From Man’s Land to Wonderland

I love Rice DK decor, it’s no secret. I love Wu and Wu tins, Jeu de Paumes books and all the colorful and modern European designs with a flair of kitsch. I cannot get enough. My Lovely Lovely UK collection is still in wrapping because my kitchen is not yet ready for the palette nor have we finished deciding how, why and where things will be.

In this stage of our relationship I am NESTING. Nesting to the max. No I am not pregnant but I believe women are nesters in these stages anyway. Stages of the decision that this is going to be your life together, your home, your family. With that I’d like to say that men can also be nesters as my mister plans and completes renovations of spots in our home without me even implying I want him to. He also asks for my opinion and I ask for his. This is tough for 2 artists with VERY DIFFERENT art styles. I’m saying pop surrealism VS contemporary realism. Think bright color POPs vs calming earth tones.

I believe when you settle down and start a new life with someone else that you are combining your lives into one delicious (lemon poppyseed) cake. You must sacrifice yourself to become unified and to ensure both feel at home rather than one being resentful or stifled. So we begin the road to mixing the 2 styles in one big (pink) Kitchenaid mixer and set it to low speed (while I toss in sprinkles for funfetti cake). I found a few articles on the subject of collaborative design in the home with your partner but not many so I feel it’s best at this point to learn from the adventure. Please join us on our journey to create our dream home from our beautiful house (inspiration and mood boards included!) and the things I learn about designing it with mister.

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Strawberry Switchblade Sings My Soul

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One band I cherished since a child (much like Bowie but more relatable on a sensitive and misunderstood girl level) and never outgrew is Strawberry Switchblade. I formed a cherished online friendship with Rose McDowall in the late 90s and grew to understand her in a more personal way as the creative soul she is. In grade school I created a very cute, pink and polkadot website devoted to the band visuals and audio decadence, I had musical appreciation websites for Strawberry Switchblade, No Doubt, Veruca Salt and Shampoo (my all-time favorite bands), to which I thought why not create features here as I’ve been meaning to do for years.

Rose is as magical as her music is. She and Jill Bryson wove visual gumdrops for my eyes to munch on obsessively and still inspire me heavily to this day. Miseducated’s first layout and many layouts thereafter were created while blasting Strawberry Switchblade songs over and over (and I mean OVER AND OVER). When I met my very best friend Kimi online in 1997 it was like the magical world they wove, a world of polkadots and acid-like colors dripping with cute psychedelia, came to life in our relationship. As a troubled child I often felt Kimi was the one person in the world who understood me, who would always be there (she’s still there). Our song was “Since Yesterday” by Strawberry Switchblade. When she calls even today that song rings out to let me know it’s my soul mate calling.

If you’ve never heard of Strawberry Switchblade and don’t appreciate the delicious 80s whirlwind of drum machines and their unique electronic music filled with happy, depressed, in love, best friend adoring, memory mourning troubled girl lyrics then you might not enjoy it but I honestly, yes with a big bias, cannot imagine how anyone could not want to dance, twirl in daisies and sing to their music. When I listen now it transports me back to memories from childhood, the good and bad, middle and high school filled with love, loss and raves, as well as today the love I still have for my very best friend Kimi, my cherubic three year old daughter and my boyfriend who is, at last, my love dream come true. Step back in time and many of the photos in the gallery below were posters on my wall and locker. Can you get enough?

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Many who know me well see the photos and instantly understand why I was so odd as a child (or even as an adult!) with my polkadot dresses and big, offensive, neon bows. I stood out like a miniature pop star in a small town school and many thought it was hilarious at my expense. I still get it to this day if I visit the town, people look at me like I’m an obviously lost alien. Hell it even happens in the city I reside in occasionally, I only seem to not be an eye sore in southern California on my many summer visits to stay with Kimi and in Tokyo, Japan of course.. but never really here, and so I know Strawberry Switchblade is singing my woes in a way that I will always understand. When you find a band like that you rarely let them go, who would want to? I’m still ready to dive into their “Deep Water” and never return.

Adorable Japanese POP Art Embroidery Patterns

I recently stumbled upon Danielle Thompson‘s world of deliciousness online, Kitschy Digitals, and have fallen in love with her sweet take on embroidery! She offers embroidery patterns and digital scrap-booking materials that are kitschy-sweet.

I’m definitely digging the cameras and I cannot wait to give these a try!

