April 09, 2010

Lisa: she said/she said

Arguments I have had with my daughter in the last week:

  • Brains make you smart vs brains make you strong
  • If we had another baby, would it be Nora's little brother, or Nora's son?
  • Whether it's pirates or vampires that suck blood

So far I think we have both only succeeded in becoming more convinced that we are each correct. And so it begins.

April 12, 2010

Lisa: Wolf Business

For my last birthday party, Sarah and the girls planned an awesome Mad Men-themed party. To keep the theme a surprise from me, she led me to believe I was getting (under protest) another Twilight-themed party to go with the New Moon movie release--this time, appropriately, heavily featuring wolves.

To keep the farce going, Sarah printed out a wolfy party invitation and passed them out to a few friends in front of me. In a central place of honor on the invitation was this drawing of a very well-developed, anthropomorphized wolf.

I wish I could tell you where Sarah found this gem. DeviantART, possibly? What I do know is that there were several conversations about his (its?) abs. And about how (and why) the artist decided to stop drawing when he finished the abs. We ultimately decided it was because he HAD to, for decency's sake. Because what do you imagine would be featured directly below that well-highlighted six pack? A very well-highlighted wolf-schlong, that's what. A big bowl of were-bit stew, is what I'm saying. And no one needs to see that.

Apparently, the creators of Dragon Age: Origins agree with me. When I glanced up at the Xbox game Blake was playing one evening several months later, I caught part of a serious conversation his dwarf, Trog, was having with a gang of very menacing werewolves. With visible abs.

"Wait, pause. Can you pause this? Hold on. I have to go get my camera RIGHT now. I have to send a picture of this to Sarah. This answers SO many questions."

You are welcome, Deviant Artists! Your well-muscled and possibly bipedal wolves no longer need to hide their shame under a blank piece of paper. You can now feel free to sketch them running through the woods, confident in the knowledge that their most wolfy parts are safely shrouded in self-fabric loincloths.

April 15, 2010

Sarah: Facebook Commentary

For you Facebook users: Do you feel like the latest redesign of Facebook has buried any vaguely interesting content that about what your friends are saying and instead presenting you with... well, not much?

Luckily, there are still ridiculous ads. And luckily my sister is hilarious. Observe:

From: Lisa
To: Sarah
Subject: question

What degree do you think these ladies are pursuing?

From: Lisa
To: Sarah
Subject: too busy to get a degree?

Yeah, when I saw this picture I was like, "that girl looks BUSY."

I like that girl. And I have a lot of ideas about how we can take photos together. A lot of ideas.

Lisa, start applying the frosted lipstick. I'll be right over to start weaving myself into your hair.

April 23, 2010

Lisa: dress-up closet

We finally rented Fantastic Mr. Fox to watch with Nora last week, and I fell in love with (among other things) Mrs. Fox's yellow housedress. I love a vintage dress anyway, but this sunny a-line one with a tiny apple print, an adorable stand-up collar, and an empire waist is so tailored and cute. Add a brooch and a few pockets on the front for holding art supplies, and it's pretty much perfect. You can see more of it here at Design*Sponge and The Handmade Experiment.

Thinking about retro dresses naturally sent me back to the Bettie Page Clothing site again, where I've spent a lot of time lately hanging around looking at the same dress over and over. I bought this Bettie Page dress a while ago, and the quality is great. I've gotten a ton of compliments on it, too. Does it strike anyone else as odd that one of the only places I've found consistently modest but stylish and sexy dresses is a costume/fetish shop? But I digress. The only thing keeping me from just buying the rust-colored one has been the price--but when I got an email about a birthday sale (enter code BETTIE BDAY at checkout for 25% off until April 26!), I couldn't resist. Plus, Blake bought it for me as an early Mother's Day gift because he's a model husband.

