Saturday, 25 April 2015

Going yin-yang in the alley

Of course I look serious - look where I am: stench alley! Would you look all comfy-cozy, ooo, why-don't-you-come-for-tea, if you were in stench alley? I think not. On top of that, I had to keep one eye on my stuff (five bars of nutritious soap made from goat dairy and grains, and new socks), one eye on traffic (although my shirt was a good substitute cone), and my third eye of loving-goodness-toward-the-universe focused serenely above this quagmire of shite (in all fairness, the alley was relatively clean).
Clearly, my style palate has been cleansed by my previous bout of minimalism. I embraced this assemblage of vitamin D whose yang-y bursts of colour found syncopated harmony in the alley's yin-y concrete squalor. This precision silhouette stance shows you the, uh, silhouette.
I fired the photographer, the traffic coning specialist*, the stylist, the garbage wrangler, and the location scout. I kept the gaffer - I'm really good at gaffes. *that's a real movie biz job, union wages
What on earth am I wearing?
  • flagrantly floral thrifted Versace pants
  • platform runners on super discount from Topshop (they don't offer so many huge discounts at my local store anymore; yup, they suck you in and then leave you high and dry, high and dry, my friends)
  • ruffled twisted citrus thrifted satiny blouse
  • magic loupe
  • thrifted shaggy green coat
  • my serious shady-day cycling sunglasses no longer used for cycling
The sun was like thin gruel off and on today, weak, beige, runny, lacking in nutrients, "Please, sir, can I have some more?" He said, "Eat your soap." Freak.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Polyvore, not to be confused with omnivore or cat

I admit it - I look a bit like a cat poised to tear around the room for no apparent reason, then bite your leg. Unlike a cat, when I tear around a room my reason is usually screamingly obvious. And forget about legs - it's your head I'd bite off.

Wearing neutrals: thrifted made-in-Italy dreamy-soft charcoal top, $5, Clarks black ballet flats, like new, $24, black crepe wool, lined Anne Klein palazzo trousers, a gift from dear and talented friend Jean of IG here and blog Dross Into Gold, and magic loupe and vintage mechanical Tissot watch from O. And a new haircut from O as well. 
Here I am running with wolves in an awkward emu style.
In these new flats, I feel like running across the veld. Instead, I loped around downtown, apron points and pant-legs flapping, startling wildlife at their watering holes. This outfit may be neutrals, but it is ineffective as stealth wear. Occasional minimalism helps me cleanse and refresh my style palate. 

A little journal sketch.

Some things I found crossing the urban veld. It's Earth Day as I write this, and I am happy (sort of)  to report that two-thirds of these found objects are organic. Obviously, any clicks on the images will yield nothing for you and me both.

Passersby often wondered what I was photographing on the sidewalk, and when I left a scene they often furtively stooped down for a closer look, like how if you look up at the sky everyone else looks up. Trying to explain what a fake Polyvore is would not have eased their confusion. I'll leave the real Polyvores to the pros who often provide inspiration for thrifting safaris.

And I'll wrap up with another tidy ensemble of: thrifted bright red shoes shown in stealth grey; thrifted black executive skirt and tuxedo blouse; gifted tie; magic loupe; retail tights. There will be no cavorting on the veld in this outfit, but you might find me later in the lodge doing bad Marlene Dietrich impressions.
That's all. Has anything in your life been making you feel cat rang-y lately? Been to any good watering holes? Bitten anyone's head off perhaps? Eating garbage...?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Big hair, big coat, little tape

I'll just throw on a little more coral lipstick and blue eye shadow before I pop down to the grocery store in my new AMC Pacer*. And shut up about the bag boy in the parking lot, will you? Can I help it if he has a crush on me? I'll have to get a move-on to get that Cheez Whiz and Ritz cracker casserole in the oven before the new Charlie's Angels comes on. (*it's a car, see end of post for details)
My "100% textured Fortrel polyester" vintage coat by Marty Gutmacher. Its hugeness almost put me off, but five bucks? For all that zig-zaggy, almost-crunchy '70s wonder? You bet! Without a lining, I also knew it would be less difficult to resize and I could wear it in the spring. These are the "after" shots, still slightly roomy but much, much better.
Meet me in the deli aisle
I'm wearing The Marty here with my wide-leg Grey Ant jeans, old black dickie (fake turtleneck), thrifted lace-up Miu Miu boots (with cheating side zips), gifted Chanel sunglasses, and magic loupe of course. This coat cried out for enormous brown hair. Luckily I have my "Tina Turner" wig for such emergencies. 

