The Tale of Warby Parker

This blog post will be showcasing cool new eyewear from Warby Parker.
This post is a bit different in that I was specifically asked if I would write something.
I do my homework on anything I plug and value transparency, so I’m being upfront that this post is a bit different. I’m not being paid or given anything for this beyond a promise to share my blog. So, exposure.

What is Warby Parker?

In simple terms, they are a cheaper, socially conscious alternative to the traditional route of buying glasses. They offer designer eyewear in a range of styles starting around $95. I’ve only ever purchased one pair of glasses in my life, and it cost me upwards of $200 with vision insurance. So, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me, based on my one prescription eyewear purchase. How are they able to cut the cost? According to their website:

“Most high-end brands do not produce their own eyewear. Instead, they sell those rights to massive companies who design, manufacture, and sell branded glasses directly to optical shops. Those optical shops tack on additional mark-ups to frames and lenses before selling them to you. We cut out the middleman by designing and producing our own eyewear, then passing on the savings to customers. We effectively sell glasses wholesale (because it makes no sense for customers to pay for multiple mark-ups).”

The trade off of this that I want to point out, so that you can make informed choices in your purchases, is that the “middle man” is other peoples’ jobs. If you’re seeing an eye doctor from a local business in your community, not buying your glasses from said local business might be cutting into their ability to stay open. If you’re seeing an eye doctor that isn’t connected to their own shop or is located in a big box store, just get your script and buy from these guys.

That said, you’re already reading this online, so chances are you already do oddles of shopping online, sending money outside your local community. I do too. I’m not placing any value judgement or saying one option is better than the other, I just try to lay everything on the table. There are also other options for buying glasses online (which also hurt the local shop), that aren’t as committed to sustainability or fair labor practice or working to connect developing communities around the world with better vision.

They also have a freaking monocle! That’s admittedly kind of awesome…

The Goods

Warby Parker introduced 10 new frame styles for their Winter 2016 collection. I’m going to showcase some of my favorites, but you can see the rest of this collection and all they have to offer HERE

  • Daisy
    These are my favorite. If I ever need to replace my current glasses or decide to get new ones just for a change in style, I’d go with these. They’re like a sleeker, sexier version of the classic nerd look. I like it.
  • Morris
    I don’t really have much of anything of substance to say about these. Another take on the classic nerd look. Mostly I just think this model is hot. And I honestly think the glasses are adding to that appeal – I’m trying to picture him without the glasses and it doesn’t seem the same. So, if you’re a dude with this face shape and want to increase the likelihood that I or someone with my taste would think you’re attractive, maybe go with these ones.

Hey girl, I think we should study together.

  • Goodney
    Cat Eyes! Meow! Updated take on an old school style. Can’t go wrong.
  • Welty
    Alright, clearly I have a thing for the classic nerd look. Here’s something a bit more fun.

Re-Use Art Show: The New IDEA Store Event Space

Above: Classic photo recursivity – me taking a picture of Melissa Mitchell taking a picture of me taking a picture of her…

Long time readers of this blog will recall both my love of art and my previous posts about The IDEA Store and creative re-use art. On two separate occasions I participated in the Hatch Art Show. Recently, The IDEA Store expanded to include a new classroom as well as event space. This past weekend, on May 20th, 2016 to be specific, they held their grand opening of said event space. My camera and I were in attendance.

Before I get to the actual art, I’d like to share this photo of area artists Cindy Sampson and Melissa Mitchell. I don’t think I can fully express just how wonderful these two women are and how much they inspire me. Not only are they talented artists but they are good, kindhearted people and great friends. While I had taken a couple of standard photos of these two together, I managed to snap this shot in the midst of genuine laughter and storytelling.

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And now, on to the art! These are only a small representation of the works currently on display at the IDEA Store gallery – my understanding is that they’ll be on display through at least June 3, 2016.

 

 

David Spears, “Conundrum”

I just thought this was a really interesting and clever way to use all the stray puzzle pieces that end up scattered about.

