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Monday 27 May 2013

Picture book Monday, redemption

 My picture book for Monday.

Patti is in New York so Visible Monday is all in my head. And in a cage of wood and wire.
Details: Marni sundress, thrifted; teal tights, sample sale; wood/leather platform sandals, Michael Kors, thrifted; graphic turtleneck, thrifted; magic pendant and magic loupe, made for me by O; wool shawl, retail long ago. 
I hope you are all having a Monday that makes you feel visible too.
Just as a reminder, only four days until the VOGOFF submission deadline...

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Yellow Skirt Freak Show Update!! and more...

Temptress Amber  of  Butane Anvil

has had her way with

the Travelling Yellow Skirt HERE,

and so has her HEN!!? 

See her twirl, mysterious in the cracking light

Freakishly Wonderful Styling of this World Wonder
Go! GO NOW!!

In more mundane news, I have finished my stretchy-boot upcycling project. (What a let-down topic after Temptress Amber and her Alpha Hen...)

BEFORE (as seen in post of May 13, Lurex in the alley)


Groovalicious boots of blue and aqua MADNESS. I am very satisfied, I am.
Here's the process.

NOTE: I do not recommend painting stretchy fabric but desperate boots require desperate measures.
  1. Cleaning/Mending. I scraped and picked the remaining vinyl stretchy bits off the boot uppers to the extent possible with a wire brush and toothbrush and thoroughly cleaned and sandpapered the smooth surfaces. I sewed up a rip in the rear seam of the upper too.
  2. Masking. I taped the boot soles and zippers with painters' tape and masked my calves with paper towel because I had to wear the boots during painting to reduce paint-cracking later.
  3. Base coat. While wearing the boots, I applied two coats of gesso as a primer using my fingers to avoid brush marks. I wore rubber gloves for this. Although gesso is more brittle than regular acrylic paint, I wanted super coverage and adhesion on the stretchy black substrate, especially on the fleece-like areas where the adhesive wouldn't come off.
  4. Painting. I applied coloured acrylic paint with rubber-gloved fingers. I wanted colour variation so one boot is noticeably more greenish than the other. For a clean line, I hand-brushed areas along the zipper and sole.
  5. Finishing. I applied a coat of clear acrylic for protection and added shine.
  6. Decoration. I hot-glued a fabric stripe down the front of the boots and added daisy zipper pulls that I bought at Dressew fabric shop for $3.00. I had to buy a glue-gun for this step.
  7. DONE. But these can only be worn in fine weather. Do I care? NON!
This project took a couple of days with all the fiddly scraping, masking, and multiple coats of paint (while I was wearing the boots), but the time was worth it. Depending on how gingerly I wear these (not very I imagine) these boots will last a little longer, and when they start to deteriorate more, I'll love going crazy with more paint AND safety pins. The good thing about working on something I would otherwise junk is there is no risk of screw-up; that's true freedom.

I owe this project's success to Pao at Project Minima where I first learnt about shoe-painting. Hugs to you, Pao and all the other bloggers I have seen since in their upcycled footwear.

Over at blog taibhsearachd (Gaelic for second sight), Janet of Yellowknife in the Yukon was needing an emergency yellow skirt fix so she upcycled a big sundress into her own version of it.  

Very cool - the perfect outfit for this beautiful indoor garden. Thanks, Janet. Gorgeous.

That's all from here. Hope you're having a swell week, everyone!

Sunday 19 May 2013

How to wear a place of mind dingle-ball style

Often I travel to a place in time and personality when I don a vintage piece I love, but this striped two-piece was leading me strongly to a geographical place. While that occurs with other pieces as well, early 20th century Paris being a recurring destination, this little top and skirt longed for the tropics.

I can imagine that the bricks beside me are my leather suitcases plastered with stickers of exotic locales, now packed and ready for a new equatorial adventure. I hope they don't exceed my luggage allowance limit. Any second now my chauffeur will pull up in my new Bugatti to whisk me off to the airport.
"Porter, oh, Porter! Can you please see to my bags?" Being a good tipper is essential in precarious situations. Maybe I'm on my way to visit Frida and Diego.

The skirt fits perfectly around the waist but the top is rather large and shapeless, despite the darts designed for a bigger bust than mine, hence the belt. There is a full zipper in the back like a jacket would have.

A couple of dingle-balls were missing on the skirt so I had to carefully transplant two from the top near the zipper to fill the vacancies. Thankfully, the operation was a success, but this piece still requires delicacy when worn; although it longs for the seaside and lush tropics, the lack of any slit in the skirt requires that I walk with carefully-measured steps. I also had to replace the skirt zipper and hand restitch most of the hems and some seams, which, while time-consuming, also meant a significantly reduced sales price.

