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Friday 30 March 2012

Canned spaghetti in the jungle

This outfit reminds me of canned spaghetti. I don't know why.

Maybe it's the long vertical stripes like noodles. Or it could be the shirt's "o" print in dirty orange which reminds me of the American canned spaghetti called Spaghetti-O's (wretched). This 100 percent genuine polyester shirt is so vintage that the synthetic pleasure is ramped up exponentially (it almost crunches). 

The skirt is a couple of sizes too big but I like how it hangs on the hip. I tucked the top in and I was going to wear a belt at my natural waistline, which had the excellent effect of making the ensemble look like a one-piece dress (who knew?), but opted for the tie at the last minute because I couldn't resist those polka dots, and why waste a perfectly tie-worthy shirt collar? I employed the ever-handy gargantuan Quintuple Windsor knot, otherwise known as the King's Throat knot. (see this site for a how-to)

Details of the outfit:
  • black cord jacket by Current, a local label I think, thrifted at Value Village
  • thrifted 100% polyester button shirt, almost free from vintage shop close-out sale
  • Pierre Cardin polyester tie, hand-me-over
  • thrifted skirt shaped like an upside-down tulip (there must be a proper name for this), purchased last week and highly twirl-worthy, made from very silky fabric that flutters when I walk 
  • Miu Miu thrifted boots, $6 I think
  • Tissot mechanical wristwatch, new old stock from the '70s, eBay
  • beetle stick pin handcrafted by a friend who has a shop on Etsy, Little Lamp
Finally, here is my impression of the outfit which I sketched during my inspiration outing.

It's called "the Unspeakable joy of communing with my Jungle companions." That's a polar bear/hippo I'm riding on. I like the fish on my toe.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

Wednesday 28 March 2012


As a tribute to all the fantastic Fluevogs I've been seeing these days, I drew the following cartoon last night. I had the idea for it last year and finally got around to drawing it up:

That's not me in the final frame, but those are certainly my shoes, the Fluevog Munster in lilac suede! (That's a startled cat in the first frame.)

Some of you were asking, so here are some shots of the magic pendants O has made for me. He machines them on a watchmaker's lathe in his studio from blocks of metal such as aircraft-grade aluminum or stainless steel, and he adds bits of gold or emeralds or rubies or other little stones. He doesn't sell them; if he did they would be too expensive because they are so time-consuming to make. Each one is an original and I cherish them.

O's work is usually super-duper small, like this:

He machined those screws and the other metal pieces, shown above with grains of Japanese rice. So you can imagine when I look at his work I get a huuuuge headache (in a good way) and I must rush to my studio and make something like this:

Implode - Explode.

That particular painting is 5 feet high and 11 feet long and is called Sunny Noon Downtown Saturday. (Note the framing or capping on the ends to keep the chaos from exploding off the ends of the paper!) You can see more of O's work here if you're interested.

That's all for today, something a little different. The forecast is for rain all week. I better arm myself with more colour!

Monday 26 March 2012

It's Hitchcock in 3D!

If you stare at the coat and skirt together long enough, kind of cross your eyes a little bit, you will see a 3D image of Alfred Hitchcock! It's uncanny!

It's a good thing I don't have a bejeweller because I think I would go wild on this little outfit, it makes my hair go all sproingy with excitement. I bought the red Oriental top about a week ago and had been saving it for a nice day, which was Saturday (sorry, this outfit is stale but I really wanted to share it with you!).

I have realized that you can throw almost ANYTHING on your body and make it work if you frame your hands/arms, legs/shoes, and head in the same stable colour, in this case black. It's like framing abstract art, which is how I stumbled across this miraculous discovery. The dark tips contain or cap all the exploding stuff on the central canvas. Who knew art could be so practical?

Details of the outfit:
  • bias cut wool skirt with wide suede waistband and suede along the hem, thrifted for almost nothing (I forget how much). The main body of the skirt is vanilla with a houndstooth pattern in black, brown and white.
  • red silk Oriental top-jacket thing, thrifted $6
  • patterned coat, thrifted, repeat item
  • shoes were new from The Bay department store about 8 years ago

My camera captured that vivid red so well above. And below, a little weirdness, trying to keep it real but for the ghoulish-stare face.

I am happy to include this in Patti's Visible Monday. Yay, Patti! 

