Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Where is My Mind?

It's really hard to take a good thing and re-imagine it into something better. Rarely are adaptations better than (or even as good as) the original. Take Hitchcock's Psycho. The original? Mysterious and engaging. The 1998 remake? Weird. And not in a good way, because as I'm sure Gus Van Sant discovered to his dismay, it's hard to mold Vince Vaughn into anything other than just another buddy movie stereotype.

Our culture is ripe with examples of good things that have been revamped badly. Today though, my friends, I give you a wonderful remake. Actually, two wonderful remakes. Both are of The Pixies' Where Is My Mind, arguably one of the best songs of our generation. The first is a lovely, soulful adaptation by Sunday Girl. The second? Well, you'll see. One will get your eyes welling and the other will have you smiling from ear to ear. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Preview: Susie and Velma Ribbon Corsets

I've been hard at work putting together some last-minute ribbon corsets for Firehouse 8's Holiday Fundraising Bazaar. Check out Susie and Velma! Both are made from velvet: Susie from a classic black and pink stripe, and Velma boasts a trendy rainbow embroidered tribal motif.

Susie Ribbon Corset

Velma Ribbon Corset

Both beauties will be up in the Honey Cooler Handmade shop tomorrow.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Honey Cooler Handmade at Firehouse 8's Holiday Bazaar Fundraiser on Sunday December 18th!

That's right, kittens. One more sales event before I fly away for the holidays!

So just in case you didn't score the pretty HCH bits you'd been hoping for, there's still a chance to snap them up in person. And you can feel even better about shopping because this event's for a good cause! The historic Firehouse 8 is in the process of being renovated and remade into a space for artists to converge and share their talents, and a portion of the proceeds made from the event will go towards that renovation.

Come on by to shop and nosh your little hearts out. Entrance is free! I'll be selling on Sunday the 18th from 10am - 8pm. The firehouse is located at 1648 Pacific Avenue between Van Ness and Polk. Check out more details about the sale here.

Fashion Love Affair: Thakoon Embroidered Long Sleeve Top

I usually reserve my fashion love affairs for pieces I wouldn't wear on a daily basis, but I'm making an exception for this lovely piece from Thakoon's Resort 2012 collection.

The angular embroidery motifs remind me of the Ukrainian blouses I grew up wearing. What's great about this piece is that it can pair with anything... which is definitely a good thing considering the $990 price tag. More bang for your buck, I always say.

Check out this piece and others from the collection over at ShopBop. And get ready to practice some serious restraint.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Pretty Personal Project

I'm really lucky to live right near the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco because when the Art Deco shows come around, it's a nice, short, 20-minute walk to my idea of heaven.

Deco The Halls was this weekend and I took an hour or so on my sunny Sunday to peruse the amazing selection of vintage clothing and furniture. It shouldn't come as a surprise that I latched mostly onto the clothing, and came out with this lovely (and shockingly inexpensive) Edwardian petticoat remnant.

I'd originally thought to make this into one of my Souvenir Tops, but then I realized it's been awhile since I sewed something up for yours truly. So this one's mine!

This piece is in superb condition (including the meticulous ribbonwork flowers), but the whole shebang is missing a waistband. It would make a gorgeous skirt, but even better? A dress! It's certainly long enough and with a simple lace yoke, it could make for one uber-feminine layering piece. I'm really excited to get started on this one, and even more excited to wear the finished product.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rubie Makes Her Stage Debut

For those of you unfamiliar with San Francisco's drag scene, let me lay it out for you: this city takes its drag culture very seriously! There are tons of drag queens here, and each of them is awesome in her own way. Singing, lipsynching, dancing and general fabulosity aside, SF's drag queens are known to be incredibly creative and talented dressers. It's been a secret dream of mine to outfit the goddesses of SF drag in all manner of frills, sequins and other pretty stuff. So I was uber excited when a Facebook friend and drag show champion sent me this photo of Tara Wrist (haha!) wearing my Rubie Bow Belt on stage at The Castro's EdgeSF.

