Friday, November 10, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 14

We're scraping the bottom of the metaphorical clothing barrel this week, but the fashion challenge surges on. I'm featuring some hand-me-downs, both intentional and accidental. Also find some tips on savvy shopping. Read on!

Monday (Day 42): 

Simple look of yellow and gray sweater from J. Crew (Christmas present from Laurel) and black pants (intentional hand-me-down from a teacher friend). If you vocalize that you don't buy clothes, you'd be amazed at the sympathy (pity?) that drives people to just toss some clothes your way. I approach free clothes like I approach free food. Where is it? And how can I get some? I also wore my favorite boots, two gems I found at a Target in Florida for less than $15. I think Target must have made only one pair of these (real leather) boots, and I happened upon them (in my size!) one day about six years ago. My mini lottery win.

Side note: The best place to buy winter clothes? Florida. Follow the logic: 1. People move from colder climates to Florida and quickly realize they don't need their winter clothes (See: furs.) 2. Said people are often wealthy and donate said furs to Goodwill. 3. Savvy shopper Pattiwagon swoops in and buys said furs for next to nothing.

Tuesday (Day 43): 

H&M dress and jean jacket bought in Germany in 2004 when "Hah und Em" was the holy grail of savvy shoppers. Some (more recent) items of H&M clothing last one wearing, but these are still going strong after thirteen years. It was a different time. I do not recommend the current incarnation of H&M to savvy shoppers.

Wednesday (Day 44): 

Another hand-me-down alert. These plaid J. Crew pants migrated into my wardrobe circa 2009 when Laurel was cleaning out her closet. I'm pretty sure they were old then. I'm now holding on until the wide leg fashion cycle comes back. Until then, though, I'll just keep wearing them. Red sweater from Gap and black flats complete this teacher look.

Thursday (Day 45): 

Bargain Barn refashion alert! I altered this skirt from a Bargain Barn special a few years ago. Confession not included in the original post: the first time I wore it, I sat down in my car and completely ripped the zipper out. Oop! That's the price I pay for my careless sewing. However, I fixed the zipper, and we've been good every since. I'm wearing it here with a deep purple top I bought in Scottsboro, Alabama at the Unclaimed Baggage Store (another holy grail for savvy shoppers). This top would be the "accidental hand-me-down" of the week. I'm also wearing black leggings and an olive green sweater from Banana. I like this look.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 13

Another week, another four outfits. This was the first week that I struggled with my wardrobe. My dress/skirt options are waning, and I know that I could just wear black pants and a different sweater every until the end of the semester, that's just too boring. I have two free weekends coming up, so hopefully you'll find me busy at work in my sewing room. On to the outfits! 

Monday (Day 38):

Last week, I told the story of the bedbug dress. On this Monday, I wore the Mardi Gras vest. I bought this vest about 10 years ago and immediately loved it. It's chunky cable knit with big nautical buttons. I was going to Mardi Gras that year, so I made sure to pack it as a cute cold weather option. I climbed up on the ladder on St. Charles to watch a parade and promptly spilled an entire beer on myself. (No surprise there.) I didn't mind smelling like beer for the rest of the day. (Blame Credit the beer for that.) But when I got home and washed the sweater, I still couldn't get the stale beer smell out. It was ingrained, and I didn't want to wash it too many times, lest I destroy it. I had only gotten to love the sweater a short time, so I wasn't willing to give up on it. I faithfully put it in the back of my closet and waited for time to heal that stench. And, tada, it worked! About a year later, I got it back out, and the smell was gone. I have worn it often every since. So, no fear, serial spillers, there is hope for your clothes! I'm wearing it with a royal blue sweater from H&M (Germany, circa 2004) and a denim skirt from Gap. Steve Madden booties and brown tights on my feet. 

Tuesday (Day 39): 

*Homemade alert* This shirt was made by Mama Pattiwagon (aka Sewing Sensei). It is so beautifully constructed that I accidentally wore it inside out last year and didn't notice until hours into the school day. Oop! I paired this teal top with some navy pants from Banana and black (navy and black, the horror!) shoes from Rack Room. 

Wednesday (Day 40): 

Black skinny jeans from J. Crew, boots from DSW, and tunic from Modcloth. This is a beloved top worn very rarely, just to keep it fresh.