Friday 23 March 2012

Rainbow-striped flamenco sausage

Surprise - me again, dorkily smiling into nowhere... dum-dee-dum-dee-dum. I should have done The Clean Line! I love how this skirt flares out flamenco-style under the rainbow-striped, alien-fabric sausage dress on top. The purple heels again got nixed at the last moment in favour of my boots - my feet said demurely, "TODAY?! Are you out of your Freaking MIND?!!!..."

And here I am outside. My friend took these. Look how I am breathing! My expression is a bit demented in the second one - I did a little tap-dancy thing and had just landed, plus I don't have a clue how to tap dance. 

The look:
  • circle wrap-around cotton skirt reminiscent of a table cloth, about $15 a couple of years ago
  • rainbow-striped, alien-fabric sausage dress, Value Village, an "I-dare-you-to-buy that" purchase (or maybe it was more like "If you buy that, I'll buy this..." I wear this baby by itself in the summer when I'm feeling daring, but I tug it down more so it's not so short and often wear tights with it.
  • long-sleeved black T under the dress, purchased new from an athletic store
  • beret, coat, bag, all thrifted, all loved
  • booties, thrifted, $6
  • cashmere gloves, gift
Happy weekend, everyone!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Posing 101

How-to Guide to Posing, Part 1
How many times have we looked at photos of ourselves and shuddered - "I look like a clown!" or "I look like myself!" Well, this handy How-to Guide to Posing, Part 1, will make taking your own fashion photos a snap! Before you know it you'll be voguing in your sleep! In the supermarket! In your car! Even in the dentist's chair!

Before we begin: The test shot 
Before any serious modelling session it's always a good idea to take a test shot. A test shot is a handy check of our lighting and a last-minute look-see to make sure we've put on our clothes.

For today's shoot we were extremely fortunate to have with us world-renowned photographer Takenzeepiss. Our subject is Miz Bagg, who recently signed a contract as spokesmodel for Mud-on-Your-Face beauty products. Although she is a seasoned runaway model and poser, these are looks anyone can achieve! Her outfit is courtesy of the World's Greatest Fashion Designer, "iqi" (pronounced "icky").

Miz Bagg modelling "iqi"  - Photo by Takenzeepiss  (c) 2012

Wow! Isn't she faaaabulous? And she hasn't even starting posing yet! That's some look, wouldn' you say? It only took our team of a dozen hairstylists, manicurists, and "iqi" two days to achieve this jaw-dropping transformation of Miz Bagg from her everyday dowdy look to this jaw-dropping haute-couture howdy-doody runway-ready face! Good job team!

Now that we're sure we've achieved the pinnacle of beauty, we begin the serious work of "The Pose." Today's lesson features four fun and easy poses that you can easily duplicate in the comfort of your own home!

Pose 1: Create a clean line

Miz Bagg demonstrating "The Clean Line" - Photo by Takenzeepiss  (c) 2012

Think elegance, think sophistication. Seeing this pose of course brings to mind the scene of Audrey Hepburn gazing deep into Gregory Peck's eyes at the end of Roman Holiday. In fact, Miz Bagg has captured here the essence of both Ms. Hepburn and Mr. Peck! Look how the lines of her clothes flow so smoothly from head to toe. This pose is a simple, surefire winner that only requires the support of a La-Z-Boy chair or other recliner. 

Miz Bagg says, "It helps to imagine that you are a piece of wood or flotsam or an airplane." Those secrets from the'll only find them here!

Pose 2: Tread water

Miz Bagg demonstrating "Treading Water" Photo by Takenzeepiss  (c) 2012

Isn't Miz Bagg working the camera here? It's always a good idea to pretend you're treading water. Nothing is more flattering to the feminine form than an aquatic pose. Don't limit yourself to treading water - the butterfly stroke, side stroke, or nose-pinch are all equally darling poses. (Order your How-to Guide to Posing, Part 2, to see the Polar Bear Dip face!) To loosen up, pretend your sofa is a swimming pool or practise on a kitchen stool.

Miz Bagg says, "Sometimes it helps to hold your breath and count to 500." How fun! As an added bonus, you'll burn calories with this pose! Ding dong!

Pose 3: Be a bird

Miz Bagg gives us "The Bird" - Photo by Takenzeepiss  (c) 2012

Who doesn't love the grace and beauty of a bird - an egret, a toucan, a pelican? Spread your majestic wings and soar using your  La-Z-Boy for support.

