June 14, 2011

An interview with Vanessa of The Velvet Bird

Today we have a lovely interview with Vanessa of The Velvet Bird. Vanessa lives in rural Georgia with her husband and two goats, and spends a good portion of the year touring around the country with her husband's band. She sews the prettiest dresses, and reconstructs vintage pieces to fit her own style. She also has a love for cooking, and has a soft spot for good coffee (a girl after my own heart).

Meet Vanessa:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

-Hmm...where to start... Well my name is Vanessa and I run my little corner of the internet called The Velvet Bird, which consists of a blog and Etsy shop. I got married and moved all the way from Washington state to Georgia a few years ago, which was quite the change. My husband is in a full time-usually-touring-band so that always keeps us on our toes. I am animal OBSESSED and have two tiny goats, so more of my day than I'd like to admit is spent talking/singing to goats. I have maybe also started to get animal tattoos, like a raccoon in a suit. I dabble in different crafty things, I take pictures (more recently wedding & engagement ones), sell some vintage, and most recently started selling handmade dresses. Needless to say, life is amazing and I love it. And needless to say, our heavily tattooed, goat talking, band playing, dress sewing selves stand out in rural Georgia sometimes. So life is never dull!

2. What got you interested in blogging, and how long have you been blogging for?

-Somehow I got into reading blogs, mostly of the fashion/vintage variety and one day thought...hey I could do that! I was also newly living in the woods in Georgia (still do actually) and didn't know very many people or have much to do, so starting a blog sounded like it would at the very least give me something to work on. Surprisingly enough I start my blog almost two whole years ago, but I've gone through phases where I will hardly spend any time on it at all, whoopsies. But I enjoy it a whole lot and so far haven't come across any negativity in the blog world at all (really, not at all!!) and have met so many amazing friends... I love it!!

3. Can you tell us about your style?

-(just so you all know I start every answer with hmmmmm...)

Funny enough, I have never felt stylish before! In fact, a few years ago I was mostly wearing jeans/tshirts, and my most risque stylish outfits involved leggings, some sort of top to cover my booty, and boots. I maaaaybe went through a short blue hair/novelty-random preschool tshirt/plaid pants phase in junior high. I have, however, always been into thrifting! That combined with getting into the vintage inspired fashion blogs led me to find my own personal style. I've learned that I feel the most myself in 60's-esque dresses possibly more suited for five year old girls, always with tights, and oxfords or some old timey feeling t strap heels. I am also so short that I still haven't gotten over the idea that I need dresses to be short (with tights of course!), I feel funny in longer skirts and dresses. I've recently come across the discussion of dressing age appropriate, but honestly I'm almost 26 and I dress like a five year old girl quite proudly, and probably always will!

4. I know you travel around with your husband and his band occasionally. How do you think touring around the country has affected your blog?

-One of the major ways it has affected my blog is I have gotten to meet so many out of this world amazing girls in the blogging community. I love it!! Some are instantly like old friends, swinging by last minute to pick me up from whatever stinky venue and whisking me away to coffee/food/dessert/thrifting/who knows what else, and its awesome and I will be forever grateful for that aspect of touring. Honestly, touring can be extremely difficult at times. You are tired, in a van for insane amounts of time, hungry, no time for exercising. We aren't flying around or in glamorous tour buses! Sometimes you find yourself cranky and eating old granola bars found under your seat. So I always go into tour with grand blog plans and sometimes (okay, a lot of times) fall short...but tomorrow is always a new day!

5. What are your favorite trends for summer?

-Pretty dresses! That sounds like such a wussy answer, ha ha. But when its so hot outside you can't really layer/accessorize, so if you have a cute/fun dress you don't really need to add anything. Spend five minutes in the south in the summer and you will understand... just the idea of having to put on underwear sounds like too much to bear!

6. When you're not busy blogging, what can you be found doing?

-Well, as I previously mentioned, a lot of talking to the goats happens on a daily basis. I love cooking and baking! So I try and work on that as much as I can. My husband and I spend a really big chunk of our free time watching tv show box sets (which we get from the library, I know those ladies think I'm sort of dummy only ever checking out tv shows and hardly ever real books {I already have real books at home!}). We are finishing up Ally Mcbeal right now, it's awesome! And of course the obvious blog related things, like thrifting, sewing, etc. Oh! And we have just starting going to the gym... I am in love with group workout classes, which is out of character for me.

7. With regards to fashion, what do you draw inspiration from?

-Of course blogs/other internet sources...there are just too many amazing girls out there! I really love watching old movies and tv shows, whether they are actually old or just set in different decades. And books, even ones you wouldn't think of as being fashionable...like as silly as the Chronicles of Narnia, I just like to think what I'd like to wear if I were running around with talking animals in the woods.

8. If you had to pick one outfit to wear the rest of your life, what would it look like?

-Some sort of short, solid colored, loose fitting empire waist /or babydoll style dress with tights and oxfords, oh and of course throw in some red lipstick please.

9. I've noticed that you love to re-work clothes and make them more fitting to your size and style. What do you like most about doing this, and how do you find all your amazing vintage scores?

-I love most the idea of having something to wear that is uniquely yours and recycled, you can't beat that combination. I also really wish I had some great and wise tips for finding vintage things. It really all comes down to not giving up! I will go to the same thrift store all the time and never find anything good, but then one day some treasure will be hiding in the racks. So don't get discouraged when you are striking out over and over, just keep looking!

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion bloggers? What about for someone interested in learning how to sew/re-work vintage clothing, but feels a bit overwhelmed at the thought of it?

-Start a blog and just go for it!! Don't worry about any rules or do's and dont's ....because really there are none (well, besides being nice and encouraging...that should be the number one rule!). Just be yourself and write about things you love. As far as sewing and reworking vintage... just go for it again! Don't be afraid to just go into a project blindly even. Now, if you find some absolutely amazing, one of a kind piece you probably shouldn't just start cutting it up. But if you find a dress with a pattern/any kind of detail you like for $2....go for it! I learn the best through trial and error. You could even start simple, like changing buttons or cutting off a dress to be a top.

Thank you SO much Vanessa for doing this interview with me! Be sure and check out Vanessa's blog for cute photos of her sewing projects, goats, and DIY's.



  1. wow thanks for sharing, she's super cute and i love her outfits!

  2. oh great interview - and cute blogger! love her style!

  3. thanks for sharing, she is adorable. i love her style... gonna check out her blog :)

    ~Andrea @ http://hecallsmewifey.blogspot.com/

  4. Great feature, Chelsea! I'm really into Vanessa's blog -- reading it always reminds me of the time I spent living in North Carolina. I haven't lost my soft spot for living in a small, rural city with tons of nature and animals.

  5. Have I mentioned lately how sweet and kind you are, Miss Chelsea? Because it's true! I had lots of fun doing this, thank you so very much again