About Me

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New homeowner in Black Rock, Buffalo NY. Bachelors in art ed, masters in social studies/ special ed, job where I use neither. Addiction to thrifting, tights/leggings, boots, VHS tapes and liquid eyeliner. Enjoy painting, drawing and occasionally some chalk on the sidewalk. Love de- and reconstructing clothes, knitting, making jewelry and experimenting with fun eye makeup and hair color changes. Love the outdoors, learning to garden, practicing composter. Obsessed with greening up my life but not a preachy, pretentious jerk about the subject (maybe a bit pushy on the recycling thing *cough*). Loads of interests, small circle of friends, always looking for more of both. My fashion is influenced by street style, movies, comics, and my imagination.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Moongreen Fashions: Too tights for your budget?

The purpose of my Moongreen segments, as previously stated, is to get you to reconsider things you or others may ordinarily toss out or donate as well as to save a few cents by reusing, repurposing or upcycling an item into an unintended use or new item. Todays item - Tights. TIGHTS. I freaking love them. Maybe it's because even when I was cancer-patient thin I still had semi-rubanesque thighs with *gasp* some cellulite that I started my obsessive love affair with tights/stockings. It was only many years later after I learned to somewhat deprogram the media-fed obsession that I could never look good enough that I noticed that MOST women, even very thin ones, have cellulite and/or stretch marks on their upper legs. It was too late by then, though. The tights bug had bit - they come in every pattern, stitch and color imaginable, they can be purchased absurdly cheap from a huge variety of sources, especially when you are lucky enough to come across them at the thrift store, preferably unworn (but hey if chlorine bleach can kill AIDS in a swimming pool I'm sure the color safe version in some hot washing machine water will nuke whatever is in those bad boys - those girls were right about me in highschool, I AM a scumbag). Years later, I have two small laundry baskets FULL of tights and stockings, and many of them have seen better days. They are filled with rips and runs or so stretched out from years of use (and the sadly non-permanent flexibility of spandex) they won't stay up anymore. This begs the question, as someone who hates to waste, WHAT can I do with these??? Here are a few solutions.

The problem: they have runs and rips I can't hide 

Solutions:1) Go ahead and wear them ripped. Why the F not? Had Sid not killed Nancy, she would approve. Besides they SELL pre-ripped ones now. Don't let them rape your wallet like the ripped-before-you-buy jeans people may have!

2) Wear ripped/running tights over an opaque pair for a cool layering effect, a la my tank girl costume at ComicCon this year. This can lend a funky, punk edge to your outfit without actually freezing your booty off/exposing leg hair you may not feel like shaving in the winter months(lawd, I know I don't).

3) Use them as stuffing for a homemade teddy or throw pillow.

The problem: Only ripped in the lady bits region

Solutions: 1) Make a shrug - Turn your tights upside down and using a pair of sharp scissors CAREFULLY cut around the edge of the hole to make a symmetrical circle or oval shape - obviously the bigger the rip the wider of a hole you will have to cut. Double over the edge of the fabric and do a whip stitch by hand/with a machine or use ironable basting tape to finish the neckline (why not, since we're going with the punk theme here, just use actual duct tape?). Cut the feet off if the tights have them and finish to whatever length you want the sleeve to be. Slip what was the waste band down first, like the bottom of a shirt, putting your head through your newly make neckline and your arms into the former "legs." Voila. You have a shrug, similar to the one this lovely lady from Cryoflesh.com has on (correct folks, this is NOT me, I know you were all fooled for a second - also I didn't take this picture; please don't sue me).

2) Thigh highs - Cut the legs off at about half way up your thigh; they can be worn with a garter belt after you finish the tops.

3) Simple spring scarf - Cut the legs off as high up as you can, avoiding any spreading rips/snags from the torn crotch. Sew the two legs together at the top. Snip off the toes. Finish the ends. Voila.

The problem: all stretched out

Solutions: 1) make into a light scarf or thigh-highs as above. Save the top as a pair of play undies for your man/lady to tear off you during fun time. 

