A Rainbow Rack of Vintage


Because of my new hair:

I find myself craving more color, ones I never would have desired on or near my person.


I was in college when I began to notice my color phases. 

I had a brown phase: a bird not wanting to be noticed.

Then I had a white phase: was taking yoga and wanted no time or energy wasted on choosing clothes.

And then I had a profoundly long black phase. In college, black was the recitalist’s color; the music is the forefront, not your clothing. Black is understated, yet classy; classic and easy. But it is also a color for disappearing into the shadows, for deflecting negative energy (I was told). So for more than a decade, black was my go-to color.


And now, I still like an all black outfit. With my teal hair as my pop of color, I can keep on wearing black. But now I . WANT . COLOR .

Hot pink. Fuschia. Orange. Vivid purple. Red. 

And, as you can see from this rack of vintage clothing waiting to be altered-to-fit, LOUD patterns.

The brown bird of yore now wants to be noticed; the butterfly out of the cocoon. 

How-to: My First Official (Uber) Short Animation Film


Typing that title was a real laugh-out-loud moment.  The short film is sooo short it didn’t even hit the 1-minute mark.  The main character is someone that you might have met in my blog before: Joyful, my green dog.  He is my band’s, He Sang She Sang‘s, mascot and “dogager”.  In the film, we define what DOGAGER means.  Watch it to find out.

Would it surprise you to know that this 53-second film took me 3 weeks to make?  It was a laborious project and, it being my first real foray into animation WITH music, I experimented a lot and wasted many hours of work on drawings and slides that I didn’t need in the end.  I also spent some time getting to know the Windows Movie Maker.  Fortunately, Bronne knew how to edit music and had the software to do it, so that was one less thing for me to worry about.

I didn’t read up on how to make animation and, as in the many things I do, learned by doing.  The missteps and mistakes were essential in learning.  And despite the tired eyes and hands, headaches and sleepless nights, I enjoyed every minute of it.

Just in case you are thinking of creating your own short animation film, here are the steps I chose to take (I’m sure the folks at Pixar would have a better way of doing things, though):

  1. Brainstorm on a story line with the characters, plot, music, etc.  I guess the trained folks would have a story board and if my story were longer, I would have made one, too.
  2. Edit your chosen music/sound effect to your desired length.  The amount of work you do will depend upon this.
  3. Draw your characters.  In this case, I consider the dancing flowers, sun, and clouds as supporting characters to Joyful.  I drew them and their different poses and facial expressions using a combination of MS Paint and Photoshop on white background to make cutting and pasting easier.
  4. Draw your background. Mine was the sky and the green hilly ground.
  5. Create your ‘slides’ or ‘panels’ by cutting-and-pasting your characters onto the background. Each slide would feature 1 pose or facial expression.
  6. Color.
  7. Enhance your slides with artistic effects on Photoshop or Corel Draw.  Some people skip this because they like the raw look.  I just enhanced the color and put some effects to make the slides look more “story-book” seamless.
  8. Upload your slides and music to your animation/film software.  I chose the Windows Movie Maker because it’s FREE!!!  Plus, artist, Josh Latta, told me that was a good software for beginner animators.  Windows Movie Maker is pretty easy to use.  You’ll have fun experimenting with its different effects.
  9. Edit.  Take care in coordinating the music with your slides.
  10. Save.
  11. Upload on YouTube.
Hopefully, all the things I learned from doing this uber short film will aid me when we start our next project: making a video for one of our original songs.  The song is definitely more than 1 minute.  In fact, it’s one of our longest songs.   So, if all goes well, that one will probably be unveiled in about … oh, maybe 3 years!  Hahaha!

Getting Addicted to Making Animation

I know I’m no animator.  First off, I can draw passably enough, but drawing using the touch pad of my laptop is a challenge.  I’m all hit or miss here and I’ve completed drawings at a snail’s pace.

But — voila! — here is my second attempt at making animation.  It’s about a strange venue owner we met months ago.  It would make more sense if you read about it on my HE SANG SHE SANG blog.  It’s ripe with juicy tidbits and intrigue!!! (Well, just a bit… hehehe).  Also, you’ll see a BIGGER VERSION of the cartoon.  For some reason, the animation doesn’t work on WordPress.  Perhaps because it’s a big file.

