Sunday, June 12, 2016

Graduation, Advanced Style, and More!

She did it! She did it!

DD1 has graduated. And what did I wear? Oy vey.

That... and more...

Late breaking news! I just got back from meeting Ari Seth Cohen, of Advanced Style, and Joy Venturini Bianchi, an amazing clothing collector and benefactor who is featured in Ari's latest book. Read on for details!

This post has a lot of talk and even more pics, so be patient!



Moments after she was diploma'd

Yep, she did it and in 4 years!

I have a policy of not publishing exactly where my kids attend school, at least not while they are there. But DD1 has graduated and moved out, so I can now tell you that she attended Western Oregon University, or WOU, in Monmouth, Oregon.

One reason that she attended an out-of-state school is because of the Western Undegraduate Exchange program, or WUE. Have you heard of this? Public universities from several western states (including Hawaii and Alaska) participate in this program. It means that you can attend a university in one of the participating states and pay close to the in-state tuition. It was cheaper for my daughter to attend WOU than it would have been for her to attend a UC in California. And Oregon is chock full of small universities: WOU was a perfect fit for her.

Anyway, this is something you should know about if you live in one of the participating states and have college-aged children. (Maybe there's an eastern equivalent.)

It also means that there are a lot of students at her school from Hawaii and Alaska. Her dearest friend, Lauren, is from Hawaii and Lauren's mother, Vi, considers my daughter part of her family, so she flew in from Hawaii just for the graduation festivities.

Not only did Vi gift us with her presence, but she brought a large supply of gorgeous flower leis for my daughter and the family. I have never even seen leis like some of the ones she brought! I wanted to give some context for all of the gorgeous leis in the pics.

After the ceremony, we walked to "the Grove" to take some pics. That's when DD1 was draped in garlands—several leis that Vi brought from Hawaii and two "leis" made by her roommates—one made with tiny chocolate bars and the other made with catsup packets—chocolate and catsup are two of my daughter's favorite foods. The gold cords are for graduating magna cum laude.

Here are the closeups of two of the leis. The first lei was worn by my mother-in-law. The petals have been removed from the flower and densely sewn together. Such amazing texture!

My mother-in-law's lei
My lei of ginger flowers, the stems are woven together and secured with rayon cording
The smell is amazing
Packed and ready for travel. Vi just rolled it up!

Thanks, Vi!

The walk back to the house that my daughter shares with 3 other students, which had been cleaned within an inch of its life, for a party where Mojitos may, or may not, have been consumed

Weather Fluctuations

The weather for the graduation really kept us guessing.

Two weeks earlier, Oregon was experiencing 95°F and 100°F weather, so I started planning accordingly. I decided to wear my organza duster, but I needed something summery to wear underneath. I found, in my stash, yards of white rayon jersey.

Now, WHAT was I doing with yards of white rayon jersey???!!!

I have no recollection, but I suspect I was thinking of dying it.

I liberated it from the stash and made three pair of white leggings (two just above the ankle and the one cropped), and a sleeveless Presto top, lengthened to tunic length, 'cause when wearing white jersey, you want to make sure that the nether bits are really covered...

In fact, after I'd made two pair of white leggings, using Style Arc's Laura legging pattern, I posted on Instagram, asking how many pair of white leggings is optimal.

I know that white leggings aren't everyone's "thing", but I was a bit surprised that the universal answer was ZERO. After making the Presto top and the first two pair of leggings, I had just enough fabric to squeeze out a third pair. It felt good to get that white fabric out of my stash!

I now had an outfit for a heat wave, but it needed accessories. To complete the ensemble, I bought a pair of silver Bernie Mev wedge sandals and a white hat, large enough to act as a parasol. I sent a pic of the hat to Margy, but told her that it was too big for my suitcase. She replied that I must buy that hat and hand carry it on the plane!

So I bought it.

Wearing my parasol!

Then, about a week before graduation, the weather turned. Oregon was now experiencing chilly weather and a lot of rain. And, what was worse, rain was predicted for the outdoor graduation.

So much for the hand-held electric fan that I'd ordered, along with the Evian Facial Spray misters, and Jillian's favorite sunscreen, BurnOut SPF 30 for Face & Body.


Up until the night before, I wasn't sure what I would wear. I finally packed several pieces of my Paris wardrobe. But... when I unpacked in Monmouth, I'd forgotten the black dress to wear with the Paris pieces. Ugh. In the end, I had to wear a mix of my travel outfit with some of my Paris pieces.

