Thursday, January 19, 2017

Fleeting Snow

The Flying Clubhouse: Fleeting Snow
The Flying Clubhouse: Fleeting Snow
The Flying Clubhouse: Fleeting Snow
The Flying Clubhouse: Fleeting Snow
The Flying Clubhouse: Fleeting Snow #mixedmedia #painting #cloudscapeI'm loving the current bizarre spring-like weather, but not long ago we were blanketed in a beautiful snow. It prompted us to buy our first snow shovel, the handle of which served as a perch to a tufted titmouse (see first photo).

Have you seen Fantastic Beasts? We caught it at a local dollar theatre the other day and I fell in love. Steven liked it too - he's a proud Hufflepuff and could relate to Newt Scamander in many ways. :-) We have been spoiled with entertainment this month, also enjoying the new Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. Lemony Snicket was the subject of one of our first conversations when Steven and I met at school. We were both fans of the books, and Steven ended up giving me a copy of The End early in our relationship.

I've been busy painting my little heart out - mostly abstracted cloudscapes with acrylic and metal leaf. I haven't had much time for blogging, but if you'd like to follow along with my painting adventures, I set up a new Instagram feed @annafranklinart

Monday, January 2, 2017

Roses

The Flying Clubhouse: Roses #outfit
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses | layered necklaces
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses
The Flying Clubhouse: Roses | painting
Happy New Year!

I posted a very similar outfit with this American Apparel dress not terribly long ago, but I wanted to highlight my favorite dress from 2016. I might have worn this to a party, but I didn't actually go out for New Years Eve. Steven and I had a great time staying in, playing video games and eating celebratory chocolate cake. 

It felt like the world went nuts in 2016, and it was hard on the soul. It taught us a lot, though. On a personal and practical level, 2016 was good to us. We're alive, we stayed healthy. I picked up painting again after a long hiatus. 

Despite all the darkness, I have high hopes for 2017 and I wish all the best for you in this New Year.

shoes: thrifted
vintage 70s clutch: etsy

Monday, December 26, 2016

Mermaid Colors and Homemade Gifts

I made a lot of homemade gifts this holiday season. Homemade gifts are not easy - they take time and you need a good idea. DIY projects can be stressful too. This year, however, I just happened upon two projects that were a delight to make. I made paintings for some people and colored bath salts for others. I just love painting with acrylics - if I get the chance to paint first thing in the morning, it's one of my favorite things.

The idea to make colored bath salts came from an earlier project, when I tried making bath bombs. My first batch of orange bath bombs were for testing and my own personal use. They were wonderful, except they turned the bath water the color of Mountain Dew soda. :-/ I decided yellow food coloring was something to avoid.

I thought I was ready to make bath bombs for gifts, using food coloring in pinks, purples, and greens instead. My next batch went horribly wrong, though, and the bath bombs refused to come out of their molds. I had used tea cups as molds the first try and the bath bombs came out easily, but not this time. I tried turning over the molds for 48 hours, putting them in hot water, chipping away at them, but it was no use. I still had some of the bath bomb ingredients and thought I could make colored bath salts instead. The bath salts went much better and you can make your own using the following simple recipe:

Mermaid Bath Salts Recipe:
2 parts lavender-scented epsom salts
1 part baking soda
A few drops of vanilla extract
A few drops of pink, purple, blue, and green food coloring

After you mix the first three ingredients in a glass bowl, you can divide the mixture into small plastic zip baggies and add different food colorings. All you need is a drop or two per baggie for light pastel colors. Squeeze and shake each baggie until the color is evenly mixed. Then, cut a corner off each baggie and pour the contents into a glass mason jar or a bottle. (If you have a funnel, this might be a good time to use it). Just make sure you have a lid or a cork to keep the bath salts fresh in their containers.

