we are photogirls

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

A younger oona wanted this book.

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

As a teenager, I loved to decorate my room. To the point of set dressing. Sometimes it was filled with oversized umbrellas, sometimes ‪papier-mâché‬d comic strips, sometimes sometimes porcelain clowns (that one was actually a bit scary), but always it was a mess of clothing and books and art supplies and makeup and CDs and teenage paraphernalia. Whenever I had to clean it (which was often, as my creativity stalled with too much jumble) I had to draw a map of my lands with numbered areas so that the task seemed less daunting.

(We're talking about a normal sized room, mind you. The circles were quite small, but STUFFED.)

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

I'd come downstairs, dressed for the day, possibly in lace pants, possibly in a DIY'ed drawn and sliced mickey mouse t-shirt, possibly with stars and lightning bolts painted on my face, always to the delight of my mom, who once decreed she couldn't wait to see what I'd show up at the breakfast table in.

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

At school, I'd lug four or five bags of various size and heavy weight to each class, needing dance supplies, art supplies, a costume change or two for rehearsal, music books for choir, a makeup kit (I was the unofficial makeup artist for our high school dance troop). And snacks. There was usually no time for lunch. But when I could grab a minute in the cafeteria, I plopped myself down at a table for eight, right in the middle of the lunchroom, with seven friends of every hue, shape and interest. Shy, outgoing, super smart, kinda ditzy, we were a multicolored table sitting directly on the dividing line of lunchroom racial obligation. Everyone was beautiful at our table, because everyone is beautiful.

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

Sometimes after school on a friday, if there wasn't rehearsal or voice lessons or ballet, I'd go to the mall with my Nan. And always on the weekends. We'd stroll through the levels and she'd spend her social security check on me, clapping at the whacked out combinations I'd come up with, never allowing herself anything even when I'd find the perfect yella top for her.

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

My hair, which needed no help, was assisted nevertheless by all manner of hair product. My mom still winces at my senior picture, which includes a ninety degree L shaped part that could have served as a raceway in Tron. The most important picture of my life up to that point, and the one time she was disappointed in my arrival at the breakfast table.

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

I loved my teenage life. Really. I have nothing bad to say about it, not one thing. But the girl I just described to you would have loved to have this book. This is the missing book that would have added a camera around her neck, and one more heavy, happy bag on her shoulders.  

we are photogirls oonaballoona laurence king

It was written for the girls out there who are creative, daring, timid, loud, wild eyed, soft spoken...for the girl who wants to be a photographer, an artist, a model, an art director, a stylist, who wants to see the beauty in everything, who wants to be confident in her beauty, in her size, in her shape, in her skin, in her style. Who, yes, just wants to have FUN. If you have a girl in your life, she will want this book. She will totally want to be a photogirl, and you will totally be happy with that desire.

When the king contacted me and wondered if DIY Fashion Shoot Book: We Are Photogirls, geared towards a younger set, would be up my alley....I THINK THAT ANSWER IS A YES.

Maybe you don't need to be a girl. Because this woman is putting her name in this one.

this book was provided to me by Laurence King in exchange for an honest review. diving into its pages was a truly gleeful experience. heads up, the link to the tome is amazon affiliat-o.


left to right

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

it's weird, but there's a specific time of day, in each specific season, when i can't get enough of the skewed view from our apartment.  it's well into cocktail hour as i type this, and the light hitting the buildings that fill our windows can't be described as sun, more as afterglow.  indeed, even the use of "building" as plural is going a bit far.  there are two beasts that eat our glass rectangles onto the world, both of different brick, different perspective even, blonde diagonal on the left and straight ahead redhead on the right, and when you stare at the view for too long you believe you're looking at some strange faux hollywood backdrop.  this scene lasts for about three minutes before it disappears.  golden hour in one hundred and eighty seconds.

apparently the close beverage and the distant view make me wax poetic, but one must always focus on a bit of breadth when toiling at the computer, to save one's peepers.  and thus endeth your PSA for the day.  lest i fall back into old habits and talk about everything but the sewing (and o believe me, I WILL) let's get down to the garment.

