On Friday, I had the most spectacular Green Grass Day! I finally hauled myself over to the Gardner Museum (Gasp! I know! Bad me.) AND I went to the MFA to see the awesome Samurai! exhibit, among a million other things. So I am sharing it all with you! And I mean ALL. Lots of photos ahead!…
The Silky Way
A silk dress to close out Silk Week! Busco and I went back and forth on a couple of options, but we both agreed this one best represented the flowy, silkiness of silk. And because it’s thrifted, no new silkworms died in the making of this dress, minimizing the demand for new silk.
- Vintage 1980s silk dress (thrifted)
- Fergilicious platform stiletto heels
- Vintage 1980’s pink clutch (thrifted)
- Assorted plastic and wood bangles
- Vintage 1980s wooden earrings
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Silk Week! vintage, designer, and vintage designer silk scarves and dresses.
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DIM: Silk Pillowcase
Inspired by the silk quilt exhibition I recently attended, I decided to get my silk on and do some internet exploring. And just as I sensed, there are some beauty benefits to silk (click here).
I was in the market for a silk pillowcase. Despite large production of silk overseas in China (along with everything else) silk is still considered a luxury fabric. But $50 to $150 for a pure mulberry silk pillow case/sham? Not on my watch. I thought about thrifting a silk dress and re-purposing it, but silk is a very difficult fabric to sew. Then the idea came to me: silk scarves. The existing hem made it easy for me to use a zig-zag machine stitch over it to sew the scarves together.
I checked my stash of scarves, and sure enough there were a couple 100% silk vintage scarves that my co-worker/friend Mo gifted to me a few weeks ago. These were her mother’s scarves, and since she is a follower of The Sin Embargo, she knew I could make use of them. It was very sweet of her to gift me something so personal, and I deeply appreciate it. Adding a third silk scarf that I thrifted for one dollar last year, I now had enough scarves to create the pillow case.
I stitched them all together, creating one big patchwork piece. I created a fold in the middle and stitched the remaining 2 sides, leaving an opening for insertion.
finished pillowcase side 1
finished pillowcase side 2
Part gifted, part thrifted, this upcycled silk scarf pillowcase will do the trick for better skin and sleep. And I know my complexion will thank me for it.
I Get Quilted!
(cigar ribbon pillow cover)
In an effort to make connections in my new career path, I decided to make use of my non-thrifting time and volunteer for a museum. I went online and found the New England Quilt Museum. I’ve known of its existence in downtown Lowell for as long as I remember, but I had never visited. Some of my friends couldn’t make the connection as to why I would be volunteering for a quilt museum. But working with the NEQM will allow me the opportunity to learn about the antique and vintage textiles used to make some of the quilts. Additionally, contemporary quilting as a fine art medium is less familiar to me than other mediums, so I’m very excited to learn more about contemporary quilt art and artitsts.
My first visit to NEQM:
The culmination of my experience at NEQM thus far is the new exhibition SILK!, a collection of antique & modern quilts where silk is used, either as an accent or as the principle fabric.
Here I am assessing the condition of an important Federal-era quilt:
Unpacking the quilts for SILK!— NE Quilt Museum (@NEQuiltMuseum) April 10, 2013
After 3 days of installation work, I was very excited about “my first exhibition opening.” I invited Mira to the exhibition opening, and was inspired by the theme as well as the following quilts in particular:
Baby quilt made from silk tobacco premiums
Sampling The Silk Road
A vintage (1940s) “pinwheel” pattern
Mennonite pinwheel pattern
Mira really responded to the log cabin quilts. When you think about the meticulousness and precision of cutting, arranging, and sewing these strips of fabric, the result is nothing short of decorative masterpieces.
The Luminarium Dance Company prepared intimate dance pieces in response to some of the quilts in the show, and a special performance for the exhibition opening.
An unexpected stroll through the cobblestone streets of downtown Lowell. Busco invited me to the New England Quilt Museum for the opening of their new exhibition, SILK! So I channeled my inner Carrie Bradshaw for an impromptu outfit of the day moment.