Christina Nordholm, “Dance Club”

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Christina Nordholm, “Ready to Burn”

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I particularly like the way she incorporates tree bark into these pieces. I really enjoy the texture. Of the two, I prefer “Ready to Burn” because I personally enjoy the energy coming from it. I’m not sure whether it’s more like looking into the heart of a bonfire or Hell itself. Either way, I like it.

Grace Savina, “Paintings Past”

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I’m not quite sure what it is I’m looking at, but I kind of like that she managed to find a way to use old paint scraps. They almost look like little islands.

Grace Savina, “Dualities of Being”

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Again, not sure what the artist intended for these to be, but, to me, they look like really colorful intestines. Like someone gutted a unicorn. Or it exploded and this was just a section of gut splatter. I kind of doubt this is what she was going for, but this is where my warped mind took it.

Barry Land, “Love is Dead”

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I always get a kick of out this kind of artwork. I have absolutely NO skill for it myself, but scrap-metal sculptures always make me smile. This one also makes me sad, though.

Barry Land, “Untitled”

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Perhaps “Ode to Johnny 5” would have been copyright infringement? And yeah, he also looks like Wall-E. But we all know Wall-E was just a rip off of Johnny 5. If you don’t know who Johnny 5 is, I feel sorry for you, bro.

Jason Rackow, “Untitled”

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Jason Rackow, “Sentience”

This is one of those pieces I would totally hang in my apartment, provided I had the money and the space. I don’t really have anything profound to say here, this piece is just Cool. As. F**k. Look that the close-up shots of that texture. Who knew all those little bits and pieces scattered about the garage could look like this?

Cindy Sampson, “Landscape”

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Cindy Sampson, “Lone Tree”

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I wish I could have gotten a better shot of this one. This was actually my favorite piece of the show and I couldn’t even really capture why. Because I’m too short and it was hanging too high for me to get a head on shot. The glare from the lighting at this angle does this piece a serious injustice.  I’m sure you can make out the main tree of in the painting. It seems to stand amidst a field of ghost trees. What you cannot see well in this photo, is that the paperwork underneath has faded building plans printed on it. To me, it seems to say suggest that this tree lost all of it’s friends and family to ever increasing urban expansion.The fruit and rust stains have the look of blood to me. Yeah, my mind is dark. I am very drawn to artwork like this where I can find and this kind of haunting meaning in it. It’s the kind of art the speaks to me on some deeper level.

 

 

 

No More Excuses/ Garden of Doll Heads

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I am not above using scare tactics to keep my dolls in line. “This is what happens when you use my fabric scissors to cut paper”

I feel like I should be writing something. I also feel like I should be getting around to actually making some videos. I’ve been saying for awhile (over a year, while not necessarily always in this blog) that I want to start making Youtube videos.
-I invested the time and the money into decorating the walls in my craft room because I felt like I couldn’t start doing it unless I had a good background.

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$75+ and over a week invested in decorating these walls.

-Then I needed a camera, because I felt my point and shoot wasn’t good enough.
-Then I needed a tripod.
Then I needed quality editing software.
-Then I needed a computer.

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The new computer. I have yet to justify buying it.

-Lately I’ve been concerned because of an acne flare up and not wanting to be ugly on camera. (Seriously, how am I still getting acne in my 30s? This is not fair)

Enough excuses. I will be making a Youtube debut before the end of the day on Friday of next week (4/15/2016). Maybe it will be crappy. But I need to stop talking about it and just *do it already*.

I’m also fully aware that I really need to finish the next segment of The Mission as well. I’m going to make sure I get that done before April is over. No more excuses. The start of grad school is only 2 months away. I need to utilize this time while I still have it.

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Earlier this weekend, I went out to ACME Elfworks – my friend Melissa Mitchell’s studio -for the Annual Boneyard Arts festival. She’s a super cool re-use artist that uses a lot of found objects in her artwork. Many of her pieces incorporate dolls or various doll body parts. Her artwork is often whimsical, but can also be kind of creepy – and I love that. I first met her whilst I was involved with the HATCH art show about 3 years ago. I just happened to have my camera with me and have decided to share some of these photos with you all.

