OOTD: Too Much To Focus On

OOTD 06 30 2016 A

Small focus issue…but there’s a lot happening here. Orange and purple are a hot combination that is settled down by those little turquoise blue accents here and there.

Glamorous (that’s the brand) Muppet eyelash sweater.

Ally Ro tunic/dress from ThredUp

Free People skirt, also from ThredUp

Peacock feather tights from Free People several years ago..ModCloth may still carry them.

Miz Mooz Booties.

OOTD: Mediterranean Tiles

All blues and hints of aqua…I feel like a Turkish or Greek tiled mosaic….

Necklace: Purchased at White Raven Studios (sadly, long gone), I forget the artist’s name. That’s not true, I remember it, but despise his wife (who believes that my husband would like to join her in complaining about their artist spouses even if I am present–see also: my husband likes being married to artist, so take your baggage elsewhere, madam).

The marbles, too.

Top: Ann Taylor Loft, bought secondhand, not sure where. This top is a key pattern-on-pattern piece–she is so cooperative I can mix her in with just about anything.

Skirt: Max Studio via ThredUp

Shoes: Big Buddha

OOTD: Silk and Big Ass Jewels

Everyone in Artful Blasphemy’s life just loves the hair, but I HATE IT. Students have begged me not to cut it, my mother always loves it “softer”….coworkers are marveling, and I’m texting Bobcat “PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE FIT ME IN NOW”. The only aesthetic that matters is yours. I feel the most like myself when my hair is pixie-short. I feel prettier, I feel right, I feel me. Don’t let people pressure you into doing something you don’t like–you be you.

Dress/Tunic: Peter Nygard, silk, via ThredUp. I am not so sure about all the big paste gems but I love the print.

Leggings: Express or The Limited, via ThredUp

FLY London shoes.

I tried wrapping the marble necklace around my wrist but that is not comfortable.

Book Review Monday: Fates & Furies


Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

The first book of Groff’s I read was Arcadia, which I experienced as an entrancing, emotionally rich story about a child’s perception of their circumstances wherein privation and uncertainty become richly imbued with nostalgia due to the child not being privy to adult realities. As such, it was with great anticipation that I paid full price for her new novel, Fates and Furies.

Fates and Furies is, at its heart, a novel about a marriage and the fact that we can never fully know another person, even a spouse. Naturally it’s not a novel about a happy marriage rather, one about a marriage that becomes structured around one partner’s ego, to whom all, including truth, must be sacrificed. Disappointingly, we don’t even get the experience of it being the female partner whose ego consumes everything—instead it is the tired trope of wife makes great sacrifice such that husband does not have to face his own failings.

At best, the novel is unsatisfying. Characters are unlikable, and the core exchange of power that might bring it all to life is hidden away until the end, at which point the reader, exhausted by the pretentiousness of the writing, hardly cares except to arch an eyebrow and think, “Well, it would have been more interesting to know that and spend the rest of the book watching that dynamic play out.” There is literature, and there are books that strive too hard and unnecessarily to be literary, and unfortunately the effort toward literary status is transparent, clumsy and off-putting. The term literature does not have to mean that the characters are unreadable and inaccessible. It was the accessibility of the characters in Arcadia that made it such a compelling read. Instead, Fates and Furies is a Death March in which the only reward is that it’s over. One very disappointed star.

OOTD: Dragon Pants Still With Dog

OOTD 06 27 2016 AOOTD 06 27 2016 B

The dog just was not going to leave the frame, so here she is again.

Another adventure in pants-making. This time I used a pattern, but adjusted the width of the legs and the rise and waistband.

In general, quilter cottons do not make good garments for the same reasons they are good for quilting–namely, they have body and a stiffer hand. However, there are the occasional projects where they can be applied, and these highly graphic pants are just such a one. My mom brought back something like 8 yards of this when she visited Hawaii for the first time and immediately apologized for the gift, saying she knew it was too much, I probably wouldn’t be able to use it….but I said, “It has gold and dragons, chill. I’ll use it.”

The fullness in the leg is pushed out of the waist/hip by a big pleat, which is less bulky than elastic and provides a smoother fit. I went with a slightly naughty exposed gold zipper to echo the gold in the fabric, and accented the waistband, side seams and hems with a sea foam green bias tape. Artful Blasphemy LOVES bias tape. It is my soul mate. One of them, anyway.

Top is Express, via ThredUp.

Jewelry–more castoffs from my mom.

Shoes: Cob Hill

Dog: Trixie the 3-legged Pit Bull Manatee Mermaid

Shopping Saturday: The Lost Art of Lounging

Shopping Saturday 06 25 2016

Today’s Shopping Saturday is more of a Wishful Saturday….As I wrap up the first stage of the convalescing period, and also as I note that my summer wardrobe is using comfort and coolness as the primary aesthetic, I am reminded of the glamorous 40s, and the notion of the Hostess or Resort Pajama.

