Friday, May 27, 2011
"Windows Vista Restore" is an evil, sneaky virus/malware program. It gets onto your computer via a Trojan horse, so it turns out that my clicking on the 'Fix Errors' button was stupid but not the ultimate cause of the infection. Once you see that button, your computer is already infected. In my defense, i quote the infobox from the video above, "The only indication that Windows Restore is a scam application is when it begins to force users into paying for the registered version before any fix can be run on the system." And, once they asked for my credit card number the penny dropped immediately. Even my stupidity has limits.
Happily, 'puter is feeling fit and frisky once more, up to visiting on the web and such. I advise that you watch the first minute or so of the video to get a feel for what this virus looks like so you don't do anything ill-advised such as clicking on the buttons (like i did). In short, your desktop fades to black, you lose all your program icons, and a scary, official-Windows-looking window pops up telling you that you're experiencing critical hard drive errors, you are losing data which may not be recoverable, and so on. You may look in your files and folders for your photos and find that the folders are empty, while "critical hard drive error" windows pop on top of each other every minute or so. Nice.
The day before all this hoopla hit the fan i had noticed that when i went to my website (The Dashing E), i had no blogger toolbar across the top, so i had no way to log in. When i scrolled down to the comments, the 'POST A COMMENT' option was greyed out, so i couldn't log in that way either. I ended up logging in through other blogger sites. I believe this was the first sign of the infection, so if you have this happen to you i'd follow the above video or contact 'technical services' to see if you have contracted this infection and how to get rid of it.
The video at the top of this post does a great job of talking you through the de-infection process - 650038haig also teaches you how to make your photos and other documents accessible again (yep, that was exciting - all those pix i'd downloaded to the hard drive, nowhere to be found). Unfortunately, by the time i called my dad (familial super geek) the virus prevented me from even accessing the 'Start' button - in that case, you may need to access the higher-ups of the digital priesthood. It's worth it - our little machine was useless there for a day or so. Mr. Eccentric is a superstar. He spent hours running scans through ESET Nod32 (our regular anti-evil application), researching the Windows Vista Restore virus, de-hiding files, and installing MalwareBytes Anti-Malware. Let me tell you, in this kind of situation an obsessive-compulsive Virgo is your dream life mate!
All the usual cautions apply - install a reputable anti-virus application (maybe two!) and update it regularly. Don't go to porn sites (obviously - this one activity keeps my father in green fees), and never never EVER give anyone your credit card info, e-mail address, passwords, social security number, etc. unless you are in the process of purchasing something from them on a reputable site. Additionally, your e-mail provider does not need you to update your information to 'weed out unused e-mail accounts', and the first cousin of the Botswanian Secretary of State does not need your help to launder money (even though she is a devout but penniless widow).
Back to regular programming now in progress......
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
A while back we were talking about jewelry when Wendy B chimed in, saying she's become interested in working hands into some of her pieces. We lurve us some hand earrings here Chez Eccentrique. I decided to test my new camera's macro features and share my hand earrings with you all.
The first earring is my first hand earring, my first Thomas Mann earring, and my first 'one only' earring. My mom has commented before about how she got me this piece at Tail of the Yak as a Christmas present for me. She was perplexed that it was only one, not half of a pair, but also thought it was unique and wonderful. The arrow and the black and white piece both move around, and the hand is solid brass - it has heft!
You can see the artist's signature on the back of the hand. That's one of my favorite parts of this earring - later on he switched to a stamp.
This earring is one of a pair. I gave the other to my sister - it had two brass feathers going crossways where the rabbit is, and a red heart attached with the bolt. This hand originally had an amethyst-colored half sphere attached through a center hole with the bolt. It disintegrated, and i've used the bolt to attach various items. Now it's wearing an antique Chinese carved piece which used to decorate clothing (these were sewn on to fancier clothing, much like beading or embroidery).