2) Using a sharp pair of scissors cut the tights in a spiraling motion starting with one foot and working your way up the top and back down the other leg. This will give you one long, thin piece of fabric. Use several of these to knit, knot, weave or braid a scarf, belt, hair band or purse strap (I plan to attempt this - I have seen it done with other thin materials such as t-shirts - more to come!). I am imagining some bitching macrame with this.

There are also dozens of other uses - make a rag rug, use in the kitchen in place of cheesecloth to strain things (once properly sterilized of course) or to strain paint, home-mixed concrete or other chunky liquids for home projects, use as a rag to dust (they pick up lint like crazy!), cut them into strips and weave them into dreads or use them as part of a synthetic wig, hair ties, etc.

Am I *gasp* a hipster??

Have you ever been asked if you're a hipster? Come on - you can own up to it if you have. I've gotten this question a few times myself. If you have an out-of-the-mainstream fashion style a lot of people automatically assume certain things about you - your likes, dislikes, and behaviors. Is a hipster defined merely by dress? personality traits? hobbies/interests? Is it a look, a style, an attitude? Just as Christians say the devil is everywhere yet nowhere, are hipsters omnipresent yet almost impossible to truly pick out? Are they the quiet, degrading evil of all that is good in alternative fashion and culture or the voice that whipsers to us "sometimes it's good to be bad?" (like when you want to wear a heavy, houndstoothed scarf in summertime). I have a few (how do I word this?) normally styled friends who loathe hipsters and insist to me I'm not one. Deep down *shifts eyes from side to side* I occasionally worry. After all, I do like thrift stores, knit hats, art, music, "ethnic" food, kitschy 80's junk, composting, piercings and coffee shops - all stereotypical trappings of supposed hipster coolness. Here are a few snippets from our various conversations on this subject. Oh the joys of inter-office email.
D o  I  l o o k  l i k e  a  h i p s t e r   i n  t h i s ?!?!
Remember folks, this is tongue in cheek and largely in jest - don't go gonzo because one or more of these items applies to you, your mom, or your dog. After all, if the shoe fits you should wear it...even if they're three inch heels and there's snow on the ground. Read it. Think about it. Enjoy.

How “smart” can someone appear though? I mean, you have the stereotypical intellectual trappings but with the rise of hipsters who imitate geeks in some ironic attempt at coolness you can’t even gauge nerdiness (an amazing indicator of intellect in many ways, haha) by how someone dresses anymore. ; ) 

That is very true. I have to confess, “hipster” has become like “existentialist” to me. I’m not
sure what it exactly means, and furthermore, I’m not sure the person who fancies himself
as such does either. I understand it has become pejorative. I imagine it might have to
do with someone who is pretentious (I’m thinking of the people who drink coffee at CafĂ©
Aroma or Spot with their shoulder bags and their designer coffees); but then I heard it also
may have something to do with a distinct literary interest (Chuck Klosterman, Brett Easton
Ellis) and an affection for independent music. So, could you educate me? What is a hipster?
Is a hipster an aesthete? A metrosexual? What does it mean?

