The Beale’s of Grey Gardens

greygardens

I’ve always enjoyed Grey Gardens. I love documentaries and anything concerning unique individuals and their points of view on the world. Especially former socialites (relatives of Jackie O) living in isolation within a house full of cats and costumes while reading astrology, talking of gossip, singing old songs and sun bathing on the beach. What’s not to love?

For those who have yet to see the 70s documentary, Grey Gardens is a film by Albert and David Maysles who filmed the documentary in a technique which allowed the women to tell their own stories. The film depicts the everyday lives of a mother and a daughter both named Edith Beale, who lived in a fall-to-ruin, cat and raccoon-filled mansion known as Grey Gardens located in East Hampton, New York. There has also been a broadway musical and an HBO movie created about the Beales due to the cult following of this interesting film.

If you can’t get a man to propose to you, you might as well be dead.
~Little Edie

Young Little Edie

Little Edie

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Little Edie: You can’t have your cake and eat it, too in life.
Big Edie: Oh, yes, I did. I did, I had my cake, loved it, masticated it, chewed it and had everything I wanted.

beales

Where Do You Find Inspiration?

I really wanted to make a big, cheesy collage for this post like I did when I started Miseducated.. remember those days?
I miss those.

Where do you find inspiration when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
I always ask the artists we feature here but I’ve never gotten to ask you!

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and can’t focus I like to flip through my inspiration drawers filled with old photos, papers and all sorts of useless things I’ve collected through the years. Useless to the onlooker that is but quite important to me! My favorite place for my brain to play is old magazines.. I love soaking up the eye-candy in 60s women’s zines most of all. I can’t get enough!

What can you not get enough of? What inspires you?

Recycle your Vintage Scarf into a Necklace

This is a style that I wear all the time and it’s easy easy to make. I’ve loved vintage scarves but for ages I was stumped as to how to wear them without looking like the queen! Finally a brainwave brought me to the knotted scarf necklace …

You will need a patterned scarf of square of fabric, about 30″ (76cm) x 30″ to start!

scarf

1. Lay your scarf flat, pattern side down.
2. Fold it in half, so the patterned side is on the outside.
3. Start rolling from the corner …
4. … Until you have a long sausage.
5. Tie three knots – one in the centre, and two either side.
6. Finally, tie at the top, and there you have your necklace.

I’ve used a green paisley scarf for this one, but it works with any pattern, or even a plain silk scarf. I especially love it in a nautical or equestrian print.

I think I’m Miseducated because I don’t wait for beautiful things to come to me, if I have something pictured in my mind, I’ll try and make it. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail but it’s all worth it when you get complimented on your outfit and you can say ‘I made it myself!’

Develop Great Mate-dar!

You’re single and want to meet that someone special NOW! Especially since we are on the cusp of the holidays, right? So naturally your Mate-dar (your ability to suss out a great mate) is turned up a notch. Or so you think. Truth is, Mate-dar is only as good as its end user.

So, whatever the reason, you’re on the prowl for a significant other. Maybe you feel you’re ready for a commitment. Maybe you’re looking for companionship. So you feel like your “Mate-dar” (your ability to suss out a great mate) is in full force, turned up top notch. But the truth is – even if you have the purest of intentions for seeking out a relationship – nobody’s Mate-dar is perfect.
The problem—or, should I say, one of the many challenges— with being human is knowing the difference between who we are and who we are not. Making the all-important distinction between our unconscious persona and our authentic, healthy, whole selves. Until we have addressed this process it is likely that our wounded little kid has a hold of an adult tool, waving it around like a toy, and then BANG! somebody gets hurt. Our Mate-dar, when operated by our 5-year-old wound, can get us into a lot of trouble—as would any part of ourselves we have not made peace with, healed or become aware of on some level.

In the case of seeking a great partner, when we are seeing through the eyes of a wound we are less likely to see clearly! This can show up in different ways (boy, can they be tricky, slippery and subtle all at once), most of them falling under the guise of denial or rationalization.