Searching around for housedresses online inevitably led me to A Dress A Day, a blog about sewing and wearing vintage dresses and skirts that's been around for years, and has the clunky old blog template to prove it. For some reason I decided I absolutely had to read all the archives at once, which is taking a bit of time. I'm enjoying them a lot, and getting more excited about sewing along the way. I even posted a page on the Vintage Sewing Patterns Wiki about the pattern I used to make my dress for Jillian's funeral party, which I still intend to blog about someday...AHEM. I do wish the A Dress A Day archives were heavier on dresses Erin has sewn herself, and lighter on adorable vintage patterns that have already been snapped up by someone else. Mostly because I keep falling in love with things I can't have.

I can (AND WILL) have this reproduction Vogue pattern Erin mentioned, though! Isn't it cute, with the little pintucks on the front and the big, full skirt? I started thinking about possibly making it in a cotton batiste, and some idle online searching led me to Belraf Fabrics. I clicked around on some prints I liked, and almost before I knew it, free batiste samples were winging their way to me through the postal service. For free. DID I MENTION THE SAMPLES WERE FREE? Very exciting.

Another site I dug up in the Dress A Day archives is StyleShake, which I want to try out next time I'm feeling flush. They let you design your own creation (using quite a few possible building blocks) and have it made-to-measure for around $100. StyleShake would be great also for outfitting your bridal party in coordinating dresses that they can customize to work for their tastes and body types (sort of the next logical step from the David's Bridal-type mix-and-match styles). I really like how the photo galleries range from classic to trendy to avant garde.

Somewhere along the way, I came across Vintage Vivant. I don't know why it surprises me when I find something new (to me) on the internet. Don't worry, I got caught up on all her archives, too, so it's just like I've been reading all along. Amelia wears vintage every day, and has a tattoo by Sunny Buick, the artist behind the most beautiful tattoo of all time. Looking at the hilarious embroidered slips Amelia sells in her Doublespeak Etsy shop also got me thinking about vintage slips as a possibly awesome lengthening tool/modesty enhancement for some of my summer dresses that are a tiny bit on the short and skimpy side. Or maybe I could make or embellish something with my new ruffler foot. You non-sewing, non-wearing-used-underwear types might be interested in the (possibly-Utah-based?) Vintage Hem.

Thinking about vintage slips reminded me of What I Wore Today (which I used to read religiously a few years ago, and just now figured out is still going strong!). Whether or not you like Kasmira's style, I think she'll make you braver about wearing dresses and skirts, pairing unexpected pieces, layers, and colors together, and remembering to accessorize.

Speaking of accessories, it's really hard for me to look at dresses without thinking about the shoes that will go with them. You know how everything on Modcloth goes out of stock in about two seconds? Well, I did manage to grab these green retro mary janes with cone heels a few weeks ago that would be perfect with a vintage silhouette. Unfortunately, now I've also seen these even more retro metallic Veronica t-straps with even cone-ier heels. Of course, Modcloth is sold out, but maybe I will save my pennies and order them right from the Seychelles website.

Unless I'm too busy donating all my time to orphans and developing new mathematical theorems, of course. Or cleaning the baseboards (in a dress). You never know.

April 26, 2010

Lisa: Lovin' a follow-up

Maybe you remember my rant about the McDonald's Playplace last May. Nora and I stopped at McDonald's after our library visit today, and I let her play for a bit while I gathered some pictorial evidence for you.

Here's the ludicrous evacuation procedure I mentioned:

In case my camera phone quality is too substandard, here's the exact text.



1. Manager will get childrens [sic] attention.
2. Manager will instruct children to leave play equipment.
3. All parents should wait for their children and should not enter the play equipment.
4. Manager will complete a circuit of all play areas to ensure all are clear of children.
5. Everyone is to move to the main doors and exit to assemble point. [sic]

I don't think I need to say again how ineffective I think step 2 would be in an emergency. I am curious about step 4. Are prospective managers asked to perform this circuit of play areas during the interview process, to make sure they have the necessary flexibility (and diminutive size) to navigate the little gerbil tubes? If they're over four feet tall, I think they might have a hard time--and the Hamburglar agrees with me.

