Friday, October 30, 2009

The Queen of Halloween

My mother had the curious fortune of being born on Halloween. I think it has always been a little tough on her to share her birthday with this raucous holiday, spending many years shepherding her costumed children door-to-door through the freezing neighborhood streets of Boulder, Colorado when I'm sure she would have rather been having an intimate meal at a cozy restaurant with my dad. To be sure, there was never a lack of a party to go to on Halloween, but the party was never exactly for her. When my mom turned 50, we all celebrated by going back to Boulder together (and yes, it was freezing!) and some old friends threw a costume party in her honor. I really wanted my mom to be the belle of the ball, to feel spectacular on her big milestone birthday so I created this Cleopatra costume for her. I hand-beaded the collar on a sparkly gold-toned base (I almost wanted it to look like the beads were just suspended on air around her shoulders) and draped a dramatic, blue-green iridescent cape from the back that attached to the middle finger with small elastic loops. The dress was a simple strapless sheath but made from a heavy dark gold satin to look regal and with some hand-beaded accents added. The belly-dancer sash, headpiece and arm-band were purchased.

I dedicate this post to my friend and dedicated blog-follower-- my mom! Happy Birthday! And a special warm greeting to any other readers who also share their special day with this holiday.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Creative Costumes

Ever get tired of the Sexy (insert noun here) Costumes? (A sexy ladybug? Really? Is that necessary?) I totally understand the desire to unleash your inner vixen on this night when you can put on another persona for an evening an let loose a little. It's an old tradition (like Carnevale in Venice, Carnaval in Rio de Janiero, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans, just at a different time of year)... put on a mask and leave your inhibitions at home. I myself have indulged in somewhat racy costumes over the years (a Moulin Rouge showgirl, Catholic schoolgirl, kitten, etc), but sometimes it is nice to stray from norm and do something out of the ordinary that is focused on creativity instead of wearing as little clothing as possible (in high school I worked at a fabric store and one Halloween a woman came in to buy several yards of extra wide elastic so she could go as the chick from The Fifth Element which I suppose is sexy and kind of creative at the same time... but also pretty stupid because Halloween in Colorado usually involves lots of snowfall or at least very cold weather. But I digress).

And I guess I'm getting pretty picky here, but I also have a strong distaste for costumes from a package. They are cheaply made, overpriced, and you're almost guaranteed to be dressed exactly like someone else at the alcohol-infused costume party you will be attending. And remind me to tell you the "one size fits most" story sometime...

Anyway, my hat is off to the folks who come up with clever, fun, engaging, creative costumes like these:

You can see this guy loves to have a good time, and he managed to keep his clothes on to get the message across.

This one is hilarious for babies because we all know they enjoy the privilege to...well, pass gas with carefree abandon. Although, on second thought, it may encourage people to sit on your baby. Which would be bad.

These folks have combined naughtiness with modesty and have also pulled off an awesome couple's costume, which (although it may be considered trite by some) I am always a fan of.

If there's anything I like better than a couple's costume, it's a group costume and this family has pulled it off beautifully. Especially because Junior's get-up can transition right into p.j.s for bedtime while mom and dad stay up to party with the adults.

Whatever you end up wearing for Halloween, I hope you have a terrific time and I'd love to hear about all your costumed escapades! If you're feeling short of ideas, check out this awesome list for ideas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The World's Easiest Halloween Costume

When I was in high school, there was a classmate of mine who was popular due to his intelligent sense of humor, easy-going attitude and general all-around good-naturedness. When it came time for prom he decided (like many of us) not to rent a limo (prom in Boulder, Colorado is definitelt a more laid back affair than in many places... one year my date wore Birkenstocks with his tuxedo). But instead of simply borrowing his parents' nice car, he chose to drive in his own slightly beat-up, slightly run-down, old station wagon. But here's the good part... being the clever guy that he is, he took shoe polish and wrote the word "LIMO" on the side windows of the car. I'm pretty sure there was some philosopher who said something about how if you can imagine something, then it exists. So, this guy made a limo out of an old station wagon by merely suggesting it to our imagination.

So what, pray tell, does this have to do with the world's easiest Halloween costume? Well, it is the same principal behind this t-shirt:

Because my kids still aren't into the Halloween thing yet and because no wonderful costume-wearing opportunities are coming my way this year, I have decided to take a similar, albeit more specific, "power of suggestion" approach to the Halloween costume this year by sporting this t-shirt purchased for a mere $9.99 at Target (I apologize for the blurry picture, it's just one of those days):

It's not quite as cool as when I went as Glinda for Halloween when I was a little girl, but it will have to do.

(I am pictured here with my younger brother who was aptly dressed as the devil... just kidding, bro!)

