Upcycle 1920's Great Gatsby Dress from Slinky Slip and Silky PJ Pants


Blog Contents:


Me Not the Next 'American Idol'


Clothing--My Theater

The Advent of My Thrifting

Cut To Current 2020

Embarrassed By What? Vogue-ing?

Embarrassment Comes From Insecurities

The Befores

The Process

Final Photos

Next Upcyle



Look At ME, Look At ME!!!

I actually don't feel comfortable, visually that is, on Social Media.

Had you fooled right? With all those 'full of expression' photos I post!

Hamming up the spirit of each upcycle I create, whether modern, or vintage or party looks...

I've been hamming it up for many years.

me, 4 years old, posing in my aluminum foil crown and

'upcycled' Queen Dress my mom made for me out of 1970's orange (shocker!) curtains

if this photo doesn't say it all, then I don't know which would...

Me Not the Next 'American Idol'

I tried theater when I was younger, but I could not sing--and I mean, I can't sing at all. I was devastated each time I auditioned for a main role, was so close to it, but lost it to someone who could sing. I was a 'shoe-in' for the role of bratty Brigitta in the Sound of Music, but conceded to the girl who had the lovely voice. I cried inconsolably for days. I wanted to do theater.

Singing, just not in my 'wheelhouse'

This began the search for another theater outlet for myself.

me, 4th grade, a deliberate non-singing role

a religious "Postulate"...how befitting


Now cheerleading in 8th grade worked really well for me. Here was finally something I could do super well! I could dance, I could utilize all those 'mouth-a-gape' expressions, and I could act!!!

In fact, in 1986, I won MVP (Most Valuable Player) out of more than 300 girls in a San Francisco city wide tournament.

I still have this trophy! My mother used it as her door-stop for 20+ years

until she thought I should have it back to use as my doorstop!! LOL!

Redemption for all those theater roles I lost out to!

With the Yang of my success came the Yin in the form of bullying from 12/13 year old children. I was made fun of incessantly about those expressions and my physical looks. And all I ever wanted was to be in theater.

Add that 8th grade bullying to 'de rigeur' self-consciousness of being a teenage girl, I was a crumbled juvenile and did not further my cheerleading career into High School.

Clothing--My Theater

Turning more and more inward, versus outward, and not being talented in any sports at school, plus add a dollop of conventional teenage dynamics (there's a reason why stereotypes exist), I chose to protect myself and isolate more and more at home.

It was at this time I started sewing....

...when clothes became my stage.

Throw in the fact that I was the daughter of immigrant, blue-collar parents with finances tight, I had to have an after-school job. By default because I did not have a car, I worked at the neighborhood deli. Not loving this job--but it was a needed job--this is where I learned about thrift shopping.

The Advent of My Thrifting

My boss, Patty, always looked so nice--even if we were JUST slapping mayonaise and mustard onto sandwiches. I would compliment her, and at a time when is was shameful to shop at 2nd-hand stores, she offered the fact that all her clothes were thrifted. I asked where she shopped, and the rest is history for me!

Although I was more 'Preppy' in style during high school in the late 1980's, I could not afford retail Ralph Lauren, Izod, Benetton, L.L. Bean. Maybe I had one or two pieces gifted during Christmas or my birthday, but nothing more.

Thrifting allowed me the luxury of slowly eschewing these 'cookie-cutter' styles and develop not only my own look, but bolster my self-confidence.

WIth financial constraints an almost non-issue now (thrifting was pennies back way when), I could take risks. And with these risks, I was on my road to redemption by creating my own Theater Productions where I could be up front and center stage.

And this is how I finally came into my own during college and my young adulthood.

But little did I know, later on, my stage could be as large as I wanted via Social Media.

even bus-stops in post-Communist Poland did not escape a chance for theater!

me, when I was in college

this was an amazing orange wool turtleneck sweater!

and I wore torn-hem jeans before anyone else did! neither here nor there, but I want my teen girls to know their mama was ahead of the times...

still posing into my mid-20s...in my Deee-Lite "Groove Is In The Heart" Phase

All is fine with these photos as they were for me and my memories.

But sharing on Social Media? I would have never dared! ............or maybe I would have?

At that phase in my life, those who invented Facebook and Instagram and Tik Tok were not even born yet....just seedlings, right?

Cut To Current 2020

Sometimes I cringe when I think about the fact that I post my pictures on Social Media.

Although 'posing' comes very naturally to me, as evidenced by the photos I have shown you above, sharing NOW, at my age, is embarrassing. Had I been born 20 years later, it would be a given!

The only reason I do my modeling?

because my 18 & 17 yr. old teen daughters will not help their mom out...

And follow this logic: the only reason I am now Upcycling and Refashioning clothes for myself? Covid built a 360 degree tall wall around my local costume rental business www.CostumeTakeOut.com .

So if I want to showcase my creations--because what I do is textile art-- I can only display by wearing it.

Embarrassed By What? Vogue-ing?

And if you boil it down, what is embarrassment?

When I feel embarrassed it's really only those in my immediate community...but not my family--because they have seen and expect this 'Vogue-ing' from me, because I was born with a hand on my hip.

So who is it? It's my local community of women, moms, former co-workers, families in my suburbs...I'm embarrassed to being doing this in front of them. NOT the millions of people that are on my subscriber radars.

I caught wind of a few people making comments that got back to me such as "Oh, she's posting again?", "Creating again?", "New Business, eh?", "Maybe a little too old to model?"...and although it's not horrible, I understand the sentiments behind those comments because I know those people.

Then I became self-conscious again.