ReFashion 2016: Denim Repair

Denim Repair Inspo

Boro and Sashiko are Japanese mending techniques. Sashiko refers to Boro means  rags or tattered cloth. Boro is the textile created from clothing that has been patched several times. Japanese borotextiles (usually clothing and bed covers) were sewn from rags and patches of indigo-dyed cotton during the 19th and early 20th century. The rural population of Japan couldn’t afford new clothing and had to literally make ends meet by patching together discarded cotton rags. Japanese families repaired and recycled everything from fisherman’s jackets to futon covers, handing them down for generations. Sashiko, meaning “little stabs,” is a long, embroidery stitch used for mending or purely for decoration. source

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Although I love hand work I haven’t been able to carve out the energy or time for a lot of it lately. When my mom asked me to repair a couple of pairs of her favorite jeans I took inspiration from the visible patching and stitching techniques of boro and sashiko.

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  1. I pinned a patch to the inside of the jean to cover a large vertical rip.
  2. I started sewing across the patch in a zig zag formation vertically.
  3. Then I did the same thing horizontally.
  4. I turned the jeans inside out.
  5. Next, I added a decorative patch from a piece of a vintage japanese kimono I thrifted.
  6. Then I followed the same technique on a hole on the inner thigh using some recycled denim, also thrifted.
  7. This time, I patched it from the outside.
  8. I turned and repeated the process on a third hole.
  9. Finally, I have a repaired jean that hopefully will become more interesting with wear.

My mom was pretty pleased to be wearing her jeans again.

 

xoxo

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Melancholia, My Shadow Self & the Spring Feels

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I equate Spring with joy. It is promise fulfilled, after all. For me, spring symbolizes blooming flowers, showers, temperate days and the coming of natural abundance. But spring is also another transitional season and as we know transitions, mo matter how beautiful the outcome, can be really challenging. My last spring living in New York City was awful.

It was icy and cold throughout March and by the time mid-April came, it was humid and muggy and would pretty much stay that way all summer. Sometimes transitions are downright oppressive. This year the Spring Equinox coincided with a full moon and a solar eclipse and things got pretty emotional. My body chemistry was out of whack and my coping skills were a mess. My shadows came into the light and issues I never before acknowledged were ever present. But that is just how transitions sometimes go.

A dear friend  and I were just talking about how one day you can feel great and the next you are struggling and how we both have learned to stop scrutinizing it. Embracing the darkness, my fears, my darker impulses, desires, and frustrations is to see my shadow self. Psychologist Carl Jung coined the terms Persona and Shadow Self as reflections of a person’s innate duality.

The persona is your ideal archetype, that which you want to be or what you imagine for yourself. The shadow self, is the archetype that forms the unconscious part of the mind made up of repressed ideas experiences, instincts, weaknesses and embarrassing fears and desires, things that can be associated with negativity in society and therefore, are avoided. The shadow self is the self we hide, where hurt and shame can live without being addressed because of that fear or stigma. Sometimes the shadows are old wounds meant to be healed. So on with the healing.

I have finally received my Goddess Tarot deck. My tarot deck of choice. I am excited to explore healing those spaces through magick and use my Tarot as a magickal tool to do so. The journey continues.

xoxo,

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Magick: New Moon, Journaling & Ritual

 

 

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Original artwork by Vanessa Leigh

I recently covered my journal dedicated to magick in leather. Some witches refer to it as a Book of Shadows, others as a grimoire, I kind of like the simplicity of magick journal. It was a simple thing to do, but it felt important. Not only because the salvaged scrap leather was beautiful and a gift from my dear friend and witchy boo, but it gave the place that I write about my spiritual life and ritual more weight. As to command more of my attention. The New Moon is here and we have just had a Lunar Eclipse. During the eclipse, the sun, moon and the earth line up and for few minutes, the dark moon eclipses the sun. In those few minutes the moon appears in all of its phases and at that time it is said magic can be done for any phase of the moon.

 

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  • The Waning Moon is a timeto work ritual around removing energies, ending relationships, releasing that which does not serve you as well as curses, repelling negative energies, protection and cleansing spells.
  • The New Moon is a time to work ritual and spells for new beginnings, new projects, rejuvenation, dark works, personal improvement, employment, health money and banishment of that which doesn’t serve you.
  • The Waxing Moon can be used to bring growth, power, attraction, creativity, motivation, inspiration as well as luck, love and healing.
  • The Full Moon is a time when ritual is best used to bring knowledge, prosperity, divination, psychic abilities, guidance, fertility and romance. It is also a good time for decision making.

