a week’s worth – 30-01-09

A Week’s Worth documents what I did all week – a little peek into the life of a fashion illustrator and blogger.

Last Friday after work I went to OCAD for the Whodunit? artist appreciation party.  It was really sweet!  Free drinks and dinner and cookies, and all of our artwork was projected on the wall with our names below it. I also got to see Kyra Kendall and Brett Despotovitch, who also submitted some art for the event.  It was fun to talk shop with other artists.

It was a cold, sunny Saturday, and I walked over the Don Valley bridge to meet illustrator Julia Breckenreid.
Don River & DVP
I have admired Julia’s work ever since Sarah Lazarovic showed me some of her pieces hanging in the Montrose Portrait Gallery, and I’m very grateful to Ron the Boy Reporter for introducing us at #hohoto.  I asked Julia lots of questions and she very kindly gave me some very generous answers.  When starting her career she said she asked a lot of questions too, and she put great emphasis on sharing your experiences.  I thought of her as I answered a few emails this week from young students who are interested in what I do.
Me and Julia Breckenreid

On Monday, I had a TV interview in my studio with Jennifer, a producer with Rogers Cable, about Buy Design.  I get a bit nervous about appearing on video so Tatiana at Faulhaber had to persuade me to do it, that is a good thing.  I think it went well and I’ll post a link when it gets released.

On Tuesday, I worked in Adrienne‘s studio, wrapping up the last of the samples.

On Wednesday night, it was the premiere of Project Runway Canada 2!  Of course I was super-excited and Carolyn and I went to watch the show with some of the participants and all their friends.  Carolyn interviewed Sarah Jay who did the styling for the series.
Carolyn interviews Sarah Jay

My fellow fashion school 06er Jessica Biffi made it through the episode – of course.  I think she’ll do great in the competition!  On the show she was just as caring and funny as she is in person.  She looked great at the premiere party.
Jessica Biffi

Three other competitors were there too, and I managed to paparazzi some pictures of two of them.  Camille (left) was the first eliminated and basically wins the prize as the fashion world’s greatest good sport.  Brandon (right) was also there, his expressions every bit as over the top in real life as they are in TV.  I think he’ll stick around on the show for a while, his confidence fills the room.
Camille and Brandon

On Wednesday, Carolyn and I had three events we wanted to check out, snowbanks were not going to stop us.  The first was the launch of the Daniel Thompson makeup line at Rosemarie Umetsu‘s studio.  Here is a picture of Daniel doing a demonstration on the lovely singer Patricia Zentilli.  Daniel was full of enthusiasm for his cosmetics, giving a rapid-fire monologue as he applied Patricia’s makeup.
Daniel Thompson and Patricia

I also got to meet Patricia’s collaborator, pianist Patti Loach.  They were both wearing stunning ivory and gold Rosemarie Umetsu dresses.  Patti also knows one of my mom’s former piano students, Adam Bishop, who is making a name for himself as an up-and-coming tenor.  Its such a small world!

After that, Carolyn and I wandered over to the Windsor Arms for a scotch tasting event hosted by the sparkling Mary Symons.  The fancy bar was quite full of Toronto’s best social set.  I love going to Mary’s events even though often I feel quite scrappy surrounded by so much fabulousity.  I got to say hi to my friends Linda Gaylard and Matthew Lyn, and I introduced myself to Ron Sexmith.

Shernett Swaby

After that, event number three!  The F-List is hosting a series of meet-and-greets to introduce the new collections of some of Toronto’s best fashion designers.  The first designer to get this treatment was Shernett Swaby, whose boutique is located in my neighborhood.  She designs these detail-intensive pieces that are always impeccably finished, and rather than following trends she has developed a recognizable signature style that has attracted a very sophisticated and dedicated clientele.  Shernett shared some of her own experiences building her own business from scratch which Carolyn will post in more detail on the TFI blog.

Three events in three hours on Wednesday night, and I was home before 10pm.  So much fun, I love it when that happens.

Thursday I went over to Adrienne‘s studio to go over the technical drawings for her line sheets.  We will be going to Pool in just about two weeks and Adrienne has a to-do list a mile long.  So no wonder she feels like this.
Adrienne January 29

She will totally pull it all together though, the level of productivity this designer has shown in the past month has been incredible.  All of her samples are back now and they look terrific, I can’t wait to see them all come together in the lookbook shoot.

How was your week?

click click – 29-01-09

Welcome to Click Click, the regular roundup of what I find worth clicking on the internet.

fashion illustrated – camo challenge

Every week, Fashion Illustrated features a drawing created especially for Final Fashion.
camo challenge
Okay, so it is easy to make BIG TALK about how the first PRC challenge didn’t turn out anything really interesting, so I thought I’d whip out the watercolour pencils and give it a shot myself.  Thankfully without the restrictions of having to make the thing, or gravity, or whatever.

