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Sometimes, elastic is the answer to all my problems

18 Apr

I’m getting things started with my goal of not buying new clothes, only refashioning old ones that I described in this post. I’ve got a couple in the works, but yesterday I was hella productive. It was one of those awesome days when I got a lot done and felt refreshed, instead of depleted. Awesome.

Details on one of my projects (another one I will tell you all about later; to tease you, it involves lime green paint).

So, I bought this dress over a year ago at my favorite store for super cheap.

I'm bent over to get a photo of the entire thing, which is why it's a little bunchy.

It’s a really cute dress. However, I’ve only worn it twice. Why, you ask? Well, in case none of you have ever noticed, I really don’t have boobs. Nope, Erica got those in the gene pool. So, the two times I’ve worn this dress, I’ve had some serious wardrobe malfunctions, a la Janet Jackson. But I don’t wear nipple tassels, so luckily my full-coverage bra kept the embarrassment to a minimum when my dress fell down to my waist. I’m sure those of you who know me well realize that really, it was more embarrassing for the people who saw it than me. Sorry, spectators.

Anyway, I wanted to get more wear out of the dress because it’s so cute, and the fabric and color is really my style. But, I really don’t like constantly pulling it up. I want the dress to stay. Besides getting breast implants, I figured my best (and cheapest) bet was to add straps.

Cue elastic. I found some really cute, shiny elastic at good ole Joann Fabrics, and bought 2/3 yard of it. I went with elastic so there wouldn’t be any chaffing on my sensitive neck skin, and, let’s face it, it’s a lot easier. No seams, no ironing, no real measuring needed.

Here’s what it looks like now:

And, yes, I think I might do too many push-ups.

But, here’s to no more flashing!


Goals. And, no, I don’t watch football.

7 Mar

So, I am reminded almost daily that this year is the year of jenna (ask me sometime why I don’t capitalize my name; I might give you the real answer, or the fake answer, who knows?!). Funny enough, last night before I went to sleep, I wrote down my 5 main goals for the next year, not to be confused with resolutions, as they are not resolutions. They are goals.

I apologize, interwebs, but you are not privy to most of my goals. However, goal #4 I will share with you today:

  • 4.  Do not buy any new clothes for the rest of the spring and summer.

Anyone who has seen my bedroom and looked into my closet has said something along the lines of, “Damn, Gina, you have a lot of clothes.” This would be true, for a number of reasons. Everyone likes lists, so here goes:

  1. I wear the same size clothing that I did when I was 15. That’s 12 years of clothes. Granted, I have either donated or thrown away most of these clothes, but if I really love something, I keep it. I might not wear it, but I keep it.
  2. I can sew! Which means it is cheaper for me to make clothes than buy clothes, so therefore I can make more clothes than I would buy. Does that make sense to anyone else? I have some favorite patterns, mainly of skirts, that I remake over and over again with different fabric and different lengths. I know what skirts look best on me (a short A-line or an above-the-knee pencil, if you’re wondering), and so I make a lot of them.
  3. My favorite store is not in Minnesota (and shall not be named, although I probably talk about it almost every day), and so when I travel to a city that has the store, I go crazy. CRAZY. I’d say the minimum each shopping trip there is about 8 items. And then I can’t get rid of clothing from said-store. I found this store when I was 22 and living in France. I’ve gone on about 2 shopping trips a year to the store. 2 x 5 x 8 = 80. Hmm. Doing the math makes it seem a lot worse. Maybe I should delete that. (Notice how I did not say stop. I will never stop. I love that store. It’s too serious to even use an exclamation mark.) At least I haven’t started buying its clothes on e-bay, right? Yes, I’ve looked. My size is almost never on there.

Those are enough reasons.

So, what am I planning on doing? Well, I am going to either refashion clothes I already own (you know, change the hem, use my scissors for other reasons, I can’t think of any other explanation; really, I’m probably just going to change hems), or sew clothes using my existing closet-full of fabric, or I’ll probably let myself buy some new fabric as well. Mainly, because I already saw a dress online that I want to make:


image courtesy of: <>


I don’t like the fabric so much, but I’m a big fan of flow-y stuff with belts. And I think I could make the pattern for it myself.

