Saturday, October 31, 2009

You'll Never Outfox the Fox!

Another Halloween under our belts! I did no preparation till today. Then, it turned out to be a pretty sweet and fun day. And, yes, I managed to wear my skirt with my costume. I was a Fox. The similarity was supposed to refer to my brain and how clever I am, not my looks. I made the mask and tail and I think it looked pretty good.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Skirts and What Goes Under Them

As my skirt wearing goes into colder weather, I need to keep my legs warm with tights, leggings, tall knee socks, and leg warmers. One thing I can't stand, is having my skirt ride up my legs when I am walking! It takes away from the very comfort and grace that makes skirts so great. So, thankfully, there is a simple solution to this - a slip. Some people will say " I wouldn't be caught dead in a skirt, let alone a slip." I guess part of this is a matter of style, but I can't help thinking that there might be a slight political prejudice against the traditionally female attire. I find that in actuality, the right skirt can be way more comfortable and practical than heavy, restricting pants (that's trousers to any Brits out there).

Anyway, to show just how cast aside is the humble slip, I will tell you that last year, I had the sad experience of searching for one in many stores and finding that they don't carry them. I looked at Nordstrom, Penny's, Dillards, Target, Macy's, even Victoria's Secret! None of these places had them. I complained everywhere I went. I really think it is shocking! I requested them and Target and now they do have a few. They have a few beautiful ones at Anthropology but they are real silk and cost about $65 for a half slip.

So, in this post, I am going to do a community service and let you know what kinds of slips are out there and where you can get them.

First of all, being thrifty and into recycling, I will say that I love finding beautiful old slips at the Goodwill. You might think this is gross but really, they don't make them like they used to. Old slips are often not worn very much and there are very good quality ones (even silk) out there. If you are handy, you can alter them to your exact size. Wash them with hand wash soap and they are lovely.
Speaking of being handy, there are several craftspeople on ETSY that make gorgeous underwear, including slips. One that I love is Under the Root. They use natural materials and vintage styling. Sand Maiden also makes organic lingerie. I like this slip but it could really be a little longer. Luckily, they make it to order and take your measurements.
There are also vintage sellers that sell slips: Powder My Nose, Wicked Pen, and Blue Rose Retro are just a few.
Still, it seems hard to find a half slip. Apparently, all the stores that I mentioned above have slips for sale if you order on-line. I don't know if they deserve our business. All the big companies also sell them on line. Maidenform and Vanity Fair, can be found at Bare Necessities.
In order for it to keep your skirt from sticking it has to be made out of a slippery material such as nylon, rayon, or silk. I like this one from Her Room, another on-line shop. Actually, the Mary Green site is pretty cool.

I hope I have given you some encouragement and inspiration. You can always ask for a luxurious slip for a gift for the holidays, your birthday or anniversary. Don't wait till Valentine's day, and don't get one that will be nasty and uncomfortable. If I can't find a new, perfect silk slip, I may have to start making them myself. I will let you know.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Life in a Southwestern Mountain Town #3 or #4?

Well, I am feeling strangely cheerful. As I said in a previous post (where I was feeling down), I don't know if it is my circumstances, my hormones, or my powerful self-talk. We have had some stress in our extended family lately and I have been trying hard to focus on positive, calming messages. Guess what? I think it is really working. It is making me actually feel more positive. It is making me focus on positive, sweet, happy, wonderful things. And, I think it is spilling over onto those around me!

The weather is changing to dark and cold and I love it! We had our first snow yesterday and there are dark puffy clouds floating in the blue sky. The kids wished for a snow day but didn't get it. I was glad because I need every minute in the morning to get ready for school and organize my day. I bought pumpkins for carving but no one seems too interested in doing it. Maybe we are all busy or maybe the girls are growing up and focusing on other things. We are all managing to stay healthy, so that is good.

My younger daughter is going to be an evil tooth fairy for halloween - wearing all black and waving a candy wand with ratted hair, tutu, and blackened teeth. My other daughter is going to dress in cosplay. I am going to make myself a mask and be a fox. I have been intrigued by foxes lately and I like the idea of being behind a mask. I don't know what my husband will be. We usually dress him in drag so we will see what kind of a mood he is in. Only my young daughter will go trick or treating. The rest of us will go to the annual raging party that two professors that we are friends with have every year. We have been going since we moved here 13 years ago. I was pregnant at the first party and now, most of the kids are grown and off at college.

