Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Treasure

Some days are pure magic.
I found a score of a fabric treasure today.
Ive been searching all over for just this amount.
Not the bazillions of yards Id need to buy - not ready for that yet.
Soon, though.
It was like the gods of Halloween time
were saying " That Kathleen had such a crap Halloween
Last Year - we will throw her a bone to make up for it."

And funny thing.......Annie Lenox is singing "Thorn In My Side".
Its perfect.

Gosh. I remember dancing wildly to that song in 1985 (think it was 85 - so long ago now) with a huge bottle of vodka in my front yard. No wonder the neighbors hated me. I would have hated me. I think I did hate me. Thank the gods above that those days are over!

Free with the spirits guiding one is like being the wind ..........

At least today.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Big Top Magazine

KSea Flux from Big Top Magazine came to my studio and interviewed me one day. He is intelligent, adorable, and charming and on to something big! Plus he and his editors made me sound coherent while all hopped up on cold medicine! (not an easy task!)

Of course, I'm flattered and I'm so happy to be out there in the cyber world even more.....but I really like Big Top Magazine's format. I think much can be accomplished here and I urge everyone to support his team in their endeavors to bring more exposure of the Creative out into the world!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

And Ive been waiting for a trip to Britex.

I was supposed to be working on my Dicken's outfit today, but then Lynne came down to the shop to discuss all the fab things we've been talking about making........and ended up playing hookie and shopping downtown.

Britex. I love it. Some don't. They cant believe the prices. I cant believe one would complain. I love it there. I would curl up in a bolt of boiled wool and hide out if I could. If you sew, how could you NOT love Britex? I would run through the aisles and drape myself with all the hard to find pretty materials and then take pictures of myself being an idiot. But I don't. And if you are a serious shopper, then they will take you seriously. Don't ask stupid questions. (Save that for Discount Fabrics - my all time favorite hated question was "how much fabric do you need to make curtains?")

Anyway, we came back with a stash so heavy our arms were hurting!
Jackets and skirts and pants, Oh My!

I'll be very busy this winter and up to my neck in lovely wools. I'll be using some vintage patterns as the base for her ensemble. Am I in heaven?

Oh Yeah!

Dickens Costume

I woke up this morning with my now rare sinus headachie migrainie thing that makes me have to stay in bed or throw up. But it got better and I went to work - because thats how I am. But I decided to take it easy today and I'll work on my Dicken's outfit that Ive been trying to make for the last 5 years or so. Its all about me today and the rest of you will have to wait.

And I dont mean that in a mean, nasty wretched way. I just really need to make myself something.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I finally got a new little camera the other day, so I threw some things on Molly and had her model for me again. She got to show off her new glasses and I got some new things posted up on etsy that had been sitting here for a while.

This top is a prototype. I think its really cute, but I need to work on it a bit more before I make them to sell.

Today is my last day to get things finished before I ship off for Halloween gigs and parties.

The rest of my orders will follow. And deargodinheaven - its going to be Hexmas soon. Didnt we just have that?

A Smell Like No Other

I love everything about Lynne's garden - even this:

A smell like no other when in bloom. Rotting Carrion. About as bad as when my last neighbors left a box of rotting meat under my bathroom window and I had no idea where the stench was coming from. Almost as bad as the morgue at the hospital I once worked at. Almost as bad as the back alley of the mortuary on Green Street that I had to pass through daily for 6 years..........but this is nature. And now that I know where the smell is coming from, I think its pretty funny! The little one in the yard next door doesnt smell. So it must be a maturity thing. It must ripen each year like a fine wine. Or like an old man who wont bathe.
And it doesnt really last that long.......just long enough to attract flies and bees and long enough to confuse us!

The Last Good Days In Lynne's Garden

I think Yesterday was probably the last nice Indian Summer day we'll have til next year. Oh, we might have another good day before the weather gets really chilly, but it wont be the same temperature, the same light, the same vibe. And Im feeling a little sad because I more than likely wont be here everyday like Ive been for the last two years. Time to move on and find a live/work where I can cook and enjoy my cat before she kicks the bucket and work til 5 in the morning if I have to without bothering anyone.

Thats just how I like it. I dont know when I started being the reclusive creative person that I am today....but it doesnt matter. It is what it is and Im happy. I would make stuff 24/7 if I didnt need to sleep. I feel there will never be enough time in my life to make all the things that I want to. This really bothers me sometimes when I think about it. It bothers me that I wont know all the secrets of mankind's past buried under the earth either. So the race is on to make stuff and know stuff before I die.

I also want to learn the secrets of photo shop and the french language before I die also, but that may be asking a bit too much.