Here you can see the stamp, with which Mr. Mann still uses to sign his jewelry - a "T" & "M" combined. The ear wire came out of the top of the piece, but it broke off after about 15 years. I've twisted some wire around it in order to attach it to earwires or studs, but it hangs crookedly. I added the blue bead because i like it against the orange. Any ideas on fixing this piece are very welcome!
I also got these earrings from Tail of the Yak in Berkeley. They were made by a Mexican company which dates back to colonial Spanish times, and supplied jewelry to none other than Ms. Frida Kahlo herself. These originally had small blue briolettes in place of the pearls i added. Regretfully, i've never been told the name of the company (despite specifically asking salespersons) or been able to research it. I'm curious as hell to find out!
Nothing fascinating or insightful, just hand earrings today. Mostly i'm thinking about the rotten events in Joplin. I watched a video recorded by a person who survived the tornado, along with about 10 other people, in a walk-in freezer. There's very little to see, as all the power was out, but the soundtrack is terrible to experience. It really brought home what the people there go through - the horrible waiting to see if you'll be hit after the warning is sounded, raw animal fear as the tornado passes over, not knowing what you will find if you emerge. These traumatized souls then have to clean up the mother of all messes.
It made me appreciate earthquakes - you have no time to work yourself up, just BOOM it's happening, and there's no rain to drench everything for days afterwards while you sort through your belongings and search for your loved ones. I think that the video affected me especially as it's the only recording i've come across that conveys something similar to my near death experience in my early twenties. Here's some resources for helping the people in Missouri. Don't forget to hug the people you should. Needless to say, you all get a big (((((( ))))))) from me for reading this.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Another in my ongoing series of 'what i wore to go grocery shopping on Friday nite'. I wore this last nite for my weekly peregrinations, thus the title. I'm pretty sure this is the first time i've worn this khaki jean jacket in over a month - weather and the love of novelty have kept me in my new denim jacket up until now.
The highlight of this look is the blouse. Again, i made it a few years ago, but it never felt quite right. The princess seams allow for a lot of personalized fitting, but i don't think i'd taken it far enough. The top picture in the following collage shows the 'before' look, the bottom pic is after i altered it.
To begin, i took in a little at the side waist and also under the bust. In the before picture i look pretty frumpy. When you have a large bust, if you don't 'pull in' the garment where your figure is slimmer, you are going to look as if you are as big as your breasts all over. Defining the ribcage, stomach, waist and shoulders helps slim you down. The other major trouble i'd had with this pattern was the fit of the sleeves. Somehow they always felt very confining, and they hit at a really awkward spot. I used a little cream/ivory plaid bias strips to hem the sleeves at a shorter point and along a bit of a curve.
These alterations, especially taking in fullness along the princess seams, made a big difference in the fit. Yet they are very easy to do - i just did them by hand, sewing right next to the original machine seams. Princess seams are great this way - if you are hard to fit in the torso, look for items with princess seaming to make alterations easier for you or your tailor. They allow even more precise fitting than darts and are much easier to work with. The same holds true when shopping for patterns - look for princess seaming if you want the most control over fitting in your torso.
I used to think this way of shaping a garment was tremendously old-fashioned, but as i gain more experience with fitting i've come to see the genius of the princess seam. Any experience with/opinions on princess seaming out there?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
So it would be bigamy, so what! This is the wild west, after all ;) But wait, you say - i don't see a shred of Miyake in that there look......fine, my skeptical friend. Prepare to feast yer eyeballs on:
No padding under the blouse. That's all real, baby. I got those killer curves from mom, not dad, as you would expect in the 'big square shoulders' department. It's 'all 1980's, all the time' here.
Back view - pleats gathered into the collar and into various types of topstiching. Darts in the shoulder area give a raglan feel and shaping. This is Issey Miyake for Vogue Patterns 2761. I made this blouse going on 8 years ago (!). But i never wore it, except for periodic 'test runs', which always felt a little off. What was up with that?!?!?
