Fire, I bring you to burn…

Big city, big stories

I just finished my last ‘summer stack’ book (see the other books here) and it turns out I saved the best for last.  Have  you had a chance to read ‘City on Fire‘ by Garth Risk Hallberg? I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s a big, juicy book that jumps from the 50’s to the 90’s with much of the action happening in the 70’s when parts of New York really were burning.  The plot deftly weaves 15+ characters story arcs between each other, with some of the stories told via a book within a book (think fanzine, diary entries, and a manuscript).  This is  Mr. Hallberg’s first novel and he has set the bar high for future writings. If his next book is as good as his first I will be in for another highly enjoyable read.  How about you?  Have you read any good books lately?  I’d love to know what’s on your ‘must read’ list…

Dress it up…

Part 1: A DIY take on A Detacher Fall 2016 – Florals

In the past few weeks I’ve featured my DIY take on leopard and velvettwo of the hot fashion trends for Fall 2016. Another trend I love is wintery florals, especially when used in a dress. My closet already contains every style dress from A-line to wrap that range from casual to formal for every season imaginable.   I’ve always loved the ease of a dress and how it can camouflage real (or imagined) flaws. All that’s needed to complete your look are killer shoes and sparkly bling before you head out the door for whatever adventure awaits.  While I try to ‘recreate the runway’ look as closely as possible who says you need to do the same? Half the fun is finding the right floral fabric – not to mention shoes and accessories – for your own runway recreation!

Part 2: A DIY take on Temperly London Fall 2016  – Florals

Sprinklin’ the oogly all under my bed..

My mantle come 10/31…or sooner

Now that my children are old enough to make their own costumes I can focus on decorating our house (or at least one room of it).  It’s time I retired the plastic skeletons and stuffed witch I’ve been using for decades and adopted a new look for Halloween (which signals the start of the holiday season for me).

Should I focus on inside-only decorations? Or go for the yard display instead?  I know I don’t want to go ‘all out’ because come November 1st I’ll have to take everything down and pack it up (plus find a place to store it for another year).  That means inside-only but what theme should I adopt? Cutesy? Gory?  Classy fright?  After searching West Elm, Pier 1, Target, Hobby Lobby, Joann, Williams & Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, Anthropologie, Nordstrom’s and Neiman Marcus for inspiration I’ve come up with a black/creme/silver mantle idea that will look pretty freakin’ cool if I pull it off.

To do so, I could buy everything and finish the mantle in a day but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I’m budgeting $40 for supplies and will attempt to make the twig wreath, pumpkins, signage, books and apothecary jars (although I’ll definitely buy the birds – there’s a limit to my crafting abilities).  Follow me over the upcoming weeks and see how I’m progressing – hopefully I’ll be able to show you how closely I came to creating my original idea (and sticking to my budget) before October 31st!

Velvet if you please…

Last week I featured my first Fall 2016 Trends – ‘Recreating the Runway’ looks, which focused on leopard.  Next up…velvet.

Part 1: a DIY take on Elie Saab Fall 2016 – the Skirt

Models who walked Elie Saab’s Fall 2016 show looked like groupies on their way to an exclusive after-party, decked out in their finest laces, leathers and velvets.  The outfit pictured above could work for any age or size and would be very easy to make. Start with any basic full skit pattern, extending  the length and adding pockets if necessary. Use a burnout velvet for the skirt and a sheer black fabric for the lining. Make a full-sleeved turtleneck blouse in a rich organza or a lightweight knit or skip this step and use a turtleneck you already have.  Finish recreating the look with lace-up pumps, a wide western belt, chandelier earrings, and a few tassel or lariat necklaces.

Part 2: a DIY take on A.L.C Fall 2016 – the Coat/Dress Ensemble

I did not technically see this A.L.C. look stroll down the runway. Instead, I stumbled upon this coat and dress at the Neiman Marcus site while searching for shoes. A google search later and I had discovered designer Andrea Lieberman’s richly colored, elegantly simple creations.  To recreate this look I’d make the Burda trenchcoat in a silk velvet with a satin lining, leaving off the front pockets and transferring the right flap to the left.  I’ve opted for a simple sheath dress pattern made from a stretch velvet in the same color as the coat fabric. Since it’s important that the coat and dress are the exact same color you might need to choose one fabric to make both.  Complete the look with a great pair of gold heels (the higher the better), some simple gold jewelry, and a deep red lipstick…and an after-party or two!

