Friday, December 29, 2017

Cherries and Berries and Mushrooms: A Walk in the Woods With a Fungi

 Fabulous Felt Cheery Cherries Brooch

Top: Candie's, Kohl's
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Boscov's

Or perhaps I should say "fun girl."  Because when I see these brooches, I think mushrooms, and when I think mushrooms, I think woods.  And when I think woods, I think The Lady Who Lives in the Woods (also, Smurfs, but this is not about them).  The Lady Who Lives in the Woods is Ruth, a recurring character on truTV's "At Home with Amy Sedaris."  Remember Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People?  Well, this is the live action version, complete with guest stars (Stephen Colbert!  Justin Theroux!  Chris Elliot!  Did I mention Steven Colbert?).  To be accurate, the show is more like a dysfunctional marriage between Simple Times and I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, but being a borderline hermit uninterested in entertaining, I never read that one.  Anyway, The-Lady-Who-Lives-in-the-Woods Ruth is a seemingly laidback yet controlling naturalist who lives in a lodge and is always picking passive aggressive fights with her long-suffering, mime-like, live-in girlfriend.  Distinguished by her long, red Earth Mother hair and loden green poncho, Ruth says things like, "Moss -- that's nice" in a soothing yet grating voice that's a cross between Martha Stewart and half of the duo from SNL's "Delicious Dish." (Both of which, fun fact, were played by Ana Gasteyer.  So maybe I'm just saying that Ruth sounds like Ana, in which case, Ana, you're welcome.)  But that's Red -- I mean, Ruth -- for you, bursting the bubble of the myth that the forest is peaceful.  Which is just one of the reasons, I suppose, that she seeks solace in her pet bird, Artemis.  

Anyway, I think Amy would like the brooches.  Because they're weird and retro and could have easily been made by a tree-dwelling seven-year-old.  (No disrespect to tree dwellers.  Or seven-year-olds.)  Also, her show logo is a mushroom.

From one toadstool fool to another, I say: I'm talking to you too, Smurfette. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

We Three Rings of Orient Are and Santa Claus is Coming to Clown

Dress: Target
Shoes: Ami Clubwear
Bag: Macy's
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Ring: PinkBopp, Etsy
Necklaces, pins, brooches: The Tote Trove
White bangle: Mixit, JCPenney
Red and lime bangles: B Fabulous
Burgundy bangle: Iris Apfel for INC, Macy's
Slender red bangle: Candie's, Kohl's
Lime stretch bracelet: Cloud Nine

Christmas can be a real three-ring circus.  More than three, really, considering all the references to rings in Christmas songs.  There are the five golden rings in "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and "I'll give you my present, a wedding ring, hear me sing!" in Andy Williams's "Christmas Holiday."  Then there are the ring onomatopoeia shout-outs, that is, the sound of ringing in "Silver Bells," "Jingle Bells," and the sophisticated yet haunting "Carol of the Bells."  But the ring I want to sing about now is the one I just bought from fellow blogger and Etsian Samantha over at PinkBopp.  It's so sweet, a little Candyland right on my hand!  Santa, a gingerbread woman, and a mitten spread cheer from a retro-style red plastic cameo in a super adorable collage of Christmas cuteness.  I've been wearing it with red and green outfits all week, and every time I look at it, I feel the magic of the season -- and also, the need to eat gingerbread.  Is that wrong?  If so, my apologies to Hansel and Gretel. 

Speaking of things that ring and sing, I made a fresh batch of lady brooches, this time, like the city in the aforementioned "Silver Bells," all dressed in holiday style.  Then again, their sunglasses say mai tais in Miami.  Mary may have already had one too many, as her hat -- and, indeed, head -- are askew.

Finally, although I'm no Oprah or Maria von Trapp, here are a few of my favorite Christmas things:

1) The husband's hand-carved duck decoys decking the halls (okay, our mantle) in festive felt scarves.  Also, Kermit.  To be clear, Kermit was not hand-carved.

2) Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book, which has Christmas music and classic stories accompanied by Norman's iconic art.  I grew up with this book, and my favorite thing in it was always Ogden Nash's "The Boy Who Laughed at Santa Claus," a wonderfully weird poem about a kid named Jabez Dawes.  He, like me, did not believe in Santa Claus.  Unlike me, he got turned into a jack-in-the-box.  By Santa Claus.  Guess the jolly old elf got the last laugh.