These container were some I already had. I pulled some old wine and soda bottles out of recycling and removed the labels in a sink with warm water and soap. (Some of the labels were stubborn and needed to soak a long time). For some reason I had kept all the corks from the wine bottles in a kitchen drawer. Most of them fit in the soda bottles, and I thought it made for a cute, message-in-a-bottle look, which is why I ended up call them 'mermaid bath salts.' I kept some of these bath salts for myself for testing. They're great in bathwater and in smaller amounts for a relaxing foot bath. How much you want to use really depends on your preference. I found that the vanilla scent almost disappeared when the bath salts dried, but reemerged in a pleasant way when poured into bath water.

Anyway, I hope your holidays have been lovely so far.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Cable Knit and Honeycomb

The Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and Honeycomb
The Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and Honeycomb
The Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and Honeycomb | berries
The Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and Honeycomb
The Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and HoneycombThe Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and Honeycomb
The Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and Honeycomb
The Flying Clubhouse: Cable Knit and HoneycombThis post is sponsored by Aran Sweaters Direct. Opinions are my own.

Some of my friends who have moved from New York or Massachusetts have said that North Carolina doesn't have a real winter. I disagree, but then I've only ever lived in North and South Carolina and (briefly) in Louisiana. It's true that this November was unusually warm, but at last my winter coats have come out and I'm reaching for a sweater almost everyday. And there gets to be a point when it's good to have a seriously thick sweater on hand.

Today I am collaborating with Aran Sweaters Direct. They are a company that designs and makes sweaters in Ireland. I am fascinated by the rich tradition of Aran sweaters - or jumpers (you can read more about them here). They sent sent me this charcoal Turtleneck Irish Knit Sweater, and I couldn't be more pleased with the quality. It features a cable knit and honeycomb stitch. Both heavy and breathable, I've recently been wearing it around town in place of a jacket or coat. If you're looking for a gorgeous and warm sweater, I highly recommend looking at Aran Sweaters Direct. They also have beautiful cardigans, hats, and scarves for men, women, and children.

Another reason sweaters have been on my mind is that I've been watching the Harry Potter films for the first time - yes, I was pretty late to the Hogwarts Express. We just finished The Goblet of Fire - things are getting intense! Anyway, those kids wear some nice sweaters in the series - a necessity if you're going to school in a drafty castle.

You can follow Aran Sweaters Direct on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

skirt: asos (old)
bag: vintage 70s via crazygoodbananas
boots: thirfted


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Deep Blue

The Flying Clubhouse: Deep Blue
This post is a about my experience with eShakti, who recently invited me to review a product of my choice. I had seen some other bloggers review eShakti, including an interesting review by Leah of Style Wise. My bust, waist, and hip measurements typically fall into three different standard sizes - so the customization options eShakti offered were very attractive to me. I took full advantage by specifying my measurements. The sample dress pictured on the website had three-quarter sleeves and was knee length. I requested long sleeves and mini length, and was happy with the results - especially the fitted sleeves. The thing I love best about this dress is that it's so comfortable. There's no zipper in the back - it just slips over the head - and the cotton is very soft. It's a good option for traveling when you want to look nice and still feel like you're wearing pajamas. (Except I definitely want spanx underneath because of all that stretchy jersey in the tummy region).

I want to let you know that before this review I wore this dress out a couple of times and machine-washed and tumble-dryed it (following the instructions on the tag). This dress is cotton and I find that lots of contemporary clothes get either destroyed or altered in the washer and dryer, even when following the instructions on the tag, but this dress came out like new. These photos were taken after the wash. I'll probably be sticking with my second-hand and vintage wardrobe, but if I ever find myself in need of a specifically customized garment, I'll definitely consider eShakti in the future. They had some really lovely semi-formal and party dresses available. There was good communication with the company, the package arrive quicker than I expected, and I have no complaints. If you want to follow them, they are on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Anyway, December is here and we're finally getting rain in North Carolina and I'm super-excited about it. When it's wet outside it's good to have a corner to take photos in. Here, you can see my gallery wall-in-progress. I'm not sure what it's going to morph into, but so far I've had fun decorating.

dress: c/o eshakti
bag: vintage 70s via etsy
flats: used via ebay