Thursday, May 29, 2014

Parlour Games

Travel back 100 years and see what life as a single woman was like~

Summary (from sweeping historical novel based on the true story of a beautiful con artist whose turn-of-the-century escapades take her around the world as she's doggedly pursued by a Pinkerton Agency detective.
The novel opens in 1917 with our cunning protagonist, May Dugas, standing trial for extortion. As the trial unfolds, May tells her version of events.
In 1887, at the tender age of eighteen, May ventures to Chicago in hopes of earning enough money to support her family. Circumstances force her to take up residence at the city’s most infamous bordello, but May soon learns to employ her considerable feminine wiles to extract not only sidelong looks but also large sums of money from the men she encounters.  Insinuating herself into Chicago’s high society, May lands a well-to-do fiancĂ©—until, that is, a Pinkerton Agency detective named Reed Doherty intervenes and summarily foils the engagement. 
Unflappable May quickly rebounds, elevating seduction and social climbing to an art form as she travels the world, eventually marrying a wealthy Dutch Baron. Unfortunately, Reed Doherty is never far behind and continues to track May in a delicious cat-and-mouse game as the newly-minted Baroness’s misadventures take her from San Francisco to Shanghai to London and points in between.
The Pinkerton Agency really did dub May the “Most Dangerous Woman,” branding her a crafty blackmailer and ruthless seductress.  To many, though, she was the most glamorous woman to grace high society. Was the real May Dugas a cold-hearted swindler or simply a resourceful provider for her poor family?
As the narrative bounces back and forth between the trial taking place in 1917 and May’s devious but undeniably entertaining path to the courtroom—hoodwinking and waltzing her way through the gilded age and into the twentieth century—we're left to ponder her guilt as we move closer to finding out what fate ultimately has in store for our irresistible adventuress. 

Review: Now this was an enjoyable book. I listened to the audio version and while I had a few issues with some of the voices that the narrator came up with I really enjoyed the story line and the characters.

The main character, May (who goes by various other names depending which part of her life you meet her in) endears herself to the reader instantly by constantly referring to us as "Dear Readers". You can feel yourself falling for her con but you can't help yourself, just like everyone else, you want to be around her and get to know her better.

I'm not sure that I would ever want to live the life that May lives but I would probably want to be friends with someone who has the guts to go out and get exactly what she wants just like May.

The plot starts out in a court setting so you know that at some point in time she was finally called out for her behaviour but the fun part is finding out how she got herself into the mess she's in. I liked how the story flipped from her past to her present conundrum in the courtroom.

The only thing I had trouble with was visualizing May in the late 1800's. She just seemed far too independent and free thinking for the time. I could easily see her in the 30's or 40's and had to keep reminding myself of the time period. This is probably just my own (mis)understanding of women's standing in society at the time.

Other than that, I recommend this book as a fun trip into the life of someone who thinks drama and adventure are the norm.

You can read more about May Dugas here.

May has a weakness for yellow diamonds
Have you read this book?  Did you know that it's based a true story?  (I had no idea until after I read it and started writing this post!)  Leave a comment below~

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pretty Pillowcase Dress

You may have noticed that I haven't had a whole lot to post in the past week or so.  Someone finally turned on the switch and spring has arrived full force, so I've been spending most of my time outside cleaning up the yard and creating a beautiful space in my garden.  I can't wait to show it to you once it's all done.

But that means there hasn't been all that much sewing and crafting going on.  Luckily, when spring hit a couple of months ago and there was still snow on the ground I did create a few things that I haven't shown you yet.

Like this cute little sundress for my niece.

I just used up a remnant I had and this pattern from 1981:

I'm pretty sure I just used view D and lengthened it to use up as much of the fabric as I had.

I get to see my niece next month so then I'll find out if this will be a dress or a tunic.  I think it's a little long for a top.

I added some pretty vintage lace on the bottom hem to give it an extra girly touch.

And I just used bias tape around the armholes to get a nice clean finish.

I love the versatility of this style.  It can last a little girl for years even as she grows.

Do you recognize this fabric?  It was a remnant from this dress I made a few years ago~

Monday, May 26, 2014

Movie Monday - DIY Circle Skirt

The music on this video will get a bit annoying, but just turn the volume down, because Annika Victoria gives some great instructions on how to make a circle skirt from scratch with no tracing and no closures.


What's your favourite skirt style to make?  Leave a comment below~

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Concert Outfit

On Tuesday I told you about the phone call I received from my friend.  She needed someone to accompany her to a concert that night because she had won free tickets.

I couldn't turn her down because I knew how desperately she wanted to go, but I also knew I really had nothing to wear.  Just before she had called I had tried on some pants from last summer and they seem to have somehow shrunk while in storage.  In fact, all of my pants have shrunk!  I have no idea what's going on.  (Actually, I know exactly what's going on and joined a gym this week.)

So again, as luck would have it, I just happened to have a pair of new leggings to try out from SammyDress. Even though they're leggings I have to admit, I was pretty nervous they wouldn't fit either because they're one size fits all.

Black Leggings

Luckily they fit just fine.  I'm actually not anywhere near cool enough to pull of leather look leggings but these ones have fabric inserts so I thought I might be able to get away with it.