Check it out!

Photo: Paris LaQuinta

This photo absolutely made my day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Now on Etsy: The Victoria, Stella and Henrietta Bow Belts

They're up! Check out more shots of Victoria, Stella and Henrietta in the HCH shop now.

I sewed up extra Bow Belts in time for the holidays since three of mine have been adopted by Bohemian Boudoir's booth over at the Dickens Christmas Faire.

These new additions make great holiday gifts because they work for just about any size and body type. Better yet, they give you the appearance of a cinched waist without the commitment of a traditional corset. Perfection!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Preview: Henrietta and Stella Bow Belts

Just in time for the holiday party season, meet two lovely new Bow Belts. The first, Henrietta, is made of a yummy striped satin and antique Victorian braid. It's topped off with a smart bow and antique crescent moon vignette button. Stella is made of a lovely taupe ribbon printed with shiny silver stars. Both make the perfect stocking stuffer or finishing touch for your own holiday ensemble. Take a peek!

Henrietta Bow Belt (left) and Stella Bow Belt (right)

Detail of the Henrietta Bow Belt 

Detail of the Stella Bow Belt

Look for them in the Honey Cooler Handmade store tomorrow and stay tuned for an uber-precious gift wrap option for all your HCH gift giving needs!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Calling All Flappers...

I can't live without my iPhone.

It's glued to my hand at all times (excepting, of course, when I'm sewing). I use it for grocery lists, checking in on my Etsy shop, playing Words With Friends, Sudoku and Mah Jongg, taking on-the-fly product photos, and killing time in uncomfortable situations. I keep it in my hand when I'm out and about, even if I'm not using it at that particular moment... in short, I'm obsessed.

When I think of early mobile phones, I can't help but think of the charmingly humungous breadbox phone Zack Morris used in Saved By The Bell. Or the one used by the sinister Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

But I guess cell phones go back further in history than I'd initially thought! Check out this amazing 1922 Pathé video from How To Be A Retronaut: "World's First Mobile Phone".

So much prettier than a breadbox phone, don't you think? Perhaps less practical, but hey, when has pretty ever truly needed to be pragmatic?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Holiday Sale!

If you've had your eye on something special from the HCH store in time for the holidays, you're in luck! Everything in the store is 15% off until New Years Day! Just use code 2011HOLIDAY at check out to take advantage of the discount.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Calm Before The Storm

Thanksgiving's tomorrow, so I'll be cooking up a storm today. My husband is working on the manlier aspects of Thanksgiving Dinner, intended to pair with our pal's killer bacon-wrapped turkey. Among the hearty offerings, we're having meat-heavy stuffing, gravy from scratch, and artery-decimating mashed potatoes.

I, however (and probably unsurprisingly), am working on the sweeter side of things: yam casserole, Ukrainian apple pie and pierogies. None of it is healthy and all of it is delicious.

We did all our shopping yesterday morning and in trying to square away as much with HCH as possible before a little holiday hiatus, I lost complete track of time. Before I knew it, the sunset was lighting up our cornucopia and I couldn't resist snapping some pics.

So, a little prettiness before the insanity begins.

Happy pre-Turkey Day, everyone!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thread Show San Francisco, November 2011

The rain may have kept things quiet for awhile, but the Thread Show on Sunday was tons of fun and there were lots of people wandering through, including a photographer from wicked local blog Fkn Famous (awesome name, huh?).

Here are a few photos of my booth. If you spot anything you like, check out a closer look over at my Etsy shop!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A New Look

Honey Cooler Handmade has a stellar new look for the holidays! Check it out and keep your eyes peeled for a very sweet deal up ahead...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Only 402 Days Until The Great Gatsby!