  • vintage dingle-ball top and maxi skirt, thrifted, $15?, due to missing balls and other required repairs
  • Steven Madden orange platform sandals, thrifted
  • chain belt, thrifted
  • black T, thrifted, worn against the chill
  • magic loupe, made for me by O
  • vintage mechanical wristwatch with jewels, gift from O
And I like this last photo with my eyes partially closed, the better to see the cabana, the fruity drinks with umbrellas, the intriguing shadowy characters in colourful places, the romance, the rumbas...

Reality Check: That's my reusable shopping bag in my hand. I carry my tripod in there as well. I first wore this outfit here, to Sheila of Ephemera's e-birthday party, before it was mended.

It's strange how the passage of time bathes other eras in misty romance. I wonder if in the future anyone will write of being whisked away to early 21st century Vancouver. Will I ever hear, "Oh, she dresses like a Vancouverite," as a compliment on the level of, "Oh, she is so Parisienne." Doubtful, HIGHLY doubtful. But I can at least create my own warp in time/style/personality/mind.

I'm going to Patti's grand Party of the Undead at Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday.
How do you warp reality into a lightness of being?

Other News

Bella at The Citizen Rosebud has posted Part 1 of an interview that Rosalind of Clothes, Cameras and Coffee and I did of each other a while ago as part of Bella's new series, "20 on +40." I felt very privileged and delighted to have carte blanche to find out more about Roz and her incredible art and style. I am simply in awe of her. So...

Thank you, Bella, for initiating this interview. It was a treat to connect and I am humbled to be profiled on The Citizen Rosebud where I am inspired not only by your own style but the style and positive life attitudes of the many women there, especially those over 40.

PS - If you have missed the May 19 VOGOFF submission deadline, don't fret. You can have until May 31. This is your last chance to get out there with your cameras for the upcoming issue.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

She smells her

I saw this outside one of the city's most expensive fashion retailers a few months ago. Had I not seen them exiting the store, I would not have known that they were probably at the perfume counter.

On another note:
I have been sidetracked from my usual rounds of commenting due to corruption - CORRUPTION and VILENESS in my memory stick, not the one in my head (although that one is occasionally corrupted), my computer one. I lost many, many images, including some art project sessions that I haven't posted.

I am trying to let this loss float away, tra-la-la. Cleansing. Yes, cleansing. Um, it's kinda working. I shall visit a pro recovery person to take a look, not at me, at the stick. It's a sign that I should be painting more, not worrying about fecking BACKUP corruption shite.

I lost a back alley shot of the outfit I wore yesterday to go vote, my Kiss of the Spiderwoman Dress from Pao (seen here last), with my new big crappy shoes (at the bottom of this post). Guess I'll just have to wear this combo again, and again for fecking BACKUP, but also because I love it so.

To cheer myself up I went window shopping for a new/used camera this morning. Kinda worked. Didn't buy anything... I'll have to go shopping again tomorrow for BACKUP. Living life in duplicate. Tra-la-la.

Monday 13 May 2013

Lurex in the alley

As the bouncer of this back-alley speak-easy I should practise looking more formidable. I'm afraid this look says, "Um, don't come in here, okay? You're so tall and your brass knuckles are making me anxious. Don't make me step outside my comfort zone, please? You'll regret it? Grrr." I was loathe to brace myself against the walls because I had not brought any handiwipes and I'm simply not getting paid enough to do so.

  • powder-blue lurex dress, thrifted
  • powder-blue beret, thrifted
  • ivory bamboo tights, retail
  • long-sleeved white T, sample sale
  • patterned socks, retail
  • falling-apart booties, retail
  • magic pendant, made for me by O
  • other neck stuff, thrifted

After my 18-hour shift and time out for good behaviour, my boss gave me ten minutes for a lovely lunch of day-old peanut butter and jelly on white bread at the abandoned car lot across the way.

After my long shift, it's no wonder I had to punch up these photos with photo editing, which I don't normally do for my outfit posts other than contrast adjustments to compensate for poor indoor lighting.

My booties are almost done and I wear them with the attitude, "Hey, I LIKE them like this." The stretchy coating is peeling off the uppers, the seams are coming unsewn at the back, and I've had the heel taps replaced several times. There's nothing left to do but paint these suckers. I tried marker on the right boot just before I went out, but paint will work best.

I'm hooking this outfit up to Patti's Visible Mmmmonday at Not Dead Yet Style. Yeeeeah. I'm tired after my long shift so if you wouldn't mind just strapping that backpack of Long Island Iced Tea to my back and sticking the straw in my mouth I would be much obliged. See you there through bleary eyes. (Okay, not really. I'm fine, although recovering from a weekend photo safari, Sandra's term.)

