Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger in Paisley

Well, no, I couldn't find a photo of him in paisley, but there are lots of photos of him in floral shirts, like this one by Andrew Sullivan:

“The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”
--Pete Seeger, 1994, quoted in his 
New York Times obituary

Also in plaid, as here with Bruce Springsteen:

But this is how I remember him---wearing a blue work shirt on the album I listened to when I was little:

The whole LP is uploaded on youTube. I can still sing along to every song.

R.i.p., Pete Seeger

The 6 Degrees of Separation from Star Trek

In 1968 Leonard Nimoy recorded "If I Had a Hammer" (written by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays in 1949) on Nimoy's album The Way I Feel. It's awful, but you can hear his version of the song here, if you want.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Alfie in Plaid

bink's wire fox terrier Alfie, wearing his fashionable pink plaid coat.
He's warming up after his walk in this morning's wind chill of -37º.

A Kidney, and Jane Austen

The paisley I posted yesterday was based on a kidney (right). We humans have two, you know.

The fetching little cap on top of the kidney is an adrenal gland---it secretes cortisol and other hormones in response to stress.

It's possible that Jane Austen suffered or even died from malfunctioning adrenal glands (Addison's disease).

This is disputed and not ultimately knowable.
As Austen wrote, "Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that 
something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken."

Starting in 2016, Jane Austen will appear on Britain's 10-pound notes (left).

Not everyone is pleased with the sweet, gentle ("dimwitted"?) way she is depicted, according to the Guardian

I agree she could look a little fiercer, to match Virigina Woolf's comment
"Sometimes it seems as if her creatures were born merely to give Jane Austen the supreme delight of slicing  their heads off";
at least it's not a picture of Keira Knightley.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Parts in Paisley

I've interpreted another internal organ in paisley--actually, there are a few parts here. The proportions and locations aren't exactly correct, but you might be able to recognize which part(s) of the human anatomy make up this paisley. 
Can you? 
I'll put the answer in the comments.

HINT: I don't know anyone who needs this as a Get Well card, that I know of, I hope, but many of us could use help managing stress, and one of the parts here does that.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Brain on Paisley

I based this paisley on color MRIs of a healthy brain (like the one at the end of this post). 
It's a Get Well card, sort of an odd one? for a friend who recently had a mini-stroke, or a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a temporary block of blood to the brain.

The bulb on each end is supposed to be the cerebellum, the tails are the medulla oblongata, and in the center runs the spine. 

Maybe I should have used more anodyne colors, but I liked the garish colors of the MRIs.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Nimoy in Paisley

April 1968. "Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy in recording studio."
by Douglas Jones for Look magazine.
from Slorpy

Thank you, thank you, Zhoen, for linking me to this,
the best photo of the "I Am Not Spock" Mr. Nimoy I've ever seen. 
It recalls to me how much I loved the sensitive Spock when I was a teenager.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Paisely Two, Paisley Blue

These are my second and third paisleys, which I made in the past couple days. I wouldn't have thought so, but I find making them really relaxing. They would be tidier if I used markers or some hard medium, but I love water coloring, and I even like its softer, messier effect.

These two are greeting cards. The background paper is creamy--don't know why it shows up a kind of dirty grey here. :(

Orange Crate Art explains HOW TO GET THE GRAYS OUT (Seems it's from Google's auto-enhance).

The one immediately below is for a friend who is healing from a broken elbow. (She slipped on the ice.) I imagine this as a hurt cell knitting itself back together.

 This blue and white one, below, is for a friend who recently lost her mother. 

Initiate Job Search & Meltdown

Last week I also finished the so-called final edit of the toilets-for-teens book.  I will, alas, have to look at it again, but briefly, pleasegod.
This means I'm out of reasons not to launch a job search, except the reason of inertia. (Physicist approved!) I am at a dead cold stop, so I signed up for a job search class at a nearby church. It meets four times in February.

bink and I also signed up again for the YW's annual Meltdown program for Feb-March, which we've done the past two years. 
It's supposed to encourage mindfulness about nutrition and exercise, which I like; it tries to avoid the "build a bikini body" crap, so it doesn't trigger my despair about being female in the USA too much. 

Though there was that trainer last year who strapped to her body an electronic sensor that counted every calorie she expended and who told us that if she hadn't burned enough calories, she just did a few jumping jacks before she got in bed. 

"Did it count calories eaten?" someone asked.

