Category Archives: Inspiration

Zoo Day: Underwater Inspiration

My partner and I enjoyed a zoo adventure today.  The Henry Doorly Zoo here in Omaha is great, but it’s really overwhelming.  We focus on just one section at a time when we go and today was the aquarium!

Underwater life is crazy to me.  It’s like a wet Willy Wonka dreamworld but not made of candy.  A dreamworld with a few nightmares… this guy:

This giant crab’s claws have creepy human-like teeth!

I was on visual overload mode all day.  There were so many colors, patterns and textures to take in.

Jellyfish ruffles. Visually striking and so delicate.

TOTAL ACCIDENTAL BONUS OF THE DAY: my outfit matched a glittering piranha!  I’m not sure if sparkles make a piranha less terrifying, but it was fun to find myself accidentally matchy-matchy with a giant fish.

PIRANHA LEGS! My glitter tights matched this sparkly piranha!

One of the major highlights of the Omaha Zoo’s aquarium is the shark reef.  It’s the big tunnel where all the sharks, stingrays and sea turtles can swim around and above you.  Well, I have zero pictures of this display. I have no idea what inspiring imagery I could have captured from the shark reef.  I sprinted through this exhibit.  Before we went, I suspected I wouldn’t handle this exhibit very well but now my overhead aquarium phobia is officially confirmed.  My fellow zoo-goers got to observe me experience a bit of a breakdown.  I went to run through the tunnel, but midway I saw a shark over my head and then I SPRINTED back.  Then there were tears.  It was a little embarrassing.  Then I had to psych myself up to run through again and actually make it to the other side.  Anyone know the official name of “overhead aquarium phobia” or “tunnel aquarium phobia?”  I have it.  For sure.

I had my photo taken a few times in the aquarium by sneaky children.  I wanted to shout “I AM NOT AN UDNERWATER ODDITY!!!”  or  “IT’S MY HAIR, NOT A SEA ANEMONE!” but was still trying to regain composure when this happened, so…..I’m part of some families’ zoo day photo slideshow, I guess.

Once I was finally on the other side of the terrifying tunnel moment, I calmed down and enjoyed many more underwater oddities.  My new favorite animal of the day was a garden eel.  They are hilarious and adorable.

These little sprouts are garden eels.


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Posted by on 10.11.13 in Inspiration


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Studio/Skill Upgrade: Leatherworking

I’ve been putting this off for years.  I’ve always wanted to work with leather, but I have talked myself out of it over and over.  “You don’t need any MORE tedious crafts to do by hand.”  “You have never done this before.  It takes years and years to learn this craft.”  “You will mess up.  Leather is expensive.”  “Don’t kill the animals.”  etc…..

I love leather. I don’t want to, but I do.  I absolutely do.

I have quite the garment weight leather stash from years of collecting thrifted garments, friends’ worn out leather coats, scraps from other people’s leather projects, etc.  I started to actually use it by incorporating small leather accents into my designs.  It’s not enough.  I want to design with more leather.  I’ve decided to really jump in and order a couple leather sides in a harness weight and make some all leather items.  Fine leather goods.  Harnesses and hardware.  I’m totally in.

The problem?  My studio is set up for creating garments and accessories out of fabric.  I can handle garment weight leather from my stash, but I want to make things out of heavyweight leather.  Time to start collecting leather tools!

My first leatherworking tool: a round knife.

The other problem?  Yeah, so I’ve never actually made anything out of really heavyweight leather so there’s that whole learning curve thing ahead of me.  Luckily, I’m really used to being self-taught and trying things I’ve never done before (aka: almost the exact definition of my costuming career) so no big deal.  I’ll suck for awhile and then I won’t (fingers crossed).

Bridles from a friend to inspect, disassemble and use for parts.

I’m trying to get my hands on all sorts of leather items to see how they are made.  A friend gave me a pile of horse bridles to get me started.  I don’t *think* I’ll be making horse bridles, but I can see how the makers handled the leather and learn from their construction methods.

I’m creeping closer and closer to the day where I put in a big order for leather and I feel like it’s a big jump for my brand.  I am excited.  I am nervous.  But mostly I am excited because the worst thing that can happen here is my closet gets filled with a bunch of interesting leather pieces for me to wear.  NOT BAD.  The best thing that can happen here is all of YOUR closets get filled with my interesting leather pieces for YOU to wear.  NOT BAD AT ALL.


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Another quote from Yvan Rodic’s Facehunter book

Here’s another quote that I love from Ivan Rodic in his Facehunter street fashion book.  This quote explains why I love street fashion books WAY more than fashion magazines.  It’s inspiring to see how real people interpret garments into outfits.  I love real people.

“For the huge majority of human beings, it’s easier to relate to beautiful normal people than to skinny tall models wearing $30,000 outfits.”  -Yvan Rodic


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Fashion vs. Style

I’ve been looking at a lot of street style books lately.  One of the books I’ve been into is Facehunter by Yvan Rodic.

I’m a visual person, so I’m a sucker for photo books.  I also love a lot of the quotes that Yvan Rodic includes throughout this book.  They are small reminders of the big reasons I am a designer.

“The only secret is to wear what you feel and what fits you. Fashion is what you buy, style is what you are.” -Yvan Rodic

I love that.  I live that.