Yes, I am starting to make patterns! Mostly, I just alter existing patterns. Stayed tuned to see my most prized pattern alteration that I completed a couple weeks ago.

I did my first refashion tonight. Do I show you the pictures? Hmm. Maybe just small pictures.

I have a pair of shorts that I bought at said-store in France 4 years ago. At the time, they were fabulous, but now, I just don’t like them that much. Over the last year, I’ve only worn them to go golfing, and who wants to wear black shorts golfing? Queue hot (temperature-wise) rear end. No, thank you.

So, what did I do? I cut them shorter. Hot pants are in style, yo. I will probably never wear them in public.


After. Yes, I am a vampire and my legs have no pigment.

I didn’t hem them, because that would make them even shorter, and because unfinished hemlines are currently de rigueur. And I’m a slave to fashion.

There you have it! Be prepared for more pictures of my white legs and clothes I may or may not ever wear.

For your viewing pleasure: pomegranate!

20 Feb

I thought that for the first unveiling of my new place, why not start with my favorite corner?

What I fell in love with immediately after touring my apartment, before it was my apartment, was its personality. A lot of apartments are reminiscent of hospitals and nursing homes: everything’s white and off-white. Gross. This one, while the walls were all painted either white (bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom) or beige (living room), it still had the little sumthin’ sumthin’ I was looking for. Case in point: these beautiful, gorgeous built-in shelves:

Remember my old sewing room? Well, I went crazy and bought this zero-VOC paint (which means it’s a lot better for the environment, you know, without any VOCs (ask me what VOC stands for (I have not the slightest idea what VOC stands for, but I know that it’s bad and I don’t want it (how many parentheses inside parentheses until you go crazy?)))). However, when I bought this awesome zero-VOC paint from the Natura line at Hirschfield’s, I didn’t check the price because I had a coupon, and when you have a coupon, whatever you want to buy is then cheap, right? WRONG! Wow, was I wrong. Most expensive paint there is, and I’m probably not even joking about that one.

Ok, that was a long explanation, but what I was getting at, was that I still had half a gallon of my beautiful, expensive Pomegranate Natura paint, and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. As soon as I saw the built-ins, I knew that the pomegranate would look exquisite on it, and I was right.

In that first picture, that’s the door to my apartment, and my coat closest is behind the shelving. I keep my cook books, games, movies, and a smattering of books on the shelves. If you look closely, my VHS tapes look amazing on my shelf, too. Yes, I still have a VHS player. And, yes, I refuse to buy a high-def television. I have the oldest TV of anyone I know, and I’m keeping it until it dies. I think that will be many, many moons from now…

Jean-Louis also lives on the shelves. Jean-Louis is a copper lobster that I kept while my aunt and I were cleaning out my grandparents’ house before my grandma moved into the rest home. My grandfather (the handsome man in uniform in the picture on the top shelf) had an affinity for copper figurines, and Jean-Louis was the strangest, and, therefore, my favorite.

Here’s another shot of what’s on the shelves. As you can see, it’s a tribute to my family (yes, mother, if you get me a picture of you when you were a child I will put it on there, but YOU HAVE TO GET ME A PICTURE!):

Summer Wrap-up!

21 Nov

First gardening summer is over, and there are definitely things that I plan on doing differently last year. Some of which I’ve already started on (see here).

Here’s what went wrong:

  1. I planted approximately 30 radish plants. They all seeded and the leaves looked pretty good, but there were zero radish roots, which, you know, if what you eat on a radish. Sad.
  2. My lettuce plants either didn’t grow at all, or were so puny I didn’t even bother picking and eating them. Seriously puny.
  3. I planted a couple different kinds of flower seeds. None of them seeded at all.
  4. The bees took over my compost pile.