Sadly, no, she said, and added, "Wouldn't it be great if it could reach out and slap your hand when you were about to eat something you shouldn't?"

This sort of thing makes me want to say, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if we could move to North Korea? I hear there are no fat people there!" 

Anyway, the thing is, the midlife pounds keep sneaking on, and I don't want to carry them around forever. They're heavy, you know!
Also, the diabetes... Don't want it.
So, try, try again.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Paisley Party!

Orange Crate Art asks, “What party would you most like to have attended?”

So: how 'bout you?

I immediately thought of a Star Trek party*, and specifically the one Spock's parents attend onboard the Enterprise
the guests have gone all out for their costumes and makeup, and the food and drink is suitably garish too. 

Turns out paisley is popular all over the galaxy.

Spock's mother is not amused.

But Kirk is the perfect host.

I even know what I would wear. 

This jacket, right
(France, 1870, in the collection of the Museum of Decorative Arts, Paris).


Also, I would like to have attended the cast party after this episode, "Journey to Babel" wrapped (in 1967).

*Ain't no party like a Star Trek party.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My First Paisley

Funny, I just can't seem to get back to painting pictures about suicide and genocide and all that. And yet I will spend hours painting a perfectly useless paisley.
Hm, I sure do wonder why...

Well, anyway, here's my first attempt at a paisley, in watercolor. It's a long way from a Kaffe Fassett design or anything, but it was a whole lot of fun. I definitely want to make more. 
(It's about 8" x 11".)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In Which Fresca Learns There Is a Relationship Between Fashion and Human Anatomy

I am blushing in paisley.
Thank you, Crow, for suggesting that the purse that sooooo baffled me is meant to be worn over the shoulder.

How 'bout that? If fits!

I still don't think it'll be very useful for carrying oranges. So I think I'll give it away--maybe to my sister. Unless any of my regular readers want it? If you do, I'll sent it to you as a present.

I took this opportunity to model the shirt with French cuffs I also hauled out of the recycle barrel. Now I can wear my father's old pair of cufflinks (in left photo).

I do not understand this purse. Help?

Volunteering at the Thrift Store, I can go through the barrels of rejected donations: things too damaged to go out on the floor, or things that just didn't sell, for whatever reason.

Most will eventually be exported overseas.
(Every year, the USA exports more than a billion pounds of secondhand clothing and textiles : see "The Afterlife of American Clothes".)

Anyway, I saw a handbag with a neat design. Looking closely, I saw it was a Kate Spade, a name even I recognize. It has a slight (repairable) tear along a seam. I don't carry purses, but for 25 cents, I thought I'd give it to a friend who does.

When I got it home, though, I thought maybe I'd use it myself.
However, I don't really understand its design:
the handle is so short (and it doesn't adjust to extend), the bag bends when you carry anything heavy in it.


I assume this is on purpose?
Anyone out there know?  

Btw, I looked it up--the design is "Noel". I don't know how to tell if it's an original or a knock-off. If it's a copy, someone took a lot of trouble with it---like, the little "feet" on its leather bottom are stamped with the dot noel pattern.

Maybe I'll put a new handle on it, so I can sling it over my shoulder.
Moving on from plaids, I was looking at paisleys and it seems they are also "strong" this season. (So says some fashion pundit.)
 I came across this jacket from Ralph Lauren, 2013-2014. It's not exactly a paisley... but, anyway, I love it, the textures of it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Plaid Relatives

My Uriah

Uriah Sutherland; how's that for a name?
He was an ancestor of my mother who came from Scotland in the mid-1700s.
(My great-grandmother's name was Virginia Sutherland.)

Was Uriah part of the Highland Clearances, the forced eviction of the crofters, or small tenant farmers, to make way for more profitable big sheep farms? I don't know, but the timing fits.

You can read about how nasty the clearances (and other highland events) were in the book Gloomy Memories in the Highlands of Scotland (1841--PDF available) by Donald Mcleod. 
Sicily has nothing on Scotland for nastiness.

The Sutherland Tartan

I always figured Clan Sutherland was from southern Scotland, but they are northern highlanders whose name refers to being south of the Orkneys and Norway.

Anyway, pondering plaids in recent days, I decided to look up the Sutherland tartan.

There are a few of them, actually.
I like this one (right),
which "one can be certain... was possibly" worn before 1746.

And why mention 1746? Because that's the date of the Dress Act, that made it illegal to wear highland tartans because highland clans had supported Jacobitism––the movement to restore the exiled Stuarts (King James) to the throne.