In Japanese class, many of the students were talking about what they are going to be doing for halloween. When I was at UCSC, it was a holiday that brought out the most crazy, wild behavior. I won't go into detail. I am sure some of the students in my class have plans for wild parties but I have to love the fact that Japanese attracts the nerdy element. Some of the students were talking about dressing up as henchmen and hench witches and going to an anime convention. One guy won the prize by saying that he was going to a "Halloween Haiku Death Match". He said to the girl next to him "It is going to be awesome! You have to come! It is going to be Epic!" I just love the idea of college students hanging around reading haiku poetry and competing to the "death"! Will they have deadly words? Will it just be a test of endurance? I wish I could be a fly on the wall and see the action!

I know that I said I don't want to have this blog be too much about my personal life. But, I do think it is good to talk about it as it relates to the world around me. I also think it is fun to tell stories of interesting and amusing (maybe even shocking) lives and happenings. I thought it might be good to do a little story telling and even gossip - as long as I keep the names out so no one gets hurt or offended. It would go something like this "Here's a good story I heard ..." or, "Believe it or not, this person I know ..." I just think people are interesting and we can learn a lot and appreciate the variety of experiences when we share stories. I live in the Southwest. I am sure that some stories here are very different than stories in England or Japan. Maybe some are just the same. It is all so curious! So, check back and I will see what I can find out.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wednesday *Water day* Weekly Wonders from my Japanese Class

I am realizing that my life and my thoughts are running along a few main tracks. There seems to be a pattern and a rhythm developing that I guess is a good thing. I am mostly focused on:
*my shecological business - designing, sewing, photographing, promoting, taking care of business
*my 4skirts project - choosing ways to make it fun, reflecting on it, and writing about it
*my Japanese class - learning, doing the work, studying, observing the whole student scene
*my love of textiles - watching trends, thinking up projects, printing, knitting, working with dyes, threads, and fabrics
*my family - personal life, community life, interpersonal adventures and strife
I don't want to spend too much time on personal stuff here except as it relates to the other categories. I think it would be too easy for me to just report the daily goings on and ruminate about life as a parent and partner, sister and daughter.
So, as I get more focused and organized, I will routinize my postings. I have already got Textile Tuesday. I will make Friday the 4skirts day, that way I can recap the week. and for now, Wednesday seems like a good day to share a little bit of my Japanese Class experience.

On that note, we just learned the days of the week. I will write the Romanji (which is basically the phonetic spelling in english letters). Then I will also tell you what the first part of the word means because it is so cute and interesting.
Monday is Getsuyobi and the symbol for the first part is actually Mon which means moon or month just like in English or Roman days. So it could be called Moon day.
Tuesday is Kayobi. The first symbol is that of Fire, so it is Fire day
Wednesday is Sueeyobi or Water day.
[The word for water is actually mizu but it has to do with the Chinese influence on the various ways of writing. This is true for all of these. It is very confusing and complicated. So, for now, just accept this pre-school version of a lesson.]
Thursday is Mokuyobi or Tree day.
Friday is Keenyobi or Money day. (in French it is Vendredi or selling day. I find this similarity interesting, must be that most people go to market on friday.)
Saturday is Doyobi or Soil day. Maybe they put in extra time outside on Saturday.
Sunday is Nichiyobi or Sunday. The word for sun and day is the same so it could be Sunsun, or Dayday.
I hope you have enjoyed this little foray into Japanese language. I find it wonderful and hopefully, someday it will be useful. When I make a date to meet someone at a museum or fabulous park, I will know what day they are talking about.