Thursday (Day 41): 

Army green dress from J. Crew with a black cropped blazer/sweater from an unknown store. I can't for the life of me remember where I got this, but if anyone has a tip on where I can find another (this one is getting tired), hmu. Black tights and Nine West flats complete the ensemble. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 12

Confession: I had a very tired start to my week and ended up not taking any photos throughout the week. However, I didn't stop the challenge. I also didn't want to let down my loyal readers, so I recreated my outfits on this Sunday afternoon. Hence, the hair, makeup, and lighting are quite consistent in these photos. ;) 

Monday (Day 34): 

Cream colored cable knit sweater with button details on the back with black jeans and brown booties. Love this fall outfit. Sweater from TJ Maxx, I think. Jeans from J. Crew, and booties from Rack Room. 

Tuesday (Day 35): 

I was happy to recreate this look, as my 3:40 alarm clock did not leave much time or energy for hair and makeup on this day. Sorry, colleagues and students, I was looking, as the dogs say, rough on this Tuesday. But I didn't mind, because I got an extra day with an extra special houseguest. <blushing> Back to the look. Light blue sweater from Loft was a Christmas gift from Laurel a few years ago. Pants are simple J. Crew black. And flats are Nine West. Topped it off with pearls. 

Wednesday (Day 36): 

Every piece of clothing has a story. This dress has a STORY. The year was 2012. I was sitting on an airplane on the way back from New York. I was bringing bedbugs back to Memphis. For the second time. (That's another STORY.) This time, I was determined not to bring them back to my house, so as I flew itch-ily through the sky, I developed a plan. I can't remember every step in the plan, but it involved going to Target to buy the cheapest dress I could readily find. This dress was an angel from heaven. Six dollars and hanging in the front of the store. TMI alert, I stripped all (read: all) my clothes in the laundromat bathroom and wore this dress as I laundered all my clothes and sprayed all my shoes, suitcase, carry-on bag, and car upholstery. All this at 11PM at night. I'm sure I looked deranged. But I successfully decontaminated myself and all my belongings before I came back home. And I added a great dress to my wardrobe, so I don't care how crazy I seemed. Conquering bedbugs twice is a feat of which I'm very proud. But for obvious reasons, I don't much like to publicize it. 

The dress had a longer hem in the back than in the front, a feature I don't generally like, so I asked Mama Pattiwagon to straighten up the hem, which she did graciously. I paired the dress with dark red tights, brown boots (another STORY for another day) and a Limited camel cardigan I've had since college. 

Thursday (Day 37): 

The stories here are not that interesting (or memorable...), so I'll just give it to you straight. Color block plaid button-down from Modcloth, black jeans from J. Crew, and black booties from TJ Maxx (maybe?). 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Brief History of the Bullshot

Disclaimer 1: This is a recycled post I wrote five years ago and am bringing back aboard the Pattiwagon for all to enjoy. 
Disclaimer 2: This blog post may contain adult language and thematic material. 

Sorry. Patti Wagon is not one given to gratuitous cussing, but this picture definitely deserves a DOUBLE U - TEE - EF is going on here? 

Let's break it down. You might have noticed that these people are playing cards. You might also have a few questions. Like, "What are they playing?" Or, "Who's winning?" Or, "WHY ARE THE CARDS SO EFFING BIG?" Unfortunately, I can answer none of those questions for you. 

What I'm drawn to in this picture are the beverages, specifically the beverage of one Mr. Mike Dickens, seated at nine o'clock. I have taken the liberty to label all beverages, as you may want to refer back to the photo. 

The beverage labeled "bullshot" has been as ubiquitous in my summers as lightning bugs. While other children were probably learning the ratio of koolaide to water or perfecting the amount of chocolate syrup to add to milk, Clayton children were learning to make bullshots. By the way, no photographic evidence of the bullshot sweatshop exists. (DCS is a scary entity.) I made so many batches of bullshots growing up that I had the recipe memorized before I could even have a taste. 

Once I was able to taste the fruits of my labor, I realized why we made batch after batch. This concoction is that good. It has all the qualities of a bloody mary, but it's not heavy, making dangerously easy to drink.  It requires the cheapest Vodka you can buy, making it a drink for the people. And you can mix up a big batch and save it in the fridge to drink for the duration of your vacation, making it the perfect go-to cocktail. (By the way, this is definitely a vacation drink. Do not attempt to consume at any other time. Will not be the same.) 

So, what is the bullshot, you ask? Brace yourself. It's basically vodka + tomato juice + beef juice. Disgusting, right? -- No!  And excuse my blasphemy. If you've ever heard the "Don't knock it till you try it" speech, this is the time to heed that advice. 

Bullshot = Perfection in a glass. 

Years of making and drinking bullshots continued until a couple years ago, when one of the six ingredients was discontinued. For some reason, Mott's decided that the seven people who were buying Beefamato weren't actually generating the company enough profit to justify its production. (Can you imagine that?) We bought all we could, but that stockpile eventually ran out. (Thank you for your condolences.)

