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Hello 2015! New adventures on the horizon

Welcome 2015 -- dogs in hats

Holy cow.  Welcome to the new year.  2015 is going to be amazing.  I can feel it.  I suppose I’m a tad late with this post, so let’s catch up.  Christmas was filled with all kinds of family, lots of travel, and a great deal of fun.  We celebrated our 1-year houseiversary and rang in the New Year with good friends and dogs!  Mine is the one with the hat.  Luckily my friend brought him an NYE date.  Aside from all the celebrating, I’ve been working my tail off because I have a big announcement!

I have opened a small space for my shop, The Brass Giraffe, in a monthly tag sale event called The Vintage Tin Can!  Shout it from the rooftops, baby!  I’m pumped!  I couldn’t be more excited or more worn out.  I’ve been working since the end of December to design my space, gather inventory, and sew, sew, sew for my studio collection!  Now you see why the blog was neglected!  The store had their grand opening on January 23rd.  I’m lucky enough to have a few hundred square feet to call my own alongside 35 other vendors.

Over the holidays, I went to a popular tag sale in Fallston, The Painted Mill.  I was blown away by the creativity.  I was kicking myself for not being a part of such a creative endeavor.  I had previously worked another market with the owner of The Painted Mill, but when she opened her new shop a year ago the timing wasn’t right for my business and my health.  So a few days later, when I discovered that a different person was opening a similar style shop just steps away, I felt like the stars were aligning.  This little area in Fallston was turning into Tag Sale Haven!  My handmade handbags and vintage style made the cut over at The Vintage Tin Can!  Suddenly weeks were flying by as the sale was fast approaching.  I was running on pure adrenaline stocking my space and fighting through some of the worst back pain I’ve had in my life.  Setting up a space while wearing a back brace is neither fun nor fashionable.

I meant to post teaser photos.  I meant to make an announcement.  I meant to sleep more than I actually did.  Basically, my life turned into retail prep full time!  Even as I write this, I can see our fully decorated Christmas tree in our living room, so being behind at home is an understatement!  It took many hours and the help of my family and fiance, but we pulled it together and it was incredible!  Honestly, I can’t thank you all enough for your help!

Take a look at the transformation of my space….

Blank slate at The Vintage Tin Can!

Blank slate at The Vintage Tin Can!

Brass Giraffe at Vintage Tin Can - Progress4

My father and fiance hard at work stapling fabric to the wall.

Ready for the molding!

Ready for the molding!

Brass Giraffe at Vintage Tin Can - Progress

The wall is complete!

The final product.   Ready for the January 2015 Grand Opening!

The final product. Stocked and ready for the January 2015 Grand Opening!

It all came together brilliantly.  Thank you for your help Mom, Dad, and Dillon!  I couldn’t have done it without you!  To the customers who shopped the sale or stopped in to see what it was all about, I appreciate your support!  Sabrina Barney, the store’s owner, has put together a fantastic group of vendors.  Her passion for this vision shows through in the hard work she and her family have put in to transforming the space.  The group of vendors in the store are some of the most caring, talented, and wonderful people that I’ve met in a long time.  It’s a pleasure to be working alongside them.  To say that January has been busy is an understatement.  It was truly an amazing experience and I’m really looking forward to the one in February!

I’m overwhelmed with excitement to be involved in a creative community.  A few posts back, I was talking about my lack of inspiration for vintage clothing and was debating where I was headed.  I can now say that The Brass Giraffe will be merging the two worlds of vintage and modern style.  My goal is to bring together curated vintage pieces, both in fashion and home decor, with handcrafted items — starting with my handbag line.  I’ll be steadily working on my own line, designed and produced in my studio, with the ultimate goal of launching a full blown, online shop for the vintage loving, modern woman.

Please excuse our mess over at The Brass Giraffe.  I haven’t been updating online as much as I’d like and our website layout is not my favorite thing at the moment.  I think a facelift is in order as I reinvent my shop!  Stay tuned.  I’ll try to chime in with some posts more frequently! Thanks for following along!

For the most recent updates on The Brass Giraffe — Find us on Facebook and Instagram.  Also find out about The Vintage Tin Can’s upcoming sales on their Facebook page!

How to Properly Take Your Measurements

When all sizing isn’t created equal, knowing your measurements can make shopping and ordering clothing online a bit easier.  Do you order 2 sizes and then send one back?  Have you realized that a size medium isn’t the same across all brands?  What does size 8 really mean?  The mystery of sizing is a boggling one, but if you know your measurements, you’ll have the ultimate shopping power on your side.  In fact, most women are wearing the wrong bra size because they don’t know how to measure themselves correctly.  So grab your tape measures (or a piece of string) and let’s get started.

hot to take your measurements

What you’ll need.  A dressmaker’s tape (like this one) is perfect, but you can always use a piece of string and lay it against a ruler to calculate the length.  A mirror is helpful, as well.

