Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Gay Day Everyone!

I just snagged this image from Chris March's Facebook page. Its Gay Betsy Ross! I love Betsy Ross!

This world has gained so much from the Gay. It often goes unmentioned. They are often treated with such cruelty. In keeping this short and to the point, the world would be such a gray place without the gay influence. It is behind much of the background of our everyday life. No matter what your beliefs or persuasion, this, you cannot deny.

Go out and have a beautiful day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blessed Vintage Restoration

My friend Erica has the most amazing Vintage in her wardrobe. This woman never leaves the house looking frumpy. She just oozes Style. I bet she wakes up stylish in the morning!

Ive been blessed to be restoring some of her things that have needed a little love. This coccoon coat is my favorite. It just had a little rip on the hoodie collar and needed some stitches on the button loop. The button itself needs a total overhaul, but it might be better to just leave it like it is or replace it with another. The fabric was so worn at the edges and there was no excess fabric anywhere to remake a new one with. Wish I could show it all off better. I learned a new button covering technique with this one! If I can get ahold of an old black voile or tulle, I can redo this button for her.
The ribbon embroidery and fringe trim are exquisite! Every bit is hand sewn. The thread is strong and sturdy, if not a little faded in parts. The silk lining is still in great shape - very often the linings in these old garments are shot. Simply shredded to bits.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Solstice!!!!

Happy Solstice Everyone! It is almost 8pm and still light out - my favorite time of the year! (Next to Autumn!)
 I took these images from the National Geographic website. Ive always wanted to go to Stonehenge. I hope its something I get to do one day. I'll be satisfied to view it from afar since I'm not a Druid, but I just want to go there and feel the vibe. There are so many amazing places in the world. Ive been lucky to visit some of them, but Stonehenge would be tops on the list.

Yesterday was my birthday and despite all my best efforts, I ended up doing pretty much nothing. It was a big one and I wont go into which big one it actually was, but I really should have done SOMETHING. It just didn't seem all that important, for some reason. Isn't just being born on the last day of Spring enough? Its such a magical time full of renewed energy that just hanging out seems to be enough sometimes. It was a lovely day and part of Valencia street was blocked off for pedestrians, dogs, kids, and bikes. What is it about walking down a road that is normally used for city traffic? Its such a BIG DEAL!
So I went and took Spike for a walk, stopped by Retrofit to visit Steven. I love his store. He has THE BEST windows! Go visit him. He has some treasures in there!
The night before, I got to go to FatChanceBellyDance's Devotion Show. Everyone was lovely. I forget how spoiled we are here. I got to sit next to Udit from Arkansas who bought my little red dress that I blogged about sometime back. She had never seen FCBD, Rachel Brice, or ANY of the other lovelies perform live - ever! And I needed this eye opener. Sometimes I forget how much beauty and creativity surrounds me on a daily basis. And I forget to be grateful. I get set in my ways. I only see what I want to see sometimes. I only see my problems and challenges. I guess that's human nature. But I would like to cut that s*# out!
 After Devotion, I ended up going out and having a little meal with my old Saaidi friends. We ate here - and I cant for the life of me remember the name of the place - a German restaurant - the decor was a bit spare but  it was pleasant.  I liked the potato salad.  This was the sign above the door! I just had to share............................
I ended the day by having a little Solstice fire out in the back yard. I wrote down all the negative things in my life that I want to banish on slips of paper and threw them in the fire while Sid and Nancy screamed at each other in the SRO next door. The universe must have been reminding me to be grateful for what I have and to remind me that it could always be worse. And it might get worse for a while but we will weather this economic storm and life will go on.

When I was married and and an affluent consumer of material goods,  I had a neighbor who obsessively picked up every penny she saw. I remember so clearly one occasion especially when I was in my driveway cleaning out my car. This neighbor came up behind me, peeked inside, saw the pennies all over the floor, and told me I missed something there..........I thought at first that she was nuts, I mean it was just a hand full of pennies.  But then I realized that she really had suffered during the Great Depression and this was a post traumatic thing going on. I had an aunt who compulsively stocked her garage shelves with as many canned goods as they would hold. She was also obsessive about having things in their proper places. I thought at the time that she was a little "off" (well, my family is......but that's another story), she had a beautiful little house and a good life,  but she had a post traumatic disorder caused by suffering so much poverty in the Great Depression. She died many years ago and it is said that she still haunts that place - replacing tools and items that people leave out - she puts them away. We told her to go to the other side, but maybe it was that attachment to worldly goods. Maybe they gave her such a feeling of relief and well being that she couldn't let them go.  I also think this is why my dad has so much stuff in his house. Things give us this false sense of security sometimes. He doesn't want to feel that poor ever again.

