Sunday, April 24, 2011

while we're on the subject - another winged headdress

So, last year (last year? I think?) I saw this picture of Rumi (from fashion toast - not one of my regular reads, but occasionally I like to go indulge and paw through shots of Rumi's outfits) wearing a reid peppard headdress. Hadn't ever heard of reid peppard before. Loved the headdress, but - yipe! - it's 350 gbp. As of today, that's $578 USD. Ouch!

It took me 5-6 weeks to find taxidermied bird wings online that weren't old (as in, Victorian/Edwardian) turkey wings (too big!!). I went with a pair of starling wings from etsy seller okiedokieartichoky, as they are slightly more diminuitive and - again - I do plan to sport my new headdress when teaching/at the university. I ordered some metal headbands, and covered one of them with a bit of leather from a leather jacket I thrifted, then applied the wings with tacky glue. There is a small patch of leather on the inside of each wing, that covers the headband and part of the wing on either side - just for added stability. Pretty simple, really!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

long live McQueen.

It's been over a year since his death. I was crushed when I heard the news. I've never been one for rabid fandom. I've never worshipped celebrities. I'm not even much one for heroes. I admire many people; but I've always been my own person; I don't really go in for idolization.

But I loved Lee McQueen. I had a deep respect for him. He was my favorite designer. As a theatre scholar, his shows have consistently been the most interesting intersection of performance, art (fashion, styling), and commerce. And since he took his life, there has been a little hole in mine. I go back through his old collections, I read old articles, and new ones, looking back on his life every month or so. I heave a heavy sigh, I shed a tear. The world lost an incredible visionary. And as a person who likes to be inspired, it's very melancholy to lose a visionary.

A friend of mine reads the new yorker. I asked if I could have this issue from last year. It's framed on my wall now. Spring/Summer 2008 (above) isn't even my favorite collection (Widows of Culloden and The Girl Who Lived in a Tree still leave me breathless; I love watching the videos of Shalom attacked by the pneumatic paint guns, the dance competition, the chess game as well), but this butterfly hat has always enchanted me. I've seen several versions about, including some multi-coloured ones.

And now, thanks to my brother, who bought me the feather butterflies (alas, couldn't find this model in just red ) for my birthday, I have made one to wear. It's a bit smaller than the original, only because I actually plan to wear this to the University for a normal day of teaching and classes and I wanted to be able to a.) see my students and b.) get through doors without too much trouble.

thanks for all the inspiration, Lee. There are no words for the rest, but suffice to say, I really admired and respected your work, your aesthetic, and your vision - and you are fondly remembered and sorely missed.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

fun with fabric dye

so on Saturday we made an unprecedented trip to Goodwill for a little thrift-shopping for me. Cass actually found something, too - an Ikea chair that matches the ones we already have at our dining table - for $3. He picked it up. The upholstery is even in better condition than ours! (not that it really matters; I purchased some cute upholstery fabric to redo our chairs this summer). I found a cute Theory jacket for $10, a long pendleton wool skirt for $5 and this Odille skirt (remember when anthropologie carried this brand? Do they still have any Odille stuff anymore?) for $8. Unfortunately, this skirt had a tiny, barely-visible stain about halfway up from its hem. Not really a big deal, but I get oddly self-conscious if I know my clothes are stained or torn or ill-fitting or whatever. I always think everyone else can tell. Ugh.

So. I tried treating it with some ecover, to no avail. So I balled the skirt's lining up with the sash at the yoke (top of the skirt), and soaked the bottom of it. I lay a plastic painting dropcloth out in my living room and fanned the skirt out in a sort-of-circle shape on it. I mixed up some of my procion fiber reactive dyes and started painting in navy, pearl gray and warm black. The navy came out a bit assertive, and I must say that at one point my skirt started to get a bit drier and I was disappointed at how much more defined the drops and dabs of dye are at that part, but I had a fair bit of fun "watercolouring" my skirt, and I think the results are charming. As for that spot ... totally lost under all the brighter spots now!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

purple potatoes

okay, this post makes me feel *kinda* childish, but who doesn't enjoy a funny-coloured food from time to time? Especially if the dyes are the natural product of the food in question? (Case in point: I have been making BEET cookies with cream cheese frosting lately. They are good! Subtly, warmly sweet - like vanilla or toasted coconut - and bright magenta! Love it!)

So tonight Cass was bringing some homemade swedish meatballs home from his mum. We made mashed potatoes with 1 lb. fingerling and 1 lb. peruvian purple potatoes. Left the skins on, boiled, then mashed. Isn't that lilac glorious? I'd swear it was the same colour as the candied violets we brought back from La Duree in Paris. I, of course, scarfed even more potatoes than normal because I couldn't get over the colour (isn't that a weird reaction? Pretty colour - munch!). The salad is a combo of celery, frisee, avocado, toasted hazelnuts and mandarines, tossed with a dressing of creme fraiche, olive oil, mirin, salt and pepper.

We paired this super-pretty plate with glasses of Pink! prosecco laced with Thatcher's cucumber liqeur. Bizarre and addictive: the combination smells and tastes like a watermelon jolly rancher, but stops just short of the disgustingly cloying sweetness of those candies (pace jolly rancher lovers, I've just never been able to enjoy them). It is a girlie drink par excellence; try it some night that you're not feeling serious about life or what you're drinking - say, for example, on a night when you feel like eating purple mashed potatoes!