Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Handmade outfit

earrings: designed and made by me
jacket: H&M
belt: H&M
purse: vintage
skirt: designed and made by me
shoes: Etienne Aigner

A pause in the New York photos to show another outfit with handmade items. I designed and made both the skirt and the earrings in these shots. I was slow to warm to the maxi skirt trend (maybe it's the name?), but now I completely understand the appeal. They're so comfortable and you don't even have to shave your legs! I made this skirt in one afternoon with a lovely, soft knit that I've had for a couple of years but was afraid to cut up for fear of ruining it. I'm thinking if there is enough interest I might post a pattern/tutorial. What do you think?

I know there is some fashion law passed from one queen bee to the next that you're not supposed to repeat outfits, but I wore this one twice. First at the opening of my friend Sarah's art show in New York and then when my mom and I went to a performance of the Pacific Northwest Ballet this weekend here in Seattle. I figured if there was a 3,000 mile separation between wearings it wouldn't count? Or more likely I just don't care that much. 

On a side note, it took me for-ever to find a pair of heels that weren't sky high. While I appreciate the aesthetics of those kind of heels, I don't really need to be 6'4". I'll leave those heels to the more petite girls. But it would be nice if there was a variety of cute heels available in a variety of heights. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Brooklyn sunset

I just got back from a trip to New York and I am feeling overwhelmingly inspired. I hadn't been out of Washington since I moved back here almost three years ago. I'm used to moving and traveling so it was beginning to feel like I was trapped here. I took the trip because I needed it. I found the plane tickets cheap and slept on a generous friend's couch, but even still it wasn't really a smart thing to do from a financial point of view. But I went anyway and got sunburned in Washington Square Park, spent four and a half hours wandering around the Natural History Museum, had a physical reaction to the beauty at the Cloisters, helped a friend with her art show, finally went to see the Irish Hunger Memorial, and had a tiny emotional breakdown. It wasn't the vacation of my dreams by any means, but it brought a little bit of much needed perspective back to my life and helped close some doors I didn't realize I had left open.

The pictures above are from the neighborhood in Brooklyn I lived in during my last year of college. It's amazing and comforting how easily New York comes back to you.

PS: Get ready to be inundated with NY photos over the next few days

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Don't Look Now

If you're familiar with Daphne Du Maurier's writing, you'll know a few of her works were the inspiration for Hitchcock films, including Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, and the short story The Birds. However in Du Maurier's version of The Birds there is no sleepy New England town, there is no terrified class of school kids, there are no telephone booths at all, and of course there is no overly stylish Tippi Hedren running around. All there is a man and his family, a freezing wind, and the birds. Du Maurier creates a stark landscape and a terrifyingly simple premise: something is wrong with the birds. Supposedly Du Maurier was not very happy with Hitchcock's take on her story. I can't blame her, while Hitchcock's version is undeniably a classic, the original is taut and sparse and timelessly terrifying.

The Birds is included in this collection of Du Maurier's shorter fiction along with some other tense and mysterious stories. In her time, and even sometimes still, Du Maurier was relegated to bestseller status and her writing wasn't really taken seriously or considered "literature" by her peers. More recently her status has been raised by newer readers who are recognizing her as an incredible suspense writer. If you're interested in reading some of her work, I highly recommend the classic Rebecca and the above collection of short stories Don't Look now.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

From My Sketchbook

I can't get these landscapes out of my head fast enough.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Finally! I've had this tutorial planned for so long and I finally get to share it. I'm going to show you how to use acetone to transfer an image from a laser print onto a wood plaque. I love the aged look this method gives and the somewhat unpredictable results it can surprise you with.

::Safety equipment::
-chemical gloves
-respirator (a couple of notes on the respirator: 1)if you're a serious crafter it's a good idea to have one of these on hand, not just for acetone but for spray paint, house paint, spray adhesives, etc. I use mine all the time. 2)DO NOT USE A PARTICLE MASK a particle mask will protect your lungs from dust and particles but it WILL NOT protect your lungs from fumes. A good common sense rule is if you can smell the fumes, then chemicals are getting into your lungs)

::Other supplies::
a rag
wood plaque 
sand paper

::Not pictured::
photo printed with a laser printer (sorry it won't work with an ink jet print)
white paint (optional)

All safety equipment and supplies available at your friendly neighborhood hardware store. Except for the wood plaques which are really inexpensive at any craft store.

I wanted my final product to have a white washed look so I painted my plaque with some watered down white paint. If you're going to paint yours too, it's a good idea to use a paint with a matte finish because the acetone needs to absorb into the surface a little, if you use a glossy paint it won't absorb at all. 

Then I lightly sanded the whole thing. 

Next I prepared my image. I used a scan I took of a leaf I found in my back yard. I imported the scans to an image editing program and changed the image to greyscale and then upped the contrast and adjusted the size to fit my plaque. An important thing to remember is anything you print will be reversed when you transfer the image, so if you decided to include text make sure to flip it in the image editing stage otherwise your text will come out backwards on the final product. Print your image using a laser printer. Toner is the key to this process so only images from laser printers or copiers will work. 

Next step is to prepare all your safety stuff. Make sure your respirator is securely on your face and your chemical gloves are on (Remember, if you can smell the fumes then you don't have it on correctly and chemicals are getting into your lungs). 

Place your image toner side down on the plaque.

Pour some acetone onto the rag.

Rub the acetone soaked rag on the back of the image. Make sure you don't move the image once you've started, otherwise your final image will be all wonky. Just press firmly and wipe across the back of the entire image. You only need to wipe once over every part of the image because pretty much all the toner transfers in that first swipe.

Once you've rubbed the acetone all over the back of your image, peel away the paper and voila! Have fun with it! I would love to see anything you create using this image. Send me a photo or a link intrepidhermit(at)gmail(dot)com

Friday, March 2, 2012


I know everybody and their mother (including mine) reads Design Sponge, so I won't even pretend everybody hasn't already seen these wonderful headboards created by Ariele Alasko featured today. I still wanted to post them though because I'm on the hunt for a headboard. I tend to keep things forever, so buying a new piece of furniture is a long decision process for me. It's a for serious commitment. I've been looking for months and when I saw these, I knew one of them would be perfect. Unfortunately, I have an Ikea budget, not a hand-crafted-and-worth-every-penny budget, so these beautiful headboards are regretfully relegated to the inspiration board. They're still pretty to look at though.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

From My Sketchbook

I'm interested in the way structure holds memory

A funny thing about this drawing, when I was making it I wasn't thinking about anything out right gory. I was thinking about that feeling that you've outgrown your life, that you're trying to shove yourself into a life you don't fit into anymore, that feeling of being disconnected from your body, and feeling confined by symbolic structures. It wasn't until after I showed the drawing to someone and their reaction was "Oh! That's disturbing," that I realized if viewed literally, it is kind of disturbing.