Saturday, September 29, 2012

013. DIY Washi Tape Silhouette Art

Since I got back to school, my room has been a constant DIY project. I want it to be a sanctuary that I can come back to after class and simply escape in. Decorating it has almost been like filling an altar, picking out meaningful items and symbolic ideas, filling it with candles and incense, trying to create a perfect spiritual balance. My favorite project so far has been my washi tape art.
If you have not yet discovered washi tape, let me be the first to warn you that it is a dangerous addiction. The DIY possibilities are absolutely endless, you can customize basically anything with it, and it's great for scrap booking and collages. I started out with three roles, and I'm already up to nine.
I got the idea from DIY posts here and here. The dear head silhouette is from a site called Man Made, which has some other great stencil downloads as well! The fleur-de-lis I made in honor of New Orleans.

How to make:


-Computer paper
-washi tape (2+ colors)
-x-acto knife
-card stock or poster-board
-glue/glue stick 


1| start by tracing the silhouette you want to create onto the computer paper in pen. I did this simply by opening the image I wanted to make on my computer screen. By taping the paper to the computer screen, the light bleeds through and allows you to see the outline of the shape.

2| Flip the paper over so that the outlined side is DOWN. Cover the plain side in alternating strips of washi tape. Be sure to make your strips long enough to cover the entire width of the shape.

3| Flip the paper back over so that you can see your outline. Using a scissors or an x-acto knife, cut the shape out. Mount the shape onto poster-board using glue, and you're Finished!

I've been really tempted to try even more complicated shapes. I'm really in love with a lot of the cameo artwork by Charmaine Olivia. I was thinking about maybe trying to do something based on this, but I think it's just too intricate and delicate. Anyways, I hope you enjoy the project!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

012. Tattoo Inspiration

Boredom has prompted many unique and stupid ideas from my friends, but nothing makes me smack my forehead like when they decide "Hey let's go get tattoos". It's happened three times in my friend group, and I've been present for two of them. The one time I wasn't there, two boys got "WHO DAT" tattooed in huge letters across their butt cheeks. I wish I was kidding, but sadly I'm not. Luckily when we decided to go yesterday, everyone was very tasteful and practical in their decisions. The shop, Pigment, was painted bright orange and decorated with vintage looking tattoo art, New Orleans signs, and Playboy magazines. I snapped a couple of inspiration shots.

My friend Kristina got her belly button re-pierced. Here's her sitting with me and my friend Jake. I'm wearing a vintage floral romper, and my DIY sunglasses from this post. I wish I got better pictures of my outfit!

My friend Lily's tattoo was the most spontaneous. I was quite worried about her rushing into it, but in the end it looked lovely, and I think she was very happy with the result. The quote is from East of Eden, one of her favorite books and one of the next on my reading list. The full quote is this:

“But I have a new love for that glittering instrument, the human soul. It is a lovely and unique thing in the universe. It is always attacked and never destroyed - because 'Thou mayest.”
Although I don't understand the exact connotations because I haven't read the book, the quote grows on me every time I hear it.

My friend Jake got the words "And so on." tattooed on his wrist. It's from Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, another book I have yet to read. Apparently Vonnegut explains that "And so on" is the only proper way to end a story about a human life, because time moves on. I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of the finished tattoo, but he got it in this awesome typewriter font that looks really great. Perhaps I'll get a picture sometime today and edit it in.

Becca has been wanting her tattoo for a while. She got a quote in French "L'essential est invisible pour les yeux", or "What is essential is invisible to the eyes".

Finally, my friend Emily got a small arrow on her foot to signify that she is forever moving forward, and an equal sign on her wrist to signify that everyone is equal.

Here's the whole group of us who went sitting together. I love that we look like such a happy little family! I have nothing against tattoos, and I think that they are absolutely awesome on some people, but I'd always be too chicken to go through with it. I'm the one holding the camera.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

011. On the Other Hand

On The Other hand is this amazing thrift shop in New Orleans that sells vintage and second hand clothes. Whether or not you're lucky enough to find some hidden treasures, digging around in such an eerie, beautiful place is an experience all on it's own.

