Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thrift Thursday: Velvet Tulips, Anyone?

I have got myself on a little schedule this year - I am posting at least one blog a week and posting new bags for sale on Etsy every Tuesday and Thursday. I am so bad at keeping to a schedule of any kind, so the fact that this is week three of the schedule is amazing!

As a child, I spent lots of time at my Grandparents' house. They had the biggest backyard ever! There was a covered porch, a cool paisley shaped pool and a sloping yard that went on forever and ended in flower beds. It was odd to swim right by banana and peach trees in Texas! I am talking about their yard because my Grandfather was a great gardener - especially handy with those tricky bulbed flowers like tulips.

Today's Thrift Item is a lovely 60s or 70s short nap velvet print that features - TULIPS! I just love large, crazy fabric prints - especially florals. I've got pics of two bags I made out of it. Looking at this fabric reminds me of Pop (aka George Louis Boswell) in the yard with his jumpsuit on and working on his flowers. He worked in the yard until he was 92 - with horrible arthritis and all. I hope I will still be sewing at 92 and just growling through the pain of arthritis - eff stopping what you love because of aging!

A bit sentimental today :)

Anne Marie Beard

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunny Sunday: Movies, Friends and Ribs

I don't know about you - but Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Time seems to move a little bit slower - and as I prepare for the week ahead I like to look back and take stock of what all I did in the week before.

First off - PBS is running "The Complete Jane Austen" every Sunday night on Masterpiece Theatre. I LOVE Jane Austen - and I am posted up on the couch at 8pm READY to watch the next installment. Last week was Northanger Abby, and tonight it's Mansfield Park. Oh the Anglophile in me is coming out!

Last Tuesday I went to the Austin Premier of John Sayles' new film, Honeydripper at the Paramount Theatre. It was a charming film set in a small town in Alabama in 1950. It moved in Sayles' typically slow and rich pace of film-making, and was lovely. Gary Clark, Jr., a local Austin musician, was featured in the film, and he is a guitar playing badass. The cast was FABULOUS - I highly recommend watching Lone Star and The Secret of Roan Inish - two of my favorite films, also directed by Sayles.

Last Thursday I went to see There will be Blood - the highly acclaimed film starring one of the BEST actors of all time - Daniel Day Lewis. The Musical Score of the film really stands out - and has to be one of the most intriguing, haunting and original works of music I have heard in a long, long time. You can check it out on Amazon - the composer is Johnny Greenwood.

So Friday rolled around, and it was my BFF Jayna's birthday. We have known each other since the FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN - you just don't let go of friends like that. Plus, she is hilarious, super talented and blast to hang out with.

I made her a set of matching and reversible napkins and place mats - I am invited over for the first dinner she uses them for. We went to Vivo to eat - totally obnoxious hostesses - like hostess Nazis, but the atmosphere there is fun.

I settled in to watch West Side Story last night - I had forgotten how amazing the score and choreography is for that film! Since the weather was nasty, wet and grey all last week - I was thrilled to see the sunshine this weekend! My toes are freshly coated in bubble gum pink, and wearing flip-flops was a special treat today.

My mom and I took my 92 year old grandmother around town today - to lunch, then shopping at Wal-Mart where she bought 4 bags of chocolate candy, one huge candy bar and a box of Girl Scout cookies - hmm - I wonder where I get my LOVE of CHOCOLATE from? Heck, when you're 92 you should eat whatever the heck you want! We ended the afternoon at Half Price Books - my favorite bookstore - and I scored a fabulous book - "Making Vintage Bags" by Emma Brennan. I can't wait to try one of her patterns!

Right now I am baking my Dad's Famous Country Style Ribs in the oven, and relaxing in my clean apartment. I hope your week is fabulous - and check out the Ribs recipe below!

