from the jazz age to the space age

Category Archives: books

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After being sick for the last few months- (kidney stone) I’m finally well again. I still have to be very careful with what I eat, no wheat, very few grains, and now low sodium, but as my large intestine has improved, my hands have improved considerably. They still burn every once in a while, but it’s incredibly minor. My labs are great.

But the forced inactivity made me think about what I’d like to do in the immediate future. I’d definitely like to illustrate a book, but in order to do that I’ll have to retool how I work in order to become faster. At the same time I’ve been growing restless with the limitations of gouache. You have to be very, very careful when you overpaint, because it becomes active when it comes in contact with water. I hate oil, so that’s out (not oil paintings, but using oils myself), but I have always LOVED egg tempera. A lot. And my painting style is essentially drawing with a brush which makes it a good fit. So, that’s on my immediate future list.

In the meantime I went back to one of my earliest inspirations, medieval manuscripts. They inspired “Air,” up above. Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 5.46.00 PM I made a simple outline drawing. Filled her in with a gouache base. Drew on top of the paint. And then painted the details. It was incredibly satisfying. So satisfying that I ordered “Alchemy & Mysticism”. Sure I have books on symbolism, mythology, and magic symbols, but this book is gorgeous. It also keeps my on track, style wise. I don’t want to fall down the rabbit hole of spending 2 months on a small painting anymore. I think this will help me divide my work between projects that are smaller, on paper, in gouache and pencil- and projects that are medium sized, in egg tempera, on gessoed board. 20160622_170911

I have a Pinterest board of evening gowns where I found the dress and color scheme-
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This one is Gucci. I think she looks like she could have walked out of a modern Decameron.

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This year I’ve gone through my books and sold quite a few that I realized I was never going to use, mostly sewing related. As I did, I noticed some holes in my collection. I asked Mikael for a few and he ended up getting me everything, including a surprise James Jean book. We have a $50 limit on gifts which we both went over a little this year. We had a little extra bc this was the first year in 3 years that we didn’t have to pay for Karl’s pre-school. I kept wondering why I wasn’t as stressed out about money this year when I realized, oh right, we don’t have to cough up a pile of money right before and after Christmas.

“Wives and Stunners” is about the women who inspired the Pre-Raphaelites. Many of these women were painters and poets in their own right, but women were discouraged (to say the least) from a career in the arts. While I know quite a bit about Lizzie Siddel and Jane Morris, I’m very excited to read more about the others who I know only from their modeling.

“Surrealist Art” is a wonderful book I’ve read a few times through the library, but sadly never owned. It has a wealth of information, but the only downside is the pictures are mostly in black and white.

“Surrealism” remedies that. It has very little information beyond the title and artist, but each page has a beautiful, fairly large color reproduction of a painting.

“The First Fossil Hunters” proposes that fossils were the basis for many fantastic creatures in Greek myth, such as griffins and the Cyclopes. I saw a tv program on this a few years ago and have wanted to read the book ever since.

“Japanese Tales” is just that, and while I already have a book of Japanese ghost stories and two books on Asian myths, I do not have one dedicated to Japanese tales across the board. After I saw this in a store I put it on my wish list. I suppose I’m getting lazy in my old age bc it’s not always fun for me to have 5 books stacked next to me, bookmarked with the Japanese stories- that my baby promptly yanks the bookmarks out of. Sisyphean, I tell you.

And finally, “James Jean: Pareidolia” I have Jean’s “Memu:100 postcards” but I greatly wanted a large book so I could pour over his beautiful work. Like most people I was introduced to him through his exquisite covers for the comic book, “Fables.” And while I found the stories in “Fables” often lacking, the covers were worth the price of the books. Jean is an inspiration. There are times when I’m trying desperately to solve an art problem and he’s done it so neatly and beautifully that I can only sigh in admiration.
And case you were wondering what “Pareidolia” was: the imagined perception of a pattern or meaning where it does not actually exist, as in considering the moon to have human features. – 

Unf- I love Camille Rose Garcia. Her art reminds me of lost Fleischer cartoons. I have her version of Alice in Wonderland (so incredibly acid pastel that it hurts my eyes) but the colors in Snow White are more to my taste. IMG_2488 I love when books have details like this- the cloth bound cover is printed.IMG_2490 IMG_2491

The book was designed by Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich and it’s amazing. Amazing! So is his name. I thought maybe it was made up, but it looks legit! IMG_2493



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I have to admit, the multiple eyes give me a headache.IMG_2499 The Prince shows up on some swans bc… of course he did!IMG_2500

She has a version of Cinderella that she’s been working on and posting wips on her Instagram. No word on when it’s due to be released, but it looks delightful as well!

These were the 3 books I used quite a bit during my doll making journey:

The Complete Book of Dollmaking by Pamela Peake. It’s a really simple introduction I picked up years ago at Half Price Books in Berkeley. It’s a great book for beginners who just want to make a cloth doll to get their feet wet while perusing other doll styles.


It gives a basic overview of different kinds of dolls, but if you want to really make something complicated, I’d pick up books specializing in just that particular kind of doll making.


This basic cloth doll has a separate head and a simple body.


My initial dolls used this basic idea- separate head & center seamed legs. It was a good learning experience.


This doll has a shaped bust that I tried out, but ended up rejecting. I did like this head shape more though & it introduced me to the idea of placing a stick to strengthen the neck. The pattern itself is missing a leg piece, but it would be easy enough to draft. IMG_2185 IMG_2187

This felt doll is very cool. With a little tweaking you could get a really beautiful looking doll reminiscent of Dare Wright’s, Edith from the “Lonely Doll” series of books. In the future, I’d like to experiment with making my own felt masks. I haven’t yet though so I can’t say if this system works.



The book comes with patterns you can photocopy & enlarge.


Storybook Toys by Jill Hamor is awesome. Half of it is dolls & the other half is stuffed animals. It’s for an intermediate/advanced audience. Beginners beware.


Most of the dolls have “baseball heads.” See the seaming? Like a baseball. They were super popular in the 50s & 60s. Understandably, Jill doesn’t want you to use her patterns to make dolls to sell, but you can find similar vintage patterns online that are in the public domain & use them. I toyed with using the baseball head as the basis for my lady dolls, but the style is much better suited to children’s dolls, especially if you’re crafty and want to make a kid an American Girl’s style doll without the hefty price tag.