But here we are again. A global disaster. Nobody is spending. If nobody spends, everything goes away.
Ask your friends for help in these times of need if you are suffering.  We might not be able to hand out cash donations, but we might be able to show our love in other ways. I had friends help me out a lot in previous  times of need, Don't be afraid to ask. These are hard times. Baby, but we still have much to be thankful for!
                                                                    Happy Solstice!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Wedding On The Beach

My nephew got married yesterday. I made his fiance a little wedding dress. She brought me some photos of dress ideas that she liked and I figured out what would look best on her, what color would look best on her, and what we could do with her budget. I cant copy something exactly because I dont like copying other people's work and I cant help but put my own twist on things anyway.
She wanted something simple and elegant and I think I gave that to her. Stretch silk. Empire waist. Drapery in the back for a taste of drama. A little lace.
I lined the dress in a lightweight silk and gave it a side zipper. I didnt go into a lot of detail, but I gave her a flattering, quality gown that fit her and was easy to wear. It took her from the beach to a picnic reception in the woods, but would have been suitable for a church wedding as well. If she was so inclined, she could have this dress dyed and get a lot more wear out of it.

The weather could not have been more perfect!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I am trying to stay positive in a world gone totally and overwhelmingly insane. I'm sure we all are. And some of us do better with it than others. Ive marched, Ive rallied, Ive signed petitions, Ive called senators and congressmen/women, Ive written letters and blogged. Ive ranted and raved.  I can see why the religious would think these are the end times, I'm afraid to say. Maybe this time its for reals. But even if every country launched their nuclear missiles at each other and succeeded in wiping out most of mankind.........there would still be a few of us left who would survive somehow and people would probably just somehow adapt. But would we really learn anything? Or would we just keep making the same mistakes over and over?

I guess not.

This is actually a cute little look, but unfortunately all the wrong people are going to be wearing them - as usual.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Siren of the USO

 I'm biased and that cant be helped. Kristine Adams is my room mate, she's in my most favorite dance troupe ever, she is HUGELY talented and creative, she's a good spider killer and I love her so. She was so kind as to model for me in this fashion show and she rocked this outfit! Medina Maitreya made this hat to go with the little shortie corset and skirt. I wish you could have seen this skirt move as she walked down the aisle. The underskirt is just a basic little mermaid skirt, but I gave it a sheer lace overskirt that trails looks like she's wearing two skirts! I plan to make more of these when I can. I think it was a good design that will work well on many body types. And I like the little shortie corset. I'm making a couple of them right now for some dancers and I would like to make more of these as well. Hurry up and get better, you rascally economy so that I can hire help again!

Kristine was the embodiment of a sensuous USO siren, dont you think? You can see her and FatChanceBellyDance at the Devotion show next weekend! Friday and Saturday the 18th and 19th!

Hair and makeup: Medina Maitreya
Photos: Sequoia Emmanuelle

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


This is Sonia (Steven Eggers) modeling a corset and bustled train made by Yours Truly. The whole outfit was made of off white silk organza and covered in lace, pearls, and sparklie bit! She was the finale bride at the end of the Salome's Suitcase fashion show. This was held at the Tribal Fest Afterparty and I do believe that we ladies are now broken in and have learned a thing or two. I think we have all done our share of shows, and we all have our own ways of doing things but we pulled together and made this happen without one snafu. I was so proud of us. And our models were angels. All professional performers in their own right. So patient. Knew just what to do. The show went on without a hitch. Except for the bad stage lighting, but we're on it for next year. That's what I call team work!
Thank you, Steven! You were beautiful! And a simply amazing dancer! I did get to see the tail end of the show as she gracefully sashayed down the aisle, seducing the crowd - lovely to watch! I completely missed everyone else, including Zoe. :(

And thank you, Sequoia, for making sure you got some backstage shots - and  for making magic of our poor stage lighting! XXX
But I heard it was all lovely!

Hat and neck piece: Medina Maitreya
Gloves: Katherine Summer
Corset: KathleenCrowleyCostumeCouture
Detachable Bustle/train: KathleenCrowleyCostumeCouture
Photography: Sequoia Emmanuelle,

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ethereally Floored

The lighting was really too bad to get any good shots of the Salome's Suitcase fashion show last month, but
Sequoia Emmanuelle took amazing shots of some of our models back stage in the green  room.

This is Giselle Sibyl from Australia wearing my sheer silk voile gown and Foolproof jewelry. I first met her at the SF Mecca bazaar last year where she was radiating Pre Raphaelite effervescence, and she obviously still is. Every now and then someone comes along who embodies all that elusive etherealness that we try madly to attain - to no avail. You either got it or you don't!

