Sunday, 22 February 2015

Simple minded

The resting bitch face. Get used to it because, like it or not, it appears to have hijacked my neutral face. Feck this aging shite! Do you recognize the beast I'm wearing? Bwa-ha-ha. That's the twin of the coat I spied through the shop window the other day when I broke my oath to quit thrifting (seen also in previous post). Clearly I couldn't split up the family. This one is a rich burgundy colour, which reminds me: the photo quality is shite too. Can I blame that on aging? I went into a metal-head store today, The Rock Shop on Granville St., to check out their full lineup of Manic Panic hair colour. Although my bitch face made me feel welcome, peering scientifically into their showcase with my magic loupe cancelled that out. I didn't buy anything...yet. You bet your ass I'm linking up to Patti at NOT DEAD YET!!! Style for her Visible Monday party. We're gonna bust this grin wide open. Yeah.

my journal sketch of this outfit. i want that mole-rat-dog-cat.

And if you love Desigual dresses you might want to look away, considering what I've done in my latest DIY.
I call this "Teacup." I turned one dress upside-down and sewed it to a right-side-up dress at the hem, chopped off the top and sleeves of the bottom dress so my feet could fit through, and put in a back slit so I can walk, which is helpful. Then I serged the raw edges and reinforced the top of the slit with that square bit you see above. The upper dress remains in original condition but I threw on the hacked-off top of the bottom dress for this photo just because. I didn't finish the bottom edge of the top because I like the raw quality.

It's taken me decades to be able to attempt something like this; what I mean is, to feel free to make mistakes, even to make garbage. It's such a relief!! My best work in upcycling and other creative pursuits comes from this approach. Letting go. It doesn't always work and sometimes I really end up with garbage, but I'm very satisfied with this project and the teacup shape. I haven't worn this piece out yet; I just wanted to show you. I'll probably style it a bit differently on top and throw on some jewels. Of course, this approach wouldn't work if I wanted to sew something tailored from scratch. Maybe that will be the next goal.

The dresses are courtesy of:
Remember, Ariane, when you sent me these way back? I'm not the quickest to post, and it took me until now to figure out how to style them, but I eventually get there. Thanks so much for providing me with these colourful dresses bursting with inspiration. 

And finally,
Tonight is the Academy Awards show. Here's what happened last time I watched an awards show, as sketched in my journal.
Instead of watching, I am putting together this post. But since we do have more chips and the show lasts forrrever, I might tune in later. 

Does fear of perfectionism make you verklempt? all tied up in knots? unable to dig in and get messy? I hope not, but, man, it's sure hard to shut up that pesky inner critic. 

Have a great week, everyone. 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

My scroogy Valentine's day

I leapt out of bed and immediately flung open the window.
"Oy, Boy, you down there, what day is today?" I shouted to the miscreant on the sidewalk.
"Why, Miss (heh), this is Valentine's Day, 2015."
I clapped my hands and jumped with glee. Then I threw a 20-dollar-bill down to the feckless youth.
"Boy, hie thee to the nearest hosiery shop and buy me some psychedelic-patterned leggings!" His eyes grew big with astonishment. "And keep the change!" I laughed.
"Begging your pardon, Miss, there's no feckin' way you'll get psychedelic leggings in this town for under 20 bucks," and he took off down the alley with the money.
It was then I remembered I have a pair of psychedelic tights, the next best thing to leggings, and I ran excitedly to put them on.
I was provoked into wearing these psychedelic-patterned tights today, with a great heaping of jewellery and a short tight skirt, after reading a conservative style advice article yesterday in mainstream media. Happily, provocation is a sure-fire way to push me to new heights in style, art, and attitude. 
Note my new haircut by O. Yes, confession, O cuts my hair. Nobody, high salon or low, comes close to his talent with scissors. Almost all of the white hair from bleaching is gone now but I'll happily stick with this silver for a while, although my hair at the back is still dark.

If someone were to ask me, what's your style, after prevaricating for years I would direct them to these photos. Sitting at my cafe table today turned into a book-signing-without-a-book as strangers of all ages leaving the cafe stopped by to share their admiration of my highly inappropriate clothing. 
My pissed off face
I'm wearing my thrifted shag coat, thrifted Miu Miu boots, and a sample sale skirt rolled down at the waist in a scandalously slovenly fashion and hiked salaciously above the knee. The tights were retail, sadly, more than 20 bucks. The awesome "Dressed to piss you off" T-shirt was a gift custom-made for me by Suzanne Carillo and fit the occasion perfectly. All of the jewellery is thrifted, except the magic loupe O made me. I did my eyes too, for a change. I wish you could have seen my rock-star walk with this billowing shag coat; I was feeling sublime. 

I am always astounded how a negative feeling can bloom into something so staggeringly satisfying in the end.

If someone tells you you can't do something style-wise, how do you usually respond? Have you always reacted in that way?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

What to wear for a mammogram

My breasts got clamped today, like I'd somehow parked them illegally and would need to pay a fine to get them back. Almost as odd is the idea that anyone would happily let a stranger stick her breasts between two metal plates and then just stand there while the plates move closer and closer and closer together. And when she's told not to breathe, does she try to run? No, she doesn't breathe! When your breast is clamped I suspect you'd hop on one foot and tell bad jokes if you were instructed.

