Tuesday, November 11, 2008

in transit

It's been so long! I was good for a while at posting at least once a month, but I failed last month. Right after that cryptic burnt-out sounding entry in September, I actually had what I call my "kitten epiphany". I had a huge rush of ideas, a couple of which I've been working on recently.

I also opened a new shop on Etsy with the proper spelling of MischaLee. These new projects will be going in there as soon as I'm satisfied with my work. I'm being very meticulous about all of these new projects. And secretive, as you can tell by the previews above.

It just goes to show you that inspiration comes at the least likely times. I'm definitely one of those people who has to wait for it. All of that "brainstorming" hooey never worked well for me.

On a semi-side note, I haven't done a real drawing or painting since I graduated in 2003. So all of this was a very big deal. Fortunately for me, it's like riding a bike. You just don't get any better than you were before if you don't practice. I can live with that for now, ha.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Sometimes there's so much I want to do that I get overwhelmed, and I end up doing nothing at all.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

sun in, sun out

I just spotted this great installation on Design*Sponge that Amy Soczka did for Urban Outfitters.

I think something like this would be a really cool thing to do in Tyvek for window treatments. Kind of Tord Boontje-esque. I've been really interested in alternative window treatments lately, like frosted panes and colored gels (the ones they use for stage lighting). I've always liked accordian-style shutters too, because of memories of my grandma's house. All of this is probably part of that nesting instinct, which is hard to satisfy in a rental property.

I also wish I could get ahold of this.

I don't remember how I even discovered this, but I really like Miranda July. It was part of a subscription from The Thing, which sends art done by different artists on a quarterly basis to its subscribers.

Today though I will take bare windows, as there is hardly any sunlight and has been overcast and raining since this morning. I appreciate what rain does for the ecosystem and all, but let's have at least a few hours of sun, alright? (I love negotiating with the powers-that-be...)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

breathing room

I finally, FINALLY, organized my studio space. It was looking pretty bad for a while. The whole house was, in fact. Right now though, the place is almost perfect. I've been patting myself on the back for how much I was able to get rid of. I even got rid of some of my fabric stash! And let me tell you, it's good to be uncluttered (we are speaking of Leslie standards of uncluttered, by the way).

So anyhoo, since I had all this wide open space, I was able to comfortably do projects! I started a fabric necklace I saw in a Craftster tutorial. I made TWO tailor's hams with some fabric scraps I had. And I made this lovely jumper, which I am so taken with.

It's stretchy sweatshirt-ish material, which will be great for fall. It only took a couple of hours, including cutting time, because of my serger (how I love thee, serger). Sewing the buttons on took almost as much time as the construction, ha. I got all the buttons in a giant jar from the thrift store. There were so many awesome ones that didn't have matches and I wanted to make something that put them all together.

I've organized my half-finished projects so I know what's there, which is a relief too. I have tons of ideas all the time, and I usually feel guilty when I'm not making things. It's good to know I can just come into my studio now and get crackin'!

P.S. -- Forgive my crappy photos. The only non-perfect thing in my house is the low lighting...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

be mine

I just got some red jeans. I know they're trendy, but I put this outfit together about two months ago online, and I couldn't stop thinking about them after that.

I've been having fun on polyvore today. It's like being an editor for your very own mini fashion magazine. I can look at my file of images and pretend I'm looking into my dream closet. Sigh.

Friday, August 1, 2008

I heart

Interview with Julia Pott. Love!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

from the ground up

I remember reading about Built By Wendy in a random teen magazine in high school. I liked her style, and I thought it was so cool how she built her clothing business. I cut the article out, and ended up buying one of her guitar straps as soon as I had the chance (I played bass for maybe a year?). And even though I still can't really afford anything else of hers, I got some of her patterns for Simplicity when those came out. So I thought it was cool when I saw this video interview with her in The Storque. Check it out!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

why must you be so beautiful?

