Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recyle In Style Outtake

An outfit cut from my show. Those are tiny shorts. Too tiny for the show. Too tiny for here. Too tiny for anything. WHOOPS.

Come to the Goodwill of the Heartland Center  of Cedar Rapids--at 7pm on Saturday-- to see the good, less tiny stuff.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Works in Progress

Woo doggies, I've been busy! I am currently taking a break from packing and preparing for my trip to Ames this weekend to see this, help out with this, and making video magic.

The craft corner in my living room has expanded to include most of my tiny apartment in anticipation for the Recycle in Style fashion show on the 30th of April. I'll have a couple of different sets of looks, focusing mostly on patterns, along with a smaller subset of re-purposed, shredded t-shirts.

 Now, if only I could get my sewing machine up and running. It has a mysterious timing/bobbin case disorder that my "regular guy" cannot sleuth out. Do you know of anyone that could look at my Janome for a reasonable price? Until then, I'll march on with my momma's clunky Singer...

Friday, April 22, 2011


On April 30th, the catwalk goes green.

The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency, in association with Goodwill of the
Heartland, presents the 3rd Annual Recycle In Style Fashion Show. This yearʼs theme: Thrift
by Design. All of the models will be showcasing materials that came from a thrift store,
resourced into something wearable.

Local thrift artist Sonya Darrow will showcase LADYFITS, alongside garments from Goodwill
and local designers Ramona Muse, Carissa Starleaf and Brooke Dearborn. Each designer
will bring a different storyline to thrifting by educating the audience on ways to view a
material as sustainable fashion. The featured clothing requires no additional consumption of
resources and promotes the use of recycled textiles to create new designs.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 30th, with the show beginning at 7:00 p.m. The free
event will be held at Goodwill of the Heartlandʼs Cedar Rapids Center, 1441 Blairs Ferry
Road NE, Cedar Rapids.
Space is limited: RSVP through the Solid Waste Agency, or

The Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency launched and has sponsored the
Recycle in Style fashion show the past three years. The Agencyʼs recycling and landfill
services are available to all Linn County residents and businesses.

WHAT: Recycle in Style: Thrift By Design
WHERE: 1441 Blairs Ferry Road NE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: Saturday, April 30, 7:00 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Eco Arts Festival Wrap Up

Hey buddies, guess who survived participating in their first fashion show?
A: Sonya, myself, Carissa, and Mona enjoying fleeting sunshine and a dung beetle made of trash. B: Miniature craft pile. C: Workspace during our open studio. D: Getting ready.
The Eco Arts Festival, this past Saturday, was a smashing success! Sonya, Ramona, Carissa, and I had a surprisingly good turn out for our open studio during the day, and I was able to get more done than I would have at home. Creating in public while chatting seemed to get me further than it does at home (with cats and food and other distractions). Expect to see me sewing out on First Ave one of these days...

 A: Reconstructed shirt made from two tees, re-hemmed vintage skirt, and high-top white leather Keds. $7.00
B: Embroidered vintage blouse, red mini skirt, tiger's eye bolo, brown booties. $7.50
C: Once a one-piece business suit with attached jacket, reshaped with added lacy back, worn with patent leather pumps. $3.50
D: Two vintage slips (top is lace, bottom is sheer pink) worn with a tie belt from another dress and pumps. $5.00

The fashion show itself had an even better crowd. The number of people in attendance that weren't friends was encouraging, and the large crowd of friends was touching. What a supportive crew and community we have! 

A: Banana Republic military-inspired shirt dress over a leopard dress, worn with a white vintage belt and brown booties the day of the show. $6.00
B: Denim blouse embellished with stones and studs, southwestern vintage belt, and lace mini skirt. $10.50
C: Excuse this terrible photo! Vintage men's work shirt belted with cut off shorts for a casual summer look. $3.00
D: Pegasus shirt gifted to me by Jake on a bad day, vintage "B" sweater vest altered and gifted by Ramona, and a vintage snap skirt given to me by Carissa. FREE

Special thanks to Sonya (for allowing me this opportunity!), Ramona, Carissa, the New Bohemia District, Tom and the Gatherings crew, Ben (for making me fliers so people know that "Brooke isn't bad"), Cliff Jette and the Hoopla gang, and all my beloved family and friends for support.

