Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Cat Lady Sewing Challenge & "Falmouth Dream Cruise" highlights

Hi Friends!

For all you crazy cat people out there,  fellow sewing Blogger "Miss Crayola Creepy" brings us a Cat Lady sewing challenge.   Within the month of October, sew an article of clothing made with fabric with cats on it.       Someone who knows my weakness, obviously!     She has a flickr group set up to for us to upload pictures of our finished projects.  Not sure what to sew yet,  so many ideas!  I will have to think about it and post later.  

Falmouth Classic Car Dream Cruise

Every September, the Falmouth Classic Car Club holds their "Dream Cruise" event,  where vintage, classic and unique automobiles are on display to the public on Saturday, and then Sunday they drive around town strutting their stuff.

Of course you know this was on my son's calendar months in advance,  and the weather last weekend was beautiful for it.    There were way too many cars for me to go into detail about the history of each, so hopefully you can enjoy the pictures we took and some thoughts I had about some of the cars we saw. (There were many, many beautiful cars.  I only chose a handful that I liked the best to post here)

I decided to wear the dress I made for the Mad Men sewing challenge last year (the lavender rose dress from McCall's pattern circa 1961) but with the exception of one of my vintage purses, I did not have time to accessorize or do my hair.

 First  up is a 1958 Chevy Impala.  It's Pink!  XOXOX
This car was a real beauty, I love the two tone pink & white they did.  Original sticker price on this baby was approx. $2500.  Six tail lights, eight headlamps, and it measures in at a whopping 17 1/2 feet. 

ooooh, how many bodies do you suppose I could hide in this trunk?

Across the lot, We saw this 1963 Impala.  I was amazed at how different looking the same car was after a mere 5 years. The length is still about 17.5 feet,   the sticker price has gone up a few hundred dollars - with the exception of one model, a 4 door, 6 cylinder station wagon model priced at just above $2000.  Says it seated 9 passengers!  (told you there was room in the trunk!)    I'm guessing that this was an economy model targeted towards families. 

This pretty gold & white two-toned car is a 1957 Dodge Custom Royal.
and it has tail fins (I'm a sucker for tail fins)    Only 4 headlamps on this one,  but still has 6 tail lights, but the top two are really small ones.  Dodge only had these in production from 1955 to 1959, then it became a trim level for the Phoenix. I had trouble finding an original price for these cars.

It's all about the tail fins baby!

This next car is a 1954 Chevrolet Corvette.  We were sure that it was a custom built job, because this was one very odd body style. But no, to prove us wrong, there was a picture of the 'before'  the rebuild showing how it looked. There is no front or rear bumper to speak of,  it is all molded.   It is a little hard to see, but the front headlights are recessed with a cage type thing in front of them.   The tailights are bullet shaped, which was common for then with the atomic age just coming around. You can see the beginnings of the tail fin trend with a teeny little fin on top of them. The rear license plate is inset with a window.    This was only available as a 2 door roadster.  It still is a good 13 feet of length though.   Original sticker price was about $2700.  (interesting enough, the weight is about 2700 lbs - so that works out to $1 per pound of car! Cheaper than deli meat, I tell ya!)

The 'before restoration' photo, showing what a unique body style that was apparently all original.

The next two cars here are 1954 Kaiser-Darrins',  sitting next to eachother on the lot - one in a pretty lemon color, the other in a lovely lime.    Made me think of sherbert!  Was 1954 just the year for the strange looking cars?   My Mom's father had a Frazer, which she described as being the 'working man's Kaiser'.  They were made by the Kaiser Frazer company,  and the Frazer models were a lot less showy.     The Kaiser Darrin's as shown here are the first fiberglass sports car produced  in the United States, beating even the Corvette (if only by a month).   The original price on these models was about $3600, really pricey in those days- higher than even the Caddy and the Lincoln models at the time. It had lots of stuff - electric windshield wipers, tinted windows, whitewall tires, tachometer - little things that probably added to it's high cost.  Apparently there were some other issues with the car as well: design flaws, mediocre performance (Alfa Romeo Spider, Jaguar, Nash-healy and other comparable sports cars of the time were much faster)  Sadly, the company had produced many more than were sold. The company stopped selling in the US the following year.  (Howard Darrin, the creator, bought a bunch of the surplus cars, souped them up using V8 engines (as used in Caddy Eldorados)  multiple carborators, and superchargers, and remarketed them as 'specials' a few years later for $4350.   These changes made the Specials go really fast.)