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❤ the cart full of rats

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Reminds me of Sid’s creation from the original Toy Story movie.

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In case you were curious what became of Charlie Horse. He couldn’t cope after Lamb Chop’s Play Along ended – his heart was broken after he caught Lamb in bed with Hush Puppy and turned to drugs and gambling. Sherry Lewis attempted an intervention once before her death, but Charlie refused rehab. Unable to pay his debts one night, he was taken into a back alley where he was beaten to death. His lifeless body was thrown into a dumpster. I believe this is where Melissa found his little pony corpse. Not entirely sure what she did with the rest of the body. It’s possible her cats ate it.

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A lush garden of doll heads. Melissa hacks off their scalps and uses them as macabre planters. This is a thing I shall someday do when I have a garden of my own.

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I love the way her lifeless eyes are glazed over. Even in death, Barbie continues to smile.

Awake Late at Night

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This is going to be one of those streams of consciousness styled posts I occasionally like to write. I took a nap earlier this afternoon, do not have to go in to work until the middle of tomorrow afternoon, and so, I am wide awake and my mind is bouncing around. Honestly, you’ll likely not be reading this until sometime after I’ve left for work tomorrow, but, just for fun and pointing out real-time, it is now 11:33pm CST on a Sunday evening as I begin to write this. (in the same vein, real-time distractions will be inserted, italicized, in parentheses)

Tonight, I just realized, was the premiere of the new Cosmos with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I’ve not watched it yet. But, I’m actually running a Symphony of Science playlist on Youtube as I write this. (jump to facebook, to get into a discussion with a friend about Carl Sagan) I’ll have to watch that tomorrow. Perhaps I can introduce the kids that I work with to the awesomeness that is the universe and curiosity and the badass-ness of DeGrasse Tyson. Or they may just think it’s lame. Which is *usually* what I am met with – a general disinterest for pondering the bigger picture or the vastness of the universe or the meaning of life. Once in awhile though, I am pleasantly surprised.  This reminds me… some time back I came across this quilt that a woman had created to teach kids about the solar system. (another facebook break)

Speaking of work, I brought in my sewing machine this morning. One of the teens staying in the shelter wanted to learn different ways to refashion some of her jeans into shorts. We worked together to make 2 pair of shorts, a pair of cut-offs and a hemmed pair, and I had her get familiar with the machine with some scrap denim. I pointed out the importance of a stay stitch with cut-offs and how to get the denim to fray quicker. I’d like to work more with these kids on some of the basics of sewing, even just basic repair work. And I wonder if it would be worthwhile to try to set up some kind of community sewing studio.. because not everyone has the funds or space for a machine… and perhaps free classes on how to sew, repair, and design your own clothes. I would like to see sewing become something of a norm again – it would help to combat throw-away fashions if people could simply repair/ refashion their clothes. Perhaps, with an emphasis on re-used fabric, it might combat the sheer tons of textile waste we create Every. Single. Day.  Also, I love outlets to build community and be creative. Of course, maybe I’m a bit daydreamy to think that kids and teens would be interested in such a thing. How do we make sewing “cool”?  If you have never commented on these blogs before, I encourage you to comment on this topic… thoughts, ideas, anecdotes, discussions…

(break to take a shower and put on jammies. 2 thoughts whilst I was in the shower: 1) I want to do up a cosmos themed dress.. embroider the universe, a la Ms. Frizzle 2) I’m totally dressing in Sagan-style next Carl Sagan Day – Nov. 9th) … screw it, I kind of want to do that this week. Flashback to Emulation. It’s also just occurred to me that I never expanded into all the realms of emulation that I wanted to do – Halloween, LARPing, CosPlay, etc. I need to revisit this.