Key points to remember.  Take your measurements over the undergarments that you plan to wear or usually wear.  I’ll discuss proper bra sizes in another post.  Keep in mind that certain undergarments will alter the shape of your body and can make a difference in your sizing.  Yes, I’m talking about heavily padded bras and shape wear.  We’re looking for your true size right now, so don’t worry about sucking it all in and pushing it up.  Definitely don’t measure over your clothes.  They’re bulky and it will not reflect your true size.

The 3 most popular measurements are bust, waist, and hip – in that order. 34-28-36, sound familiar, right? 

Taking your bust measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the fullest part of your chest (about nipple level) until it meets.  It should be just the slightest bit snug.  Don’t let it droop, but for goodness sake give yourself some breathing room!  This number is your bust measurement.  Take note, this is not your bra size.

Taking your waist measurement:

Wrap the tape measure around the narrowest part of your waist, near your belly button.  You can do a side bend to see where the natural part of your waist really lies.  Again, don’t cut off your circulation.  This isn’t a number competition.  It’s your size and you need to breathe!

Taking your hip measurement:

Wrap the measuring tape so that it falls across the fullest part of your butt.  It can be slightly above or below your actual hip bone, as we are all different.  Make sure the measuring tape is parallel to the floor for an accurate result.  Again, your magic number is where the end of the tape meets the rest of the measuring tape.  When it comes to design and sewing, the hipline typically falls around 7 to 9 inches from the waistline.  We’re all different, so don’t worry if yours isn’t exact.  This may give you some insight into why that one dress wasn’t sitting quite right in the fitting room.  

Embrace your numbers, ladies!

You can now use these 3 numbers to compare your size to items you’re about to purchase!  You don’t have to worry about exact measurements, but round up if you’re in doubt.  A 29 inch waist would work well in a structured dress measuring 30 inches.  Otherwise you will not be able to breathe!  You might get away with a smaller size if the dress is stretchy, but too tight is unattractive, as is too big.  Usually companies provide a measurement range to correspond to their sizes.  Also keep in mind that some people have long torsos and others have shorter ones.  If you try on a dress, but the waistline seam isn’t sitting on your actual waistline, it might look a little funny.  Each brand is different, so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t fit!  I have a long torso and there are simply some brands that I can not wear if they have a defined waist.

That’s it!  Take your measuring tapes and newly discovered powers and run with it!  I can’t stress enough the importance of correctly fitting clothing!  Stay tuned for bra measurements!

Accessorize with Mesh from Whiting & Davis

Whiting & Davis Calysto Bracelets via INSIDE Whiting & Davis

Whiting & Davis Calysto Bracelets via INSIDE Whiting & Davis

Whiting & Davis has been around since the late 1800s.  They specialize in accessories and jewelry crafted of metal mesh and boy oh boy, do they do it well!  I guess after 135 years, you would tend to be the best of the best.  In 1892, the first mesh handbag was hand woven by Charles Whiting.  He took the art of chainmail and turned it into a fashion statement.  This look has held on and evolved with every decade.  They’ve recently updated their website and revamped their logo for a more modern look.  Not only can you shop, but you can learn about the history of the company and check out modern fashion trends on their blog!  I wonder if the founders ever thought that the company would still be styling mesh 100 years later.

Known for fantastic handbags, the new collection of Whiting & Davis does not disappoint.  Offering clutches and shoulder bags, they have a piece for every occasion.  The dazzling mesh of Whiting & Davis makes their handbag the perfect companion on a night out, cocktail party, or other evening affair.  Here are a few of my favorites from the collection.  Naturally I leaned towards a vintage look.  The vienna and peacock handbags remind me of pieces from their 1920s collection because of the silhouette and painted on prints.




When it comes to jewelry, Whiting & Davis may be most famous for their serpent style cuffs and bracelets; however in the new collection you can expect bold colors along with timeless classics.  A glimmering mesh piece of jewelry can make a statement day or night.  I love everything, but here are a few of the pieces that I’m lusting after.



I am a Whiting & Davis freak.  When it comes to vintage W&D, I have several of their handbags from different eras and some pieces of jewelry as well.  Thank you to my lovely grandmothers who have the best style and were willing to pass their Whiting & Davis pieces along to me!  One of my grandmothers kept her Whiting & Davis handbag from the 1950s in the original box!  I’ll have to do a style post sometime soon to show you the glamour that has been passed down to me!

Do you have any pieces from the iconic design house?  Tell me about them in the comments section!

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