Here’s a great story to illustrate how elusive accessing our very own truth can be.
My husband, David, got on the scale this morning. I could hear the clang and distinct argh. “How can that be? I gained four pounds? I have only been eating lettuce all week, for crying out loud.” I tried to comfort him by saying that muscle weighs more than fat, and then burst out laughing, realizing that’s what I told myself last time I got on the scale. After we lavished one and another with a few more excuses, we decided that the scale was broken and we needed to get a new one. One that told us what we wanted to hear! That we were not fat!

I have learned it’s one thing to sit around and bitch and moan wishing things were different, and another to do something about it. So I went for a run, then later we went to get the scale. Apparently doing a little of both.

pretty in pink

“It’s never a good idea to weigh yourself late in the day, sweetie” I reminded him as he stepped off the fancy glass scale in Bed Bath and Beyond, that seconds before had held such promise. “Yeah, but this one says I weigh even more than the one at home—did I gain four more pounds since we left?” I wasn’t laughing, as I was about to climb on. Mind you, I don’t make it a habit to get on scales—I know all too well they are not my friends, because I almost never feel better about myself as a result! How bad could it be? I thought. I run and eat well and anyway I would know if I… “What the…? A hundred and…? Wow, I don’t know what to say, except …that scale can’t be right!” I leapt off like it was a bed of hot coals.

“Oh, look, here’s one that tells you how much muscle versus fat you have, and it will show us how much water we are retaining! Let’s try it. You go first!” I said. David placed the Ferrari version of a scale on the floor, took his flip-flops off again and stepped on. “Uh oh…uhhhh… Wait, try that one, that’s just a regular old scale,” and quickly pointed to another. He put the Ferrari one back, put the next one on the floor and hopped on. We both waited as it calculated. “Well, this one says the same thing as the one at home does,” he shrugged. ‘Which means—uh…we’re fat, right?” We both laughed, let it sink in for a minute, and then decided that since we were ready to admit the truth, that we weighed more than we wanted to, we might as well buy the really cool one that told us in great detail all about it.

What the heck does this have to do with relationships? That’s a very good question, and if you answered “Everything!” you are definitely smarter than the average bear!

Pay attention, ‘cause this is some heavy. It doesn’t get any more real than this kind of reality. A huge contributor, if not a top ten reason so many of us don’t have a GREAT relationship, is—we don’t tell ourselves (or others) the truth. It’s an exact proportion, as a matter of fact! Think about it. Let’s say I asked you right now to write down your name, how much you weigh, how much you make a year, the color of your eyes, hair, your shoe size, how tall you are, where you live. Nine out of ten of you would lie about at least half. The rest of you would at least exaggerate or minimize. Don’t believe me, go grab the next person you see and tell them how much you really weigh. How tall you are, to the centimeter. What color your hair really is. How old you actually are. Go down the list; if you are honest with yourself, you will see how often we lie about the most mundane things. Why? Because of what we make it mean:

I weigh X = I am fat = no one will want/love me
I am X years old = I am too old = no one will love me
I am five feet X = too short (or tall) = no one wants that = no one will want me
My real hair color is X = I am unattractive = no one will love me
I make X amount of money = I am poor = no one will want to be with me/love me

So we do what my husband and I tried to do. We slip right into the old river called Denial. We begin with some simple rationalizations, adding or taking away a zero here and there. What harm can it do? we think, Who cares? If I don’t care, why should anyone else? Well, that’s the problem. You do care, or you wouldn’t bother lying—especially to yourself!

You can see how easy it is to miss cues, red flags and warnings or signs from another person that they really aren’t interested. Our agenda for love can be so strong, our wound-ology so ingrained, that it actually distorts reality! Here are some recommendations to help develop or adjust our Mate-dar.

One of my favorites is to interview people who have the kind of relationship you want. If you can’t interview, at least pay attention and jot down some features that stand out for you!

Date yourself seriously. Yes, seriously…date yourself. Make a date, get ready for it, pick the place you want yourself to take yourself, the whole nine, and do it. How do you like your own company, what do you notice about yourself?
Interview yourself. Yeah, why not? Who are you? What do you want out of life? What’s your five-year plan, what is your relationship history? Ask yourself all the questions you would ask of another, and see how you react or what comes up for you.

Have a few practice dates with real people to see how well your intuition is working. Yes, a date where you actually try and work on your weakness. Maybe you even ask the person for feedback about you and see how your perceptions compare. Could be very enlightening, if you have the courage!