So I'll enjoy Lynne's little oasis in The City with her amazing view of downtown and the Bay Bridge and be grateful that Ive been able to have a little respite before I head out into the world again. She's been a good friend.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Heat Is On

For all of you who are sweating bullets about your Halloween costumes - Im in the midst of sewing them up and shipping them out this week.

If I dont answer your emails, its because Im sewing my little fingers to the bone!

And so are my magical elves!

We wont let you down, but the race is on! Its that jolly time of the year!

Here is a photo of the lovely Collette Todorov performing at the Huckleberry Fair up in Oregon. She escaped the din of the city (even though she was living on a boat) and moved up North to Hood River for a better life. A former FatChanceBellyDance menber, she is now spreading the ATS word!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

White Light Please

This poor little girl was in a head on car collision last week and lost her parents. She is in critical condition up in Seattle and has traumatic head injuries. Recovery may be very slow. Her mother had a bad feeling about the trip, but they went anyway.

If you can, put white light around this girl, say a prayer, or just envision her well. wish her a speedy recovery. I think she is still needed in the world

sketch: Virginia Kirsch

Friday, October 10, 2008

What I Want For Christmas

Im nearing the end of an era for myself. I am in a situation where my building has been sold and now the tenants are up in arms and ready for a fight. Ive done this so many times. Ever since moving to San Francisco 20 years ago, I have had problems with landlords and bad room mates, horrific rents, ceilings falling down around me - you name it......I never had problems like this before I moved here. I suspect my luck will go back to good once I leave.

Not that I havnt had a blast and had HUGE and AMAZING and FABULOUS things happen to me while Ive been here. I have no regrets.

But I am sick of the fight. So I will be searching for a home that I can afford and have a space to work. Im in no hurry. If its meant to be that I stay in the city, then I will. But what I really want right now is out.

I dream of farther North to a little town with old bordellos and victorian charm.

If anyone hears of something affordable (dont all laugh at once, now!) where I can be productive and peacefull all at the same time, drop me a line!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

New Stuff On Etsy

Leg Ruffles
Arm Sleevelets
Garter Shorts

We're soooooo on trend!

Get Thee Up On A Hill Ye Old Farts

This has nothing to do with fashion or style - just nostalgia and maybe a little stage costuming and props.
My friend Samantha suggested that I take the day off on Sunday. I don't take too many days off anymore for growing-a-business reasons. Plus I have orders that must be finished and out by Halloween. I had been sick all week, and wanted to do nothing that had anything to do with my current existence, so we went to Strictly Hardly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park - a free weekend of country and bluegrass - and Gogol Bordello was playing later in the day. I thought if I got a little bluegrass in before Gogol, that would be cool, but when we saw the sea of people, we decided to get up to the Gogol stage and stake our claim.

Things have changed since the days of my early concert years. Maybe because it is a family event and an all day thing, but people had plots of land staked out with blankets and tarps in front of the stage. WTF? In front of the stage? When did this kind of thing happen? I felt like Rumpelstiltskin upon awakening.

Sam and I picked our way through the throng and staked our claim on a 12"X 5" piece of grass and then spread out on an abandoned sheet in front of us that ended up belonging to stage crew. WTF? Why would crew - or friends of crew want to be in the crowd? I was confused or misinformed. Is backstage not cool anymore? Did something happen I'm not aware of?

Unbeknownst to me, Elvis Costello was on before Gogol Bordello. Sam suffered through it, which made me feel old, but it was kinda funny. She had to explain GB to some guy my age - it was all very educational and I passed the celery sticks. This was a nice surprise because I really hadn't even known what was going on this weekend, but what kind of gave me the chills was that he started singing Friend Of The Devil which was sung in pretty much the same place in 1975 - I believe that 1975 was also maybe the only time I was at a concert at the park - of any magnitude. ( I purposefully never attended a Grateful Dead concert again) And of course, some friend of the crew was on the "crew sheet" with us and we were all fairly close to the stage so it looked like old Elvis was singing to us, which also made it all very surreal for me. (He was probably checking out some kids about to fall out of a tree) Could he have remembered my face from all those times I saw him perform in the old days? Haha. A sign that my time is up in SF and I must move on? Perhaps that one. I still think he's cute.

But what got weird is when some people wanted to stand up at the stage when he came on. The usual photographers wanted their 2 cents, the die hards wanted up and personal. I would have gone up too, but the old farts on their chairs and tarps started throwing food and garbage at the people standing up. Security made everyone sit down. Sam and I stared at each other in amazement. What planet are we on? Who are these old out of shape farts and why are they here in their folding chairs in front of a stage? This isn't the beach! Don't people stand in front of the stage anymore? Do they have a clue who is coming next? Get thee up on a hill ye old farts. Get thee away. Thou dost embarrass my generation.