When you first walk into the store, you're greeted by a whole host of vintage gowns in varying states of decay. You notice that the dresses are a bit pricey, some of them are marked for nearly two hundred dollars. Just as the disappointment of having such lovely things be so far out of your price range sets in, a warm southern voice from the back of the shop assures you that "Everything in the front of the store is 75% off, and everything in the back is 90% off!"

The old woman sits at a table and smells like cigarettes and boxed wine. She'll offer you a glass of Franzia if you stick around long enough. She always wears a wide brimmed had and dresses up with pearls as if she's attending a cocktail party. She constantly tells you how nice you look, and how much she loves all of the things you're picking out. With all the vintage wedding gowns floating about, you are reminded of Miss Havisham, and although the woman could not be sweeter, she gives you a sad, nostalgic feeling. You wonder if something bad happened to her when she was young to make her want to surround herself with such beautiful things.

The back of the store looks like a closet you made up in a dream. Fantastic old Mardi Gras costumes hang from the ceiling alongside white canopies of mosquito netting. Shoes, hats, wigs, and other oddities like bits of fabric cover every surface without much rhyme or reason. Drawers in the old furniture that decorate the area hold more oddities, like cheesy barrettes and jewelry.

On the other hand is undoubtedly my favorite vintage/second hand store in New Orleans. I highly recommend taking the time to stop by if you're ever in the city. I plan to make another stop there sometime before Halloween. During my last trip I managed to snag a vintage white embroidered dress, a vintage silk Neiman Marcus blouse, some tulle for making a Mardi Gras tutu, and some incredible wooden shoes with epic painted carvings in the heel.

Here is the outfit I wore on the day I went! I have to get out of the habit of taking selffy pictures because you can never see what shoes I'm wearing. Although they are absent from the picture, I promise I'm wearing a pair of awesome lace up boots from the nineties! The skirt I made myself (I wrote about it in an early post already). The necklace is once again borrowed from a suite-mate.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

010. How To DIY Ombre Dip Dye Skirt

I picked up this skirt for $1.50 at a thrift store in Chicago before I left for school. I loved the high waisted cut, but it was a bit plain and I could tell it needed a little makeover. Unfortunately, the 'before' pictures of the skirt seemed to have been mysteriously deleted from my camera. I think the finished project speaks for itself in spite of it.

The Process: 

Being a poor and limited college student, my process was a bit uncouth but it just goes to show how easy the project is. Instead of using a bucket, I used my sad little trash can to hold the bleach solution. Here are the steps:
1| Start with a solution that is two parts water and one part bleach. Pour into a bucket or can in which you can fit your desired article of clothing.
2| Dip clothing into the solution to the desired height. Depending on the fabric, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an entire hour to fully react. Every article of clothing will come up with a slightly different result.
3| To create more 'levels' of lighter dye (I didn't really do this on my skirt) increase the concentration of bleach in the solution. You don't need much more to make a difference. Raise the article out of the dye again to the desired height of the new level.
4| To halt the bleaching process, thoroughly rinse the bleach solution out of the skirt and then dip it into a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. I did not do this to my skirt, but if you are planning on doing multiple levels this will help keep them distinct.
5| Wash the article of clothing in cold water and enjoy wearing!

I found this pair of shorts at top shop with a very similar color scheme! My initial plan was to bleach the skirt white, but I was really into the purple/pink color when it started to show. It was a really nice surprise!

Monday, September 17, 2012

009. My Glasses & Philosophy

I love my glasses but I usually remove them for pictures because they cause such terrible glare. I picked them up from a flea market in Illinois for only five dollars. They're pretty much my greatest find ever. They're from the fifties and made of aluminum or some other weird metal. After putting up a bit of a fight, I got Lens Crafters to put lenses in them for me and now I wear them almost daily.

The lovely lady behind me in this picture is my darling suite-mate, Lily. She is one of my best friends and easily the most beautiful person I know. She'll probably be popping up frequently in the future, hopefully not as creepily as she did in this shot. The dress I'm wearing is hers.

