessing in disguise as sometimes you really do just need to stop and rest. The best part of all, I have a man who can cook, and his homemade chicken soup certainly is helping! The warm and simple soup helped me physically, but the fact that he dropped what he was doing and made it for me fed my soul - a reminder to always be grateful for the little everyday gestures of love.     

This past week, my Nan Jule passed away. She was my great aunt, my grandmother Elsie's sister, and such a perfect representation of the strong and loving ladies in my family. The kind of ladies that will ride a tractor, catch their own fish, cook the most amazing homemade food, and take care of virtually everyone around them. I have vivid memories of my grandmother and Nan Jule talking on the phone to each other loudly in French.  When we would go over to Nan Jule's house, she would give us these little bags filled with candy and one dollar bills - what child wouldn't love that! It makes me smile to think of those days and I am grateful for the memories. The day after she passed, a little heart appeared in the foam of my homemade latte. Simple it may seem, but this little sign made me smile and gave me a sense of peace with it all. 

And speaking of signs, this was on a building across from the one I was working in. I just happen to glance in a certain direction and saw my last name, Blank. In a place like Manhattan where there are buildings on top of buildings and new and old ones sandwiched together, it was a pretty neat coincidence. I never tire of checking out all the old buildings here and learning more of the history, and now I shall do a little research into this one.  

And lastly, just a little bit of inspiration I came across on instagram from @ekoluv and @emilykatesymes. In building my business, it's more than just turning out clothes. I want to build an ethical business I can be proud of - one that is built on passion and not greed, and one that appreciates craftsmanship and artistry. In whatever you do, be the change you want to see in the world!

Ok, now back to my hot tea, rest, and recovery so I kick this cough/cold!

Thanks for following along on my journey and be well!
Follow along on Instagram: ErinBlank_Designer

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hey September! An Upcycyling Project Sneak Peek + My Charming Weekend Travels

Happy September!

Depending on where you live, September can be a weird time - when you are itching to break out some fun fall clothes but it's still just too hot...We are experiencing that kind of weather here in New York, and as per usual, I am busy trying to balance my freelance life and growing ErinElsie. Although I am super excited about some of my new fall pieces, it will be a little while before those are ready to share. In the meantime, here's a sneak preview of a few upcycling transition piece projects that I am working on now. Appropriately inspired by this weird time of weather. Stay tuned for the transformative results in some future posts! 

The Super 80's Jewel Tone Floral
Ok, ok, I know what you're thinking, but all I see is potential! This is a before photo of a thrifted dress. If I were tall, it could probably be worn as is and look super chic, but on me - it's a bit much. It's also just a little confining to wear in it's current state. The print, however, is great - a rich palette of jewel tone florals that I absolutely love for fall. Transformation in progress...

The Unflattering Yellow Jumpsuit
I know yellow is not for everyone; but while I still have a summer tan, I thought if I'm ever going to sport it, nows the time. This vintage jumpsuit was sent to me by a dear friend for the very reason that I might find the potential in what it could be. I am intrigued by it's possibilities and the creative part of me is taking on the challenge of transforming it. Hopefully I'll be able to report back with good results very soon... 

My Uncle Mike's Hawaiian Shirt
My Uncle Mike sent me one of his old Hawaiian shirts. It's pretty fun when friends and family send me things, although it can be a little nerve racking cutting up those things. I'm not sure why, but I enjoy transforming old men's shirts. I originally took one apart a couple years ago to learn about the construction and those pieces turned into a dress! I've been hooked ever since. The pattern is actually looking quite beautiful in dress form. I hope Uncle Mike is proud of these results. We shall see...

Also, we ended August with a quick getaway to the Connecticut shoreline for Labor day weekend with family. We enjoyed some beach R&R time in Westbrook and also spent a day exploring Essex. Most of these towns are drenched in history and Essex is no exception. It was charming and patriotic, quite perfect for commemorating this historical holiday. 

Peaceful times at the beach!

As a South Louisiana gal a heart, I have a lot of respect for a place that can deep fry some fresh seafood. Hat's off to Bill's Seafood in Westbrook. A standout was this fried softshell crab sandwich- yum :) 

The top spot in Essex was The Griswold Inn; a restaurant, inn, and pub as interesting as it is old. The inn originally opened in 1776! It's certainly one to put on the map if you're ever in the area. Click over to the Griswold's site to learn more about it's history and see images of the awesome interior:

My man enjoying his Revolutionary Ale on his birthday at the Griswold.  

Strolling the patriotic main street of Essex

Sailboats parked in the Connecticut River

Quite charming indeed! 

Ever wondered in more detail how Labor Day actually began? I did, and it's probably a little more complicated than you thought - here's a link with some interesting info if you'd like:
Thanks for following along and be well everyone!
Follow along on Instagram: ErinBlank_Designer