I got this picture from Chakrapennywhistle on etsy. She is a great textile artist, an environmentalist, and a super-sweet person.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Textile Tuesdays : #5 Shecological - Trying to Help the Earth with Better Fabrics

I have a store on etsy. com (in case you don't know) where I make and sell handbags. My original idea and motivation was to create bags that were functional (i.e. with lots of pockets, zippers, good sizes and shapes) but also stylish (so as not to look like you are going backpacking when shopping in New York or London). When I started, I was going to make them out of fabric covered with vinyl. I had seen bags like this in Australia and wanted to make them.
However, once I got started on this endeavor, I soon realized that I did not want to work with something toxic and polluting like vinyl. In fact, I did not want to carry it around, having the plastic touch my skin and make me sweat, and remind me of a plastic world. This got me thinking that even the fabric I used needed to be non-polluting. Some fabrics are highly polluting, loaded with chemicals in the threads, dyes, and sizing.
I decided to make my bags and anything I sold with as much natural, non-polluting materials as I could. The problem was that I didn't want them to be too plain or too expensive. I also really love all the variety that is available in fabric. So, I am working my way towards my ideal while compromising a little and making due with some limits. I buy and use organic cotton and hemp fabric. I print my own designs and do my own dying with natural dyes. I use fabrics that I have already had in my stash and buy very very little new, commercial prints. I re-purpose some vintage fabrics and keep waste to an absolute minimum.
There was an article about my shop that appeared a little while ago in a great blog by a woman named Jan DiCintio. She prints beautiful fabrics on organic cotton and is a master blogger. The blog is called Daisy Janie (she also started a cool blog called Scoutie Girl). I was so thrilled to be featured on this eco art blog. Click HERE and read the interview and get more info on organic fabric and eco textiles.

Monday, October 26, 2009

4 SKIRTS: Update

Well, it's been about 3 months and the skirt project is still underway. Most days go by uneventfully but some are noteworthy.
One of the reasons I wanted to do this project was to streamline my clothing choices and make it easier to get dressed in the morning. That has not really happened so much. I still try to figure out which skirt suits my mood, the weather, and the activity of the day. Then I have to find something to match that is not too hot, too cold, or dirty. Sometimes I look like I just rolled out of bed or like I got dressed blindfolded. Some days I surprise myself and throw together something that looks pretty good, even a little chic. Mostly, I have had to let go of my inner judge, and that is a good thing.
Another reason I did this experiment was to try to reduce my focus on consuming - getting, having, adoring, coveting, needing things in order to be happy. I have gotten less interested in the whole clothing and fashion scene. I have bought a lot less than I normally would have. I am using what I have more fully, and I am doing less laundry, so I guess that is a good thing.
I realized that this is more for me than for any kind of social statement. I mentioned before that I was surprised that no one said anything to me about my wearing the same thing everyday. I think most people I know just think that I like skirts and that I have a quirky fashion sense.
Well, in all this time, I have had 2 comments. One was from a girl in my Japanese class. The other day she said "I like your skirt". I stared at her eyes for a second to see if she was being facetious. She had seen me in that skirt at least 15 times. Did she really just notice it? Was she finally moved to say something? Or, was she really trying to say "what's with the skirt". Finally I just said thanks, and sat down.
The other comment was hilarious and I told the speaker that I was going to post it as the first unsolicited comment. I was at a party and Monica said that she liked my outfit. I told her I was doing this project. She asked me why and I said that I wanted to try to be more conscious regarding consumerism and also challenge myself to be creative with less. She said, in a flat tone of voice, "how noble", then she leaned forward and gestured with her index finger in her throat, as if to make herself puke! Then she smirked and I cracked up and told her that I loved her comment and I was going to post it.
I think she was just joking with me but also, I know that there is a reaction against people who are socially or politically active, who take themselves too seriously, or who think they are hipper, smarter, or more noble than others. Having to walk out of the house many days feeling like I look like I have no style and no artistic taste, really does just the opposite of making me feel special. Actually, the main thing it has done is to drive home the point that I am not what I look like. I am not the good or bad that others might perceive in me. It makes me have to try to make my actions speak louder than my image.

These are 2 pictures of me in Telluride with my friends. The weather was warm and beautiful. I knitted my socks, thanks to Michelle for showing me the heel. We had great food, laughs, and even did my workout video one day. We usually go to a fun place called Honga's where we dance on the tables. But it was closed for the season so we went to Cosmo, where we were very grown up.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Big Psychological Reflection!