So my nostalgia trip was over and we rushed the stage for Gogol. The old farts were either trampled or carried away to lie down and dream of a Jimmy Buffet concert.

We knew the front of the stage wasn't going to work out for us. But we had to try. Samantha is very strong, but she and I just couldn't hold back the surge of humanity bearing down on us. It was fabulous for a couple songs. Just like punk rock back in the day and I got to go crazy for a while. Then, while holding back the sea of humanity, I started screaming in my head......."oh God! My knees! There go my knees!" Some Russian guy was holding onto Sam's fresh tattoo, so we got out of there and danced and jumped up and down on the sidelines til I made myself sick.

And a good day was had by all.
Now back to work......

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Samantha At The FCBD Studio

Thursday, 9th of October, Samantha will be teaching Tribal Fusion combos at the Fat Chance Belly Dance studio, San Francisco

Samantha Hasthorpe will discuss the art of Tribal Fusion through practicing short, distinctive, and creative combinations with the elegance, flair, and attitude stylistic of FatChanceBellyDance

Contact to book

visit for Samantha

She will also be performing with guests at the Bollyhood Cafe on October 10th
3372 19th st. @ mission st., SF

Doors open at 8pm
Show at 9pm
$5-10 sliding scale

For details and tickets contact Amar @

Its a great little venue
Sam is here for a short time
She is an amazing dancer and
The nicest person you
Could Know

Samantha At The FCBD Studio

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Quality Vs Quantity

I don't know how it ended up that I make so many pants. I shall blame it all on Samantha Hasthorpe (Emanuel) who needed a new pair of dance pants. I had a bin of lace lying around and we dug in, came up with a couple items and helped carry out the trend of ruffles and lace.

It was a fluke. And I'm happy and grateful for it. My garments have been worn all over the world. Ive even got the Fluffie Rufflies on a calendar. (thank you, Sam!)

Since then It was on to stripie pants - The fabric made by serging lots of strips of fabric together. This all started because I couldnt find the fabric I wanted to use. Ive planned to make more, but never got around to it. The price is prohibitive, but if someone wants something bad enough...just contact me.

And then Sampants and Fluffie Pantaloons and Leg Ruffles. Not in that order.

Ive got lots of other ideas, but quality is very important to me, and I would rather have nice, more expensive items made one or a few at a time, rather than do mass quantities of merchandise - it is hard to keep the quality up when you cant be there to oversee the work. Ive tried to do small lots of Sampants and had to do some over. I am still small potatoes and its easy to get overwhelmed with so many orders. So for now, a few at a time. Maybe one day if this evolves in that direction, I can grow. But for now:

Quality verses quantity.

And Fit,fit,fit!!!!!!!

This is a photo of Rachel Brice wearing the striped pants I made for her - and as far as I know, they are still holding strong!

Antique Velvet

I'm kind of stumped about the velvet on the Victorian bodice. It was taken such good care of - it was living in a museum archive in England and then returned and wrapped in acid free paper. It was part of a family collection and has made its way into my studio so that I can touch it and treasure it for a couple weeks before it makes its way back home. It was the ugly duckling of the collection, and so it was much more expendable should something go wrong. We even thought about turning it into a dance vest, but it seems a shame to wreck it, so I'll just make one from scratch.

It looks almost new. I checked it out carefully to see if maybe someone had recovered it, but the threads and stitching and backing look period. Someone obviously at some point tried to turn it into something else - added newer trim and some kind of red wool facing. But if it were for a show or a play, I doubt they would have gone to so much trouble to replace the outer cover and the purple silk. They more than likely wouldn't have replaced that boning and front inner padding so deliberately.

One of my most favorite things to do is to check out the innards of garments and see how they were put together. I remember once when a friend of mine was modeling for one of Thierry Mugler's trunks shows back in the day. I got to inspect some of his suits. There is a reason why some things cost an arm and a leg................sheer genius. Another friend of mine ended up making some clothes for him, so it was fun to discuss craftsmanship. I hope these skills become more appreciated again one day. Well, one can hope.

So it is always fun for me to check things out up close and personal. And I'm hoping that I can go overseas next year and visit my friend and wallow in the joy of opening up the trunks of pristine Regency and Victoriana that are waiting for a new home. Another museum perhaps? I hope I can get there first!

If anyone reading this has any comments on the condition of this bodice and if this is the original velvet or not, feel free to comment!! Ive just never seen any old velvet in such pristine condition before! Ive never held it in my hands!