Last month I tried out a neat short wig so this month I thought I'd try one that would give me the hair I've wanted for my whole entire life but could never grow myself.

Full Wig

I think I need to shape the bangs just a bit and maybe sew in a comb or two on the inside so I know it will stay in place, but other than that, I think it looks kind of cute.

I love playing with wigs and hair pieces.  They're such a fast an easy way to change up your look with no commitment. (Ah! Commitment!  The scariest thing in the world to me.)

Check out for more fun and inexpensive fashion items and hairpieces.

*This post is sponsored by however no compensation was received other than the products shown and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Fastest Manicure Ever

This is going to sound like some cheesy ad but I swear to you this is a true story.

After 2 days of almost perfect springlike weather where I spent as much time as possible digging around in my garden, I got a slightly anxious phone call from my friend.  She had just won FREE tickets to see one of her favourite bands, her husband didn't want to go with her, and it started in a few hours, could I pleassssssssssssseeeeeeeeee go with her.

Of course I said yes.  Then I looked at my scraped up arms and legs (the raspberry bushes did not want the trim that they got) and the mess my hands were in.  I was able to clean up fairly well, but I thought my nails could do with some help.

Then I remembered that I just got a package in the mail from Influenster that had something they wanted me to try on nails!

These are a bit flashy for me but I figured a concert was probably the best time to try them out.

The come with everything you need.

All you do is peel off the backing and stick them on your fingers.  I was done in less than 10 minutes.

I love the length.  They didn't get in the way while I was getting ready, they survived multiple hand washings and even the shower.  According to the package they should last for a whole week.

These are great if you have small hands like I do and aren't looking for dragon-like talons.  So far, I'm impressed imPress nails!

Oh yeah!  And the concert was FANTASTIC!  It was well worth the short scramble to attend.

*This post is sponsored by imPress nails via Influenster however I recieved no compensation other than the products shown and all opinions are my own.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Movie Monday - DIY Kimono Top

Go into any fashion store right now and you'll find a rack of kimono tops just like this one.

I'd use a machine to get a cleaner finish on the stitching but if you don't have a machine this is a fun way to dip your toe into the sewing pool.  You could also add fringe or lace to the edges to really personalize it.

Check out LaurDIY's channel for more easy to make sewing and craft projects!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Beautiful Butterfly Hairpins

I saw a version of these on a well known retail site...for $5 each!  Each butterfly was $5!  I had to make my own and I knew it wouldn't cost me a thing~

DIY Butterfly hairpins, Butterfly bobby pins

 Here's what you need if you want to make your own pretty picks:

 -Go on the internet, find some pretty butterfly images, and print them out onto regular copy paper
-1 acetate sheet
-Mod Podge and sponge brush
-small hole punch
-bobby pins
-optional: craft glue

1) The first thing you need to do is cut out some butterfly images from your printouts.  I just happened to have these laying around, you don't need this many.

 2) Crack open your Mod Podge and sponge it onto the FRONT of your butterfly.

 3) Now lay it down, face first, onto your acetate sheet.

4) Do the same with the rest of your cut outs, leaving a bit of room in between.

5) It will feel like it's dry almost instantly but let it set for at least an hour.  See that milky look under the acetate?  Just be patient.  When that's gone you can go onto the next step.

6)  All dry?  All right, now you can cut out your butterflies, again, but this time going through the acetate.

Ooooh!  So glossy!
7) If you have a really small hole punch, punch two holes down the middle of the body of the butterfly.

8) Now just thread your bobby pin through the holes, squiggly side down.

There's no need to glue.  It's on there for good.
If you don't have a tiny hole punch like I do, then you can pull out your hot gun or craft glue and just adhere your butterfly to the flat side of your bobby pin.

That's it!  Just a few easy steps and you can have a whole swarm, flight, or kaleidoscope of butterflies!

Have you ever tried taking a picture of the back of your own head?
It's harder than you would think!

I think these could come in super handy for a wedding or any other special occasion.  What other insects would you try?  Maybe dragonflies?   Leave a comment~

I had a real live lady bug in my hair today, trust me, they're not so cute on your head.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Last Minute Gift Bag

When I say "Last Minute", I really mean last minute.  As in, I was about to leave the house on Mother's Day to pick up my gift and go for a visit when I realized the only gift bags I had were from Christmas and this one from shopping.

So, as fast as I could I found a 3-D flower pattern on my Silhouette and cut a bunch out.

Then I just glued them onto my bag.  Voila!  All done.  If I had more time I think I would've covered the whole entire bag~

This is why I never throw anything out.  I know there will come a time when eventually it will become useful.

How about you?  Do you hang onto shopping bags or do they go straight into the recycle bin?  Leave a comment below~

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vintage Pucci Pattern

OK, I can admit it, I am officially addicted to sewing patterns.  I tried walking away but I just can't.  As soon as I enter the a thrift store, vintage patterns are the first thing I look for.

And guess what I found this past weekend!  A real treasure....Vintage Pucci from Vogue!

Will I ever make it and wear it???  No, I will not.  But how could I possibly resist?  And it's a size 10 to boot!  Do you know how rare it is to come across smaller sized vintage patterns?

Did you notice that it's not a gown???  It's culottes! So Pucci!

I tried to put it down and walk away but I just couldn't.  Could you?


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