21 Jul

The past several months have been busy! I got a part time job, quit said part time job, turned 29, Tom got fired and hired within a day, we went to Louisiana for a family reunion, I’ve been helping my mom find a new home (again,) and I’m planning a big chunk of a fundraiser for a family friend.

I worked briefly as a receptionist/executive assistant/personal assistant for a local insurance agent, but it didn’t work out. It was a favor for a friend, but what with Mom needing to get out of this apartment (from hell) a.s.a.p., and my own health suffering for it, I, along with the rest of my family, decided it would be best for me to quit. I’ve never had the luxury of just choosing to quit a job, since it’s almost always been because I needed to move or was laid off, so that was a new experience. It went well, and the boss told me to keep him in mind if I ever need a job in the future.

Tom also got a new job when his old boss lost a big contract with another company, and is working in construction. He gets to tear things up – it’s very cathartic. He also appreciates that he doesn’t have to think much or manage others, but gets to wear himself out physically. Plus, three day weekends!

Me, 29, and happy!

Me, 29, and happy!

I’m officially 29 years old, and I actually feel like it. I’m excited to be on the verge of 30, and to be learning new skills, like hooping and flow arts, and getting to dress creatively and make things. It’s good for my soul, and I’m in an okay place. I’m more consistently physically active, so my body is growing stronger, and I’m having fewer FMS flares. I feel like I’ve established a style, and learned how to dress myself like a good grown-up should. Seems like it’s going to be a good year!

Hooping my little heart out.

Hooping my little heart out.

Our trip to Louisiana to visit Tom’s family was fun and beautiful. We stayed in a cabin at Lake Claiborne that overlooked the lake. I got to play with nearly all of my nieces and nephews, who have grown so much since I saw them! It was a few days of good food, catching up, exploring the grounds, and very little social media – no TV, even though we had them in the cabins.

Our view from the loft bedroom in our cabin.

Our view from the loft bedroom in our cabin.

My mom is finally going to get out of the apartment complex that’s been going downhill for the past 3 and a half years since she moved in. The area has become more violent, and she’s had 3 different management companies, which means plenty of shiny new “issues” each time a new one takes over. I can’t wait to find a new place for her to live where she feels safe, and can have more privacy.

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Lastly, this spring our friend Tammy was diagnosed with cellulitis (a skin infection) in her arm, which then spread to her back, and into her spine. When she went to the emergency room within 24 hours of being released from treatment, they rushed her into surgery to remove the abcess that had formed, and she is now paralyzed from the waist down. So, a bunch of friends have gotten together to plan a benefit, Tam Jam, to raise at least $15,000 to help offset the medical costs, and remodeling costs to make her home wheelchair accessible. My mom and I are in charge of the silent auction, so we’re scouring the metroplex for unique items, that will accompany an all-day concert filled with local musicians at South Street Patio in Arlington. I’m also in charge of promotion and social media, so I created a website, and maintain the FB pages. You can visit the site here.  It’s hard work, and I’m just hoping it pays off!

So, that’s what I’ve been doing these past few months. I hope to be posting much more often again now that I have a little more time, and I hope this finds you all well.

Gentle hugs,

Chelsea

 

Update your wardrobe for free (or really cheap!)

12 May

One of my favorite thrift stores in my hometown!

If you’re a spoonie (someone with chronic illness,) you know how taxing it can be to go to a mall or big department store full of people. I personally thrift the majority of my clothing, and prefer the atmosphere of thrift stores to big chain stores. If you’re able to go on a weekday, there usually aren’t many people, the people who are there are generally friendly (it’s easy to strike up conversation when you find something fun, like a vintage embroidered mumu,) and the prices are great.  I’m fortunate that the stores in our city tend to have a large selection of good quality, vintage, and name brand and designer clothing and accessories. I occasionally enjoy hitting up local antique stores, too, where I can find really unique clothing pieces and accessories (if I can afford them!)

