Thursday, May 21, 2020

My COVID Uniform

This came up in a textile group I'm in:
Hi All!
My name is Stephanie, I am Costume Designer/ Historian based in Los Angeles. I'm curious about your wardrobe! As we've been sheltering in place we've been curating a new type of uniform that we wear indoors, in our homes.
I'd like to invite you to share with me 3-5 pieces that you've been wearing in heavy rotation. It's an exercise to further consider the garments on your bodies and clothing that surrounds you at this specific time.
This is a time capsule project of mine that I intend on publishing on Medium. All the details can be found in this form, please feel free to share with others as I'm attempting to capture stories from around the world.
Thank you, hope you all remain healthy and safe at this time.
These are my regular "lounging around the house" garments.
COVID didn't change anything, except for the color chart tees.
1) Michael Brandon Chenille Sweater
I purchased this at a shop in Venice, CA in the late 90s. Been wearing it a lot since then. It's a non-wool blend (Nylon? Tags removed long ago) so it's perfect for SoCal weather. So comfy.
2) Color Chart Tee. 
I have two of these, which I had printed by Redbubble and Society6 last year to test how various colors print on black. The cotton jersey tees are super soft and nice, the printing is not. They're presentable enough for Zoom, so they're my "upscale" Zooming tops. They always get nice comments!
3) French Dressing Lounge Pants
I have two of these as well. Picked them up at the day job from the sample box. They fit perfectly! They've been my standard cool weather bottoms for a while. I will be sad when the spandex dies.
4) Striped Wool/Nylon/Spandex Ankle Socks
I picked these up on sale at Nordstrom's in the late 90s. They used to be in "winter work wear" rotation until the spandex died. Now I've worn holes in the heels. Sigh.
5) Leather Slides (don't remember brand)
Yes, that's gaffer tape holding the right shoe together. I got these new off of a Poshmark seller a couple of years ago (or was it retail at DSW?). As soon as they started getting shabby, they became "inside" shoes.
This is a "walking around the neighborhood" look with the Tee and Pants.
Again, the form link is here.

Linking up with
Shelbee's Spread the Kindness

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

#MendMAY One Monthly Goal Challenge

The One Monthly Goal is a new-to-me Linkup Challenge that I discovered via Frédérique, one of my A-Z Blogging buddies.
I'm too late to officially add my goal for May, I'm going to play along anyway.

For Ali Edwards' One Little Word project, I'm making a tactile record of my actions while mending the Crazy Quilt (the endless mend and the cat's new favorite nap station).
This is somewhat disheveled, it makes sense to me!
Just a little behind in stitching things down to the base cloth (bottom part of jeans leg).
I'm snipping bits of the old distressed patches that I'm fixing, mostly by covering up with new patches. I'm taking bits of both and stitching to the piece of denim. Also recording any floss used in visible mends. I'm meandering down the denim, starting in upper left, finishing row, then going down and across from right to left, going down and across left to right, repeating until filled.

These are the One Monthly Challenge rules, in case you want to prep for June:

Select ONE of your creative goals for the month that uses fabric, thread and / or yarn.  This could be to make a few blocks. cutting fabric for a project, sewing on a binding, or finish a quilt top.  Any goal that involves a step in the process of making with thread, fabric or yarn is a valid goal.

Describe your goal in a:
  • blog post complete with a photo(s) of your project and a link back to One Monthly Goal. (main event page or to the actual linkup page)
  • via Flickr complete with a photo(s) of your project and a link back to One Monthly Goal. (link to this main event page or to the actual linkup page)

Add your project to the link-up at the goal setting link-up.  (Each month, the goal-setting link-up will be open from the 1st through the 7th, closing at 11:55 pm ET.)

Then come post again at the end of the month to share your accomplishment in the One Monthly Goal Finish Party.  The finish party which will run for 6 days at the end of the month.