I wonder how much of our reality is based on external circumstances, and how much is a product of our attitude. Of course, this topic has been explored and written about extensively. Everyone knows that it is a combination of the two and that the mind is powerful when it comes to persuasion. But, how much reality can the mind create or influence? And, how does it do this?

I studied psychology in college and I know about the various theories. I am probably too self-reflective, but I am still always surprised when my my world shifts suddenly. I want to know what has the power to do this!

Sometimes it is the weather. I love the clouds. The rain stirs life into my soul. Then a warm sunny breeze can make me feel very peaceful. The right weather can make me become absorbed in my earthly surroundings and draw all my attention away from everything else and into the present moment.

Sometimes, I wonder if it is hormones. Can hormones really override intellect and established beliefs!? I love my family and my life is good, but if my biology is out of whack, I can get into the fight or flight mode. In a normal female cycle, this lasts about 3-5 days, but my menopausal body can be much more complicated.

The other factor is stress or crises. When things are going well, we can be happy in our lives or we can feel comfortable enough to get restless and wish for more, or for change. When a tragedy occurs or an upset, we long for the clock to turn back, we hold on to each precious moment. Sometimes, the bad circumstances make us more unhappy. It can go either way.

As young adults we are told to find out what we need to be happy and to seek it out. We think "if I have security, a loving partner, success, adventure.. I will be happy". Some of this is true and we need to avoid situations that make us unhappy. But, recently, my sister told me about something she heard while listening to Deepak Chopra. He said that we don't need things to be happy, rather, we need to be happy to have these things come into our lives. Crazy, backwards, but simple and probably true. So that leaves the happiness coming from within (our attitude). That leaves our mind (not to be confused with our ego) having a ton of control over our reality. If this is true, I choose door #2 please - having a happy attitude as much as possible.

There was a story I heard recently about a man who said he had a wild dog and a tame dog living inside his soul and they fought all the time. His friend asked him which one was winning and he responded - which ever one I feed the most.

It is a beautiful day, I love my family, I have a comfortable home and I get to do art everyday, I have friends and I get to explore the world and my potential. Are there bad things? Yes, but I am not going to feed them.

[ This is the apple tree that I pass everyday on the way to class. And, yes, I am still wearing my skirts.]

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Textile Tuesdays : #4 The Next Generation

I said in my first textile entry that it wasn't hip to sew when I was a younger woman and that I am glad that things are changing and the pendulum is swinging back to sewing popularity. Today I saw a significant sign of this. You know sewing is popular when the American Girl Today doll comes with a miniature sewing machine!!

One of my favorite things that I do is to teach young and very young children to sew and to be creative with textiles. It is very rewarding to think that I am helping to keep this skill alive. I love to see them get inspired and feel confident in this realm. So, I have to admit, I got a little sentimental at the thought of my students' excitement over this toy. I think they will have fun with it and also get a sense of validation.

By the way, I have boys and girls take my classes and they all get a huge sense of pride at being able to produce creative and practical items. A mass produced, plastic toy may not seem like the best place to look for examples of the handmade movement, but it is a step in the right direction and the exposure is going to make a trend into a tidal wave. Now we just have to have organic fabric available for them when they go to buy materials for their sewing projects.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


It is Wednesday night and I have been busy (not too busy) this week. Just a lot of action, which is a good thing. I had my test, I sold two bags, and I am getting ready to go on my book-group's annual retreat to Telluride, Colorado. (I actually have an irrational, illogical aversion to Colorado, but I set it aside as the company is much more the point than the location.)

Yesterday, on my way to take my test, there was a big accident in the road and I got stalled by about ten minutes. To make up for it, I ran, lugging my bag full of books, wearing my skirt and clogs. I tripped once but kept going. Then, I tripped again, stumbled, and WIPED OUT! It must have looked comical and even theatrical. All my stuff flew out of my bag. I landed hard and checked to see if I was cut at all. I had deep scrapes but no blood and no tears in my clothes. I almost started crying but instead got up and, yes, started running again. Can you believe it? I got to my class with about one minute to spare.