A little weird, but it was fine.

We'd been lei'd. Yes, they really do say that in Hawaii.

And what was the weather like during the graduation ceremony? A bit schizophrenic. It started out grey and overcast, then it rained, just a bit. Then the sun came out and blazed, but just a bit. Overall, it was fine!

Getting ready.
Vi brought gorgeous flower leis and all I brought was... "grad glasses"!

The vignette I spied on her desk as she was getting ready. I call it "Graduation Essentials"

Britex, Outlander, PROJKT Maiden Lane

Do you watch Outlander on the STARZ network?

I don't watch it, though I've heard about it. I even tried reading the first book in the Outlander series about 10 years ago, but I couldn't get into it.

The series is set in two time periods: post-WWII England and Scotland, and 18th century Scotland. Naturally, the costumes are a critical part of the production. They are created by Terry Dresbach, an amazing costume designer with an impressive blog. (Really, check out her blog.)

Terry likes to travel to San Francisco to select her fabrics at Britex. The dress shown above was made with a particularly special embroidered fabric. She blogged about the experience and so did Britex.

Later, Britex was able to order more of this unique fabric, having it specially made in Turkey. (Britex has a couple more posts about Terry's work here and here.)

I was in Britex last week, picking up fabric for my next blog post. I met up with Joie (pronounced Joey), their new marketing director. She showed me this fabric, which comes in panels.

The front is beautiful...

But look at the back!
A crazy number of floats. I think Joie said that Terry did some trimming of the floats.
This is not an entire panel, btw.

Lots of people are lining up to buy these panels. Two sewists (hi, Ellie!) told me they will use one to make decorative pillows. You can get two large pillows out of one panel if you use a companion fabric for the back.

I had a great visit with Joie (she's a real dynamo) and she took a pic of me with my selected fabric. No, I'm not yet sure how I'll use it, but I am starting to formulate ideas.

I'm wearing three pieces of my Paris wardrobe. This outfit has 8 pockets. EIGHT! That's why I didn't need a purse. ;)

One more tidbit about Britex. They are planning a big event on September 23rd which requires closing off Maiden Lane, the alley behind the store. PROJKT Maiden Lane (scroll to the bottom of the linked page for info) is a fashion show featuring three former contestants of Project Runway, and one former contestant from Under the Gunn. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. The event is the night before Artistry in Fashion on September 24th. The guest speaker at AIF this year is Sharman Spector, the owner of Britex.

I'll be at both events! Tickets for Artistry in Fashion are $10, so it's a cheap weekend, if you can prevent yourself from shopping! HA!

Meeting Ari Seth Cohen and Joy Venturini Bianchi

Joy is wearing Ralph Rucci

The last few days have been a whirlwind of activity, but I could not miss the opportunity to see Ari Seth Cohen, of Advanced Style. Ari just published his second book, Advanced Style, Older and Wiser. He is doing a limited book tour and was visiting San Francisco this weekend.

The event was held at Bloomingdales in Westfield Mall, in San Francisco's Union Square. Joy Venturini Bianchi is a San Franciscan who is featured in Ari's latest book. She has been collecting couture clothing for her entire life and she combined her love of fashion with her dedication to helping the mentally disabled by starting a charity shop many years ago. Bloomingdales organized an interview on Saturday, along with a book signing. Evidently it was packed on Saturday, but I couldn't attend, as I was in Oregon. Unfortunately it was not recorded.

Sunday was an informal book signing, but no interview. They also set up a "pop up" store in a corner of Bloomingdales. Joy's charity is called "Helpers House of Couture", but it's usually referred to as "Couture House".

How did I never hear of this resource before?!?! If, like me, you never heard of Couture House or Joy Venturini Bianchi, you can learn more on SFGate or Racked.

When I arrived, it was before the 1pm start for the book signing, but Joy was already busy working. She invited me into the pop-up shop to... to shop!

I immediately found two amazing carved wooden bracelets and some earrings that called my name. When Joy saw my selections, she became very excited. Evidently a news crew had come through earlier that morning and she had selected those very three pieces for the reporter. No, I hadn't seen it.

I ended up staying quite a while. Chatting with Joy, Ari, with Roberto Rosas, an artist who has created some whimsical drawings, and others in the shop was incredibly fun. Roberto has drawn an entire fashion series where the designer garments are shown on... mice. They are selling prints of his work in the pop-up shop, including a delightful drawing that represents Joy wearing a Tom Ford suit, also featured in Ari's latest book.

