Monday, December 31, 2012

Lindy Focus XI - Balboa Comps

We're in our final day at Lindy Focus in Asheville, NC and getting ready for the New Year's Eve party tonight. (I'm trying mobile blogging, so hopefully the formatting isn't all wonky!) Chris and I are having a blast - we've done a couple contests, dancing a bit part in the show tonight, and I took my first burlesque class ever (from Sharon Davis/"Bonnie Fox" (if you look her up on YouTube, please note it's NSFW!!)) I actually took the night off from dancing last night because I was so tired - I know I missed some great music and dancing, but I'm feeling WAY more human today. :)

My dad emailed me last night that he found some YouTube footage up from the weekend already - here's a clip of Chris and me dancing in the Balboa Jack & Jill - in J&J contests you're paired up with a random partner. I'm up first dancing with Marshall, who I've not seen in years, and Chris dances with Lana, a gal from Kiev whom we've never met before this weekend!

We also competed in the Underground Lindy Focus Championships - Balboa Edition (at 2:15 AM!!) and made it to the final four - everyone jumps onto the floor and the judges give out challenges, and they tap out couples until they get down to 6 couples. We had to do Pure Bal (chest-to-chest the whole time), No Basics, Slow Bal, and Lots of Spins - the challenges were actually really fun and a good way to loosen up for the finals! Here are the first 2 rounds of the finals - We're in the second group out on the far side in both videos.

There are a TON more videos already up from the weekend, if you want to see more search for "Lindy Focus XI".

Happy New Year!! Stay safe and don't drink and drive, and I'll see you in 2013!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Parties

Merry Christmas! I just finished up an insane month at work, and I'm on vacation until NEXT YEAR! :) We're taking advantage of the time off from work and flying out to North Carolina for Lindy Focus, which is one of the (if not THE) biggest swing events in the US. It's the first time Chris and I  have been to this event, and will be our first time on the East Coast together. I'm going to *try* to blog while I'm there, but if I don't you'll know it's because I'm running around having fun!

Because we're going out of town we didn't decorate at home this year, but we've gone to a couple Christmas parties. I wore a new me-made Beignet skirt to a Gingerbread House party last Sunday, but I'm a bad blogger and didn't take any photos of it. But here's our sugary creation - every team gets the same basic house kit and creates a different scene. We got 3rd place with our "Broadmoor Abbey", mostly because Chris invented a ridiculous story about the Stonehenge-esque light bouncing through the stone windows. It sure wasn't the Gummi Bear statuary that won!

Wednesday night was my office Holiday party - there was an office decorating contest, and I wanted to share some cute creations we made. Not award-winning, but pretty fun for a couple hours with wrapping paper! If you want that giant measuring tape behind me, it's available as a printable download here.

We did NOT make the Hot Dog cut-out - that came with the sliders food station, but I thought it was pretty exciting. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one at the party who used it.

And the obligatory photo-booth pics!
Happy Holidays - I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

V is for Vintage - the DOT COM version

This December will be my 2 year Blogoversary! As a gift to myself I purchased a new domain,, and I'll be moving the blog very soon. It's my first time trying this, so I wanted to give notice in case your feed readers don't automatically redirect. Come find me at my new site!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Everyday Wardrobe: Gray Tweeds

There has been some buzz lately on sewing blogs about the Everyday Wardrobe - we all have a tendency to sew/buy a lot of special pieces that aren't very versatile, and wind up wearing the same few things all the time. This topic came up right when I decided to put some fresh effort into my dance wardrobe, and I'm incorporating the idea into my current projects.

I've got 2 patterns that I plan to use over and over for my Everyday dance dance skirt is a 6-gore style that I copied from a thrifted skirt, and the trousers pattern is Wearing History's Smooth Sailing pattern. My genius idea is that using TNT* patterns & and the same fabric means that the sewing will go quickly. Except it's not so genius when my fabric is off-grain when I cut them out, because then it means I have 2 garments to fiddle with and fix instead of one! whoops...

Here are my first additions to my Everyday (Dance) Wardrobe - my 2 TNT patterns stitched up in an gray acrylic tweed. I love using washable fabrics, so I'll pick a good synthetic/blend if it looks nice. This one really looks like wool and it's a loose weave so I think it'll still breathe.

I didn't plan my new tweed pieces around Sunni's idea of making an outfit from a Never Worn Garment in your closet, but that ended up happening! I've had that white butterfly top for nearly 2 years, and wore it for the first time this weekend.