I was flustered and the test was pretty hard. I was so burnt out by the time I got home that I wanted to drink a shot of whiskey and get in bed. But, I didn't. Instead I made a new bag and it turned out really pretty. Today, I am feeling the full "impact" of falling on cement when you are 48 years old. My arm, neck, ribs, and shoulder are killing me. It feels like someone punched me or gave me twenty flu shots. I guess the muscles all got pulled when I fell. But the good news is, I got 91% on my midterm! (smart, old lady).

I will miss class tomorrow. I won't be able to write on my blog or do etsy. I won't be able to help my older daughter get ready for homecoming dance. I won't be able to sew or make breakfast on Sunday. Oh, well, 4 days out of the year with some girl friends - everything else can survive my temporary absence. We have a great time, eat great food, laugh, walk around and even talk about books a little. I plan to get help figuring out my sock knitting project so I can finish at least one over the week end!

So, I am bringing my skirts, no pants. It is a challenge because of the cold and the vacation but I am just getting over it. I really don't care much any more. It almost doesn't seem strange to me. I could use a few more pairs of shoes for the winter that go with skirts. I might be able to find such a thing in Telluride. I will report back with pictures on Monday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Textile Tuesdays : #3 Felt

I learned how to make felt about 5 years ago when I was living in Australia. I joined the Australian Embroidery Guild and it was one of the projects that we did. I made a little pouch and it was extra special because the wool was Merino (of course).

Fabric can be made by weaving, knitting, or felting. These are the ways that the threads attach to each other to make the larger material. The knots and tangles in felt make a crazy mass that looks like a smooth fabric when the fibers are arranged that way. There are various types of commercial felt, but I am talking about wool. The fibers react to hot and cold, soap, and friction. It is a very basic, primitive method.

Now a days, people are making amazing things with felt. They can be made with commercial wool felt or handmade wool felt. Some are flat, such as scarves, pouches, or wall hangings (like ). Some are three dimensional little figurines such as Two Left Hands, or Chocolate Beans . There are hair clips like Ginny Huber's and jewelry like 3Fun, slippers like Ingermaaike, and wrist cuffs like these by Waterrose. This person even makes lampshades out of felt!

Whether they are mixed with embroidery, knitting, or meshed with silk, the raw earthy quailty of the wool and the mashing shines through.

The necklace at the top is from an artist called 3Fun from etsy. The figurine is by Two Left Hands, also from etsy. You've got to love those names!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, Monday...

I have been feeling stressed out lately and I can't really put my finger on the cause. I don't really have much to worry about personally, but a lot of people around me and my close friends and family seem to been dealing with difficult things and that is wearing off on me. Health problems, mental strain, work related stress, political differences, even bullying - these are all touching the lives of loved ones and effecting me. I have always said that I have weak ego boundaries. I love that term because it is so visually descriptive and so perfectly describes the way I feel. I think I am like the woman on Star Trek, The Next Generation - the one that was a betazoid.

Anyway, I try to keep clear what are my own feelings and what are those of people around me. I also try to remember that either way, worrying usually does no good. I try to focus on positive, happy things.

Let's try to think of some now:

Red Lipstick
Chocolate Cupcakes
The Theme song to Sailor Moon and other Jpop songs
Roses that still smell like roses
Puffy clouds
Down Pillows
Hearing my girls giggling in the next room

What things make you feel happy and strong?

I have to go now and study for my Japanese midterm exam that is tomorrow! I have to know how to introduce myself and say my age and my career. Not so easy even in english.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Skirts Project

I am still wearing the skirts and still tempted to throw on some trousers! I did expand my look this past week with sweaters and leggings/tights. (I plan to cut the toes out of most of my tights because, otherwise, they creep down.) I had to mix up the skirts because of the weather and my lack of inspiration.

Monday, I wore Zara with a brown t-shirt, red leggings, and red cardigan.

Tuesday, plaid Penny, as in the photo above. It was a pretty good retro hip secretary look. I have to get over my vanity to show this picture because I am getting old. When I was young, my deep set eyes looked glamourous and mysterious. Now they just make me look drawn and tired. It doesn't help that I was getting annoyed with the photographer. But, like I said, I am pretty much over vanity and trying to focus on the true preciousness in life.