Brodie's Country Style Ribs:
* Get Country Style Pork Ribs, as many as you like
Mix the following spices together, in an amount you like:
* Salt
* Lemon Pepper
* Paprika
* Garlic
* Herbs
* Chili Powder
* Sm. amount of Sugar

Pat the spices into the meat, covering both sides. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

* Sear the ribs in a pan on high heat until a golden and crispy crust is formed - just a few minutes
* Pour enough of your favorite BBQ sauce in a pan - just enough to cover the bottom
* Set the ribs in the pan - do not let them overlap - and pour more sauce on top - just enough to coat
* Cover pan with foil, and bake at 250 for 2 1/2 hours.

The meat will FALL off the bone and be very tender, juicy and delicious. I suggest serving with fresh snapped green beans and mashed potatoes. Nothing like a home cooked meal on a Sunday night!

Anne Marie Beard

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thrift Thursday: That Tablecloth Becomes You!

The other night I was smiling over a new bag pattern I had created, and immediately started to tear into my stash to find new fabric combinations. When you've been designing handbags and collecting vintage fabric for a little over 5 years - your stash just seems to grow and grow - in fact, I always claim that my fabric has babies while I'm out.

Looking through tub after tub of fabric, I smile as I remember the shopping adventure that led to each purchase. My fabric is like a solid group of friends - and making it into bags to be enjoyed by lovely ladies is a really neat way to share my love of textiles!

Today's Thrift Store Score focuses on a HUGE 1970s tablecloth I purchased a few years ago. I remember my heart pounding as I spotted the fabric - a bulky pile amidst the fabric bins. The bright army/olive green shouted at me - Anne Marie! Do you see me? Come and look - unfold me - I am HUGE and you can make dozens of bags out of me!

The tablecloth was a large oval shape, and the fabric a nice plain weave cotton - kind of nubby and woven with thick yarn. The edge of the tablecloth was decorated with quite possibly the ugliest trim I've ever seen, and that HAD to go.

I have been making a few bags out of the fabric each year - trying to extend the life of the tablecloth as long as possible. I find it satisfying to make many different styles of bags out of the same fabric - it brings out new sides of the fabric's character. I have often admired designers like my friend CHIA, who can cut an entire piece of vintage fabric at once, and then be done with it.

I tend to hold onto them like bestest friends - we're not through with each other until every kind of bag possible has been created from it. This style is my hugely popular Wendy Zipper Tote. It's big and roomy but very lightweight - and it holds a LOT. Check it out in my etsy store - and stay tuned for more thrifting, crafting and sewing adventures.

Anne Marie Beard

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thrift Thursday: From scary dress to sexy bag

Oh how I love to thrift shop! I am a serious thrift shopper, my friends. If I am in the store more than 15 minutes then something is seriously wrong. It's like a challenge - walk in the store - eyes narrowed, looking for that perfect deal, walking super fast.

I go thrifting when I have a little twinge of an electric feeling inside - "there's something good out there today..." and usually, there is!

One of my favorite things to look for is vintage fabric - I will cut up sheets, draperies, tablecloths, clothes and more. All of the bags I make have a cool story behind them - usually centered around the adventure of purchasing the fabric.

Today I finally got around to posting some bags for sale in my Etsy store - do you have any idea how long it takes to measure and weigh all your products for sale online? It has only taken me 5 years to do it!!!

So one of the bags I posted today is the result of a thrifting trip - Picture this dress - sleeveless with a neru collar, empire waistband, and floor length skirt. All in this dark green paisley print with pops of orange, blue and tan. You could stop traffic in a dress like that! Snip snip snip went the scissors - and voila - I made a sexy, curvy bag.

The funny thing about all this eco/green conciousness to me is that - wait, is it 1992 again? I was the product of the MASSIVE green wave of the early '90s, and recycling has always been a way of life. I mean, who wants to wear what everyone else has, when you can score a funky skirt at Goodwill, or make a fabulous bag out of a hideous dress? For those of you who aren't so handy with the sewing machine - you can always browse my Etsy store for tons more goodies made from recycled/eco-friendly/green materials. It's nothing new - but I may as well mention that it's part of the *annemarie* ethos.

Happy Thrifting!