The Mending Linkup is still open, add your mending projects!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Linking up with:
Frédérique's Patchwork and Quilts

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Breaking Bad in Ojai

Go hiking but make it fashion:
Anita and I decided to do another Social Distancing Fresh Air activity and we set our sights on Ojai. Since Ventura County had reopened up the hiking trails, Anita suggested a hike up the Shelf Trail. Bonus: Severo had the day off and would join us. Win, win -- he would drive, I could take countless road tripping photos! Well, and he's a fun partner in crime!
Reading the coyote warning at the trail head.
The rules
Why was there a dictionary at the trail head?
Hi Anita!
Severo was determined to capture a photo of that lizard! He did!
California Sage, such a wonderful scent.
Social Distancing with Anita behind us.
Yes, our masks are not properly covering our noses. Sorry.
We then went to downtown Ojai and got great takeaway from The Nest.
More on that on The Glutton blog.

After that, Severo and I drove home via PCH, the coast highway. Lots of "No Parking" signs, lots of people parking anyway. "Beach Closed" signs on every LA County lifeguard shack, lots of people still on the beaches.
People, if you don't follow the rules we'll have longer restrictions!
Keep wearing your masks, social distance, and flatten the curve!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

#MendMAY starts tomorrow!

By popular demand, Kate of @visibleMend is doing a second month of mending prompts!
After an April full of Stitching the World, I'm ready to get back to my mending.

I'm quite taken with the Tactile accountability chart that I created for Ali Edwards' One Little Word project:
Each circle is a day, each day I sewed the floss that I stitched into Stitching the World
I'm going to do something similar this month, maybe with fabric swatches?
Or do I do a "soft" version? I'll find out tomorrow! Heh.
I'll be posting my daily mending antics on Instagram @annembray, if you're curious.

Hey! Let's have a virtual Mending Circle!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday, April 24, 2020

Creative Fever

I've been using the COVID-19 stay-at-home mandate as a stay-at-home art retreat.
For me, couldn't have come at a better time!

Three things I've been working on:
Stitching the World
My massive embroidery project. Dare I say my stitching is near completion? I've been showing the details, country by country, during the A-Z Blogging Challenge over on my Pattern Blog. Go check it out!
Better yet, answer the Four Questions for Stitching the World 2!
This is the back side of the Los Angeles region, after I stitched my [possibly] final LA French knot.
The giant blob of Los Angeles French knots. Will be doing a tally on Sunday.
Detritus Paper Weavings
I've been doing these on and off since January 2019. Originally, I was using reject printouts from the money job. Now that I'm working-from-home, I'm using ephemera at hand. This is a set done with junk mail and a random Chinese medicine book:

Call and Response art collaborations

Introducing: Call and Response v2 with @izzoimages Day 7 The project premise: Artist no1 will create a piece of art within 24 hours and send a digital version of it to Artist no2. This can be anything. It can be poetry, it can be photography or video. It can be painting or drawing, collage or sculpture. It is about sitting down and being creative and interacting with someone. Artist no2 will then have 24 hours to create a response to it in any medium and with any tools available to them. They will in turn send a digital version of it back to Artist no1 who will create a new work in response. There can be up to 28 pieces to your collaboration. And that is ok!! “Call and Response” is a project organized by Kristine Schomaker and her team at Shoebox PR: Sheli Silverio, Emily Wiseman, Susan T Kurland and S. Vollie Osborn @shoebox_pr @artandcakela @kristineschomaker #shoeboxcallandresponse #collaborationatadistance #annembray #isolationcreation
A post shared by anne m bray ( on

This is a COVID project dreamed up by Kristine Schomaker and her team at Shoebox PR. I'm in the middle of Round 2 and have signed up for Round 3. Here is a link to all the projects from Round 1.

I just signed up for an online weaving course with Brittany McLaughlin.
Tactile adventures await!

Linking up with
Creative Compulsions
Shelbee's On the Edge of the Week
Grammy's Grid

Monday, April 6, 2020

[Enid] New Office View!

My stylus ran out of juice so I'm finger journaling. Hard!

We rearranged the office
This is my new office view
Not so bad!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

[Enid] The Denim Jacket Diary

Dear Diary,
I've been stuck-at-home since March 20th. I've "broken free" a couple of times with Severo for grocery shopping forays, and I've walked around the block for #freshair, but mostly I'm confined to the Digital Dungeon, "on the clock" for work-at-home.
Shelbee and Nancy are collecting images for their Good Buy/Goodbye series and I thought it'd be fun to find all the denim jacket looks hidden away here within the SpyGirl archives.