She makes the most beautiful yarn hair I’ve ever seen. It’s labor intensive, but turns out beautifully.

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One of the first dolls in the book is a flat pancake doll to get you started. She’s really cute.

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Some of the patterns are both in the book pages- to be traced or photocopied-


While others are on a pull out sheet in the back.


More Felt Friends from Japan by Naomi Tabatha. Nearly all of the items are felt animals, but there are a couple of awesome dolls.


Some of the patterns are inside the book, waiting to be traced, while others are inside the dust jacket, also needing to be traced.


Miss Kitty & her amazing wardrobe made me buy the book. Everything is made of felt, so hemming is pretty much nonexistent. It’s a great place to get the feel for constructing tiny doll clothes.


I LOVE Japanese pose dolls, so this was a big selling point. The dolls are anchored to their bases. There are simple instructions for wiring them that is way, way easier than what I’ve seen in other books. I wired a few of my prototypes, but the extra time and expense wasn’t worth it. Maybe if I ever convert one of my bookcases into a doll house then I might make posable dolls.

There were a lot of other books I found at the library. But they mostly focused on making cloth art dolls that didn’t appeal to me.

That’s about it. I’ve been working on Posy Rabbit’s tiny wardrobe. I love sewing tiny clothes!


I received the Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz for my birthday.


The book is beautiful. However I found the interior art serviceable, it didn’t knock my socks off.


But the book design more than makes up for it.


Each movie chapter consists of an essay by the author and an interview with Wes Anderson. The essays are brief and spot on, but the real treasure is the interview. Matt Zoller Seitz asks thoughtful questions and manages to get Anderson to open up about his work.


The interview is profusely illustrated with behind the scenes photos and inspiration.



Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Satyajit Ray’s The Lonely Housewife influenced Moonrise Kindgom


Sissy Spacek’s eye makeup from Badlands, contrasted with Kara Hayward’s makeup in Moonrise Kingdom.


When I first saw the movie, I fell in love with Frances McDormand’s 60s shift dresses.


I love how the aqua of the wall mural ties in with the aqua of her dress. I also just really love her legs.


Fake books created for the movie. Susie likes to read “stories with magic powers in them. Either kingdoms on earth or on foreign planets. Usually I prefer a girl hero, but not always.” I love the Isaac Asimov/Arthur C. Clarke mash up.

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The needlepoint of the church inspired needlepoints of the rest of the main sets.

One of the things they get into that I love is Anderson’s use of miniatures, rather than using all CGI. It’s not that he thinks miniatures look less fake than computer graphics, but that he prefers the fakeness of miniatures.

The book is wonderful and I can’t recommend it enough!

A while ago I posted once of my favorite stories of his, “the Deranged Cousins.” Check it out!



Tove’s commentary on modern art ;D


And her thoughts on being an artist.


The beauteous Snorkmaiden, beloved of Moomin.


The Moomins go to The Riviera. Snorkmaiden meets “The Great Little Audrey Glamour,” (Audrey Hepburn).

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Snorkmaiden tries her first lipstick and bikini.


And meets a Riveria rake.

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The Mymble and Snorkmaiden encounter adorable pirates and promptly fall in love.


But even in the early 1950s Pirates love rum.


September 24th is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s birthday. I have to admit, one of the joys of reading Fitzgerald are his abhorrent characters. Everyone is so rich, so pithy, so good looking, and above all else so fucking blond that they make me sick. And then Fitzgerald lets them have it. All of their darling vices overwhelm them, crippling or destroying them. I find it embarrassingly satisfying. Pure literary schadenfreude. I’m not going to lie, I’ve hate read, “Beautiful and Damned” far too many times, gripping the pages and mentally punching every character. But then I get to the end and think, “that was good. That was justice. I love you Scotty.” He’s one of my top five authors and I find his life is as interesting as his work.


Gerald and Sara Murphy were socialites and friends of the Fitzgeralds- scratch that- they were friends of everybody. If you love the mood and time period of the 1910s through the 1930s, you’ll find this book endlessly fascinating. Spoiler- just like Fitzgerald’s characters, they have a terrible end.



I freely admit I love Zelda as much as her husband. Don’t believe Hemingway. She was magnificent. Scott plundered her diaries for his heroines, including Nicole Diver of “Tender is the Night.” When she had a chance to read the finished book, she felt so betrayed she had another breakdown.


Scott, sans Zelda, in Hollywood. The events that inspired his unfinished masterpiece, “The Last Tycoon.”511l-DngUML

Annnnnd Hemingway’s posthumous fuck you to everyone he knew. From slyly referring to the nameless Murphys as “the understanding rich” who were determined to corrupt his talent to exposing Scott Fitzgerald’s small penis, this book is a non stop shit talking fest with poor Ernest at the center just trying to be so darned authentic and write really good books. Take it with a grain of salt and enjoy Hemingway’s vigorous writing style.
And if you’re feeling the bug to live out your inner flapper, dig in to some of the books above, make a gin & tonic (try Bombay Sapphire. It’s amazing.) and lounge around in your decadent drop waisted dress. Here are some Burda patterns that are in a 1920s style.

From Burdastyle 11/2010thumb_800x600_10-4 thumb_800x600_10-5

From Burdastyle 7/2012thumb_800x600_10-1 thumb_800x600_10

From Burdastyle 4/2011thumb_800x600_10-6

From Burdastyle 6/2012thumb_800x600_10-3

From Burdastyle 4/2011

And yes, I can Charleston.

I bought this waaaaaay back when it came out in 1997. Between the adorable paper dolls and Isaac Mizrahi (I was/am quite a fan) I was in love. It’s definitely a slice of pop culture which even now, only 16 years later, seems incredibly naive. Mizrahi pokes fun at fashion and modeling, from ageism (Sandee is revealed to be 30! gasp!), the waif look (Sandee loses too much weight and Isaac recommends she gain some), to being too fat for fashion (Sandee’s busting out of the sample sizes even though she looks nearly the same. After she’s fired from Prada, Westwood, & Chanel, Isaac rolls with it and creates the “New New Look.”) Heroin chic and the bdsm look are parodied by Sandee’s disastrous makeover- an obvious act of sabotage (She’s quickly given a makeunder by Isaac’s assistant, Dee Lish).  Sandee’s rival, Dorothy, sports a coke habit and extensive plastic surgery and there’s a handsome bisexual photographer who everyone falls in love with. With cameos by Madonna, Anjelica Huston, Anna Wintour, JFK jr, Dominick Dunne, as well as stand ins for Diana Vreeland, and Carrie Donovan, it’s a bitchy and loving tribute to fashion.
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So in love with my Moebius Arzach. I can usually only find “Blueberry” here in the US, so I was pretty stoked to find a guy selling a bunch of Euro comics. This is all in Italian, but I’m primarily interested in the art.