Lately, I’ve been on a closet revamp kick. I’ve always enjoyed wearing more “alternative” styles, and personally draw inspiration from rock and roll, punk, goth, and gypsy styles. Since I no longer live or work in a place where a certain image is expected, I’ve decided to revert back to the style I feel best suits me.  Alternative style cultures promote DIY and handmade looks, since it’s all about unique, individual expression, but you can incorporate these techniques into any style!

Why alter clothing?

1. It’s fun! Even if you don’t normally enjoy arts and crafts, there’s something really special about putting your mark on something you’re going to wear. When people compliment you, you’ll get to say that you did it yourself!

2. It can be a very inexpensive hobby. You can often find supplies like studs, embroidery thread, and patches online for much less than you find them in stores. Try searching eBay or Amazon.

3. You can use what you already have. Updating your wardrobe can be as easy as using what’s already in your closet. Cut a collar off of an existing button-up shirt, and use it as a necklace, or sew it onto another shirt. Cut an applique or image from a shirt, and sew it to a jacket or vest. Embroider a message or design on pair of jeans. Cut up t-shirts, and use the remnants to make bracelets or necklace. Draw on a pair of old tennis shoes with a Sharpie. Chances are you already have the supplies you need to start altering what you have. Just Google DIY clothing projects if you need a little inspiration.

I’ll post pictures of my personal projects to (hopefully) inspire you just as soon as the stormy spring weather decides to give me a little natural light for photos. Until then, check out my Smashin’ Fashion Pinterest board for ideas:

Old suits refashion.

 

Gentle hugs,

Chels

A chilly and Faire day. (Costume reveal!)

15 Apr

Sorry for the belated post! I’ve been sick for the past week or so with some kind of super cold/sinus infection combo, and I’m just starting to feel like myself again.

Tom and I made it out to Scarborough Ren Fest on 4/5, and it was the coldest, wettest Scarby experience we’ve had yet. I’m not going to lie – we were huddled together and sipping on hot coffee and tea most of the time. We were dressed for warmer weather, but you just can’t rely on Texas to stay in season for too long at a time.

We got lots of compliments on our costumes, and were even photographed by total strangers! Here’s how they turned out:

When we realized how cold it was going to be, we rushed to add some warmer elements to our costumes, like the sheep skin Tom is wearing on his back. The night before, I cut strips of cloth to hand sew to a rug we already own, so that he could slip it on like a backpack. He wore long johns under his peasant pants, too, since the fabric my mom used to make them is pretty thin. I wore leggings under my skirt, and I bought some tall socks at the dollar store on our way to the festival to cut into arm warmers for both of us. I, ahem, had to buy a very pretty velvet shawl as it got colder to help keep my upper body warm, which I ended up gifting to my mom at the end of the day.

I also bought some yummy smelling Fresh Peach perfume oil from Majikah Perfumery, which I love because it’s not alcohol based, and is chemical-free! I also found a dainty, hand-carved wooden wand to go with my fairy costume. We had good food, ran into old friends, and had an overall good time, but headed home early when the drizzle became rain, and the chill became downright cold. Maybe we’ll be able to go again when the weather warms up!

Gentle hugs,

Chels

 

Shamans and Fairies, Oh My! (an update on our Scarborough Costumes)

2 Apr

So, we picked up our tickets for Scarborough Ren Fest last weekend, and we’re planning on making it to opening day (for the first time!) this weekend. I’ve been working hard on finishing our costumes, and, fortunately, my mom agreed to make Tom’s peasant pants, so I could concentrate on the other stuff.

Now, they’re not your typical renaissance festival costumes, exactly. Tom is going as a shaman/green man combo, and I’m going as a dragon fairy. There are nods to renaissance attire, but they’re in no way meant to be historically accurate.

I finished Tom’s “breastplate” (for lack of a better word.) It went from this:

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… to this:

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I embroidered Nordic designs onto a pleather-y fabric (it’s felted on the back, which I hope will be comfortable for him to wear all day.) There are runic compasses, symbols for guiding you to a specific outcome or trait, and a border design I found online. I’ve hand sewn on faux fur trim, and leather fringe and trim, and added moss and acrylic paint for a lived-in look.