The hand of fate…

The Ballad of Lotto and Mathilde

I ordered Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff as part of a recent reading stash purchase (mentioned here) but delayed beginning it until now.  I wish I HAD started the book sooner because it quickly became one of my favorite reads of the summer.  I stayed up way too late over the past week, following this slyly nuanced tale of a ‘perfect’ marriage that gives truth to the old adage that there are always three sides to any story; his, hers, and the truth.  If you are looking to get lost in a tale of passionate love, heart-rending loss, sacrifices made, revenges exacted, lies made truth and truths not told than this is the story for you.  Have you read Fates and Furies?  I’d love to know what  you thought of the story and what is on your ‘must read’ list for fall…


Fashion…turn to the left

I have loved fashion ever since I can remember.  Maybe it’s because I come from a long line of tailors and seamstresses (I learned to sew and embroider before I was 5) or maybe it’s because my mom and my aunts were so stylish that it rubbed off on me. Whatever the reason, when the seasons change I find myself scouring the world of fashion (including WWD, Vogue, and The Cut) to find out what’s hot.

This fall the hottest trends that appeal most to me are leopard, velvet, florals, dressed up bohemian, and the colors navy, pumpkin spice, and grey (naturally). Today I am posting the first in a series of ‘Recreating the Runway’ boards that combine my favorite fall looks with my love of sewing…

Part 1: a DIY take on Alice & Olivia Fall 2016 – the Coat

Leopard is, as always, a top trend. Alice & Olivia were responsible for one of my favorite Fall 2016 shows, sending 70’s rock-n-roller fashion down the runway.  This particular outfit really caught my eye since it would be simple to recreate (and look good on rocker chicks of any size or age).  I would lengthen the pattern to just below the knee and use large shoulder pads to give the coat some body, using a rich red silk for the lining.  A black or gold lining would look fabulous too. After finishing add a silk rose lapel pin (like this beauty from Etsy) and rock on!


Part 2: a DIY take on Alice & Olivia Fall 2016 – the Dress

An easy-to-make classic wrap dress completes the look.  The A&O dress has the left front wrapping over the right so you might need to manipulate whatever pattern you choose to get the same effect.  I love the silky prints I found at Jo Ann Fabricswhich compliment the coat beautifully. I love a strong shoulder so I would use pads to give the dress some shape whether the pattern calls for it or not.  All you need to complete the look is a wide leather belt wedge knee-high bootsand a great concert or rock club to wear it to!  Rock on.


9-16 Epherma

Tin Art at the Sorbello Girls Vegetable Stand

I spent a lot of time at various airports over the past week and had plenty of time to surf the web.  Here are a few sites that helped me to pass the time while I waited between flights….

This weekend I am taking a quick road trip to Jonesboro to watch rugby (Go Badgers!) with a pitstop in Memphis for some BBQ. How about you?  Any travel plans this weekend?  Or will you surf the web instead?  I’d love to know…

Walking to New Orleans…

The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France

My husband and I are adapting to an empty nest. To help ease back into being unencumbered adults we spent the past weekend in New Orleans. Check out what we did during our brief get away… Continue reading “Walking to New Orleans…”

Blinding me with science…

The Red House surrounded by Summer Green

One of the things I do to keep the lights on is plan and execute events.  Over the years I have organized everything from an intimate dinner for 8 to an overnight in the woods for 300.  I am a big believer in the ‘teach a man to fish’ parable and enjoy working with clients to achieve their event vision. After months of working with the TGCA planning committee their inaugural Educational Conference dreams became reality last Friday… Continue reading “Blinding me with science…”

Just a man whose intentions are good…


It’s been a busy few weeks for me, getting children off to college at opposite ends of the country and preparing for a corporate event I am organizing this weekend.  I haven’t had much free time but did manage to read a bit each day.  I just finished ‘A Man Called Ove‘, a book which surprised me twice and had me crying upon reading the last word.  I can’t recall the last time I’ve had such an emotional reaction to a book and continue to think about Ove’s story, which I found deeply touching. Have you read this book?  I recommend it if you haven’t.