So, looking at that list, it’s actually not so bad. But here’s how I’m planning on fixing those things:

  1. You know, St. Paul has an amazing Farmers Market that Chris and I live 5 minutes away from and love frequenting. There are many, many beautiful radishes to be bought, so I’m just going to let them take care of the radishes.
  2. See above, but replace “radishes” with “lettuce”. And lettuce only costs $1!!
  3. After I planted the seeds, my lovely mother told me that it’s really difficult to get flowers to seed. Since I had never planted any flower besides sunflowers, I didn’t know that. However, it’s not hard to get sunflowers to seed. I just happened to plant the sunflowers in the wrong spot, not knowing the tree next to it had gigantour leaves
  4. In the spring, before the bees awake from hibernation, I’m going to rebuild the compost bin. According to widipedia, bumble bees don’t nest in the same spot 2 years in a row, so I’m hoping for the best. However, I think there’s a hole that I don’t know about on the bottom of the compost, that by rebuilding I’ll be able to get rid of. I’m not going to try to do anything too pretty, but there’s a lot of plywood in the shed that Betty left that should do just fine.

And my other new ideas

  1. I want to build a rain barrel. This summer was great for rain, and I almost never needed to water anything. I doubt I’ll be that lucky next year, so I want to be prepared with a rain barrel.
  2. So, last year, my vegetables that were beautiful and delicious were green beans and tomatoes. Now, not all the tomatoes had time to ripen before the first frost, so I’m going to plant the tomato plants earlier (thank you, again, Farmers Market). Now, obviously, the @#$% deer ate my beans, so I’m going to try the suggest my aunt made and use liquid fence, since it doesn’t harm the environment or animals, but yet will keep deer, bunnies, squirrels, etc. out. Excellent. In addition to tomatoes and beans, I’m also going to try planting onions and green peppers. Maybe one day I’ll try lettuce and radish again, but I get the feeling my garden isn’t the best place for them.
  3. There are a couple sections of the garden that I didn’t do a thing to this summer, not wanting to overwhelm myself. But this year, I’m going to do some more pruning and planting. Part of the garden I didn’t get to has ferns and lilies that never flowered. I’m going to replant the ferns in another section of the garden, and just get rid of the lilies because I don’t have faith they’ll ever flower again. Instead, that’s where I’m planting the sunflowers, and I’m going to need some of that space for the onions and green peppers.

So, there you  have it. I love, love, LOVE having a garden. I stand in the kitchen and stare at it sometimes, just thinking about what else I could put in it, and looking at the pretty flowers. I never thought I’d be one of those people… Yup, I’m a grown up. I guess.

Those squirrels, they’re trouble.

20 Oct

Truth: I’ve always wanted to pet a squirrel’s tail. Just had to get that out there.

Anyway, we have a trouble-maker in our backyard. We call him Squirrely. Squirrely’s real cute, and likes to hide things. However, he DOES NOT like it when you find the things he hides.

Exhibit A: This fall, I’ve bought a load of bulbs so that in the spring, the garden is lovely right after the snow thaws! At least, that’s what will happen in a perfect world. I bought some purple and magenta Scilla, which I’ve been told could pop out of the snow in early spring. I’ve also gotten some Hyacinths, which might be even more gorgeous than the Scilla. I also grabbed a bunch of different color Tulips that I planted in the garden right by our back door, so that every time we go in and out of the door, we’re welcomed by beautiful Tulips!

So, while I was planting these lovely Tulips, as I was digging, I came across Squirrely’s hiding spot. Out popped a couple chestnuts from the ground. Against my better judgment, I decided these chestnuts could be old and they were from Squirrely’s father.

Wrong! This is what I walked out the door to a couple days ago:

What, Tulip bulb? Squirrely stole your home?!?

It was just sitting there, all alone. Naked, cold. I hope he left all the other tulips in their homes, but I’m not going to risk putting this one back, so I’m just going to have to find a new place for it. It might be red, or purple, or whatever that third color was that I can’t remember (it’ll be an awesome surprise come Spring!), but it’s going to spring up next to some called Black Widow that my dear mother brought me to plant.

Tonight, I planted 24 other random bulbs in a combo pack, also from mother-dearest. I have no idea what they will look like, but again, here’s hoping they come up!

I took a bunch of “Before” pictures, so just you wait, trusty Readers! I’ll have to get out Chris’ super snazzy Sony Alpha and take pretty pictures.

A special Saturday for the young and in love; and, What’s that smell?! part 2

19 Sep

Chris and I used our youth to the fullest yesterday. Wow, did we.