- Vintage 1980’s knit dress (thrifted)
- Vintage 1980’s patent leather check-style bag
- Banana Republic open-toe heels
- Betsey Johnson knotted belt
- Goldtone cuff and earrings
- 14K gold necklaces
The Road to Cleveland is Paved With Super Intentions
I’m not spontaneous. My friend G, on the other hand, is. He has a tendency to invite me to things at the last minute. And by last minute, I mean enough time for reasonable people, but not for me. I need time to ingest, process, marinate. More often than not my internal response is no (for the sake of no). My hesitation is mostly due to the lack of control over the situation at hand. I like to make sure things go as smoothly as possible, and plan for contingencies.
The most recent proposition was a road trip to Cleveland, OH. Why Cleveland? Apparently it was the 75th anniversary of the creation of Superman, and the creators were from Cleveland. Being the superfan that he is, the pilgrimage was a done deal, whether I was going or not. But I didn’t have any good reason to say no, so I was down to go. And I would be challenging myself to be flexible and give up travel control. So I says to myself, I says: This is his thing, it will be an adventure to share, and you’re going to enjoy it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’m not a comic book geek in the traditional sense. I own some comic books and graphic novels, collected more on their pop culture and artistic merits. I’m actually more of an action figure guy. And even then, Superman isn’t my favorite DC character to collect (that privilege goes to Catwoman and Wonder Woman).
The first stop on our Superman treasure hunt was the Cleveland International Airport, which had an anniversary display. After walking back & forth on the same floor for about 10 minutes it occurred to us to go down one floor to baggage claim, where we found it. If only we had Sup’s x-ray vision.
Next day, we ventured to the neighborhood of Glenville, where Joe Shuster and Jerry Seigel grew up.
We weren’t in the neighborhood for very long until we received a visit from the Cleveland police. Sargeant Patton not only welcomed the obvious tourista-fanboys from Massachusetts, but he provided us with a police escort to the other Superman-related markers in the neighborhood.
The next stop was downtown Cleveland, where City Hall was an event. We learned from the previous displays that the Daily Planet was inspired by the art deco downtown building now known as the AT&T building. So before heading to City Hall, we made a pit stop at the Daily Planet - er, I mean the AT&T building.
We made our way to City Hall. Present were relatives of the Shuster and Seigel families, city officials, and, of course, Superman. The mayor quickly asked all the Superfans in the audience with T-shirts to stand with them all. I sent G up right away, as he was wearing an Action Comics T-shirt that I gave him recently. I don’t own a Superman T-shirt, so my initial feeling is that of exclusion, but I got over it.
At the close of the City Hall ceremony, G’s mission was accomplished. There was time to indulge in a non-Superman activity. So we visited the pretty impressive Cleveland Art Museum, where I gasped every time I spotted some favorites in the modern galleries (Anselm Kiefer, Louise Nevelson, Lee Bountecou, and others).
I would’ve been OK with leaving town a little later, but given what was happening in Boston with the Marathon explosion and other things, it made sense to leave when we did. We were on our way the next morning.
With another 9-hour drive ahead of us, we laughed, we shared, we listened to Madonna and Kylie Minogue. The bonds of friendship are strong. Superman made them stronger.
NY Stroll: Straight into Hell’s Kitchen
A weekend in NYC, crossing paths with Busco. We made a stop in Hell’s Kitchen. I felt like I was 21 again. But better dressed.
- Vintage 1980’s coat (thrifted)
- Opaque monogram tights (TJ Maxx)
- Kenneth Cole patent leather platform heels
- Black Fendi baguette
- Moschino scarf
Dance, Dance, Dance!
I made a stop at the Museum of the City of New York for the Stephen Burrows: When Fashion Danced exhibition. I hate to admit that I wasn’t aware of Mr. Burrows’s work prior to the exhibition. But I was excited to learn what he was about, and how his work contributed to a fascinating time in fashion history, at least for me.
I invited C to come along, thinking that he would appreciate and be inspired by the designs. I didn’t feel so bad when he didn’t know about Steven Burrows either.
What made this exhibition interesting was how, through the use of fashion, you could see cultural as well as style transitions. From the structured mod styles of the 1960s…
….to the free-flowing drapey ease of the 1970s Disco dresses.
In the gift shop I learned that Mr. Burrows would be at the museum for a book signing the next week. Not to be deterred from autograph collecting by the logistics of time and space, I asked C if he were able to come back and have my newly purchased exhibition catalog signed for me. And he came through like a fashion trooper.
Although why he signed it “2017” I”ll never know. Unless he’s a fashion Oracle, and is trying to tell me something.