I did everything.  So if it sucks, blame me.  I was very conscious of Bronne, who is the visual artist of the family, looking over my shoulder, laughing inwardly at my feeble attempts to draw.  Actually, he wasn’t, but I was very very self-conscious about the whole process.

I did have fun making the cartoon, though!  I think I spent 6 hours to draw, color, Photoshop, revise and animate this short clip but I loved every minute of it.  I just used a gif animator for this one and I’m currently looking for a FREE simple animation software online so I can make more sophisticated cartoons in the future.  I’m not after creating “Finding Nemo 2”, but I do want to step things up a bit.

Do you know of a FREE simple animation software I can download online?  I’ve read about Pencil and Pivot Stickfigure animator but I’m trying to find out more.

So help me if you can! 🙂

What I Worked on Today…


As you know, I’m part of a musical duo called He Sang She Sang.  Once we’re done recording our original songs, we want to make our own music videos.  Actually, we met a photographer/film maker at an open mic and he saw a live outdoor recording of one of our songs on YouTube.  He liked the song so much that he offered to do a music video of our song for free.  But his idea involved real people + a literal rendition of the song, and we figured it would result into pure cheesiness.  We’ve always enjoyed cartoons so we’re considering creating a set of simple animation for our music videos.   This dancing stick figure is my first stab at it.  It’s basic, juvenile, and corny, I have to admit, but I think, if set into the right music, it could be kind of cute.

Where do You Go, My Lovely?

That question — 6 words… It was enough to get me out of the stupor in which I’ve been, blog-wise.   It was a recent comment from Audrey of the lovely, lovely blog, homerunballerina.  She was/is my inspiration for blogging about my love for crafts and clothes-thrifting.  Getting a comment from her, no matter how short, was like getting a gentle pixie dust shower from a blog fairy.  (Clearly, I have lost my touch for metaphors and for writing.)  So, many thanks to you Audrey: blog fairy, outfit magic mix-and-matcher, and culinary concoction-aire.

So, where did I go?  I haven’t touched my craft projects in months.  I’ve written nothing but song lyrics.  No seriously exciting thrifting done recently.  The pollen season stunted my daily morning run progress and now I feel FAT.  I let my hair grow long and just snip off the ends of my bangs occasionally so I won’t bump into furniture.  Even on a gig night, which used to be the best reason for me to dress up fun and fabulous, recently, I’ve gotten too lazy to mix up my outfits.  I wear the same pair of black boots despite having a THOUSAND pairs of shoes of all styles and shapes, according to my mother (she exaggerates, of course).  One time, we had a show and I said, “Oh, to hell with it” and wore a ratty T-shirt and faded blue jeans.  I guess you can say Man Hands Lizzie has been and IS IN a rotten rut.

Do you know: I HAVEN’T EVEN WORN THE STUFF I MADE recently?  I’d try my floral fascinator/headband or beaded jewelry on and then go, “Blerghh. Nevermind.”  Then take them off.  I don’t know why, but the joy of wearing my projects went kaput along with the joy of making them.

I go through my blog from time and time and am amazed.  I did this and that?  I wrote this?  I wore that and posed that way?  I think I made nice things and looked kind-of-good enough for me to allow myself to post my pictures.  But I go through my entries and almost feel like I’m reading the words and ideas and looking at a different person.

One of my favorite thrifted skirts (for less than a dollar). It's reptilian and forgiving and goes well with black. 🙂

I am not depressed.  I am not unhappy.  I’m a little unwell from pollen (darn you, pollenssss!!!) allergies but I’m actually having a great time even if I don’t have enough energy to show my enthusiasm.  I’m feeling … very mellow.  I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.

I’m just in a rut.   I need a new body — or want my old one back.  Maybe it’s time to shave my head again! (Which I did some 11 years ago.  Just cut off my pigtails at midnight, wore a bonnet the next day so my mom wouldn’t know what I did, and went to the barbershop — to the barber that shaved the heads of the ROTC boys and told him I wanted to be completely bald.  He acted like I asked him to cut my legs off and tut-tutted the whole time he was shaving me.  But, in the end, he stepped back and said I had a nicely-shaped head.)  Maybe I should get rid of all my clothes and start fresh.  I’m in that stage where I can’t get rid of my old clothes because I know I can get back in them once I lose weight.  But in the meantime, they are taking up space in my closet, waiting… waiting…

What to do?