This was my first mammogram and I had been imagining vivid scenes of a clamper that malfunctions and squeezes my wee melons into horrifying juice, followed by scenes of lawyers, suffering, and a book deal. I scoured the net for testimonials of other women who had undergone mammograms to allay my fears. Knowledge is power.

Here's what I found out:  some women said the pain of a mammogram is worse than childbirth. And, if you have small breasts, it’s unendurable torture. Assorted trusted friends have called the procedure "Draconian," "medieval," and "barbaric," and have vowed never to have another one. Clearly, knowledge is cowardice.

When I called to book my appointment, I expressed concern at having very little breast tissue to work with. The administrator chirped back (yes, chirped), "Oh ha-ha, no need to worry, we can even do mammograms on men!" Of course they can; I've seen many with C and D cup sizes. They can probably do mammograms on grasshoppers too. I was not reassured. The chirpy voice only made me more suspicious of the procedure and more convinced she was wearing pink!

So it was with a heavy foot on the gas pedal that I drove to my appointment today. I said my good-byes to my husband the night before, who had, incidentally, been researching hydraulic metal presses for the past couple of days. He sincerely hoped my appointment went well, anything to shut me up, "How about MEN put their WIENERS in a VISE and see how THEY LIKE IT?!!!" I dressed in head-to-toe thrifted Spirit Armour: psychedelic socks, D&G pony shoes, psychedelic palazzo pants, psychedelic Oriental motif oversized blouse, maxi muppet coat, and the biggest neon lips that my lip-liner would allow.
They instruct you to wear a loose-fitting top and a "support bra,"
no deodorant. My Spirit Armour  (view from the hanger) sprayed good vibes
indiscriminately all over the clinic, providing relief for many frazzled nerves.
The old, low-rise building that housed the clinic had heavily barred windows all the way around, which of course made me wonder if it was to keep intruders out or to keep us in? Given its skid-row appeal, I would have expected to find GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! painted on its exterior walls instead of "X-rays, Mammography, Ultrasounds." Not hearing any screaming, I went in.

The exam room had just enough space for the torture device, the scientist, me and a chair, and the control area. It was slightly dark, which was restful or simply camouflage for putrefaction on the floor. Hm? My technician wore a crisp cotton uniform, not leather dominatrix gear, and in her hand was a clipboard, not a whip. I confessed to her that I was terrified and told her about my juice nightmare. Then she cleverly lulled me into a state of relaxation with her patience, kindness, and professionalism, as she expertly positioned my tah-tahs on the plate, which she had fitted with a plastic adaptor for my size. The machine rotated and tilted quietly as she guided it into optimal positioning.

She took four images, two on each side, one set with boobs squished top to bottom, and one set squished side to side. The maximum pressure exertion lasted less than 3 seconds, during which time you're not to breathe, but then the pressure is quickly released. The entire process took about 10 minutes, including a few wasted on my juice nightmare.

No bad jokes were told, except in the waiting room. No hopping on one foot was demanded. No screams, no tears, no hideous bruising, which I'd read about online as well. In fact, the pain was not much worse than what I'd feel smushing myself into shapewear one size too small. The whole experience reminded me of threading my serger for the first time. I became so terrified of doing it after reading the online tribulations of other women that I didn't touch my machine for a few months. When I finally tried it I wondered what the fuss was about. 

So, if you've had fears about having a mammogram, especially if you're small-chested, this has been my experience for what it's worth. At the clinic I chatted with a few women who've had lots of mammograms and in their opinion the new machines make the process much more comfortable. Frankly, I was shocked by how smoothly everything went.

Now I shall go have pancakes to celebrate health care, which reminds me of Connie, her dog, and Coco Chanel, here. I'm glad I can get free yearly breast screening in Canada if I want it, well, if paying half your income in taxes qualifies as "free." But that's another blog post. Have you ever had such a positive mammogram experience? 

PS I put an edit on my last post.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

How to wear Chanel

Meet the linen Chanel dress I received last week in the mail from my dear aunt who's been on a shopping spree while vacationing at her villa in Cannes. I was scared to put it on! I've worn it here with my D&G pony shoes. I looove it!
Meet the linen sailor-style bag dress I thrifted off the five-dollar rack. I looove it! What? Now the slouchy fit looks a little less sophisticated, a little more slouchy? Puh. This is still a home-tailored beauty. With pockets! And shoulder pads.

Did you think the wool hot-pants outfit in my post "How to Get More Followers" was conservative chic? Wool hot pants? Those short shorts? On a woman +50? In the middle of winter? Standing amidst grunge by the road? I have posted much more conservative outfits in the past, although they were couched in whimsical language. Did the Moschino label of the hot pants (yes, that was real) create an aura of sophistication, or maybe the blurry background...

I think it's empowering that we can craft how we want to be viewed. Framing is everything. Like magic. There's Lucille Ball stomping around a vat of grapes (I love that episode here) and then there's Lucille Ball glamour queen. I think I want the grapes and the champagne. Some days I feel like I'm in the vat; others, I'm in the lap of luxury.

Below is my Donna Karan ivory silkiest silk blouse (yes, that's true). Thrifted. It's a pyjama top (there's tell-tale piping), so dreamy, so over-sized on me, but perfect tucked half into my wrecked thrifted jeans that I DIY'ed with yarn and markers, my thrifted long black velvet opera coat, and a thrifted beret and shawl which I fling about with drama. Cuffs and boots for the rain. Puh. And magic loupe for magic.

I must walk daintily with the dress which has so little kick space, despite its being made from a whole bolt of linen. I'm not sure if I'll put slits up the sides or at the back or upcycle it into something completely new. I suppose I should learn someday how to use straight pins. Have you ever tried to push in a pin and pushed the sharp end by mistake? Oh, no, no - I have never ever done such a ridiculous thing. Oh no. By the way, did I mention that's a Chanel dress?
I'm on a "deceptive blog title" kick. Just leave me be - getting it out of my system is all. I'm going over to Patti's house now, Visible Monday, ready to swill some champagne, trying hard to keep a straight face with this restricted kick. We are the yin/yangs, the control/chaos, the Chanel/bargain binners, the balance that makes life interesting.

EDIT: I am being too abstruse here, which I suppose was partly my intent, playing with how it is easy to frame our reactions to clothes by the label, which I do too, from Biba to Chanel, although I hate that phrase at awards shows: "Who are you wearing?" This is NOT Chanel, not by any stretch, and, alas, I don't have an aunt in Cannes, but this dress has a boxy, rich quality to it and a very odd fit, which could be seen as thrifty bag dress or couture, which was part of the appeal, and it was five dollars. It was made by a talented home sewist. The dress is navy. 

Re. comments. I feel bad that some of the comments you have taken the time to write have gone missing. Mine regularly go missing on other blogs as well. I started to notice it particularly when the "I am not a Robot" began popping up on many blogs. And there's a message "Leave this page? Stay on this page?" But even before that, I have had comments go amiss. Usually I copy my comment before I submit it and then send it again if I don't see the message stating it has been saved for moderation or will appear soon. It takes much longer and it's very frustrating, as many of you know, and I'm still not sure if it works unless I go back later. 

Anyway, thank you all so much for your comments wherever they end up. I'll keep checking my trash and spam to make sure my email is not auto-sabotaging me. If any of you can crack this mystery, please let me know!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Hat Attack! and How to clean your faux fur

Uh-oh, it's the concrete box studio again. That can only mean one thing...
I've washed my hands of the whole "sophisticated-look/get-more-Followers" drive of my previous post. It lasted a day, which in terms of my resolve, is pretty good. Plus, if I stuck to those rules, how would I possibly be able to bring you THIS outfit? So many shaggy bits. (I'm happy to see from the previous comments that many of you are/have been liberally exercising your right to shag!)

Check out those sparklers on my head, courtesy of AMAZING FABULOUS BELLA, The Citizen Rosebud, who sent me this beret waaay back. It's perfect for Hat Attack 19 with Judith and her style mavericks over at Style Crone. Did you see Bella at Sylvia's 40PlusStyle, 40 Most Stylish Midlife Women on Instagram? You must, and everyone else there too, not to mention the lineup of fabulous women featured on Buzzfeed earlier in the week here, 15 Amazing Senior Style Instagrammers; Judith is there too.
Note to self: I am not a cat. Stop grooming the faux fur. Hairballs stain carpet.
And I had a vow to swear off thrifting - it lasted two days. I should have included fine print: no walking past thrift stores. When I saw this coat through the window on a rack in the darkest corner (not kidding), what could I do? Let it go home with a smug young fashionista who'd buy it as a great joke coat for a party? Or go home with me, a smug Melstrom wise in the knowledge that daily life is a party, albeit hosted by David Lynch.
The knit maxi skirt with pearl button embellishment I got from the 5-buck rack at a thrift shop a couple weeks ago. That's an old thrifted putrid lime-green blouse and my thrifted silk velvet scarf. I like the variety of textures/patterns, but next time I'll wear something short or fitted with the coat, maybe my Moschino hotpants with my '60s paisley tights. 

If you're a new Follower, thank you for signing up. Boot camp is just beginning, and shoe camp, and high camp... Wait, wait, come baaaaack! 

About cleaning faux fur: My shaggy green faux fur coat, seen well here, needed a full-on tongue bath(!) but not being up to the challenge and refusing to have it dry cleaned, as it instructs, I ran it on a cold gentle cycle in the wash, spun dry (I have a separate special spinner for that), then tumbled dry. The coat came out springtime fresh. I couldn't imagine walking around with all those dry cleaning chemicals seething in the fibres. This method worked for me but if you're unsure, dry cleaning (or tongue bath, if you don't mind hairballs) would still be your safest option.

An elderly man came up to me in the coffee shop while I was wearing this coat. He asked, "How many muskrats did it take to make that?" I calmly replied, "A dozen. And they were not muskrats, they were muppets." I smiled, winked, and left him laughing. What would you have done?

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