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Downloadable Sanrio Patterns

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My Melody Tea Party & Sanrio Rainbow Pattern

If you’re also feeling embroidery and pop colors try these Sanrio patterns I’ve had stashed for ages, both free for personal use! The wonderful J Tan made these and previously uploaded them for us to try (RIP Geocities).

Gala Darling the De-luxe Blogger

Gala is a delectable dame with an even more amazing (if that’s possible) message! She’s a fashion icon, blogger and international playgirl. We happen to live by the same sort of mantras and for the same purposes so it happened that we instantly clicked and that she would love to chill with Miseducated and let us in on her own creativity and inspirations in life. Come along for the ride!

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Where do you get your clothing inspiration?gala3s
It comes to me from all kinds of places. Haute couture, street fashion, movie stars & guttersnipes all provide their own unique perspectives & I love to put them all together in a big mish-mash. I have to say though, I don’t often imitate things I’ve seen — the majority of my looks, for better or for ill, are things that come from my imagination, or just from standing in front of my closet & pairing things up.

I think the best looks are unpredictable & a little bit “off” — I don’t relish being appropriate or fitting in. Actually, this morning my boyfriend & I went out for brunch & when he saw what I was wearing, he just laughed — a headband with a huge flower & some netting on top, a shredded black knit sweater, a leather miniskirt, engineer boots & a hooded black faux fur coat. All to go out & eat strawberry pancakes. But I think life is for living, & if you don’t dress up, you’re missing out!

Any cute and quick DIY tips for readers?
I’m not a big DIY’er, actually. I have never been very “crafty”, I don’t know how to knit & I don’t make doilies or tea-cozies or mittens for dogs. I’m just not very clever that way & a lot of people are, so I would prefer to pay them to do a good job! If I DIY anything, it’s really simple — like I’ll take a Hallmark bow (the kind you would put on a gift) & stick it to a headband, or wear pearls around my ankles or something. I like doing the kind of thing that takes three seconds & doesn’t require much more than a safety pin or some double-sided tape…

Where do you find inspirations from the world around? What really inspires you to work?
A. I have always been compelled to write, which I guess makes me lucky. I know a lot of people want to be writers but can’t seem to muster the enthusiasm to carry on — I really think you either HAVE TO write or you don’t, & if you don’t HAVE TO, you’ll never really improve. Even when I was a kid I wrote all the time, I would write short stories on my lunch-breaks when I worked at awful jobs (like selling advertising for newspapers or when I sold home loans & term deposits in a bank), I always have paper on me so I can make notes when I’m in Wholefoods or whatever. So the compulsion, the need, the madness, that’s what inspires me to work. Even if I shut down my website tomorrow, I’d still be writing. I do it for the love, not because I need to make a buck. I think that makes all the difference.

Do you carry your work into your home (can we see???)? Do you find it creeping into other endeavors you take on?
Absolutely. This probably sounds super-pretentious but I think people’s lives are their art. You know, even if you’re a rad sculptress or an incredible mechanic, the WAY you live your life is still the most defining thing about you. I like to bring beauty into everything I do, because that’s how I am, I am obsessed with love & beauty & deliciousness, so yes, it more than creeps in!

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When moving somewhere new, what’s the first place you have to set up?
Funny you should say that because I just moved in with my boyfriend! The first things I set up anywhere are always my work space & my wardrobe. They are kind of one & the same a lot of the time. My new office also has my huge closet in it, & all my accessories, etc., merchandised like mad & displayed all over the place. I have my favourite pair of shoes (Alexander McQueen) on the windowsill, a purple glitter skull wearing sequinned Mickey Mouse ears on my desk & two bulletin boards propped against the wall waiting for pictures, clippings, photobooth strips.

Your favorite 3 stops:
New York City is my #1 lover. No other city even comes close. But I love Paris, Los Angeles, Austin, Las Vegas, Berlin & Amsterdam a whole lot too. Sorry, I can’t boil it down to 3 & I refuse to cut the others out!

What scent of incense would you prefer in your home? (feel free to create-your-own)
I used to burn Nag Champa obsessively when I lived in New Zealand & I still like the smell of it, but these days I am more into scented candles & essential oils. I really love jasmine, vanilla, rose & ylang ylang.

What hobby are you into lately?
Getting cozy with my lover, RSVP’ing to ridiculous events & taking my partner-in-crime/photographer with me, & thinking about interior design constantly.

What is your lifestyle mantra?
More magic all the time.

