Saturday, March 31, 2012

Outfit of the Week 3/25-3/31

Well, it was a rough week here in the Furious Design's house. The flu very nearly prevented me from posting an Outfit of the Week this week.

One current trend in fashion I love is bold and tribal print patterns. The outfit below is a homage to this trend.

I adore this geometric print shirt made by Canadian designer, Angie Johnson, of iheartnorwegianwood on Etsy.
Pair with a little black pencil skirt and you have a sweet and simple yet versatile outfit. I love this one by Jane Clarbour on Etsy.
Now, this outfit would look great with any number of different kids and styles of shoe, but I like the funky practicality of these tribal sandals made from repurposed Nepalese textiles by Siamese Dream Design on Etsy.

It can be easy to overdo the tribal or bold geometric print fashions, so I think simple is often better for accessories. I like these simple lotus earrings by San Francisco artist, Kate Cleaves

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Outfit of the Week 3/18-3/24

I absolutely adore these three pieces!

 A sweet hooded lace cover up made by MiriMiriFashion, an adorable, romantic upcycled slip dress from CreoleSha, and a pair of beautiful, handcrafted floral shoes from uku2. All handmade and available for purchase on Etsy. For accessories, I am loving these seashell earrings by The Pineapple Hut, and this casually chic necklace from threepeats.

And let's top the sweet spring outfit off with an adorable little lace headband by RecycledFabrics

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thoughts on Sex

Flowers are the sex organs of plants.
Mushrooms are the sexual structures of fungi
Spring is all about sex. Sex. Sexual reproduction is a topic that quite interests me because it is a relatively novel idea in the scheme of evolutionarily time, and one that can really get people riled, or get their panties in a bunch, which makes it even that much more fun to think about, because topics that cause people to get uncomfortable are often places where more inquiry, critical questioning and  understanding are needed.

3-spine stickleback--Gasterosteus aculeatus
Modes and methods of sexual reproduction are broad and diverse and often times species specific. The picture on the right is of a three spine stickleback fish. Courtship and mating behavior for this fish involves numerous aspects including the development of bright red nuptial coloration in the males. Male fish in this species are responsible for making a nest and attracting the female to lay her eggs inside, where by the male can then fertilize them. After fertilization, the eggs are tended to solely by the male. So for this species, we have a male, striving to have any female respond to his nuptial colors such that she might drop her eggs in his nest for him to fertilize, and then she leaves, and he painstakingly tends to the eggs himself, until they hatch. 
When you start to look into it, you begin to realize that reproductive strategies and mating behaviors are extremely diverse within and across taxa. I'm sure everyone has heard gruesome tales of the sex lives of some spiders, and many other insects, where after mating the female ingests the male getting extra nutrients to ensure the success of their off-spring. 

But, who knew that the Indonesian Octopus, Abdopus aculeatus had such an entertaining and dramatic sex life? Read all about it here: What is up with the deep sea angler fish? Watch this short video from Animal Planet I found on YouTube about angler fish mating customs for insight into that bizarre strategy. And how is it that we are just now learning about the twisted, quite literally, reproductive strategies of ducks?

For more information on the evolution of sex and the diversity of reproductive strategies amongst plants and animals, I recommend reading the review Evolution and Sexuality: Bilogy and Behavior, by Gregory G. Dimijian, MD. available on the NCBI Database:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oufit of the Week 3/15/2012

Okay. Here goes. After drooling over all the potential outfits I am able to imagine after even a few minutes of perusing the handmade selections of indie e-shops such as Etsy, it only makes sense to make a weekly blog featuring some of these crafts.

A Furious Designs Eco Shirt

  Hemp Skirt                                                                        

                                               Sustainably sourced alder wood shoes. 

A Goblin Stitch Brooch

Lovely angel wings made from recycled milk jugs.

A simple, sweet spring outfit with elements made by various independent artisans brought to you by Furious Designs.

Crop Tops--Urban Strata Series

It always tickles me to see how things cycle around over time. One hot fashion trend for 2012 is the return of crop tops or half shirts, which were all the rage when I was a teen in the 80's. For various easy to explain reasons, I was reluctant to accept this returning trend, but then I decided to embrace the crop tops, and even make them my own. And so my new line of funky eco crop tops was born as part of what I have dubbed my Urban Strata Series, because for me, layers are and have always been a core concept of my fashion scheme. 
A loose off-the-shoulder style crop shirt gets funked up with the addition of a vintage tie. Totally trendy, yet totally unique! And made from all salvaged, thrifted, and upcycled items.
This was my prototype!
I had my daughter take a picture of me modeling one, because they look so cute on!