(That reminds me of current debates about outlawing Islamic head coverings.)

Slashed Sleeves and Knee Socks
There are thousands of Sutherlands, and its unlikely I'm related to any laird...
But here's Kenneth Sutherland (Lord Duffus... what a name!), mentioned in the picture of the tartan above, dressed for hunting in complete highland dress.

He joined with the Jacobites, was imprisoned and lost all his land, then went into exile.

How 'bout those slashed sleeves? 

And those socks. I want those socks. (I guess they are called kilt hose, held up with garters.)

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Eyelashes Froze

You know it's cold when Fahrenheit and Celsius meet.

 Just for fun, I bundled up and walked a couple blocks to the post box and back (are they even picking up?). The moisture from my breath froze on my eyelashes.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Plaids in Public

I watched Bill Cunningham New York the other night, a documentary about the street fashion photographer, and it inspired me to take my camera out on the street again. 

It's so cold here, people are well-covered, mostly in drab colors, but I noticed a lot of plaids. 
John, below right in a hand-tied plaid bow tie, confirmed for me that plaid is in. He also told me that the red and black pattern of the Woolrich jacket isn't a plaid, it's a check, specifically a buffalo check.*  

I've been fretting about the ethics of using photos of people without their knowledge. (It's legal in the U.S., but that's not the point.) 

I finally decided that tempting as it is, I just don't feel right exposing people's faces without their permission, for the most part. (I asked the three people above whose faces show for permission.) 

But I feel fine using body pix, like the ones below. Where faces showed, I blurred the features. They might still be somewhat identifiable, but I don't feel I'm using them.

The scene outside the library that I posted yesterday felt so much like public performance, I'm letting it stand. But I deleted the accompanying photo of the old woman in fur: I sensed even as I took it that she didn't want me to.  

Anyway, ethics & ease aside (it's certainly easier in all sorts of ways not to talk to strangers), for me it's more fun to ask people for permission.

Of course sometimes they tell me to f**k off,  so I have to be prepared for that. In my limited experience, though, most people say yes, pretty happily, and go on and talk about all sorts of cool odds and ends.

Yesterday not only did I learn about buffalo check, but the woman in the plaid cap told me she was buying food for her son's fat hamster. 
"I never thought I could love a hamster," she said, "but I do."

*Buffalo check fabric was originally used for blankets and lumberman jackets, like Paul Bunyan's. "Plaid" is an American name for Scottish tartan, and that's a whole other ball of yarn.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"Aren't you cold?"

 ^  the guy in blue asked the woman in the slit skirt going into the downtown library. 

I didn't catch her answer, but it was 18ºF (-7ºC) above zero yesterday, so people could afford to show a little skin.

The high on Monday is forecast to be 18 below zero, and the governor has cancelled school across the state.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Frex & Sneakz Dress Up

Clothes have mostly been a burden to me all my life, something that took time and money I didn't want to give, sort of like dentistry. Plus, choosing how to dress, I often felt too fat, in one direction, or too vulnerable to unwanted sexual attention in the other.

As a teenager, I adopted a uniform I felt safe and comfortable and presentable in: jeans and T-shirts or turtlenecks. I haven't worn much else since. Working from home, mostly, for years, I actually own more pajamas than anything else.

At midlife, I'm a little less burdened by the old fears and dangers. I might could play dress-up now, if I want to. 

I don't know how much I want to---even when I was little, my mother couldn't get me interested in clothes. But since I've started volunteering once a week at a Thrift Store, I thought I may as well look around for something to wear. 
Maybe something fun.

Yesterday I went in early to look at the clothes rack. 
I chose a top that said Vivienne Westwood [links to a fun photo review] on it, partly because it's got a wonderful asymmetrical front and back, and partly because a blogfriend had recently mentioned that VW is from Glossop, like Hilary Mantel (author of one of my favorite books, Fludd).

I thought I'd just wear it at the cash register and see if I liked it. When two separate people complimented me on it, I decided to buy it. 
Five dollars.
Granted it's a knock-off (I looked up Westwood's label, and the shirt's is not it), but still, even I think that's not a bad deal. 

 Then I found a pair of clip on earrings in the jewelery case for two dollars. 
Don't they look smashing on Marz's fox Sneakz?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Eve, Part II: Dinner with Friends

Putting on Christmas cracker crowns after dinner

I'm posting this full size; you can scroll to the right to see the whole thing.