¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


Everything Begins and Ends...

Last night I watched Picnic at Hanging Rock, an Australian period thriller from 1975. If slow, atmospheric, moody films are your cup of tea, this one should win your heart.

Director Peter Weir treats us to lush oddly-angled and layered shots of the outback landscape, a haunting pan-flute-and-organ-heavy soundtrack, and loads of simmering repressed Victorian adolescent girl sensuality (with a nod to the slightly-baggy-woolen-stocking fetishists... oh, such stockings will you see). You can almost feel the heat rising from the rocks... and the languid girls...

Fortunately the beauty of the cinematography and the charisma of the dewey actresses overshadows the Victorian costumes à la Gunne Sax that pin the look as mid-seventies.

But it was the open end that kept me thinking about the film long after the credits. The movie teased us with vague possible explanations, but gave no resolution to the central mystery. Why is our need to have stories tied up in neat little packages by the end so powerful?

I discovered the original book was written with eighteen chapters, and the final chapter solved the mystery, but the author decided to remove it at the last minute. The eighteenth chapter was published twenty years later in response to demand from the public for closure to the story.

Of course I was unable to resist searching for a spoiler, and of course I was disappointed in the resolution, which was silly and unlikely, and nowhere near as moving and evocative as the open end.

When will I learn? Some stories are better left unresolved. As Miranda, the central character in the film, says, "Everything begins and ends at exactly the right time and place..."


Things That Please Me: Stripey Socks

Some things make me all giddy just by the sheer fact of their existence.

Exhibit One: Stripey Socks. Just seeing a pair of these pups on some like-minded whimsical soul makes me feel like dancing. And wearing them myself?? Let's just say I'm ready to take on the world with stripey thigh-highs on. The higher the socks, the happier they make me. I can't help but be reminded of the plucky and curious heroines of my youth... Pippi Longstocking, Alice in Wonderland.

Those of you with me on this need to head straight to Sock Dreams, where you can find the largest convergence of amazing stockings and socks in the universe. Stripes of every length and color. Not to mention arm-warmers, fishnets, and toe socks in spades. And the sexy, arty pictures rock.

Extra points for boys in stripey knee-socks. You know who you are.


The Finery Sweatshop

Things have been quiet on the blog front because I've spent the majority of the holiday weekend stitching and beading like a mad seamstress. I've been ignoring all chores and listening to The Real Tuesday Weld for inspiration. If you haven't seen their video for Cloud Cuckooland yet, watch it now - it will make you smile.

And the results of my frenzy? Roux - a flurry of scarlet and gold silk, dark rose-colored velvet, garnets, pearls...

Close-up of the Roux choker.

Detail of the Roux Cuffs.

For some reason fabric-covered buttons make me very happy.


Juniper: A Sneak Preview

Over the weekend I nearly finished my first design for my Etsy shop, Atelier Choklit. Here's a little taste of it - in this picture I'm working on the Juniper Cuff.

Opulence with a hint of innocence.


Gemstones, Ribbons, and Pearls, Oh My!

I made it to the Ribbonerie! It was as if I had stepped back in time, ducked in off a cobblestone street into a tiny Parisian shop, where every imaginable color and texture of ribbon lined the walls from floor to ceiling. The ladies at the counter flitted about searching for color matches for the trims I already had, promising to special order the ones I couldn't find. I even learned the name for the funny ribbon-wrapping method I had encountered at Britex - the Nun's Cap - an old French style of bundling cut ribbon.

Enough said. I'm simply going to tantalize you with images of the treasures I've been gathering for this project.

Lustrous dyed freshwater pearls...

And richly hued braided trims...

A few nights ago I taught myself how to box-pleat silk, and I'm so pleased with the results. Look how sweet this little length of blue dupioni silk is when it's pleated and frayed!

The first design is almost finished...


Confessions of a Small-Town Costume Whore

Last night was Mardi Gras. Stache called to let me know there would be carousing and parading in the downtown area close to our house. Not being one to miss any opportunity for dress-up and debauchery, I rushed home from work, yanked out the tutu, a corset, and some feathery scarlet accoutrements - a mask and neck-ruff - and ventured out to joint the revelers.

Alas, by the time I arrived, the brass band had disappeared into a deserted club with a high cover charge, and the remaining rastabouts had whittled down to six dedicated souls in wigs, masks and frock-coats... Is it possible to carouse with a crowd of six?


We did our best, tramping about from bar to bar, throwing beads and encouraging the passers-by to show us their... bits. We nearly got into a fist-fight with two brazen teenage boys drunk on hormones. Though clearly desperate for some action, they ultimately were unable to bring themselves to hit people wearing tri-corn hats, and the fight fizzled. The evening ended in a brew-pub, where we got some confused stares at first but the local color quickly went back to gazing into their beers.

Ah, for the crowds and chaos of the city. If we were in New Orleans, San Francisco, New York... we would be joined by thousands of other freaks like us, seizing the opportunity to dress in ridiculous outfits and run through the streets with strangers, basking in that heady feeling that only comes with marauding in a public mob with a mask on.


But the night was not without reward - three members of our merry band were young souls we met for the first time last night, adrift and lonely in the suburban sea that is our hometown, and they were thrilled to find us, and to hear that indeed, there's a small but active community of Burners, freaks, costume-whores, musicians and artists in our hamlet, hidden amidst the ranch homes and strip malls...

And to these young ones I said, welcome home.


Velvet Ribbons

The supply hunt was a success! Many hours spent traipsing the hallowed halls of the third floor of Britex Fabrics and the miracle that is Berkeley's Lacis - and I returned home triumphant. Though I still have more bits to acquire to be fully prepared, I now have the basics for at least twelve new designs, which is overwhelming and thrilling at the same time. And look what I brought home...

Oh, the joy that is velvet ribbons. Britex had a dizzying array of colors, and some of them were actually vintage (though I suspect the prices were not historically accurate!). The unexpectedly punky sales-boy wrapped them into these appealing little bundles that made me think of Easter eggs.

But my most intriguing discovery of the day was that there is, in fact, a shop in San Francisco that is dedicated entirely to ribbons. Be still, my heart! Overheard near the fringe section, the aptly named Ribbonerie is supposedly in Laurel Heights and specializes in French wired. But the sheer madness of driving downtown in the rain conspired to keep us from making it there before it closed. For now, I will have to content myself with the knowledge that such a place exists, and dream of the treasures that might be in store for me there.