The Elvis (purchased circa 1983 in Pasadena at Die Laughing)
Good buy!
The Todd (purchased from Canal Street Jeans, NYC circa 1999)
Good buy!
The Tony (purchased in 1984 from Tony Young at Otis. It was part of his Junior year project for Guess)
Good buy.
The 80's (purchased at Goodwill in Austin TX, late 90s)
It's quilted inside! Good buy.
The Costco (purchased in 00s?)
Never wore it when it fit and now too small -- GOODBYE! You can get it on Poshmark!
Linking with
Shelbee's On the Edge

Saturday, April 4, 2020

[Enid] The 10 Famous People Thing

If you're on Facebook, you've come across some version of this list. It's making the rounds again.
I asked SpyGirl for her list, with anecdotes about each person. If you're on Facebook, you can read lots more fun facts in the comment threads. Very amusing.

Salvador Dali
Ugh! Dirty old man! He pinched my butt.
When I was a junior in high school, I interned at Knoedler Gallery on 70th between 5th and Madison in NYC. They had bought the next door brownstone and during renovation, had an environmental installation set up by Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol. The opening reception was quite a scene! All of Andy's Factory denizens attended.

Geoffrey Beene
Richard Lambertson introduced me after a Beene benefit show (in Beverly Hills?). Backstage. Amongst the Glamazons.

Joan Jett
Such a sweetheart! Met her after her gig at the Nike event at the Colosseum (2005). We hung out at the Standard rooftop downtown. Severo knows her road manager. Some kind of Smithereens/Jersey connection.

Patti Smith
I love Patti. She brought me to tears at a free concert in Waterloo Park during SXSW 2000 during "People Have the Power".
The Smithereens shared the bill with her at  __ in 2011. I had my book signed.

Sonny Rollins
I sold Sonny a birthday cake when I worked at Cake Masters, NYC in 1977. I think it was the 72nd Street location, but not sure.

Leonard Cohen
Rafael, one of Severo's oldest friends, was Leonard's drummer for his final world-wide tour that I think lasted for three years. I was able to go to full band rehearsals at SIR in Hollywood twice -- AMAZING! I took Rafael a jar of my homemade raspberry jam. He gave it to Leonard, who opened it up, stuck his finger in, tasted, and said, "Anne, this jam is sublime."

Elvis Costello
Elvis is Severo's god. He befriended Elvis's road manager (sense a trend here?) and we went back stage many times. I met Elvis once. The other times I sat back on the green room couches while Severo paid homage. Too much standing around waiting to talk to The Man.

Anne Rice
She signed one of her Vampire books for me at Vroman's in Pasadena.

Bob Mackie
Bob is a huge supporter of Otis College of Art and Design, where I occasionally teach. He has mentored many Fashion projects. I met him at one of the Scholarship Benefit Fashion Shows.

Jeremy Scott
I did not formally meet Jeremy. I saw him in the hallway at Otis when the Fashion Department had their campus in the CalMart in downtown LA. He was wearing a Mexican poncho and looked like a 70's surfer. I highly recommend his film bio on Netflix:

Monday, March 23, 2020

Make It Yourself March: Refashioning

Mending Mountain or Refashioning Range?
Boxes full of garments I refuse to give up on and plan to refashion.

I have them categorized:
Skirts (big box)

Skirts are a big issue for me -- I collected a lot of them from Cottage Arts, the most wonderful shop in Artesia (aka Little India). It has since closed (wah!). I don't wear them that often now -- the maxi hippie skirts are too long for the day job (I trip on the hem when ascending the stairs) and they don't work that well with my body shape. (My waist is currently convex and I have no bosom to stop them from riding up my torso).
I want to convert them into pinafores and dresses.
Like this:
Let's tour the Skirts box!. Lots of treasure!
[One week later. One week of the California's "stay-at-home" mandate. So many shiny objects, blog challenges, IG challenges, creative projects, the list goes on and on. Not to mention COVID-19 stress cooking].