To bring this coat down to size, I redid the shoulders to sit one inch closer to the neckline on each side, and took in the body width almost six inches. I hardly cursed at all in the process. Is it because I have attained a state of sewing nirvana? No! But...

I often work on a carpeted floor where using chalk is futile, so I finally came up with the idea of using narrow painter's tape instead. WOW! I love this stuff: 
  • easily I can mark out any shape, including curves; 
  • it is highly visible, even in poor lighting; 
  • it is an excellent stitching guideline;
  • it anchors filmy fabric making it easier to make smooth cuts (at least for a non-pro); 
  • it sticks when you need it but removes easily when you're done, and;
  • the used grungy tape ball removes thread bits stuck on the floor.
Tape in action. See that 100% textured Fortrel polyester?
I also tried painter's tape when I shortened some trousers made of very lightweight crepey stretch rayon. The tape anchored the rambunctious fabric edge brilliantly for a crisp smooth cut. No freaking out! And in the future, if I want to copy an existing garment, I'll use tape to mark out the pattern. O is happy that I don't shriek so much too.
Worn with ivory silk blouse. Meh.
The bust area of the coat is still roomy (when is that not the case?) and I'd take the whole thing in even more if it didn't require time and, uh, major skills. As long as I remain a blur, no one will notice. I'd like to shorten the coat too but I think I've reached my time-investment quota.

Speaking of tape, did you know that Hugo Boss "fuses" it's ready-made men's suits together, as in hot glue? Yuck! Would you pay $800 for a fused suit? I should hope not! I would demand thread at the very least. And I hope the day is not coming when all clothing is glued together, when home sewists become home glue-ists. Or fuse-ists!
No man of mine would ever wear a glued suit
How dull life would be without dressing up and time travel. And how satisfying it is that I can wear this entire outfit for real, done so far without the wig. I'll link this up with Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. If we're lucky, the bag boy will tag along. Hehe.
I found this ad by Jean-Charles which appeared in Europe for the American Motors' Pacer. To my unsophisticated eye it appears that the woman is about to do a royal evacuation on this little American vehicle; however, the curvy derriere is supposed to mirror the revolutionary curvy design of the car. Rrright.

If you like browsing magazines but don't want to buy them, you can view countless magazines from around the world online for FREE in their original format. You name it - it's there. Go to:
issuu (
There is a search bar to find specific titles. Probably I am the last one to hear about it since I'm not on social media, but better late than never, right?

AND, SHOPPING ALERT for Vancouverites:
If you're a fan of Vancouver-based designers Obakki or JNBY, they have generously donated many of their sample and/or new old stock to My Sister's Closet (IG here) charity thrift store. Prices for these pieces are a steal, starting at around $40(!), but the shop has a wide variety of donated clothing, from newer high-end labels to vintage, with proceeds going to Battered Women's Support Services. I've found many spectacular pieces there, including this coat. 
That's all. See you next time!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Through the looking glass