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And of course some awesome Cosplayers!
This is Anthony Misiano and His girlfriend as The Joker and Harley Quinn. Sewing nerds take note~ their costumes are amazing. So much texture and detail, it’s nuts. Here’s his website, and here’s his fb. Check him out. Lots of talent. His look is based on Brian Bolland’s amazing Joker from “The Killing Joke.” The art from “The Killing Joke” is what got me into comics. When Tim Burton’s Batman movie came out, the newspaper ran Brian Bolland’s art and I was totally blown away. My older brother read comics, but none of the art was as awesome as that! Anyway, I got super into Batman (and others) and bought everything of Bolland’s that I could get my hands on. More about that later.


Shazam! And Mary Marvel!

969285_10201077237122869_943292916_nAn adorable Deadpool


Saturday Mikael, Karl, and I went to Big Wow, the San Jose Comic Con. I’ll blog about tomorrow. On the way home we stopped by Kinokuniya and I found this beautiful sewing pattern book. I freely admit, I bought it for the gorgeous William Morris wallpaper behind the model, as much as the simple, lovely patterns.
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I just saw The Great Gatsby, and it was fantastic. Those reviewers are obviously a bunch Tom Buchanans

First of all, I saw the movie in 2D because I don’t care for 3D.


There’s something incredibly freeing about Lurhmann adapting a work. Lurhmann is a unicorn who dreams in celluloid. There’s none of that disappointment, that- “it’s not how I pictured it.” Of course it’s not. It manages to capture the twin worlds of the books rather brilliantly. First, there’s the forced hollowness of Gatsby’s “glamour,” and I mean that in the old Faerie way of illusion, which even Gatsby is taken in by. Once he has Daisy- his Daisy that he’s dreamed of for years- who he’s had countless ghost conversations with inside his head, the movie shifts gears. The glitter blows away, your champagne goggles disappear and all of a sudden the sober morning reveals a sweet, slightly naive man and his silly, shallow, emotionally damaged love interest.
Carey Mulligan’s Daisy is wonderful. Lame and jaded in the beginning, her crack up in the third act manages to arouse your sympathy.
Leonardo DiCaprio is a sublime Gatsby. His smooth confident facade cracks spectacularly during his longed for meeting with Daisy. And the man can were a pink suit like nobody’s business. His “Old Sports” are as charming, laughable, and dorky as the Gatsby of the book.
The rest of the cast shines as well. Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher bring unexpected humanity to characters like Tom Buchanan and Myrtle Wilson.
The small changes to the book- Nick recovering from alcoholism, as well as making Tom, Jordan, and Nick brunet didn’t lessen my enjoyment. (Was Nick blond? I assume he was since he’s Fitzgerald’s stand in, even more than Gatsby.) I also don’t remember Gatsby’s wonderful line, “Her voice is full of money,” which is a shame. It’s one of my favorites from the book.

The music is fabulous. It manages to evoke the danger, sex, and wildness of the jazz age. It’s also far more integrated than the soundtrack would lead you to believe.

I got choked up at Nick explaining to Gatsby that he didn’t need compensation, that it was just a favor. DiCaprio plays it beautifully. His cautious joy at dealing with someone who might not have an angle on his money is heartbreaking. Even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I still found myself wishing it would end differently. That Daisy would be a stronger person. That Gatsby wasn’t so single-minded. That evil, the true evil of the careless, mindless variety that so frequently dominates our world, wouldn’t triumph.

The group of teen girls in front of my started crying. As the credits rolled one of them said between sniffs, “It was so sad!” I found myself idly wondering at what future lay in store for them. If their dreams would shatter at 30 like so many of Fitzgerald’s characters or if they were the lucky ones, “beautiful little fools.”

I didn’t read Gatsby in school. 20th century lit wasn’t my thing at 13/14. But at 25 I finally up and read some Hunter Thompson. He raved non-stop about Fitzgerald and Gatsby so, I picked up a copy and fell in love. I don’t know if it was due to my quarter century mark, the fact that I was making more money than I had any right to and spending it even faster, or that my first love was coming apart at the seams after 3 years together. But for the first time, I felt my limitations.

“Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter– tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”


Obviously, I’ve also been playing quite a bit of the Great Gatsby 8 bit game found here:

Published in 1979, this book is amazing.
Click on pictures to enlarge (totally worth it)~

Terrible confession (where the terrible person is me): I stole this book from my Junior High School library. I loved it, absolutely loved it & one day I noticed that someone had started to deface the book and draw over the art. My library was in the process of putting in security to prevent the theft of books by students so I knew I had a difficult decision to make. I could take it to the librarian & hope they could repair the damage or I could steal the book and thus “rescue” it from further damage by my fellow students. Now, I rarely take things, it’s just not my bag. I don’t even like downloading music or movies, which is why I love Spotify and Amazon Prime. But, I’m, also not the kind of person who can deal with things I love being destroyed. And I was 13, so cut me some slack. Anyway, I put it under my jacket and walked out.

I’m so glad I did. It didn’t deserve such an ugly fate and I have loved it with the borderline inappropriate love that only fellow bibliophiles understand.


Yeah, that dragons tail contains “W A” for Wayne Anderson.

Two dragons fighting

Gorgeous fish wings.

Why were the 70s so badass?

I’m pretty sure she’s the equivalent of a petit four to him.


The book itself is delightful speculative science/natural history. If you love dragons, do yourself a favor and track it down.
And yes, with the Hobbit dvd & the new season of Game of Thrones, I’ve had dragons on my mind.


Oh hey, I’ve finally decided to use my Cal Patch book for something other than slash and spread tutorials.

Those lovely marks on the wall are from where my husband used to store his bikes. We finally got a bike rack so I’m able to sit in front of the window!





Karl is busy making dinosaur sounds.









