(not so) random links

due to my busy-ness last week, this feature took a little unplanned vacay. whoopsie-daisy!

so, lots to share this week. enjoy, and as usual, feel free to comment and discuss at will!


-times are tough and getting tougher financially. food and gas prices are soaring and clearly, many people are feeling the pinch (via the new york times). what i am curious about is…does the ever increasing cost of fuel put the breaks on your ventures out in to the world? what about when it comes to shopping? do you take less trips into town to indulge in fashion-finding missions (retail, secondhand, or otherwise)? have you turned to alternate forms of transportation? when money is tight, what becomes a priority for you? does satiating your style bug become less important in the scheme of things? has it already?


-ever heard of the lipstick theory of economics? seems that mr. lauder (of estee lauder) noted that sales of his lipstick seemed to shoot up precipitously when things, particularly in terms of world and personal finance, are a bit unstable (via the new york times). in times of economic uncertainty, women seem to be more likely to buy a couple of relatively inexpensive lipsticks (or the equivalent) to give their mood a boost, rather than dropping hundreds of dollars on say, a designer dress. obviously, the beauty companies are banking on this percolating trend. and it seems to make some sense as far as economic theory is concerned, say experts in that field. but thus far this year, the numbers haven’t borne said theory out.

what about you? when the budget belt is tight and getting tighter, do you find yourself forgoing those big ticket items, instead choosing to go for little luxuries? what else do you do to stretch a dime, while at the same time satiating your need for a fun little sartorial pick-me-up?


-according to carole white of the premier model management agency in the UL, there is a dearth of black models in modeling and by extension, media because, and i quote: “according to magazines, black models don’t sell.” british photographer nick knight says the problem stems from those in high places in the fashion industry, who believe that black models are ‘”not aspirational” or “don’t sell in Asia”‘. (via the independent). what??

does that imply that “white” is that color of money? is “white” the only thing that is or can be considered beautiful these days? i call BULLSHIT. what happened to the healthy diversity in modeling and fashion that was in vogue in years past? what is this apparent racism in the fashion industry REALLY all about? anyone else think this apparently lack of diversity in media is reprehensible and disgusting?

for further reading on the same: jourdan dunn is the color of money (via the times online)


and a positively ginormous pile of the quick and dirty!:

-my absolute FAVORITE new york city boutique, i heart, now has a blog! ’bout time, gals! now you just need an e-commerce site so we can enjoy the wonderfulness of your store even at a distance…

-as a guest blogger on design*sponge, illustrator/designer julia rothman shows how to turn a drawing into a repeated pattern, w/o the help of handy tools like photoshop. it can be done! would be a cool way to turn an illustration you’ve made into a cool piece of printed fabric, for starters…

-woot, a knit bias stripe stitch pattern! thanks, vogue knitting!

-make an effort to take good photographs! it matters! people are looking, and they DO notice poopy photography/imagery. at least, i do! do you? the 10e20 blog offers up 21 ways to shoot better photographs.

craft: spread the word: knit1 (the fun knitting/crochet mag put out by the makers of vogue knitting) has a page with free downloadable pdf’s of v. cute patterns. that are free. yay! (on a related note, i am grooving on the colors in their ‘ginormous baby blanket’…oooh! ahhh! rainbows!)

-love this tutorial for a quilt on oh fransson! that features ‘crazy’ nine patch blocks. the fractured, offbeat look of said blocks makes me think of some of the work of modern quilt maven, denise schmidt.

the purl bee gives us the run down on thimbles…calling them an essential for any sewing kit. and depending on your sewing needs the project you’re working on, i’d have to say i agree.

-i need to make one of these super cute yoga mat bags using the pattern and instructions offered up by bored and crafty, stat. one made out of some patchwork fabric would be mighty me and quite lovely, methinks.

-show those plastic sandwich bags the door, forever! check out this little how-to on how to make a little reusable sandwich wrap, from the small object.

-damn right, san francisco is crafty! feisty elle put together a great google map with points that correspond to artsy-craftsy destinations-of-interest in this here fair city by the bay. i cannot even express how awesome this is. thanks for doing all that work, feisty elle! crafters and makers of the bay area salute you.

-i have basically no hair, so this can’t do *me* any good, but i am totally grooving on this how-to on how to make your own hair-ties, on bluelines. if i had long, lustrous tresses, i’d go nuts picking out just the right buttons and baubles to adorn my locks! the crazier the better…

-i recently learned that lion brand yarns has a blog. while i don’t love everything lion brand does (some of their designs are more than a bit clunky/old fashioned in an off way, and some of the yarns are too synthetic for my personal taste), i do like what they do now and again and check in with their site on occasion to see what new patterns they have on offer. this relaxed, slouchy market bag pattern is rather lovely…and it looks easy to crochet, tout suite.