Photo Editing Details if you're interested:

Junkyard photo:
  • blurred and de-coloured some of the background which creates depth and focus on the foreground
  • saturated colour on me and the foliage, especially on my socks, necklace, and lipstick
  • adjusted the brightness and contrast
Bouncer photo:
  • same as above except for I didn't blur and desaturate the background
I never "fix" my wrinkles or play with my eyes unless it's part of an overall filter - it feels too cheaty. These changes may not be easily detectable at first glance, but what you see is unnatural in real life, for example, the fence is very blurry and it's less than a foot behind me, not to mention the nearly black-and-white world in the background, but sometimes that's more real-feeling than I can stand. Depending on the time spent, any mediocre photo can be elevated with tweaking. So don't sweat your VOGOFF photos; editors here are standing by.

I decided to do this shoot outdoors by myself with my tripod, which I have only done a couple of times, but I see so many of you braving the public alone I decided to go for it. Except for the eyes of several highrises upon me, I was alone. I was safe, I liked the challenge, and I like the results. What can be better than that?

Thursday 9 May 2013

Pant-theist: worshipper of pants

I wore this on Wednesday. Outta my way, I'm spewing uber-ness.

In fact, I was spewing such an incredible amount of uber-ness that I was raring to burst into the board meeting of my imaginary haute couture magazine in New York where I would fire the entire fashion editorial staff in favour of running my global empire single-handedly from the pool house at my mansion in Malibu. Without breaking a sweat, naturally.

Step. Spew. Step. Spew. Lively ubers in my wake.

These glasses frames with clear lenses were only $15. I shall need new glasses soon and thought these would be good testers of one of my favourite designs, the big Os. Sadly, I think my lenses will probably be too thick for these huge orbs, and I don't think my brows, forehead, and brain would benefit from the expansive prescriptive realm. Another style would probably better suit my face shape. Regardless, I shall wear these glasses again because I do like the style and they complement my chronic bitch face, yes.

  • glasses with clear lenses, $15 from thrift shop
  • front zip big pants, vintage, thrifted. It took a lot of care to resuscitate these poor neglected darlings. Note how the pattern matches up so magnificently in the front (also in the back)
  • suede vest with 4 front snaps, vintage, thrifted when I went out with Sandra.
  • black boat-neck T with 3/4 sleeves, thrifted
  • D&G shoes, thrifted
  • magic loupe, O made it for me
And the hot pink delight below I also bought while thrifting with Sandra. I haven't worn it out yet and I'm not sure if I shall - the shorts are very, very short and I haven't worn shorts of any description for years, except for sports.

Oooh, another view, this time with the jacket which is looking rather haggard here because I didn't do it up correctly. When it's properly fastened, the jacket is form-fitting and the same length as the shorts creating the illusion that I forgot to put on my pants. So fun!(?)

  • hot pink boucle jacket and side-zip short shorts, vintage, thrifted, size L(!)
  • mustard tights, retail
  • sunglasses, vintage, thrifted
  • orange ruffled satin blouse, thrifted
  • big shoes, retail, big sale
And I liked my hair in this shot.

And finally, this is a closeup of the shoes I got in the big sale I mentioned in the last post, $37. They are poor quality but I love the style.

AND - Uh oh, I've been doing big art again as you can see in the background, oil pastel on paper. This particular piece is ongoing - I like it that way.

I hope you all have a swell weekend. Will you be wearing shorts? 

Sunday 5 May 2013

My big man pants

My biggest fear with these pants was that people might try to throw garbage down them.

My big man pants - so big I don't have to unzip them to put them on. I love them. But I needed to find a way of keeping them up with minimal sewing. My solution: thrifted vintage suspenders (braces) and silver studs with a cross motif. The studs were tricky to hammer on because the waistband fabric was multilayered. To keep up the cuffs, I made black leather tabs using the suspender tabs as a pattern and whacked in more studs, four on one leg, two on the other (I ran out of studs, minor detail).

When I wore this outfit for the first time this morning, I had on heavy-duty black army boots for a Charlie Chaplin air, but I chose these lighter flats for an early evening stroll with O. He took this photo.
(ed. note: I wore this on Friday. I wore the big hat in the earlier post on Thursday.)
men's big dress pants, wool, free from time-sealed treasure chest, upcycled
under-pant black jeggings, sample sale
vintage suspenders, thrifted
2 long-sleeved T-shirts, retail
sweater, thrifted, shortened and kittified
beret, thrifted
vintage sunglasses, thrifted
tool box handbag and magic loupe, from O
shoes, retail

These pants would also be ideal for an all-you-can-eat buffet because the legs would hold several days' worth of food, although getting home might be troublesome.

I'm hooking this up to Patti's fabulous Visible Monday. Finally, I'm on time for this one.
Do you have sewing shortcut secrets? How do you hoist, pinch, and tuck? Or perhaps you are skilled with needle and thread, all the better! See you at Patti's. I hope you have a wonderful week.