Look, if you don’t take care to do these things, or things like this, for yourself, why would you expect anyone else to? Awakening to consciousness is not for lightweights—it’s hard work, and you got want the good stuff! Like I always say, great relationships begin within. Don’t kid yourself!

Qualities in a Partner

I heard the most evil thing the other day. My definition of evil is often flexible, lying somewhere in between totally heinous and completely ridiculous. This story falls in there–you decide for yourself.

My gal pal told me she read a book this guy wrote ( If I had one less scruple, I might tell you his name–for now, we’ll call him something friendly, like Penile Supremacist…PS for short. Fine–forget that, let’s just call him Jack. There! Who can argue with that?) So JACK made quite an impression on my not-so-easily-impressionable gal pal recently. She rang me straight away to give me the scoop.

“Maryanne, you’re not going to believe what @#$% says in his book!” She’s known me for 15 years now, knows that in general male/female issues have been in my top 10 list of favorite things to get bunged up about…particularly when they’re coming from downwind, let’s say. Historically, she delivers the message and then runs for cover. As she started recounting “The top10 qualities women are looking for in relationship with men,” my eyes started rolling back in my head. (I get bored easily sometimes.) Here’s all I can remember:love-is

1. Presence

2. Intelligence

3. Sense of humor

However, I perked up a bit when she started on the men’s list, which I remember every detail of, luckily. You have to be so excited–are you? I mean, finally someone is willing to divulge such privileged information–top 10 qualities men are looking for in relationship with YOU! Here they are, in order of importance:

1. Great in the sack

2. Great in the sack

3. Great in the sack

4. Great in the sack

5. Great in the sack…

Sorry.. I know I am going too fast–I do that sometimes–but did you get that so far, ’cause I have 5 to go… but – you already know what the rest of them are. Exactly–great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack, great in the sack.

Now then while I am sure JACK has some motivation for telling this story, other than to humiliate men for making them appear as though they have no discretion–which would really be like saying men are stupid (that can’t be true). Perhaps he’s simply lost his way. I must give him credit for the fact that he apparently asked these gentleman to rethink the question, and they did come up with some insightful, significant qualities they are looking for in their relationships with women.

Apparently our friend (who now shall, for his own protection, remain nameless) has not been informed that hormonal litmus testing is medieval, that we live in houses now, we even read and write. (How did he miss that?) We have developed skills beyond pounce and attack. How does someone who is in the position of teaching open, impressionable people get away with spouting ancient stereotypes like he was proud of the “well-known fact” that men often think with their smorgasbords?

The point is–well, one point is: Making love is an art – and it’s not just about the sex. It’s no wonder so many women think being great in the sack is a good investment of their time. How about we all revisit that list, people…take pen and paper and really make a list. Look and see what unconscious ideas you may have about the other sex…’cause when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

Toiluxe: Make Your Toilet Lux

It started with a simple dilemma:

What kind of gift do I give the girl who has everything?

I myself was one of those girls, so I knew what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of another kitschy collectible, retro design coffee table book, funky framed Jesus picture… I loved each and every item, but I was at the point where there was nowhere to PUT anything, and I was not organized or patient enough to deal with seasonally switching things up. I couldn’t bring myself to pack away older items to make space for newer ones, because I had a sentimental attachment to each and every one. They all defined me, defined my lifestyle, defined how I felt when I woke up in the morning. In fact, the only room that reflected who I was the LEAST, was my bathroom, which was fine, because how much time do I spend in there anyway?

Wait a second…

The bathroom…

I went to Home Depot. After much wandering around, lost among contractors and home-improvement-ers, I found it – the wall of toilet seats. The aisle seemed to glow as if I had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As if I had discovered the meaning of life, or who was buried in Al Capone’s tomb…

It was perfect.

And everything just took off from there.


Making art out of toilet seats is not a quick-fix type of project. It involves sanding, priming, painting, cutting, pasting, gluing, detailing, and SO MUCH WAITING. Every step involves the need for something to dry – whether it be paint, modge-podge, or acrylic resin. I had to learn how to pace myself (my mother always used to say, “You want everything to happen yesterday!”) and it’s true. But I finally discovered my ideal working environment – my living room (at this point I’d like to thank my husband for his unrelenting patience.) I’d work on two seats at a time – switching back and forth while one was in a drying stage – and the television would be tuned to a campy, cheesy horror movie. The only explanation I can come up with for that is that these particular movies are terrible enough where if I was in a working stage (painting, decoupaging, detailing) and my attention was elsewhere, I could easily tear my attention away from the television and not worry that I was missing some crucial element to the story, yet the movies were also amusing enough that they kept me occupied during any drying stages (which could take anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes.)