I really love the gathered shirt and cuffed pants look.


I don’t know why there’s a raglan pattern. She doesn’t cover that. The instructions for patterns are: knit shirt w/ set in sleeves, button up woven shirt w/ set in sleeves, a-line skirt, and pants. The dresses are extensions of your shirt patterns. And there’s some fun beginning pattern manipulation involving shifting seams, and adding fullness in creative ways. My two favorites are creating a shirt with a pin tucked placket and creating a knit blouse with a bib? and then gathers around it. I’m not sure what it’s called, but it’s the purple blouse above.


The other thing is, she doesn’t give any yardage information. Since you’re creating a block that’s unique to you, that information would be different to each person.


She has a single page on grading and goes over the basics. It very informative for people who don’t know why commercial patterns are restricted to certain sizes.

IMG_0214 I really love this book. I’ve had it since it came out. It introduced me to the correct way to add fullness to pattern pieces, as opposed to just adding fabric to the sides (whoops!). It also has a great introduction to drafting knit shirts. It’s not a sewing book- at all. It’s strictly very simple beginner pattern making. She doesn’t even really talk about bust darts. I’d almost recommend it for the insane amount of measurements she has you get in order to make a sloper. Anyway, the information is great and works, although I added bust darts. I also tackled skirts in a slightly different way. Instead of choosing patterns from my widest hip measurement, which is my low hip, I’ve started choosing the mid hip measurement and then widening 3 inches down where my saddlebags start. Otherwise I end up with an excessive amount of fabric in the upper and middle hip region. I’ve been working on a new set of slopers for my post baby body.  Even at nearly the same weight my body is shaped differently, which is kind of fun. But clothes definitely fit me differently. The good news is I can wear different styles than I used to and like the way I look in them. Hello shifts!

Ok, so I’m super into this. For Valentine’s Day I asked Mikael for “DIY Couture” by Rosie Martin. I’d been looking at the amazon preview for a while, but I already have so many sewing books that it was going to take something special to entice me to buy. I’ve been hit with sewing book burnout. Either the book starts at size 36 bust and I’m feeling too lazy to grade down, or I realize the patterns lack some basic info and I’d have to make a muslin just to figure what size I should then make a muslin in, or the patterns are like ones I already have so even though I like the book, there’s no reason to own it. And of course, the main reason is that since I have so little time to sew, I’m reluctant to add new projects to my sewing wishlist. I’m currently stuck on a Burda pattern that isn’t hard, but I just haven’t had time to focus on it (it involves drafting an asymmetric collar).

A little about DIY Couture: the idea is, by using half circles, rectangles, and by tracing around clothing that already fits you, you can make simple clothes. Usually I recommend practicing first by making a tea towel or tote bag or something, but I can honestly say, after using some scrap material to get familiar with your machine, you could probably actually make an item of clothing from this book. I grew up with sewing patterns around. My Grandma was an amazing seamstress and her photos bear witness to her skill. But, through the years of talking to my friends who want to take up sewing clothes, but never do, some people just don’t get patterns or the idea behind sewing curves into 3d dimensional shapes. So, I can see where this book would be great for them. Some people fall outside the size range of commercial patterns or have to do so many alterations to patterns that it becomes overwhelming. Some people want to make simple clothes but can’t find any very easy, uncomplicated patterns. And finally, some people suffer from sewing burnout in its various forms.

What attracted me to DIY Couture? Well, through my 30s, I wore fitted clothes, usually made out of wovens with minimal stretch. I favored a “soft vintage” look with a girlish vibe or else an early 60s Audrey/Jackie look. But post baby and on the cusp of 40, while the classic early 60s look still works, I’ve been feeling a little “mutton dressed as lamb” in my “Aughts referencing the 70s referencing the Victorian/Edwardian era.” I want to pare down my style to something simple and more mature that’s still fun and eclectic. As a result, I’m really feeling the glam side of the 70s and the new wave side of the early 80s. I recently cut my hair into a bob, and that was definitely a part of my desire to wear clean shapes.

A few reviews I read have thought DIY Couture was geared toward younger seamstresses, but really, I haven’t seen a recent sewing book that isn’t. And The 10 basic clothing shapes seem pretty flexible:



1. straight skirt (A line, straight, or pencil)
2. grecian dress (dolman/kimono sleeves)
3. skater skirt (a circle skirt)
4. waistcoat (trapezoid and rectangles)
5. cloak (circles)
6. slouch top (super cool and reminiscent of Japanese pattern books)
7. goddess dress (easy riff on Marilyn Monroe’s “Some Like it Hot” dress)
8. hoody (dolman sleeved jacket)
9. trousers (elastic waist)
10. romper (trousers above with a top piece)

Note! nothing has darts. A few pieces have pleats or tucks, but not the straight skirt. I recommend you make it out of material that has stretch or just wing it and put some darts in during the fitting before you sew on the waistband.

Each of these pieces is then shown in one of eight collections, with cute titles like:
Acid Candy, Monochrome Art, American Road Trip, Rude Disco, Coffee Classic, Jungle Punk, Safari Prep, and Tea Picnic. With the exception of Rude Disco and Jungle Punk each collection has something to offer me- esp Road Trip, Coffee, and Safari (pics below).

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I find them simple, but thought provoking. I like circle skirts, but it’s nice to see them in a non-vintage setting. They look so fresh and clever when done in unexpected fabrics (like black denim) or paired with structured, geometric new wave blouses.

I feel the book succeeds brilliantly in what it sets out to do: introduce novices to sewing and empowering them to make their own clothing by demystifying the technical aspects of sewing. She’s definitely punk’s response to Pink Floyd. And I love pretty seam finishes as well as the next person, but I find even the idea of keeping up with the home vintage couture craze exhausting. My only wish is that she’d talked a little about grain and nap. To be clear, if you love detailed, complicated patterns or clothing that fits closely, this book is not for you. If you want your structured clothing to mold your body into a shape other than what it is, this book is also not going to make you happy. But if you’re a fan of Japanese pattern books and soft, fluid styles, clothing that flows over or floats above the body, in an origami way, and yearn for very simple patterns, then this is a great book. I for one, want to explore some rad, batwing New Wave looks crossed with plaids, tweeds, and florals. Why yes, I have been looking at early Vivienne Westwood ;D

diy_0006For each project, there’s a large photo of the Acid Candy version, paired with a drawing of the pattern pieces you’ll make as well as small photos (different from the ones earlier) of each variation.