Wednesday, the weather was a tad warmer so I wore Michelle with grey knee socks, a green long sleeve shirt and my grey high necked cable sweater that I got at a place called Mexx in London 8 years ago. That sweater deserves a blog of its own! I have worn it in so many circumstances and it still gets compliments.

Thursday, Penny again. This time with a peacock blue polo shirt and a vintage Villager moss green cardigan, grey ribbed tights and my brown suede ankle boots.

Friday, today, I am wearing Penny with black knee socks and a black long sleeve tee and a black sweater. You guessed it, I am feeling a little low...

I am going to sew and listen to replays of BBC radio 2 Chris Evans, which always cheers me up in the goofiest way!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Life in a Southwestern Mountain Town

The change in seasons makes it easier to be conscious of my surroundings. New light on the yellowing leaves, new smells from damp trees, and greater numbers of wild animals running around collecting food all catch my attention and actually make me a little bit happy. Part of it is the sweetness of it and part of it is just the contentment that comes from being caught up in the moment. Also, I like wooly sweaters, scarves, and gloves. I like clouds and rain, cool nights and down blankets. The chill in the air makes my blood quicken.

Last Friday was First Friday Artwalk downtown and we went with some friends. We walked around a little and had dinner at a Thai place. It was fun to run into people we knew. We had wine and chatted. There was even a guy playing guitar and singing on the corner. Unfortunately, we saw a policeman giving him a citation! Apparently you can't be that cool in Flagstaff.

Sunday it was actually raining and David and I drove down to Cottonwood. We went through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona. It was beautiful and relaxing to just sit in the car and watch the landscape change from mountain, to red rocks, to open valley. We also witnessed the food chain in action with ravens and vultures swooping around the road trying to snatch a piece of carrion (a.k.a. skunks, squirrels, prairie dogs, elk, coyote etc. who got caught off guard in their hurried focus on winter preparations).

I feel so sad when I see dead animals by the road. I hate to think of people just driving by the carnage. I always say a little prayer for them and wish that we could have a more gentle civilization.

This is a picture from Walnut Canyon which is about 10 miles from my house.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Textile Tuesdays : #2 Embroidery

I guess there are two kinds of people - those that don't really know what embroidery is, and those that could read about it, talk about it and do it all day long. In other words, if you really know about embroidery, you will love it! The history is fascinating. The technique and range of applications is amazing. The artistry is, in my opinion, at least on a par with great painting and sculpture. I can't go on all day, even though I would like to, so I will try to point out a few highlights to spark your interest.
If you ever get to London, go to the Victoria and Albert Museum. (Click on the link and explore!) They have a collection of textiles that is nirvana to me. In the ancient relics section, you can see embroidery from more than a thousand years ago. In the fashion galleries and in the textile rooms, you can see its development right up to the present. People have been using needle and thread to embellish surfaces and to tell stories throughout history and across the world. The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most famous embroideries that was made to record history. One amazing thing about these old embroideries is that they were all done with natural dyes and the colors are still vivid in most cases. One of my favorite embroidery celebrities is Mary Queen of Scots. She stitched for years while she was imprisoned in the tower.

Embroidery can be done using silk, cotton, wool, linen, really any thread. When it is done with wool, it is called Crewel. The stitches are worked on fabric, or canvas mesh (known as needlepoint). Historically, it was done by hand, but now people sometimes use machines and there are even computerized machines that stitch a pattern automatically. There are thousands of different stitches that create various textures and patterns. The technique can be as simple as a straight stitch or as complex as the sheaf stitch. My favorite technique book is Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. I also love the old books from the 70's by Erika Wilson.

Another goddess of embroidery is Constance Howard. The first time I heard about her was in an article I came across at a fiber arts convention in London. There was a photo of this elderly woman and her hair was long, twisted up in a beehive, and dyed bright turquoise. I was instantly smitten. She made art with thread and passed on her passion for embroidery as the head of the Textiles department at Goldsmith's College in London. Try to find some of her books or just do a google search to read more about her amazing contributions to this field.