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

this skirt was made for my mood fabrics march MSN allowance.  she was supposed to have a mate, but in the end, i decided it was better to just make her as well as i could, rather than hammer through two singles as fast as i could.  why hastily introduce separates before they're mature enough to handle a relationship??  i don't want one night stands in my closet anymore.    

really though, it's not the fault of the intended couple, i shot myself in the pied (my high school french comes back to me the more i imbibe, thank you Madame Minor for passing me with a C grade)... i could have made a match, had i been able to concentrate on the lovers.  but when the MSNers wanted to play group challenge again, the awesome lori came up with "designer inspiration," and i was lost in a sea of sexy choices. like a speed dater, i flitted happily between so many runways, i can't remember half of them anymore. i got all the way through minute 8 with an anna sui dress, but then altazurra whispered sweetly to my right, and i was off to the next table.


YUMMMM.  come sit at my table, if indeed you can sit in your skirt, m'ladies.  i hope you can, cause i can full on lounge in mine!  oh, excuse me, i haven't even mentioned the third player in this love triangle-- or is it a foursome now?  EGADS.  the charlotte skirt, from...you know them, i do so hope you love them....my favorite indie gals...the ladies at by hand london!  how i've not made this pattern yet is beyond me.  

sometimes i'm not the brightest bulb in the box.

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona


i took 4 inches off the length, from above the hemline, and that's the one adjustment i made.  uno.  un. c'est tout.  and i went ruffle.  because given the choice WHY WOULD YOU EVER NOT HAVE THE RUFFLE. RUFFLES ARE GLORIOUS ALWAYS AND FOREVER. ALWAYS AND FOREVER LIKE A 70'S PROM.  

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

party in the front, and even more party in the back, because that's the way uhhuh uhhuh i like it.

(ssssssssh oona you don't say things like that on a first date)

here's a shot of me passive aggressively "advising" ruggy to get the shot right.  bonus side effect, LOOKIT THAT SIDE SEAM!  straight as an arrow!!  on a hiphugging skirt for godsakes!   BHL FOREVER. 

it's hard to photograph just how gorgeous this fabric is in real life.  yes, that's radiant orchid in there, and the gold is almost watery in its iridescence.  she's underlined in a melony pink poly blend.  her intended mate is a plaid chartreuse shot through with silver.  i like mixed marriages.

oona by marcy harriell oonaballoona

yeah, i know, there are some draglines on the left, that seam allowance suffered from overhandling of boucle.  it was highly pettable stuff, there was fondling, whaddaygonnado.

since its debut on MSN, sonja has dubbed it the Happy Sexy Koi Skirt, which i QUITE LIKE. also since then, the BHL ladies have reached 12k in their kickstarter effort for their next adventure: on demand digital fabric printing for you and me.  GO LADIES!  i really, really, REALLY want them to make it. like if any family members are wondering what to get me for my birthday, go kick in a little somethin' in the name of oona.

(yes, i know my birthday is in august.  i begin preparations at least a full six months in advance.  and since it's back to 22 degrees here, i refuse to think of anything else but summer.  golden hour actually lasts for fifteen minutes in summer, yo.  THAT'S INSANE.)

this mermaidesque skirt was made using my monthly fabric "allowance" as part of the Mood Sewing Network.


time for treats!


no, cat, but symon can haz my pink booty package!

i'm drinking a delicious cup of ruggy's chemex right now.  and as it's st patty's day, i may just have to spike it with homemade irish cream.  must celebrate my ancestry.  (actually, for real. probably where i got the boozy gene.)


well said, amy!  i've heard art is only made finer by the right frame. 

congrats m'ladies!  shoot me an email at oonaballoona of house g-mail (we're rewatching game of thrones), and we'll get you set up.  i'd like to thank the ever lovely christine haynes for not only offering a pattern prize to celebrate her new delicious book, but also offering to mail the prize as well!  i'm fairly abysmal at the post office. (not to worry, symon, your prize will indeed arrive.  possibly by raven.)