Serendipitously, Angie posted on this very topic recently, in her article, "It’s “Not You”, it’s the Future You". As Angie puts it: "You know exactly what I mean. You see a wardrobe item that pulls at your heart strings because, for several reasons, it’s “so you”. Conversely, you see an item that leaves you cold because it’s “not you”. Obviously the former has a better chance of making it into your wardrobe.
It’s good to have strong style preferences because that will give you a focused shopping process and a strong signature style. But I’m going to stick up for the other side too. There is something to be said for purchasing items that don’t initially look like they would suit your current style. Why? Because every so often you hit a gem that opens up a new unexplored style direction. It might even be the impetus for the next leg of your style journey."
I commented: "...for me it’s usually something i love but that’s ‘not my current lifestyle’, or ‘i don’t know how to wear it’. one of these resolved just recently – i love Issey Miyake and have made a few of his pieces from the Vogue Patterns Designer line. One blouse came out beautifully, but the crisp, white material just put me off and i rarely wore it (i made it over ten years ago) ***. The pleating and design of the blouse was so amazing i couldn’t bring myself to toss it.
the last few months i’ve become a lot more interested in blouses with some structure – i wear jackets all the time, but in 100+ F heat they are often too hot. A blouse with polish gives the same feel with less ‘heat’. long story short (or is it already too late for that?), i’ve worn this blouse three times the last couple of weeks and love it! completely fits my current style.
this isn’t the first time i’ve had this experience, so nowadays i do my best to try a few pieces outside of my ‘comfort zone’."
*** i exaggerated! looking inside the pattern envelope, i found my purchase receipt (very rare - i've never found a pattern receipt that i've kept before). I bought this pattern (already discontinued) in December 2003, so this blouse is more around 7.5 years old.
Angie's post came at the perfect moment for me, as i'd already taken these photos and scheduled this post. I ended up writing most of it as a comment at You Look Fab! This also fits in with my ongoing scheme to find/design a core of patterns which i know from experience will be wardrobe workhorses, and make them up in various fabrics (some of them more expensive and luxurious). I'd love to make this item up in a cotton/silk blend, or handkerchief linen. Yum!
I stumbled into the 'double scarf' theme this winter because i was cold and it's warmer than one scarf alone. But by now it's just for fun, adding a bit more interest to a look. Try it, you'll like it!
What do you all think of Angie's thesis? It's obvious where i stand, but what are your experiences in 'straying outside your comfort zone"?
Saturday, May 14, 2011
It's been a couple of months since i cut my hair to this shorter length. I'd been wearing it somewhere around shoulder length for around 13-14 years, although i had it short like it is now for decades in my teens, twenties, and thirties.
Three or four weeks ago i was putting away some laundry in 'the pirate chest' (where hubby keeps his drawers) when i saw these Mossimo shorts of Mr. E's. An outfit sprang from my forehead - unbidden, as it were. I tossed it on and took a few pix for future reference (a habit i've developed along with this blog).
|another 'better short' look|
Since then, this idea has been on my mind, and i've been sooooo happy that i cut my hair! I know that "we're fashion/clothing blogs so we talk about clothes and shoes and jewelry". But i've always been more interested in style than fashion, especially so on this blog. Hair and makeup, even posture and verbal accent, all come together to create a stylish impression. But hair is so personal and emotional, often tied in with feelings about family or different times of life, that it's difficult to take an objective look. Does your current hairstyle jibe with who you are now, in your personal style, your lifestyle, even your professional or community self?
|longer hair for comparative scrutinization|
If you haven't recently, though, or if you feel there's just 'a missing piece' in your style jigsaw puzzle, consider updating your hairstyle. You don't have to take off half a foot in your own bathroom. A few highlights, an inch-long trim, some layers around your face, using texturizing balm instead of mousse - any of these changes can freshen up your look and bring it more in line with your overall style. The Citizen Rosebud took the plunge last month and looks even better than before! She didn't make a huge change, but the new crispness in her 'do really shows off her edgy personal style.