This year, I decided I was not going to have a bullshot-less summer, so I set out to recreate the recipe, sans Beefamato. After much experimentation, an array of ingredients, and the assistance of two willing taste testers, I found the El Dorado of cocktail recipes. 

Wolfschmidt Vodka, only the finest.

All beef broths are not created equal. 

Ratio Rationing

Bullshot retooling complete! Papa Clayton agrees.

Here's the recipe: 

For one drink: 
1 part condensed beef broth (I used Campbell's)
3/4 part tomato juice (I used homemade and Campbell's. Not much difference.)
1/4 part vodka (cheapest you can buy)
dashes of lemon juice, tabasco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients together and serve over ice. 

For a batch: 
2-10 oz cans condensed beef broth
15 oz tomato juice
5 oz vodka
big dashes of lemon juice, tabasco sauce, and Worcestershire sauce

Mix all ingredients and chill in the fridge until ready to drink. Serve over ice. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fashion Challenge: Week 11

As you may have noticed, I'm getting back into the blogging game a little more. I'm working on revamping the site to make it more user friendly, and I've opened up the comments. So feel free, Pattiwagoneers, to post, respond, suggest, recommend, critique. Only when you like stuff though. ;) On with the show! 

Monday (Day 30): 

Today was school picture day, so I wanted to put a little more effort into my look. I opted for my perennial St. Patrick’s Day shirt (gift from dear friend Ellen from Anthropologie), my standby black J. Crew pants, and Malachi shoes. Just send me your orders for school pictures prints. 8x10 glossy, anyone?

Tuesday (Day 31): 

Pattiwagon Original Alert! This is one of the favorite items I have ever made. Unfortunately, I’m posing a little strange in the first picture (shoulders back, girl), so the sweater looks a little tired. I made this several years ago out of two sweaters, and I have enjoyed breaking out every so often. Each time I do, I'm surprised that it's still intact. Maybe I have a little more attention-to-detail in sewing than I give myself credit for. Another pair of standby pants, J. Crew black jeans and black booties (from TJ Maxx, maybe?) on the bottom.

Wednesday (Day 32): 

Hi, first year teacher. I bought this outfit fresh out of college, when I was desperate to seem older than I looked. (Dress is from Target; jacket, Banana Republic; and shoes, Nine West.) That effort is no longer necessary, and this look is not one of my favorites. I haven’t worn the dress in a few years; however, that’s what this fashion challenge is all about. I’m digging in the back of the closet to rediscover some hidden gems. While this may be more of a hidden rock, I broke it out on this October Wednesday.

Thursday (Day 33): 

This October Thursday sees one of my favorite hidden gems from the past, this skirt from high school. It’s either a Delia’s (over the phone) order or an Eastland Mall Wet Seal purchase. It has done me well for the past 16 (!) years, and it’s still going strong. Sadly, Wet Seal can’t say the same. I paired it with a black Target shirt and sweater and Steve Madden/DSW booties.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Busy Busy Booking

I know I took a long sabbatical from posting, but it is wonder that this is my first post about busy booking, as that has been a big part of my crafting over the last couple years and my main source of Pattiwagon revenue (!). I've made eight in total, four for friends and family and four that I've sold. If you or someone you know is interested, hmu. 

Here are the top five reasons I enjoy making them: 
  1. They're just so cute. 
  2. I get to be creative in the designs. No book (or even page) looks the same. 
  3. Nothing is wasted. Tiniest bit of black felt left? That's an eye for a cow. 
  4. They take just enough concentration. I can easily watch tv or listen to podcast while I'm working, but I still feel productive with my time. 
  5. Getting to see them in action. See below for a video of the world's cutest nephew enjoying a "peek-a-boo" page. 

Here is a sampling of some of the finger puppet pages I've done. The Harry Potter puppets are my favorites. 

And finally, nephew pointing out "Pappi." <heart melts>

Monday, October 16, 2017

Weekend Roundup

New motto in the kitchen: Eat for the weather you want, not the weather you have.

Taking that to heart, I did a lot of cooking this weekend. I broke out some cold weather favorites from the Pattiwagon archives.

1. Pot roast*

2. Which became Pattiwagon favorite vegetable soup the next day. Recipe here.

3. Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti Squash. Recipe here

4. Baked oatmeal. This recipe is for carrot cake baked oatmeal, but I subbed the carrots for frozen blueberries and omitted the ginger. 

*Recipe for pot roast consists of browning a chuck roast on the stove, putting said chuck roast in the oven with potatoes, onions, carrots, and a couple cans of spicy V8 and sitting back and relaxing for two hours until it's done.