When I was in middle school, I had to read The Great Gatsby, then watch the film adaptation. At the time, I was unimpressed, probably because a 13-year-old generally won't find much to admire in melodrama and Mia Farrow. Not to mention the fact that this 1920's period piece was hopelessly and incurably 1970's. Soft focus, big curls and Disco couture were and never will be Deco.

Today, I wait with bated breath for the upcoming Baz Luhrmann adaptation. Sure, a remake is generally never as good as the original, but the fact that Luhrmann is directing and producing makes me certain that I'll love this film for its aesthetic alone.

Photo: Jezebel

Just check out Gemma Ward as Catherine Wilson! Catherine's a bit part in The Great Gatsby, but if Gemma looks this lovely in her role, I can't wait to see how Luhrmann will portray the lavish party scenes. This film is guaranteed to be a Deco-lover's paradise. And it doesn't hurt that Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing Jay Gatsby opposite the precious Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.

Is it Christmas 2012 yet?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Preview: Pearl Deco Camisole

In preparation for Thread SF this weekend, I've been sewing my little heart out. I have tons of adorable new pieces to show, and they'll be making their debut at Thread before you see them in my Etsy shop, so make sure you swing by.

My newest gem is the Pearl Deco Camisole, a lovely warm ivory jacquard top with a triple bow insertion lace detail. It's the ideal layering piece - wear it with a red cardigan, skinny jeans and black boots for the perfect holiday party ensemble!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Honey Cooler Handmade at Thread Show San Francisco on Sunday November 20th!

Come say hello and check out what's new in the world of Honey Cooler Handmade on Sunday November 20th at the Metreon!

Admission is only $5 if you RSVP here!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Empire State of Mind

I spent the past weekend in New York City, helping my little sister locate her dream wedding dress, shopping, and going out with college chums. It's hard for me to put into words how much I love New York - I sometimes feel like I belong there instead of in San Francisco.

Because autumn is my favorite season, visiting as fall is beginning to crest makes leaving again all the more difficult. I felt like I was in a fog for most of the trip because I really do miss the East Coast so much, especially this time of year. It usually takes me a few days to shake off the resulting nostalgia.

But I have to remember that New York is a tough place. Its residents are more up-front and in-your-face than San Franciscans. Those are admirable qualities, but there have been a ton of occasions when I felt positively trampled by the city and its people. The truth is that I'm too soft for New York, even sartorially.

Anyway, long story short, I had a lovely (if bittersweet) time in the city. My last hour was spent at a lovely store in the Fashion District where I found these gems... Antique ribbon and Deco rhinestones. The perfect bit of sweetness to take home from a very hard-edged city.

It's good to be back.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

My husband's little sister is visiting from the East Coast, which, as most of you have probably heard, was pummeled with unseasonably wintry weather this weekend. In an effort to give my sis-in-law one more wink of summer before she heads back home, we drove down to Santa Cruz today.

All three of us grew up spending time down the Jersey Shore in Ocean City, NJ which is known for its carnival-like boardwalk. I've always envisioned the Ocean City boardwalk as a real-life incarnation of Pinocchio's Pleasure Island. The boardwalk boasts dangerously rickety old rides, a rainbow of blinding lights, and an army of staggering drunk folks.

Santa Cruz also has a boardwalk, which attempts to mimic the classic Coney Island/Atlantic City experience. It's not nearly as expansive, but still seems all-too-saccharine. In other words, it's just right.

When we arrived, however, we realized that every ride, attraction and booth was closed. October is considered off-season so it's open during weekends only. Instead of filling up on cotton candy and fried Oreos and riding the Double Shot, we wandered the The Beach Boardwalk's vacant lacquered wasteland and I snapped a few creepy pics. Happy Halloween everyone!

How did you spend your Halloween?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Marie Antoinette: Shoes On A Budget

Just in time for Halloween... this is cross-posted from my Tumblr. Enjoy!

Loved the shoes in Marie Antoinette?  Dear God, so did I.