Pink Diamond necklace - ByJeannie Jewelry

Illuminated Sea Cookie Pin - Stephanie Simek

I was going to go work on the new apartment, but I ended up reading through the old posts of Assorted Notions instead. And now I must get away from the computer before I develop carpal tunnel.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

further still

A couple of days ago I decided to check out the Burda Style website. I had read about it several times, and I see the magazine at the bookstore whenever I'm there feeding my addiction. For anyone who doesn't know, it's a place to get free sewing patterns you can download and tile together off your printer at home (By the way, Fitz Patterns is a good place to go too).

I spent a LOT of time browsing the patterns... there are so many good ones! Not all of them are made in different sizes because a lot of people submit them to the website, but there are all kinds of tutorials to help you along if you have questions. Normally I don't like using patterns, I find them to be a pain in the butt. But I'll take a free pattern, sure! Especially when it's for something like these:

I love them! I think they're the perfect mix of classic and modern, with great lines. The folded funnel neck on the coat looks like origami. The girl who made these has a blog as well. I can relate to her fabric obsession, only it seems that she uses more of her stash than I. Maybe I will have to download some free patterns to use up mine, wink.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


If anyone ever wondered what it was like to see a model "working it" for the camera, check this video out:

Pretty goofy, eh? I almost didn't make it through the whole thing, but I liked some of the clothes. I think if I were a model, I'd get kind of bored with the shoots, and I might prefer the runway. Although, that can be quite insane backstage, from what I hear.

Today I went to pick up keys for our new apartment! We managed to find a place that was in the right price range, and it's in an awesome location, right around all kinds of good shopping and restaurants. It's not quite ready yet, so I'm antsy right now, not being able to get things going. Hopefully in a day or two!

Also, my coworker is letting me borrow her spinning wheel for an extended period of time. I just cleaned it up last night and tried it out. I am by no means a pro yet, but I'm sure with practice I could have a lot of fun making yarn with it. I was already getting all tickled by the possibilities. I have a giant bag of roving already, so I'm all set! We'll see what happens next...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

fighting the elements

I just have to say, my computer and technology skills are sadly deficient. Today I tried to take new pictures of my jewelry for the shop, but it did not go well at all. The above example was the best I got. Granted, I was using natural light on a intermittently rainy day, and it is quite windy outside. But it was just not working. I thought about making a new banner instead, since the photography session was not flowing, but I'm kind of crap with Photoshop. These are the times I feel like I have five arms, and to me that's the upper body equivalent of having two left feet.

On the brighter side, I managed to have some good sewing experiences recently, and I feel like I'm back on track there. The aforementioned skirt issue was resolved, and I'm excited to start some wholly original projects soon.

Highlights of the week:

Getting these, which I used Tuesday for my FENCING CLASS. My goal is to have as many obscure and unrelated hobbies as possible.

Seeing a parade of tow trucks today picking up cars on my block for street sweeping. In my mind I imagine that the tow truck drivers look forward to it. I don't know why I get enjoyment out of this anyway, it's kind of sadistic.

Noticing that the object my dog picked up in the park Thursday was a dead mouse. I screamed in disgust loudly enough that he dropped it right away, which is better than digging through his clenched teeth to fish it out.

Getting rid of piles of stuff. The closer I get to moving, the more I want to throw everything away.

Friday, April 25, 2008

This is not an outfit

I love the weather right now. What has made it more perfect is that it rained for three or four days this past week and cleared the air. I am one of those nerds with allergies, so I was grateful for that.

I've been outside a lot.

I'm also trying to get back on the Singer. I had taken a long hiatus due to an unreasonable fear of sewing. I suddenly became self-conscious about my abilites after a few small failed projects. Today I modified a vintage skirt, and it was only a partial failure! I'll have to ease back into the whole thing. And on a more practical note, stock up on thread.

P.S. -- When I went to Manhattan at the beginning of the month, I wore the above shoes and apparently got several double takes. I was surprised -- I expected New Yorkers to be less phased by gaudy footwear. Am I crazy for thinking that?