3 things you can’t live without right now:
1. My boyfriend, known colloquially as The Dish. He is such great company, he’s totally authentic & he is so effing cute, I want to jump his bones all the time!
2. My new-to-me vintage faux fur coat. It is big & fluffy & the perfect length. I wear it almost every day & cannot get enough of it.
3. My Moleskine daily planner. I am a total organization geek. It is incurable but I love it.

What are your next plans and goals? Give us an indirect sneak peek, if you’d like!
Oh but that would be telling! Sorry, I can’t. Suffice to say, you will not be disappointed!

What’s so great about today? .. and what do you do to prepare for tomorrow? How do you make sure each day counts?
Strawberry pancakes with my boyfriend; rad conversations; The Dish singing songs he makes up about me; cuddling with the dog; organizing my office even more; planning my social calendar for the next week (photoshoots & fashion shows & working out at the haunted mansion), etc. etc. etc.

Tomorrow I’m going to sit at my brand new desk & listen to some good tunes & write, write, write. I will probably make a coffee run in the morning & then hole up & be as productive as possible!

I make sure each day counts by always focusing on the positive. It’s really easy to get bogged down when you’re thinking about a bill that needs to be paid, or the argument you had with your friend, or the jeans that don’t fit, or whatever — life is full of challenges but you get what you focus on. So keep your eyes to the skies, be grateful for what you have, express love in as many ways as you can, & work to create a life that makes you truly happy.

Do you find your work taking time away from other hobbies and interests? Or is it your all-consuming passion?
I used to talk about how I worked 24/7, & I still do, but it is much more intense now. I used to have time to go shopping all the time, or kick back & read a book, or whatever — that kind of thing is pretty rare these days. I’ve taken on more obligations & while I love them, it certainly does suck up my free time. It has always been this way though, just to a lesser degree. Thankfully it IS my all-consuming passion & there aren’t many things I would rather be doing!

How do you prefer your environment to look?
Colourful, exciting, invigorating. Actually “colourful” might be a misnomer. I like a simple, clean palette (like black & white) with bright pops of colour — does that count as colourful? I don’t know. Aaaaanyway, my room has white walls (which I love) & I bought an indigo desk to go in the middle. I want to paint one wall with blackboard paint — maybe in vertical stripes? — & there are going to be sparkly or high-gloss accoutrements everywhere. I love a simple or plain canvas with ornate madness placed among it. That is so my style.

Favorite music? and Why?
If I had to break it down, I’d say I listen to 60% hip-hop, 40% “other” — the other being a mix of electronic, singer-songwriter, indie rock, & uh, the unclassifiable! I love to mix it up, it’s not unusual for me to jump from Mobb Deep to Bauhaus to Tom Waits to The Legendary Pink Dots to Big L, & my iTunes is almost always on random. Hip-hop is really one of my one true loves, though — I find it hard to articulate how much I adore it.

Are you Miseducated? What makes you Miseducated? <3
Yes, absolutely! I’m miseducated because I don’t do what other people tell me to do, & I don’t follow conventional paths. I do what I feel on my own timeframe, & I am so much happier because of it!

Yes, absolutely! I’m miseducated because I don’t do what other people tell me to do, & I don’t follow conventional paths.

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.. and just in case you’re wondering, yes, her blog (iCiNG) is just as delectable as she is.

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.

Lala’s Kitschy Paradise and Thrifting Tips

Something I noticed when first talking with Lala is that she is a different kind of girl. She has so many amazing, random interests that it’s hard to focus, when talking to her, solely on thrift shopping and her amazing home. She plays the drums, bass guitar and even customizes hot rods in her spare time!
In the past she has owned her own ‘Studio 54’ disco club and edited, published and wrote for dozens of underground magazines.

To say that she is interesting is an understatement and now Miseducated gets the inside scoop on her most prominent hobby and her fabulous home.

Q

What is it about thrift shopping that gets you going?

A

“Definitely the thrill of the hunt! You never know what’s waiting on that table or in that box on the ground. At any moment you can find a treasure you’ve searched for five years, or you can go forever just having fun looking. It’s a great outing, can be great exercise and is the perfect way to spend time with friends.”

Q

How would you encourage someone to go thrifting if they had never been?

A

“Just about everyone collects something, so pointing out that any collection can benefit by a good thrifting trip is the first step to getting someone into the thrifting mood. A trip to a large antique mall, or a flea market that is known for vintage and antique items is ideal. You’ll be amazed with what a trip down memory lane a thrifting outing can bring.”

