Tuesday, July 1, 2014


When I first started this blog last year, I wasn't quite sure where I wanted to take it, and because of this it was easy to put aside as I struggled with balancing work and school--I just didn't have the time to sew or even take pictures, let alone a real life outside of those things.

It's also pretty funny that since early November of last year--I think right after my last post--I bleached out all my hair and dyed it lavender, but I've not many photos of that at all, despite how nice it looked and how much I loved it. I think having hair that was hard to match with most of my clothes was too much for me (although the few pieces I have in navy or black or white did get a lot of wear). And I love bright printed fabric, but I didn't buy any to sew up because of my hair.  I'm back to brown and feeling a lot more like myself and now that I have finished one of my degree programs (microbiology) finding school/work/life/sewing balance should be much easier for me, and that much more enjoyable.

So, I thought in the spirit of beginning anew, I would post a much improved version of my Swirl-a-like dress that was my first sewing post on this blog. I've been using the Craftsy platform and learning a lot about fit. Using the high bust measurement was a revelation for me, especially since I have somewhat narrow shoulders compared to those on commercial patterns. On the anchor version, the fabric was cute--although I disliked the sheen--but it was a little bit big because I graded up according to my full bust measurement. For this version, I used the pattern as is, and it fits pretty darn perfect.

It's Advance 8847 and I call it my "Kandinsky dress" because the fabric reminds me of his paintings. Oh, the fabric is atomic by Alexander Henry.

I used Gertie's suggestion for piping as a facing, since my fabric was running low, partly due to my desire to pattern match the yoke piece.

sort of awkward boob shot--but look at the matching! and pretty topstitching! 
 I didn't have enough fabric to match the pockets, but I did have enough to make the pockets out of the same fabric section if that makes sense. They're sort of mirror images of each other. In any case the button hole is placed in the same spot.

I'm excited about sewing again! In the past few months I've taken the time to learn some new techniques that I will be putting to use in upcoming projects. I've acquired a decent stash of nice fabric--no polyester to be seen! Unless it's in some of the fabric I've thrifted--and I keep buying collecting vintage patterns off of ebay. Long story short, I've quite a list of projects, and am planning on sharing them all with you. Maybe I'll even tackle some of my UFOs. We'll see!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Under Construction

It's been a looong time since my last post, partly because of life getting in the way, but also because I didn't have any direction for where I wanted this blog to go.

As it is, I am revamping Olive Branch Vintage into having more of a sewing focus and I've already begun work on changing its look...

Expect to see new content in a few weeks.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween and Day of the Dead

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It's a chance to be creative as we all try to outdo each other in terms of costumes. This year, I went as a Lichtenstein painting-esque girl, blonde wig and all. In Tucson however, Halloween means two other things--one, the weather is finally turning towards the cool side, and two, the All Souls Procession isn't far away.
Before I went to bed on Halloween, I was still lucid enough to take a nice bathroom seflie of my costume makeup (even if it had got a bit smudgy).

What is the All Souls Procession? It's a Tucson tradition and take on Dia de los Muertos, that honors both Mexican and native cultural notions of mourning and remembering the dead. Despite the grim connotations, the Procession is really just a huge parade, with music, performers, and everyday people who dress up and participate in the fun. This year it took place on November 3rd, and the weather was absolutely perfect for the event.

I went with my friend Hollie, and it was both of our first times at the Procession. We wound up having tons of fun and got to see some very interesting people.

Yours truly and some new friends

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Owl Purse Saga

Waaaay back in August (how is it already October??) I spotted this girl with the most adorable purse that looked like a very simple version of an owl's face. Of course I asked her where she got it--Bookman's, which is a sell/trade/buy bookstore chain in Arizona--but it was my loss that I didn't go to look for them until a couple weeks later, as by then they were all gone. As these things go, when I couldn't buy the purse I only wanted it more so I left my phone number with one of the employees on the off chance that they would get more in. Fast forward to last week, Bookman's called me! I rushed in and there they were!