*All items featured in the fashion show ensembles were purchased or received second-hand, including shoes, jewelry, and belts.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Eco Arts Festival Sustainable Fashion Show

Source: (visit before the 21st to see the relevant article!). Photo credit: Cliff Jette.
Well, look-a there! They put me on the cover of the local entertainment newspaper insert. I visited the Bottleworks building (host of Gatherings and the Eco Arts Festival Sustainable Fashion Show and open studio) on Tuesday with a few pieces I plan to bring Saturday. The photo choice was a surprise after spending the shoot struggling to make a "sassy, pouty face" under the instruction of my art director (Ramona). But look how excited I am about sustainable fashions!

See how excited my weekend co-horts are, too!
Sonya is an amazing thrift artist that will blow yer mind with her HANDSEWN creations.
Ramona will have the Cedar Rapids Roller Girls model her outfits!
Carissa is creating seven entirely different looks anchored by the same black dress. Neat!
Work started especially early today, so I added a couple extra sleeps this morning by selecting an outfit ahead of time. VOILA! no men's shirts or sloppy pants. Enjoy the change of photo scenery in the most shameful room in my mom's house (yellow walls and blue carpet!?!?!).

Top: Butter colored bib tank, a gift from Carissa, FREE
Cardigan: Old old old and embellished on a bored day years ago, $3-ish?
Skirt: Thrifted floral denim, shortened from maxi-length, $2.50
Belt: Thrifted, $.25
Necklace: Large tiger's eye pendant from Thrift Mart (spring '11), $2.50
Shoes: Holiday gift, FREESIES
Approximate Total: $8.25

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Like Chefs That Eat Frozen Pizzas at Home

The preparation for all of these exciting upcoming fashion shows have in turn made me a pretty sloppy dresser. When it comes to the day to day stuff, I am all jeans-men'sbuttonups-and-ponytails. I guess it doesn't help that most of my favorite things are hanging in the queue, staying clean while waiting to be turned into attractive, sustainable ensembles. 

The set above (shown also below) is not yet sorted, and is only about half of the items I've set aside for this weekend's upcoming Eco Arts Festival Open Studio + Fashion Show. The official line I'll be showing on Saturday hasn't been finalized, but there are some things I can promise: Relevance, charm, wearability, and sustainability. I promise to make 7 full looks that have been entirely thrifted. Thrifted belts! Thrifted shoes! Thrifted jewelry! Thrifted scarves! Thrifted various other accessories! The only bought-new things you'll see me wear are what's underneath...which, I guess, you probably won't be seeing anyhow.

Because my mission with this show is to prove that you can survive in the fashion world as a thrifter, I don't plan on showcasing anything I've done much work to. Clothing may be shortened, hemmed, mended, or sewn-in a bit, but otherwise they've gone straight from the racks to my body. 

Dressing successfully in second-hand items does not require the use of a sewing machine. 

I promise. 

Let me prove it to you on Saturday.*
Frumpy, Frumpy Day
Top: Men's collared shirt from Thrift Mart (fall '09), $1.00
Cardigan: Hand-me-down from my mom after she shrank it, FREEBIE
Jeans: Target end-of-season clearance, $5.00
Necklace: Larger tiger's eye pendant from Thrift Mart (spring '11), $2.50
Shoes: Not shown, black flats passed down from a friend, FREEDUDE
Approximate Total: $8.50

*Psssst! Come visit Gatherings from 1-4 for a free Open Studio. We can chat about thrifting and sewing and how nice you look today.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Pasty Legs

It's another day off from the coffee shop! Today has been dedicated to the fashion shows coming up, on both the 16th (this weekend!!!) and the 30th. Both shows will include my Cedar Rapids blogger lady brood (Ramona, Carissa, Sonya, and myself) showcasing sustainable and thrifted fashion, but two very different collections! 

For the Eco Arts Festival this weekend (starting at 7p sharp!), I plan to showcase the wear-ability of thrifted and resurrected clothing. You know, looking cute while being broke (and caring for our environment!). 