On another note, Miz Bagg went out with Sandra on the weekend for a photo shoot and we took some wretched photos, a few truly hideous ones, which made the outing so incredibly satisfying. It's the permission we give ourselves to fail miserably and be humiliated that makes it fun and gives us quite a laugh. If you're wondering about submitting to VOGOFF, remember, there are no mistakes. Some of the best photos are mementos of the greatest flops. Don't think too much!

Friday 3 May 2013

Blurred image in black and white

What would give me away? A few stray threads? A hole in my tights? A stain on my hat?

Am I the crazy lady down the street or the woman from Paris here to approve plans for the new hotel I'm building in Whistler? If I walk with rolled shoulders, hesitant steps, and furtive glances, I'm on my way to a costume party, but with shoulders back, a graceful gait, head held high, and a ready demure smile, I am the mysterious woman with a story to tell. Who is that?

People who know me know that I am expressing my Paris self with one foot in the present and one in a romantic past, the dreamer, the impish idealist. People who don't can take their pick: crazy lady, sophisticate, perhaps an artist or all three. The tool box handbag might be just what it is - O's tool box with my things jammed inside. Or is it the latest "it" bag from Milan? One thing is certain: if there's a stain on my hat, it's a tool box; if I am impeccable, the bag may be $$$$ and the pearls might be real.

As I pass, I blur in people's vision, which is the best way to preserve a stereotype. Careful scrutiny would show the cracks in the image - dry hands without a manicure, a lack of makeup except lipstick, and inexpensive hair. But I am just myself and I am content. To my knowledge there were no stains showing but I did have a small hole in the toe of my tights. Any stray threads were also all on the inside, simple tickles in the seams. But who's to know that? I wonder what/where/who tomorrow may bring.

  • high-waisted skirt with matching bolero jacket, thrifted from movie wardrobe sale, upcycled from a dress, I finished the bolero last night
  • tool box handbag, from O
  • wide-brim hat, San Diego Hat Co., thrifted, $7
  • tuxedo blouse, thrifted
  • pearls, thrifted
  • mid-heel pointy shoes and tights, retail

The weekend is here. Cheers! I had an immensely satisfying thrifting expedition with Sandra the other day, her first time out. I can't wait to show you the sweet spoils of our hunt. PLUS, today on the way to my coffee shop, I noticed that a pair of shoes I've had my eye on for months and months were marked down from $124 to $37. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!...I knew nobody else in Vancouver would want them. So ba-bye sophisticated Paris woman - hello Thrifty Glutton! 

Hope you're all well. I'm doing the rounds, slowly but surely. Mwah.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Ms. Swanson, you ready for your close-up yet?!

Buy it? Leave it? Buy it? Leave it? It wasn't the price that was a concern but the afternoon of intensive laundering, refashioning, mending, and pressing I knew I would have to invest to transform this paisley men's dressing gown into the perfect silky over-gown for chilly spring mornings. But invest I did.

The repositioning of the sash, parts of which I sewed permanently into place at hip height on the front, is probably the most visible evidence of the makeover. I also handstitched part of the sash across the back at hip height to add visual interest.

There was such a deliciously feminine swish to the piece as I strode down the sidewalk - it's silky after all and there was a fresh green breeze. At the same time, the powerful spiritual residue of the previous owner had me wanting to chomp a cigar and flick ashes with abandon, gulp brandy from a crystal snifter, bark out dirty jokes, laugh at nothing in particular in a big throaty, raspy laugh, and devour a chili cheese dog. With the addition of the beret I confess to feeling like a twenties film director/mogul, a refined brute. All I would need to complete the image is a megaphone. And I'd like to carry a riding crop too, although I have Grushenka, my magic wand somewhere...

  • maxi men's silky dressing gown with fringe-tipped sash, thrifted, $9
  • stovepipe low-rider jeans under the over-gown, sample sale
  • Miu Miu brown crackle leather boots, thrifted
  • white long-sleeved V-neck cotton top/long-sleeved T under the V-neck/camisole, sample sale/retail
  • men's tie, thrifted
  • cotton gloves, retail, Canadian Tire, decapped and hemmed by me
  • magic loupe, from O
  • tool box handbag, from O
  • sunglasses, vintage, thrifted
  • wool beret, thrifted
Let's do it again. But how about a little FEELING this time. Got it? Whaddya think I'm payin' ya's for, huh?

I hope you are all well. Your posts continue to inspire on a daily basis. Thank you so much!
When I go out, I often catch glimpses in a crowd of fellow bloggers continents away - a familiar profile here, a silhouette there, a pattern, a colour. I know these are shadows of yourselves but I can't help but wonder if they are also secret hellos dropped down magically from the cosmos. If they are, I hope you catch a glimpses of me too. Do you ever see bloggers from around the world wandering your streets?

Don't forget to send me your VOGOFF submissions. Deadline May 19. See sidebar link for details.

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