Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I dress my books too.

This book is wearing a garter.  And on the inside, it is decorated with ribbons, stars, pieces of fabric, photographs, lists, pockets, sequins, glitter, a jingle bell, and other things that relate to the text.  I haven't finished reading it yet so there is much more to come.  This kind of reading takes a long time because I have to stop and go hunting for stuff quite often.  I don't know why I am so compelled at times to do this with my books, but I love doing it. 

I copied this fantastic photo of the three authors and pasted it on the inside cover, along with each of their portraits to the left.  They are Leanne Shapton, Sheila Heti, and Heidi Julavits.  This is a book about real women and their real clothes (642 of them!) with all the accompanying angst and glory that comes with their candid stories.  Personal fashion (maybe that's the only really important kind of fashion there is?) runs deep, especially when we look at what it says about who we are and how we communicate that persona in our daily lives.

I underline, highlight and doodle while I read. I want to remember certain moments and be able to return to them...

and sometimes I find myself wandering through the pages.

The first image above is a drawing from the book of some "tried and discarded items" from a women in the process of deciding what to wear. The second image is a photo of my own clothes on the floor of my bedroom after getting dressed in the morning.  The photo is taped over the drawing, like a flip card.  There is no place in the book where anything that I have added has covered or obliterated the text permanently.  The book can still be read in its entirety. 

A short section about two women meeting in an elevator and discussing glasses prompted me to make a detailed list of my own reading glasses.  And one of the women interviewed is adamant about how she does NOT want to look like Audrey Hepburn!

And of course there is a section about mothers, so I added my own. We all have our memories of those mother/daughter wardrobe moments.  Next to the photo of my mom I attached a paragraph about how disappointed I was that she never wanted to buy me any clothes when I was a teenager.

This book also provides plenty of inspiration for spicing up your own style.  The Chanel duct tape idea is one that I particularly like because it makes me laugh. Maybe I will try it next summer at the beach.  Its both a nod to the allure and power of the fashion elite and a comment on its excessive frivolity.  And hopefully, it will elicit a chuckle or two.

But in the end, I think it all comes down to finding the style that expresses both who you are and the kind of relationships that you want to have in your world.  And if you don't want to go to the effort of dressing that way, then at least top off whatever you are wearing with a great pair of earrings!  After all, its usually the little things in life that speak the loudest.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"You're not the only one who can dress-up."

"But this collar definitely DOES NOT GO with my outfit!"

"When will my laundry be dry so that I can try another one on?"

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Krafty Side

Here I am in my creative haven.  This is where all of my art making takes place.  I am holding a tote bag that I crocheted out of plastic shopping bags and one of my embroidered photographs.  Besides fashion, embroidery has been a big passion for me lately.  For a closer look at some of my latest work go HERE. The blue Ikea bag is full of clothes that I plan to upcycle and my shelves are packed with supplies and tools. 
 I have this fabulous counter for sewing and for all of my other artistic endeavors.  A studio like this allows me to keep several projects going at once.  I find that I prefer to work that way so that I can change my focus and don't get too bogged down in any one thing.
 This is my desk chair that I yarn bombed along with a piece of tongue-in-cheek embroidery entitled "Thinking Skills."

 My Valentine's Day Heart shelf stays up all year long.
 This mobile is hanging in another corner of my studio. I made it with discarded children's hangers, baby clothes, doll clothes and accessories. Clothes of all kinds obviously fascinate me.
I found this t-shirt at a thrift store the other day and knew that it would be perfect to wear for this blog post.  I love the way the orange shirt and the red pants just scream "color" to each other!
Krafty, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Couture Fashion From Goodwill!

I shopped this complete outfit at the Goodwill store in Millville NJ.
The coat came first and it inspired me to go for a Chanel look.  After all, the 2015 NY fashion show begins this week and I have to be ready for the runway!
 The label says BB Dakota and the price was $6.99.  
These similarly textured shorts ($2.99) were a perfect match for the coat and this lacy ivory T ($4.99) complimented both pieces perfectly.  But what about the bottom half of me?  I was feeling skeptical about completing the outfit when I found these shoes.
And like Cinderella, they fit me perfectly ($5.99).  
I also found some pantyhose in a lovelyshade of beige for $.99.
I was feeling mighty fortunate with this treasure trove of fashionable separates and headed for the cash register to check out when lo and behold, a black patent leather bag with gold chains ($6.99) was staring me right in the face!
Who ever thought that I would be able to put together a couture Chanel look for less than $30.00?
Thank you, Goodwill!  
See you again soon.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Inner Child

With only two oranges, I wouldn't exactly call this juggling but at least I usually didn't drop them.  That was when I worked as a birthday party entertainer.  I was known as T.W. McElf and I would take children on a magical dance journey through imaginary woods and water and places where you could only move backwards.  This unitard was my costume - it was hand painted by an artist in the 80's which was when I was doing this kind of work to supplement my income as a dancer, waitress and part time teacher.  It still fits me but I no longer consider myself an elf!

Shoes were superfluous in this context.

I added this skirt to make an outfit for the Penelope Cake of today.  I hand embroidered it with this Tolkien quote that sums up my life from then until now.  Wandering does take you to the most interesting places!

Looking back, the real seems imaginary and in retrospect it was a wonderful journey.  

Maybe I really am an elf!

Monday, February 2, 2015

There Was A Bear In My Yoga Class

There was a bear in my yoga class.
I wasn't prepared.
Don't run
He will come after you.
Stare, make noise, seem threatening.

But I was in yoga class.

He was breathing so loudly.
I couldn't focus, let go, 
Get into my yoga head.
What could I do?

I was in yoga class.

Maybe this:
Breathe with the bear.
But he was so 
And I was so 

Maybe this:
Become the baby bear
Let him be the daddy bear.

I tried
And I tried.
It felt weird to be a baby bear.
But soon 
We were in synch.
Loud and long and deep.
Maybe for the first time
I was learning how to breathe.

I thanked him
And we took a big bear breath