I think on TV there needs to be big statements to make an impression on the screen.  I feel that the inverted triangle shows a lot of powerful emphasis (besides being a military motif in and of itself).  Also, I would have gone with something that didn’t require a lot of details to make its point given the tight deadline.

What would you have done with some camo in 2.5 hours?

Project Runway Canada 2 – Episode 1 Redux

I watched this episode at O’Grady’s with Carolyn and four of the designers  – Jessica, Jeff, Brandon and Camille – and all their friends.  I’ll post photos later this week, it was pretty exciting to be in the same room with some of the people seeing themselves on the show for the first time!

Project Runway Canada 2

How was the episode?  My reactions under the fold.

Continue reading “Project Runway Canada 2 – Episode 1 Redux”

fashion blog karma – stereoette

Frog Prince by StereoetteIt was the first time I was in New York City, to attend the Gen Art Competition show that Zoe from Verbal Croquis had entered (and won).  Zoe and I were standing in line to get in and for the first time ever, we got recognized on the street!  It was Joi from Stereoette!

It was pretty random to go somewhere and meet people on the street that I had met on the internet – and it was delightful.  It felt like we had all been friends for ages.  Joi even let me stay at her downtown apartment the next two times I came to NYC.  She’s generous, smart, ambitious and productive.  Thank goodness for the internet, I’m very grateful to have met her!

The craft area in her apartment is full of buttons and shards of glass and fabric and glue and beads.  Joi has great enthusiasm and prolific creativity.  She makes clothes and accessories and cute jewelry, some of which she makes available on her Etsy (including the frog prince on the right).  I asked her a few questions about craft blogging.

What do you like about craft/fashion blogging?

I think originally I liked the community of fashion and craft bloggers – it seemed there were a lot of us that met each other through our blogs, and I now count several of these bloggers as good friends. It has been nice to have an online community that you can turn to for advice or encouragement regarding designs!  Over the last few years, a few bloggers have slowed in posting (myself included) but a lot of new faces have shown up, doing some really inspiring stuff.  I’ve continued blogging to keep friends posted on what I’m up to, and to show off when I’ve made something cool ;o)

What are the top five blogs/sites that you check regularly?

Girls With Slingshots – not exactly a blog, but a daily updated cartoon. hilarious, and so well drawn!
Decor8 – I love Holly Becker’s interior design sensibility, she is totally knowledgeable, and her blog is humorous. What more can you ask?
Counterfeit Chic – Susan is totally my hero. I want to be her when I grow up! Only she can make trademark and anticounterfeiting issues so fashionable.
Flickr – Its just plain eyecandy, and a great way to keep up with fellow crafters and friends.
Etsy – Its where I sell my crafts, and I have to admit I am a wee bit compulsive about checking it. Also, when i’m bored, I like to hang out in the “Techniques and Materials” section of the forums, to trade tips and get ideas for new things to try out.

Why did you start your blog?

I’ve been blogging and/or making websites about my life for a long time (since 1996 or so, when I had a decently popular website on ska bands) and so when I decided to learn to sew a few years ago, I started a blog to catalog my efforts. Since then it has followed my adventure in entrepreneurship, also called Stereoette, and my crafting of all sorts of things.

What is the greatest challenge in craft blogging?  The greatest reward?

The biggest challenge for me is posting regularly. I have a pretty demanding day job and so frequently I turn to crafting to get away from working. At those times, blogging feels like an obligation, especially if I have nothing new or interesting to say. I’m hoping to increase the number of posts that are just photos of what i’m working on, to decrease the pressure on myself.

The biggest reward is when I make something that other people like, and they leave comments to that effect! Seriously, it makes me super excited to see people say “oh that’s cute!” or “I know someone who would love that.” It is also pretty exciting when someone sees something I’ve posted and buys it, but in all honesty, the postive comments make my day.

just a thought – mascara

Not too long ago, the Word-of-Mouth marketing outfit Matchstick sent me a package of L’Oreal Beauty Tubes mascara.  Besides two tubes of the black stuff, there was a sweet little collection of makeup brushes and a nice set of gray eye shadows for making smokey eyes.

L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes

I like mascara a lot.  I have long, curly eyelashes that are light in colour.  Black mascara gives my face an instant transformation, it makes me feel pretty and put-together. A lot of the best black mascaras (Maybelline Great Lash and my personal favourite, Clinique) have remained the same for years and don’t bear improvement.  Loyal ladies wouldn’t stand for it, and these mascaras hardly need a company like Matchstick to generate WOM for them.

On the other side, there is the quest for novelty in mascaras.  Very scientific *new* mascaras, promising longer, lusher, less clumpy lashes.  In my experience, they very rarely improve upon the classics.  The only exception I can think of is the $40 battery operated Ôscillation, which has turned bloggers like I want – I got and Bargainista into influencers under the influence.  Yes I am just a smidge envious that I didn’t merit that freebie, I sure can’t justify spending that much on mascara.