  1. Miriah

    I am another terrible lurker! However, I adore your blog, your attitude, and your style! The first part of this post is something my husband and I have definitely been discussing a lot recently! We live about 15 miles away from anything and so the cost of gas has drastically affected how and what we buy. My husband carpools to work with three other people and we save all our errands for the weekend to cut down on needless jaunts into town. But instead of the “lipstick” trend, we tend to save our pennies for things we really want–basically one special purchase versus a few cheap thrills. We also avoid all big box stores simply because we want our money to support our local economy when we do spend. And yes, sadly my thrifting has taken a huge cutback–mainly we are focusing on creating/re-fashioning whether that be altering clothing we already own or making a fishtank from recycled lumber! Whenever I get the bug to consume, it is encouraging to read blogs like yours that connect people who are interested in reducing their impact on the planet without compromising their style. Thank you–and you will LOVE being a mom, it is the best thing I have done yet (besides meet my husband 🙂

  2. Pete Murphy

    Regarding the lipstick theory, I have a different take: perhaps lipstick sales rise during an economic downturn because more women are forced to seek employment and those already employed feel a need to improve their appearance in a bid to hang onto their jobs.

  3. PaperDollyGirl

    thanks for the great links! I bookmarked the yoga bag pattern and the sandwich wraps. Re: economy and style – I’ve found that when things are tight I just try to delay any purchases as long as possible. Use up stuff I have, not hoard fabric or supplies, not thrift shop for fun. I also am more likely to combine errands to save gas – and ride my bike or take the scooter with my husband when we do want to run errands. Driving is really only for trips of over 20 miles.

  4. stereoke!

    i definitely cut down on driving when gas is so expensive. i, personally, think lifting the gas tax is the most ridiculous idea. i don’t see how encouraging people to drive more during summer is a good thing.

    i adore that i heart blog. i need to go to nyc immediately.

    i think i am, absolutely, one who would rather buy $50 worth of lipstick than $200 of something more substantial (like, something i need, like new wheels on my bike).

    i notice a strange trend with me – i spend more more when i actually have less. for example, if i’m already into my overdraft, i will make more, subsequent, frivolous purchases. it’s like a snowball effect. however, the confusing part is that i don’t know how such a pattern starts if i had to start with some money in the first place.

    oh! and how gorgeous is jourdan dunn!

  5. ambika

    Given that I take the bus or walk everywhere and don’t own a car, the gas crunch hasn’t hit me (yet–though I figure corresponding rising prices in food already have.) I don’t know what I’d do if I loved outside the city.

    I *rarely* wear make up so if I end up foregoing unnecessary purchases, it would probably be foregoing *entirely*.

    And I’ve never looked to fashion magazines to represent me. They just…never have so I guess I’ve never hoped that they would start? And when they do, 9 times out of 10 the black model is portrayed in leopard prints in some jungle setting and it’s completely insulting. I mean, yes, it would be fantastic if people were equally portrayed but I guess I’m too cynical to think they would be any time soon.

  6. Erica

    Lots of things to think about!

    First, fuel and food prices–I’m not a driver and I’m an urban dweller, so thankfully fuel prices don’t impact me as much. In this regard I have a measure of sympathy for suburbanites; a suburban lifestyle is pretty much dependent on automobile transportation. However, I do eat food and so I’m feeling the impact of those price hikes like everyone else. When I can I shop local and shop farmer’s markets; I find that fresh foods are generally more cost-effective than processed and packaged foods. Recently I started visiting the local grocery more often for fewer items, that way less food goes to waste.

    Second, the dearth of black models (sigh)–well, I see that I will have to get my hands on a July issue of Vogue Italia, if only because it sounds like an historic move on their part. I’m not sure what is meant by “black models are ‘not aspirational'”…sounds like just a lame excuse to me. If black models are never given any exposure to begin with, of course they’ll never “sell”. And if it’s true that black models “don’t sell in Asia,” I would imagine that is because fashion consumers there aren’t as used to images of black women, which again points the finger back at the fashion industry.

    The fact is that the high-fashion industry spins fantasies and tries to manipulate women through advertising into feeling inadequate; they create highly specific, rapidly evolving images that 99% of women cannot emulate, while persuading them that they must try to emulate the image if they hope to live the fantasy ( is this what’s meant by”aspiration”? ) One easy way to construct such images is to exclude women of color outright (who incidentally are the majority of women worldwide…) A strong-minded woman can view this game for what it is and take high-fashion in her own direction if she so chooses, but any other woman, after seeing the ten thousandth magazine page featuring yet another young, thin, white, photoshopped model may finally cave in and surrender her self-esteem to self-appointed culture mavens.

    It really is a shame that the fantasy has gotten so out of hand that one has to mentally defend one’s sense of self from constant onslaught. But black women have had to do this decade after decade. As I have said before, this is one reason why I do what I do on flickr.

  7. sarah

    hurray! linkage galore! Though this does mean I won’t get anything done for the rest of the afternoon…

    re: fuel/food prices, this is actually part of how I convinced my boyfriend that we should move our timetable up for our move this summer. We are moving at the end of June instead of the end of July because, as I pointed out, “wouldn’t you rather spend that time off [that we’ll have together] back home in a metropolis where there’s loads to do and we don’t have to pay gas OR drive to get to them?” We’re big bus/bike/walk folks, so getting back to the city is going to be great for our budget AND good for us – I miss the long evening walks we used to take! We’re on an unlit highway with no sidewalks here – and skunks. Not exactly conducive to evening constitutionals.

