Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Love and Recycling

I attended my son's contraption fair this morning-first graders displaying proudly what they'd made from stuff bound for the trash pile, junk drawer, or recycling bin...inventions so clever and sweet, they got me thinking: is there anything more satisfying than duct tape?  From a homework machine and makeshift movie theater with hand-drawn projections, to my personal favorite-- the pregnant robot, each was bound together with loads of adhesive and imagination. So inspiring-and as one teacher explained-so natural for children. They haven't yet forgotten how to make something from nothing. It's the parents, she said, who become anxious about this project. Too open-ended, perhaps? No directions? Maybe normal families don't have junk drawers? 

Well. One reason to keep a good stash of stuff on hand is this: Recycled Barbie® Valentines. I grew up with the dolls-some vintage, some bought new-all of them engaged in the late 1980's version of Peyton Place I created in my mind. For me, the fun was in setting up Barbie's housekeeping, weaving her complicated social web, and if given time, wrangling that massive head of hair into an elegant chignon that would have dwarfed a real-life woman with her proportions. Barbie®-she could handle it. What came next was best-the clothes. With both relationships and hair in place, the cruel hand of fate was free to intercede in any number of life-altering events, each with its own costume change. Barbie's finally ditching that no-good Ken--should she wear her reversible hot pants or the baby-blue halter dress with shoulder-length white gloves for the drive to Mexico? And when her pink Corvette tumbles over the rocky ledge (back of sofa) into the river below? There had to be a faux-fur stole involved, and a teeny-tiny pair of un-sensible shoes. 

The point is, I took no wardrobe decision lightly, and have to believe I'm in good company. Somewhere in your basement, or your parents' basement, there's a long-forgotten pile of polyester must-haves longing for new life. They aren't worth much, but they've got to be good for something, right? I recently uncovered the mother-lode, quite by accident, and had all but designated them for the nearest Goodwill donation center, until...lightbulb! All that lace, those layers....the sparkle and frill...the abundance of pink....could these garish relics from Barbie's heyday be reincarnated as...Valentines?



Glue gun, scissors,  a raid on the button box, and voila: Barbie's back in business.
They also make a lovely hat:

Friday, February 5, 2010


Last Friday,  my whirlwind week (the bangs!) culminated in the semi-annual art sale and fashion show benefiting my children's school. I love this event--held in the grand ballroom of the Atlanta Biltmore Hotel, it has the potential to be just another ladies-who-lunch situation, but the clever women who put it on make sure there's something for everyone: fresh spring fashions with the right amount of edge, inspired jewelry that's made locally, and art that can leave a girl breathless. Yes, there was quiche, but when it's served with a side of hip-hop and a banana pudding chaser, there's nothing cliche about it.

The clothes: My husband and I both walked the runway-he was, as usual, the quintessential ham, and while I tried really hard to channel the Freja Erichsen within, I couldn't decide what to do with my face. Do I smile at familiar faces in the crowd? Or try to look dead, hence giving glory to the outfit? The only advice I got from the director was to "pop it", so ultimately, my face did its own thing while I concentrated on not throwing a shoe, and....popping it. (?) Some wardrobe highlights:  a new word-jeggings. Denim leggings from J. Brand. Great under tunics or dresses too short for the modest among us. If jeggings seem like a stretch, at least can we admire this just-in-time-for-Valentine's wrap top?  Although I have to say it, I think I might like this style a little better.

am i popping it?

Like playing dress-up, it was. Makeup (thank you Rameda!) and hair and helpful people with double-sided tape. And I mentioned the pudding, right? Do you think real models eat two desserts after a big show? What about the cheese tray in the dressing room? Because I was totally all over that.
What fun...though I have to say, I do find my regular life most satisfying. With my Goodwill boots and lived-in jeans and puffy black vest from Sears. Not worrying about what to do with my face, or why my makeup isn't coming off even though I've had a bath AND a shower and holy moses what if they tattooed this stuff on...you know, those sorts of worries. I'm okay without those.

But this:

I'm glad that my non-model life includes this right here. 100% hunk.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All its treasures

A wild concept: Fifty or so pieces of unsigned art hanging in a separate gallery. Select the piece you like, and who knows? It might be the work of a middle-school student, an emerging painter from the community, or a nationally recognized artist or performer. Each one just five by seven inches, all priced the same. What matters is, you buy what moves you. 
Art for art's sake.
Then, later, if you care, you flip the canvas over for the big reveal. 

It had me at hello.

My husband didn't ask if I was sure,
just slapped a SOLD sticker on the wall beside it
and said, Happy Birthday.
It could not have been more perfect.
And, with all due respect to Mr. Penley,
the two of us didn't realize you are, well...
kind of a big deal. 
We do now.
But, just so you know, even if you weren't...we would have wanted it, still.