Beauty Tubes application was fine, it gave a thick “faux” sort of look that the double applicator mascaras always give.  Actually it promised “the look of salon lash extensions”, which Google tells me is a process where individual, synthetic eyelashes are painstakingly glued one by one onto your eyelashes.  On that claim, I believe this mascara delivered, though I have no experience with eyelash extensions for comparison.

The literature claimed that Beauty Tubes “remove[s] easily with just warm water”.  For me, this was not the case.  It took two washes to remove completely, and rather than smudging, the “tubes” came off in spidery little lines that almost looked like my own lashes were falling out.  The texture of the mascara could be described as latex-like, reminding me of the masking fluid I use for watercolours.  Anticipating the removal makes me hesitate to wear it again, but maybe I am doing it wrong.

It has taken me a while to compose a post about Beauty Tubes, because I really didn’t love the product.  Thanks to the good work of the people at Matchstick, there are lots of posts about this mascara all over the internet, many of them positive, but not all.  In this case I tried to be objective about my experience, to help you if you want to buy a mascara.  Personally, I would take a pass on the Beauty Tubes.  L’Oreal makes many quality mascaras, I would recommend the Telescopic, which I also received it a gift bag and have used many times with satisfaction.

Have you tried Beauty Tubes, do you think it delivered?  Do you have mascara loyalty or do you love mascara novelty?  Do online reviews of a product affect your purchase decisions?

a week’s worth – 23-01-09

A Week’s Worth documents what I did all week – a little peek into the life of a fashion illustrator and blogger.

Me in the studio

Last Friday, for the first time in a long time, I had some time on my hands and nothing very pressing to do.  Surprisingly, for the self employed, this is a rare exception.

I savoured it without guilt by going up to the Salvation Army Thrift Store.  After many years of frustrated thrifting experiences, I have finally figured out how to do it.  I don’t go looking for anything specific.  I walk slowly up and down every rack, touching the clothes.  When I pass something with good feeling fabric, I take a look.  If I like the colour and the style, I look at the size, and if the size looks likely, I try it on.  I find with this method, I rarely find something to buy.  But when I do find something to buy, it is a real find.

This time I found the top you see above.  It is a brand-new, never worn Club Monaco top in 100% cotton.  It perfectly fits with my black-button-down paradigm I’ve got going on these days.  I also found a lined Banana Republic grey wool herringbone skirt.  Thus, I can now dress like I dropped $200 bucks at the mall for a mere $10.  Lately I find myself collecting more and more “dressy” stuff to wear, I guess grown-up clothing feels more right these days.

Rani shows the options for the shoot

On Saturday, it was time for the Buy Design photo shoot.  I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I am on the creative committee for Buy Design, a fundraiser for Windfall.  I am doing some illustrations for it, and with far more resources than I usually have for a project!  Rani (who is an editor at FASHION Magazine) was one of the stylists, and here she is showing Samra (from Rouge Magazine) some of the awesome vintage 1960s stuff she got from Vintage Couture for the photoshoot.

Allison getting her makup done

Allison, our lovely model, got all done up as a space vixen by hairstylist Jen Miller and makeup artist Rebecca Perrin.  The shoot was co-ordinated by Odessa at the Complections Makeup School.  I’ve never been inside the school before, it is a really awesome space – lots of movie posters and prosthetic makeup all over the walls, and bright rooms full of mirrors and neat books about makeup.  The shoot went amazing (how could it not with so much talent putting it all together?), photographer Felix Wong took some beautiful shots.  Now I get to put it all together into an illustration… how?  You’ll have to stay tuned to find out…

Me at Osgoode Station

The rest of the week went pretty much as usual – some client stuff, keeping the studio clean, working on Buy Design, going to the library.  I did up a submission for the Montrose Portrait Gallery‘s winter show and dropped it off.  I took the subway up to Adrienne’s studio to work.  It is weird to be at Osgoode Station, as I often am.  Someone got shot there this week. Some people are crazy and dangerous, but they look like everyone else, just city people in black coats.

Patterns at Butikofer

Adrienne’s samples are looking excellent, this is my favourite Butikofer season so far, for sure.  It is a bit stressful trying to pull everything off in time, and it is surreal to think that in three weeks we will be in Las Vegas for Pool.  I have learned that Philip Sparks, the Juma siblings, and the girls from Strut will be there – so there will be a little Canadian contingent to hang out with, which is cool.  I also really want to meet new friends while I am down there, so if you’re in Vegas anytime between Feb 15-20, let me know.

How was your week?

click click – 22-01-09

Welcome to Click Click, the regular roundup of what I find worth clicking on the internet.