3) And, finally, Christmas shopping.  Here I am at Kohl's on Black Friday with the Abominable Snow Monster from the claymation Rudolph.  It's a rare shot of me and an even rarer shot of the Yeti, but then big bargains call for big guns.

Merry Christmas!  Party hearty and avoid figgy pudding.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Evergreen Screen, Tinseltown Tannenbaum

Me and 3G have decided to give picture-less posting another try.  Now, usually I use my photos-slash-projects as the basis of my hook.  You know, that thread that, however tenuously, ties all my nonsense together.  So this time -- heads up -- I'm using the pictures in my mind.

Let us consider the Christmas tree.  It's but a pleat in Mother Nature's dark green gown, a relic of the outdoors that we bring indoors and domesticate with acres of lights and ornaments, some store-bought, some handmade, some elegant, some primitive, all of them converging in a joyful jumble that should look ridiculous but doesn't.  Yet even all dressed up, sometimes the Christmas tree misbehaves.  Sometimes it falls, narrowly missing Grandpa as he sleeps off his eggnog; other times it hatches insects and reptiles, reminding us that it's still wild and unpredictable despite our efforts to make it conform to our carefully curated winter wonderlands.  But that's okay.  Because at the end of the (holi)day, it's the crazy that makes it Christmas.

Which is pretty much the message of every Christmas movie ever, including the two I just saw: Daddy's Home 2 and A Bad Moms Christmas.  (See what I did there?  Hook, line, and stinker.) Boys will be boys and girls just want to have fun in these festive family free-for-alls.  No sophomore slumps for these sequels; both assault and then rescue Christmas with all the hijinks and heart we've come to expect from holiday features.  Daddy's Home 2 revisits the blended family blues, this time with a marshmallow of a John Lithgow and a hard-ass Mel Gibson joining Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg to stir the Bailey's-spiked hot chocolate pot.  And in A Bad Moms Christmas, Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn take a break from being bad moms to deal with having bad moms, namely the trying trio of Christine Baranski, Cheryl Hines, and Susan Sarandon.  Through criticism, smothering, and good old-fashioned neglect, these mamas serve up fare far worse than fruitcake.  Guess Will Smith was right: parents just don't understand.  Well, at least not until they see the light -- on top of the Christmas tree.  Yep, the very same one harboring larvae and snakes, although no such snafu took place in either movie (but, hey, maybe should have).

You know, the last time I blogged about Daddy's Home, I compared it to Sisters.  And I said (something like) "I liked Daddy's Home better, but Sisters taught me more."  Well, this time I didn't learn anything, and I preferred Bad Moms. Which shows, I think, a modicum of personal growth (because it takes guts to admit that knowledge isn't always power), something our friend the Christmas tree knows lots about.

Oh, Tannenbaum, can't wait to light your candle.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sad Mac Attack Strikes Again

Unlike most artsy people, I don't have a Mac.  But I did see the PC equivalent of a sad Mac frowny face on my laptop, just like our old pal Carrie Bradshaw, and as the Geek Squad guy confirmed, that ain't good.  So.  I did the only thing I could, which was to 1) hightail it to Target to buy some Christmas presents and, okay, a scarf for myself along with a $6.98 bag that I found smushed in the wrong spot, which I refuse to see as anything other than a little gift from the universe, and 2) compose a picture-less post on my 3G iPhone about the ordeal, no small feat considering I have difficulty even typing texts.  Because, pictures or no pictures, not being able to post sucks.  When my poor little HP expired, I felt the window slam down on my world.  On the flip side, with no Pintetest, Etsy, or shopping to hold me hostage, I've had much more time to spend with my reliable old vicarious/virtual reality buds, books and TV.  Which means I'll have lots to blog about once I get a new computer.  Maybe that's the takeaway.

