Category Archives: handmade

All on a Mardi Gras Day

 

Mardi Gras Day is always a fabulously magical experience, and this year was extra special. My brother and his boyfriend were in town for carnival for the first time since 2009, so we went all out. It was also our tenant’s first Mardi Gras as a New Orleans resident, so I felt obligated to help her navigate the crazy. We ended up doing four nights of Uptown parades, hosted a pre-Bacchus party at our house replete with Chris’ Get Your Life Right Gumbo, cornbread and Jello shots (lololol), caught the Red Beans Parade on Lundi Gras, and left the house at 8 a.m. on Fat Tuesday to wander the French Quarter and Marigny.

Highlights from Tuesday include getting a choice downtown parking spot, seeing Solange walk past us as if she was gliding on a glitter cloud, running into a ton of friends, seeing a grown man naked on Frenchmen St. (not a highlight, but truly memorable), and getting five people home all in one piece. No one got lost, shit faced, or misplaced their pants. Mardi Gras Magic.

Okay, on to the costume details.

Crowning glory: I bought my hat back in 2011 but never figured out what to do with it. The colors are so vivid I knew the outfit needed to stand up to the topper. I made Thomas’ hat from scratch to complement mine. His hat looks fancy but it was relatively easy to make. All I needed was a buckram hat base (I used a cadet style), metallic blue fabric to cover the base with, a piece of foam board, and a metric ton of feathers and Mod Podge.

The shoes: I usually don’t get too hung up on my shoes since 1. comfort is paramount and 2. no one is going to notice them. Thomas, however, opts for matching shoes. I had a pair of lace-up boots that lost their luster but were still comfortable, so I spray painted them blue and glittered them up. The glitter/Mod Podge layer started to break at the stress points, but Thomas’ loafers managed to hold up.

His costume: My cardinal rule is to never repeat a costume on Mardi Gras Day. This year, we broke that rule by reusing his pants from last year’s getup. They were too perfect not to and it saved time and money. I added blue fringe and gold sequins to the back pockets to incorporate in the blue from the shirt. He bought the metallic blue shirt on Amazon and I found the vintage beaded belt at The New Orleans Costume Center. I added gold stretch fabric to the back so it would fit him properly. I like the cummerbund effect this had and it added interest and variety to what is otherwise just a t-shirt and tuxedo pants.

My costume: I bought the gold sequined bra from Trashy Diva, the crop top from Swap Boutique and the gold shorts from ASOS. Those shorts, by the way, were hideous when I first got them. They looked like glorified boxer shorts and did nothing for my legs. I took them in, added ruching and blue fringe on the sides and created a peplum with red and orange trim to hide the cheap looking elastic waistband. I originally wanted a gold ballgown skirt similar to the hot pink one I wore for our flamingo costumes back in 2012. I went with shorts because I like showing my legs and the shorts were inexpensive. The only ballgown skirts I found either looked cheap or cost more than I wanted to spend. Plus, I didn’t feel like making a skirt from scratch.

How much our costumes cost:

Total cost this year: about $320

Trim, etc…: about $170 for all the trim, feathers, his hat form, foam board and an X-acto knife

My costume: $33 bra, $20 shirt, $15 shorts

His costume: Shirt: $25, Evil eye applique: $35, belt $20

Where we saved money: I already owned my hat, the red fishnet stockings, the blonde wig and my necklace. We already had both pairs of shoes and his pants. I have a stockpile of thread, needles, and pins,  so I didn’t need to purchase sewing supplies. I also had some leftover sequins and gold appliques from last year, so I just used those. I tend to overbuy trim in case a piece needs to be repaired. I like to repurpose pieces for other costume events; I also loan costumes to friends on occasion, so it’s important to me to be able to reuse these things.

How we could have saved more money: Uh, it’s Mardi Gras. We go big or go home, and our asses never stay at home on Fat Tuesday. For me, it’s important to feel like I’m contributing to the splendid frenzy that it Fat Tuesday. See y’all on the parade route next year.

 

Mardi Gras 2016

spray painted shoesThomas FewerChristy LorioMardi Gras 2016Mardi Gras costumesWell that was fun.

Mardi Gras 2016 came and went. If you follow me on Instagram then you know I’m a very busy lady during carnival season. I marched with the Gris Gris Strut Marching Band again this year.  My friend Missy (flag corps) said it best: “This is like having a part-time job.” The band started practicing before Christmas, with the bulk of rehearsals in the weeks leading up to carnival. Then there are the parades. I marched in five of them this year, which was great fun but also physically and mentally draining. Walking at a snail’s pace across half the city while playing an instrument, coupled with the intense stimulus of thousands of eyeballs on you, takes its toll. Needless to say, it’s bittersweet that marching season has come to an end.

Oh yea, so y’all wanna talk about these costumes? This was the first time in three years that I didn’t have to balance Mardi Gras with school, which meant I had more time to get busy with the details. I think the official appliqué count was 28– all hand stitched by yours truly. And that’s not counting all of the sequin and feather trim work.  I started on our costumes a month ago, but as usual Lundi Gras night was spent at home with a needle and thread. Thomas was on shoe duty this year, and he did a great job dazzling up his pair of thrift store penny loafers.

After sifting through multiple costume boxes (we have enough to practically open our own costume store) to pull out my trust metallic gold body suit, I’m going to sit down after Ash Wednesday and put my old retail management skills to use. Each box is getting an inventory sheet, sorted by themes and color schemes. Our wigs (I lost count years ago) will get stored in their own separate box. A true #MardiGrasProblems situation.

