Wednesday, January 8, 2014

On the Radar -- Blurred Lines

From Fashion Forward Trends, here.

Confession time again:  we Blackbird girls like to boogie to the song "Blurred Lines."  It may be very un-PC to like it, but we do.  It's just so catchy.  And we think Robin Thicke is adorable. 

Anyway, I think fashion designers like it, too.  I keep finding prints and patterns that are blurred and smudgy.  Like watercolors that have too much water and have started to run into each other and down the paper.  Or like someone has run their fingers through thick paint and made a mess -- well, a pretty mess.

From Patternbank.

Of course, the first designer we look to is the House of McQueen (all hail), and Sarah Burton never disappoints.  She's always on the highest precipice of design, much like her sainted mentor and predecessor.  Love the red, black and white, as well as the really new tribal vibe.  But there's those blurry lines...

Alexander McQueen, Spring/Summer 2014

Then I found many small fashion houses that were doing prints that are soft or out of focus, smudgy, blurred; new ombres; new dip-dyes:

Jonathan Saunders
Josie Natori
Maria Grachvogel

It's influencing makeup, too.
Vogue Germany, January 2014
Chanel Spring Runway look.

You can get the look for less on Etsy.  A quick search yielded this cute cropped shirt, for under $17.

By handmadebyify, here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Junk Love: We're Back!

So, we took a full month off from the blog in order to take care of a few outstanding projects, spend time with family, and, of course, have the annual Blackbird Christmas Extravaganza. Now, as the new year is getting under way, and we're getting back to our regular jobs, we've been thinking a lot about that standard cliche: New Year's Resolutions.

We don't make resolutions the way that other people do. We tend to exist just on the edge of a shadow, another cliche called Murphy's Law. Thankfully, and I did just knock on wood, we haven't ever had to deal with a major catastrophe--you know, like having a hurricane flood your house, and as soon as you get the water pumped out, a meteor falls on it and it bursts into flames. We are truly grateful for the lives that we lead, and the people that care about us. But sometimes I would swear that we live in a Buster Keaton movie. If I were to go outside to trim a branch from my pecan tree, the tree would probably fall over, leaving me holding the branch and the saw.

Because of this, there are a lot of things that we avoid doing, just based on the pessimistic (but actually realistic) assumption that at least one of us will end up bleeding or crying at the end. This is why we tread carefully around New Year's Resolutions. We don't want to tempt Murphy any more than we already do. I usually do monthly resolutions--a different one for each month of the year. This not only makes it easier to stick it out, because it's only four weeks, but at the end of the year, it makes me feel like I did so much. For example, I might say that next month, I will take my lunch to work and cook supper at home three days a week instead of going out. On that ninth peanut butter sandwich in my office, when I'm craving fettuccine, I only have to pep talk myself into a few more sandwiches, knowing that the month is nearly over and I can have a new goal to work on. (On a side note, I actually did this a couple of years ago, and ended up with four hundred extra dollars in the bank when I was done.) Last year, however, I made only four resolutions for the year, and I failed at ALL of them. One was to paint my house, and believe it or not, every single time I had a day off that I planned to devote to this project, it rained. Every. Single. One. For a YEAR.

So here I am, feeling like a failure, afraid to try because I don't want to disappoint myself again, but also knowing that there are a lot of things that we, the Blackbird Girls, simply must put our heads to during 2014. And so, I propose the following resolutions:

Resolution #1: Efficiency. Figure out a way to streamline our business, from photography to shipping.

Resolution #2: Organization. It shouldn't take more than five minutes to find an item that needs to be shipped. Okay, maybe ten minutes. This is still an improvement from our current situation, where we instantly lay our hands on one item, and then spend an hour looking for the other one.

Resolution #3: Look for a better location for our business. With the trends of real estate in our area, I can't allow myself to say "Find a better location," because you can't snap your fingers and make it so. But, the best way to achieve Resolutions 1 and 2 is to expand our business into a larger space.

Resolution #4: Build a tunnel from North Carolina to California, because that is where most of our customers are. Or, build a teleporter. Or, one of those suction-tube thingies that banks have in the drive through lanes, so that when someone on the west coast needs that maxi dress right this instant, we can oblige. We might also need a few robots, just because.

Resolution #5: Take a vacation. A real one, not just a weekend.

Now, of these four items, I can almost guarantee that by the end of the year, number five will have been taken care of. As for the rest, who knows? We have tried the first three items in the past, and actually accomplished them all, but then it...fell apart for reasons that I won't bore you with. Our response was to circle the wagons and lick our wounds, which is great, except that we never came back out again. So, I guess that I could really combine the three into one big resolution: get back on the horse (and there's a cliche for you...). This is the year of the Blackbird, because I said so. Now...does anybody have a robot or a teleporter that we could borrow? Pretty please?