“Fashion is what you buy, style is what you are.” -Yvan Rodic


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Comfort zone, where are you?

When I drew up my sketches for my monoprismatic clothing collection, all the figures had on these great big, stylized glasses.  I loved them.  At first, I thought that the glasses were just a visually dynamic aspect of my fashion illustrations and I’d leave it at that, but then I started wishing that they would come to life on runway.

Making a variety of templates.

I was brainstorming different ways to make this happen.  Regular glasses weren’t going to be stylized enough. and if I DID find oversized glasses that were cool enough, I didn’t know if my budget would allow me to buy enough for every model.  This idea was dismissed. As I reverted back to brainstorming DIY methods, I crossed several of my regularly used materials off the list: fabric, leather, interfacing, buckram, etc.  Nothing would produce the results I wanted.  I remembered I had a huge sheet of PVC signage plastic leftover from a previous creative endeavor, but it’s so far out of my comfort zone that I didn’t want to use it.  Eventually, I faced the fact that it was the only material that I had at least had SOME experience with that would create these oversized glasses that I wanted for my collection’s debut at Omaha Fashion Week.

Figuring out template layout to keep waste to a minimum.

Tracing templates.

The reason I was so hesitant to use this plastic is because the tools I’d use on it aren’t my normal tools. During  normal projects I use: a domestic sewing machine, an industrial sewing machine, an overlock machine, and iron, hand-sewing needles, scissors, and maybe some pliers. Tools needed for this project: a hot cutting knife, sandpaper, a power drill, sandpaper, more sandpaper……and zero sewing machines!  WHAT?!

Using the hot knife to melt/cut the glasses outline.

Turning non-functional sunglasses into non-functional reading glasses.

I think it wasn’t until I had a few fully completed glasses that I finally relaxed and thought “Sweet! These are runway accessories that are actually feasible!”

POWER drill. Using the POWER.

I already had to drill holes into the plastic to thread the elastic through, so I thought it’d be cute to add a button on each side for a touch of color.  Then each pair of glasses would match its corresponding outfit perfectly! Monoprismatic is very matchy-matchy.

Attaching the elastic cording and colored button.

While I got pretty good at making these glasses by the twelfth pair, I’m no PVC plastic expert. It’s a material that I CAN use, but only when necessary. The glasses are wearable, but somewhat uncomfortable after awhile. My models are troopers.  I just wanted to share my experience of working well out of my comfort zone. As a costumer, I do this quite often, but I don’t normally document it and say “Look at me! I only kinda/sorta know what I’m doing here!” But really, I only kinda/sorta know what I’m doing here.

Finished glasses.


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Street Fashion Books: Fruits & Fresh Fruits

I LOVE going into art museum gift shops.  I was on a trip with my mom in high school and I came across this book in an art museum gift shop called “Fruits” that was a photo book of Japanese street fashion.  At the time, I had never heard of it, but I was completely entranced in that gift shop.  I don’t think I even looked up for at least half an hour after I picked it up. She’s a nice mom and bought it for me. And, I’m pretty sure I carried it around from class to class in high school for like a year along with my heavy textbooks.  I loved it.  So I bought their follow up book, “Fresh Fruits.”  Both books are full of color photos taken by Shoichi Aoki in Japan’s Harajuku district which is known for its outlandish street fashion.

I’m kind of a sucker for visual overload, so it’s not surprising that I love these books.  The street fashion they showcase incorporates many different styling ideas that I love: layering, excessive accessorizing, over-the-top concepts, pattern-on-pattern, vintage/thrifted garments, handmade/DIY.  Since I especially love menswear, it’s always exciting to see guys in interesting outfits.  The guys in these books definitely do not shy away from bold ensembles and accessories.

These are two books that I still adore. I keep them in my studio and flip through them all the time.  Each time I pull them off the shelf, I know I am in for a visual adventure.  It’d be hard NOT to glean inspiration from the looks you see in this book.

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Posted by on 08.12.12 in Inspiration


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my rainbow life: SO MANY COLORS

I’ve been posting a series called “my rainbow life” where each day’s post has a color theme and features a photo montage from my everyday life in that specific color.  This is the finale of the “my rainbow life” series.

Here’s a mega-montage at all the color-themed photo montages of my life looped into a rainbow of colors.  This makes me so happy as I go around and around.  But seriously, if you can look at your life all awesomely rainbow-ized and NOT get a little giddy, you just might be dead inside.

Or color-blind.

But anyways, here it is, the most beautiful and colorful life one could ask for:

my rainbow life


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my rainbow life: RED

Top row: my sweetie, buttons, my red lipstick

Middle row: Octavius the Octopus (crocheted him for my sweetie), apple snack, patterning tools

Bottom row: glasses, my favorite red shoes, my trusty blender in my red kitchen


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my rainbow life: RED-ORANGE

Top row: two-headed quilt, my first crocheted creature, cravat

Middle row: red-head, thread, “I really love your peaches wanna shake your tree….”

Bottom row: climbing stairs, layered outfit, Micachu music


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my rainbow life: ORANGE

Top row: COOKIES!, bro vest, staircase corner

Midde row: thirsty, scissor cuddle puddle, orange dreads

Bottom row: “Whatever and Ever Amen,” Frank Pumpkin about to eat a tiny Playboy gnome, my tiger sneaks


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