Next, there is a front technical drawing of each variation paired with written instructions explaining how the variations differ from the Acid Candy version.
Detailed visual instructions with both photos and clear, technical illustrations show you how to create the shape, cut the fabric, and sew together the Acid Candy version. If you want to create a different version, refer to the written instructions at the beginning of the project’s chapter. If something diverges radically, then Martin often has a special page devoted to the variation to help you create anything too difficult or hard to visualize.
Who knew there were so many variations of a circle skirt? Not me.
This one is my favorite. And I love that it’s so easy.

At the end of the book, there are line drawings of most of the variations for you to copy and mix and match together.

Today I dug through my ridiculous fabric stash and found 3 fabrics to start with. After my Burda dress is finished (I refuse to ufo it), I want to make a woven plaid circle skirt, a grecian dress cut down to blouse length, and a waistcoat. Obviously, I’ll be modifying the patterns a bit by using invisible zippers instead of the simple lapped zippers shown, as well as sewing up the sides of the coffee classic waistcoat instead of having it wrap. But the thought of just sewing something up and not fussing with set in sleeves is really nice right now. I’ll keep you posted!

I realized today that I never blogged about these. For our Anniversary Mikael gave me “Chuck Dugan is Awol” and the Criterion edition of “Darjeeling Limited.”

The Darjeeling Limited is my least favorite Anderson film, but even a weak Anderson film is better than many other films by lesser mortals. Plus, I really wanted to watch “Hotel Chevalier” which is, hands down, the best part of the Darjeeling Limited. The Criterion Edition doesn’t disappoint. Double discs and charming insert drawn by Wes’s brother, Eric Chase Anderson.
SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe Louis Vuitton luggage was designed by Marc Jacobs for the film. They were also for sale, although it’s hard to imagine hardcore fans having the cash necessary to buy them. Anderson’s middle period encompassing Tenenbaums, Life Aquatic, and DL are increasingly aspirational and escapist. Luckily with Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom he’s both doubled back to Bottle Rocket and Rushmore while managing to move forward.
On the commentary Wes is irritated by the interpretation of the luggage as emotional baggage, esp when the brothers discard their luggage to catch the train (in slo-mo of course). But, really dude, you (and Roman) are the one(s) who wrote a story about three brothers carrying around and fetishsizing their dead father’s luggage. You could have crafted more complicated symbolism.

My main beef with DL is the lack of character developement, which I understand in the context of the film: the brothers are on a journey. Owen Wilson wants it to be a spiritual journey, but his limitations are as great as the others and together, they are all stuck on a physical journey. Even after someone dies, Adrien Brody continues to wear his father’s glasses, even though his prescription gives Adrien headaches. He’s unable to move on from his dysfunctional family and create a new family with his wife. So, yeah, lots of stagnation until the end when they run to catch the train and throw away their luggage. It’s abrupt and unfulfilling. (Yes, I did refer the characters by the actors who played them.) The characters possessing the most depth are played by Waris Ahluwalis and Amara Karan. Amara is nicknamed, “Sweet Lime” by Jason Schwartzman for the drink she serves them. It’s revoltingly condescending and I think, meant to be so. He sees her as just another character in his next novel and not as a human being. All three brothers are repellant despite their picturesque style, although Anderson’s gifts are so great that you do manage to have some slight pity for them.

Luckily, I’m shallow and visually the Darjeeling Limited is beautiful. Waris Ahluwalis is beautiful. Everything in this film is ridiculously beautiful.


and then there’s Eric Chase Anderson’s novel (novella?). It’s a slight, fast, entertaining read. Filled with obsessively detailed maps and characters that riff on boys adventure books from the late 60s.
I just got all Inception on you.
there are maps of bodies
maps of action
maps of backpacks

and much more. It’s delightful. And the back cover has shout outs from Michael Chabon and Owen Wilson.

My copy of Lone Wolf Magazine‘s Winter Issue arrived!  The design of this magazine is also just lovely! I kind of couldn’t resist this one because it starts with a quote from “The Wolf Man,” which is a movie near and dear to my heart. I think I’m one of those people who always sympathises with the monster, esp the monster within.

“Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
~The Wolf Man






Lone Wolf Magazine on display for inspiration, along with a delightfully witchy card I bought years ago.

I’m pretty excited, I won “Doodle Stitchery” by Aimee Ray in a Burdastyle give-a-way! I love simple embroidery and have been wanting to decorate some towels for our kitchen, but as usual, I haven’t been able to decide what to do. This book provides plenty of inspiration. I have to admit, Space themed dish towels are appealing right now due to all the Star Trek: The Next Generation we’ve been watching.

Doodle Stitchery


mermaid and octopus!
the final frontier!
garden gnome and matryoshka!

Yesterday I went to the Colette Patterns Fall 2012 Launch at A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland. My husband, son, and I started off next door at James and the Giant Cupcake. Yeah, delicious cupcakes and an awesome low key atmosphere. They even had a table with paper and markers for kids to sit at. Unfortunately I ended up with blue frosting on my pants. What can I say, you can’t take me anywhere. Seriously though, if you’re in the area, check them out.

After the cupcakes, I went next door to A Verb for Keeping Warm. Their shop is lovely. I really wanted to see examples of the Colette patterns made up and I wasn’t disappointed. They were even better in person than in the pictures, as well as a little less intimidating. To expand on that- I discovered that they would also look good on my tall, small breasted pear shape and aren’t just for busty women.
It was interesting to see the fabrics chosen for varous designs. Quite a few were cotton/batiste/voile as opposed to a rayon or challis or other typical dress or blouse fabrics. I LOVE working with cottons so that was a big plus. The patterns have amazing details. Very vintage-y without being costume-y, which is important to me. I love vintage designs, but some clothing from the 40s or 50s, if done accurately, tends to make the wearer look upholstered and honestly, matronly. Beware, it’s a small step from Joan Holloway structured brilliance to looking like my Grandma’s ottoman. The Colette patterns sidestep this problem nicely by having small details like notched sleeve bands, tucks, small gathers, and clever, unobtrusive pockets without being fussy or overly cutesy. Quite a few would look perfectly at home on the set of Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom.” I fell in love with many patterns. There may be some Colette fan art from yours truly in the near future.
Despite my crippling shyness I did manage to meet Sarai & Kenn & have her sign my copy of the Colette Sewing Handbook. They were both polite and neither mentioned the blue frosting on my pants. I also ended up buying the “Anise” coat pattern. I was on the fence bc it doesn’t have bust darts and thought it would flatten me out more than I am. But, after looking at the samples I decided to take a chance. Worst case scenario- I add bust darts to the muslin.

