from the jazz age to the space age

Monthly Archives: November 2011

i love ivan bilibin’s art. the stark outlines and gentle colors are lovely. 
“my white, bright day.”
“the red sun”
“that is my servant, the dark night.”
baba yaga
and yes, mike mignola has spent the last decade paying “homage” to bilibin. i’m not being catty, i like mignola’s art.

so vassilissa takes this flaming skull home to her bitchy step-mother and horrible step-sisters where it burns them to death, leaving vassilissa unharmed. BOOM! and that’s how they do cinderella in russia! {kind of.}

so then an old woman takes her in and vassilissa makes some really amazing shirts. the tsar loves the shirts and wants to meet vassilissa. she’s totally gorgeous so the tsar wants to marry her and presumably never wear subpar shirts again. 
one of the reoccurring funny things in his art is how ugly the tsar always is unless he’s specifically a young hero, then he looks quite a bit like the artist himself- which is not ugly! see below.

so the biggest surprise is, in addition to being an exceptional artist, ivan bilibin was a stone cold fox. i’m not kidding. look at that guy. really hot- like anton chekhov hot. {trust me, google it.} i don’t know why i’m always surprised when people from the past were good looking, but i am. i’m pretty sure i would have minced over to him {have you ever tried to run in a corset?} and tried to make small talk. he would have babbled in russian and i would have cried “whatever! kiss me you fool!”


not coincidentally, he totally looks like my husband.


i’m already dreaming about cold weather fashion. we’re moving back up to northern california in february. what to make, what to make?

burdastyle magazine 8/2009~ i have some beautiful fabric set to make this amazing cape, but time? hmmmm, not so much. i promised myself i’d sew something after my paper doll project was finished, but i still have a commission i’m working on, so it’ll be a little while.

burdastyle magazine 1/2010~ i can’t wear long shirt/tunics like this, but they’re so pretty. 
another spectacular trench from burda

super cute trench style skirt. i love the knitted necklace and faux fur thing.
sigh, well, if i can scrape some time together and stop bopping around online i might get everything together and sew something. wish me luck!

i’d recommend ebay for back issues otherwise, some of these patterns can be found on their american site: burdastyle english
or on their original german site: burdastyle german


last week we picked up andrew wyeth’s “helga pictures” for $5 at the local friends of the library bookstore. i’ve been wanting it for a while but it’s expensive so finding it for so little was a dream come true.

why am i fascinated with wyeth’s helga? how could i not be? she was his model from 1971 to 1985. when they began helga was 38, my age, and 53 at the end. she is his eternal spring set amongst the snows.
while his temperas are beautiful, i’m most excited by his watercolors. that’s my medium and i work in a mostly tight, controlled manner with occasional breakouts. so wyeth excites me because his watercolors are also controlled with moments where you see and feel his meticulous brushwork.
from composition, expression, color, and linework, i consider new ways of working everytime i look at his paintings. 
helga’s braids~ her braided hair takes on a meaning all it’s own for wyeth. and in his way he tells us much, but conceals even more. he does not take us by the hand, but walks silently beside us while we wonder what is the meaning of these things?  
his indebtedness to dürer is apparent here. the color and execution are reminiscent of durer’s, “self portrait with fur,” which itself is reminiscent of portraits of christ.  while dürer was consciously comparing the role of the creating artist to the role of a creating god, we are left to wonder if wyeth is doing the same. helga’s hair is unbound, like a german christ and she is clad in a sheepskin coat, her hands in pensive contemplation. here, helga is his saviour, artistically and personally.
… or maybe she’s a woman in a coat. and that, is one of the many delights of visual art.

if you would like to know a little more about andrew wyeth, this site is useful, as well as having prints of his art to purchase: andrew wyeth prints


i made this about 5 years ago from the “sew u” built by wendy book. i can’t say enough nice things about this book. the pattern is super simple, just 2 pieces with darts. i really wanted a long comfortable skirt in a neutral color that i could personalize. i actually made a few skirts from this pattern with different embroideries. it’s addictive 😀 
skirt front: rabbit and pocket.
i drew and then embroidered the rabbit.

velvet ribbon

action! 
i don’t actually know what’s going on here, but it appears i’m about to fix james bond a drink. obviously i’m ms. moneypenny. wallflowers unite!

karl wants to take photos too! 
“Dada!” {mikael is taking the photos}

karl is wearing a star wars shirt that’s, inexplicably, in rasta colors. we’ve dubbed it, “episode 4:20.” yeah, we’re lame.
the best part? people ask me where i bought it!