MHL Project Preview: Pink Rose Fascinator

FASCINATOR sounds like a name for an evil siren-like villain, a temptress that could paralyze men with her fatal beauty.

But, really, according to… errr… Wikipedia, a fascinator was originally a “fine, lacy head covering akin to a shawl and made from wool or lace”.  By the 70’s, it had acquired a new meaning: “a delicate, slightly-to-very frivolous head decoration worn almost exclusively by women”.

I like fascinators.  I like women who wear them.  Only the brave and the bold ones (and a few, let’s face it, slightly delusional ones) can wear them with conviction.  Sometimes, I see women who wear flowered or frilled headbands but I feel they lack confidence to go for the real attention-getter version.  For the shy and reserved me, a fascinator is an ATTITUDE BAROMETER.  If I wake up one day and itch to wear one, I know that I’m feeling very good about myself.

I made this pretty Pink Rose Fascinator using tulle and felt.  I sewed everything together.  I understand why some people prefer using the glue gun for their projects, but I’ve always had an aversion to gluing things I wear.  I’ve had a couple of those in the past and they never last because, after a while, the glue gives up.  It also ruins the fabric, and makes it useless for recycling.

When I wore this out, I was feeling pretty good about myself.  I noticed some curious stares but, thankfully, I never got ones that said: “what-was-she-thinking?”  A couple women stared at my head then gave me an approving nod.  A guy passed me and said, “Hey, nice hair thingie”.  So I’m pretty pleased with it.

I know, I know.  The Pink Rose Fascinator is quite understated, almost conservative.  One day, I’m going to make a big one — a real show stopper!  One that would say: “Hey, Everybody!  I feel snazzy today!  Look at me!!!”  And if I’m brave, I’d wear it in public.  It would be the perfect thing to wear to a performance. Imagine that!  Me rocking Mildred with a huge freaking fascinator topping my head!!!

Possibly after downing a glass of wine.

MHL Upcycle: The Happy Pack Rat

Call me the happy pack rat.

Before a happy pack rat throws anything away, she asks herself: “What if I’ll need this in the future?”  So many things stay because they have potential for transformation.  There is that problem of storage and organization.  But there is also the delight in rediscovering odds and ends after years of incubation.  It’s like finding a lost friend, or looking at someone familiar with fresh eyes.

It’s a challenge for me to find some use for things that I keep.  Sometimes it takes a second.  Sometimes, years.  But most of them get to undergo their metamorphosis.  Hopefully, all of them will.  There are times when I look at my workstation (B calls it my ‘showroom’), and I think, what will happen to you guys if I suddenly die?  The thought of leaving things unfinished is always an effective form of motivation.  Time’s a wasting.  I’m not growing any younger.  To quote the brave Bohemians of Rent, there is no day but today.  So get on moving, girl.

I made this pendant about 20 years ago.  I was just starting out my freshman year as a music major.  We wore uniforms in high school so I didn’t have a lot of clothes.  In college, I made up for that by making some out of hand-me-downs from my family, including my dad and brother.  I made my own accessories from ordinary everyday things.  I even made my own sandals.  I was very brave in wearing the things I made.  It was conviction that fueled my courage.  Even then, I was an advocate for recycling.

She is made of . . .

. . . a couple of beads and a nylon string.

The earring was my aunt’s. She lost its partner then broke the hook.

The stop came from my mom’s empty perfume bottle.  It was from one of those miniature versions that I’ve always found adorable.

The leather came from an old shoelace.

Everything was something most people would consider trash.  But you know what they say about that.  Someone’s trash is the happy pack rat’s treasure.

MHL Upcycle: Make Accessories from an Old Belt, Part 2

Hello, lovelies!  This is part two of my latest MHL Upcycle.  If you haven’t read part one, I featured a leather bag tag I made from a old red leather belt I got at Union Thrift.   Today I’ll be sharing the other accessory I made: the silver studded leather cuff.