DIM - T-shirt to T-pillow: Looking Shark
I decided to up-cycle a T-shirt with a striking graphic and create a throw pillow. I figured my nephew who loves predatory creatures including dinosaurs, reptiles and sharks, would enjoy it.
Instead of making or buying a template, a place mat serves as my ready-made template to cut a rectangular shape.
With right sides together (by right I mean the sides that are showing outward), I placed the mat on top of fabric. I pinned and I cut.
I removed the mat and finished pinning the fabric.
Then I sewed. I started at the bottom, making sure to leave an opening of about 4-5 fingers wide for the stuffing.
I love using my pinking shears to finish the edges. I’ve had these shears since my high school sewing class.
I turned the fabric out, using a pin to help pull out the edges.
And then I stuffed. I stuffed the living daylights out of it. Then I hand stitched the opening using a slip stitch.
A simple, easy way to breathe new live into old tees!
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In The Mood
For aspiring and established fashion designers, as well as for pop culture fashion junkies like me, Mood is Mecca. Once I tried to find it on my own but was unsuccessful. Housed on the third floor of a nondescript office building, I would never been brave enough to walk in and look for it, even though I googled it and was standing right in front of the building in the address. But this time I was invited by C, who shops there for his own creations. It felt like I was about to enter a speakeasy.
There were some similarities to the fabric stores that I would go to with Mom. But this was a fabric store on steroids. You really don’t appreciate how little 30 minutes is when you’re looking for fabrics at Mood during a Project Runway challenge until you see the scope and range of what is available. Waiting for a fabric to speak to you can be quite time consuming.
And then I saw the designer fabrics. I wondered how many Anna Sui, Marc Jacobs, and Oscar de la Renta (by The Sin Embargo) dresses Mira Menos could make for her own collection.
The Project Runway reference didn’t just stop at Mood. Two minutes into being there we spotted Rami Kashou fabric shopping, and Kooan Kosuke (from Season 10) was working there. As much as a celebrity hunter as I am, I can never be too forward to ask for a picture or something, mostly because I could see they were busy. Unless I’ve had a couple of drinks. But this was my second time seeing Rami out (once before in LA), so in my head we are already friends. As I’m leaving, I pick up a flyer for workshops, and you see a picture of Nathan Paul (also from Season 10) teaching a workshop!
I left a couple of TheSinEmbargo business cards on the table as we leave. But even if no one picks them up, I was so glad to be able to set foot in a place where fashion dreams are made reality, at least for the past 8 years. Thank you, Mood!
Dress code at work is pretty flexible; business casual. But I don’t want to get to casual, so I’ve adopted a more “creative business casual” approach to dressing for work. I seldom wear jeans to work, even though they are allowed. And when I do, it’s a dark wash. Co-workers have been very nice in complimenting my style, and not only do I appreciate the good vibes, it keep me wanting to raise the bar. And I can always pretend that the walkway between cubicles and offices is a runway.
- Vintage 1960s Sweater Dress (thrifted)
- Prada baguette
- Sterling Silver hoop earrings, cuff/bracelet
- Zara platform booties
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HEARD In Grand Central Station
As I resume my monthly pilgrimage to New York, the first thing I wanted to do this time around is see Nick Cave’s HEARD.NY sculpture/performance art installation at Grand Central Station. I got to New York Saturday morning and went directly to Grand Central Station (my regular mode of transportation leaves me in Chinatown), since the performance was schedule to start shortly. For some reason lugging my suitcase around didn’t seem like a bad idea, since I was going to a place where many people carried around luggage. Unfortunately when I arrived at Grand Central Station, it was mobbed with people, and the concourse where the performance was held was cordoned off. So I decide to come back the next day, very early, to secure my spot.
I arrive at Grand Central Station a little after 9am, and it was empty, except for the occasional passerby and the security guards. This was fine with me, because my anxiety quickly subsided, and I could take pictures without people in the background.
I found my way to some benches, and sat for an hour, but was kicked out by security because that space was reserved for children. I instantly thought of my niece, who
I could use as to get a better view would enjoy the performance in such a prime location. And then I thought, Once again I was robbed of a childhood experience for being born at the wrong time. But that didn’t stop me from going back to my “go-to” age in my head (8 years old), and enjoy the magical moment that I knew was coming, and which I anticipated with excitement.