I’m a freak for historical costume.  When I think of what I could be wearing were it, say, 1750, 1860, or 1949, I get a little upset.  People tell me “You can just wear costumes all the time…  after all, you do live in San Francisco!”  True, but I’m also a (mostly) sane individual who would like to retain her dignity and circle of friends, thank you very much.  So instead of wearing corsets, hoops and seamed stockings all year round, I reserve those outfits for special occasions.

After all the Marie Antoinette hubbub caused by the eponymous 2006 film, I decided that, sooner or later, I must dress as Marie Antoinette for Halloween.  That time finally came last year when I wasn’t working more than a few hours a week and was jonesing for a project.  While I had no trouble making a corset, petticoat, shift and pocket hoops from scratch, shoes were another issue entirely.  Nowhere (I mean nowhere) had decent Rococo shoes.  I kept coming across travesties like these…

and prohibitively expensive beauties like these (from Peter Fox)…

…but could find nothing that bridged the gap of eh/cheap to OMG/expensive.  I wasn’t asking for much, just a court-heeled mule with a semi-pointed toe.  I could do the rest.  But it just wasn’t happening.  I spent an unreasonable amount of time online looking for shoes I’d only wear once or twice.  What the hell was my problem?  And THEN… I found them.  For less than $25 on Overstock!

They had a close-to-perfect heel, and were already embellished with rhinestones.  My only complaint was the presence of an ankle strap, but that would be a cinch to cut off.  There was also the issue that the satin in the shoes was synthetic and therefore might not take dye as I had hoped.  But no pain, no gain, right?  At worst, the dye would remain on the surface, but run off the shoes if they got wet.  Whatever.  I wasn’t going to Wildwater Kingdom, I was having a Halloween party!  Time to take one for the team!

So, armed to the teeth with a bottle of teal Rit dye, a sponge brush, a glue gun, sharp scissors, $10 of random vintage ribbons and trims from The Ribbonerie and a roll of masking tape, I transformed the above budget bridal shoes into these:

Cool, huh?  And here’s a side view.

Peter Fox’s shoes are definitely more accurate, but accuracy wasn’t necessarily the goal here, and hell, I loved making them!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Now on Etsy: Billie

She's up! Blue and bedecked in beautiful bows... swing on by the Honey Cooler Handmade shop to sneak a closer peek.

Over the Moon

The crescent moon is one of my favorite motifs of all time. I wear a gold crescent moon around my neck almost every day and I used one for my Luna Garconne Tap Shorts. Suffice it to say, there will definitely be more in Honey Cooler Handmade's future. 

So, this lovely montage is possibly the most lovely thing I've seen all day. From the always-amazing How To Be A Retronaut.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Preview: Billie Garconne Tap Shorts

It's hard to explain insertion lace to people who have never really examined it before. Typically, the lace is sewn down on a garment, and then the fabric behind the lace is carefully snipped away to reveal a totally sheer motif. Showing sheerness in photos can be difficult... that is, unless you have the right light!

So, here's a sneak peek at Billie's triple-bow-on-the-butt action against my chandelier. I'm about to sew her into a pair of uber-sweet shorts. She'll be in the shop tomorrow, so get your trigger finger ready!

Do You Have What It Takes... be a silent film star?

From How To Be A Retronaut (one of the best sites ever), a list of the ideal assets for the perfect screen star, circa 1928.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hello and Goodbye

There's nothing quite like sewing up a custom corset, listing it, then having it purchased within an hour of posting it.

Au revoir, ma belle rouge!

Speaking of custom corsets, if you've been dreaming of one, convo me! Fitting requires three simple measurements and they start at $115 for basic ribbon styles (like the one pictured above). Looking super sexy doesn't have to break the bank!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Now on Etsy: Margie and Oralie

Check out my newest shining stars, the Margie Deco Camisole and the Oralie Bow Belt, both available in the Honey Cooler Handmade shop now.