My feelings on a hipster may be different than others, but I diagnose hipsterdom with a combination of the following symptoms:
a)      “Alternative” or artsy clothes that are usually chosen for how much their look coincides with others in that desired social crowd, versus their own personal love of that style (particularly when the person intentionally looks geeky, frumpy, etc intentionally even though they are not actually a geeky/unattractive person – “I’m so not cool it’s cool”). Basically, they look different-but-the-same – their style is obviously not “average joe” style, but they still look like clones of buttloads of other people you see at concerts, art shows, etc.
b)      People who constantly have to be in p+ssing contests about what they like. “The bands I like are more indie than yours,” “ the club I go to is more underground than where you go,” “the organic market I shop at is more eco friendly than yours,” “I’m friends with person x, y or z in this or that scene or the owner of this or that business”
c)       People who adopt style or personality traits to be “ironic” – for instance, a recent hipster trend with dudes is having large beards and moustaches, because they are not popular in common fashion right now and further broadcast the “I want people to think I don’t think about what I look like” attitude
d)      They are pretentious about everything, especially if they don’t think you are “cool” – i.e. you know people they like or know people who they want to like them. They will get snippy/preachy/d0uchey about almost any subject if it makes them feel better about themselves (read “more cool”) to tear other people down. Ex: You can name a band to them that has put out 100 copies of an album and they’ll deride you for liking something “too mainstream.”
e)      They accuse everyone of being posers, wanting to project an image or trying to infiltrate their “scene,” because subconsciously they know they are fake and/or they feel threatened someone else may actually be cool and steal their thunder. They desperately try to find any hole or crack in anything you say to pretend you are “trying too hard” to fit in with them or to make yourself sound cool, even if you have a genuine interest in something and either misspoke or are just misinformed (for instance, say I’m discussing the Stonewall Riots and misquote what year they happened, or have read a source that quoted it incorrectly and repeat them, the hipster would roll their eyes and say something like “if you were reeeeally into gay rights you would know that.”)

I have a lot of sore thoughts on this subject as people often mistake me for a hipster due to my unusual mode of dress and (I guess?) not common hobbies/interests. However I am not hip, do not think I am hip, and will never be hip (although, ironically that would make me hip, yes?). I like what I like and I don’t care if no one else does or if a billion people do. It’s just as cool either way.

I get it. I think especially the personal interactions are telling. Just really insecure people.
I think especially of Ryan from “The Office,” who is always trying to one-up everyone else
and be the coolest cat around.

Very good description! Very informative! Where do you encounter these people?

I encounter them regularly – coffee shops, bars, stores. I have always been very into art and music and both of those things tend to attract a lot of people who think that interest makes them cooler and “better” than average joe nobody who isn’t in an art collective or a band, etc. People set about building some sort of counterculture identity for themselves but sadly wind up acting just like self-centered high school students, constantly judging, labeling and grouping everyone they encounter into those who are cooler than them and they want to gain status from, as cool as them and thus able to be their “friend” or not as cool as them, and thus unacceptable to hang with unless they want something from them.

I will have to save this extremely good analysis of hipster culture for consultation at a later date

See, another person saved from a potential drive-by hipstering.

My friend Coconut, as we'll call him for blog purposes, on the other hand knows how to spot a hipster when he sees one.

The girl across from me has been asked “what is a hipster” and her and I ended up in a very similar discussion to the ones we have had.  The problem is, there are hipsters of all facets of life now – they were there before, but now with some understanding of what a hipster is, you can notice it in many different areas of life.  Gotta love it.   I think it would be safe to say that just about everyone might have at least one of the qualities that make up a hipster, but that does not make everyone a hipster.  You just…know it when you see/talk to/hear from them.

Well said, Coconut. Just like on your SAT's, some snarks are blarks, all blarks are garks...are all garks snarks?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moongreen Fashions: The Joy of Wine Racks!

Occasionally I'll slap some ideas up here that are both green and money saving, as I like to be stingy AND environmentally friendly. This includes new uses for some easily accessible items that can be used as part of, or to store, your fashions. Today's item - wine racks. There are all different sizes, shapes, and colors of wine racks and they are easy to find on the cheap at thrift stores, antique malls, yard sales and even along the curb (that's right, Moonqueen fully advocates trash picking). You may even have one, or several (you whino) around the house already that just aren't as full as they used to be. Here are a few ways I've utilized them.

Use a wine rack like this to store rolled up bedding in your room - cuter than plastic bins, cheaper than a trunk. 

Repaint an old wine rack like this with a water-proof interior paint and use in your bathroom to store rolled towels.

Use in your kitchen to artfully store paper towels if you buy in bulk or various sizes of cookbooks.