|one more 'short rules!' for argument's sake|
ilegirl also updated her hair to great effect this season - a couple inches off the bottom, wispy bangs, and soft layers around the face. It's flattering, pulled-together, and (as far as i know) low-fuss. Think to your fave stylish ladies. How many have great hair that is integral to their style? Angie of You Look Fab and Audi of Fashion For Nerds come to mind, as well as Sheila of Ephemera and Bev of Style Underdog (my choices here are surprising no one). But honestly, Bev in a pageboy? Just try to picture it - i dare you!
Any hair-related style stories out there? Have you ever made a hair change that's opened new style doors for you? Do you feel that your current hairstyle is doing everything it could be for your individual style?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Okay, that's enough pirate-speak for one post! Here's some of the first looks i wore using my Fancy Pants World Tour loot. This first look uses the new H & M stretch cotton blouse, stretch cotton jean jacket, and Charlie 1 Horse mules. I loved this look - very sleek, great, interesting play of newtrals and nice details. I wore it to stroll down Solano Avenue with Mr. E and got a number of looks from my fellow distaff citizens. They'd start at the feet, and slowly move up until i could see the disbelieving/disapproving - yet 'filing this away for future reference' look on their face.
A successful outfit.
I made The Sheila Skirt of 100% linen a couple/three of months ago, and i'm enjoying it even more now that i can wear it over bare legs. I wasn't sure i'd like a knee length, straight skirt but i love the pulled together feel it gives to many looks. How foolish of me to doubt the power of Sheila! I'm scheming to make more.
This CAbI jacket is cotton seersucker with woven stripes. The details are wonderful - little pleated ruffles at sleeve hem and on the pocket tops, and the seams inside all finished with aqua calico. It's a lot of fun with jeans, and plays quite nicely with my frou-frou cami-tops. It shows no signs of wear, and the 3/4 sleeves give it a sassier feel. $5.50!
Here's a look with the black cotton capri-length cargo pants. The fabric is thin but closely woven, thus sturdy and easy to wear when it gets hot. I think they're men's, i had to take them in at the waist and crotch.
And here's the same outfit with the H & M stretch cotton top visible. It's the same cut as the white top, only in black, i was so tickled to find both! I like buying closet staples in a light and dark version - you get the benefit of having more than one of a piece you love and can use, but with even more flexibility. These cargo capris illustrate the same principle - they're a mish-mash of my fave khaki cargos and workhorse khaki capris, made up in black.
Since i stuck to my list in buying these pieces, i immediately integrated them into daily rotation. I've been wearing the jean jacket 3-4 times a week since i got it! It fills the same 'ecological niche' as my khaki jean jacket, but with a different color, cut, and 'feel' or 'style vocabulary word'. I have to say, stretch fabrics have become phenomenally wearable the last few years. When i was little, they would weave in these elastic 'fibers' (basically the rubber bands they put on newspapers or a floral bouquet, only in ivory) that would start busting and hanging out of your clothes like little rubbery teeth. Nowadays, they have truly become a miracle fibre. I'd never wear a jacket of this heavy denim cut this close without the stretch - with, it's incredibly comfy!
I'm also wearing it a bunch because 'any day now' the weather will turn summer and it'll be way too hot. We're having this strange, late summer here - yesterday the weatherman said it looked like a February weather system! Who knows, but when it comes to this jacket i'm getting while the getting's good!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
|the skirt look|
I've been very flattered and excited by your response to my Checklist Analysis post. I worried that it would be too 'thinky' and abstract to draw readers in, but so far people seem to find it intriguing and inspiring. As readers have requested more examples of using this checklist on particular outfits, here's your first one.