I really wish I could have gotten my shoes in the shot. They're this adorable pink and blue floral ked's. I really liked bringing another pattern into the outfit. I meant to write this post the same day I wore the outfit (last Friday?). I had planned to type it out during my Ancient philosophy, but we decided to have class outside and without taking notes. I'm pretty sure that my professor for that class is a graduate student philosophy major. He's either Greek or Jewish and has dark hair with a bigger nose and a hipster beard. He's what a picture a young Socrates to look like and I can't help but picture him wearing a toga for most of the time he's talking. Last class we had our discussion under this huge tree behind the building. He was wearing a white linen shirt and long khaki pants and all the students were in a big circle around him. I felt like he was some kind of philosophical spirit master. It's a very weird course.

Currently I am working my first ever shift as a Desk Attendant at my dorm. I had to get up at 5:45 AM in order to be here by 6AM. Lucking we are allowed to have our laptops between until 10 AM, so I was able to keep myself entertained. Or rather, I was able to listen to the audiobooks of the Iliad for class while I hand-sewed part of this gold bustier I am making (pictures to come). I didn't manage to make it down to the French Quarter to visit voodoo shops this weekend, but I did get a lot of DIY stuff done that I'm looking forward to posting about some time this week!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

008. An Outfit and Some Thoughts

This morning was one of those days where I woke up and my closet seemed to be hiding all the good stuff from me. I had a dream that my theater major friend made me try out for all these plays and I woke up craving a custom worthy of this theatrical dream version of myself. Sharing clothes is undoubtedly one of the foremost perks of living with three other college girls. The skirt is from a local New Orleans Vintage/thrift store called Funky Monkey, the shirt (my roommate's) was thrifted. I'm not sure about the earrings (also my roommate's) but I'm definitely digging their 60's vibe.

I got my bracelet from this awesome Israeli jewelry kiosk that used to be in the mall near my house in Chicago. I'm not sure of the EXACT significance, but each little gold coin has a different name for god in Hebrew written on it. It's very Kabbalah-y and also gypsy-ish at the same time.I am Jewish by heritage, but my personal beliefs are really all over the board. I'd love to do a post on it eventually. I love wearing pretty much any type of religious jewelry because I feel like there's a spiritual charge to it no matter what your beliefs.

I'm in a Greek and Roman Religions class this semester and it has been making me think a lot about religion in general. I really hate both the text book and the idiot teaching the class professor, but I find the content interesting. I went through a very pagan phase in my preteen years that I guess I never fully grew out of. It's always really held my interest.

Tomorrow my hope is to head down to some voodoo shops in the french quarter and pick up some neat little candles and charms and things to decorate my room with. If I do go, I'll definitely do a post on what I end up getting!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

007. Jackson Square

These past few weeks have been so hectic! After all the hustle and bustle of packing, I finally got back to New Orleans last Saturday. Classes were supposed to start the following Monday, but Hurricane Isaac came rolling in and they were cancelled for the entire week. A lot of Tulane students ended up evacuating, but my friends and I ended up house sitting for the amazing house in New Orleans. We never lost power so it was just four amazing days of cooking, movies, manicures, and this crazy game called Cards Against Humanity. It's a dirty version of Apples to Apples. If you've never heard of it, I suggest you check it out.

Now that the weather's cleared, I've been busy exploring all my favorite corners of New Orleans. This weekend was the annual Southern Decadence festival, which is a huge Gay Pride event. My friends and I didn't make it to any of the parades, but we went into the French Quarter on Saturday and I got to wear my pink wig as a little celebratory token. The Nicki Minaj look scored me a ton of beads.


This afternoon we made our way to the French Quarter yet again for some shopping and lunch. As far as shopping goes, the trip was unsuccessful, but it was an absolutely lovely day. Once the heat of the sun subsided, we made our way over to Cafe Du Monde for some coffee and ended up sitting in Jackson Square. Seeing all the voodoo art lined up across Royal made me think of Dr. Facilier from the Princess and The Frog. It's a bit embarrassing that a Disney movie is the best cultural reference I can come up with, but I do really love it. My camera died on me, but Instagram was there once again to save the day!

I hope to post more fashion-oriented photos soon. I haven't had time to think about it with school starting up, but now that I'm more settled in that should change!