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I have beengoing through it in the last week. As I sometimes do,  I have become overwhelmed and experienced some major anxiety. My body forced me to surrender and in the act of being emotionally swept away I journaled and I made art. In front of my himalayan crystal salt lamp, with frankincense burning to sooth me, I furiously wrote. I sought counsel from a favorite resource and exorcised the root of one immediate problem. And I made art for the Yaruban goddess Oya, intuitively, while still deep in my feelings. And it felt good to look down on the page and see my realizations.

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So tonight (for you, last night) I take advantage of the eclipse and last day of waning moon to cleanse myself of that which that no longer serves me and do a ritual for self-healing. And tomorrow (or tonight for you) I will be setting my intentions for the waxing moon with love, for myself and those that I love, and asking for divine guidance from my Goddesses. There is so much beauty in ritual, healing too. And perhaps most of all clarity of intent and attention which can transform everything.

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Happy New Moon Lovelies.

xoxo,

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ReFashion 2016: Black Is Beautiful

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The Story

Black History Month aka Black Future Month ends with my little tribute to The Black Panthers and a simple and very satisfying refashion! If you follow my Instagram, you will see that when PBS aired the documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution I was fairly obsessed. I was raised in a working class all-white neighborhood in the burbs of Los Angeles in the late 1970s.

I learned respectability politics young from my southern mother and my father, an immigrant from the West Indies. For their survival and mine, I was taught it was important that as a Black person I was extra nice, extra likable, and that much more respectable than my white counterparts. It was as if because I was Black, I didn’t automatically deserve respect. Leaving the white pov or white gaze behind is complicated in this country with our very racist history. Long before Beyonce’s Formation, there was the Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers celebrated Blackness, traded in respectability politics for justice, and all the while shone for being fierce in their own skin.

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At one point in the  documentary (where yes, I was driven to tears) the filmmakers interviewed former Panthers and journalists alike on the style of the BPP. The natural hair, the sleek stylish ‘uniform,’ and “swagger!” Whether you are interested in political ideology or not, there is so much fierceness in the message that BPP gave the Black community which was – love yourself, as you are. Their message was that Black was not only beautiful but worthy. Worthy of love, worthy of justice, worthy of self-determination. There is nothing complicated about that. If you have not seen the documentary yet, do!

 

Boot ReFit

The ReFashion

First of all, I love these boots so hard, they were a major investment piece I bought (on sale) about 8 years ago for my first return trip to NYC after moving home. They are made for all weather and are water resistant, have lug soles, working laces, and a zipper for easy access.  I LOVE these fabulous functional boots, but after gaining significant weight they didn’t fit anymore. My smallest calf size was probably about 19 inches and my widest calf is currently 23inches.  I often prefer ankle boots, but when I have gotten higher boots, I generally got away with having them stretched at a cobbler’s shop or have also had elastic inserts put into boots. Any shoe repair can also do this simple alteration for you.

  1. When I tried on the boot years after my last wearing, they  would not close.e
  2. Reasonable people take out their laces which I recommend, but I partially unlaced my boots enough to see what I was doing on the inside.
  3. My solution for making space across the calves? Detach the tongues of the boots! Because the tongue is sewn into both sides of the boot – it can not be placed where you want it on the leg for coverage. Sometimes it’s sewn into one side of the boot.
  4. Use scissors to cut open the seams where the tongue and lacing sides of the boot are attached.
  5. Once the tongue was freed up, I had about 2 extra inches in overlapping fabric on each side of the boot newly available.
  6. At this point, you want to dispose of any loose threads.
  7.  If you like you can add fabric to both sides of the tongue for more coverage. You can also elect to get rid of the tongue altogether for a cute tongueless boot.
  8. Finally, you will want to get longer laces to properly lace up your boots. I haven’t done this yet but am looking forward to it. Remember you can always switch up the color and/or use grosgrain or velvet ribbon instead of standard corded laces. Now lace up those puppies and go!

Dress: Thrifted  Hat: ReFashioned Leather Jacket: Built to Last
70s Vintage Wallpaper: Interwebs

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xoxo,

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Make & ReFashion 2016 Planner

I’m back! It’s taken me a couple of months to figure our what I wanted to tackle on my sewing projects list. Getting gifted three giant bags amounting to 70 lbs of fabric on top of a newly organized bigger stash, means finally getting organized! I have a couple of ReFashions from 2015 that never got done so they are on my 2016 list!

  • If you follow me on Instagram you may remember me disassembling some thrifted clogs! Well, it’s time to get those perfect platform walking height heels hooked up for Cali’s year round clog wearing weather! I’m So ready! I am going to make either a T-strap style or an Oxford style with a secure ankle strap. I’m not very good with slip on clogs, I tend to twist my ankle a lot!

