Dirty Shiny Pretty

Musings on Dirty Shiny Pretty Life

Mar 30, 2011

DIY Skull Fringe Earrings

Iosselliani Long Fringe Skull Earrings $198.  Sold out at most online retailers
I first spotted these amazing Iosselliani earrings in a Refinery29 post. I knew immediately I had to make them. Several months ago I bought two small skull charms. 
Hola chicas bonitas!
Try as I might I just couldn't find a satisfactory way to incorporate them into a piece of jewelry. I even tried chain earrings, but didn't care for outcome. Little did I know it was because I was missing a large gem between the chain and the skull. Seriously, this makes all the difference. This DIY was super simple, quick, and cheap as I already had all the necessary pieces, minus the black chain. Since I used what I had my version is a little different. The stones are purple faceted oval cabs in brass oval settings, my tassels are shorter, and my chains don't have the ombre effect. I originally tried to create the look with spray paint but the paint wouldn't hold to the chain. Bust! For only spending $1 though I'm very happy with the outcome. 
Finished earrings
He's finally found a place to rest

Mar 28, 2011

Sunday Funday

One view of my neighborhood
Yesterday, was really overcast here in So. Cal, but the threatening rain clouds didn't stop B and me from enjoying a great day outdoors. We hit up a small vintage flea market that I found listed in the "Weekend Events" section of our local paper and then enjoyed a pony ride and some park time. BTW the Events section of your local paper comes in handy when you have to entertain out-of-town guests, your kids are on school break, or you're just bored and want something to do.

Irvine Park

I love the thrill of finding a great vintage piece and happen live in a city with a beautiful historically preserved Old Town section, as seen in That Thing You Do, which houses over 60 antique stores making it the antique capital of So. Cal. While this might sound like heaven it is also an intimidating task that I usually don't have the time or energy to take advantage of. Also, items can be more expensive in these niche stores so I really enjoyed the chance to wander this smaller flea market in a neighboring city's Old Town district. I managed to score some great pieces for a bargain, that I plan on repurposing in my own jewelry, all in about 90 minutes before B decided she had had enough.  Definitely a success for any mom shopping with a young child. 
My spoils

I think the white and gold deco earring is my favorite find
After the flea market we headed to nearby Irvine Park for a pony ride I promised B. The park occupies a large plot of land that James Irvine gifted the county in 1897, on the condition that it would remain as natural looking as possible and alcohol wouldn't be allowed on the premises(cut to today when everyone red cups the booze at picnics). It really is a beautiful place and I feel very lucky that I live somewhere where I can enjoy a modern lifestyle and still look down my street and see meadows, canyons, and hills that will never be touched by development projects. B enjoyed the pony ride, giggling the whole time, after we spent some time walking around the park. We returned home to go on a nature walk around the neighborhood, B wanted to find blossoming trees. The day ended with a delicious dinner of grilled salmon (yes we are already using our bbq) and fresh homemade strawberry pie. Overall, it was a great way to unwind and recharge for this week and I hope you all were as lucky to enjoy some time outdoors. 
A natural, making her cowboy great grandpas proud
Ready to trot around the ring a few times
The sign seems a little unnecessary considering the shade this girl's throwing
P.S. Anyone else having mixed feelings about the changes on blogger? I like the new photo posting tools but they weren't very cooperative when I was actually posting the pics.

Mar 25, 2011

Friday Find: SWANclothing Garters

SWANclothing's sock and thigh high garters will put a little sizzle in your step in this Friday Find. I'm pretty sure I first found these lovely garters on The Coveted where Jennine wrote about them here, here, and here. I immediately fell in love with the comfortable lookin elastic and recycled leather design and the swan bead detail. I think anyone who has worn knee socks or thigh highs knows what a pain they are to keep in place. As a former Catholic school girl this struggle was all too common for me. Trying to pull up your knee socks as you run to class in a skirt without flashing anyone is no easy task, but it is one that I, and many of my fellow schoolmates, dealt with each day. Although, looking back I'm pretty sure some of those girls liked giving everyone a little show.