I mean to mention a couple of other things that are important. 1) Hatch. I did it last year (see here), I’m actually in it again this year. I’m horrible at self-promotion. I should have been talking about this weeks ago. The opening reception, the trashion show (yes they had a trashion show this year), and the gallery talk have already come and gone. My lack of posting about it is probably due to a combination of 1) being too lazy to buy new batteries for my camera 2) the artwork I had accepted for the exhibit is a piece I’ve already written about in length here and 3) I’m just lazy in general. HOWEVER, this coming Saturday, March 15th, 2014, is the Art Fair for Hatch. I originally intended to go to this. However, The Culture Monk is going to be in Chicago that morning in his series of coffee houses. I’d really rather go to that. Because I’d kind of like to meet this guy in person, link a face and a voice and an experience to the blocks of text I read regularly. Sadly I cannot be in 2 places at once. But I promise to be in at least one of those places Saturday. (youtube and facebook distraction) (time check – 12:54am. Going back into text to insert links) (links inserted, tags entered, end time 1:28am)

Update, 11:11 am: Just finished watching the new Cosmos on Hulu. I teared up. I literally teared up. DeGrasse Tyson’s remembrance of Sagan at the end touched me.

Come What May

So, welcome to 2014. New year, new chances to lie to myself about blogging more regularly and finishing unfinished projects. This will not be a polished entry, this may even get personal. Maybe. Right now I’m just typing words as they escape my brain between shoving unhealthy snacks in my face.

I’ve got my laptop next to me, with my camera, my sewing machine is out, and I have bits of fabric on the table. What follows is an insight into my creative and thought processes, raw, unedited – chaotic and probably going nowhere. But why am I still typing crap? Here – look at some pictures.

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This is some sexy lingerie I bought several years ago. I only wore them once. They don’t even fit me anymore. I’m going to chop them up. Why not?

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Chop CHOP! Choppy Chop! Lace is pretty.

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Oh, remember these? Yeah, I’m still not sure what to do with them, but, they’re sitting in a pile on the table.

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This looks kind of neat.

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CRAP! I need pink thread! The stores are closed! All I have is embroidery and hand quilting thread! Grrr…

Do I want to just sew it with a contrasting thread color? Or use embroidery thread? I don’t want to wait until morning. I’m pushing through, making do, not putting it off. Embroidery thread it is. Such is life. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be messy, it can be chaotic, and it will be ok. It will. I promise. Screw the fairy tales and the picture perfect notions of what should be. The harder you push it, the less idyllic/idealistic it will be. Ideallic. Is that a word? Screw it. It is now. #Ideallic. Go trend that crap.

Idyllic -1:  pleasing or picturesque in natural simplicity; 2:  of, relating to, or being an idyll

Idealistic – 1: of or relating to the philosophical doctrine of the reality of ideas; 2: of high moral or intellectual value; elevated in nature or style; “an exalted ideal”; “argue in terms of high-flown ideals”- Oliver Franks; “a noble and lofty concept”; “a grand purpose”

Yeah, neither of those quite do it for me quite the way it feels in my mind standing by themselves. Oh, so, here’s a thing I’ve been working on off and on that I don’t think I’ve posted about:

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I got the pattern from Urban Threads. It’s going to take me eons. Ok. I’m getting kind of sleepy. I think I’m going to post this and come back to this in the morning. Maybe I’ll get a stock of posts done to schedule over the next few weeks. Maybe I can be more regular. Maybe I can convince myself that I don’t actually NEED to have a point or well-formed idea. Maybe I can stop avoiding the blog and the facebook page when I haven’t finished any of my many unfinished projects. Maybe.

Laptop Bag: Making a Pocket

A couple months ago, while I was working on some other artwork, I took apart an old dress I’d picked up from FreeCycle eons ago and had been hoarding because I loved the pattern. I’ve decided I want to make a laptop bag with it. However, there are some modifications I had to make to the original Instructables pattern.

See, isn't that a gorgeous pattern?

See, isn’t that a gorgeous pattern?