Last, and possibly grossest, is the "record" of past Playplace sanitations. The last time someone who had a grease pencil sanitized this particular play area was in 2008. TWO YEARS AGO. Do you think it was sanitized again in January of '09, and the hapless chemical-sprayer just rubbed out bits of the old numbers when he realized he'd forgotten a writing implement? I would like to believe so. Especially considering my daughter just crawled around in there for half an hour.

April 30, 2010

Lisa: Glee, Gertie, and Grey Gardens

I hope the few of you who suffered through my long entry on vintage-y fashion aren't too sick of the subject. One page/idea just keeps leading me to another, and the internet is suddenly big and exciting again.

1) I love Glee. This should not be a shock to you, since a) it is awesome, b) there is singing, and c) there is dancing. There is also one adorable guidance counselor with the cutest, matchiest, most bow-adorned cardigans, blouses, pencil skirts, vintage pins, and (!) sweater clips. I'm sure the character's OCD (and having a full staff of behind-the-scenes television professionals) helps with the immaculately maintained clothing and perfect hair, but I can squeal about her outfit pieces just the same. If you want to find a whole community of fellow squealers who will tell you exactly where Emma's clothes can be bought, try What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?. There are a LOT of Polyvore sets featured, if that's your kind of thing. It is
technically a shopping blog focused on one (admittedly really great) look, so if you're trying to be frugal, stay away. Found via Go Fug Yourself.

2) Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing is a sort of Julie & Julia experiment, with the blogger talking about her journey making all the pieces in the 1950s guide, Vogue's New Book for Better Sewing. I think having a directed project like that is kind of a great idea. It gives your blog a good theme to start from, which I think would help a lot in marketing your site and getting a following. Plus, there's always the book to go back to when you get stuck on interesting things to write about or need motivation. I can't lie, I kind of have a blog crush on Gretchen right now. I love her retro-but-quirky look, and the things she sews (from the book and otherwise) are lovely. Her writing style and her brand of feminism are appealing to me, too.

If I had one tiny complaint about Gertie's NBfBS, it would be that when you click to read more of each entry "after the jump," the post opens in a new browser window. I guess you can just close that window when you're done reading and the old window you clicked in from will still be there--no waiting for that page to reload! --but when you close the wrong window, can't hit 'back,' and have to find your place in the archives all over again, it's really annoying. I'm surprised she chose that system, especially since her external links open in the same browser window and necessitate clicking 'back' to finish reading an entry. Anyway. My new-found love is not diminished by this very minor inconvenience, and I'll be checking back soon for sewing progress updates. Found via WWEPB (Gretchen is, OF COURSE, also a fan of Glee and Emma Pillsbury's style).

3) Sarah and I finally watched HBO's Grey Gardens on Monday. It's the fascinating story behind the Maysles' cult-classic documentary, and Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange were both awesome. You can read about writer/director Michael Sucsy's inspiration and process here. Engrossing story aside, the costumes Drew Barrymore wears as Little Edie Beale in the 1930s through the '50s (before things spiral out of control) are just gorgeous--and I think they're even prettier in the film than in photos.

You can see lots more of Drew's incredible costumes on Jezebel and Grey Gardens News, and there's also an interview with the costume designer reproduced here.

The Beales' house is almost its own character in the movie, and it goes from luxurious and tastefully bohemian in the 1930s to completely run-down, overgrown, and squalor-ridden by the 1960s. Visual Vamp (who actually met the Beales in the '70s) talks about East Hampton style and the movie sets. I wish I could find a better set of the National Enquirer photos that were taken of Big and Little Edie in the house at its most squalid, but there is a house tour up at the New York Times that shows the condition of the house after clean-up, when Little Edie finally sold the property.

Happy clicking!