Whether you are making old-fashioned roses on a cushion, daisies on your jean jacket, or pictures and scenes to be framed, there is room for all types of personal expression in embroidery. Personally, I cannot communicate an image in my head with a pencil or paint brush. But, when I start cutting with scissors, or stitching with thread, it comes out just as I imagined. Luckily, I decided that textiles and fiber arts were a viable path of creative expression for me. Also, it is nice that the popularity of these art forms is on the rise and there are currently many creative people producing new and fabulous stitching wonders. One of my favorites on ETSY is Mary's Granddaughter. The picture at the top is of her work. Check her out! and check out embroidery!

Monday, October 5, 2009

5 people

My brain is exhausted from working on my Japanese so I am going to just make a list of 5 people that I like. I know I said before that I wouldn't do that and that I thought it was a cop out. But, hey, I am nothing if not fickle. So, these are 5 famous people who inspire me with their talent, their strong personalities, and their courage: Charlotte Bronte, Hayao Miyazaki, Dorothy Day, Maira Kalman, Jimmy Carter. I think it would be a fabulous dinner party!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Stockings, Socks, and Legwarmers

The last few nights the temperature has gone below freezing, the leaves are changing color and falling down, and the wind sounds like it is going to blow the house down! Now that the weather is getting colder I need something (or some things) to keep my legs warm. My legs tend to turn bluish when they get cold and the wind and dry air make them a scary sight. So, I keep them covered for warmth and as a public courtesy. I won't wear pantyhose and I don't really like nylon tights either. Fortunately there are loads of cool options available.

I like to wear natural fibers and I like things that are colorful and chunky. I got these red leg warmers off etsy from a seller in Poland called Delirium Kredens. They are wool and very fine but I am pretty sure they are machine knit. The zigzag lace pattern makes them special! I also love MelFitz from etsy. She does neck and arm warmers but I bet she would do legs if you asked her. She is one of those talented, kind, down-to-earth people from Michigan.

I have some socks from SmartWool that I wear over my tights with clogs or boots. I found a site that has great patterns for socks if anyone is ever productive enough to whip out home made ones. It is called Knitty. There are also some great ones at this blog, Thread Banger - great name, eh?
This site, Sock Dreams, seems to have everything you could want for manufactured socks and stockings. I particularly love their eco section.

I hope this is a good start at rethinking leg and foot coverings. I think it is a fun way to accessorize when one has only 4 skirts to wear day after day!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thursday Skirt Recap

Well, you have probably noticed that I am not taking daily photos of my skirt adventures. This is partly because I can't always get someone to take my picture, and partly because I get bored with looking at myself everyday. I Thought that it would be an entirely different idea to do a project where you had to ask someone every day to take your picture. That would be good, huh?

Anyway, I am still wearing the same 4 skirts. It has been about six weeks and I must report that I am really getting bored with it. Observing my feelings and reactions is part of the experiment, right? I still have not gotten any reaction (verbally) from anyone else. I have gotten no comment what so ever from anyone on any of my wardrobe! I have to say, I am a little bit hurt. I have tried to mix things up a little to see if anyone would say anything. I went for 3 weeks of wearing the same skirt all week - that got no response. I decided to be more free with my make up and accessories so people wouldn't think I was dressing to suit laziness and boredom - no response. I even tried to wear things that didn't match like my black and brown flowered Zara skirt with pink and grey argyle knee socks pushed down around my ankles with green clogs and a white torn t-shirt with a print from the Textile Museum. I think it actually looked kind of cute and fun, but no one complimented me or said " what is the deal with your outfit?"

In the end though, I think it is more of an exercise for me. It is like being on a fashion diet. I want the ultimate goal to be getting used to less, not craving what I can't have. I have seriously come close to throwing on some jeans the last few days. When I had my headache yesterday, and the day before when it was cold, I cringed at the thought of picking out a skirt outfit. However, when I went into my room and saw the skirt, I just put it on. It actually made it easier to get going.

I am still pulling out new items to wear with the skirts, so really, I am not wearing the same thing over and over. I am looking forward to sporting my scarves, knee socks, jackets, sweaters and boots. When I get through all of those, I don't know what I will do. Part of it is my wanting to stick with something that I started. So, for now, I plan to keep it up and to keep trying new ideas to make it interesting and worthwhile. I may have to get the scissors and thread and alter the skirts to make it more artistic. That sounds fun to me!