Roberto Rosas holding the drawing he made of Joy wearing Tom Ford. The photo on the right shows Joy wearing the same suit.

Joy is featured in Ari Seth Cohen's latest book. Here she is wearing a Ralph Rucci dress:

Joy is a dynamo!

The Pop-Up Shop on the 1st Floor of Bloomingdales

Ari arrived a bit later and I had so much fun talking to him! It was so uncrowded and casual—perfect for chatting. He and Joy both signed my book.

Joy signed my book in fountain pen! She filled the page, starting with, "My heart is filled with joy from the first moment we met. You are special, unique, and precious."

Ari signing my book

The back of Ari's jacket

Robert Garza, also featured in Ari's latest book, was there and signed my book. I love his red hat and floral blazer!

Hats are in!

On the second floor of Bloomingdale's there is a special exhibit of 9 outfits from Joy's personal collection. Roughly half of them are by Tom Ford. One is an Alexander McQueen, one is Dolce and Gabbana, one is Ralph Rucci. They are behind glass, so it was hard to get decent photos.

Irene was trying on this gorgeous hat. I really hope she bought it!

It was so much fun to chat with Joy, Ari, and the others in the shop. I had a hard time tearing myself away!

The pop-up shop and the exhibit will both be in Bloomingdales until July 11th. Check it out!

Rose City Textiles in Portland

Note: Rose City Textiles has since closed.

I've been to Portland several times in the last year, for work and also to visit DD1 in Monmouth. I'd visited most of the fabric stores in Portland, save one. A couple of you had mentioned that I really needed to get over to Rose City Textiles, or RCT.

I finally made it over there on this visit. RCT is a large warehouse full of fabrics (mostly technical fabrics), zippers, thread, cording, and cord toggles. They aren't intended as a retail outlet, but they allow you to wander their stacks, looking for goodies, and buried treasures.

Do you need a wicking fabric? They have it. Waterproof fabric? They have that, too. Fleece? Yup, in spades. They have all sorts of things—too many to mention.

I didn't find any fabric that I had to have, but I bought some zippers, cording, and piping—all are reflective.

Left-to-right: zippers, flat piping, cording.

I'm glad to experience another unique Portland resource. Thanks for suggesting it!

And... you know what? DD2 is going to college this fall in British Columbia. That means that I'll need to schedule a visit to Vancouver! There are definitely some shops in Vancouver I want to check out, like Dressew. I'd love to hear other suggestions. ;)

GoogleServe and a Rapunzel Hat

This was my third June at Google, so it was my third year of GoogleServe. Community service is encouraged all year, but particularly in June. Many projects are scheduled throughout the month, and one can sign up for whatever activity suits their interests, skills, or location. We are encouraged to spend up to 20 hours during work time to work on a community service project. For each hour worked, Google also contributes money to the charity, whether it's during the work day or after hours.

This is my third year of knitting caps for Knots of Love. A group of us converge on a conference room for the entire day, knitting away. mem, who used to take photos for my blog, came back to knit a baby blanket for the NICU. It was so good to see her!

mem took this pic via snapchat

Our hat count by the end of the day was something like 67 hats, and most of us keep knitting for another several weeks. We expect to have well over 100 hats by early July. There were lots of great hats, but my favorite is one that Patsy P crotcheted.

Patsy wearing her Rapunzel hat

I just love Patsy's Rapunzel hat! Just imagine how it might cheer someone who is going through chemo. She used the Lassie Wig Hat pattern on Ravelry.

My hats were quite simple...

but I continued knitting on the bus. It was a nasty commute that day.

If you would like to knit or crochet caps for Knots of Love, make sure that you use one of the yarns from their list of approved yarns. It's a great cause! And don't forget the F*CK CANCER Morse Code cap that my colleague, Kathy, designed a couple years ago for this project.

A couple more pics:

I don't know why I like taking wing photos so much, but I do!

Taking the BART extension back from the Oakland Airport, at sunset.

And, before I go, I hope that Dorothy forgives me for posting these quick pics. Look at what she did with a unique border print! Just look at it!

So... no sewing this weekend... no sewing next weekend... But I am looking forward to watching the Tony Awards tonight!

I am joining up with Patti's Visible Monday on Not Dead Yet Style.

Have a great week!