Well….maybe not. Maybe not at all. Here’s our oh-so-exciting Saturday:

1.  We had someone come out and give us an estimate on how much it would cost to replace our windows, as they are old and somewhat crappy. The woodwork is lovely, but, they’re drafty. This visit was quite helpful. We now know that we can keep the framing and replace everything else, so it won’t look badly misplaced in our gorgeous, classic house. But, we don’t want to do this yet. Instead, we decided to…

2.  Buy a new refrigerator! Oh, it’s amazing! When you open the doors, angels sing. I’m serious. It’s a Samsung with LED lighting, and only costs $53 a year in energy–the most energy efficient model we found for the size we were looking for. It has 2 doors, is black, and will not leak like the stained white one we have now. It comes Friday! Yes, I will take pictures. I’m so excited.

3. We took a 3-hour nap. Yes, 3-hours. It was AMAZING!

4. We went for a walk and decided that in 10 years when we move, we’re moving to a house back there. It’s possibly still in St. Paul city limits. Oh, those houses are beautiful. And they have 2-car garages.

5. And then we watched the movie “Wall Street” to get ready for the new one coming out. Well, Chris watched Wall Street, I semi-listened to it and played a ghost game on the computer.

So, basically, we did not act like young people. Oh, well…

Oh, and for Part 2 of What’s that smell?!

We also spent a good chunk of the afternoon searching for the rancid smell wafting in our kitchen. We found that it was only in the kitchen and in the work-area in the laundry room in the basement.

The decision: some animal died in the floor between the kitchen and the laundry room. Gross. We closed the vents and lit candles. Today I baked cookies. We’re hoping it was a small animal and the smell goes away in the VERY near future.

What’s that smell?!

31 Aug

So, I said in my last post that I’d write about my compost pile.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia>Compost

Well, it’s been a journey, let’s just say that…

I started said compost this winter, with the purchase of a garbage can at Target. Now, you can get really spendy with your compost bin. They have these crazy-shaped round monstrosities, but I wanted to stick with something simple (and cheap). You know what? I stand behind my choice. I just use plastic grocery bags as a liner (but always ALWAYS check for holes beforehand), and make sure the lid is firmly tight. But all spring and winter, the garbage can worked perfectly, and it will again. But right now, fruit flies are driving me and Chris crazy, so we’re keeping the compost in an old tupperware container in the fridge and emptying it every couple days.

However, the smell when emptying the compost bin is another story. I have to hold my breath, and I still gag. Ugh, nothing is a worse smell than the combination of banana peels, radish ends, egg shells, and kiwi skins.

Quiz! What can’t you put in a compost?

Answer: animal by-products! Or vegetables that have touched animal by-products! Or corn cobs! Some people use a specific 3 browns (grass, leaves) to 1 green (vegetable products) ratio, but…I don’t try that hard. And mine still works. You have to keep it wet, though! I empty my dehumidifier into the compost pile to keep it moist when it hasn’t rained in awhile.

Luckily for me, Betty and her husband (whose name we don’t know, so he’ll just be Betty’s husband from now on, or we could call him Peanut Eater, as his peanut shells can still be found all over the backyard–those things don’t break down!) already had a sweet two-compartment compost bin. For those of you who aren’t compost savvy, you need two compartments for your compost: one for the old stuff, one for the new stuff. Then, the old stuff is ready for you to put on your garden while the new stuff is still decomposing and readying itself. The compost bin is falling apart in some spots and needs to be tuned up a bit, but that’s a later project.

Early this summer, I had my first compost harvest and used it on my beans and tomatoes. And those beans=delicious! The tomatoes=pure beauty!! Oh, the tomatoes! I could write a song for them. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten tomatoes so amazing.

But since then, disaster has struck. A family of bees have made their home in one-half of my compost bin. Which, explains my bee sting this weekend. I know, I know–I should’ve stayed away. My mom told me to leave it alone for the rest of the year, but I was just working on the other half! They didn’t live there yet! But, it didn’t matter. I made those bees angry, and I don’t think I’m welcome back. But they’ll see…next spring, that compost is mine! And just think how rich and beautiful that soil will be…

Oh, and of course, wikiHow has a post on how to compost.

Ok, Mom (and you other composters), please tell me what else I shouldn’t put in the compost. I know the banana stickers don’t belong there, but, honestly, I’m too lazy to remember to take them off.