So there you have it, folks. Highlights of this years 'Dream Cruise' at least some of my favorites anyway.    There were, unfortunately, no classic Cadillacs, to Peter's dismay. 
Do you have a favorite classic?  I'd love to hear about it! - Share in the comments below.

xo Yvonne

Awesome resource for original pricing and other data:

Some info obtained on the Kaiser-Darrin's from:

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead Cosplay tutorial

In honor of the beginning of October, and one of my absolute favorite of all favorite holidays - Halloween -  I'm sharing a cosplay I made for my son earlier this year for Anime Boston (March).   Peter is a shy kid, however, and ultimately decided not to cosplay for the event.  But the outfit came out pretty darn good if I do say so my self, so I thought I would share it and the how-to's with my readers.  I have tried to include the pricing and source (where I found an item) 

The hat:

I ordered a cowboy hat from for about $7 ($11 with shipping), but was a little dismayed when it arrived as it looked a little more like something Woody in Toy Story would wear than a gun-slinging zombie fighter sheriff's hat.    A little creativity and a lot of brown craft paint fixed that.  (Brown acrylic paint, large bottle (about $3) found in the Walmart craft section).
I applied about three coats to the hat along with painting over the white fabric edging.  I went up to the inside  (but did not paint the inside itself as I didn't want to leave any residue on my kid's head)  

Lotsa brown craft paint

Gold Braid:    I purchased a package of thickish gold cording from Michael's  (about $3 per packet which had 6 yards).  Found in the knitting/crocheting section.   I used a hot glue gun to tack down the cording, looped it around the brim a few times, and then made a couple makeshift tassels at the end. 

Yay Tassels!

Making the Sheriff's badges & Police shields:

The next part was adding the 'badge'  to the hat,  and I would also need a second one to go on the uniform, as well as the police shields for the arms & the nameplate for the breast pocket. 

  I looked a lot on the internet to see if I could purchase some pre-made ones, they had a few on ebay but were astronomically priced (like $80 a set)  and all the plastic ones I found looked kind of cheap.  So I ended up making my own:  I found some high quality pictures on the 'net of the Walking Dead sheriff's badges,  'Grimes' nameplate and King's County Police shields.  

 I printed them out onto  Iron-on Transfer Paper (most craft stores like AC Moore, Michael's & Joann's will have it.)  I used to use these sheets all the time for my kids making T-Shirts, and for Girl Scouts crafts.  (They are specific to your printer, mine is an inkjet)  and then once printed out, I ironed them on to a sturdy white cotton fabric.  I have to admit that the first time through I made a mistake - anything with writing you need to print the reverse out (mirror image)  and I was all ready to sew the patches on when I realized they were backward.  I ended up using a photo editing program to flip them so they printed in reverse  (Adobe photoshop,  MS Paint,  there are a bunch of them that can flip a picture) 

 Once you iron on the design, they come out right side round.  The two sheriff's stars I then hot glued to cardboard and then trimmed out the shapes.       I hot glued one star to the center front of the hat.

Finished hat:  the paint gave it a realistic rawhide look
 The shirt:

The shirt we used was an old Boy Scout one.  With my son being in scouts for several years, and myself and my husband being adult volunteers,  we had a bunch of shirts that one or the other had outgrown or become worn out.   If you don't happen to have your own scout shop in the basement,   you can also find them used at thrift stores (I ran across two not too long ago at our friendly neighborhood Good Will store (like $6 each) and I've seen them used on ebay as well.   Note- you could buy them new from one of the Council Shops or, but new shirts run close to $40, and for a costume that you won't wear more than a couple times, it is not cost effective.
I used plain Brown felt cut to sew over the breast pockets, and for the epaulettes (shoulder loops).

For the police shields on the arms, the sheriff's star and the 'Grimes' nameplate, see the Iron on instructions I gave above for the sheriff's star on the hat.   The two shields were just ironed on to the white cotton, trimmed for shape, and then sewn to the arms.   Ditto for the Grimes nameplate patch.   The star as with the one for the hat was glued to cardboard backing and then tacked to the shirt with some hot glue.

Pants:   For the pants, we did try to find some that matched the color at a thrift store, but alas, couldn't find any that were the right color and size (my son is tall!)   I ended up using a pair of his old khakis, then dyed them using RIT Brown dye  (used the stove top method and left them in for a good long time to get a really dark brown)    I had bought a few yards of gold trim (in with the ribbons from the craft section of Walmart)   and sewed it up the sides of the pants with my machine.  (note - sewing up the side of a pant leg is not for the faint of heart....  you can also use hot glue)


Finished pants

Kitty wondering what the heck i'm doing

 So here is the finished  Rick Grimes Cosplay costume.      You can accessorize or not (I found a pair of play handcuff's at Walmart for $3 that he could loop through his belt, they also had some play Cowboy gun sets (toy dept.), complete with holsters for $10 (did not get)

Finishing touches to add true zombie fighting reality:  
Cherry kool-aid I heard makes some pretty decent pretend blood - make up a batch and spatter away. This time of year in the Halloween section, you can also find some 'fake blood'   to smear yourself or your kid with.   

Andrew Lincoln as "Rick Grimes"

What will YOU be for Halloween this year?   Love to hear your comments below!
xo Yvonne

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vintage Car spotting- Spotlight on 1956 Ford Fairlane

Hey to my Hep-Cats out there!

We have been seeing this vintage beauty touring around town the past couple weeks.  My son was able to get a few pictures while it was parked.    Lovin' the pink & black color-scheme they chose! 

I believe that the extended bumper is probably a custom feature...I haven't seen any others like it.