I have since changed our home office into a small studio (again, thank you, dear husband, for being supportive enough to my craft for agreeing to move your half of the office elsewhere, and for bringing home the 300 pound cabinet you had at work for me to store my seats in a small warehouse environment.) I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to show my work at Boston’s Bazaare Bizarre and Somerville’s ArtBeat in Davis Square. 75% of my business is from custom orders which has allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and create designs I never would have thought of. The Toiluxe Nude Collection started via a request from my landlord, for which I will forever be grateful.
My creation process is constant – I live, breathe and dream toilet seats. If I could eat toilet seats, I would probably consider it. Toiluxe has been the most satisfying creative outlet I have had in a long time. To be able to create and touch a piece of art – a piece of art that also provides total functionality – has an entirely different sense of satisfaction from the computer-based graphic design I have always done in the past.

I love what I create. My goal is to bring joy to bathrooms across America, and even beyond.

Mew for Today: Home Interior

So we went shopping for some cute, whimsical radiating deliciousness for your home recently and you seemed to have quite a lovely time. I’ve decided to take another shopping trip but wanted to go more hi*design.. incorporating in some afforableness, of course..

Hi*design? That’s high! When you go up, where do you go next?

That’s right! To the moon!

Now let’s shoot to the moon and window shop through the windows to the world wide web with eyes open and mouths drooling, hands grabbing stars along the way.

While landscaping in the blazing sun today with the shrubs and flowers we picked up (by landscaping I mean sticking my hands into the mudded dirt (I just can’t use shovels! I have to use my hands!) and becoming lightly splattered in watery mud) I realized how much I want to really focus on my design intent next time I move into a home, as it will probably be my home for quite some time! I’ve started to grow a little tired of moving for awhile, but since I am the most indecisive person *I’ve* ever met you could ask me again in a year…

The great thing about A HOME is I can renovate and change it anyway I see fit to create my ultimate paradise. Don’t you agree? Home is your palace, whether it’s in an apartment in a lighted city or a cottage by the sea.

Dream your ultimate paradise, what do you adore about places you visit that inspire you? What aura do you want to create in your own home? What feelings and memories would you like your home to evoke? Consider that when selecting colors.. don’t just focus on neutrals, incorporate some extremes into the mix. Give it your own signature.

Some of my favorite stores online have got me twisting in my chair and drooling into my hair! If you like clean lines and bright candy-coated shells then you’ll have a blast around today’s mews. Did I also mention bunnies? Was that a given?

LAMA, Dutch by Design, Brocade Home, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, 2modern

Mise en Snap: Tales from the Crypt

I recently had the fun of re-watching the 1973 movie edition of Tales from the Crypt. An absolute design gem in my opinion, you can find lovely mise-en-scenes in most old films (especially in Hitchock’s). Try watching some of your favorite old films for inspiration when designing anything. You’ll find as many tacky, funny goodies as you will absolutely sensational ones. Mind not the knives, terror-stricken faces and gore — as my grandmother LaVera once said, murder is necessary to tell a story.

tales from the crypt

tales from the crypt

tales from the crypt

tales from the crypt

tales from the crypt
All horror films should contain tea parties nestled within their gore!
Many Miseducated ladies are known to have fright fests
so why not get a little tea party motivation simultaneously?

tales from the crypt

tales from the crypt

tales from the crypt
I’m really digging the modular stereo with rainbow tuning.

tales from the crypt

tales from the crypt

Rainbow Gelatin Cake Recipe

Creamy, delicious color topped with color upon color, reach the moon if you must! This cake is absolute fantasy land in a kitchen. If you take the rainbow challenge, please show us how it goes! The only thing better than eating rainbows is gazing upon them~

Rainbow Jello Cake

Feel free to print this for your recipe book/box and keep it close by for celebrations of the colorful sort.