I'll just show the compilation grid that I created for Instagram:
They all have stories. What I don't have is time to tell them right now.
Out of this assortment, I managed to hem this Shabby Apple skirt:
See how I've worn it before
Shortening a hem is not super aggressive refashioning, I guess it's more an alteration.
I'm hoping it'll make the skirt more appealing to me.

Linking up with:
Shelbee's Spread the Kindness
Catherine's #sharealllinkup

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Bad Ass Lumberjack

I wore my Fluevog Tates on Saturday for the last on-campus session of my Digital Design for Fashion class at Otis:
The campus is now closed and we're transitioning to eLearning over Spring Break.
This is the Bad Ass Lumberjack look.
Or is this? I saw this guy in Rumford, Maine

As I stomped around in my boots, I thought of my friend Shelbee and I thought "What would Shelbee wear?"

Shelbee has been blogging "inspired by" posts, and a while back I challenged her to do me.
She came up with a great SpyGirl outfit [she'll give us the link in the comments, I'm sure. I don't have the patience to look for it. #sorrynotsorry].
Anyhow, my boots inspired me to return the favor:
Link to Shelbee's post about her look
I couldn't find her wearing all the elements that I chose in one outfit.
This is my compilation of the Shelbeest of Shelbee. UrShelbee, if you will.
Flannel shirt, band/graphic tee, denim cutoffs, tights, bad ass boots, beanie, pose.
BTW, I totally forgot I had the blue beanie. I found it in the hat drawer. Shelbee, do you want it? It's new!

Stay healthy everyone!

Linking up with
Shelbee's Spread the Kindness
Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Make It Yourself March, Week 2: Sustainable Making

This week's MIY March subjects are Sharing and Caring:
• Sustainable sewing tips
• Material sourcing
• Our most treasured textiles

I'm going to reminisce on some of my own workshop experiences that fall in the "sustainable" category. These also might give you some ideas for sourcing fabrics, fibers, and even art materials.
The boldface type will link to individual posts.

Slow Clothing and Mending at #CAFAM July 24, 2017
I mentioned Ruth Katzenstein Souza in the previous post. She is the goddess of sustainable practice and mending.
Read her "Original Call to Mending" from 2014!
Seeing these amulets, formed from saved bits of thread ends, fabric scraps, etc sparked my imagination.
[image source]

That time I learned how to make "yarn" from teeshirts.
Which led to turning my old jeans into an art piece (still a WIP)
And my return to weaving.

Fiber Workshop with Carrie Burckle at Otis (no posts!) June, 2018
Experimented with various upcycling techniques, including
• Paper bags into yarn (difficult):
• Weaving warp ends that Carrie collected from Diedrek Bracken's projects that he worked on at Cal State Long Beach upcycled into my own off-loom weaving:
Original cotton, Diedrick dyed it pink.
Mock ikat with poured bits of red dye
Still sewing the squares together.
Note to self: I really need to write up a post or two about that workshop! Even if I have to predate it to get in onto the blog chronologically. 

Upcycling = lots of fun possibilities!

Monday, March 9, 2020

Make It Yourself March, Week 2: Sustainable Treasure!

Wendy has me doing some deep thinking with her MIY March this year!
I'm loving the slow approach of weekly prompts and creating thoughtful posts.

This week's subjects are Sharing and Caring:
• Sustainable sewing tips
• Material sourcing
• Our most treasured textiles

I'm going to start with my number one textile treasure: The Crazy Quilt!
photo from 2013
click to embiggen
This is my major mending WIP and I'm featuring it in the daily prompts for #MendMarch2020 (see last week's post. The IG hashtag is #crazyquilt_amb). This was "on hiatus" in storage for a few years, I brought it back into use last year, inspired by the mending workshop I took with Ruth Katzenstein Souza. It is both "in progress" and on my bed, so the shredded, holey parts are getting progressively worse.
Moth holes, shredded parts revealing the base sleeping bag, these patches dating from 1973-1987
It's not easy to work on while in active use (potential stabbing from forgotten pins or lost needles) and last summer I got lazy when it was off the bed and more workable and I did no mending.