That and don't ignore your laptop when it says its fan is broken for five years.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Trashy Togs and Kissing Frogs: Rags and Refuse Reimagined

Vegas, Maybe Necklace

Cardigan: Hearts & Roses London, Zulily
Top: Merona, Target
Skirt: Material Girl, Macy's
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Zulily
Bag: Betsey Johnson, Macy's
Sunglasses: So, Kohl's

Purple Circle Necklace

Sweatshirt: H&M
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Chase & Chloe, Modcloth
Bag: Candie's, Kohl's
Barrettes, pin, purse charm, and sunglasses: The Tote Trove 

Top: Macy's
Skirt: Ellen Tracy, JCPenney
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: JCPenney
Belt: Belt is Cool, Amazon
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's
Bangle: Mixit, JCPenney
Barrette: The Tote Trove

I always thought it would be fun to do a photo shoot of super-glam clothes amid piles of trash.  Not gross trash, like fish heads and tampons, but nice trash, like crushed Dr. Pepper cans and lipstick-smeared tissues.  Maybe this is because I'm messy and am looking for a way to legitimize my lack of Martha Stewart-like organizational zeal.  Or maybe I just really like Dr. Pepper.  Either way, I think it would all make for a lovely landfill.

Two out of three of this week's necklaces were made from trash.  That is, trash as in this-used-to-be-part-of-some-store-bought-jewelry-that-fell-apart-while-I-was-wearing-it . . . after, like fifteen years (far be it from me to malign the marvel that is mass-produced fashion).  The focal point namesake moon in Blue Moon Swoon was once one of those stretchy rings, and the two gem clusters flanking it were segments in an equally stretchy bracelet.  The charms in Purple Circle were from a Gumby-esque bracelet, too.  As for Vegas, Maybe . . . well, she was minted from Michael's and Hobby Lobby -- so, new money, like most of the high rollers crowded around the roulette wheel.  But that's what I love about making things, the blending of the tarnished with the shiny, of the old with the new.

Fingers crossed one day I find that Dumpster.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hang Ten: Surf's Up, Santa Jaws

Top: Rampage, Macy's
Skirt: Decree, JCPenney
Shoes: Delicious, Zulily
Bag: Modcloth
Sunglasses: Michaels

Clover and Blueberry Gem Earrings 

Circle Gets the Square Sparkle Earrings 

Grape and Orange Gem Earrings

Originally, I was going to post just five pairs of embellished oval earrings, making for a dangling, dazzling display of (ahem) deca-dence.  Then these Christmas balls (lower right; you can barely see them, but trust me, they're there) muscled their way in, shouting, "Make way for Santa!  Summer's over, you beach bum bottom feeders!"  So, six pairs it is, for a total of twelve twinkling trinkets spread across a Rampage top that cavalierly commands, "Never Stop Shopping."

Such is the force of Black Friday, butting into the quaint, quiet harvest holiday that is Thanksgiving before the turkey's even cold, like some buttinsky uncle shooting peas at Grandma from the wobbly chair at the kids' table.  Not that I was without my own (metaphorical) veggie grenade.  I was out there with the crazy shoppers, although my mission began at the crack of noon instead of midnight.  Bargains were snagged, gift lists were hatched, and, despite my aforesaid snarkiness, I found myself caught up in the excitement of the season.  So much so that I popped back into Marshalls the following Monday to check on some pastel potted cacti with happy faces (which were, in my mind, earmarked for my Arizona room, a.k.a. sunroom-slash-office.  Hey, houses need presents, too.)  But, alas, when I reached their perch between the candied orange peel and metallic gold deer heads, only one was still waiting for me.  Which was no surprise, cacti being, like Hansel, "so hot right now."  Besides, this was what-will-you-find-today-Marshalls, not the Smiley Succulent Emporium.  Although come to think of it, a store like that's not a bad idea.  Except it should be called Oren's Oasis, with Oren as a saguaro cactus wearing a cowboy hat and a rakish grin.  Both on the sign and in costume.  Now, who has the gravitas and comedic chops that such a complex role demands?

I'd better start saving up to pay Owen Wilson.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Buffet Runway: Fall Flush Rush for Thanksgiving

Dress (as a skirt in second set of pics!): Xhilaration, Target
Top: Lily Star, Target
Shoes: First Love by Penny Loves Kenny, JCPenney
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Bangles: B Fabulous
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Headband: Michaels