Of this pose Miz Bagg says, "I feel like I'm about to take off like a lovely virginal white swam swimming gracefully and majestically across a greenish brown pond slightly coated with pond scum, which doesn't hinder me because my beauty eclipses all the unsightly detritus around me? It's like I'm gently cooing a birdly love song towards the setting sun with the silhouette of palm trees swaying in the breeze." She says it all. Such a romantic pose.

Pose 4: Display your finest assets

Miz Bagg summing up today's lesson - Photo by Takenzeepiss  (c) 2012

This pose sums up all that we've learnt so far about posing today. It is not only the most flattering pose but it's also the easiest to attain of all today's poses. Who better than Miz Bagg to demonstrate this so masterfully? Takenzeepiss has ingeniously mounted Miz Bagg on the chair to enhance the beauty and sophistication of this dramatic statement. See how her clothes just flow? And who will ever notice those laugh lines when your face is buried in a chair? Look how the clever positioning of the sweater tie adds a distinctly bold and manly effect!

If you have found these free tips helpful, order the How-to Guide to Posing, Part 2, 8-track cassette for more fun with cameras, featuring Miz Bagg and Takenzeepiss, just $1.00 plus $50 shipping and handling. Act now and get a free vegetable peeler, plus shipping and handling.

This is part of an art project I'm working on - why do we pose certain ways and not others, apart from the obvious above. How do we change in front of a camera... I hope you enjoyed this sample of photos. Patti of Not Dead Yet Style had a very funny post on posing on Aug. 17. 
Don't worry - I'll be back to outfits in my next post...

Sunday 18 March 2012

The gauntlet was tossed and I picked it up

This is my outfit for Patti's Visible Monday. Thanks, Patti! I call this my garden party skirt, it is so dreamy, flowy, and leg-caressing, perfect for the wind we've been having here, a very girly outfit. I really should have taken a photo of me twirling in this, the skirt is so full. There is a matching cap-sleeve top, giraffe pattern as well, but the two together give me motion sickness.

Details of the outfit:
  • giraffe-patterned garden party skirt, chiffon with silky lining, new about 25 years ago
  • oversized silk beige blouse, oversized silk fuchsia tank and teal top, hand-me-overs
  • thrifted patterned coat by a label in Japan, I love this, $10?
  • new thrifted squid-ink indigo felt beret, $6
  • nude pantyhose, aaaa! but they have a control panel which makes me feel very put together indeed
  • thrifted patent black shoes with deadly heels
  • magic pendant O made me (I will do a post of his incredible work soon!)

Speaking of motion this next photo it looks like I'm scaling the luge track! I've been mucking about in my studio and the perspective on my backdrop so far is satisfyingly real and unreal. Of course the pose and camera angle help.

This post is actually going up late Sunday evening, hours after the end of the St.Patrick's Day parade downtown. You will note that I'm not wearing green. In fact, I don't think I own any green, but I do have a great Irish poem as a tribute to the festivities... 


"A whey-faced slat"* and a "parboiled ape" with a "tough jaw" are some of the delightful descriptives that 17th century Irish poet David O'Bruadair used to describe a wench who refused to give him free beer. A gent friend from Cornwall, whom I banter with in the art gallery cafe from time to time, fired it off to me last summer in good fun. Well, this saucy poem fell like at gauntlet at my feet and I felt it was time for a few female invectives in response, so I fired off my poem "Ten Dollars" in reply. Mine is a clumsy attempt to mimic Mr. O'Bruadair, as translated by James Stephens, but I had so much fun trying! [SORRY, I HAD TO TAKE MY POEM DOWN. I decided that there are too many invectives and I'm looking for more joy! But here is Mr. O'Bruadair's poem.]
*Please use a "U" instead of an "A" in "slat."

A Glass of Beer
by David O'Bruadair

The lanky hank of a she in the inn over there
Nearly killed me for asking the loan of a glass of beer;
May the devil grip the whey-faced slat by the hair,
And beat bad manners out of her skin for a year.

That parboiled ape, with the toughest jaw you will see
On virtue's path, and a voice that would rasp the dead,
Came roaring and raging the minute she looked at me,
And threw me out of the house on the back of my head!

