My (nonexistent) passion for fashion

I used to jokingly say that I had a passion for fashion. It was always tongue-in-cheek, but lately my disinterest in clothing has ratcheted up. It turns out that nothing kills a fashion interest like working from home and going to community college. Seriously, what is up with how people dress at community college? It’s all t-shirts and sweat pants and messy hair, and not in that sorority girl “messy bun” way, but like actually really, really messy hair. No one is taking pride in  his or her appearance at all, whatsoever! And I’m right there with them, wearing my $10 Target leggings with the holes in them every single day. It’s a sad state of affairs, my appearance.

I wrote a paragraph about what I usually wear when I’m working at home, but it was so embarrassing I had to delete it. The basic idea is pajamas, but Tony and I keep our house really cold (partly to save money but also partly because we love cold) so there are many layers on top of the pajamas. I won’t go into specifics, but it’s not pretty. Luckily we live in the country and my boss has never requested we FaceTime rather than talk on the phone.

For reasons related to my birthday, last night I ended up with a $35 Macy’s gift card and some time to kill. I wandered around the store aimlessly for almost an hour, half-heartedly examining glittery heels and silk shirts. Eventually I  bought some black jeans that were on sale.  Next to leggings, stained black jeans are my community college outfit of choice. These new, stain-free jeans are really going to enhance my wardrobe.

When it comes to clothing, all I care about these days is comfort. Not just comfort as in “this sweatshirt is soft”– although I do certainly enjoy softness — but also as in “I’ve worn this sweatshirt ten thousand times and know exactly how it does and does not flatter me.” There’s something fundamentally appealing, to me, about wearing clothing that is familiar.  On the way home from Macy’s, I started thinking about how I’d probably really like a store that was stocked with all the clothes from my existing wardrobe, except in new condition. There are items of clothing I would probably buy over and over again, not because they’re all that great, but because I intimately understand all of the ways that they aren’t great. Like, one of my coats has a hole in the pocket that has been there for years. Instead of sewing it, I just remember that I can’t put my keys in that pocket or else they slip down and end up in the coat’s lining. When I forget and my keys do slip through the hole, it’s almost soothing. This is a problem I have faced before, and I know how to fix it. That thought occurs to me so infrequently in life that I have to appreciate it when it comes, even if it’s just in reference to a coat.

Selfie while wearing my new pants, a black jacket over a long gray sweater, and some awesome boots I got for $1 at a garage sale. I would buy these boots 10 million times if given the chance. 

I realize thinking about clothing at all is kind of dumb, and that I should probably stop everything I’m doing and immediately read The Feminine Mystique. But here I am, writing on Fawn Log instead. I’m curious to know whether anyone else is going through a period of clothes disillusionment. Should we all just get each other pajamas and muumuus for Christmas? Because I am always up for muumuus.

Posted in passion for fashion, Writing stuff down | 3 Comments

Achieving a dream

First of all, I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this post with a shout-out to Fawn Log’s newest (future) reader: Grace and Phil’s new baby boy!

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He is super cute, has chubby cheeks, and he already knows how to point, which might mean he’s a genius:

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I’m really happy to be an aunt and am looking forward to starting my aunt-ternity leave, which is what I’m going to call the long Thanksgiving weekend from now on.

In significantly less exciting news, Tony and I did a DIY project that I’ve wanted to do for years: make a headboard! For some reason the internet is full of an astonishing array of headboard tutorials. I wasn’t sure which kind to make until Tony and I rewatched a bunch of Mad Men this summer.

Sure, Jon Hamm is attractive, but have you ever seen a more fantastic headboard?! We had to try to make it!

We used this tutorial from the blog Little Green Notebook. Unlike Fawn Log, that blog contains pretty photos, easy-to-understand explanations, and a professional writing style. If you want to actually know how to make this headboard, you should go to Little Green Notebook. However, if you don’t care about information, then this is the blog for you!

Like the tutorial suggests, we used pegboard for this project. We got it cut at Lowe’s, but because we are bad at math, we had them cut it a couple inches too big.  When we realized our mistake, Tony suggested we buy a circular saw and cut it ourselves. I was like, “I dunno…” but surprise, surprise Tony really wanted a saw. (See: previous incident involving Tony’s saw obsession here). Tony is now a proud power tool owner, and I’m happy for him. I mean, who could resist this face?

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The blade is blurry here because Tony was moving his arm when I took this, not because it was spinning. We understand saw safety!

After Tony re-cut our pegboard, it was time for even more math! We had to decide which peg holes would end up being tufts. In the real tutorial, this step is a sentence long: “You do have to do a little math and mapping out to figure out your button placements, but once you have the formula down, it’s just a matter of counting it out and marking the holes with chalk.”