 September Sunset Necklace

Throwback Throne Necklace

Thanksgiving means turkey and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with all the trimmings.  For me, it also means a new outfit, which means a new necklace -- or two.  I was also tempted to make a cornucopia-themed Carmen Miranda headdress but blew my craft supply budget on plastic fruit and desserts for my kitchen.  One fake food priority at a time, I guess.  Anyway, the big necklace is called September Sunset because it's a nice harvesty yellow and orange and November Sunset doesn't roll off the tongue.  The little necklace is called Throwback Throne because the cameos and old-timey ice cream parlor chair are retro  -- and because a chair made for downing ice cream is a modern-day throne if ever there was one.  Well, other than the toilet (although I have a necklace somewhere with one of those, too).  Finally, the dress is from Target.  It was a $14.99 clearance rack steal that said "Little House on the Prairie" goes to the city.  Which is, as you know, a look for which I'm always striving.  The only problem was that the necklaces kind of blended in with the floral print.  But no matter; I just whipped out a turquoise top, and presto change-o, a whole new photo shoot shot.     

Yep, Turkey Day fashion has more game than meets the pie.  And I don't mean football jerseys and big, stretchy pants.  I'm talking about the beaded rainbow splendor of the Native Americans, the very forefathers (and mothers!) of free-spirited flair.  The Pilgrims' drab garb paled in comparison, all black and white starch and obtrusive belt buckles.  No colors in their wind, my friend.  Unless the Aldens OD'd on succotash and got an unpleasant surprise on their way to the leaf pile.  Hmm.  Looks like I circled back to toilets.

Here's hoping that your Thanksgiving was full of fantastic fashion, family, and, of course, food.  And minimal bathroom malfunctions.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Best Western: These Boots Were Made for Squawking

Tee: Kohl's
Skirt: Celebrity Pink, Macy's
Boots: 2 Lips Too, DSW
Scarf: Boscov's
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's
Green bracelet: Parade of Shoes
Beaded bracelet: Plymouth Plantation Museum
Green ring: Claire's
Orange ring: Gifted
Barrette: The Tote Trove

Dress: Lula Roe
Shoes: Nine West, Marshalls
Bag: Olivia Miller, JCPenney
Silver belt: Boscov's
Turquoise belt: Mixit, JCPenney
Sunglasses: Rampage, Boscov's
Royal blue bangle: Kohl's
Turquoise bangle: Mixit, JCPenney
Flower bangle: Mixit, JCPenney
Barrette: The Tote Trove

Snazzy Steer Necklace

Top: Xhilaration, Target
Skirt (a dress!): Target
Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney
Bag: JCPenney
Belt: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Sunglasses: Relic, Kohl's 

Sometimes you want to feel country but not be country . . . which is why they made glamping.  At least that's what it says in Sophie Kinsella's My Not So Perfect Life, a novel about a farmer's daughter masquerading as a city slicker.  Because if there's one thing that books and movies tell us, it's that people always want to be something they're not.  For example, sometimes I dress like a cowgirl even though I've always lived in New Jersey.  I realize that this makes it sound as if I want to be a cowgirl, which I do not, cow patties and stunt riding being a mall parking lot away from my wheelhouse.  But once in a while it's nice to enjoy the trappings -- and the rhinestones.  The result is always a Halloweenish, Hollywood version of what I think a cowgirl should look like.  Kind of like when Ree Drummond (yes, that Ree Drummond, of Pioneer Woman fame), dons her gussied-up version of dressed down to meet her boyfriend's parents for the first time only to find them in old clothes, giving her the once-over.  (In case you're wondering, this vignette isn't from Ree's Food Network show, but rather her memoir-slash-origin-story, Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story.)  Ree's experience resonates with me because it makes a strange sort of sense.  Having style is -- despite what the fashion rags say -- defined as the dreaded trying too hard.  Fashion is frivolous.  If you're putting in the time to look a certain way, even if that way is I-couldn't-care-less-and-rolled-out-of-bed-like-this, then the jig is up.

But back to western wear.  Or should I say flair?  Or maybe even square . . . as in, dancing.  No, definitely not that one.  Too many flashbacks to fourth grade music class and the grand drama of being paired up with the class Casanova or the kid who always smelled like old cheese.  So, flair it is!  And I troweled it on when making these necklaces.  Impractical, kitschy, and showy, they're everything that a no-nonsense country girl isn't -- and still somehow capture her essence.  And who knows?  Maybe that girl is sick of wide open spaces and stores that only sell chicken feed.  Maybe she wants to light out for the city and kick up her heels and wear something sparkly, Bessie and her bum udder be damned . . .