Clog ReFashion Moodboard

  • I have been meditating on how to make my denim jacket more wearable for ages since I don’t wear it. And I’ve decided on a plan of action. Below center is where I’m at, but thinking about going marching band with it. Think Balmain meets fat adorable majorette! Instead of traditional trims, I’m thinking of using patchwork techniques with denim or velvet to create the banding. I am so into it – which is all that matters of course.

Denim ReFashion Inspo 2016

  • I never even started my Velvet number that was calling me so hard! I have two deconstructed thrift-shop-scored blue velvet dresses that demand action. I thought I’d do a simple slip dress and see if I had enough for a jacket too, but now I am thinking of a simple shape like some of the ideas below. And I’m definitely interested in embellishing the velvet! See Adornment Inspo board further down, please!

Velvet ReFashion Inspo 2016

  • The last project that I haven’t gotten to are sweaters! I am freezing half of the time. AS long as I have been alive, I have been underdressed. Even in lovely Los Angeles, it gets cold and often it will get hot and even when it’s perfectly in between the temperature always drops at night so I will always need to be layer ready. These sweaters inspire me BEYOND to get to sewing. Luckily I scored a new light lovely knit in my recent gifted haul and have a couple of really nice knits as well as a couple of heavy Ponte fabrics to tackle projects. I also have a lovely three-tone looped yarn I hope to use as fringe in at least one project.

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  • I went to an 80s Prom this month with my favorite dancing buddy Betty! I think that warrants its own post – and it just got me on a major nostalgia trip! The 1980s was an odd and unique period that somehow managed to reference, the 50s, a new era of Japanese modernist design, a NeoVictorian thing coexisting with a retro-futurism of sorts. I really need to make a prairie shirt, not to mention some asymmetrical cuts in neutrals. I have some splatter paint style cotton with a bit of lycra, some geometrics and a fab piece of grunge-worthy yellow plaid that needs to be used for the love of the 80s.

80s ReFashion - Make 2016

  • I have some lovely chiffon and polyester blend sheer prints that need to become fabulous timeless maxis! I love how simple color blocking becomes art in prints and lace. I am also really feeling my inner Stevie Nicks these days. Easy witchy high style moments in the making.

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  • And of course, and probably most importantly, the BASIX I didn’t quite master last year! I have some vintage leather, recycled denim and a ton of light-weight two way stretch knit blends that need to become easy tunics/dresses, skorts, culottes and drapey tops. Sounds like the Drape Drape books are coming out of storage! It’s time to get the basics down and that for me means easy, comfy, sultry everyday wear.

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  • Lastly, I am obsessed with fabulous artisanal embellishments. I am first and foremost a textile addict after all. Everything from screen printing and hand painting to beading and embroidery is calling me. I think some artistic adorning will be on the immediate horizon! My leather jacket, in particular, keeps telling me they want a makeover. I am here to serve.

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 Here we go!

xoxo,

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Cinephile: Race Films & Imitation of Life

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From 1915 to approximately 1951 there was a genre of films known as Race Films. These films were primarily written, directed, produced by Black artists, starring Black artists for Black audiences in segregated or Black movie houses. The existence of African American movie studios is probably a total revelation to most people.  The independent films and studios created outside of the Hollywood Studio system would later be a source for casting Black roles, including the likes of Paul Robeson and Sidney Poitier.

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My darling fellow film aficionado Margarita, sent me a link for an event recently, African American Pioneers in film at NYC ‘s Film Forum. The series features the films of one of the most well-known writer and makers of race films, Oscar Micheaux. Of course that got me thinking about silent films and how The Birth of A Nation, the story of the KKK is seen in the U.S. as a cinematic bright spot. “Technically” speaking of course. But it is far more interesting to me to look at films being made by Black filmmakers at the time to truly learn about Black history, and in essence “American” or U.S. history.

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The first Black film production company was  The Lincoln Motion Picture Company started by African-American actor Noble Johnson and his brother George in 1916. Noble resigned from the company in 1921 due to the demands of his acting career. He was a large man who was in high demand in both silent and talkies as a character actor. He played many ethnic roles from black to Native and was featured in many popular films from 1915 into the 20s and 30s and continued working into the 1950s. In the early days, all of his film roles pay went directly back into the company. Micheaux and others would follow the Johnsons into the race film business.