If I asked her master he'd give me a cask a day;
But she, with the beer at hand, not a gill would arrange!
May she marry a ghost and bear him a kitten, and may
The High King of Glory permit her to get the mange.


Do any of you write poetry? Rosemary the Shopper had an excellent poem in her post of February 23, When in Doubt, Turn to Poetry. It's priceless! Any ideas for replacement or additional lines in the poem I wrote? Or, better yet - and I don't expect it because it takes so much time - another poem in response to Mr. O'Bruadair? If nothing else, I would be satisfied with just two male-equivalent phrases as gratifying as "whey-faced slat" and "parboiled ape."

I hope you got a laugh.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Opera gown dressed down

I was thwarted from wearing this outfit yesterday due to snow(!) and rain, but today, joy, the sun was shining, it was warm, and there was just enough wind to make my dress billow around fabulously! - without getting all tangled.

A beautiful long black satin dress had been hanging forlorn in my closet since the one time I wore it, to the opera, The Rake's Progress, years ago. Considering how many beautiful maxi dresss and skirts in the blogging world I've seen, I decided, why not my gown for day wear? The trick would be how to dress it down enough that I wouldn't be mistaken for Delta Dawn or Madame Bijoux.

This is what I came up with.

Details of the outfit:

  • thrifted black satin gown, princess cut with full skirt, cap sleeves, and a rounded square neck. I think it was home-made because there are no labels, I'm thinking maybe sewn for someone who played in an orchestra
  • long-sleeved slate-grey cotton T-shirt under a mid-thigh-length, oversized black T 
  • thrifted denim jacket with bits of glitter on it, and thrifted shoes
  • pendant O made me

This is me twirling.

I felt so wonderful in this dress as the wind blew the satin around my legs. Good energy all around. Wearing this outfit was a challenge - I felt like it pushed the envelope - but I'm so glad I did it. Why did I wait so long? I guess I never thought I could wear my opera dress to the coffee shop. Silly me!!

This is the sketch I did today of how I felt in this dress. It's a big tighter stylistically than usual but I felt all cozy and wrapped up and satiny.

With my mind on classical music, a friend plays in the orchestra and I recently attended an evening of new music. They played a piece called Vento d'ombra, wind of the shadow, by Salvatore Sciarrino. Wow, incredible! It reminded me a bit of the Japanese wind instrument, the shakuhachi. I've included a YouTube clip of the piece below. It sounds much better live though.

That's all. Have a great weekend, all! This post might sound all la-tee-da, but that's not me. I just like sensory explosions of all kinds.

Monday 12 March 2012

Waiting for the train

What a blustery day! This morning I was manhandled by my umbrella in the wind and rain. Good thing I got my photo BEFORE I embarked on my official inspiration walk. I was forced to switch into boots, which is always sad, unless they are my go-go-sno boots. I am including this outfit in Patti's marvellous Visible Monday.

What I'm wearing:
  • I got this knit 20s-feeling dress from a Vancouver annual event called Nifty for Fifty, which features new designer and vintage clothes for $50 and under. This dress is by Schaart
  • You've seen the blue legs and Dorothy shoes before I think. 
  • The pendant is by O, and I'm wearing a ring made out of super-hard ceramic which is usually used in industrial applications, a gift from O.
I mixed up my poses today by moving around wildly just before the shutter went off, kind of like that game Red Light/Green Light if you know it, to see if it I can catch a more relaxed look. Mixed results...

The picture below is my favourite!

Almost every morning at a coffee shop I do journalling and sketch what I'm wearing. The physical process of drawing and colouring with pencil crayons is satisfying and very evocative of the day/mood at the time I did it. I try to find an unobtrusive spot where I can scatter my pencil crayons without raising too many eyebrows. Here's the image I had with today's outfit. This is bigger than the actual size of the drawing.

That's all. Do you like my turnip head? Thanks for dropping by. I hope you all feel fabulous today!! 

Thursday 8 March 2012

Trousers, jacket, hat. Go!

I keep telling myself, it's just trousers and a jacket, but I had a hard time keeping this outfit in its proper place! The trousers are heavy linen with two big pleats (supposed to be there) but there is so much fabric (we're talking living-room drapes!) that they waffle wildly in the wind making walking a challenge. Add to that my 4.5-inch platform shoes and it takes all my biped skills not to fall over. The trousers are long so I need the heel but I also like the long line.