I have something to admit: I am only a recent fan. Colette patterns are drafted for a c-cup {most patterns are drafted for a B} and I was reluctant to add another pattern alteration to the legion I already have. They also have their own sizing- I’ve written before about my loathing of vanity sizing as well as using random numbers to describe a size. My dead hobby horse is that sizing should just be measurements. Oh look, a 34″ bust, this is the one I buy. BOOM- problem solved. It is a little weird that on Colette sizing i’m a 2/4 when in tradtional sewing sizes, and my vintage clothes, I’m a 12/14. I buy a 6 or 8 in most stores (hello vanity sizing). It may seem obvious, but definitely double check your measurements for their size.

The Colette Sewing Handbook is the best modern sewing book for beginner/intermediate seamstresses I’ve read. Even better than my beloved Burdastyle {book, not magazine. The magazines are a totally different beast and are not for beginners} and Built by Wendy. The Colette book takes you through five projects of increasing difficulty. Everything is laid out in an easy to understand way and there are profuse photographs of everything. After reading through the whole thing, I started the “Licorice” dress at the end {I’m already an intermediate seamstress} and shortened it into a blouse. It’s almost finished despite me and my son Karl battling this ridiculous 2 week cold. The pattern was wonderful. First of all, the size 34″ bust fits my shoulders and arm scythe perfectly. I had to do a front & back gaping neck adjustment, move the bust darts down an inch, lengthen the sleeves & torso… and that was it. {That may seam like a lot to you, but trust me, I’ve had patterns where nothing fit correctly.} I only sewed the bust darts and omitted the waist darts bc I wanted it a little blousen. I think bc of this I didn’t have to do a small bust adjustment, which was a nice surprise. I’ll post photos when i’ve finished.

My sweet Karl at the beach.

Perusing my Colette Sewing Book {now signed!}

The Anise Coat pattern

The little book of instructions inside the pattern

a place for your notes

Cor Blok painted a series of images illustrating LOTR from 1958-1961. Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry, his simple style conveys a wealth of narrative and emotional information. Few know that Tolkien did not want LOTR illustrated but he admired Blok’s work and purchased two paintings.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens may actually be some of my favorite things, but these books  definitely are! i wanted to do a quick post about some of the books i keep closest to me and frequently use for inspiration. There are boxes more still unpacked and i’ll post an update when i get a chance to unpack all my treasures!

{When i say “by” i mean illustrated by, not written by. artist bias!}

various Alice’s~ Moser, Rackham, Garcia, Tenniel
Green Porno by Rossellini
Paradox Box
Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Dulac
Milk Teeth by Morstad
Van Gogh
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Moser
Language of Flowers
Little Snow White~ victorian facsimile

House of Leaves by Danielewski
Cinderella by Innocenti
Sorcerer’s Apprentice by The Dillons
Dean’s book of Fairy Tales and Dean’s Mother Goose both by Grahame Johnstone sisters
various Walter Foster drawing/painting books
Mother Goose by Fujikawa
Dragonfeathers by Dugin/Dugina
Rene Magritte
More Tales to Tremble By by Laite
Epileptic Bicycle by Gorey

Miss Fury by Tarpe Mills
Bowie Style
Those Glorious Glamour Years by Bailey
Dancer’s Body Book by Allegra Kent
The Living Sea by Cousteau
Mad Men by Dyna Moe
Fashion File by Bryant
Stylish Dress Book and Sweet Dress Recipe
Design it Yourself Clothes by Cal Patch
Twinkle Sews by Chia
Burdastyle Sewing Handbook
Sew U Home Stretch, Sew U, Built by Wendy Dresses
Mucha Playing Cards

Lots of favorites

 Tove Jansson’s Moomin series

even more favorites!

I first became aware of Patrick Nagel at the local poster art shop. I was 13. Tall, slim, and brunette with small eyes and skin like paper, i was considered plain and borderline ugly in my southern california town. I despaired of ever being thought attractive. But then i saw her. What was she? 8″x10″? 10″x10″? She was beautiful, like a Snow White who had grown up and cast her evil step-mother in hot iron shoes while enjoying every minute of that bitch’s dance. She had no apologies. Not for herself and not for anyone else.
I was transfixed and time moved like amber behind me until an old man walked by and stopped. “It’s like looking in a mirror.” I turned and stared stupidly until i realized he was talking about me. Me. He wasn’t scary or particularly pervy or anything like that. Just an old man shopping for posters who took 5 seconds to be kind to a child-teen. I looked back at the beautiful little picture and then left. I walked home elated.
Patrick Nagel died in 1984 at the age of 38. Despite this, his work is ubiquitous with the 80s. So ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget its brilliance and beauty. Easy too, in our digital age, to dismiss Nagel’s technical skill. His method consisted of drawing from live models, refined until they possessed the cool graphic quality of a japanese woodblock print and then painted on board or canvas with acrylics. Acrylics. Not vectors in photoshop and illustrator. Actual paint on actual board. His lines are superb. And all the sunglass shops or manicure shops or drycleaners who use his graphic style can’t rob him of that.

I didn’t grow up to look like a Nagel, but i still find his women entrancing.
Nagel perfectly personified the 80s ideal of female beauty. His women are usually of middle height and slender, but in a vastly different way from the 60s or 70s. If you notice their wrists: these are not ladies with wrists of glass. Large breasts, straight waists, slim hips and shapely legs. Small intense eyes, large lips with a well defined cupid’s bow, thick hair, and his admitted favorite feature~ strong noses. There always seems to be something of Isabella Rossellini in all of them.

pencil preparation of the painting below.
Nagel felt the drawings were the fun part while painting was the labor.
He often donated paintings to models or editors who expressed admiration for his work.
He enjoying drawing and painting men as well. His assistant, Karl Bornstein reported that he didn’t need critical acknowledgment of what he did, bc he had such an intense love of just painting pictures,
He was influenced by high-fashion photographers and illustrators such as Joseph Leyendecker, Henry Raleigh, and Saul Tepper. Surprisingly, he loved Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
pencil sketch of the famous “Rio” cover.
“Texas” the painting that became Duran Duran’s “Rio” cover.
His wife, Jennifer Dumas, occasionally posed for him. Some believe her to the inspiration for the Nagel Woman. 
All superfluous details in the drawing above have been stripped away until only the great white expanse of her back remains, uncluttered by lines.
He never worked out and laughed at people who did. He ate cheeseburgers, candy bars, smoked constantly, stayed up all night, and painted. He participated in a televised benefit for the Heart Association by doing aerobics. Afterward he walked to his car, had a heart attack and died.

