Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hand-Tooled Tyranny

   In my opinion, lately the differences in people have become very pronounced.  Reading this sentence out loud sounds like something a simpleton would say.  However, I must shamefully admit I’m one of those naive individuals who automatically assumes that most others share my opinions.  I guess this type of thought process comes from truly believing my ethics are right.  Now, during this time of political upheaval, I’m faced with the reality that there are many others who have just as much faith in ideologies that I can’t even begin to understand. 
   Upon first constructing this blog post I had a much lighter topic in mind.  However, last night I finished a novel that inspired so many emotions in me I felt compelled to write about it.  If you are an individual who is concerned with the growing division of people in our country I encourage you to read the book, “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas,” by John Boyne.  It is a historical fiction story that takes place during WWII and revolves around the unexpected friendship formed between the children of a Jewish watchmaker and a Nazi Commandant.  Despite the heavy content, this novel provides a rather sensitive approach to storytelling as it is revealed through the perspective of a nine year old boy.  Ultimately I believe the author’s choice of such an innocent narrator was key in the effectiveness of this tale.  The plot line concludes painfully with the revelation that absolutely no one, despite their political or religious standing, was safe from the brutality of the Holocaust. 
   Due to the short length of this novel I was confused as to whether it was intended for children to read.  After further research I concluded that it was written for teenage individuals and older.  This puzzled me due to the fact that my near forty year old self had issues digesting the conclusion of this story.  I wondered, “Should children really be reading something so sad?”  I brought these concerns to my mother, (because let’s face it, despite the fact that I’m clearly an adult I still think my parents know everything…almost), and she promptly assured me that, “Yes, children should be informed of these things.  As a result they become adults who are informed of these things.  How do you think you turned out the way you are?”  “Huh”…I thought and that beloved simpleton expression of mine returned.
   I guess my overall point here is that I believe this book had such a profound affect on me not only due to it's overwhelming content, but also because of the heightened time of political anxiety we all are living in.  The lesson that prejudice, bigotry, and hatred always ends poorly for all parties involved seems obvious to me.  However, I guess one would have to be open to reading children’s books to learn that.
   In conclusion, I realize this is supposed to be a personal style blog.  Originally I was going to center this post around the type of purse I’m carrying in the above photographs.  Recently a beautiful hand-tooled bag was donated to the place I work.  Nobody could think of a use for it and none of the other ladies there were interested in taking it.  I was appalled!  Didn’t these people realize what a treasure this piece was?  For God sake, were they not aware of how much people pay for hand-tooled anything on Etsy?!  I was befuddled…I was aghast…I was suddenly the new owner of one shunned, but beautiful hand-tooled bag.  
   This was my original rant towards the discussion of the difference in people.  Of course, it simply didn’t seem that important after finishing my book last night.  After last night this Liberal was more concerned about the state of her country…and yes, Liberals can be patriotic.  I even have a bald eagle on my t-shirt to prove it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Bee In My Bonnet!

   Lately I’ve had a bee in my bonnet!  I simply can’t stop thinking about how messy my house is.  I find it consuming my thoughts.  I seriously can’t concentrate on anything else.  I walk through my living room and think, “Hairball…hairball…hairball…God, that couch is dusty!…hairball…hai…wait that’s a cobweb.”  Honestly, I’ve been so disgusted by the state of our home I can barely stand to reside in it.
   My readers are probably thinking two things.  One, “What’s new Rayna?  Your house has always been messy and it’s never seemed to bother you before.”  Two, “If you’re that distressed by the condition of your home, why don’t you get off your ass and do something about it?”  In response to hypothetical inquiry two I’d like to state, “I did.  Today I finally did have a manic cleaning spree.”  I believe at this point I’m supposed to go on about, “How great I feel having gotten something done.”  My understanding is that I’m also supposed to feel some awesome sense of accomplishment that I now have a master bathroom that doesn’t look like it belongs in a crack house.  However as thankful as I am to now have carpet that does not resemble angora…(ironic, since I adore wearing angora, but am not so down with walking on it)…I am rather bitter with having wasted the majority of my Sunday cleaning. 
   I suppose most would argue that part of being a grown up is accepting the fact that the tasks never end.  Just because one works forty hours a week, comes home and makes supper, does the dishes, packs lunch for her and her partner, feeds and cleans up after a herd of fluffy babies, makes sure the trash is hauled out to the dumpster, and assures the house is picked up of all clutter does not mean the work is done.  Honestly if it did I would be one happy lady, considering I can do all of these things and still maintain nice nails.  Yes, I just admitted that.  However, once one is involved in the harsh scrubbing of appliances and showers the nails are out the window.  As an individual who no longer indulges in such stress relievers as drinking, smoking, and even caffeine! it too much to ask that I'm allowed to keep my hands from looking haggard?  I think not!
   Unfortunately, today my home got the best of me and I broke down and seriously cleaned.  We’re talking, "cleaned," like I dragged the rugs out and beat them against the ground as I assume some of my Yugoslavian ancestors probably did.  With every swing of material I thought, “Whap!...I wanted to wear that blue sleeveless dress today.  Whap!...It would have looked so cute with my red nail polish...which is now destroyed.  Whap!...I could be watching that Criterion movie right now…of course, it’s pretty artsy and may simply be two hours of footage of another woman beating a rug…however, it would be a movie so she would obviously look better than I do now.  Whap!...there better be some sort of karmic reward for thi…ouch! ouch! Something just got in my eye!”
   In conclusion, the day I took the above photographs was similar to today in that I was still lamenting about the condition of my house.  However, on that particular afternoon I decided to deal with it by dressing up and going to someone else’s lovely home to take my blog pictures.  It’s that kind of thinking that gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Flirting With Fear

   Since I began taking blog pictures, “on location,” I’ve noticed a rather disturbing habit of mine.  I seem to be drawn to settings that are rather spooky.  Originally I simply thought of these places as, "gritty."  However, upon further consideration, I now acknowledge that it may not be a wise idea to traipse around town alone in search of cool abandoned settings.  At least that’s what my boyfriend keeps telling me.
   Despite my annoyance at his harping, I have to admit that when I photographed the above pictures I was a tad creeped out.  I’ve been admiring the exterior of this derelict building for quite some time.  Each occasion I drove by I thought, “Man, the color and texture of that wall is good.  I should stop and get some photos.”   However, I could never coerce myself to actually halt my vehicle.  I still don’t understand why.
   Finally, one day I saw a window of opportunity.  I was prepared to drive by, yet again,…(one has to wonder what the neighbors think of the oddball woman in psychedelic garb trolling the area)…when I noticed that there was a mother and two children playing at the usually desolate neighboring park.  I reasoned, “It has to be safe if there are families nearby!  Besides they’re in screaming distance if I need help.  That little girl looks pretty bad ass.  I could toss her that broken bottle lying on the ground over there and we'd have ourselves a fighting chance! ”   
   As a result of this thought process I was able to muster the nerve to stop and photograph the above pictures.  However, I'll admit I was uneasy the entire time.  There was just something about this location that scared me.  I mean, it couldn’t have been due to the fact that it’s in a rather run down area of town.  Nor could it be because it’s on a fairly isolated street that’s proximity is very close to the State Penitentiary.  Again, I really can’t figure out what was giving me the wiggins so bad. 
   Despite the ooky vibe, I took my pictures that sunny day with the sound of children’s laughter in the background.  I felt ridiculous for the fear I had previously felt…until I realized my soundtrack of merriment was gone, and I was suddenly alone in a not so great neighborhood, taking glamour shots in front of an abandoned building that nobody knew I was at.  As I cursed myself for loosing track of my surroundings I wondered, for the second time, if the same car with a crappy muffler was circling the block repeatedly. At this time I snapped the last picture shown above.  When I posted this image earlier on Facebook I had one friend make the comment, “What’s so scary over there?”  While I’m still not certain my choice of setting that day was wise, I am pleased I was able to translate a feeling of narrative through this shot.  I'll state it's definitely one of my favorite self-portraits.  
   In conclusion, I’d like to reassure anyone who is worried about my stupidity that I’m usually extremely careful about my surroundings.   In fact, I’m so careful one could easily claim I’m paranoid.  Did I mention I have an air horn and Mace with me at all times?  Interestingly enough the Mace is designed to double as a nunchuck…because I know exactly how to use one of those.  It was a gift from an ex-boyfriend of mine who apparently was also concerned for my safety.  Come to think of it another old boyfriend gave me a small finger knife…you know, in case I had to stab someone.  Also, who the hell gave me that air horn?  I know I didn’t buy it.  Huh…what does all of this say about me?  Perhaps next time I’ll stick to boring old pictures in front of my barn door.  I don’t suspect I’ll have to nunchuck anyone at home…unless of course, they’re annoying me.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Patchwork Prima Donna

   It’s probably no surprise that I’ve always dreamed of being an expert seamstress.  Okay, maybe the word, “always,” is stretching it a bit.  To rephrase, it’s probably no surprise that every time I flip through fashion magazines and see clothes I have absolutely no hope of ever owning…due to a serious lack of monetary funds…I wish I was more capable with my sewing machine.  I want to clarify that this last statement doesn’t mean I have no abilities when it comes to sewing.  However, I have to admit that my talents lie in the more, “artsy/craftsy,” realms, rather than professional tailored pieces.  However, I am fortunate enough to have an extremely talented mom that can handle those types of projects for me.  As a side note, I must now brag about the pair of pants my mom just finished making for me.  Let me tell you, "these babies are amazing!"  I simply showed her a picture from, “Vogue,” of what I wanted and she cranked out the most adorable pair of pants I’ve ever owned in my life.  Of course my original intention was to have this big unveiling of them through a blog post, however these pants deserve some pregame hype.  I seriously can’t wait to wear them out on the town!
  “Whew,” okay that was exciting.  Returning to the topic at hand, I find it an unfortunate occurrence that my own mother can design and execute an outstanding piece of clothing and all I can seem to do is put patches on things.  I guess it’s a darn good thing I’m naturally drawn to the Boho trend, otherwise I’d be pretty underwhelmed by the hodge-podge designs I constantly come up with.  The fantastic thing about patchwork is it can be a crazy crapfest of color and design and still look totally intentional.  In addition, the other convenient thing about patchwork is there seems to be no standard of quality.  In fact, the less professional these projects appear the more legitimate their Boho credibility becomes.  In other words, it’s okay for a hippie’s clothes to be trashed.
   The pictures above display an example of some of my sewing handiwork.  I bought these thrift store shorts many years ago and decided to soup them up with a random selection of fabric I had lying around my craft room.  If one was to look closely at these shorts they would notice a lot of ragged edges, crooked stitching, and even some rather shoddy fabric bunching.  However, I would argue the lack of my expertise simply makes these shorts better.  I guarantee my amateur abilities definitely make this piece one of a kind…
   …except, this one trick pony has two more pairs of shorts that are fearfully similar.  In addition, I have several jeans and many coats and blazers I’ve put patches on.  Could it be that I’m that excited about patchwork, or is it simply my sewing skills limit me to this one look.
   Sitting here now, gazing over at my old issues of fashion magazines, I find myself sighing at the idea of all of the illusive clothing I’ll never own.  I daydream about sitting down at my sewing machine and designing my perfect, one of a kind, wardrobe. Suddenly I wonder, "why I can’t have it?"  I grit my teeth and think, “You know what Rayna, you can totally have it!  Now sit down and figure out these freaking instructions!”  I start to cut out my patterns and notice Cheetos have a nasty habit of staining paper.  I pull out my supplies and consider for a moment that the, "wad," method is possibly not the best for storing fabric.  I start to load my bobbin and realize I have a nasty knot halfway through…good thing I can just cut off the string and continue loading straight over that mess.  All the while I’m wondering why Nag Champa dust is covering every surface of my craft room.  Yes, I simply cannot fathom why I can’t produce a quality piece of clothing?  Luckily, I have hope that even the dirtiest hippie can be taught to clean up by her mother.