Friday, April 11, 2008

etsy live!

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to see Rob Kalin, the founder of Etsy, speak at The Grace Street Theater here in Richmond. I heard about it on The Storque, and was very excited because it happened to fall on a day off, and right before I went to NY. I had no idea what it would be like, but let me tell you...

First of all, it was not just Rob. Matt, from marketing at Etsy, was also there, along with the head of the crafts department at VCU, the head of Quirk Gallery here in Richmond, and none other than Arthur Hash, one of my hearted Etsy sellers. It was an awesome set-up.

Rob talked at length first. He happens to be very well-spoken, and I found myself getting caught up in a major way. He is unbelievably only 28, and seems like one of those people who never gets tired, haha. The way he talked about the crafts movement was so romantic! How so much is disposable these days, and handmade gets back to the time when each object had a story and a personality behind it. He really believes that there is a limit to how far the current big box trend can take us, or even the gallery system. And when asked how he will keep Etsy from becoming just another behemoth corporation, he talked about keeping Etsy like a school of fish -- seperate individuals who come together to make a big impact, rather than the corporate standard Borg-like "We" (he had a lot of analogies, loved it).

Having the board of people was excellent because there was some really great dialogue about buying handmade online. The point was brought up that it seems strange to buy such a tactile thing as craft online, where all you can see is a picture. But Rob countered with the sentiment that I think a lot of people who shop online share -- that everything leading up to the point where you actually unwrap your package and hold what you have bought is like foreplay!

There were some neat statistics I learned too. 96% of Etsy buyers and sellers are women, which made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Rob talked about the opportunity for growing small businesses among women, which I loved. I think it's amazing how easy they make it for people to sell their stuff online, and without charging ridiculous fees. This was a point of difference with the gallery system, where there could be up to a 60% commission.

After the lecture I was floating on a cloud (bear with me all friends who have heard this ten gazillion times already). I already loved Etsy, but the experience made me love it even more. Rob was very up-front about how Etsy is always a work in progress, and there is room for improvement and growth. Matt said they are also working on developing the Shop Local feature more, which is a wonderful idea. I'm so glad I went, and I feel bad for the people who attended the Virtual Labs and couldn't hear the lecture because of technical problems. Hopefully they will be able to do another similar talk elsewhere (with better internet reception).

There is so much more I could say, and it was really hard not to describe every minute detail. And now I can't wait for Renegade! Viva la Handmade!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

cleanliness is next to dogliness

My dog is into handmade too. One day I came home from work and saw this:

I have this bad habit of draping my clothes over something instead of hanging them up in the closet, so he pulled it all down and made a nest for himself. I learned my lesson, as there was alot of laundry-doing and lint-rolling that night. Obviously I thought it was funny more than anything, but I'd rather not have to worry about that again...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

warm shoulders

I wanted to put up a few pictures that make me happy. It was gorgeous outside, and with the possibility of staying that way, so to celebrate I wore a tiny dress and sunglasses and walked as much as possible. These were a couple of the things I saw whilst outside.

One of those forgotten joys... I saw at least three of these.

I walked to a little market down the street to get lunch, then ate on my front porch. Later, I went to check out an apartment with my sister. The thing was an enormous one bedroom that was amazing, with old fireplaces, eleven foot ceilings, giant wooden sliding doors, and the amenities I like (dishwasher, utilities included, off-street parking!).

I still don't know about the price though, as I would love to be able to set more aside in savings for a house. I also have this problem of falling in love with apartments and imagining all of my stuff inside before I even think about my other choices.

I'm working on some new items for the shop as well. More on that later!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

sew close, yet sew far

I'm always looking for fabrics that are colorful small-scale florals on a dark background. I didn't think this would be such a hard thing to find, but apparently it is, much to my dismay. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. I mean, of all the cotton calicos out there, why is it so elusive? Well, I got a small glimmer of hope when I spied Luella Bartley's Spring '08 collection a few weeks ago.