Oh just “a little math” and “a formula,” you say?  Do you know how badly I did on the GRE quantitative section? Don’t talk to me about formulas! In reality, this step took Tony and I at least an hour. Tony eventually thought of using coins to mark our spacing, which made the whole thing more like counting rather than actual math. Still, though! Have you tried  counting lately? It’s not easy for some of us.

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After we finished that arduous process, it was then time to mark our foam and cut out the spots where the tufts would go. This step is important for two reasons: (1) it lets the tufts go a bit deeper, which looks better and (2) it allows you to feel where the tufts should go after you’ve put the batting and fabric over the foam (and covered up the holes).

The face of a man who would rather be sawing.

Finally, it was button time! We found button-making kits at Joann Fabrics, like the tutorial on Little Green Notebook says.  Who knew Tony and I were capable of making fabric-covered buttons? It was actually really fun to make these. First button down, 50 more to go:

Then it was tufting time. This part was probably the hardest, mostly because it was difficult to get each of the tufts to be the same depth in the foam. We eventually landed on a pretty good system where Tony was the tufter and I was the needle-threader. Tony would pull the tuft from the back and I’d tell him from the front if he needed to pull harder or let go a little. He’d staple that one in, and I’d hand him the next threaded button. After 51 times, we were pretty much experts.

The enthusiasm of the first tuft.

Once we finished all the tufts, we then stapled the fabric to the back of the pegboard. The tutorial was really helpful here in that it describes how you neatly fold over the excess fabric (that’s there because of the tufts) to make regular lines around the edges. This makes the finished product look neat and professional instead of sloppy.

Then it was time for more math as we figured out the right height at which to hang it and got it level.  Bam:

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Then we pushed the bed up to it and, yay! We have a kick a$$ headboard:

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Here I am pretending to read with my back against it:

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And here’s Betty Draper sitting by it:

Just kidding. But it’s similar, right?

This was a really fun project, and Tony and I are still super impressed with ourselves. However, a word of caution if you’re thinking about trying this: 3″ foam is really expensive. I have no idea why, as it doesn’t seem like a particularly special material, but it is. The piece of foam we got would have cost us $150, but I found a coupon for Joann Fabric that made it “only” $100. Together with other materials, this project costs us about $120 (not counting Tony’s saw). I made the mistake yesterday of looking up actual tufted headboards, and found that you can buy them for close to that. Fortunately, I have yet to find one that’s the appropriate Mad Men color.

While making this headboard, we enjoyed a fully immersive Jonathan Richman experience. By that I mean that we listened exclusively to Jonathan Richman via YouTube and Spotify for the 7+ hours it took us to make this.  Song of our headboard:

Jonathan Richman is playing in Springfield this Friday. See some of you there?

Posted in D.I.Winos, homely home, Parents | 2 Comments

Nous aimons parler français

We’re trying to learn how to speak French over here. There are at least two practical reasons for this, but I won’t bore you with them. Instead, I’ll just tell you that it’s fun and we’re going to try it.  I took French for six years through high school and college and Tony has never taken a class. However, we are at roughly the same level because I am really bad at language acquisition and Tony is really good at it.

So far we’re just using Duolingo, which is a free app you can download on your smartphone or iPad. It offers a bunch of languages besides French. If any of you want to learn a language, you should download Duolingo and add Tony and I as friends. Then you’ll be able to see our daily point totals and try to beat them. My username is squirtle_squish and Tony’s is pop-corn.homme.

On the D.I.Whinos front, here’s our latest before and after:

Once we got rid of that dude, the whole house improved! Just kidding. We actually removed that terrible purple and green faux stained glass from the front door. We had to get a new sheet of glass cut, since the “stained glass” was permanently glued to the window.

Fortunately, Tony knows how to replace windows because, this summer, he accidentally put his shoulder through a window at my parents’ house after I painted over the seam, thereby making the window impossible to open.  My brother knows how to replace windows because something similar once happened to him, so he taught Tony how to fix it. And that is how the ancient art of window replacement is passed down from man to man through the ages.


The other day in my psychology class I had to take a personality test. It scored you as either high or low on five factors: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. I ended up with low scores on extraversion and agreeableness, and high on everything else. I was willing to grant most of it, but I really took issue with the agreeableness one. When I tried to explain to Tony all of the reasons I disagreed with the agreeableness assessment, he just laughed at me. But really, I certainly have it in me to be way more disagreeable than I currently am. Does that count for nothing around here??

I got to (had to?) dissect a cat in my anatomy class. It was kind of cool and kind of horrible. My group’s cat was really skinny and seemingly pretty old. His liver was enormous! Here is a picture of my thumb with the cat, in case you have a morbid curiosity.

Posted in before/after, D.I.Winos, homely home | 3 Comments