I do not know if I will EVER get a full on shot of this gown before it is snagged to shreds, but you know, when it can help contribute to a fine composition such as this, I am a happy woman.

The dress was inspired by a slip from the 30's. The skirt is lightly gathered onto a bias cut bodice that laces up the back. The laces and loops are made of the same silk material. There is twice as much yardage in the back than in the front. It floats when you walk. It trails in a soft puddle of folds and swirls. She was just dreamy walking through the crowd!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rashani World Fusion

Today I woke up with laryngitis and chills. So its a good day to wrap myself up in a warm blanket and get to all that invoicing that I keep having to put off. I know that doesn't sound very business-like, but since Ive been doing the work of 5 women around here lately, it just happens that way sometimes. Ive been getting that much needed sleep and I guess its better that I waited to get sick now rather than a couple weeks ago!
I have been going to Wendy Marlatt's dance classes at the MoBu dance studio in Noe Valley. This is a great little light and airy dance studio with a barre  and lovely wood floors and a huge wall of mirror. She's been teaching us new arm movements (well, new for some of us, anyway) that I never would have considered with my ATS training. Its a nice blend of many dance styles. Its hard not to laugh in class sometimes ( but we do)  because she's so graceful and we are trying to learn to move gracefully without holding zills. Its a very different thing altogether for those of who focused mainly on American Tribal Style for years. My brain is rebelling with all the new footwork, but it was actually easier this week. You should go - she's great, warm, and a lot of fun! And the studio is very easy to get to. Its right on the J Church line - and its not a stinky bus with icky people for a change.
I haven't been promoting my dancer self much because I just wasn't dancing for quite a while. I got rusty and shy and full of low self esteem, but Ive been performing with Rashani World Fusion for a while now, and I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. Ive been doing solos lately, which, if you know anything about ATS (my roots), it  is not focused on solo performance. And while dancing by oneself for others can be very freeing, I have had very little training in this. Its freakin scary. But thanks to Wendy, I'm  having fun with it. Who cares if I'm not doing every little thing "right". That's not what its all about!
The thing that I'm enjoying with Rashani World Fusion, is that the focus is on being a collective of dancers rather than being a troupe with just one style. So far, we all have had that strong ATS base that makes us very strong, powerful dancers and enables us to jump in as a group and dance together improv style and then jump back out and each do our own thing. Its interesting, its fun, the audience enjoys the variety, and we get to experiment. This collective thing is by no means a new thing, but I'm having a great time with it! We are all seasoned stage performers as well, so throwing a set together at the drop of a hat and performing in an awkward setting now and again is no big deal. (Thank you, Carolena! )
We perform two Friday evenings every month at L's Cafe. Its a friendly, warm, cozy, woman-owned cafe in the heart of the Mission. Come have a happy hour send off to the weekend and start your Friday night off at L's Cafe! Support us, and a great cafe and neighborhood!
Rashani World Fusion
June 6th
June 18th
7pm and 8pm
L's Cafe
2871 24th street
Btwn Bryant and Florida
San Francisco, Ca.

Top photo of Wendy and Kathleen and Wendy taken by Kristine Adams

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Wedding Gown Inspiration

One of my favorite things to do when I have a few minutes - or am just too tired to move away from the computer - is to go on Etsy and look up vintage patterns. I buy them when I can to add to my collection, but I mainly "favorite" them because I can usually just look at the picture and figure out how to make it anyway.

I feel like I am heading back to my custom dressmaking - which means, I hope, that I'm going to be able to focus again on the dieing art of making clothing that actually enhances you and makes you look your best. One of my favorite things, of course, is Bridal. Not only is it one of the most important days of your life, but you can really make a statement about who you are and indulge your fantasy about wearing a silhouette that you probably wont be able to wear on a day to day basis. You get to safely play dress up and its ok.

So I thought I would suggest to all of you who are looking for dresses with a vintage feel that you go to Etsy for gown ideas. You can take an idea from one dress and apply to another. Or you can get inspiration, or you can take the pattern to an experienced dressmaker and have them make you something similar that will fit you. The vintage pattern doesn't have to be in your size if you know someone who has pattern making skills.

I can grade a pattern to size. And its a lot easier for me if I have something to work with already - hence my extensive pattern collection! I always make mock ups of your dress first and we always have fittings. This ensures the fit that makes all the difference in the world.!

Its also best to plan your gown/outfit a year in advance so that your dressmaker can take the time she needs - and we always juggle projects - so planning is key to success! I would say that 6 months should be the latest you could consider..............even a "simple" design is something that has to be fitted and constructed. There really is no such thing as "simple" in couture.