This is exactly what I want! In addition to the coveted fabric, I love the other references. Giant nerd glasses, Batman, and Ghost World, plus the multi-hued Doc Marten-looking boots. Wowzers. I've really been into masks lately too, I don't know what it is. I'm thinking about making one so I can wear it like a headband, or a cocktail hat.

Anyway, in my fantasy the Luella collection sets off a great demand for floral-on-black prints, and bolts of it flow off the shelves at generic fabric stores like Joann's. We'll just see about that, as the fashion world appears to be in winter mode again (Fall/Winter '08 already? Really?). It's not even summer yet! Why must we be talking about wool and knits when we are just beginning to think about short sleeves in the real world? I tell ya.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I feel so busy lately, but not very productive for all of that. Despite the annoying fact, I have a few things to be happy about.

Number one! I have finally posted the aforementioned necklaces in my shop. They really reflect how jazzed I am about color right now. I am digging the hot pink, expect more of the same down the road. The ribbon has pretty much always been a part of the MischaLee vocabulary in the context of packaging, but now it's pushed its way into the designs. Which I am perfectly pleased with.

Number two! Another one of my creations, the Lolly necklace, is also online right now, which I am really excited about. I did a batch of them for a French client, who just put them up not long ago on her own webpage, Mademoiselle Urbaine. She gathered items from artists and designers she liked for her page, which is incredibly amazing. It's all in French, but you should check it out regardless. I'm so flattered to be included! *blushes*

Number three! I got a belated birthday present from my in-laws, which I feel juvenile for being so into. But... it's a Blythe! I had been wanting one for so long, and the crazily large variety of clothing and accessories for her makes me rub my hands together with excitement. It's a bit ridiculous, but she has an allure that you can't deny, which is why there are so many people who photgraph her, like Gina Garan. Look at this one she took:
That's a lot of je ne sais quois for a doll, you have to admit.

Other than those big things, there are a handful of smaller joys, such as issue 6 of Lula, Girl Scout cookies, tax returns, and blooming flora. Sweet.

Friday, March 7, 2008

a day in the life

Well folks, it appears that I am a year older. And with this birthday, I decided on a new initiative -- to make the day a special one from now on. This might seem a strange thing to say, but for me it's a big deal. Let me tell you why.

For the past few years, for some nonsensical reason, I've thought, "I will work on my birthday, and I will not make an effort to have fun." Then inevitably, at the end of the day, I would be pissed off that my birthday was so crappy. Does this make any sense? No. I don't even know how to explain this behavior really. It's not like I was deliberately trying to make it bad, it just always happened because of my careless attitude. Perhaps it's related to my aversion to being the center of attention. Who knows?

That's all behind me now, let me tell you. I plan on being selfish and carefree from now on, like normal people. We're turning over a new leaf here. With that said, let me tell you about my Monday.

I slept in and then dressed thoughtfully, deciding to wear my Frye booties that I hadn't worn yet. Cary took me out to lunch at Jason's Deli, which is sadly sort of fancy for us. After a leisurely shopping excursion, we headed over to Salvation so I could get my first tattoo. My friend Phillip stopped by to watch the spectacle, then we all went out to get some drinks. After drunk-driving home (not really), my sister made me the most delicious dinner, complete with hors d'oeuvres. It turned out to be a great birthday!

In unrelated news, I have recently found two artists that I really like. I read an article about Kristin Baker in Vogue, and fell in love with her paintings. I'm head over heels for color, and the way she uses it is delicious. Also, Jacob Magraw, wow. The way he uses color is also phenomenal, and I really dig the sinewy texture in a lot of his pieces. Seeing art like this makes me want to paint again, even though I know I will never have the same kind of talent there.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

wiggle your big toe

This morning I was walking my dog, thinking about sneakers. I'm kind of in need of a new pair. Lately I've been wearing my vintage blue Nike's to DEATH, since I haven't another "dress" pair to speak of.