It's full of nostalgic scraps -- I started it my Junior or Senior year of high school in 1973-74.
I've also made half of it twice! [Here's THAT story]
I think the oldest scrap is from the fabric that covered the couch in our living room and I'm thinking the couch was reupholstered with it when we moved to Millbrook, NY in 1968.

The newest addition has been cut but not yet sewn.
I think I'll use some visible mending, the former sock is super bulky.

I made a memory sketchbook about the quilt in 2013 (here's the video compilation).

Last year, I started a new digital version, which I quickly abandoned.
I digitally collaged this using the Notebook app on my iPad.
Wasn't sure about the results and it was a lot of work.
I'm feeling the urge to resuscitate the project here on SpyGirl.
Tests done quickly this morning in Photoshop:
Quilt Dossier concept -- memories of each patch

Patchwork quilts have been a way to use scraps for centuries! Historical sustainability!
And there are "sew" many ways to approach the craft.

Linking up with
Catherine's #sharealllinkup
Shelbee's Spread the Kindness

Sunday, March 1, 2020

It's Mending and Make It Yourself March!

Today as I was #slowly (Prompt #1 at @visiblemend) working my way through "Stitching the World", it came to me that today is March 1st and the Mending March Instagram challenges commence.
I interrupted my stitching, brought my threaded needle with me to the computer room (so I wouldn't misplace it),

and checked out the prompts for today.
Visiblemend has daily prompts:

MendMarch! It’s on. Here you go, all the prompts—and I think this year, year three, they all make sense? Maybe not the 10th. Anyway, as before, you are welcome to—you must!—mess with them as you please. If you’re new here, this is technically an instagram challenge but really it’s an excuse to mend, share mends, make mendfriends, force yourself to face your mend pile, etc. It is fun. Do as many or few as you like, but do note that this year I am prizing you. Some lucky mender who manages ALL 31 wins a box of fabulous vintage mend supplies ie #haberdasheryporn Are you in? Tell me tell me! And ama if not making sense (ps when will dumb phone /instagram overlords stop autocorrecting “mends” to “men’s”?) #mends #itsmends #mendmarch #mendmarch2020 #visiblemending #darning #stopfen #repriser #raccommodage #zurcir #slowstitching #handstitch #slowfashion #instagramchallenge #igchallenge
A post shared by MendyKate (@visiblemend) on

Wendy Ward, the creator of "MIY [make it yourself] March" is doing a slower approach this year.
She has a thought-provoking questionnaire in the above linked post which I stopped answering midway to write this.
Actually, I came over to SpyGirl to find some outfit links to add to the above answer and then realized I should be writing a post!
The green tunic:
I sewed this in This first appeared on SpyGirl July 2012 and was sewn before I was blogging for an Otis Fashion event, so I estimate 2005? I bought the fabric in downtown LA, at one of those $1/a yard places when Otis had its Fashion Campus located in the Cal Mart. It's that overdyed stripy rayon that was so popular in the late 80s.
The Italian rayon tunic:
I obtained this fabric when I was a Sample Cutter at Warren Z in 1986. It was sample yardage.
I sewed the tunic in January 2013. (I love the fact that blogging enables me to date things).
I've been doing my work-day outfit posts on Instagram. I've come up with a system for avoiding too much outfit repetition (I would be judged by the office-mate) and a key component is the phone app that I use to create the outfit/textile collages: Instasize.
I check the App to see what I've worn the past three weeks or so.
I also hang garments the order worn.
Here's another good question:
I answered with the tunic that I made in May 2018 at a workshop with Amy Bond:
I'm not sure if it's statistically the least worn me-made garment, but it's perhaps the most disappointing.
The base cloth is so scratchy and stiff. I even tried "softening" it by using it as a couch cover, but it was too scratchy for even that.
OK, gotta get back to stitching!
I gathered 93 answers to my 4 questions at the stARTup Art Fair two weeks ago.
That's a lot of journeys to stitch!
There's still time to join in, click here.

Linking up with
Patti's Visible Monday [maybe. Last one].
Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike