If by your art, my dearest father, you have
put the wild waters in this roar, allay them!
So spake I while living my theatrical dreams as a seventeen-year-old playing Miranda in a college production of The Tempest. I’m very fond of this isolated island castaway and the brave new world she discovers, and it’s probably no surprise that I still have most of her lines memorized: including the bold opening speech in which she begs her wizard-father to stop the darn storm that he’s churned up. Seriously, Prospero, someone’s going to write a play about this all now.
This $3 thrift-store dress (it was sold to me as a shirt, but I’m pretty darn sure it’s just a really short dress? Or maybe I’m just too flexible in my clothing classifications) immediately reminded me of Miranda. Perhaps it’s the open-shoulder design, which might appeal to a daughter of a noble-sorcerer who needs her full range of motion to survive on a mysterious island. In any case, I was happy to play Prospero and develop the illusion still further by adding on a few maritime accessories!
Hey, remember last summer when I felt an undeniable urge to re-curate my outfit photo wall? I loved that marine-themed wall art, but like any museum professional, I also know that you can’t display works on paper for too long without risking damage from the sun and other elements. Consequently, those free printables–I mean, works of art–have returned to my obviously high-security storage facility, and I’ve reinstalled a selection of early modern natural history illustrations of cephalopods, odd deep-sea fish, and phytoplankton.
Then I happened to find this vintage dropped-waist dress in a quaint secondhand store in Pennsylvania, and its cheerful pastel tones nearly perfectly match the faded hues of my new squid-themed mini exhibition. I–alas!–do not currently own a squid pin, but my second (!) mousemoth pin by Minnow & Moss, this version in green and yellow, complements this dress excellently.
Sometimes I dream of starring in the mail art equivalent of Chopped, where contestants try to best each other at creating envelopes out of the most unexpected things imaginable: opening their supply baskets to find, like, take-out menus and that strange pliable glue that kids would pull off magazines in the 90s. (Guilty as charged.)
I’m far from the most masterful crafter out there, but I’m very pleased with my latest accomplishment. With nothing more than a roll of wallpaper, some stickers, and tape, I’ve put together these very cool rainforest envelopes that are surprisingly strong and roomy. To really add an elegant touch to my outgoing mail, I’ve also mined (ha!) a damaged geology textbook for cool photographs of gems and crystalline structures.
If you, like me, have come into the possession of a wallpaper treasure trove from the Goodwill, read on to discover the challenges of working with this bizarre material. (Or you could just, you know, put it on your wall like normal people do.)
The only thing better than a well-stocked used book sale is a well-stocked used book sale with a free bin. After buying my fair share of gorgeous volumes at a local like-new literary extravaganza this weekend, I stopped by a table of unwanted scraps and paperbacks, ready to glean to my heart’s content.
It’s appropriate that I had to basically excavate my way through the Burgess Shale of coffee-stained romance novels and old sheet music to find this incredible treasure: a natural history book for kids from 1942. As a girl who loves vintage children’s illustrations as much as she loves Tiktaalik, I am delighted by this rare opportunity to peek back a few decades–and aeons!
Remember that ridiculously pastel vintage dress I found while thrifting a few months ago? It’s made from quite a heavy fabric, and probably a little too vintage and strange to wear to work (for now!)–so I finally wore it for the first time during a quick snow-walk this weekend. I usually have to complete my outside photoshoots in just a few minutes before bundling back into my warm jacket, but this dress managed to keep me rather comfortable even without!
I have a secret daydream of living in a little house with a vast, verdant garden in an utterly nonexistent, romanticized land and era where my days spend my days poring over novels, walking through slightly-wild rosebushes, and drinking tea by an abandoned fountain in the late afternoon (and also probably eating cake and strawberries, because why not).
This ridiculous, saccharine fantasy recently enveloped me while I was–of all places–lost in the middle of countless racks of color-coded clothes at the Goodwill Store. And why?
Because, friends, I found the dress of my dreams: or maybe I should say that it found me?
(No, I definitely found it: let’s not make this weirder than it already is.)
Every year, my personal style shifts from the sleek, colorful, vintage-inspired silhouettes of the summer to neutral tones that maximize coziness–in fact, by the end of November I’ve usually morphed into a being wrapped in countless layers of knitwear. With the warm autumn we’ve been experiencing lately, though, I’ve tried to delay my sweater-covered transformation as much as possible, and have been delighting in every opportunity to wear lighter clothes.
A search for winter wardrobe necessities, however, is one of the best excuses to go thrifting. Hey, brand-new sweaters are extremely expensive! I’m lucky to live in a place where the thrift stores often teem with high-quality items that have been gently used (if at all)–and with a keen eye and a lot of patience, it’s possible to find some very unusual, unique pieces while still participating in the reuse and recycling of perfectly good items.
Don’t believe me? Check out this $4 sweater and $2 necklace from my most recent thrifting quest!