Monthly Archives: December 2014

Sharing is Caring







sharing is caringIMG_4750.JPG

Other people’s closets. As soon as I was tall enough to reach those clothes off the hangers, I was benefitting from OPC’s in my own house growing up. No closet was safe. One particular outfit in the mid 80’s involved my own new wave short boots, my mom’s mid calf electric blue wool pleated skirt, my dad’s homemade sixties’ deep red Hawaiian shirt tucked in. A wooden animal African necklace topped it. Where are those pictures? How I love camera phones. But yes, even my brother let me borrow from his closet. I would brood over 1950’s photos of my mom in her presence and exclaim, “Why isn’t THIS dress still in your closet? Why?” See, I wanted to borrow things that weren’t even there any more. A common good dream that I have is about other people’s closets. Yes, it’s true. I can wake up so happy because I have had one. Trying on clothes in some amazing closet… but, of course in my dream, I get to keep everything.

And the tradition continues… I borrowed a couple of jackets from my younger son so many times that now they just stayed with my stuff. The truth is, we fought over them in the thrift store and he “won”. I think the same is going to happen the other way around with the brown corduroy jacket above.

And now, I feel like making a list.  My favorite ways to acquire clothes are the following:

1.  Gifts. Especially gifts that were bought in other country’s outdoor markets. Countries that have cobblestone streets. And especially gifts that I asked for telepathically about two days before. For example, I’m walking along and suddenly realize I NEED a jumpsuit, and then one is handed to me straight from Paris two days later. The scarf pictured above also came from someone else’s trip to Italy, and I NEEDED it.

2. Other people’s closets. Of course. My favorite OPC story is relative to the boots above. I have three pairs of boots that came to me at once. I get asked about a couple of them all the time, and I love saying, “These came from Holly’s sister’s jet setter friend’s closet in San Francisco.” I love saying that. And you know I think about boots ALL the time, so that was super telepathic.

3. Thrift stores. Why, oh why are clothes better at a thrift store than at a regular store? Is it just the price or the eco friendliness of it? It can’t be. Well, at a regular store you run the risk of getting what everyone else is getting right now. Thrift store items are called “finds” for a reason. They are unique and secret. Then, we have the vintage aspect. I rest my case.

4.  Homemade. I walk around dreaming about clothes I would wear if I had time to design and make them. One time, for my birthday I asked for childcare when the kids were little so I could just make myself a skirt and matching bag. It’s really fun! Also, there is a lot of love in it, you get to go to the FABRIC STORE, and it’s really fun. I know I said that twice.

5.  Sales.  Crazy sales. Sale on top of one day only half off sale at some store like Patagonia at the Santa Cruz outlet sale. Betsy Johnson way out in the desert special trip sale. Paris streets in August sale when no one else is there for competition sale. Oh, spontaneous day trip to Santa Barbara boot store closing down sale. The best are surprise sale at the cash register of just what you always wanted sale.

And on top of everything, look how eco-friendly this whole Clothes Story is. Think before consuming or throwing something away. There is no “away”, anyway. How about if you re-gifted something wonderful you got from someone else’s closet, that they got on sale, and that you just customized with some exquisite homemade touches.  That would be a real Clothes Story with chapters and everything.

On Laura: Moda dress& leggings, Italian scarf & boots, jacket by Salt and Pepper. On the boy: Homemade cape (fabric from Joanne’s Fabrics), jacket by Salt and Pepper

Photos of Laura by Aristotle.


Clothes Line Stories





I do a lot of hand wash because I have all these fragile homemade pieces, vintage pieces, hand dyed, passed along super designer pieces. Then, it all goes on the line. My mom used to only use the dryer when it rained. Grew up on farms, my parents. My dad fills up a gallon milk container with the water from the shower while he’s waiting for it to warm up. Then, he waters the plants with it later. It’s so logical, this way of life.

I gather colors together in separate bags. They go on the line together like they are family to each other. Now that I look at them, they are a sort of interesting combination of characters…

“Sure, we have color in common, my dear, but I am a Marc Jacobs dress, and you are a… What are you, anyway?”, asks the red and brown dress.

“Me? I am from a… well, I guess a kind of Gap type store… but in Paris,” answers the red slinky top.

“Ha!” says the Marc Jacobs dress. “You were made for commoners. I bet they made ten thousand of you. I shouldn’t be drying next to you. As a matter of fact I am made of wool. I am lined! I can’t believe I’m not being dry cleaned.”

“I don’t know if this is true, but I heard you are second hand. Label or not, I am sorry to say you were given away… I was chosen on a very special trip. I have sentimental value. And besides, dry cleaning usually pollutes the air.”

(Minutes of quiet from the Marc Jacobs dress)

“Well,” says the red slinky top, “It’s okay. Laura likes you, too. Or you wouldn’t have been taken home. You wouldn’t be so lovingly laundered and hung in a sunny garden.”

“Sniff, sniff… You think so?”

“I know so… even if your weight with all that wool and lining pulls down this line to the point of breaking. It better not break. It looks dirty down there!”

“Don’t even talk like that! You’re scaring me!”

On the Bias

on the bias



Photographs by Aristotle

Electric flower in the garden. I have so much fun dressing up… even if its just to go visit my dad with the family. It’s like I think it’s going to make me cook everybody a better dinner or something. Maybe it does! Like the music you play while cooking. Everything matters.

Simple, simple, simple cut on the bias skirt. This pattern. Not only did I use it so many times, but I taught a few friends how to sew using it. I have also made it in differing lengths. My mom even made a few for a good friend of mine back in the day. You can go pretty far with one simple pattern. It is part of what I teach at my mobile studio, Paradiso Arts.

This particular one was made using fabric that came from a store in San Francisco that was called “Scrap”. How I loved, loved that store. OMG. Just googled and found out it STILL EXISTS. I did live there in the mid-nineties, after all, so I thought of it as a product of that time. In reality, it has been going since the 70’s! Oh the treasure trove that was/is Scrap. You would walk in, they’d give you a paper bag, you’d fill it with vintage Paris postcards, amazing fabric, and formica samples and pay five dollars. I kid you not. Many of my mid-nineties paintings were made on Scrap surfaces.

The blouse came from Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles. I have a strong, strong weakness for peasant blouses involving embroidery. I do not discriminate. It can be Russian, as found here on my Pinterest board, Russian Fairytales, Mexican, Hungarian (Ooooh, they make good ones!), or from the Philippenes. They can be from anywhere in the world, and I can never have enough – especially white ones. This one was just so happy. It forced me to buy it. They do a particularly good collection at Honeywood Vintage. More $$ then the thrift store find, but you can be lazy and just benefit from all their expert searching.

And the belt? My friend Keiko had a party, and had a pile of free giveaways because her friend had just moved to Europe. Now that’s how I like to put an outfit together… full of plenty of stories!