(fine print: repeat comments/just stopping by/etc weren't counted.  and i'm totally serious about the irish thing.)


you down with ODC?

i'm stumped, y'all.  i admit it.  this is not easily uttered, after all, I LIKE TO WIN, EVEN AGAINST MYSELF.  but when i won these generous bundles of fat quarters from riley blake for project sewn, i was stymied.  they beat me the second they landed on my doorstep.  what does a kalkatroonaan do with 18 x 22 shapes of cotton?  yes, they are pretty, and colorful, and fun, but kalkatroonaans...they do not sew accessories...they are not especially crafty...they shriek at the thought of quilting...they for damn sure don't sew for children.....really, when it comes down to it, a kalkatroonaan sews for herself.  (or for liquor.) 

i brought this problem to the attention of several of my favorite ladies whilst at dinner with a even larger group of favorite ladies last week.  surely one can't make a garment out of anything under half a yard?  four gals laughed heartily at me.  oona, of course one can make an adult sized garment out of fat quarters.  you fool.

oh reeeeeeallly?  i raised a tipsy eyebrow.  so if i give you each a bundle, you'll prove me wrong?


(after all, i was on my third margarita)


amity from lolita patterns
devra from puu's door of time
jennifer from workroom social


using 9 fat quarters, make an adult sized garment for yourself.  not allowed: accessories, sewing for children.   ALL 9 quarters in each mini bundle must be used*, but the challengers may supplement their fabric with their stash (but mais oui, extra points if you don't).  major party foul if you use the fat quarters as lining or binding and call it a fat quarter garment. UH UH BABY.  the quarters must be the viewable bulk of your garment.  the challengers have until april 30.*

(*exception to this rule given to carolyn, who upon seeing her bundle decreed oh i can make this into something for work, you just wait.  the group agreed that if carolyn can indeed make something office appropriate, she does not have to use all 9 pieces at once.  however, still no fair just using a bit for a yoke or binding and calling it done. and obviously, the judges will need photographic evidence of the garment in the work environment.  OK CAROLYN I'M WAITING.) 


my undying love.  unless i get a big fancy job, then i'll buy something pretty.  as far as i'm concerned, every challenger that succeeds in making an adult piece will win.   there will probably be "best" categories, but that involves the use of more cocktail brainstorming.  which will undoubtedly happen, but not till later this evening.  i am a lady, after all.

(you will note the acronym leaves room for future challenges, which will probably be brainstormed over drinks.  ODC also stands for Ozone Depleting Chemical, which i think is weirdly appropriate.)

* edit: there have been changes afoot in this challenge, bending of rules and morphing of dates... but fear not! the challengers have agreed to a schedule that cannot be denied, and you'll soon find out why. Fat Quarter Fridays are coming this summer!


of flora and fauna and also some monsters

this dress, she is a figment of your imagination.  she is not the droid you are looking for.  this fantasy frock was stitched when i was fortunate enough to be asked to test by hand london's floaty flora dress. and insane enough to accept, as i only had about eighty helpings of stitching work already heaped on my plate.  but really y'all, it's my beautiful ladies of BHL, there was never an option of saying no.  I LURVE them.

the linen you see above, from mood fabrics, was done up in a straight size 10 , and fit perfectly at the time, but of course that was post holidays and such.  she needs a little nip tuck now, dontcha know. fortunately, my RAGE of jealousy fueled by all the wrappy floras wafting in the blogging breeze took hold of me one night last week... 

i raided my stash for something wide enough to accommodate the circle skirt (seriously y'all, my stash is depleted) and came up with the last bits of my bombshell fabric.

