Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gift Wrap Idea

Oatmeal Kraft paper
Wide wired patterned ribbon
Gold string
Seed packet
Dried flower

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Fashion Photography: Mommy Dearest

As you all know I find much photographic inspiration in the sick and twisted themes found in B-movies or vintage tabloids. For some examples of this you can go back and view inspiration pulled from Grey Gardens and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?.

Here we see how a tell-all book penned by the disgruntled adopted child of a classic screen star, filtered through the campy film lens of the seventies, produced a cult classic so iconic I sometimes get mixed up and think photos of Fay Dunaway as Joan Crawford in the film "Mommy Dearest" are actually Crawford. 

Shortly after its release, even the studio realized the over-the top drama was so ridiculous it was playing like a comedy. They quickly changed its ad campaign to "Meet the biggest MOTHER of them all!". Of Dunaway's performance, Variety said "Dunaway does not chew scenery. Dunaway starts neatly at each corner of the set in every scene and swallows it whole, costars and all."

In her autobiography Dunaway states that she wished director Frank Perry* had had enough experience to see when actors needed to rein in their performances. In a bizarre coincidence Crawford once said of Dunaway that she had "what it takes" to be a star.

(*Useless trivia: Frank Perry was Katy Perry's uncle.) Also: "No wire hangers, ever!" ranked #72 on AFI's list of 100 Movie Quotes.

Anyway, here are some twisted photographers also inspired as I am...  


The Photography of Sofia Sanchez and Mauro Mongiello:



The Photography of Malina Corpadean:

Evoking the Muse

Ok, so...that wasn't easy. And when I say "wasn't easy" I mean "why the f**ck was that so f**king hard, dude?".
In the process of trying desperately to stay alive and breathing (and keep my kids alive, and breathing, and to school on time and in the right shoes on the right feet) while finding a place to live with NO job, finding a job, making a home out of the type of place one can get with NO job, getting a job (with a 3 to 4 hour commute each day), doing that job AND making sure food appears at appropriate times for two nearly tween-aged boys (not to mention the laundry...why the hell is there SO MUCH LAUNDRY and yet there is still a sock crisis EVERY morning at 7:05 am as we're rushing out to the bus!!!!?) I lost my muse
Yes, she must have gotten fed up with of all of the boring obsessions having only to do with putting one foot in front of the other, and found someone with a few more thoughts in their head.
Until yesterday my musings had been boiled down to the few but urgently persistent: 
"What time is it?"
 "What/ when am I feeding those Monkeys?"
"What am I going to listen to on Pandora on the bus?" and 
"What is the deal with that damned cat box smell!!??*".
 (*Previously my cats were house trained, but our current situation requires a cat box, and, although it has its OWN BEDROOM, I still can't believe this is a thing that people use in their house. I've upgraded to an enormous igloo thing, and obsess every weekend over new litter with varying and scintillating promises on their boxes... Oy, this line of ranting isn't going to entice my muse back to work, so let's just get over it.)

But today - TODAY - I'm on vacation! And I have time, and I have thoughts and the cat box doesn't smell right now.

After months of survival-specific tunnel vision, today I lifted up my head and looked around and exhaled that breath I'd taken just before the leap (into the abyss) and saw that I had DONE it. I am here, and we are fine and it was hard (and will continue to be for a while) but it will only get easier as each kink is ironed out...and it is something I made happen just from an idea in my head.

By the way, if you're wondering why I did it, what the idea was, and was it worth is where I live now (Sonoma County, California):

Here's what I see every morning:
 And every night:
She can't stay away from all of this for long...

Monday, July 30, 2012

Single Mom's Moving on a Budget 101

I am in the midst of one of the biggest moves of my life. I've moved more stuff, and further, and on shorter notice, and with little babies... but I have never moved with so little money, so few prospects and so little choice. I am leaving Colorado because my kids are finally big enough for me to admit defeat in its fashion design job market, and I'm following my heart back to the Bay Area.

If you are moving due to unemployment then you know how daunting every expense can seem. Everything is so uncertain that, even if you HAVE some money you're loathe to spend any...because who knows what the future holds.

I've been working crazily to make this all work (the orchestration has been tortuous), but all the while I've been impressing myself with my ingenuity and thought you might be too; so here are some useful tips:

~OVER communicate with your current landlord.
He holds the key to returning your deposit/ working out lower rent payment/ giving you a reference for your new place.
When you're broke giving more than 30 days notice can give you more leeway with your landlord. In the past I've worked out a deal where I wasn't penalized for breaking a lease if I got a new tenant that was accepted.

