22 April 2011

Alongside All that Fur...

The visit to Utah went well. The fur coats kept arriving, removed from the hallway in front of my apartment by an obliging neighbor until I could return home to open the boxes and air out the furs. Many of them need copious amounts of air.

They are interesting furs. Some are exactly as described: thick, luxurious and pretty in a "formerly alive" sort of way. Not something I want to sit around and "pet," but they're attractive. One felt damp; it traveled from the UK, so perhaps it came by that naturally. One is yellow; not white, as advertised. Most are more than 20 years old (with one about 70, I believe... my mother was four when that fur came to be) and all are intriguing.

Now they've been joined by... a wedding dress. And not just any wedding dress, but... well, you take a look. Here it is:

If it were featured in a catalog, this is one possible description:
"This vintage candlelight white bridal gown is hand-made of yards and yards of the finest silk duppioni fabric with a fitted bodice and features a round neckline, mutton sleeves gathered to a fitted lower sleeve, set off by lace embroidered with seed pearls at the wrist. The view from the back sets off the bride's tiny waist with a full, multi-tiered bustle bedecked with handmade (from the same silk fabric) roses."

To put it more succinctly, it's ugly, out of style and even when it was in style, it just wouldn't do. It's also a size 6 (4?), so this description applies in more ways than one.

What's it doing in my closet? When I told "Mum" about the fur coats (which are reproducing in that closet and now number 11) she said she had a wedding dress to donate to my various projects. So I returned from Utah with a wedding dress, but no husband.

Mother tries so hard, but alas, that "Abra-ca-dabrah!" thing doesn't work. (Whew!)
But the dress has had a side effect. Just looking at it makes me happy, once again, that I am single.

(Editor's note: this dress was made by my mother, at the express and explicit direction of a bride who wore it, alas, to her "FIRST" wedding. Which says it all, don't you agree?)

06 April 2011

8 Fur Coats... or Why My Folks Are Waiting at the Airport

People who ask "when did you last visited your parents" often get the Stink Eye from me. I don't like their inquisitive tone as I am a person who has long believed in asking but not answering personal questions. It's the nature of my profession and I follow that tradition religiously.
And I remind them that people who don't have steady income streams are wise in not spending small bits of discretionary income on elective long distance trips.
"Bad choices and lack of discipline are the things that have put this country where it is," I say loftily, "which is painted into a corner."
My parents understand my fiscal theories. Who do you think taught me the dratted frugality that has kept me out of trouble for all these months?
So while I've had a lot of time on my hands in the last couple of years, I haven't spent much of it in airports. Or Western states.
But last week, I got news that means I will soon have MORE discretionary funds and LESS discretionary time. In fact, I'll work a lot of 7 day weeks. Sounds about right. It never rains, but it pours.
And after digesting this news for a bit, I suddenly thought "Ah, well, perhaps I'll use this time to go visit the folks."
Except that somewhere between here and there, I bought 8 fur coats. (Maybe 9 by 24 hours from now, but that one won't figure in)
It sounds like a bad movie title, doesn't it? "Eight Fur Coats." I bet I could write that movie's plot and script in an airport over the next weekend. And it'd fit right in with the rest of my life. But let me explain.
I had this idea for something I wanted to make. Have you noticed that I don't do things in small ways? Perhaps you don't recall the year I decided to import and sell pet iguanas as Christmas gifts out of my second bedroom in Omaha? The time I went to an auction and came home with jewelry so substantial that I was forced into a sit-down with an insurance agent? (yawn) Or even a couple of years ago when I bought "a few cigar boxes" at a yard sale and then went back for the rest of them the next day? (Yes, I do have 223 cigar boxes in a storage locker in Los Angeles. Why do you ask?)
The point is, when I get an idea that I want to toy with, I go long. I go large. I go admittedly... overboard. I don't do "small."
Now I had this idea and needed some fur. I looked on ebay.com.

There's a certain charm to the photo above, don't you agree? The pose alone was worth the price. It was my first purchase: a 1940's muskrat cape. The price was incredibly low (70 years old... ya think?) and it reminded me of an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies with someone named "Rudy Vallee" who wore a muskrat coat, in keeping with the college boy fashion of the era. Shoot, the auction itself was entertaining than most other things. Of course I bought it!

Then I bought this long-haired mahogany mink. Isn't that the prettiest thing you've seen in awhile? It's coming all the way from the UK and is the coat for which I paid the highest price.
I think it as the way the light hit it from the side. I had this image of myself, floating down a long staircase, bathed in candlelight.
Ha! No I didn't. I don't intend to wear any of these. And if you're environmentally sensitive, please know that no minks (which are nasty mean-tempered rodents, by the way) were killed in the making of my craft project. These rodents are LONG DEAD. I'm buying a lot of used fur, so you may feel free to view this as my own personal "recycling project."
(If that doesn't make you feel better, keep in mind, I grew up on a farm. They're all rodents to me, including the bunnies I cuddled, raised and ate as a child. That's right. I'm not vegan.)

To be honest, in many of these cases, I consider that I'm doing the world a favor, dissecting some of the most unattractive coats imaginable. Seriously, this is an UG-LEE coat.

Anyway, I bought. And bought. And bought. Until I felt quite certain I could have a lot of fun with my project. A lot of variety to keep my interest going. Variety is the spice of life, right? Altogether, I've spent about $330, including insurance and shipping.
It's been fun. Only one problem. About the time I got over the rush of "new job!" and realized I was going to be seriously busy for the first time in a long time, I realized I should go visit the folks next week. Except that I have eight fur coats rolling in my door, most expect to arrive next week.
I also don't want the neighbors to suspect anything.
So far, all they've seen coming and going are things in Goodwill bags and large packages of tofu and salad from Costco. The poverty period has been interesting but I haven't been rolling in the dough. Or furs. Until now.
And now I'm going to be rolling in fur. (I'm considering a "cash and furs scene" like the one in "Indecent Proposal" for my movie script. Yes?)
So please, give it some thought. I could use a suggestion or three. What to do about a week of fur coat deliveries in absentia?