I grew up watching old movies because it was my father’s television and that was what he liked and he needed the TV to be on pretty much all day. I developed the impression, as a child, that when women are sick, or tired, they attire themselves in silk, coif their hair, fix their makeup, and sweep or lie about with delicate marabou puff slippers while people wait on them hand and foot. I was truly disappointed to learn that being sick is not just another form of being pretty, as I often contemplated my own 3 day bed head, bloodshot, feverish eyes, cracked lips and mossy teeth in tandem with some smelly t-shirt or such that I hadn’t changed in those three or more days.

Still, let’s pretend it’s possible…..

Upper left is a perfect example of a rayon Hostess or Lounging Pajama. You might go home, feeling the twinge of a tiny headache, and put these on while someone brings you tonic with lemon and you drape yourself over the divan, hoping someone handsome might stop by and find your sleeping mask (the silk one) for you…..

Next to it, interestingly enough, is a modern interpretation from Mary Katrantzou for Adidas. Yes, it’s “active wear” but active wear is often the new lounge wear, with the added benefit of it looking like you just got home from some healthy physical activity, but your hair isn’t mussed and you haven’t sweat a drop. Perhaps someone sexy will drop by and bring you a green tea, antioxidant, immune-boosting smoothie and feel your quads while you drink it….

Next, available on Etsy, the one that started this theme–an absolutely stunning set with some Chinoserie (don’t you love it when the computer says you have spelled something wrong but offers no options except “trichinosis” I know I do…). If you want to buy actual vintage, $300 is about the best price you’re going to get for a set that’s in good shape. From ClosetCaseVNTG.

These were not just for the rich folk, as there were plenty of sewing patterns so that the industrious woman could whip up her own set. I don’t have links to those specific patterns, but you can search Etsy, EBay, or even go over to Decades of Style where they have a really fun 1930s one-piece in an easy to use reproduction pattern.

For the holiday season, one lounges in velvet, naturally. Make sure your slippers have a bit of a heel…one can’t go barefoot at the beginning of the impromptu party that just created itself one snowy evening. Barefoot and lampshades are for later, darling. Throw on White Christmas with Bing Crosby and the gang and sing and dance along….

Another thoroughly modern interpretation is this, next to the bottom right, from Anna Sui’s Fall 2014 Ready-to-Wear collection. It’s got a 1920s vibe going on, which makes underpropers optional, and who doesn’t find that comfortable? Meet them at the door in that, and no one will care that you have the flu.

Finally, bottom right corner, a 1939 Lobster themed lounging set. The link to it has disappeared into the 404, sadly, but if you go to Artful Blasphemy on Pinterest and find the board for Shopping Saturday Ideas, you can look at a bigger photo.

OOTD: Chilly Gardening

OOTD 06 23 2016 AOOTD 06 23 2016 BOOTD 06 23 2016 C

We had just begun our little garden and it got cold again–March in New Mexico is a contrary beast.

Shawl: a gift purchased at local shop Galleria Azul.

Top: Kensie, from Buffalo Exchange in Albuquerque.

Jeans: Super stretchy Levis.

El Naturalista boots, also found at Buffalo in Albuquerque.

OOTD: Bird Pants & Tutorial Review

Artful Blasphemy has become obsessed with very wide legged trousers with exciting prints. I found an online pants project sponsored by JoAnn Fabrics, here. It claimed to be easy, which already seemed a fallacy, since pants are very difficult to fit, especially on oneself. I absolutely, emphatically do not recommend this project to a new or even moderate-level stitcher, as it doesn’t even come with a PDF that you can print and assemble from 81/2″x 11″ paper. It simply shows the pieces on a grid and then you have to figure that all out and draw it. If you don’t own a patterning ruler, you are up a creek in terms of drafting the crotch. And even then, unless you already have a pants sloper, adjustments will need to be made.

Where I nailed it was in the back. That is a perfectly fitted ass, if I do say so myself. But, I had major issues with the waistband and the front. If you look, right above my fingers is a horizontal wrinkle—that means that a vertical adjustment is necessary–the rise (distance from crotch to waist) is too high, so it’s buckling. Also the center of the waist band is pointy where it shouldn’t be. I had to go back in by removing the waistband, truing it by re-cutting that curve at center front, and then trimming an inch off the front that tapered back into the sides so as not to mess with the back.

Tedious. But worth it–except, don’t use that tutorial. Get a pants pattern, mock up in shorts form, make your fit adjustments there, and alter your pattern accordingly. Way less labor. Take it from me.