A few days after i published the post i received an e-mail from Mrs. Bossa of Mrs. Bossa Does the Do, asking for my thoughts on a couple of her recent looks. She'd been thinking about finding a new 'Fashion Formula', as she terms it, for her work outfits. She ended up taking inspiration from the house of Marni, and came up with a couple of outstanding outfits after boiling down her observations to this : "In the end I decided that there were a few key elements to my favourite Marni looks: on the one hand unexpected colours and quirky statement necklaces and on the other, the aforementioned ribbed knee socks and ‘dull’ old grey tights, worn either with peg trousers or knee-length skirts." (Find Mrs. Bossa's original post on how Marni helped her come up with her Fashion Formula here.) Read on for my checklist analysis, and a response to my thoughts from Mrs. Bossa herself.
|the trouser look|
Sleek with a surprise - just a little to the side of a 'classic' fit/silhouette (a bit on the roomier side), with certain unexpected details in where hems hit, etc. So there's a wee gap between skirt hem and top of socks, trousers are rolled into cuffs, even tho they're being worn with socks, which you'd think would mean it's cold, but she's wearing sandals, so....... (there's nothing i love more than creating an outfit which creates this kind of hamster wheel thinking in the observer's mind). There's also a sharp edge here and there to focus the look - pointy toed shoe, nice and sharp shoulder on the jacket, pointy triangles on the sandals made emphatic by wearing a contrasting sock underneath.
The fabrics' drape emphasizes the silhouette by having enough body to hold the line of the cut without being stiff or bulky. Even the material of the skirt falls neatly, as opposed to being overly flowy or clingy. The
Also works to put the focus on silhouette by staying in the mid-range - generally matte, but with enough variation (nubby sock here, shimmer of silk crepe there) to keep things lively.
The general idea is a newtral background with one or two contrast pieces - either contrasting in color and/or value (light vs. dark). What adds that quirky unexpectedness is that the background pieces vary in color (not so much in light/dark or value). So in the trouser look the shell is a dark navy, the jacket black, the socks dark grey. The navy shell is a brilliant touch as it's the color opposite of the orange of the trousers, making the contrast more vibrant. Joanna uses another quirky strategy for creating the 'background' in her skirt look, by 'backgrounding' pieces (necklace, shoes) which are generally highlighted in outfits. She accomplishes this by setting them next to or on items with a very similar color and value (black necklace on black sweater). Again in the sweater/skirt look, the 'background' pieces vary in color, not so much in value - grey socks, black sweater and necklace, dark brown shoes.
If Joanna wanted to create more looks with this general feel, one choice would be to make a light value background for a dark value and/or contrasting color item. For example, she could use the orange trouser once again as the contrast piece, but make a background of light newtrals. Including at least one piece with a warm green base (for example, a light sage cardigan) would up the contrast even more, as she did by using the navy blue shell. She could wear the same light-colored sandals with light grey, bone, or cream colored socks, and so on. Or she could wear the skirt and sweater of her second look with the same sandal and sock combo of my first example and go light on the rest of the pieces, making the black sweater the contrast piece on a light background.
Doesn't play a role in these looks.
Plays a big role and helps create the quirky, unexpected feel to what are at heart fairly basic clothing items. Again, 'backgrounding' a statement necklace by wearing it over the same color and value, wearing nubby socks instead of hose, leaving a gap between hem and sock - these are the touches that set these looks apart from the ordinary. The individual clothing items all lack much detail, being spare and clean.Tthis adds to the modern feel and keeps the quirky touches from feeling overly fussy or contrived. Another aspect to notice is that the details and
All have a geometric feel. the necklace is composed of circles, the shoes have pointedly pointed toes, the sandals make nice triangles. These work well with the sharp shoulders of the jacket and rhythmic pleats of the skirt. Nothing is representational or organic in feel.