Back to the point, these garters will allow you have your cake and eat it too which would make Marie Antoinette happy seeing how she was a big fan of thigh highs and cake ;) Depending on the garter style you buy they will either be adjustable or made to your measurements ensuring a great fit that will keep everything up without the hassle of wearing a garter belt, which seems to be suffering the effects of a tarnished image anyway. I mean don't garter belts look to have been relegated to the bedroom for women outside of certain professions, and Taylor Momsen? All I know is that SWANclothing's garters manage to look sexy but innocent enough to not worry about getting propositioned by a john and they are functional. So if you love wearing thigh highs but hate the hassle that accompanies them pop on over to SWANclothing and pick yourself up a pair of garters, your thighs will thank you.

Mar 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor


I'm not one who is usually affected by the death of a celebrity but finding out that Elizabeth Taylor died this morning hit me in a different way. I don't know if it's because I'm already so emotional over the devastation in Japan and the general sense of chaos that seems to be affecting global politics right now but I feel the need mark this day with a nod to her life, talent, activism, wit and wisdom. She was a intelligent, beautiful woman, a talented actress, and vocal AIDS activist who seemed to have it all but struggled constantly to keep hold of it. Her life was a roller coaster marked with love, scandal, heartbreak, success, and passion and she seemed to accept and embrace it. Unlike many of today's starlets who feign remorse and sorrow when caught in a scandal Elizabeth, love it or hate it, did as she pleased and didn't worry about pandering to public opinion. Her focus was on her own desires, goals, and happiness and while I don't agree with some of her life choices I do greatly respect her for refusing to play to the crowd.

Some of my favorite Elizabeth Taylor gems

“Success is a great deodorant. It takes away all your past smells.”
“If it is not to make the world better what is money for?”
“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.”

Her portrayals of women on the edge are mesmerizing to me.
The hurt, despair, anger, and fear she breathes into these roles is
a continual reminder of how talented she really was.

Mar 22, 2011

Jewelry for Metal Mulisha

Unless you have read my old posts you probably don't know that I have a tiny side business making jewelry, especially since I basically put it on hiatus to deal with other life issues. Anyway, I have always been drawn to artistic pursuits and projects and stumbled into jewelry making about two years ago when I was searching for a creative birthday present for my sister. I immediately took to it and started making pieces for family and friends, even setting up a shop on Etsy (currently down but will be up with new pieces in about a week). Around a year and a half ago a friend/former co-worker and currently one of my best clients, asked me if I would create some pieces for a photo shoot for Metal Mulisha's* Winter '10 lookbook. I giddily agreed and ended up creating several custom pieces. I received the catalogue a year ago ago, set about writing this post to show the pieces, had trouble loading the pics, and then promptly forgot about it. I just came across it again and decide better late than never so I'm posting it now in honor of me getting my butt back to business and in anticipation of relaunching my Etsy store.

*Metal Mulisha is one of the brands I used to work for when I was in the Action Sports Industry. If you watch the X Games, FMX specifically, at all you probably are familiar with the brand.
A Few of the pieces I made as featured in the MM Holiday Lookbook
Bow Tie Necklace

Handcuff Mixed Metal Necklace

Gothic Cross Twisted Choker

*Sorry for all boob shots. It couldn't be helped

Mar 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Nothing like a little Irish punk rock to get you in the celebratory mood. Check out The Street Dogs and the Dropkick Murphys as well for some more Emerald Isle styling. All three of these bands rock live and will put you in the mood to throw back a pint or throw down in the pit. Don't worry I won't judge your jigging skills.

Have a fun and safe St. Patty's Day!

Mar 13, 2011

In Remembrance of the Angst Ridden Adolescents of the 90's

The Sneaker Pimp's "6 Underground" popped up on my radio the other day and immediately transported me back to jr. high. When wearing Dr. Martins and pale face make up meant you were a bad ass (it still does) and many pubescent suburban girls believed dark moody music, mostly sung by Shirley Manson, was the soundtrack to their lives. At least that's what I felt. So lace up your combat boots, put on that black velvet choker and enjoy reveling in your teenage melancholy.