I’m really excited about this one. 🙂  Here it is!

For this project, I used the hole-y end of the belt (haha!).

It took me some time to figure out how to keep the cuff in place.  In the end, I decided to use large snaps.  I measured the cuff and marked where the snaps should be.  I used a push pin to make holes into the tough leather (again, with lots of elbow grease), and threaded in some wire to keep the snap in place.

Then I attached the partner snap on the other end.  Now, since this is the visible end of the cuff, I added a silver rectangular bead on the opposite side to hide the wires.  This bead also gives me something to hold on to when I’m snapping the cuff closed.

To cover the belt holes, I chose more silver beads.  The first picture shows that I used more of the silver butterflies that I used for my leather bag tag, but I actually ended up alternating them with rose-engraved round beads.  I just threaded the beads this time using brown nylon thread.  Wires would have been less comfy against the skin.

Now, here’s a very good tip.  Wonder why both projects don’t show signs of having been cut?  It’s because I coated the exposed leather with dark red nail polish.  Good, eh?  It also helps protect the leather from wear and tear.

So, there it is!  My very own one-of-a-kind silver studded leather cuff!  I’ve been wearing it for the past couple of days and it’s a delight to look at.  I’m also happy to report that, so far, the snaps have kept it on my wrist even as I’m doing my chores.

I still have some parts of the belt: 7 silver animals, bits of red leather, and a silver buckle.  I have yet to think of a project for them but I know I’ll cook something up eventually.

I hope you enjoyed this project!  Have a lovely day! (Blows a kiss.)

MHL Upcycle: Make Accessories from an Old Belt, Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, B. and I went to the newly opened Union Thrift store.  I went wild at their crafts aisle and bought a whole bunch of stuff mostly for 50 cents each.  I was also able to get a dark blue suede jacket and a couple of belts.  One of the belts that I got was made of sturdy red leather.  It wasn’t really my style and it was worn out in many parts, but it had these adorable silver animal embellishments that I knew I could use for a project or two.  I bought it even though, apart from cutting it up to ‘save’ the silver animals, I didn’t really know what else to do with it.

A couple of days ago, getting tired from sewing my baby pink flowers, I took a rest and started tinkering with the red belt.  While I was removing the animals, I realized I could actually make a couple of accessories: a leather bag tag and a silver studded leather cuff.

First, the leather bag tag!

I decided to use the buckle end of the belt for the bag tag.  Fortunately, the buckle could easily be removed because it was kept in place with snap buttons.  So, snap-snap.  I’m keeping this buckle for a future project.  I went through my craft things and found a silver butterfly bead, a plastic key tag, and a ring binder.  I made holes in the leather using a push pin and elbow grease (it was really tough leather!), and kept the elements in place with pliers and some wire.


It’s simple, sturdy, functional, and very pretty.  I enjoy how the red pops against this black leather bag (which is vintage Coach, by the way, which I thrifted for a dollar!)

Watch out for Part 2: my silver studded leather cuff!

MHL Upcycle: Basmati Lunch Sack

Rice is part of our daily fare so we buy these 15-pounds of Basmati rice that comes in this burlap sack.

I think we have about 3 and I planned to make them into a huge grocery sack to use so we can cut down on bringing home plastic bags.  But, for months now, B. had been using a Trader Joe’s paper bag to carry his lunch (another small step to help the environment)and it started to fall apart.  So I made him this using one for the Basmati rice sacks.

This is a very easy project that you can hand sew (if you have lots of time in your hands) or machine sew.  I decided not to cover the existing Basmati brand design because it added charm.  I made it boxy so it wouldn’t look so much like a lady lunch sack.  I was happy that B.didn’t feel his masculinity threatened by the brand design but I think shaping it like a little purse would be pushing it.

I lined it, of course, and used some fabric I got from a Freecycler.  It’s pretty sturdy and can even stand on its own.  Teehee!

I never would have thought of making a post about this but one of B.’s students asked him about the sack and wanted to know if I was selling.  Well, I hope this inspires people to make one instead.  Let’s work with what we already do have and recycle, shall we?