When it came to it I couldn't decide on either black or brown. Luckily I had a trade-in credit slip, so I felt good about buying both. Ugh I still can't get over how adorable they are, just looking at them makes me smile! Have any of you had a similar love affair with a purse?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tech Upgrade

You know how in my last post, I was lamenting about the increasingly bad quality images I was getting off of my advanced point and shoot?  Well, now that I have a good paying part time job (I don't think I ever mentioned that did I? I work in the men's department at a well known department store) I decided to take the plunge and finally upgrade to a DSLR.

 In the past I've used Canons for my photo classes and given that my P&S was a canon I was inclined to go that route. However, once I started researching, I became more and more interested in Nikon, or more specifically in the D5200 which is what I ultimately bought. And although I've had very little free time to play with it--who would think school and work would be major time hogs?--I'm very pleased with the results I've been getting.

I just messed around for a bit using the auto setting and the two different lenses that came bundled with my camera. These aren't amazing shots by any means, but they definitely are better than anything my old camera could do.

My kitty Phoebe, using the 18-55 mm kit lens


Not a great shot, but not bad considering how far up the alley these javelinas were. 55-300mm

I also splurged and used my student discount to get Photoshop (which I will need to use for a class this semester anyway). CS6 is very different from the old version of GIMP I've been using, but in a very wonderful way.

Hopefully I'll get a day free from work and school so I can go out and shoot!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Testing (and casual Friday)

First two weeks of school--done! Get home before it gets too dark to take pictures indoors--check, maybe?

This batch of photos was a bit dark and I lost some of the quality when editing to correct it, but I was excited to try taking outfit photos for the first time in my apartment. I wore this to lab on Thursday, and it's very casual, but I like how I dressed it up a bit. Plus I really like fun headbands, like this yellow wire one that I wore. I think it's so silly that they require us to wear closed toe shoes in lab, but they don't care if we're wearing shorts or skirts that expose our legs, as the lab coats only go to mid-thigh. If I spill acid on myself, well, thank God my toes are safe! (I could wear pants more often, but sometimes the Tucson heat and fabric encased legs don't cooperate all that well.)

I was told I looked vaguely sixties while walking up to my door after school because of my hair do--I'll take that complement stranger/neighbor!

And one of my favorite pair of earrings; it's hard to take a picture of your ear by yourself.

The older my camera gets, the harder it is to get good quality photos out of it...I think I need to start a camera savings fund. Any suggestions for DSLRs in the $500 dollar range ( I need that RAW editing capability)?

Outfit details:
shirt: Merona at Target
shorts: Ann Taylor
shoes: B.A.I.T
earrings: Betsey Johnson
headband: Free with one of my many Modcloth orders!

(Everything is pretty old, but the top may be on clearance now)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back to School Wish List

Yesterday was the first day of my senior year at the University of Arizona (although I will have a bonus semester next fall) and seeing everyone in their first day best is giving me some serious shopping urges. As I ended up getting those white Saltwater sandals I was wishing for at the beginning of the summer, it's high time for a new shopping wish list.

1. I know for sure I will be getting that dress as a celebration for getting a job! Can you guess where? And as a bonus, it matches a vintage Vera scarf I have perfectly.

2. Those Duluth bags have been on my radar for years, but the price always hangs me up. Although it won't stop me from dreaming about them.

3. I have these wedges in a dark brown croc and red suede--it's time to add another pair to the collection. The heel is low enough that walking (or biking) around campus isn't an issue.

4. Maybe if I had a pretty sketchbook I'd be more motivated to use it.

5. Ever since I watched an Antiques Roadshow that featured an ID tag of Clara Bow's I've been wanting one with my initials. I love the bar style.

6.  I will always be a pencil snob. Ticonderogas are the best for everyday pencils--and the name is fun to say too ;)