I’ve now got a little over a month left until my thesis is due and a little over twenty out of eighty pages written. To say that I’m stressed out would be an understatement. Appreciating the beauty around me helps, though. These pictures were taken over Intersession, when I was trekking back from the library after struggling to progress on my thesis. I usually miss golden hour and the sunset, because I’m either studying, at work, or just not paying attention, but the orange glow is too beautiful to be ignored.
I’ve found that making small goals helps, with infinitesimal rewards along the way (typing this is a reward for writing a paragraph). I’ve also made a time table for progress, that puts me around ten pages a week until Spring Break, which will be super-crazy-crunch-time. At some point, I may just have to lock myself in one of Princeton’s many towers and not let myself out until my thesis is done.
I’m going to do my best not to turn into a hermit though, and keep writing on here and doing fun things. I have a rough plan for a dress I want to make, based on the Russian nesting dolls dress from Modcloth, the Asbury Park ice cream fabric, and a little seersucker. Maybe I’ll post my sketch of it here along with some fabric samples. I think I might let myself order the ice cream fabric once I finish my second chapter of my thesis as a treat.
Until then, I’ll keep dreaming about a post-thesis world in April, where every night I’ll stay up late talking, and every day I’ll work on whatever project I want, and I will be blissfully, blissfully happy. It’s hard not to daydream too much, but I know I’m less productive when I do so, and the less productive I am, the less likely I’ll have time to actually complete the projects I dream about.
Good luck to everyone else struggling with their (lack of) thesis!
Right around the beginning of springtime I start falling head over heels for novelty prints – the zanier the better. I think it’s my body’s way of dealing with the frigid temperatures and perpetual darkness. I’ve gotten pretty stir-crazy recently from pretending to work on my thesis and starting up school again, so I can’t help but dream of when I have the time to execute some of my schemes. I’m planning on printing and painting my own material sometime soon, but until then, I just browse the internet, looking at all the pretty prints that stores are stocking.
Once it gets warmer, I plan on breaking out some of my novelty print pieces (I’ve got a couple fruit and map patterned crop tops hiding away until the sun comes out permanently). Until then, I can dream about bright patterns and colors – and plan some DIYs. I want to do at least two novelty print projects:
- Print my own design onto a (probably) pre-made, thrifted dress (see A Beautiful Mess’s project for inspiration). I’m thinking I might do multicolored fruit stamps of pears and apples or lemons and limes.
- Create a feminine, vintage-inspired dress using novelty prints (like the blue Russian nesting dolls dress from Eva Franco for Modcloth, above). Beth Louche’s StashModernFabric Etsy shop has a lot of cute novelty cotton prints, which I would love to make something out of, including the kukla collection if I wanted to recreate the Eva Franco dress, this bicycle print, and this “Asbury Park” ice cream print.
What about you, have you fallen hard for novelty prints?
When I first started seeing Anthropologie’s Karinska Tulle Skirt around the blogosphere (specifically on Atlantic Pacific), I knew I had to have it. I also knew, however, that at $188, I wasn’t in a hurry to buy it. Then, when I saw that it went out of stock on Anthropologie, I realized I could make it for a fraction of the cost. Over winter break, as part of my resolution to do more creative projects, I took on the task of recreating this skirt.
- 16 yards of ivory tulle – This is going to depend on how large your waist is, how long you want the skirt to be, and how many layers you want. For me, I wanted the skirt to graze the top of my knees (it’s a little shorter than the Anthropologie version) and I wanted six layers of tulle. To get the “candlelight” look of Anthopologie’s skirt, I used ivory tulle over a white lining, but you can of course make this skirt in any color scheme.
- 2 yards of white silk lining – This again will depend on what length you want your skirt to be. You can pick any lining style you want, I chose one of the white fashion fabrics at Joann Fabrics. It’s going to be covered by six layers of tulle, so it doesn’t need to be incredibly nice.
- An “invisible” zipper in matching color – This should probably be between 5 and 9 inches long, just long enough to reach from your natural waist to the widest part of your hips.
- Ribbon – This should be at least the length of your natural waist (the skinniest part of your body) and can be in either a matching or a complimentary color. I chose white because of the Anthropologie model, but a bright contrast could look great too. I chose a grosgrain ribbon, but you can choose another if you want. I would avoid “wired” ribbons, though.
- Thread in a matching color
- Start by cutting your tulle into circle skirts (here’s a good tutorial, if you’re fuzzy on how to do this). Make six circles of tulle with the length of the skirt the distance from your natural waist to your desired length. Try to keep the edges neat because you do not want to hem all that tulle. Also, when measuring your waist, cut it out a little on the smaller side, because parts of the fabric will stretch when cut.
- Stack the tulle layers and baste the waists together for stability. If the tulle is a little bit bigger than your waist, pull the ends of your basting thread to scrunch up the tulle.
- Cut out another circle skirt, this time in the lining fabric. Hem this fabric along the bottom edge of the skirt.
- Sew the lining to the tulle, and finish it either by serging if you have a serger or with a doublestitch (sew a straight line, then sew a zig zag line close to it and trim the fabric up to the zigzag line). Cut off the excess seams beyond the stiching to make the skirt nice and neat.
- Measure out a piece of ribbon a little longer than your natural waist. Pin it tightly to the waist of your skirt, and sew the two pieces together, trimming the seam to make it neat.
- Cut a slit into the back of your skirt the length you want your zipper to go (probably around six inches). Following your zipper’s sewing instructions, sew the zipper in the lining layer, letting the other tulle layers float free. Trim all dangling threads and jagged edges.
Voila! You’ve finished your skirt. Wear it styled with a bustier as in the Anthropologie ads, or wear it with a plaid shirt and pearls like Atlantic Pacific. The possibilities for ethereal glamour are (almost) endless. The Sartorialist even recently posted about the ballerina look. And don’t worry about it being too fancy for whatever occasion – it’s always the best time to look your best, even at the grocery store.
I looked out the window and saw that, due to erratic New Jersey weather, a London-esque fog had settled over the street, cloaking all the eating clubs in an orange haze. It was beautiful. Moments like these are what being in college is really about – realizing the magic in the wee hours of the morning, in happy exhaustion, whether you’re alone doing work or having a late night chat with friends.
We sent my sister Susan off for a three month long backpacking trip through New Zealand on Monday through the NOLS program. The bag she’s carrying on her back will accompany her over mountains, into sea kayaks, and who knows where else. It also weighs probably forty pounds or more. She’s pretty excited, and if I enjoyed the same sort of masochistic activities that she does, I would be too if I were her. I’m actually just glad that I’m not the person living off of three pairs of underwear for three months.
P.S. Shame on me for skipping two days of photo taking. That being said, this exercise is more of an aspirational challenge, and the more I complete of it, the better.
Have you ever been backpacking for an extended period of time?