First off, the material isn’t as heavy as that of a suit jacket. So, I needed to add some moderately thick interfacing to give it some extra stability. I only have 2 kinds of interfacing on hand – very thin fusible web and some generic sew-in interfacing that I picked up from somewhere ages ago (probably from my paternal grandmother) and I don’t even think the company that made it is around anymore. I don’t want to make a trip to the store, so I went with the 20+ year old sew-in stuff. It’s awesome how well this stuff kept. The point is, if your outer material is on the thin side, just about anything will do to stabilize it. If I didn’t have any interfacing, I could have used a layer of some slightly thicker fabric to add more durability.

The other thing I have to do is to create my own pockets. See, the beauty of using a suit jacket is that it already has pockets, so you don’t have to make them yourself. It’s a time saver, it really is. It can be a bit of a pain to draft and construct a pocket where none previously existed, but it can be done. Here’s how:

GE1) Measure out on the back where you need the hole for the pocket mouth to be. I do this my marking the center line. Then, you’ll want the mouth to be about 2.5 – 3 inches from the top. I decided I want my pocket to be about 5 inches wide, so, I made sure to put that 2.5 inch mark on that center line. You can use a rotory cutter or good scissors to carefully cut along that line.

Ignore the stitching along the sides. I had to play around with the pocket installation before I got it right. Also, you can tell the top bar hasn't been trimmed yet.

Ignore the stitching along the sides. I had to play around with the pocket installation before I got it right. Also, you can tell the top bar hasn’t been trimmed yet.

2) For each pocket I made, I cut out a rectangle of lining fabric about 5.5 -6 inches wide (wider than the mouth hole) by anywhere from 12-14 inches. It all depends on how deep you want your pocket. Say you want your pockets 6 inches deep. Since you’ll be folding the piece of lining in half, multiply the number of inches (in this case 6) by 2. Then, use some scrap piece of the outer material to line the top edge of each pocket piece. You will need this piece of outer material to blend in when pushing back the edges of the opening creates an open space. You’ll see what I mean later.

3) Starting with the bottom edge, face the right (face) side of the pocket to the right (face) side of the bag face, lining the edge of the pocket along the edge of the mouth hole. Pin into place and then sew. Go ahead and sew along the entire length of the pocket piece, even if it’s wider than the mouth hole. You can always use a seam ripper to pull out a stitch or two if you need to later.

GE4) Now you’re going to do the same thing with the top edge. Kind of loop the pocket lining over so that the edge of the right (face) side of the pocket runs along the top line of the mouth hole.  Sewing this one with a machine can be a little tricky, but it can be done.

GE5) Push the pocket into the mouth hole. Very carefully, work the edges of the mouth hole , pinching the edge from the pocket and the face, creating a smooth seam edge. Pin as you go. Pay particular attention to the two sides of the pocket slot. This is where you may need to take out a stitch or two – but just enough that you can push the pocket edges all the way in and create a smooth edge all the way around. Now, stitch around the pocket slot, making sure you don’t sew the pocket shut.

6) Sew the sides of the pocket shut.GE

Tada! You have created a pocket! I told you it was a pain in the ass, didn’t I? Now do you see why you needed that matching fabric at the top of the pocket piece?GE

Revisiting An Old Project: Laptop Bag

A couple years ago, my boyfriend emailed me a link he’d seen on making laptop bags out of men’s suit jackets (and strongly hinted that he wanted one). The pattern and instructions are over at Instructables. If you’re interested in making one, I suggest clicking that link, as I’m not going to be redundant here. 🙂

One of the things I would recommend if you’re going to make one would be to use some upholstery grade thread and denim or leather needles, as you’ll eventually end up pushing very thick layers of material through your machine. My poor little machine was crying for mercy when I made one of these bags for Neil.

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Now that I’m gearing up for this weekend’s Race Street Bash, I’ve decided to create more of these laptop bags, using the original Instructables pattern as a basis from which I will variate. Come back tomorrow evening for the first of these variations!