I like to wear these over a simple sundress or some other more fitted dress, or layered over a longer tank top shirt with jeans or a skirt. Super cute!

My Urban Strata Series is a dynamic line of funky, one of a kind shirts, skirts and tops that can be worn alone or in combination for a layered effect that reflects your own unique sense of style and individuality. You can find more at my Furious Design Shop on Etsy.

I Should Be Sewing

I really should be sewing.  I was unable to sew for most of last week due to a serious and debilitating kink in my neck/shoulder. Now I am feeling much better but lacking the motivation to grab a pair of scissors and go. Recent fabric scores remain in neatly folded but neglected stacks. 

Bold geometric prints and the color tangerine are hot this spring.

Nettles and Hedgehogs

Despite the crazy and erratic weather that has been raining down on the Pacific Northwest, spring is definitely in its early stages. One of the early spring bloomers here in the Willamette Valley is the Oso Berry or Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis. A rather diminutive shrub in the rose family, this species is endemic to the area and is not found anywhere else. The small drooping flowers of this Oregon native are a sure indication that winter is drawing to an end. I took the picture below last year at the end of February.

Osoberry or Indian Plum
 Spring is one of my favorite seasons here in the Pacific Northwest, and its a wonderful time to be out foraging in the woods. Two of the most tasty edible foods I seek out in the spring are the tenderly delicious hedgehog mushroom, Hydnum repandum, and the lush and amazing Urtica dioica, more commonly known as stinging nettle. 
I picked these last year in March in the Mid-coastal Siuslaw Watershed
Hedgehog mushrooms are one of the easiest and safest mushrooms to identify, with the golden chanterelle like color, distinct lack of gills and presence of lots of little "teeth". The Cascade Mycological Society is a valuable 501(c)(3) organization in Oregon with some valuable information about hunting edible fungi.

Firm, and tender, nettles are perhaps my all time favorite and common and easy to identify spring green, at least, once you get stung you'll be positive. The smell of nettles is fresh and green (if you smell a heavier, almost stinky smell when harvesting, you may want to make sure you aren't picking a Stachys, which has a similar look) and the flavor is very mild and less acidic tasting than spinach because it doesn't contain the oxalates that spinach does. Nettles are rich in minerals and nutrients and can be a great source of non heme iron, but as with any wildcrafted or foraged food, you'll want to make reasonably sure you are collecting from a safe, relatively clean, non-contaminated area. To collect, I usually just gather the fresh young tops, wearing a protective glove, of course.

Hedgehogs mushrooms and nettles can be cooked and enjoyed in a variety of ways. My favorite is a creamy soup! Internet recipes abound for these two culinary beauties; Hedgehogs can be used in most recipes that call chanterelles and the same works for nettles and spinach. 

And it turns nettles are not just a great and nutritional wild food. They can also be processed for their fiber content. Some of the most beautiful, natural, organic fabrics I have seen were made from nettles. Check out these links below to see some Independent Artistry on Etsy featuring nettles:

Organic Nettle Fiber shawl

Nettle Linen Hand Spun Yarn

Nettle Yarn BareFoot Sandals

 Ask questions! Stay informed!

"If you aren't Furious, you aren't paying attention"

Furious Designs is my latest moniker under which I craft, create, and market my various inspirations--eco salvaged and upcycled clothing and accessories, eco herbal body care products, an occasional piece of upcycled jewelry and more. You can check out my Furious Designs Shop on Etsy for my latest eco fashions:

But the idea of Furious Designs extends beyond the physical into the realms of thought and intention too. So I will often be blogging about ideas and concepts of greenness and stewardship, health and sense of place, biology, botany, ethnobotany, food, evolution and more. Okay, so I am a total geek, or nerd, is the distinction drawn between those two? Anyway, you may have been able to tell by this point that I am formally educated in the Sciences and have a penchant for plants. Oh yeah, and I tend to be a witty and sarcastic gal with not much in the way of political correctness, so be forewarned. Part of this behavior is very likely just my "personality" but part is definitely a conscientious response to the fact that for many years I had excessively overused what I have dubbed my "auto-censura" spell to the point I sometimes felt I was censoring myself to inanity...or insanity, not sure which one. Well, those days are over. And a new era is here!