Use one or two as a base for a coffee table or side table - books & magazines can be stored in the openings and most any flat, salvaged surface can be used as the table top - a large piece of glass, sturdy mirror, painted piece of plywood, etc.

Use wine racks like the one to the right to store bulky shoes, like platform sneakers or fluffy slippers, in the bottom of your closet.   

<em>Expandable</em> wooden <em>coat rack</em>Accordion versions of this also exist - they can be manipulated to different sizes just like the adjustable coat rack shown to the left. I mounted a large accordion wine rack to the back of a closet door and used it to hang scarves & ear muffs. Hats & gloves can be stuffed in cubbies between the rungs.

Use a wine rack like this sat on one side to store umbrellas and parasols. I had a wine rack made like this but vertical with a base on it (made to stand the bottles of wine vertically instead of on their side) that served that purpose for many years.

Hang a smaller wine rack like this from a nail or small cup hook on your wall and hang necklaces and bracelets from it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My obsession with alt fashion...


Check out the alt fashion wiki I'm the main author on (for now). Thanks to all those who provided constructive criticism and editing.

Long and strong...just like 2LiveCru

I've had hair passed my natural waist almost my entire life and I constantly get asked things like "how did you get your hair to grow that long?" (seriously) or "how do you keep such long hair looking healthy?" Here are a few tips, some of which I learned purely by accident.
1. You are what you eat.
I grew up on a dairy farm, so I consume about a gallon of milk a week. I definitely give this credit for my very strong, and fast growing, hair and nails. For those of you who are lactose intolerant, or just plain don't like it (shame on you, haha) there are hair and nail vitamins available at any health food store. Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet in general, with lots of vitamins and protein, will help improve hair, nail and skin quality, as will avoiding smoking/drinking which dry out skin, hair and nails. Also, drink plenty of water!
2. Wash that man right out of your hair...or don't?
Wash as little as you can stand. Seriously. Before I dyed my hair I never washed it more than three times a week, usually twice if I wasn't sweating a lot. With it dyed, I've gone as long as two weeks. The picture to the right was at 1.5 weeks. I have naturally low oil hair, so I realize not everyone can do this. My hairdresser, who has oilier hair, uses a dusting of baby powder to hide the "greasy" look. She also uses dry shampoo to extend her time between wet washings. Not only does excessive washing dry out healthy hair, it is especially bad for your color vibrancy (and hair texture) if you dye. Wash with cooler water - hot water opens your cuticles, letting color out faster and making hair look less smooth. Let hair air dry as much as possible!