There are a lot of people either squarely in the Ford lovers club,  or out of it. There seems to be little 'middle ground'  Most likely you have heard the acronyms:

FORD  - Fix Or Repair Daily


FORD -  First On Race Day

The Fairlane for me has some personal interest.  Here is an amusing (mostly-after-the-fact) family story:

When my parents were dating and then later married  (August of 1967),   my Mom drove a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air that was a hand me down from one of her older brothers.  My Dad drove a more current model Ford Fairlane  (I don't know the exact year, but believe it was an early '60's model)

My Dad in his practical wisdom, decided that they didn't really need (and probably couldn't afford) two cars,  and his Fairlane being the newer one,  they should keep that and sell the Bel Air.     So off they drove, into the sunset, in the Fairlane on their Honeymoon.     The Fairlane proceeded to break down - not once, not twice, but three times on their trip up to Niagara Falls, using most of their honeymoon money on repairs to boot.  My Mom was about ready to kill my Dad, but they ended up making it up there and home in one piece. 
So thanks to the Fairlane, folks, there was almost murder, divorce, and me not being born. 
       (In 1970, they went out and bought a brand new VW Beetle - the same car I learned to drive on 15 years later.  Love those Beetles! - but that is a different story for a different time)  and  I am happy to add, that my Mom and Dad are still going strong after 47 years of marriage.  

In all fairness to the FORD brand, we currently own a Ford Van (an E350),  as was its predecessor (an E150) The van is the handicapped equipped vehicle that we use when we need to bring my sweetie somewhere or take family road trips and we have had very little trouble with them,  To paraphrase the guy I bought it from (he's the fleet manager at a local livery service that specializes in handicapped vehicles, and they exclusively use the Fords for their larger transport vehicles)  "The Ford engines [that are used in the vans/trucks] will run forever as long as you maintain them"  and yes folks, I do believe they will.

Getting a little side-tracked here, my apologies. Back to our lovely Fairlane:  The first model year it was produced was 1955.  In doing a little research on the early ones, this was a year of many 'firsts' for Ford.   The Fairlane featured the first factory controlled air conditioner for Ford,  the first panoramic windshields that had been seen on a few other makers like Buick & Cadillac the previous year,  and the first time seat belts were offered as a dealer option on Fords in general. In fact,  one of the advertising campaigns launched by Ford in 1956 promoted it's "Lifeguard Design" (see below for ad)  which included not only the seatbelts, but a recessed steering wheel so the driver wouldn't sustain as bad of injuries if in an accident, improved padding, door latches, and other improved safety features.

[side note here for some people who may either be too young, or possibly not aware of the early history of cars,  but the earlier automobiles were not the bastions of safety that we see today:  seat belts didn't become standards til the late 50's (Nash offered them as an option in '49, as did Ford 
(mentioned above) in '55)     Rearview mirrors, although pre-dating seat-belts, were not introduced by manufacturer's until 1914.     (I found this little gem in the Wikipedia article about them: 

The rear-view mirror's earliest known use and mention is by Dorothy Levittin her 1906 book 

The Woman and the Car which noted that women should "carry a little hand-mirror in a 

convenient place when driving" so they may "hold the mirror aloft from time to time in 

order to see behind while driving in traffic", )

and lets not even get into how kids were transported around up into the 1970's....]

But back to our Fairlane.   A couple of really well written articles/blog postings that I found if you are interested on some more about them:  by J.P Cavanaugh

and  by Daniel Vaughan (9/2013) :

"The name Fairlane came from Henry Ford's Fair Lane mansion location in Dearborn, Michigan. The Ford Fairlane was introduced in 1955 as Ford's full-size model and was available in six different body styles. The vehicle could be assembled as a 2 door club sedan, a 4 door town sedan, 
a Victoria 2 door hardtop, a Sunliner convertible, a Crown Victoria, 
or a Crown Victoria with a plastic top.   
..... In 1956 a four door Victoria hard-top was added to the line up. " 
(excerpt from Daniel Vaughan)

Telling Model Years Apart: 

One question that crops up when you see a vintage car around town,  which model year is it?   People usually can figure out a decade - but for the rest, well   "God is in the Details" they say....

Sometimes it will be near impossible to figure out an exact year without either asking the owner or getting a look at the registration, you may have to settle for a span of a couple years.
If you can get a good look at some of the specific details on the vehicle (chrome detailing, tail fins, headlights, tail lights, etc.), and then its research, research research.

With the Fairlane, we lucked out.   Ford actually changed up the side Chrome detailing each year:

1955, First year the Fairlane came out,  notice the nice neat triangular pivotal line of the side chrome

1956 - They added a little 'flair' with the side chrome, creating a broken visual line

1957 - The Side Chrome got nice and straight, then took an upward lunge toward the rear of the car.   

1958 - They created a triangular inset with the side chrome, allowing for a tertiary color

Other details to pay attention to on vintage cars in general  - are the lights round or square?  (Square ones were usually later '60's)   one or double?   Size of the tail fins?  Tail fins at all?  Many manufacturers started with a modest tail fin that grew in size over the course of the decade.
The more details you can collect, the more you can pin the model year down. 

Anyway,  one final look at the lovely pink & black Fairlane!

Do you have a favorite vintage car?  Funny car story?
Would love to hear about it!  Comment below....

Thanks so much for tuning in today!
xo Yvonne