I also made antlers/horns from Sculpey clay to add to his headdress. I painted the antlers with various colors of acrylic paint, and sealed with Mod Podge. Then, I attached them to their own cord to be worn underneath the band of the headdress, which I cut holes into for the antlers to “grow” out of.

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I tried out some makeup looks for my dragon fairy costume yesterday:

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I plan on dyeing my hair purple before Saturday, hence the purple eyebrows. I still need some practice with using fishnets to produce a “scale” effect on my skin, but I like the way the colors coordinate with the headdress.

To view more photos of our costume pieces, go to this post. You’ll find more of my fairy costume, and some other in progress and inspiration pics!

Gentle hugs,

Chelsea

Please help a friend in need!

23 Mar

Prayers for Carie

I’ve known Carie since we were in elementary school. I can say with total confidence that she is one of the sweetest, kind hearted people I will ever have the privilege of calling a friend. Although she and I don’t see each other often, when my father passed away last September, she and her husband, Tim, helped when we were cleaning out his apartment, and trying to raise money for his memorial, by buying a shelving unit of his. She also came to the memorial with her daughter, Norah, when none of my other friends were able to. Her support meant more than she’ll ever know.

Now, she needs help. On Christmas morning last year, Carie had a stroke. Within the past couple of months, she’s been improving significantly; she began speaking, and has recently been able to hold herself in a seated position, and has a little movement in her arms and legs. She’s still unable to open her eyes on her own. She still has a long way to go in her recovery, and her family is in need of financial assistance to pay for the treatment she needs.

A friend of the family set up an online fundraiser to help pay for those accumulating medical bills, and has raised almost $4,000! To make a significant impact on the cost of her hospital stay and therapy, though, that amount needs to be, at least, doubled. So, I’m asking you, if you’re able, to give a little to this wonderful family. If you’re unable to donate, please share the link to the fundraiser on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or whatever social media you use most! The more we can get the word out, the more money we’ll be able to raise. Click on the photo above to read more about Carie’s story and progress, and to learn how to donate.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

 

 

 

Energy!

11 Mar

Chronic illness cat

 

Chronic illness cat, you speak the truth.

Gentle hugs,

Chels

Are you going to Scarborough Faire?

10 Mar
fool hearty

Click to visit SRFestival.com

Next month begins one of my favorite times of year – the time we get to go to Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, TX!

This year, the hubs and I are dressing up. (In past years, we’ve dressed in costume, but not every year.) My guy’s going with a green man/wild man vibe, and I’m finishing up the dragon fairy costume I started making a couple of years ago.

Here’s the hub’s inspiration:

Luckily, between my mom and I, we happen to have a plethora of furry and leather trims and fabrics to use. I’ve made a couple of “found object” necklaces with things I had lying around. Now, I’m working on creating a headdress.

I didn't want to pay for a bird skull, so I created one from some black Sculpey and whitewashed it.

I didn’t want to pay for a bird skull, so I created one from some black Sculpey and whitewashed it.

Wire wrapped beads and arrowheads on leather cord make manly, rustic jewelry.

Wire wrapped beads and arrowheads on leather cord make manly, rustic jewelry.

Here’s my costume so far:

I’m also finishing a little choli vest to wear (and secure the wings,) and a matching utility belt for the essentials. I can’t wait to test the makeup! I’m going to try to create “scales” using fishnets as a stencil.

Reversible cropped vest with lace up front and sides.

Reversible cropped vest with lace up front and sides.

Follow our Costume List Pinterest board for more inspiration on these and other costumes we plan on creating! 

MadeULook by Lex - Original Human Dragon makeup! Facebook.com/madeulookbylex, youtube.com/madeyewlook

Click this makeup inspiration image to go to our Pinterest board.

Are you dressing up for a fair or festival this year? Share in the comments!

Gentle hugs,

Chels

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