Last year was the first year since childhood that my younger sister Miranda and I dressed in identical Halloween costumes. I have to admit that we looked pretty awesome playing twin Madonna Like A Virgin characters at the West Hollywood Halloween Parade.
But this year, we decided to amp it up a little bit. I still can’t remember who had the idea or why we would have ever thought of it, but months ago, we decided that we would be a Push Me Pull You–the two-headed llama from the 1967 film Dr. Dolittle. And so my mind began to wander…
Come October, I had a few ideas about how to make the costume, but they all just seemed unrealistic. The only real clothing item I had ever made was my first shirt project for sewing class. But, for whatever reason, I felt confident.
The confidence was what got me through. I confidently decided that the first thing that I needed was fabric. So my lovely friends Scott, Laura, and I trekked down to the Fashion District to seek out the best possible llama fur (and to have a little photo shoot). You can see some more pictures of the excursion on Laura’s blog. We found the Land of Faux Fur…
…then I became the proud owner of three yards of “llama fur.” I should note now that this stuff sheds like crazy! I still find llama fur all over my room!
After pulling the three yards out multiple times over the next couple of weeks, staring at it, folding it, and then putting it bag in its trash bag, I finally came up with a semi-plan. I roughly (and somewhat confidently) used this basic shirt pattern from BurdaStyle to make the top sans sleeves. I used a basic pajama bottom pattern to make the shorts. The head was the hard part. I started with two of my dad’s old baseball caps. I covered them with cotton stuffing and used masking tape to shape the hats into a more llama-head-y look (this was by no means an exact science). Then, with a lot of pinning, hot gluing, confidence, and sewing, I shaped the fur around the hat molds. This took a very long time, but it finally worked out! Miranda created the ears out of fur and cardboard and eyes out of felt scraps. I then attached the head to the shirt with a small strip of fabric (also not an easy task, but great for during the night so we could throw the head back like a hood). What resulted was none other than the two most beautiful llama costumes…(yes, I realize they look slightly like decedents of the Rat King from the Nutcracker, but just think llama and then you’ll see it)…=)…
We unfortunately didn’t take many pictures on Halloween night, so I had Ting Ting try on the costume recently so that I could get some better pics. Really, she’s the cutest llama ever.
And then in some crazy photographer moment, I was like Yah, blow-dry your hair in the mirror! I do love this image though. Looks like some trippy dream.
Whew. Long post for a long project. In short, I love my llama costumes. It was pretty great that one of us had to walk backwards while we were attached. I don’t know if anyone else has ever been a Push Me Pull You and I don’t know if anyone else ever will. But I loved this costume. I loved that it made me be creative and made me create and I couldn’t be happier with how it came out.
And to end on a different note, I didn’t want to wear the llama suit to work on Halloween so I opted for a tamer costume instead. Meet Mr. C.
I love Halloween.
Currently listening to everything Zee Avi.
I have been sewing up a storm lately. I promise that I will post some of my latest projects sometime soon. For now, here are a few of the things that have been inspiring me lately…
LA-based fashion designer Jasmin Shokrian
Autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire sketches cityscapes by memory
My little sister. She ran a marathon last weekend and I am very proud of her.
Tonight, I felt like a total idiot.
I decided to take a hip-hop class at my gym. I saw the class practicing before my yoga class on Monday and noticed that there were quite a few newbies struggling through the moves. Seeing them make it through the number was very inspiring and I decided I had to try it for myself. Well, tonight, there were no other newbies accompanying me (only dancers who had obviously earned the title ‘dancer’ at some point in their lives), but it was fantastic. I could not for the life of me get the steps down and sometimes felt that my arms were so gangly that, even if I had the steps down pat, I would still look like some sort of long-armed gorilla. At the end, the teacher made us perform in small groups for each other. I fumbled through the whole thing but still felt accomplished at the end.
I smiled while getting into my car after class and began reflecting on risk-taking and the joys of feeling like an idiot. Hip-hop is so far outside my comfort zone, but I think I will keep trying it. It is easy to come home and do the same thing I do every night, but it is harder to do something new.
Another risk-taker that I want to mention is Germany’s most popular women’s magazine Brigitte. They announced this week that they will no longer be using professional models but will instead be using “real women” as a way of combating the unhealthy standards that stick-thin professional models encourage. I think this approach is fantastic and can’t wait to see the results (I am even thinking about subscribing even though I don’t speak German!).
Anyways, cheers to risk-taking! Take a risk this week. It might be fantastic (or humiliating and then fantastic like my hip-hop experience, but this is really about the end result, right?).
Have a good Thursday!
…currently listening to Blackalicious, Alphabet Aerobics
More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them. – Henri Nouwen (via white hot truth and lillieinthecity)
After talking on gchat tonight to my friend Kristina in China, I got hungry and restless. Now, this isn’t my normal reaction to talking with K, so I knew it had to be something else. I think my body is telling me it needs to travel.
My last big trip was when Dan and I went with his family a year ago to visit China and see the Olympics. It truly was one of the greatest vacations ever. Dan and I walked miles and miles everyday and I think I gained about five pounds in two weeks since I had to eat everything in sight.
Because real-travel isn’t in the cards right now, I am going to have to dream-travel with you all tonight with this blog post.
If I woke up tomorrow and I was in China, I would do all of the following…
…wander the gorgeous public parks…
…do a little shopping…
…eat A LOT of food (and probably a crazy amount of street food)…
…and just enjoy the craziness that is China…
(wo ye ai ta) =)
I must admit that I have been more than a little obsessed with the runway shows from last week’s NY Fashion Week. I have spent hours looking through all of the shows and picking out my favorite looks. If you would like to see a slide show of all of my favorite looks, click here (note that there are about 350 looks to go through, but it is so worth it to see beautiful designs!).
Here are a few of my favorites (be sure to click the images to see the full designer collections).
and a category all its own…
I had a “driveway moment” a couple of weeks ago listening to an NPR interview with director RJ Cutler about his new documentary The September Issue. Cutler spoke about the bizarre and fascinating world at American Vogue led by two incredibly powerful women–editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and creative director Grace Coddington.
I went with my lovely friend Ting Ting to see the film at the ArcLight on Friday night and really enjoyed it.
Culter had the opportunity to follow both of these magnificent women through the process of creating the American Vogue September 2007 issue, the single largest issue of a magazine ever published. Cutler’s access into photo shoots and re-shoots, closed-door meetings, harsh scoldings by the ice queen herself, and very personal moments with both women makes for an incredibly compelling documentary. Besides the dim and sometimes unflattering light the film sheds on the strange ways of the fashion industry, the most interesting focus was on the decades-long relationship between Anna and Grace.