Mar 12, 2011

Friday Find: Kelly Love

In the last few months I would say I have developed an addiction to wasting time online. I use to only go online to check email, read the news, and occasionally stalk people on Myspace/Facebook. Now a days I seem to spend hours not really accomplishing anything besides building shopping wish lists, finding DIY inspirations which I could actually do if I spent less time online (darn Catch 22), and leap frogging from blog to blog. I know this story is awesome but I promise it has a point, that being if I wasn't such an online addict I would have never stumbled across the UK photograhpy blog hivennn and thus never discovered this week's Friday Find KELLY LOVE. I immediately fell in love with the line's non-frilly femininity and retro vibe. Launched in 2008 by founder/designer Kelly Love, an Aussie ex-pat living in London, the line is a tribute to "feminism, old world glamour, and love in the purest form". I am all for feminism, glamour, and love and I am definitely for this line. Can't wait to see more from Ms. Love.

*I assume you are all online junkies like me so keep avoiding work and take some time to check out KELLYLOVE.com for more info about the designer and stockists and then head over to her blog for a peak at the S/S11 lookbook. Trust me you won't be wasting your time.

Mar 6, 2011

DIY Envelope Clutch


My finished bag.

The envelope clutch is all over magazines and street style blogs this season. I first noticed the beautiful blue Celine bag and then began to see the style everywhere. I really loved this leopard print version with it's folded double pouch and black leather accents. I decided to use it as a reference to make my own. The design is straightforward, but making a two pocket version made construction a little more complicated especially since I was figuring it all out as I went along. Stick with the simple single pocket for a quick and easy project or go for the double pocket if you need/want a bigger bag. It's a great grab and go purse and the simple shape makes it the perfect DIY bag. If you can sew this is a great gift to make a fashionable friend or family member.

Supplies for Double pouch envelope clutch:
-2 14" black/brass zippers (I wanted a big bag, choose any size you want)
-sewing machine, quality thread, correct needle for fabric
-magnetic brass button purse snap (keeps two sides together)
-1/2 yd black pleather (stretches while sewing which frustrated and slowed me down a great deal, but much cheaper than leather to experiment with)
-1/2 yd furry leopard print fabric (wanted something like pony hair but settled on this)
-1/2 yd black heavy twill (lined my bag to make it sturdier)

This was a blind trial and error process so my instructions are based what worked best for me. I would suggest looking online for a pattern or professional instructions and suggestions because I have also just started sewing again after several years so my technique and knowledge are rusty. I think having another reference will make it easier to do this project.

1. Create a pattern for the bag. It is just a long rectangle and one short rectangle of the same width for the contrasting strip on the leopard fabric. Make sure to double the length on the pattern as the finished clutch will be folded in half+ seam allowances. Width should be the same length as your zipper nylon + seam allowances.

2. Cut out fabrics.

3. Attach small pleather rectangle to leopard rectangle, folding one long edge of pleather under itself and pin to the print side of leopard fabric. Sew visible seam across top of the overlay area. Line up edges of pleather and leopard topsides facing eachother. Line up a twill rectangle to the backside of the pleather and one to the backside of the leopard. Fold the tops of all 4 fabrics 1/4" down and pin one side of the first zipper between the pleather and liner and the other side between the leopard and liner. Sew zipper in.

4. Make sure all 4 rectangles' 3 open sides are lined up. Pin down the two long sides and sew stopping a 1/4" from ends.

Attached snap closure.

5. Turn bag right side out. Fold bag to look like the final product and attach the purse snaps to the pleather sides about 1" down from zipper. Turn bag inside out again.

6. Attach second zipper the same way as the first. Flip bag right side out and DONE! Your bag is complete.

*You can sew the lining in separately but I didn't know how to give directions for that.
*Add piping for some more detail.
*I actually sewed a dividing line into my lining to create two distinctive pockets but I didn't write down how I did it because I know it wasn't done correctly and it was too confusing to try to explain. I would recommend creating the two pouches so that whatever you put into the purse won't be sliding allover.

Room for all types of items.
Perfect for notebook, files, or an ipad.

Mar 4, 2011

Friday Find

I enjoy blogging but am very sporadic with it so to keep myself on track I'm starting a weekly post called Friday Find where I will highlight a great item or designer that I've come across in my obsessive online treasure hunts. There is no rhyme or reason to what I pick other than they are dirty shiny pretty things that catch my eye and that I hope you will like too.

Today's Find is Laura Lombardi's Vintage Brass Bar Earrings. I actually stumbled across these while Christmas shopping and was immediately drawn to the statement making minimalist design. These are just one of several great pieces you can find in her Etsy shop so check it out.