3. Treat it Right.
Always, always, always condition unless you have VERY oily hair (I'm talking you can see greasy after a few hours of not washing). If you don't dye almost any type of conditioner is helpful, even cheap stuff like Suave, just leave it on longer. If you do dye, use a color safe, high quality conditioner to avoid stripping color. When you get in the shower and plan to wash your hair, shampoo right away, then put in your conditioner and put your hair up in a clip. Let the conditioner sit on while you finish bathing/shaving/singing your favorite Cure song to your shower head. Rinse with cool water, then give your hair a final blast of water as cold as you can stand it. Using cooler water keeps your cuticle closed and will make your hair look more smooth and shiny (it will also help keep dye "in" your hair longer).
If you are noticing a lot of dryness, particularly from bleaching, try a leave in conditioner, or on the weekends you can put in regular conditioner and leave it on overnight or even all day for extra deep penetration. I know many women with dry hair that use mayonnaise (plain old sandwich spread) or a mixture of eggs and olive oil as a treatment to make hair soft and shiny (including women of color) - try something like this before turning to expensive chemical treatments. Coat your hair with the mayo or olive oil/egg mix, put your hair up with a clip and heat your head gently with a blow dryer to open your cuticle and let in the good stuff.You can wrap with plastic to keep the heat in. Let it sit on hair at least 20 minutes. Rinse with cool water and blast with cold, just like when conditioning. If you have average hair, don't do this more than once every few months, as you'll get build up. Oily hair should avoid intense treatments. Dry hair can stand it more often, from between once a month to once a week, depending on texture. If you dye, it's best to do this closer to when you plan to change color, as it may fade your existing color.
Pick a hard bristled brush for daily brushing. Do not use nylon brushes,which just make your hair fluffy. If you have a brush with round tips on the bristles, throw it out when they start to come off. Wet your brush slightly to help control frizz. Divide your hair in half and put one half over the front of each shoulder. Starting with the bottom few inches and working your way up, brush downward in firm strokes, working out snarls. If you start from the top you wind up with many more tangles and breakage. After you've worked your way to the top, brush all the way down from root to tips several times to help distribute oils (the more you brush during the day the more oils you distribute and the healthier your hair will be, but make sure you de-snarl first to avoid breaking - don't just yank it down through tangled hair). Repeat with the other side. When finished, bend over and shake your hair out - this adds volume. Flip it up and brush the crown to get rid of the "part" you made by seperating your hair. Try putting a little water on your hands and running it over your hair to smooth frizzies instead of using product. Style accordingly. If you are like me and have to comb your hair when wet to avoid it drying crazily get a comb made for detangling. Work from the bottom up, as described above.
4. Final Touches
Heat style your hair as little as possible!!! For straight hair, braid or put your hair in rollers when wet and let air dry over night for a change of texture instead of using an iron, crimper, etc. For very curly or wavy hair avoid chemical straighteners or constant flat ironing - try using large rollers (which will give you large, smooth curls) or a paddle brush and hair dryer on low instead. If you MUST heat style or use chemical straightener regularly CONDITION, CONDITION, CONDITION and avoid bleaching as much as possible. Avoid excess product in general - gel, hairspray, etc will make hair look dull and force you to wash more. Back combing/teasing is also a no-no on a regular basis (unless you have dreads, obviously). This damages the texture of your hair, greatly reducing shine and making your hair frizzy (on days you don't want to look like Tim Burton, that is).
It sounds like an oxymoron, but you need to cut your hair to grow your hair (see pic on right with fresh cut/color). Dead ends will "leak" nutrients, and split, leading to hair that grows slower and is less healthy looking. Get regular trims. If you have non-layered hair, comb it out when wet and let a friend trim it straight across with a pair of very sharp hair shears. My mom did this for me when I lived at home - I went over ten years without a professional cut and had very healthy hair. If you go to a salon, stress to your sytlist you want a TRIM (even specify how much you want off) - many salons will give you a cheaper rate for this than an actual cut. If they get it a little too short, just remember if you follow the above it will grow back.
Remember, truly long hair (to back bra-strap or longer) is no longer the norm and can attract you just as much attention as a pixie cut.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Getting off the ground...

Hello there folks in Google land. I am just getting this self-indulgent fashion and lifestyle blog off the ground because... why not? If frumpy girls in mismatched, unflattering clothes with oversized glasses can populate the 'net with blogs by the thousands about their style so can I! Seriously...one more photo...of a girl...in high waisted...peg legged...tan pants...and some boring top... that is supposed to be cute... just because it's vintage designer (insert name here)... and I'll go...crazy. Sorry, I was hyperventilating with internet-repetition rage. This is a syndrome I've developed by which I become increasingly angry with how narrow what the internet offers is despite the breadth of its reach, but I digress. Back to fashion. I'm a menagerie of influences and it’s very hard to describe my style with a short concise label, so I’ll throw out some famous names to aid the process - think of me as Ramona Flowers, Clementine Kruczynski, Frankie Page and Lisbeth Salander all rolled into one with two huge scoops of thrift store addiction. I plan to shamelessly promote Buffalo, the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle), and the return of chunky heeled footwear. I’m interested in discussing not just the evolution of my personal style but also style related issues (gender, aesthetics) and possibly even some photos/interviews with people I find of fashionable interest. This blog is dedicated to my best friend and thrifting partner, Jeremy, who taught a little goth girl the value of color.