Okay, time to rein it in.   Let's peruse a few pics of ranch-friendly stuff in my suburban-New Jersey-estranged-from-Mr.-Ed house, shall we?  I don't know about you, but I think a little frontier flavor makes any house homier.

And hits the spot when you want something western that isn't an omelette.   

 A painting I got for $5 at Kirklands. 

 Cacti and birdies, a.k.a. the "squawkers." 

Sunny side up with sunflowers. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Tortoise and the Hair: Slow and Steady Wins the Lace

Top: Mossimo, Target
Pink tunic: Miken, Marshalls
Skirt: Mossimo, Target
Shoes: Penny Loves Kenny, Zulily
Bag: Apt. 9, Kohl's
Belt: Hand-me-down
Bracelets: Cloud Nine
Rings: Delia's

Sparkly Circles Barrettes 

 Dazzling Dog Tag Earrings

When I was a kid, I was confused by tortoiseshell.  It didn't look anything like its namesake reptile, but more like a leopard or a puddle of Coke with raisins incongruously mixed in.  Still, I liked it.  It had a timeless, simple sort of glamour that made otherwise ordinary combs, sunglasses, and barrettes seem sophisticated.  So, when I saw these tortoiseshell circle barrettes, I was immediately inspired to put my own stamp on them in the form of Swarovski crystals.  Because accessories this delicate call for something more refined than mere rhinestones.  The result was part princess part disco diva, and I liked it so much that I kept going, hunting down other turtle trinkets that I could embellish.

Speaking of turtles, here's a shot of the official mascot of this post.  I lured him from his perch on my bookshelf with promises of fame and fortune (okay, insects), and once he got in front of the camera, he was hooked, hamming it up with with all of the gusto of our old friend Tammy (who is, by the way, residing comfortably in her new quarters.  But more on that later).   

That said, let's talk about this top.  I've shown it backwards because that's how I first put it on.  The "real" front is plain except for a little keyhole.  (Also, there's no pink.  That's another lace top.)  I blame Target, as this is the way they displayed it.  Then again, it seems like they've suffered enough, as they still have a rack full, reduced to half price.  That's when I nabbed mine, as gleeful as a gazelle tracking a fresh crop of grass shoots (hey, no one said success had to be bloody.)  I may not always know a blouse's front from its back, but I could bargain stalk in my sleep.  Anyhoo, turns out I like the ruffle in the front.  It has a kind of Victorian-lady-meets-Dolly-Parton feel with a 1970s twist when teamed with the tortoiseshell.  Plus, it makes a great frame for necklaces.  Mr. Turtle liked it, too; I know because he was nibbling it post-shoot.  I think he thought it was albino lettuce.

I guess shopping and life aren't all that different.  Slow and steady wins the lace.  At $9.99.  Unless you're supermarket sweeping your way through the express lane or something and set off a sensor.  Which, now that I say it, doesn't make any sense.

I think this one got away from me.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bat Out of Spell: Happy Halloween Sans the Scary

Some may say that Halloween is nothing without blood and guts and body-snatching bad guys and those weird, made-for-school movies about inspecting your candy for poison and razors.  But to all that I merely say, "Boo!"  So, here's to the sweet side of the scariest night of the year with a cute-to-boot barrette battalion.  Cartoonish candy, amiable aliens, a bat, and a polka-dot pink pumpkin (not a pumpkin with chicken pox or acne or worse as one unnamed observer commented) tune out the tricks and turn up the treats as we near the witching hour this year.  After all, these are friendly aliens, much like the one (okay, the anthropomorphic UFO) in the classic Halloween children's book (and one of my personal favorites) Space Case.  

In Case, "The thing," as the alien/UFO is called, descends to Earth on Halloween to learn our ways -- and snag a Snickers or two.  The story is strange and mysterious and even wryly funny.  I particularly liked the bright, graphic cover and remember wishing that I could get it printed on a sweatshirt.  (It was the '80s, so this wasn't completely outside the realm of possibility.)  Anyway, when I think of Halloween stories, this is the one that comes to mind.  Sorry not sorry, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.     

That said, I hope your Halloween was more marshmallow pumpkins than smashing pumpkins.  Which, now that I've said it, doesn't work on both levels because "Today" is a really great song.

Screw it; just enjoy those Snickers.