Well, Joanna let us all know these are her take on the aspects of Marni's work that she was drawn to. I wouldn't have realized this if she hadn't told me, because i don't follow the collections really at all (bad style blogger!), and don't know anything about Marni except that it's a designer. However, taking a gander at Joanna's inspiration pictures, i can see the influence. Joanna's take on these looks is definitely more wearable than the runway looks, and i appreciate the creativity they show more than i would seeing a lady all decked out in Marni's latest - you can wear a designer's look wholesale and have these same quirky touches and subtle use of color, but all of the decisions have been made for you. Taking inspiration requires that the 'inspiree' dissect their own response to the designer's work, and come up with ways to translate those responses into their own wardrobe and lifestyle. In a strange way, this approach to a designer can bring you closer to their clothing and creative process than dropping a few bills at one of their boutiques.
I love these looks, they are very wearable and really fun. You could come up with a load of different looks in this same vein, there is a lot of room for variety but the general structure is solid enough that you won't be flapping around for ideas or direction. Brava Joanna!!!
clockwise from top left: lo contrast; lo contrast; lo and hi contrast at once; hi contrast.
"This is fantastic - I've read it twice! It's so interesting to see my style with a fresh eye. I never even considered the effect of reducing statement pieces to background ones, but you're right: my emphasis is on a clean silhouette and quirky little details. I realise now that outfits that have felt really dull have been missing these details. I was fascinated to notice the geometric shapes in my clothes, too, something I'd never been aware of - fussy and flowing ain't me, that's for sure! I'm still mulling over the section on colour, as I'd like to try the suggestions you made, and I never thought about the 'value' of the items I choose. I have been branching out into colour blocking, which I'm enjoying, but the pieces themselves are always simple, as you can imagine. I love the section on the trousers socks and sandals - that 'hamster wheel' never occurred to me!"
Thank you Mrs. Bossa - both for your kind comments and for allowing me to use your looks to help illustrate my checklist.
A word on how i 'do' the checklist. I generally look at the outfit, run through the checklist and get a 'gut feel' for the major elements : silhouette and color, for example. I then spend a few days to more than a week mulling in my mind, going back to the pictures, making notes here and there as it occurs to me, until i can do a write up in just a few minutes. That lets me know i've reached a decent level of understanding. So i use a very analytical, left-brain tool (the checklist), but i wield it in a very right-brain, fluidly creative manner. I find that this get 'both halves' of the brain in on the action. As a result, i'm much more able to create looks i love organically, just throwing them together; but when i do get stuck i have the ability to 'think' my way into an equally great look.
I want to do a couple more of these type of posts, if you have one you're interested in having me look at just send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
|the true femaraderie of thrifting - me & 'P'|
|those are fabric trousers!|
Hospice Thrift Shop – 444 Diablo RoadLuncheon break at Starbucks - brown bagging encouraged.
Thrift Station – 486 San Ramon Valley Blvd.
A Dress Change – 125 Railroad Ave (855-5581; http://www.adresschangeconsignment.com/)
Something Old, Something New – 155 Railroad Ave (838-4492)
|two-tone embroidery, lovely tomato-red cotton|
|my look for the tour - no rain, so the boots weren't needed|
Danville rewards thrifters bountifully for their efforts. It's a very rich community, housing lots of ladies with time to shop and the inclination to keep up on trends with no repeats! You get a lot of clothes that end up in the thrift or consignment shop out of boredom, or keeping up with 'the new', not so much due to wear and tear. Ah, the type of stock to which i can relate! Hospice Thrift Shop was smaller than Thrift Station, with a more curated stock. However, Hospice Thrift was holding a 20% sale which almost closed the difference. Thrift Station was pretty crowded, with some of the racks difficult to maneuver between, and a window full of vintage hats. They're cash only (thank you Mrs. MacA!!) and have a wide selection of men and children's gear as well as women's.
|proof i DO try non-newts now & then|
|look at these French characters!|
Coming up - some looks showing off my new booty. Also, i'm working on some example outfits to put through my checklist - stay tuned! Life has been showing some of her hairier aspects recently, and i so appreciate your reading and your comments. But it looks like things are calming down and i'm itching to post more regularly. Take care and i plan to see you here again SOON!