I had no idea of the impact this outfit until I saw the photos. The glasses really make this into something else entirely. I like it, but I think in a perfect world I would wear this jacket with a patterned pink circle skirt and a red crinoline. I have worn this piece once before with vintage ultra-wide-leg jeans and flats and it looked very different. When I am actually moving I think this outfit looks more real.

Details of the outfit:
  • thrifted silk brocade Oriental-style jacket with wide obi-type belt (you can see the strings hanging down), $15
  • linen ultra-wide-leg trousers, Totem, sample sale, $10
  • D&G leather and wood shoes, thrifted at Value Village, $10
  • felt "acorn" hat, Kyoto, Japan, new about 20 years ago, I've also had this hat called a Hersey's kiss, nice name

And a fun shot. The wall is keeping me up. This ensemble was really a challenge to wear but fun too. Hope you're all having fun in your closets today!

A bit spooky.


Monday 5 March 2012

Call me Mr. Talbot

I have finally worn these pants again. They are lightweight but I reason that the extreme gathering pushes these babies into honorary wool. They are Talbots, which is a store I like but never shop at; these I picked up for a couple of bucks at a thrift store. Only about four sizes too big, I sewed two giant darts at the front, hike the pants above my waist, and belt the whole mess. Voila. Miraculously the pockets are still accessible. I'm never one to let size stand in the way of a great feeling.

Details of the outfit:
  • Talbots pants, perhaps in rayon, I didn't check, thrifted, gathered like mad
  • needlepoint-like vest (there's a proper word, brocade but not shiny), a hand-me-over. This vest was much too big as well so I took in the seams drastically on the sides and top of the shoulders. It's stiff feeling but satisfying
  • Zara tuxedo shirt with those weeny horizontal pleats on the top, thrifted (again, there must be a proper word - please teach me if you know!)
  • shoes, thrifted. OH MY, I LOVE THESE SHOES. They are an interesting vinyl and they sparkle like sequins but it's just the stamping they did in the texture that makes them reflect light. The heel is covered in off white leather. They feel very, very '30s. 
  • wool/cashmere coat, thrifted

Oh mum, look, I'm a man! It's like Coco Chanel had a wicked hangover and pulled on her friend's hideous vest instead of her pearls - at least I was thinking Coco at the time because I love the manly styles she threw together early on. 

And one goofy pose to show that I'm behind all these serious faces.

I am happy to put this outfit on Patti's Visible Monday. It's like a little tea party where everyone can get together and be fabulous. Thank you, Patti!

Friday 2 March 2012

One face six ways

New York-based photographic artist Cindy Sherman specializes in dressing as different characters, male and female, then taking self-portraits in her exploration of women's place in society; she recently appeared in a MAC cosmetics campaign and you'd probably recognize her if you saw her.

I am interested in how people respond to others based on what they wear, at least at first glance. This topic has been a subject of my artwork on and off again for years and has been growing again since I began blogging.

In January I decided to use photography for the first time in exploring this idea, so I gathered up a bunch of stuff and headed to my studio where I tried to create different versions of me with a handful of accessories. How many illusions could I create with these few things? The shoot took about two hours and it was pretty chaotic since I'm not used to self-portraiture. This is the result.

This is me BEFORE, the way I look when I'm painting.

This is me AFTER.

3 hats, 2 light scarves, 1 burgundy winter scarf, 3 pairs of gloves
some bangles, 2 pairs of earrings and a necklace, a fur collar with ties

foundation, white powder, blush, lipstick (exaggerated bow lips)

my ratty studio shirt and grungy brown hoodie

I am wondering how much women question their image decisions and how many wish they had taken other paths presentation-wise. Do you think it's possible to consciously alter your image after presenting the same version of "you" for most of your life? If you push your boundaries of style, does that push your personality as well? Is that artificial? Are there parts of you that you would like to express but don't? Why not? I am interested in your views on any of these points.

Thanks for stopping by! By the way, let me know if you think of any funny captions for any of the photos - some of the looks are...interesting.

This last photo is my friend Sandra after her first cosmetics lesson (true). Her beautician couldn't stop laughing. I know why!

PS March is a crazy time for me and I won't be able to post very often or respond to your comments right away, but I will check in as often as I can!

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