Frenchman Art Market: Nighttime Shopping For New Orleans

Hourglass Productions- purchase it online here

Made & Made- custom handmade millinery 

I love strolling through a good art market, discovering little handmade treasures from local artists. But most of them are daytime outdoor events, which means slathering on sunscreen and sweating it out during the summertime. And since I’m working weekends now, my work schedule doesn’t always align, and the tables are packed up long before I’m punching the clock. Frenchman Art Market founder Kate Gaar is helping fill the need for an alternative time slot every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5:00pm-1:00am. The market is located in the midst of Frenchman Street, New Orleans’ venerable hot spot for good eats and live music when the sun goes down. Tucked into an empty lot across from D.B.A. and next to Spotted Cat, it’s easy to catch your favorite band, then stroll across the street with beer in hand to scope out another form of local talent-handmade crafts. There’s plenty of art, jewelry, re-purposed vintage clothing, housewares, even twinkling fleur-de-lis topiaries and a documentary film maker were out on my last visit.

John Dyer, a friend and co-organizer, explains how the Frenchman Art Market came to fruition.


“Basically this was a pop-up market that started during Jazz Fest weekends this year. Kate just has a passion for art and artists and has basically single handedly (excluding yours truly) put this together.  We are seeking a very diverse group of art vendors.  We don’t really want food/drink vendors and we definitely don’t (can’t have) musicians because it’s already on Frenchmen and there’s plenty of other places for that.

This is a venue strictly for diverse local artists and we want to gear it towards festivals/conventions that are in town. Meaning we want to have a strong base of artists that we can book according to what’s happening in the city that weekend.  As of now we are leased through January and hoping we can sign longer.  We have started a petition at the market and are trying to get as many locals to sign it in show of support to the city.”


Keep up with the Frenchman Street Art Market on their Facebook page. If you’re an artist interested in participating http://neworleans.craigslist.org/ats/3194148695.html

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Thread & Crescent: An Interview With Mitzi Guidry

by JeLlyn Morvant

“Our eyes see beauty in simplicity and modesty and we highly value quality over quantity in every aspect of our lives. All our products share the common thread of craft.”

the summer uniform

‘Thread & Crescent is a New Orleans based lifestyle brand created by brother & sister, Donovan & Mitzi Guidry.’ Just a few clicks around their online boutique and their passion for quality and craftsmanship becomes evident. Mitzi’s favorite quote sums up her vision quite well:

 “Because there is complexity in purity, Elegance in plainness, Intricacy in streamlining, Richness in reduction, Depth in minimalism, Surprise in uniformity, Innovation in re-use, Cool in the avoidance of cool, And there is true sophistication in simplicity”  -MUJI brand philosophy



Mitzi currently resides in Los Angeles, where she’s stayed since studying at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She now co-owns and operates Los Angeles Leather Craft, a private label leather manufacturer “offering a complete product development service from raw material sourcing & sampling to production & quality management‘.”  Having worked alongside skilled and experienced professionals before their previous employer closed its doors leaving all of them unemployed. Mitzi and her team put forth the effort to source their raw supplies from the USA, while keeping the manufacturing talent known to L.A. alive and well. Using this misfortune as an opportunity, the workers come together to create Los Angeles Leather Craft. Goodness happens with vision, heart, passion and bravery. This is Mitzi Guidry ya’ll, born and bred in Louisiana and half of the whole of Thread & Crescent.
you can find this picture and a full article on LAL here
What is your earliest memory of having an interest in fashion?
Growing up in a small town in South Louisiana, we didn’t have a lot of shopping options so my mom would commission an elderly woman in our neighborhood, Mrs. Costen, who was an amazing seamstress to make a lot of our special occasion outfits. Everything from my First Communion dress to my high school dance dresses were made by Mrs. Costen. My mom always let me choose fabrics and as I got older I actually designed these dresses and Mrs Costen would put them together. I was always fascinated by her sewing room tools and the whole process i.e. taking measurements, having fittings and then the idea materializes into something that you wear and feel special in.

Tell us a little something unexpected about yourself in one sentence.
My dream is to be an elementary school Home Ec teacher.

What inspired the idea for Thread & Crescent? When and how did it all begin?
Thread & Crescent has been a dream for my brother and I for maybe 10 years. We’re both obsessed with curation, design, art and home life. We’ve spent hundreds of hours talking about perfect rooms and perfect scenarios. Thread & Crescent is that perfect world where we get to package a lifestyle with finds and creations we love and are inspired to share.

What’s one of your favorite things to do and places to visit when you are back home in New Orleans?
I love music on the patio at Bacchanal in the Bywater. Its a great spot I like to take my west coast friends to and the food is remarkable!http://www.bacchanalwine.com/

How about sharing a little advice with our southern readers, maybe something beneficial you’ve learned along your way that has helped you get where you are today.
Building a network is probably one of the most important things I’ve learned. More than half of the work I get or products I sell come from a personal connection. In exchange I share my resources with friends and colleagues. Now with the internet the playing field is even and everyone has access to the same resources so that part has become easier. Using these tools to foster relationships is what takes effort but that’s where the real payoff can be.
Now available at threadandcrescent.com with The Summer Uniform and The Perfect Belt you can find the Bayou Bohemian indigo dyed hemp tent tank and dress, along with many beautiful items inspired by simplicity and travel being both elegant and comfortable. 

A fellow Lafayette native, a friend, a maker. Mitzi and I were introduced many years ago by some of my oldest, closest childhood friends. Oddly enough our meeting was in sunny San Diego, no where near our roots. Since she and I shared a strong bond with the same very special folk, it only made sense that we too would share a friendship. We met when she was in town visiting mutual friends, who along with me lived there at the time, so our visits were always short but intimate and we always had our love of fashion in common.  Each one of us is on our own path in the industry, not expecting that we would one day naturally collide. And here we are today.
Intricate, streamlined, rich, minimal, innovative, local…Thread & Crescent!
Thank you Mitzi!
From one southern belle to another,
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