Margie is made from a lovely wheat motif cornflower blue silk jacquard with a totally sheer cotton tulle yoke and a beautiful antique beading lace detail. She speaks to the romantic in all of us - with all the fussiness of Victoriana and the simplicity of a basic cut.

Oralie is made from a sumptuous antique Edwardian brocade ribbon and finished off with a yummy blue velvet bow... the perfect pops of color for the fall days ahead.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Photos: Julia Deco Camisole

Julia is one of my favorite Deco Camisoles so far. She was inspired by Julia Morgan, the architect behind the gorgeous Art Deco monstrosity that is Hearst Castle. And lucky for me, she just co-starred in a shoot for Piecemaker Jewelry by the uber-talented Lisa Lau! Her earrings take center stage for sure... I'm so happy to have HCH included in the shoot!

Sneak a peek below. More photos from the shoot are here.

Photography was by Iann Ivy, the gorgeous model was Alicia Forbrich, hair and makeup were by Araceli Ramos, and the lovely cuff in the second photo is by Robin Stelling of Creative Beadz.

Fashion Love Affair: Vintage 1920's Lace and Embroidery Dress

This shouldn't be news to anyone, but I'm a costume nerd. You can tell so much about the zeitgeist of a particular era by looking at what people were wearing back then. What's great about the 20's is that the departure from the lace-heavy, buttoned-up Edwardian era was so incredibly in-your-face, like so much of what was going on during that time. The 1920's saw a swift change from the uber-femme corseted S-curve Gibson Girl to the boyish taping-her-breasts-down flapper in a very short period of time.

For so long, trends changed over a period of decades. In the 1700's and 1800's, silhouettes gradually morphed over the course of years. These days, cinched waists and shutter shades are in one season and out the next.

While costume history is pretty fascinating, it also generalizes. The subtle nuances tucked away in the broader tale of fashion history are pretty cool too. This dress, currently on Ebay, is the perfect example of merging a boyish silhouette with girlish nostalgia. The woman who owned this dress had a soft spot for the Edwardian era. She eschewed fashionable simplicity for Art Nouveau frou frou, yet stayed on-trend. Amazing. I wonder where she wore this dress...

So, I covet this lovely piece. Take a peek!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Preview: Morgana Deco Camisole

Just because I lose my mind when I see pretty lace and spend my days sewing up uber-femme (and some might say frou frou) pieces, it doesn't mean I can't appreciate a little morbidity. In fact, Halloween is my favorite holiday! Growing up on the East Coast I learned to appreciate the swift snap of fall, the crunch of leaves beneath my shoes and the smell of burning wood and tractor exhaust on a haunted hayride. I love fall and I love all things spooky!

So, as Halloween approaches, meet the darker side of Honey Cooler Handmade with the Morgana Deco Cami.

Morgana started as a simple sketch, inspired by some of the lovely lacey bone motif pieces from runways past. Though I'm proud of Morgana, McQueen did it best back in 2010...

Morbidity and beauty can truly be one and the same. Look for Morgana in the Honey Cooler Handmade shop tomorrow.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Newest Lace Haul

New lace in the HCH stash... stay tuned for new pieces next week! In the meantime (since the suspense is undoubtedly killing you), check out what's fresh at the Honey Cooler Handmade Etsy shop.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Now on Etsy: The Bernie Deco Camisole, The Chun Cropped Deco Camsiole and The Nora Knickers

More in the shop today!

Meet Bernie, Chun and Nora... Bernie's bold and the perfect addition to any fall ensemble, be it for the boudoir or a meetup at the local watering hole. Chun's cropped and cute - ideal for layering (and a seamless match for the Lien Garconne Tap Shorts). What is there to say about Nora other than the fact that she's precious? I love making knickers and these turned out lovely. She's my first foray into black jacquard and certainly won't be the last.

More to come this week, so stay tuned! And while you're at it, check out all my newest bits and pieces in the Honey Cooler Handmade store.