{obligatory feet photo. i’m a product of my time.}


charles addams’ macabre whimsy on display in his version of “mother goose,” from 1967. {click to enlarge}

humpty dumpty
3 blind mice
one misty, moisty morning {starring wednesday addams}
i do not like thee dr. fell
c. “the rat that ate the malt.”
d. “the cat that killed the rat.”

literary nonsense from the delightful mr. edward gorey. i don’t think i could pick a favorite story, but this one has been on my desk for a while 🙂 click to enlarge and study mr. gorey’s exquisite line work at your leisure.

perpetual collegiate style. 
i love how aimless yet self conscious they are. as though they were fully aware of their audience.
in gorey’s world, everyone wears converse.
macabre hilarity. {mary murders her cousine rose over a found bedslat.}
religious mania ensues.
marsh takes to “drink” and drank a bottle of vanilla extract he found in the mud. 
left alone, rosemary drifted away during an unusually high tide…

as i discussed earlier here– generally, i don’t read fashion magazines. 
sewing magazines, however, are the best. looking at pretty clothes is nice, but shopping for clothes is terrible. they never fit me correctly and the entire experience is demoralizing. thankfully, making and sewing clothes is awesome. sure i have to slash and alter every single pattern but as long it looks good in the end, it’s worth the effort.
well, september’s issue of burda featured a great set of patterns inspired by one of my style icons, coco chanel. 
this blouse features an asymmetrical jabot.
how cute is this dress? peter pan collar, bracelet length sleeves, and front pleats. but not in black. black makes me look like i rose from the grave. not in a “blood and roses” kind of way, more like a “shaun of the dead” kind of way. 
it’s funny that, out of all of her lovers, they chose to style him as paul iribe. iribe was chanel’s most contentious lover and retrospectively, the only one she had less than perfectly kind things to say about in public. but who cares? i love that dress!

chanel as “marianne” by paul iribe. if you would like to see more of iribe’s art, the brandeis special collection houses his entire run of “le temoin.”

if you can’t find a copy online, the patterns are available for purchase on their website.


i‘ve been thinking a lot about sartorial inspiration. probably bc it’s fall and fall equals cute clothes. generally, i don’t read fashion magazines. i have my own set style and whatever’s happening in mainstream fashion doesn’t interest me {with rare exceptions.} i’m far more influenced by movies {amelie}, books {agatha christie}, and art {too many to list}.
however, there are magazine oases in my fashion desert- “Lucky,” japanese pattern books, and “Burdastyle” sewing magazine.


Burdastyle magazine consistently offers exceptional patterns. it’s a german company and their taste reflects european sensibilities. in each monthly issue there are usually 4 collections in sizes 34-44, one children’s collection, one plus collection in sizes 44-52, and then sometimes a couple men’s patterns, once a year maternity patterns and/or lingerie patterns, some knitting patterns, and crafts.


i’ve been collecting them for a few years. usually august through may suit my style perfectly. i’m not a summer sun and fun kind of person, so their summer patterns generally leave something to be desired. however, the last couple of summer’s have featured retro inspired collections that have been breathtaking!

it’s pricey for a magazine, but cheap for patterns so i guess it’s how you look at it. the style lines usually follow similar themes like: boho/70s, retro, business, romantic, british country, french, and folklore {aka-oktoberfest}. the children’s patterns are beautiful and unlike anything you can get from the standard pattern companies like vogue or simplicity. and completely unlike the bulk of what’s affordability available in stores such as, dressing your son like an illiterate bro or your daughter like a pepto bismal pink, princess obsessed, bitch in training. imagine your kids in something other than overly baggy pants or day-glo leggings! {sorry, but i currently live in a pretty ugly section of southern california, mostly populated by mean, lazy, materialistic, stupid parents. whoops! time to move!} 

the only thing i find somewhat lacking are the plus patterns. the patterns themselves are beautiful, but i wish burda would publish a separate monthly plus pattern edition. there seem to be a lot of plus sized sewers {at least they’re very vocal in the forums} but strangely enough over the years burda has cut the plus magazine from a quarterly to a bi-yearly publication- and their recent issue has simply republished some monthly patterns and mixed them with new ones. which suggests it hasn’t been selling well and that accounts for their cost saving measures, but i still find it very hard to believe. there are very few stylish plus patterns out there so i’d have expected it to be a big seller. 


all in all though, a very useful and inspiring magazine for me. i can’t wait to see what they have next month!


it’s raining today. not quite as rare an occurrence in southern california as you might think. but it made me think of “the tempest.” neither a tragedy nor a comedy, it’s considered a romance, in the old way. weird and wonderful, it’s Shakespeare’s last complete play and considered by many, his farewell to theatre. i present arthur rackham’s equally weird and beautiful paintings depicting many scenes from the play. they are from his late period when he shifted minutely toward a more painterly style. the scenes are by turns desolate and lush, always magical with a slight art nouveau influence.

 Miranda cavorting with spirits. i love her dark bobbed hair.
Ariel summoning the storm 
Ariel disguised as a water-nymph. the water behind him is magical. 
 “full fathom five thy father lies,
of his bones are coral made;
those are pearls that were his eyes,
nothing of him that doth fade,
but doth suffer a sea-change
into something rich, and strange.”
“the isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs, that give delight”
“sometimes a thousand twanging instruments will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices, that, if i had wak’d after long sleep… i cried out to dream again.” 
“how does my bounteous sister? go with me
to bless this twain, that they may prosperous be…”


i love fall for the beautiful leaves. when i walk with karl we collect the prettiest leaves we can find. but forbidden fruit is always the sweetest. our neighbors have the loveliest tree in the loveliest setting. all gold and silver when i look out of my window. i sneaked a peak and felt a little like Rapunzel’s mother gazing longingly at forbidden foliage 😉

yellow, orange, and red next to the silvery celadon green is one of my favorite color combinations.

this silvery green tree is wonderfully melancholy. it belongs in an algernon blackwood story.

let’s see what other things are orange and blue-green…

my son’s car

pincushion from antique ribbon

my favorite self portrait of vincent.

“shiver and shake little tree- pour gold and silver over me!”
~  cinderella by the brothers grimm.


as i promised, here are the scans of gordon laite’s “cinderella” paper doll~

i’ve looked for this book for 15 years. finally, this year i ended up purchasing two books. one with the dolls and one with the uncut clothing. there really aren’t enough good things i can say about these dolls. to me, they are the pinnacle of paper doll art. i can’t explain… of course it might be that i just have 5 year old child brain again every time i look at them. something along the lines of “dresses!… cookies!… tea parties!… pretty!…kittens!…robin hood!” {don’t ask}.
Cinderella and Prince Charming
lovely house outfits
glorious golden ballgown
green wedding gown and blue 2nd gown
Charming’s wedding suit and his suit for the ball. 
with what the price a complete copy commands i’m shocked someone hasn’t scanned them in for people to enjoy. the book is out of print and the talented mr. laite died in 1978. click to enlarge and please enjoy them as much as i do 🙂 

calling all yankie spirits~

i first discovered “anthropologie” in 2001. i was delighted that an entire company was dedicated to yankie secretary style. between the twin evils of expense and impossible fit {hello sewing}, i’ve never owned anything of theirs, but their catalogs still inspire my sartorial choices.
step into the way-back machine and say hello to 2001~
her sweater is great, but her hair cut is even better.
amazing at waist jeans like jane birkin would have worn in the 70s. my jealousy knows no bounds. i still haven’t summoned the moxy to make a pair of denims.

in only a few short years from this photo, every pair of pants would end 3″ above your crotch and gift all the ladies in america with a muffin top and a whale tail. yet another reason why the aughts were terrible {aside from economic and global destruction.}  

the lovely grey haired model, the elegant ladies who look like they might actually be older than 17, and sweet child models who look like children instead of hollywood actors. anthropologie, this was your high point.


and yes, i had fantasies about “camping” like this, which is how i imagine every wes anderson character camps {aside from in museums.}

joann’s is having a sale on simplicity patterns that started yesterday and ends november 12th. 5 patterns for $5. limit 10. there are a few other limitations but most of simplicity’s patterns are on sale.
i picked up 5 yesterday. i didn’t really need any new patterns, but i’m kind of a pattern ho. i’ve had my eye on these but just could justify the expense. yesterday was my lucky day! 

2 retro simplicity patterns.
honestly, picked up 2154 just for the “mad men”  vibe and beautiful cover colors.

3588 is from the 1940s. i adore at waist pants & these are beautiful. i love their side zip. the blouse is pretty awesome too. it features double darts in the front!

2282 i picked up for the lovely princess seams. i might even try making a bib necklace.

2305 is a cynthia rowley pattern. i love the rounded hem and soft easy style.

2211 is a lisette pattern. i’ve wanted a skirt like this forever, with the pleats on the seam lines. it has a very “amelie” kind of vibe.

close ups of the retro patterns. see what i mean about 2154? total trudy campbell outfit!

good luck shopping and get there before all the good ones are picked over!


if you love japanese ghost stories, you cannot live without Kwaidan {kaidan}.


from the beautiful Yuki-onna, spirit of snow, to the bewitched Hoichi singing for a ghostly emperor and his court, these tales enchant as much today as they did over a century ago.


the volume features stunningly dark  ukiyo-e set in gilded backgrounds





these storeies inspired the beautiful film “kaidan.” direscted by Masaki kobayashi~

kaidan~ yuki-onna {part2}


rushmore academy has mr. fox faux fur ties for sale here, modeled by jason schwartzman.
click pictures to enlarge~

badger concept art by felicie haymoz.


cuss with bill murray at your own peril.

i love agnes’ freckles!
coach skip and agnes concept art by felicie haymoz and an explanation of “hot box!”
“Basically, there’s three grabbers, three taggers, five twig runners, and a player at Whackbat. Center tagger lights a pine cone and chucks it over the basket and the whack-batter tries to hit the cedar stick off the cross rock. Then the twig runners dash back and forth until the pine cone burns out and the umpire calls hotbox. Finally, you count up however many score-downs it adds up to and divide that by nine.” 


petey concept art by felicie haymoz.

and of course petey was voiced by the talented jarvis cocker.
rat and weasel concept art uncredited.

i like wes’s note- “no pleats!”
weasel was voiced by wes anderson.

farmer bean and kristofferson~
“Frank Bean is a turkey and apple farmer. He invented his own species of each. He lives on a diet of strong alcoholic cider which he makes from his apples. He’s as skinny as a pencil, as smart as a whip, and possibly the scariest man currently living.”
wes anderson and bill murray on set.
“let her dance”




Turkeys, apples, and psychotic farmers! It must be november! what better movie to usher in this lovely month than “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” with its richly designed autumn palette. initially, i was very excited to hear wes anderson was directing this. while i wasn’t fond of the “Darjeeling Limited,” his other films rank among my favorites. “Mr. Fox” does not disappoint. It’s good for thoughtful adults and children alike. The subtle complexity of Dahl’s original isn’t lost here, nor is it buried under unnecessary additions. the expansion of the story adds rather than detracts, simply because, like Dahl’s book, nothing is sentimentalized {notwithstanding adorable costumed animals.} I was lucky to receive the book on its making for a christmas past and i’ve spent hours pouring over the tiny props, costumes, and sets. here are a few of my favorite pagers:
click pictures to ~enlarge

concept art for” fantastic mr. fox.” art by chris appelhans.
felicity fox’s melancholy paintings by turlo griffin.
“she’s got a good eye, but she’s obviously very depressed.” ~bean’s critique of mrs. fox’s paintngs. {cut from the film.}
roald dahl’s desk inspired the tiny props made for mr. fox’s desk.
mr. fox concept art
1. eric chase anderson.
6. huy vu
11. chris appelhans 
felicity fox concept art
1. cameo design by turlo griffin
2. felicie haymoz
4. eric chase anderson

the gloriously beautiful and sad felicity fox.






btw~ rifka made her own mrs. fox dress. prepare to die from pleasure: the perfect apple dress!

all ash concept art here by felicie haymoz.

poor ash. i loved him. i know what it’s like being a disappointemnt to your parents. i too am “wiggle-wiggle-fingers… different.”

all kristofferson concept art here by felicie haymoz.

i have secret hopes karl will grow up to be a kristofferson. nice, smart, and good at martial arts. what? a mother can dream ;P




halloween was wonderful this year. karl loves to wear dish towels as capes so we figured he’d get a kick out of being superman. while matching halloween costumes are not in our future, the all black garb of the evil kryptonians was an easy one for us.

daddy, karl, and mommy as general zod, superman, and ursa.

kablam! superman vanquishes general zod!


Cinderella is an autumn tale. Don’t believe me? Pumpkins. Okay, occasionally it’s a winter tale and the ball is actually a yule ball. Cinderella comes in decked in flowers which makes the party-goers believe she’s a fairy bc it’s the dead of winter. i.e.- “rashin’ coatie” (“coat of rushes” a scottish cinderella variant). But usually, it’s an autumn tale.

The most influential book of my childhood was Gordon Laite’s “Cinderella.” I owned the little golden book with paper dolls. It ignited in me a passion for drawing, clothes, and paper dolls~ for everything. I made supplentary dresses for my doll from other Cinderella movies. Not only disney’s “Cinderella” but “Cinderella” with Leslie Caron as well as “the Slipper and the Rose” both of which had gorgeous costumes.
I discovered something: aside from the pleasure of drawing, I was good at it. It was revelatory. I wasn’t good at anything. But suddenly I was good at this.

“Cinderella”-illustrated by Gordon Laite
a couple of stone. cold. bitches.
check out Cinderella’s fabulous dress with sunflowers. Who said everything for a girl must be pepto bismol pink?

and how beautiful is her fairy godmother with her autumn leaf dress and golden butterfly wings?
the footman has literally “flipped his wig.”












enter dress #2! a lovely ermine trimmed blue velvet number. just don’t google what ermine look like or you may not like Cinderella as much.

too late! run little guy!

a white and green wedding dress! does it get any better? have i mentioned that as a little girl my favorite color was green? trust me, not a popular little girl color, even in the groovy and awesome late 70s of my childhood. So yes, i was validated by Cinderella’s dress. 

I understand it’s very popular to denigrate Cinderella and her virtues. But there is a place for somewhat passive heroines as well as alpha females. As a shy bookish little artist i delighted in Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty- where good was rewarded and evil cosmically punished. i also enjoyed “east of the sun and west of the moon,” with it’s plucky heroine who saves her prince from a fate worse than death (a wedding night with the troll princess). There’s room for everyone. Wallflowers and alpha-females, scullery maids and brave girls with wanderlust alike.  

And so while i understand the inherent problems Cinderella poses for a modern audience, i love her anyway. She’s nice and industrious. She’s good at sewing, cooking, and patient with the assholes around her. She loves animals and misses her mother. And in the versions i read and watched as a kid, my imagination filled in the blanks. Cinderella wasn’t just a pretty face. No way! She and the prince were so busy talking about all the things they both liked to do and read that he forgot to ask her name. 
She was just that amazing. 


ps- i have the dolls and clothing as well. i’ll scan and post them soon.