I wore this today. And below are the places it took me. Like Alice, I fell through the looking glass, or the modern day equivalent - the selfie camera lens. 
Outfit for my adventure in wonderland
My adventure started in the cafe when the barista handed me a cup of coffee, and said, "Drink it." That's odd, I thought, and when I sipped the brew it tasted freakishly like fruit and flowers, not coffee beans at all. To work off the foul taste I visited several thrift shops where I exhausted myself trying on clothes. When I got home I felt very sleepy, as though I had been drugged by a shopping and caffeine high. Then, as I was taking my outfit selfie, I fell into a deep nap.
Journal sketch of Turnip Head
When I woke up I discovered I had grown into a 6-inch-high two-dimensional card person, and was now in a strange land of artwork populated by turnip-headed people and other bizarre creatures. I realized with a fright that my frump shoes were not the least bit appropriate to navigate a terrain of muppets and sequins.
Oil pastel/acrylic, 31" x 30", "Camping at Square Fish Lake" (sequins as top and turf)
Suddenly a woman rushed past shrieking, "Off with her head! Off with her head!" I think her name was Miz Bagg, Queen of Tarts, so-named for her sleazy behaviour, predilection for stealing pastries, and making her minions pucker up. I ran into her again later at a fantastical fashion court where she pronounced that everyone has to dress the same! Everything became curiouser and curiouser.
Acrylic, 40" x 59", "Waiter, there's a lily pond in my soup."
There were Middle-aged Kittehs who lounged in trees. Their beguiling grins and colourful claws were camouflaged by acrylic and oil pastel leaves, but I sensed their whiskers twitching and their tails flicking when I stumbled past, as if we knew each other. I also encountered a stylish wise crone called the Hatter on her way to a wedding, wearing a pink flamingo-feathered cap.
Acrylic, 59" x 59", 004
Other flat creatures, all dressed the same in fear of fashion court, were feverishly rushing around in circles muttering, I'm late, I'm late, for very important dates, whilst peering down into lighted devices clutched in their hands. Sometimes they smooshed these devices against their ears and then started talking into the air!
When the crowd caught sight of my sequins, they began dragging me toward the volcano of doom. "Guilty, guilty, guilty," they chanted. But the sound of "guilty" was simply the insistent low-battery beep of my camera, and there I was, still at home, wearing what I had put on that morning: an old sample sale stretch skirt, gorgeous black sequin top with periwinkle stripes from Shelley of Forest City Fashionista (thank you!!), black tights, frumpy mended shoes, DIY broken-wristwatch choker with velvet ribbon, gifted lava pendant, magic loupe from O. To my relief, fashion court is just a bad dream.

For this mini project, I made a 6-inch-tall T-stand cut-out of myself from a photo printed on cardstock, then positioned it on piles of clothes in front of my artwork on a computer monitor. Except for very minor edits, these photos appear as they were taken. I used a similar photo technique in shoots here and here. Ironically, these photos of the mini me provide a snapshot of the bigger me, which includes my artwork and vision. I hope you enjoyed this little adventure.
In other news...
The wee flurry of fame I had is calming down, and I'm relieved that there are no stretch marks left on my head as it begins to deflate. What a great ride. Hehe. Thanks for bearing with me.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The old grey meres...

...they ain't what they used to be, that's for sure. I ain't no mere, but I am grey and better than I used to be, or so I like to think.
I had to get my '70s groove on today so I went exploring and cracked open a Space Bag in my catacomb of clothing. Look what I found - my thrifted vintage denim jumpsuit! And just in time. I couldn't, just couldn't, go out in public without dressing on trend. Fortuitously, as a one-piece and denim, this was a double-wham trend slam, and this grey non-mere felt like kicking some serious ass (donkeys) with these lucky DIY horseshoes.*
(*Mere is French for mother. The Old Gray Mare is an American folk song about an old female horse, with the opening line "The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be." No, I would never kick a donkey or a buttocks.)
Aaah, clearing my mind of worldly detritus, noxious pollution of the body and spirit (if this fecking photo doesn't turn out I'm not fecking getting down on the floor again!), and guiding my thoughts towards endless bright plains of warmth, wonder, and generosity (and what the feck? I have my reading glasses in my hand?! for feck's sake!). Breathing in, breathing out, all glory and joy.
Wearing: old thrifted jumpsuit recently excavated, DIY-scribbled thrifted platform ankle boots, thrifted vintage embroidered wide suede belt, thrifted polyester top, thrifted lucky charm bag, magic loupe from O (not seen here). For warmth I wore my thrifted green shag coat as seen in the previous post. 
Note how wide those belt loops are, and the trompe-l'oeil effect on the boot heels make them look higher than they really are. I'm back to point, shoot, and run photography again. The first photo reminds me of a California '70s surfer, not sure why.

Today I checked out Prado, a new cafe at the corner of Hastings and Abbott. Clean. Trendy. An intimate atmosphere of upscale rusticity. Most of the hipsters there, sipping latte-'cino-whatzits in front of their pad-tablet-lapzits, were attired in their best 21st century normcore. Prices were in line with similar new, clean, trendy cafes in that neighbourhood, and my coffee, 49th Parallel grind, was satisfyingly coffee-beany. My friend Sandra joined me and we caught up on life and bolstered each other's creative pursuits. Her blog is Lens is More

Have you ever been so on trend that you're off? 
And big thank you's to:

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