What do you think about the Everyday Wardrobe idea? Are you joining in? or would you rather put your efforts into making fancier things?
TNT Pattern = Tried and true pattern that you've made before and love!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

IndyGear 2012 - Adventure Day

As promised, here are the photos from last weekend's event - Chris and I tagged along with friends at Ft. MacArthur for the annual IndyGear Adventure Day. I may not be interested in dressing up for Halloween, but I make up for it the rest of the year! 

The day is full of running and digging in fields and tunnels, so I put together a rough and tumble outfit from some modern pieces in my closet, topped off with a $5 hat from downtown LA that I trimmed to look vaguely like a pith helmet. It was a very pithy day!

WWII reenactors made the fort into a British base, and we were tasked with excavating an archeological site in the midst of a warzone. I think we did pretty well, even with tea being on ration!

Photos by Lauren & me - see more of her photos here
Clockwise from Top: 1. WWII Reenactors guarding the base 
2. IndyGear member cataloging artifacts found at the dig 3. Cleaning an artifact
Clockwise from Top Left: 1. Examining a bomb site for archeological treasures.
2. Lauren driving our team to safety 3. A team of Nancy Drews exploring the tunnels (since it's make-believe we ALL get to be Nancy, and no one has to be Bess!) 
4. Dealing with Military Bureaucracy

Clockwise from Top: 1. It'll be less bumpy if you look where you're driving!
2. Tunnel Hunters 3.Santa Catalina in the distance 4. Chris digging for treasure.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting Ready

I'm getting ready for an event this weekend (pics to come!) and did a trial run of my outfit tonight. It's nothing fancy, but I wanted to make sure I had everything organized. I try to do this for any special event, especially if I need costume pieces that might be buried deep in my closet or garage. Then as I take them off I hang all the garments together and put accessories in a shoebox so that they're ready to go. Don't forget hair accessories and makeup!

Anal, yes. But it makes getting ready for an event SO much nicer when you don't have to spend 10 minutes digging for the right tights or gloves, or forget to wear a special piece of jewelry.

Monday, November 5, 2012

"23 Skidoo" - American Duchess Shoes

Have you seen the new American Duchess shoes? I'm sure a lot of you have, but the swing dancers out there should take note - the newest style in this line of historical reproduction shoes is a 1920s spectator heel.

It comes in two colorways - brown-and-white, and all-white version that you can paint any color yourself (and American Duchess always has lots of how-to-paint tutorials on her blog, so don't be afraid if you're not super crafty!). Or most shoe repair shops can dye them for you.

Aside from being super cute, these also look like great dance shoes - leather uppers, a smooth sole, T-strap, and check out the heel - it's a 2 3/8" French heel, just like The Balboa, a perpetual favorite among swing girls.

American Duchess is in the pre-order phase right now - "23 Skidoo" is only $99 now through 11/19, and after that they go up to $120. And check out her blog for a shoe giveaway!

Friday, November 2, 2012

1939 High School Cutie

A couple weeks ago someone left a comment on my post about my 1939 Eagle Rock High School yearbook that their cousin, Justine George (Streeton) graduated from the school that year. So I went on a treasure hunt to find her! She's such a cutie, what every vintage girl wants to be. And quite accomplished too, judging from her yearbook credits.

I've gotten a couple more ERHS yearbooks from 1936 and 1937, and I found Justine in all three. I did a little Photoshop collage with the pics from 1939, I need to brush up on my artsy skills!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

This image came from a 1939 Band-Aid ad - 
but if that knife slips, she'll need something a little bigger than a Band-Aid, I think!

How's your Halloween season going? I'll admit, I've been actively avoiding it this year (though I am looking forward to passing out candy to trick-or-treaters). As much as I like dressing up in weird clothes, I only do Halloween every 3 years or so - most of the Halloween events we go to are dances, and it's just not fun to dance in a giant foam head. Too hot! ;)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fine & Dandy Outfit Challenge

A couple weeks ago Bobby White of Fine & Dandy  and Swungover challenged his readers to present a Fall-to-Summer transitional outfit. I try to confine my outfit posts to things I've made or special events, so I took this as a challenge to do a dress revamp that's been waiting a couple years.

I've got a few Loco Lindo dresses that I've picked up at sample sales - I love the vintage-y rayon crepe print fabrics so I'm a sucker for grabbing ones that are too big for me with the intention of fixing them. This dress always vibed early 1930's to me, so I finally got to work at making it wearable. I wore the finished dress out dancing Friday night, and it was so much fun! The skirt length is technically too short for early 30's, but I'm more comfortable with knee-length anyway.

My new-to-me 30's watch, picked up at an antique mall last weekend. 
It keeps good time when I remember to wind it!