I created this story in my head about how these magical horses lived in Grand Central Station, were asleep most of the day, except for two times a day, when the all simultaneously awakened. I imagined how they would roam the city, and how everyone would stop for them, give them passage, as they are so special that they captivated the hearts of everyone.
The moment comes when they awaken, and roam.
My camera started capturing these snow-like particles. Some might think it was dust particles reflecting off the light. I say it’s horse magic.
Then, the front and rear segments disengage, for a vibrant display of dance.
The segments rejoin, and return to their playful gaits and trots, and ultimately to their state of slumber. I’m sure I’m not the only one there who wanted to bring one of these beautiful creatures home with me.
Sinspiration: Jody Watley - Still a Thrill
I was very excited to hear that my friend P was going to see Jody Watley at Yoshi’s in San Francisco last week. I’ve only seen her perform once in Boston, long before the concert-going compulsion I developed in the last 5 years. I was going to one of the local gays bar on a whim. There was no standing for hours to get a spot at the front. There was no CD cover in my pocket for an autograph. No pictures taken. I was too cool for school, and it’s on my list of concert-going regrets.
I enjoyed her music very much, but my taste in music changed in college, so music from my childhood and adolescence became background music to the music I was listening to at the time. One day on the hunt for CDs, I came across a house music compilation CD with a remix of Saturday Night Experience. Being the househead that I was at the time, I was able appreciate the idea of her working with house DJs like Little Louie Vega and Ron Trent. I bought it the compilation CD just for that song, without even listening to it. I knew I’d like it, but I was wrong. I loved it. Soon thereafter I bought Midnight Lounge. The jazzy, vibey, house-tinged CD was very current, very contemporary, and a great CD, but I appreciated her vision and evolution as an artist and musician.
In retrospect, this was nothing new for her. Looking back at early career music videos and images on the internet, she has been quite the forward-thinker with her music and personal style throughout her career. I read a magazine article once where she described how she styled her looks for album covers, I became impressed at how multi-faceted she is regarding to her style, image, and artistic identity. I remember once in high school my cousin describing a look she wanted to put together, to which I replied “Oh, like Jody Watley.” It stuck with me because it was one of the few times that you can ascribe a look to a musician. Cyndi Lauper had the skirts and hair, Madonna had the mid-drifts and bustiers, and Jody had the powersuit and hoops.
My favorite look (and music video) is Friends. Not only does she serve Eastern influence, but the video was also very fascinating. Runway, drag queens, voguers, hip-hop dancers, and of course, the incomparable Rakim.
So It was only fitting that I style Mira in the spirit of Jody Watley, another one of my all-time style favorites. I follow her blog and on Facebook, and am very hopeful that I get to see her perform again. But this time I’ll be front and center. With a sharpie, some vinyl and a CD cover in tow, but I will bring my excitement, most of all.
- Blazer (thrifted)
- Sparkle & Fade palazzo pants (Urban Outfitters)
- Fergilicious patent platform heels
- Vintage 1960s silver clutch (thrifted)
- Vintage 1960s Las Vegas feather headpiece (thrifted)
- Sterling silver hoops; thrifted pearls
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Meet Your Makeup
My good friend, comadre, and soon to be blogger Cara-lista, asked that I join her for a make-up event at the Prudential Center in Boston. We signed up through Facebook for consultations at the Makeup Forever Makeup Bag Remix Tour. I was familiar with the brand through Cara-lista, who is quite the makeup connoisseur and loves their products. She has been obsessed with makeup since she was about thirteen years old, so I consider her a makeup expert.
The event brings makeup education to cities around the US. They teach techniques and best practices that work for your face shape and skin-tone. And did I mention it was free?! I liked that they asked that we bring our own makeup bag to teach how to properly use makeup with products we already own.
Truth be told, I was a little intimidated. Mixing foundations and concealers on your own to get the right color for your skintone? Unheard of! And not to mention the hundreds of color choices and combinations! But with Cara-lista by my side, I knew I wouldn’t be swindled into buying things I didn’t need. With Busco’s help on what would be an appropriate outfit for a sunny cold Boston day, I spent the day playing with makeup.
- Forever21 Cardigan
- Vintage 1980s leather skirt (thrifted)
- Viktor&Rolf for Samsonite luggage bag
- Guess black leather boots
- Red Plastic Bangles, Forever21 earrings, Vintage 1980s green belt
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