the gals are not lying when they say you can do this up in just about anything. this cotton voile makes it drapey and romantic.  (and the kicks make it ridiculous.  heeled cork sandals sorely needed, all applicants enquire ASAP.)

she's in my reg'lar sze 8/12.  i didn't *quite* have enough for the skirt, she's a bit slimmer than intended, but still, proper amounts of twirl factor.

you've heard errrrrythang there is to hear about this pattern, n'est-ce pas?  here's the bodice-- i've been doing some detective work on my upper body, turns out i'm a bit shorter & narrower  shouldered than the reg.  i always knew this, actually.  i just didn't want to know it.  so i took 5/8 off the back shoulder seam, 5/8 off of upper CB by the zip, and 5/8 off the waist of the entire bodice.

it's my 5/8ths rule. 


speaking of crazy yardage...if you haven't already heard, the ladies of london have just embarked on their next superheroine adventure: FABRIC.  a flora dress in monster toothed flowers ?!!!! WHAT?!?    YES!!   PLEASE. you could name it the Ferocious Flora.  if i don't first.


the gals have just announced, mere minutes ago, their kickstarter campaign to fund the Big For Real All The Way Adventure: DESIGN AND PRINT YOUR OWN FABRIC!!! click here to see an insanely cute video of paper BHL girls making kitten fabric (and a few video shout outs from heather lou, rosin & me as well :).   let's kickstart these amazing ladies!!!

this pattern, and the original stripey ill-fated linen, was provided to me in exchange for testing another great BHL pattern.



whoo whoooooooooooooooo! the christine haynes book blog tour train has pulled into kalkatroona station! pour yourself a cuppa, spike it with something good, and let's have a chit chat.  it'll be short and very sweet: this book is the bomb and it belongs in your library.

yep, i've perused it... i was lucky enough to sneak exsqueeze me, devour a peek at this tome during the past coupla weeks, and let's just say, if i'da spied the section on zippers, you woulda seen some fly front pants from me during project sewn for sure. you get three pages on a fly front zip alone. THREE. PAGES.  with a beautifully pictured step every inch of the way-- crystal clear.  no more abandoning this method as a "design choice" for this girl.

the same goes for a bookfull of techniques, basic and advanced, it's simply delicious, it's a marvelous manual. and even though i'd call it an absolute must for anyone dipping their thimble into the silky waters of sewing, there's plenty for the advanced sewist to delight in as well.  but really, what else would you expect from christine?

i'm sorry, what's that you say?  YOU EXPECT A CELEBRATORY PRIZE?!  well, aren't you the presumptuous one!  I LIKE YOU!  you should come over for a drink.

while you get your travel plans ready, throw your hat into the ring for christine's derby dress pattern, which she has so graciously offered to one lucky lady (or gent, mais oui!).  it packs up wonderfully, and can be lengthened to all kinds of proportions, as demonstrated by the crazy lady on vacation in yellowchrome.  just leave a comment on this post, and oh, let's see, we're already talking about vices for the other giveaway, let's talk about the sewing technique that gives you the most trouble!  you can bet your booty christine's book will solve it for you.  holler in the comments!

UPDATE: i'll close the comments this sunday march 16 and announce a winner monday!  erm, and for all you speed readers out there, take note: this giveaway is for the delicious derby dress pattern. see you soon! 

and furthermore: okey doke, comments closed, winner announced tomorrow... 

a PDF version of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.


thank god it's sur-priiiiiiiiize day

a surefire way to break my mysterious promise of a surprise is, indeed, to promise a post about a surprise!  sorry to be late to my own party, but i've been racking my brain (still currently on strike) trying to come up with a proper tangible thank you, which is most definitely in order after all of the Ass Shaking Booty Stomping Project Sewn hollering going on around these parts.

my first thought was to share some of the prize booty with ya... but then, in a late night attempt to lure Brain back into creativity, my eyes wandered to the brocade section of mood fabrics online.  those mischievous peepers, they like to linger there.  this luscious lurex was hammered into the dress that got me through the pink challenge: an alien party frock that turned out to be a popular vote favorite. 