Mar 3, 2011

Leopard Week: Friday

I'm on a roll. Second outfit post in a row! This is my last outfit post for Leopard week, tomorrow I will be posting the clutch DIY, but it is by no means the end of my sharing my love of animal prints with you.
This look I call "corporate kitten". I love this Max & Cle0 dress that I scored for $8 on deep discount at Loehmanns. The bright blue color, blouson sleeves, and key hole cut outs paired with my tan leather A/X coat make me feel like a career woman climbing the corporate ladder in the late 70s/early 80s vibe. The leopard touches are on my accessories. My heels and a little bow in my hair that you can't really see here but is highlighted in a DIY post a few days ago.

Bracelet and ring I made

Target heels that are super comfy. I've had these for a few years and I'm amazed at how well they've lasted. I'll be bummed when they are done.

Leopard Week: Thursday

Finally, a real outfit post. I still feel weird posting pics of myself but I signed up to participate in Ephemera's Leopard week and I wasn't going to chicken out. I'm naming this my "on the prowl" look. Red MAC lips, red Sam Edelman Novato heels, black cat-eye liner, Earnest Sewn jeans, old black jacket, F21 leopard bow tie top, DIY leopard envelope clutch, DIY floating stud ring, and DIY leather studded cuff.

Mar 2, 2011

He Said She Said

The talk of the Fashion World the last few days has been focused on Galliano, his anti-semitic rantings, and his subsequent dismissal from Dior and entry into rehab. He denies making these comments and recently issued a statement about it which can be found on multiple websites. Of course, there's video evidence of a previous incident that makes it hard to believe his claims. Really knowing nothing for Galliano as a person but having seen the video I am hit by what an unhappy and bitter a man he seems to be. His words are not only ugly and hateful but harmful as people continue excuse his behavior because he is such an amazing designer. The whole thing makes me think of Roman Polanski and how so many famous people want that issue to be brushed aside because he is a great director. Unfortunately, creating great art does not excuse disgusting behavior. I hope Galliano receives the help he needs and that this incident serves as an example of how all hate speak is ugly no matter who it comes from.

Mar 1, 2011

Leopard Week

Leopard is Nature's camo

If you glance over the last few posts in my blog you might notice that I have an affinity for leopard print. Well, Sheila of Ephemera has declared this week Leopard week and I am all for it. Of course, I am supposed to be posting my leopard print outfit pictures but as previously noted I'm horrible at taking pics. Today, I managed to take a head shot/leopard bow tie pic on my photobooth and upload it to Twitpic. A major accomplishment in my book. I promise to have at least one more leopard themed photo up this week. I've made it my goal to get a full body shot. Failure is not an option, even if that means enlisting my Kindergartener to take the photo. In the meantime enjoy the inspirational photo.

My Favorite Oscar dresses

Like many people I love Hollywood award season fashion. I use to watch the shows just to see what everyone wore, now, thanks to the internet, I don't even have to do that. I can see every single gown, tux, suit, bodysuit with the stroke of a few keys. What a luxury it is to live in the 21st century! Don't get me wrong though, I still enjoy catching snippets of the coverage because photos don't move and sway the way Anne did when she shook her sh** in her fringe covered gown sending the fringe rippling off her body. The five year old in me immediately wished that I could be doing the same thing. Anyway, here are my favorite looks.

Jennifer Lawerence
This dress is incredibly sexy and uncomplicated. I immediately thought "Baywatch" because of the color and neckline which is not a bad thing because Baywatch lifeguards were hot and so is Jennifer.

Cate Blanchett
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Ms. Blanchett's incredibly detailed Givenchy gown. This one grew on me *barnacle pun intended;) The dress might not tickle everyone's fancy but the amazing detailing and craftsmanship cannot be denied.

Mila Kunis
Mila's dress is almost too much for my taste. Lace, fabric tails spouting from your stomach, and lilac have never been favorites of mine but I do love pretty things and this gown is very pretty.

Gwyneth Paltrow
I didn't see this look on TV. I only caught her "County Superstar" performance. Did anyone else laugh at J.Hud's inflated intro? Just me? Alright then...Let me just say I love this dress 100x more than her performance. It looks like liquid metal (it's actually a lot of silver sequins which I learned today thanks to the internet). It's shininess and fluidity are hypnotic. I want to both stare at it and pet it.

photos from Refinery29