It seems like all sneakers that I come across in my day-to-day shopping life are hopelessly large and chunky, or neutral and blah, or decidedly fugly. I've been wanting a brightly colored pair with a slim profile, which seems to be a tall order for some reason. Then I thought, What about the Uma style from Kill Bill? I know it's cliche, but I still like them. And apparently the craze has not died down yet, because they were sold out in all shapes and sizes at the website I went to. Even the ones that sort of looked like these, but in a sand/grey colorway were sold out. This pair will be in my dreams for a while.

I don't know what it is with me and wrestling shoes/hightops. Maybe it's an eighties thing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

fitter, happier, more productive

I managed to overcome my inertia today and work on some projects I'd been meaning to finish. I haven't posted anything new in my shop in a while, so hopefully this latest batch of goods will be photographed and uploaded this week.

I also worked on a drawing for a coworker. I've pretty much decided that I don't want to do any drawings for anyone for a long time. I'm not very good at executing somebody else's vision, and I don't feel very rewarded by the struggle. Drawing from nothing has always been hard for me. I'm not bad at drawing, I just like to have a reference. And it was difficult enough coming up with my own art in school! I just have more ideas for sewing/craft.

Which brings me to the matter of my supply overload. I have so many supplies I need to work my way through. I have this fear that I will botch a project with some rare fabric or notion that I won't be able to find again. Obviously I need to get over that. There's always something better/newer/more exciting -- I shouldn't worry too much. Maybe we'll be seeing some experimental MischaLee items in the future? I sure hope so.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

and ever

I'd seen this print a long while ago in one of my magazines, and thought it was perfectly awesome. I hadn't thought about it in a while, until the other day when I remembered how much I liked it. So I finally just broke down and bought it. Glee!

My method for shopping is mostly to wait it out when I see something I like. And if it's worth having, I will still be thinking about it at a much later date. It saves me a lot of money. I also look at a lot of things and think to myself, "I can make that." Even if I never do, at least I didn't spend!

Despite these handy money-saving tips, it seems I will still never be able to afford a house. I went to look at one with Cary today. It was really cute, but out of our range. I don't think that houses in our price range exist in Richmond. My dream is that one of our landlords will announce that they're tired of taking care of rental properties, and that the rent we have paid will be considered down payment on the apartment we're at. Do you think it'll happen folks??

Saturday, February 16, 2008


I know that we are nearly months (plural) into 2008, but I've just now decided to start over my year, as I have always been a late bloomer anyway (if that's what you can call lack of initiative). So here is my official first blog.

I wanted to begin this almost as a reference for myself in a way, to remember what I've been doing or accomplished, and what inspiration I've run across that my poor short-term memory might cause me to miss out on later. And partly as a good old forum for my own thoughts, just as blogs tend to be.

The first order of business has to do with magazines. For the past few years I've been a connoisseur of periodicals. I like reading books, but I rarely get good recommendations, so most of my recent experiences with books have had to do with embarrassing desperation (i.e. reading James Patterson novels because they are there and I am bored).

So I've been pretty loyal to magazines. What's not to love? New issues are coming out all the time, and they're filled with bite-sized articles to feed my thirst for useless knowledge. And, of course, I like the visual stimulus too. So I've developed some favorites along the way. There are two that I've recently been turned onto though which are driving me crazy -- Lula and Preen.

I started collecting Lula three issues back, and I was trying earlier to get the first two issues. Preen I've only seen once at a Barnes & Noble in Anapolis, but it's kind of like a darker version of the same aesthetic to me. And yes, I used the word "collecting" earlier. I felt weird about doing that before, but the more I read Elle Decoration UK, the more I realize how many people collect magazines. My night stand is a stack of Luckys. It's a bit sick, but at least I'm not doing crack, right?

If anyone knows how to get back issues of Lula, let me know. Or if you have any good book recommendations, I'll take that too. The last good one I read was To Air is Human, ha.