The original dress was too big in the width and length for me - I raised the shoulders about 2 inches (giving me nice high armholes that are so great for movement and dancing) and turned the front darts into princess seams to remove about 4 inches from the circumference (bodice and skirt). The green neck contrast originally wrapped around as a back neck yoke, but I lost that when I raised the shoulders, so I just added bias tape to finish the back neck.

I also removed the self tie and made it into a belt, and added some matching buttons to add to the 30's look. After I figured out how to reduce the bodice size, it was an easy revamp -  but I almost didn't make the submission deadline due to being super sick the last couple weeks, so I gave up some housecleaning to finish the project. I should do that more often! ;)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bal-Aska 2012

So things are getting all jumbled and out of order because my blogging isn't keeping up with events, but that's a good problem to have - and we just keep pushing on! :) Last weekend Chris and I went up to Anchorage, Alaska to teach at their first ever Balboa event, Bal-aska - and we had a ball! It was a whirlwind trip of only 3 days plus travel time, but we managed to sneak in a little sight-seeing between classes.

No fancy-pant camera on this trip, this time my phone was in charge of recording memories. And DJing for classes, and mapping out the wild streets of Anchorage. Smart phones and jet planes are 2 reasons I'm glad I didn't actually live in 1938. Anyway...

Our trusty rental in The Last Frontier

With the promoters and staff of Bal-aska - Patrick, Roxanne & Binky

Chris got in the spirit of Autumn up there -
 it's painful coming home to 100 degree weather!

Friday night's band - featuring the youngest member of the clarinet section!

Outside of the Saturday venue

This incredible book was one of the weekend's prizes, 
and there was a shriek from every girl in the room when it was announced. :) 
I snapped a photo as a note to buy it, and my own copy is racing to me right now!

Friday afternoon we stopped by the zoo - who let this animal out of the cage?!

Playful Otter

Polar Paws

Chipmunk in the tree was squeeking and teasing the foxes behind the fence.

Black Bear, Black Bear

Overlooking the bears

Little Campbell Lake

Don't fall in!

Hiking on one of the Kincaid cross-country ski trails

And Sunday morning we took a scenic drive along the south coast. Beautiful!!

Friday, August 24, 2012

International Lindy Hop Championships - Live Streaming

This weekend is the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington D.C. - after only 4 years running, it has quickly established itself as one of the premier swing events. 

Yehoodi is hosting a live streaming feed for the evening competitions, so if you're interested in seeing what's currently happening in the world of swing dancing, check it out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Costume College 2012

Costume College! This post is extremely picture heavy, but I know you don't want it any other way.
For more photo goodness, visit my Flickr page. (still working on learning Lightroom, but I'm getting slightly faster!)

This is my second year attending Costume College, and I had a blast. Last year I mostly took limited classes (hands on workshops) but this year I attended more lectures. The number one thing I'm excited about now? Hat blocking! I'm on the hunt for a 21 1/2" basic block so that I can make fabulous cloches.

This year's track theme was "Golden Age of Hollywood", but a lot of my vintage and repros just feel like everyday clothes to me, so I opted to rewear some of my projects from the past year instead.

Thursday night they had a Carmen Miranda meet-and-greet cocktail party, and low and behold, in the garage I had a pretty awesome Halloween costume I made a few years back. (You might recognize the top from my Maharaja costume.) This was definitely my shiniest costume for the weekend, even if I did forget my maracas! I built the turban/headpiece over a knit ski hat, which keeps it secure on my head.

Tutti-Frutti with Lauren (Wearing History)

Ginger in a killer 30's chenille bathing cape (Scene in the Past)

Friday night was the ice-cream social - the theme was Medieval, which our group all flagrantly disregarded.
Lauren in her a-maz-ing plaid bustle dress

Ginger, in Regency

Stephanie and I both wore Edwardian and Castle bobs

Rachel, looking like a Vogue cover in her perfectly coordinated ensemble. 
Everyone tried to steal her hat!

Saturday night is the Gala, where you wear your most spectacular outfit, and walk down the "red carpet" - there are quite a few onlookers who come out to see the show! Too many great costumes to even remember - I only captured a few!

My favorite photo of the weekend - love the deep colors of all the outfits! In case you're wondering, my husband and Lauren's husband are hamming it up on the other side of the camera, cracking us up.

Another Blogger photo! This time adding "American Duchess" Lauren into the mix. :)

The Nevada ladies all wore their state colors - they were so impressive!

All I can say is - Lauren's lucky we're different sizes. But the cape is ripe for stealing!

Which her husband promptly did!

Icing on the cake - Ginger's recreation of Olivia de Havilland's costume from Robin Hood (1938).

Ginger's entourage arranging the publicity photo.
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