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Noble Johnson in The Most Dangerous Game

From Micheaux’s catalog, I came across several films online. I love the interwebs! Every genre of film ranging from mysteries to musicals, dramas and romance can be found on Youtube if you know the filmmakers names or titles.  It is really truly amazing so many of these films are largely forgotten. There are 500 known made race films, of them, approximately 100 are available to watch.

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“The race films vanished after United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., or the Hollywood Antitrust Case of 1948, which forced the division of motion picture exhibitors from the motion picture production companies. African-American participation in World War II contributed to the casting of black actors in lead roles in several Hollywood major productions, such as Pinky with Ethel Waters; Home of the Brave with James Edwards; andIntruder in the Dust, all in 1949; and No Way Out (1950), which was the debut of the notable actor Sidney Poitier.” via Wikipedia

The Riverbends Genealogical and Historical Society has an extraordinary playlist of African American films available here on Youtube.

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Imitation of Life was the first classic film I saw that featured a women of color in a lead role and it easily won my heart. In the film Pinky listed above, the light skinned African American lead character was played by a white actress. But in both the 1934 and 1959 versions of Imitation of Life, actors of color portray the people of color in the film.

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The story is a classic tale of two mothers struggle and sacrifices for their daughters. Two single mothers meet on the beach, both having fallen on hard times, they decide to live and work together to try to get ahead. Claudette Colbert and Louise Beavers star in the 1934 version. As their daughters grow up African American actress Fredi Washington plays Beavers daughter, who is removed from African American life and wants to pass.

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Louise Beavers and Fredi Washington

In the 1959 version, Lana Turner and Juanita Moore are the mothers and Moore’s daughter is played by biracial Mexican American Susan Kohner – daughter of Lupe Tovar. Juanita Moore won an Oscar for supporting actress for her role. She was also nominated for the Golden Globe and Laurel Award for supporting actress. Imitation of Life, both versions, are a Must See. Although Moore’s role in particular is reduced to a maid/personal assistant, they carry the films respectively and give beautiful heartfelt performances.

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Juanita Moore and Susan Kohner

xoxo,

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Magick: Moondays & The Wheel of Fortune

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Black Power Tarot

Happy Lunar New Year friends and Happy New Moon! For the first time in a long time, time, seems to be moving slowly for me. And I really like it.

When I was 21, I worked at a divination and new age emporium of sorts that offered psychic readings, astrological charting and every imaginable tool for one’s healing, mystical or magical tasks. My friends and I did Tarot often, I used the Aleister Crowley Tarot deck pretty exclusively for close to 10 years! That is until I lost it. Or misplaced it, I honestly don’t know which. My life took many turns and somewhere along the way I stopped doing Tarot. I guess I considered it unnecessary and perhaps too much information.

The Tarot is a pack of 78 playing cards that have been around since the mid-15th century in Europe. From the late 18th century on, Tarot cards have been used both for divination (predicting the future) as well as a kind of guided meditation.  The cards are categorized either as Major Arcana or Minor Arcana. The 22 Major Arcana cards depict images like the Hanged Man, the Devil, the Wheel of Life and the Fool. The 56 Minor Arcana cards are suit cards, but rather than the spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs found in a traditional deck, there are wands, swords, cups and pentacles. There is a plethora of Tarot deck styles, from the traditional Rider-Waite deck to more contemporary decks with themes ranging japanese magna to pop culture icons, geometrics and goddess decks.  source

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Above is one a few versions of the classic Rider-Waite tarot, illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith. 

Since I have remembered my love of tarot I have made a few friends online who do daily readings and one or two who will give group readings. They will lay out three cards number them one to three, and either by the end of day or following day they will reveal the cards to you and provide an interpretation of each card’s meaning. I did one such reading Sunday and found it so affirming. I pulled the The Wheel of Fortune card. Which for all intensive purposes for me means, to remember that my destiny is in my own hands. I am my own master. It often centers me to do short readings like that. Check in’s so to speak. The more I befriend readers and appreciators of tarot, the more excited I become to find another deck!  There are so many gorgeous artistic decks to chose from.

An iconic black & white Lesbian deck from the 1980s. The aesthetics of Thea’s Tarot, slay me:

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The Trung Nguyen Tarot is a gorgeous, global, modern art nouveau work in progress. You can support Trung’s work on Patreon:

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I am a fan of the very minimalist first edition & the bolder 2nd edition of The Wild Unknown tarot

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The Mermaid Tarot took me by surprise, just yesterday actually, via my lovely Instagram soul sister @pretty.medicine.

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The simple illustrative style of Spirit Speak Tarot just plain speaks to me.

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Tarot del Fuego stole my heart on sight! Ricardo Cavolo’s art makes me happy:

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So many beautiful choices ahead.

xoxo,

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