All images and information from “Nagel: the Art of Patrick Nagel.”

Christina Rossetti, the younger sister of renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, was a talented and accomplished poet. Deeply religious, she also suffered from depression. Her first recorded nervous breakdown occurred at 14, forcing her to leave school. For the rest of her life the cycle of anxiety over her financial situation, depression, breakdown, and resulting illness would plague her.
To learn more about Florence Harrison, the illustrator of many of her poems, please visit florence harrison. It’s a well researched site that serves to clear up many misconceptions about Ms. Harrison’s identity as well as presenting examples of her work and an analysis of her technique.

“Raise me a daïs of silk and down;
Hang it with vair and purple dyes; 
Carve it in doves and pomegranates, 
And peacocks with a hundred eyes; 
Work it in gold and silver grapes, 
In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys; 
Because the birthday of my life 
Is come, my love is come to me.”

~A Birthday
“Sang a golden-bearded king
Straightway to her feet,
Sang him silent where he knelt
In eager anguish sweet.
But when the clear voice died away,
When longest echoes died,
He stood up like a royal man
And claimed her for his bride.
So three maids were wooed and won
In a brief May-tide,
Long ago and long ago. “

~Maiden Song
“I shivered comfortless, but cast
No chill across the tablecloth;
I all-forgotten shivered, sadTo stay and yet to part how loth:I passed from the familiar room,I who from love had passed away,Like the remembrance of a guestThat tarrieth but a day.”

~At Home

“Young Love lies drowsing 
 Away to poppied death; 
Cool shadows deepen 
 Across the sleeping face: 
So fails the summer 
 With warm, delicious breath; 
And what hath autumn 
 To give us in its place?”

~Dream Love
“I’ve scanned you with a scrutinizing gaze,
Resolved to fathom these your secret ways:
But, sift them as I will,
Your ways are secret still.”

~The Queen of Hearts

herge, how do i love your creations? Tintin, Milou/Snowy, Captain Haddock, Thompson and Thomson, Professor Calculous, and of course Loch Lomand whiskey!
Herge’s beautiful style, known as ligne claire {the clear line}, is instantly recognizable. I plan to post and discuss Herge and his work at a later point, but today we have fashion inspired by Herge’s Tintin. what? yes, you read that right. Burdastyle Magazine, in their continuing quest to ignite clothing envy and hope in my heart published these patterns in their december 2011 issue. I plan to sew my heart out, cuddle up with my own Captain Haddock, and toss down a few whiskeys~
adorable trench for the girl and an adorable dog- though not a white wire fox terrier like Milou/Snowy- who is wearing a dapper dog coat of his own.
there’s even a pattern for the dog coat!

the rolled up jeans, arglye socks, and oxfords are a wonderful twist on gamine style.
collars made from men’s suiting for your dapper dog or a bustopher jones style cat about town. 
i don’t know if it’s a side product of being tall, but i love too short trousers. i used to get teased for looking like i was waiting for the flood but really, i like the style. My husband does too. his slightly too short pants were one of the first things i noticed. wes anderson agrees and approves.
Tintin wears “plus fours” which are essentially knickers that end 4 inches below rather than at the knee. i love the modern ungathered version here. 
 this dog is killing me!
a couple of pages from “Destination Moon.” 
right click & open in a new tab to read. Just whiskey Capt. Haddock? A man after my own heart!
i have to say i hope the movie is popular enough to introduce a new generation to Tintin’s adventures. By turns brainy, silly, and serious the Adventures of Tintin are smarter and funnier tales than most children or adults come in contact with. They are true adventures to delight both young and old. 
{patterns are available in the 12/2011 issue of Burdastyle Magazine or individually through burda german and burda english}

“You and the land are one… drink from the chalice and you will be reborn and the land with you.”
Ready my knights for battle. They will ride with their king once more. I have lived through others for far too long. Lancelot carried my honor, and Guenevere, my guilt. Mordred bore my sins. My knights have fought my causes. Now, my brother, I shall be… king.”
This is my favorite scene from Excalibur. It gives me chills when Arthur rides forth and the land blossoms in his wake, while Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana plays. The words were written by goliards {defrocked monks and minstrels} sometime between the 11th and 13th centuries, while the music was written by Carl Orff in 1935-1936 *cough* nazis *cough* {to be fair, I’ve read that Orff had jewish relatives who remained unmolested due to his popularity.} Many years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Orff’s Carmina Burana performed and it was breathtaking. The themes of fickle fortune, the transience of life, and the peril and pleasure of vice are as relevant today as they were when written. I often wonder if we have begun the decent into a dark age or the ascent to another renaissance.

O Fortuna (fortune)
Velut luna (like the moon)
Statu variabilis (you are changeable)
Semper crescis (ever waxing)


Aut decrescis; (and waning;)


Vita detestabilis (hateful life)


Nunc obdurat (first oppresses)


Et tunc curat (and then soothes)


Ludo mentis aciem, (as fancy takes it)


Egestatem, (poverty)


Potestatem (and power)


Dissolvit ut glaciem. (it melts them like ice.)
Since I’ve been reading the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin I’ve been obsessing on knights again. His characters are well crafted, especially for the fantasy genre, and because his world is so detailed, his books read more like the history of a hitherto undiscovered country. Below are some of my favorite pictures of dragons, knights, and ladies fair which have been dancing circles in my head since I started the series~ {all scans are from books in my library unless noted and linked. right click and open in a new window for full size}
Paolo Uccelo~ “St. George and the Dragon” 1455
Arthur Rackham~ “Stories of King Arthur” 1902
J.W. Waterhouse~ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” {detail} 1893
 H.J. Ford~ 1917
Howard Pyle~ “The Lady Nymue beareth away Launcelot into the Lake” 1905
Howard Pyle~ “Sir Kay breaketh his sword at the tournament” 1903
 Howard Pyle~ “the Lady Guinevere” 1903
Gustav Klimt~ detail of the Beethoven frieze, “the Golden Knight” 1902