I'm definitely a little disappointed not to be doing something a tad more extravagant and fun this year, but I plan to make up for it next year... I have something truly fabulous in mind! But more on that later...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mad about Mad Men

I realize that I have been very absent from the blog lately, but my husband and I have been obsessively watching the hit AMC series Mad Men on DVD. We don't have cable, so we always catch our shows after they have hit the air, but we like it that way because we don't have to wait a week between episodes. We have made it through the first two seasons and are totally hooked. Even our three-year-old twin boys love the show!

Let's just pretend for a moment that the writing isn't spectacular, that the acting and direction aren't outstanding and that the art direction isn't impeccable... the costumes are absolutely to die for! I would watch it for that reason alone, but I am pleased that the show is a complete package!

The gorgeous and accurate costumes for this amazing period show are designed by Janie Bryant, the creative mind behind the equally impressive costumes of HBO's Deadwood. The second season Mad Men DVD contains an excellent mini-documentary about the fashions of the Sixties narrated by Bryant and is definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. The fashions of the Sixties, just like the Sixties themselves, were revolutionary and reflected the incredible historical changes that took place in this era.

A few of my favorite things about the costumes for this show:
1) the men, even the less attractive ones, look delicious in gray flannel suits and slicked down hair.
2) the show recognizes that curves are sexy!
3) characters wear the same outfits more than once, just like people do in real life.
4) the hairstyles

You know, this list could just go on all night, so I'll leave it at that!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not exactly sewing...

... but I still want to give some airtime to the crochet project I finished today. I learned to crochet granny squares in 5th grade, but never learned anything beyond that and never learned the names for the stitches. The other day I was on etsy searching for a nice, cozy winter hat and I stumbled upon this pattern upload for a beginner level crochet newsboy cap. So, I paid for the download (a very reasonable $6) and trucked off to JoAnn for some yarn and hooks (sadly the locally owned yarn store has gone out of business). In almost no time I had made this! It is so far from being perfect, but I'm proud of my first non-granny-square crochet project and had to share! If you like crochet, or think you might want to learn, I highly recommend this project. Or, if you want to take the short cut, just buy one from Heidi's Hats!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Today my bridal gown client is getting married! I hope she has a fantastic wedding and enjoys every minute of it! Here's a little teaser of the gown for you to enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Night at Club Cicada

Last weekend, I celebrated my 30th birthday at Maxwell DeMille's Club Cicada in Cicada Restaurant on the ground floor of the Historic Oviatt Building in Downtown Los Angeles.

What a fantastic evening! Walking through the breathtaking lobby through the doors of the restaurant (manned by a fully uniformed doorman) is like taking a step back into time. Most patrons choose to dress in period clothing from the 1920s through the 1950s. From start to finish your visit is overseen by gracious waiters, a masterful bartender, and a host of other characters. The music for the evening was provided by Janet Klein and her Parlor Boys and was beyond delightful (you can even watch a webcast of the evening). It was, every bit of it, worth the rather expensive tab at the end of the evening. We topped it all off with a couple of traditional Paper Moon portraits. I think I'll make it a yearly tradition!

*Paper moon photos from the folks at Hobo's Vintage.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I love on Etsy right now

This gorgeous neck piece from Big Frozen Melon

Almost too good to be true!

But it is true! Just in time for Halloween, the Los Angeles Opera Costume Shop is holding its first ever Costume Sale this Saturday, October 10 from 10am to 6pm. This is a Big Deal. This would be like Vera Wang throwing a yard sale in front of her Rodeo Drive boutique. As a former employee of the LA Opera Costume Shop, I can tell you firsthand that every piece is handcrafted and represents hours upon hours of skilled labor and talent. This is Couture, ladies and gentlemen. All available to you between $10 and $250 (with a few of the most special pieces going for up to $5000). This is not to be missed, even if you just go to take a gander at the amazing craftsmanship of these one-of-a-kind pieces. You will see me there at 10am sharp, and maybe I'll find something I made!

*Photo from the LAO production of Strauss' Der Rosenkavelier, designed by Gottfried Helnwein.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My First Halloween Costume

When I was about two years old, I got to dress up for Halloween for the first time and try out trick-or-treating. My mom dressed me as Buster Brown, an advertising icon from the early 1900s. Apparently I was not interested in the trick-or-treating, but perhaps this is where my life-long love of playing dress up and creating costumes was born.

Buster Brown was an excellent costume choice by my mom. It has the "cute" factor that you want for a young child's costume, it is simple enough that it can likely be recreated with pieces you already have at home, it is comfortable and (this is important in October in Colorado) it is warm. Those are all important considerations to make when selecting a costume for your children.

What was your first Halloween costume? What are your favorite memories from your youthful Halloweens?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Welcome to October, the month that ends with Halloween! For someone who loves costumes, Halloween is the greatest of Holidays! There are few things as exciting as planning and creating a memorable costume and then getting a chance to "be" someone or something else for a day. The candy's not too bad, either, but it is totally secondary to the costume! I would love to hear what my readers have in store for the big day this year!