Recycle In Style (April 30th) has chosen "Thrift by Design" to be the year's theme. I'm looking forward to bringing thrifted items to life in a creative (and possibly wild) way in my own style. Expect to see patterns on patterns on patterns!
Gettin' (fashion) Stuff Done
Top: Beautifully embroidered vintage blouse, purchased at Thrift Mart (spring '11), $1.00
Tank: Sheer, sequined tank purchased when I was in high school and recovered from the donate pile, FREE-ish
Shorts: Thrifted purple denim beauties, $2.00
Belt: Braided leather belt, Thrift mart (spring '11), FREE
Shoes: Moccasins, a gift from my mom, FREE
Sunglasses: Vintage from Thrift Mart (fall '10), FREE
Hair: Finally long enough to do this lazy 'do!
Approximate Total: $3.00

Catch Up in Wardrobe

Day off attire: dressed like the vintage working class to inspire productivity.
Top: Vintage men's Wrangler work shirt bought at Thrift Mart (spring '11), $1.00
Jeans: Yearrrrrrrs old Lee jeans in light denim and "boyfriend fit", $5.00 assumed value
Belt: Braided leather Eddie Bauer belt from Thrift Mart (spring '11), FREE
Headband: Red bandanna "borrowed" from my mom, FREE
Approximate Total: $6.00
Indulging in my greatest fashion weakness: old man collared shirts.
Top: Men's vintage collared shirt from Thrift Mart (spring '11), $1.00
Skirt: Thrifted grey jersey mini skirt, $2.00
Belt: Gold scale plated, vintage, $.25
Tights: Target clearance aisle, $3.00
Boots: Vintage cowboy boots, $10.00
Approximate Total: $16.25
Experiment. Hypothesis: If I tuck in this shirt, it will look kinda neat. Test: see above. Analyze results: Uncomfortable and unflattering. Report results: If I tuck in this shirt, it does NOT look kinda neat. I wore it this way for our Eco Arts Festival Fashion Show meeting and swiftly let those shirt tails breathe.
Top: Perfect gift from Carissa! Vintage snap-button denim with adorable applique on the shoulders. FREE
Jeans: Green denim, bought new years ago and tight-rolled myself, $7.00
Belt: Braided leather Eddie Bauer belt from Thrift Mart (spring '11), FREE
Shoes: Dark Brown moccasins, a gift from my mom over the holidays. Saved in their box until the weather was right. FREE
Approximate Total: $7.00 (cost only on the pants!)
Leslie and the Ly's dance troupe uniform, minus the lipstick, Keds, and sunglasses. Worn to work at a show, but also perfect for a summer day off or mix-and-matched for any other day.
Top: Available here in amazing colors!
Shorts: Handmade by Leslie Hall.
Headband: Braided by the gem master herself from spandex costume scraps. Available at White Rabbit!!
Total: FREE as generous gifts from Mother Gem
Uniform in action at Old Brick in Iowa amazing free show and dance party for UI's Women's and Gender Studies. I danced until I couldn't.

My choice for a photo shoot in my craft corner. Bright colors, craft table and piles, cats, and cat hair...I feel like my essence was captured perfectly. Details on where to see my photo amongst other crafty Iowa ladies to come.
Shirt: Rainbow plaid with heart-shaped pockets and snap buttons, from Thrift Mart (spring '10), $.50
Jumper: Cherokee brand salmon denim bought on QUARTER DAY, $.25
Leggings: Clearance, $3.00
Socks: Target, $1.50
Boots: Vintage cowboy boots, $10.00
Approximate Total: $15.25

ADVENTURES! Catch Up Style.

Some things I did:
I didn't buy this. CARROT baseball bat!?!?! Want. All things carrot. Want. (But I admit that no one needs this.)

I wore a tiger helmet and body rolled at the Leslie & the Ly's show with all my friends.
I Punk Brunch'ed in Iowa City for the Mission Creek Festival. The best day of my 4 days off (FOUR DAYS!).

The cats did this.
I watched Ramona/Ra Ra Rascal compete in Roller Derby AND watched these guys do this.

I continued to date this handsome feller.

I didn't do it. (Murder Mystery Party!!)

He didn't do it either.
I danced to Sandstorm with fog and lasers in someone's living room. This was one of my top five dance memories. One moment we sat civilly in a circle, chatting. The next, there was fog, lasers, techno music, and a group of fools dancing foolishly.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


I got sick and unmotivated and busy and stuff. Here's a drawing preview of the best necklace I ever thrifted. This is one component of one small part of my tiny portion of a big fashion show coming up at the end of this month.

Lots of exciting things have happened and are about to happen. I'll share soon. Cross my heart.