(whoopsies, brain freeze, the fact that i just typed "popular vote favorite" made the introverted shy teenage girl in me bark i'msorryWHATdidyoujustsayYOUCAN'TJUSTTYPETHAT)

AHEM.  PIPE DOWN GIRLIE.  it made y'all giggle, and i likes gigglin', so i thought it only appropriate to share the shiny pink cackling!  and, should my older, wiser, more extroverted kalkatroonaan ways terrify you, you could always go with the slightly more demure red & cobalt blue "right" side of this fabric.

now, i wish i could thank each and every one of you with some'a'this, but well.  my million dollar check, she has not cleared just yet.  something about proper identification.  so, for one of you loverly peeps, i grabbed 2 yards of this extra wide 58" deliciousness (really this fabric is the bomb diggety) and i'll trace out the burda magazine zippered top pattern i used to make the dress (petite sizes 17-21) or this shawl top, which would show off the double sided nature ever so nicely (regular sizes 34-42).  AND you'll probably get some other craziness too, because I LIKE YOU.  a LOT.  you guys make me happy.

(speaking of happy, may i just say i chortled, guffawed, giggled, and smiled big 'n wide over every single peep who peeped on my last post?  THANK YOU.  i haven't had the time to go OCD over the comments as i am wont to do, and truly i didn't want to seem disingenuous by typing thank ya repeatedly, but, for reals... thank ya.   MOST REPEATEDLY.)

to enter just leave a comment on this post (oh let's say, about your favorite vice).  and mais oui, you can be anywhere in the world!

UPDATE: YOUR VICES ARE BECOMING MY VICES.  HOLY COW.  i bought a bag of cheddar cheese popcorn yesterday and 8 dark chocolate bars.  for the good of my health, i'll close the comments this sunday march 16 and announce a winner monday!  

updated updateroo: okay, comments are now closed....winner announced tomorrow!




wow.  seriously.  when Elizabeth and liZ contacted me, i was honored.  when i saw the list of amazing ladies, i was astounded.  and now, i'm gonna go with flabbergasted.  gobsmacked.  jaw-on-the-floor DROPPED.   thank you to everyone who threw some love my way, thank you to ruggy for holding my hand, thanks to my family for freaking out with me, thank you to lauren, kathleen, sunni, alida and rachel for being so overwhelmingly inspiring and freakishly talented... just.  holy.  COW.  if it wasn't monday, i would spike my coffee and raise a glass to the sewing community in its entirety, but my straight black will have to do...

THANK.  YOU!!!!!  back tomorrow with more coherent speech and a surprise for you!

a wee update, hollered ever so loudly: T.H.A.N.K.  Y.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.O.U!


we also ran out of coffee

my brain refuses to carry out the orders i nonetheless continue to give it this weekend: brain! make alida's super chic super easy clutch!  NO. YOU MAY HAVE UPSIDE DOWN POCKETS INSTEAD. brain!  attach a collar to that sweater!  NO.  YOU MAY HAVE A COMPLETELY MISDRAFTED MESS INSTEAD.  brain! cut out this silk crepe de chine for a maxi dress!  NO.  YOU MAY QUAKE IN TERROR, SCISSORS DANGLING USELESSLY IN MOTIONLESS HAND, THREE YARDS OF AWESOMENESS LEFT UNTOUCHED BECAUSE  YOU KNOW NOT WHAT I MAY DO

what happened to the weeks of multiple spools of thread on my project sewn shelf, switching from microtex to metallic needles at the speed of light, ellie hollering, ricky purring, fur and lurex and pleather flying?  ah, me.  i can only assume this is brain's payback for the last four weeks of non stop sewing.  how's your weekend going? success?  do tell... perhaps Brain will get jealous and be forced into action.  Brain is easily influenced by jealousy.