~Create a "Rental Resume"
This is especially helpful for finding a place in absentia (if you are moving to a new state).
It should include Driver License number, Social Security Number, Income source and contacts, previous addresses, rents paid and landlord contacts.
This is mandatory if you work for yourself and it's hard to prove your income (you can list multiple clients but you don't have to keep filling out those ridiculously over-photo-copied application forms - just say "see attached" and staple it to the back).
Get your credit score ( - NOT that one with the singing Douche Bags on the commercial that will high-jack your credit card when your credit is already screwed).
I filed bankruptcy two years ago, so my credit score is shot...but my rental references are perfect, so on my rental resume I BEGIN by telling them why my credit sucks. Believe it or not a credit score is not the be-all end-all when apartment hunting. I believe showing how organized you are with your information demonstrates to the potential landlord how organized you will be with taking care of the property and paying the rent.

~Start too soon
Once you get started with the moving process the amount of crap that you forgot you had to do last time is insane. Transferring the kids to a new school alone takes 8 million steps (original, STAMPED Immunization records, school records, new school enrollment forms - after you've researched the nearest/ best school, etc....etc).
Not to mention utilities, address change, planning transit, selling crap, packing. And all of this is AFTER you find a place and are accepted.

Purging makes you money two ways: possible cash for the items and less stuff to have to pay to move. If you keep thinking about how much it will cost to replace that chair that the cat peed on twice already you'll get bogged down. Think about how cheap cat-pee free Ikea furniture is instead.
First: Take pictures of anything someone else may buy
Second: List individually on Craig's List or Ebay (if items are shippable).
Third: Have great big huge moving sale for the things that no one was biting (list this on CL with your photos).
Fourth: Schedule a charity pick up for anything left over (this is especially good for furniture).
Fifth: Rent a dumpster and DO NOT MOVE GARBAGE. If you move garbage you are a hoarder. Yes you are. Yes. You. Are. (My dumpster was $140 for a week and was billed to my current utility bill which I'll let Future Kit worry about.)

~Pack like a genius
If you hire big guys to move then you will have a month's less rent. You can do it! Just be smart. Don't pack a box you can't get up a flight of stairs with a hand truck YOURSELF.  Without a dude. There will be a dude...don't you worry. When you're a single woman moving, dudes come out of nowhere (they can't stand to watch a woman move stuff- it's the same when making a campfire). But imagine that there won't be one and pack accordingly.
Some genius tips:
First: wash all curtains, linens and throws. Fold them in a box all together and leave the box open.
Second: as you pack breakable items use the linens as the padding. This saves money (no packing materials to buy), space (because you have to move the linens anyway) and headache (because there's no nasty packing materials left all over your new place after unpacking).

~Break it down
Because you're starting early (and you're imagining there's no dude to help you pack/ unpack) you can break big things down to their smaller components: take off table legs, take apart beds. This will save space in the truck/ pod and make everything more manageable. Wrap your head around the fact that you'll have to put it all back together at the other end and make your peace with it.

~Clean (and repair) as you go
No matter how neat you are once you move stuff your place seems to have been hiding more nastiness than you though you could have been living with. It can be daunting cleaning it all...but don't wait until the end. When you see something that needs to be cleaned, stop and clean it. Most little wear-and-tear issues can be repaired with no one the wiser. For example: replacing a cat-scratched screen in a sliding glass door is cheap and easy with a new screen kit (takes a few minutes)...while your landlord may try taking 4 times as much out of your deposit than the kit costs. Replacing cat-scratched carpet takes more talent and patience - but all you need is a piece of matching carpet squirreled away from a closet corner with an x-acto and some glue.

~Think outside the box truck
The biggest expense when moving long-distance is the transit. Even the smallest Uhaul truck, driven BY you will run you a thousand or more (depending on distance) with the cost of fuel. You can swap the pain of driving for Pods (truck sized boxes delivered to your door and shipped to new door), but they cost more (and you have to account for the extra time it takes for them to be delivered). Another option is using "part" of a truck; you only pay for the square footage you use, and the rest is used by other people. This is cheaper (ABF/ Upack offers this service) but you need to be flexible with timing. I saw one other idea on a moving forum that seemed interesting, if you have the cash: buy a used box truck, use it to move, then sell it at your destination.

Wish me luck! I'll see you on the flip side.