Arthur Rackham~ “Seven Ravens” 1900

Sandor Clegane and Sansa Stark~ screencap from “Game of Thrones” tv series. via coldwindsarerising

Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone~ “Arthur goes to Avalon” 1966. via joan eyles johnson


beautiful rainy day in socal so it’s time for some E. A. Poe illustrated by the endlessly talented Arthur Rackham. These are from 1935. Rachkham shows that his use of line is more beautiful than most other artist’s command of color, as well as his mastery of large areas of black and a skillful employment of silhouette.
the ocean appears alive with menace.

rachkam’s silhouette technique used to great effect. note the body shoved up the chimney. {from “murders in the rue morgue.”}

my favorite Poe story, “Ligeia.” {pronounced, btw, as “lye-JEE-uh” according to both the vincent price movie “The Tomb of Ligeia” (1964)as well as this site: libraryalchemy.

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

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…

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…”

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

i love mysteries~ human, eleusian, and literary. agatha christie’s miss marple was my introduction to the genre. at 12ish years old somehow, someone one left a volume of her short stories at our house. desperate for reading matierial i picked it and fell under their spell. however, dame agatha was soon replaced in my heart by conan doyle. what can i say, i was a victorian nut at the time.
flash forward 25 years! following our move to so-cal so my husband mikael could begin working on his masters, i picked up christie’s “tuesday club murders”.
The.. Tuesday Night Club, a random gathering of people at the house of Miss Marple. Each week the group tell thrilling tales of mystery, which are always solved by Miss Marple, from the comfort of her armchair.”
{thanks wikipedia!}

soon after this i started collecting any agatha christie books i could find at our local used book shops. the older the edition, the better, for the older editions boast delightful painted covers. in addition to miss marple i discovered christie’s stand alone mysteries such as, “murder with mirrors” and “towards zero.”. while i’ve read most of poirot’s cases many times, these we’re new to me. i was instantly charmed. 

in my characteristic over-enthusiasm i decided to make my own set of dolls inspired by the common stock characters in english country manor mysteries from the 1920s to the early 1960s. after making a two page list i whittled it down to five character types:
the spinsterly sleuth, the clever vicar, the dark horse, the it girl, and the good sport.
each is a jointed doll, held together by brads. there are changes of clothes, accessories, clues, red herrings, and possible bloody murder weapons. their clothes are drawn from the general styles of the 1920s to early 1980s, with much mix and match between the decades. 

*covers are from my personal collection of pocket sized paperbacks.

now i can fulfill my desire to daydream grisly murders and their solutions by my paper creations!

“english country murder” coming soon!

“you could search forever for the whole truth about gabrielle chanel, and never find the last of the missing pieces; for when she cut up her history, she scattered it all around, losing some details, hiding others, covering her trail.”
-coco chanel: the legend and the life
justine picardie

justine picardie’s excellent biography is heavily illustrated, as any biography about a visual person should be. we see chanel as a sweet young milliner, as a middle aged beauty cavorting foolishly on her lover’s yacht, and as an old women burning with creative energy.

what drew me to read about chanel? i abhor black clothing: it makes me look gaunt and feel old. ditto suntans, and though i do like thin, not at the price of health. but chanel’s legacy is more than the famously ugly trends she cultivated. she also introduced comfortable clothing designed to unburden women from corsets. clothing intended to create a look of girlish freedom in its wearer. “to be free to drive a car, to ride a bicycle, to walk to work, you had to be able to forget about what you were wearing. forgetting is part of freedom- and so she was able to forget about her past.” (ibid.)

chanel was a self invented person. by the time she was 20 she was already lying about her age, trimming the years as she would trim her hair, her clothes, even her famous maxims were constructed with a determination that would do occam proud.

chanel’s first “little black dress.” it was christened “the ford” because it could go anywhere. 1926.

frolicking on her lover, the duke of westminster’s yacht. she’s wearing tweed she borrowed from him and which she would later redesign and make into chic women’s wear.
he’s in plus fours. i find these particularly charming because they’re such a goofy couple. where is the fearsome chanel?

chanel pioneering the sailor look. ringstripe jersey top and soft wide legged pants.

chanel and friends goofing around in the garden of her mediterranean estate, la pausa.

chanel designs for american vogue, illustrated by christian berard 1937. the writing reads, “chanel dines in printed pyjamas (sic), sweater, barbaric jewels. (two small chanels) striped linen, flannel jacket. checked tussur, chiffon cape-veil. 

chanel, by cocteau. a woman without a face, without a past…

all photos and quotes from “coco chanel: the legend and the life” by justine picardie. if you’re interested in chanel, fashion, or the lost generation i highly recommend you pick it up.

the short stories comprising “the lottery” concern evil. not grandiose evil or glamorous evil, but mundane, petty evil- a distinctly human evil despite the ivy trails of the supernatural twisting through her writing.
taking the ballad, “the daemon lover” for her inspiration, she explores marriage, fidelity, domesticity, hypocrisy, and the nuances of small town living and mind set. despite their mid 20th century settings, her characters could have been any of the dull, showy, self-important people i’ve met in places such as orange county, riverside county, or even my home town of cardiff.
variations of the name “james harris” pop up in the stories, always signalling impending disquiet or disaster. where he’s unnamed, his blue suit flits from story to story alerting us to danger.
shirley jackson’s stories are restrained. often nothing overt happens, but you’re left with a feeling of general unwellness. the supernatural blends seamlessly with our world until we ourselves are not sure who is who or what is what. a man wearing a blue suit may be a respectable commuting businessman or he may be a witch spreading his evil plans among our children, sowing murderous thoughts in their fertile minds before we’re fully conscious of his actions.
and that is shirley jackson’s most insidious gift. the insight that the most obviously respectable people are often the agents of evil. we trust them because they cast themselves as the voices of tradition and realize too late that tradition favors the strong and merciless.
<— this is just because i love pete campbell and his beautiful blue suits.