    And I’m not a cosmetic girl, but I do like food (and fancy foods), so here’s how I translate the lipstick theory. I cut the fancy cheeses – or cut them way down. It’s healthier anyway. I cut the meat portions and I watch for sales or close-dated meats, snapping up a roast here or some steaks there and freezing them. The texture’s altered somewhat, but for stewmeat, what’s the diff, really. So yes, a lot of the luxuries disappear, but I try to make up for them by more creative experimentation with cheaper things.

    We already don’t eat boxed food, but I even started cutting canned legumes for dry, and we get things like cereal and flour in bulk. When I was unemployed in 2005, I made sure that at least 3 or 4 of our weekly meals centered around a dry grain or a legume. It takes extra time to soak and cook, but with a little advance planning, I shaved some significant dollars off our grocery bill over time. I also tried to make some kind of soup once a week. Another thing I did while unemployed was grow my own vegetables – also rewarding for a gal who like gardening and food! Our new place has a vegetable plot and you can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be gardening again. Even easy plants like peas, green beans and a little cherry tomato plant can make a huge difference. Low on cash? What’s for dinner? Just pick some beans and sautee and toss with a couple basil leaves and some halved cherry tomatoes and voila! Dinner for almost no money. Of course, with gardening, there’s always the initial investment, but I found that the garden had paid for itself after about a year and a half.

    I’ve also found – like Erica – that if I can make more trips to the grocery store (or market) during the week, and buy fewer things, that less goes to waste. I also only plan 4-5 meals a week, reserving the others for creative consumption of leftovers. Seasonal eating is also intelligent – if you know what’s plentiful in your area at what time, you can anticipate what will be cheap at farmer’s markets in terms of produce, and plan your eating around that. It’s a really healthy way to live, too. Always pack your own lunch – again, often healthier than eating out, and you save a TON, make your coffee drink at home and pack tea with you (a cup of hot water is generally free) if you need another pick-me-up during the day.

    I also try to bake bread and make soup stocks on Sunday mornings in the autumn, winter, and early spring. It might sound crazy, but check this out: stock uses up scraps and veggies-on-the-verge. It really gives extra oomph to soups and pilafs and other economical meals. You don’t really need to watch it – I use the time to get my studying for the day done. The damp heat as the stock simmers makes homemade bread dough (with whole grain flours and brans, which are cheap in bulk and very nutritive) rise brilliantly. I bake the bread, and by 11am I have stock, two nice warm loaves, AND I’ve heated the house (and made it smell very yummy) without touching the thermostat. A lot of my friends tend to come by on Sunday mornings and take advantage of the warm bread feast, so it’s become a very social thing, too.

    Okay, enough, enough! I’m sorry for going on so long, I just love finding ways to make a budget work when it comes to eats! My only other real expenses are clothing and art supplies, so I just focus on using what I have when times are tight. I’ll say to myself, “You can’t buy any new or used clothes until you’ve made x number of garments from fabric in your stash,” and that works pretty well. I get so busy making that I forget all about the buying, and I use blogs like yours for inspiration and ideas rather than buying magazines anymore.

  8. Jenn

    The rising cost of fuel is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now. I don’t own a car and have a university-issue bus pass, so the cost of gas/driving hasn’t really limited my trips out. I am cutting back, however, and after reading up on a lot of peak oil issues, I’ve been finding that any “splurges” that I make now are not really on luxuries, but on things I could need and that might be useful in the future – sounds a bit apocalyptic, but oh well. So, I still make my trips to the grocery stores, but I “splurge” on some dried food instead of on something like shrimp or chocolate. I still make trips to the thrift store, but the things I buy have changed. I may still pick up some wonderful clothing and vintage housewares (okay…I guess these are my splurges), but I get most excited when I find nice heavy boots, wool clothing for cold winters, and useful household bits like dehydrators or vintage tools that don’t require electricity. Admittedly, I may be able to do this because I already have a fair number of what I consider to be luxury items at home, but it’s interesting to give some thought to how I’m currently spending and why.

    I’m trying to figure out new ways to live that are a bit more sustainable and useful in the failing economy. A lot of this requires some creativity, which isn’t such a bad thing. I’m figuring out lots of yummy meals to cook that waste less, use more leftovers, and don’t take expensive or hard to find ingredient. I’m experimenting with my own food preservation and, hopefully soon, with growing my own. I’m having fun playing with my wardrobe trying to figure out comfy and stylish outfits to wear on my new, free trash-picked bike (yay, biking in skirts!) or through the winters so I can keep the heat down. And, happily, spending more time thinking about and working on these things at home means that I don’t notice less trips out as much since I’m enjoying myself at home. Next, I need to learn how to sew better than I already do, and get some more use out of my two machines. I also need to figure out more ways to purchase what few things I actually need locally – there isn’t a lot of choice where I live, but with a bit of hunting, I’m really hoping I can get the things I need in a way that supports local business.