Q

What tips would you give someone who has never gone?

A

“If you’ve never been to say, a flea market before, or any antique venue, really– just ask your friends and relatives if they have any recommendations of good places to shop in your area. There are also flea market finders and antique store guides online, which are very helpful if you don’t know where to shop in your area.
Make a little ‘wish list’ in your head of what you would like to bring home with you at the day’s end, and tell anyone who goes with you what you’re after. It’s great fun to look for your friends, as well as yourself.”

Q

What are some of your favorite finds?

A

“Some of my favorite finds are things I didn’t even realize I would enjoy so much when I initially bought them. Little jewelry boxes, a small ceramic deer or a yard of colorful fabric can turn into something that puts a smile on your face each time you see them.
It’s always nice to find a good buy, too. When you find something that you thought was out of your price range for a real bargain, it can make a piece even more special.”

Q

You claim your house is authentic to the 60s’, tell us about it. What are your favorite pieces in your home?

A

“My house was built in 1960, and luckily some of the original lighting fixtures and other features are still present.
You have to remember, the 1960s were the golden age of the space-chase and “atomic” era. My grandparents who built the house spared no expense with placing the modern conveniences of the time into the house.
Some of the neat things that are still intact are an intercom system throughout the house that also can also double as a room-to-room stereo system, sputnik chandeliers, and electric switches located upstairs that can “pop” open & unlock the front and downstairs door. The stairwell banisters are also original and contain a popular 1950s “color block” pattern in very distinctive colors.
The craziest thing is probably the elevator. Yes, there is an elevator in my house that was installed in the late 1960s. It still works! Everyone can’t get over it. That’s why I love old houses– so much character!”

Q

What is your favorite piece of furniture?

A

“My favorite piece of furniture is a great blue swivel bucket chair from the early 1960s. It was bought for under fifty dollars from an antique mall in Virginia. It’s perfect.

Q

What are your favorite resources for kitsch and vintage?

A

“Estate sales! A decent one is so hard to come by, but if you can find one with the style of items you’re after– they are unmatchable! I can be like a kid in a candy store in the opening minutes of a great estate. Bargains galore and incredible finds!”

Q

What makes your home special?

A

“How many people can say they’ve lived in the same house there entire life? Most people can’t wait to move away from home when they “grow up.” I couldn’t wait to grow up and “inherit” my childhood home. The house was built in 1960 by my grandparents and has always been the center of attention in my hometown. In the ‘60s, a few of my uncles’ friends– the too-hip rock band, The Royal Guardsmen even held band practice in the downstairs rec-room. I’m currently trying to restore it to where it authentically looks as if you have stepped into the era that it was built.”

Q

What is your advice to readers looking for the vintage, kitschy feel?

A

“Flea markets, thrift stores, antique malls, garage sales, auctions & estate sales are all great places to find authentic vintage items. The best advice for any purchase you make it to buy what you like, then you’ll always be able to relate to your atmosphere.”

Q

What did you try to do in your home?

A

“That’s funny you should ask, I just repainted my bedroom a light lavender two weeks ago.
Currently I’m trying to “lighten” my house up a bit. I had dark orange and deep purple walls which were quite odd when you think about it. A can of paint can change the entire feel of a room. Sometimes if paint can’t help there are other solutions. For example, I couldn’t get the color of my living room walls ‘just right’ so I made an entire wall mirrored.
I try to never steal design ideas, but after seeing Elvis’ basement party room with wall to wall mirrors, I had to cop the idea. He was a man of great style!”

Q

What else inspires your decor? Do you read any decor information?

A

“I’m actually inspired by the items I find. I’ve been known to even build an entire room around one item. I collect vintage fabrics, textiles and crafting supplies whenever I run across them at thrift stores and yard sales. I save them and whenever I get the urge or the need for a new item, I try to make it myself. I pride myself in trying to be original and having one-of-a-kind items. I’ve learned the best way to achieve that is to make it yourself.”

Create a Record Bowl

Q

Can you teach us how to create anything ‘fab’, or point us in the direction of how to create something kitsch for our home?

A

“Here’s a really easy tip that can change a room’s whole appearance almost instantly. An old trick for instant art in the 1960s was to take a canvas frame and staple a piece of bright colorful fabric that you love, especially one that has an exciting pattern to it. I see copies of this style in decor stores now for well-over fifty dollars, when it is easy-as-pie to create your own for practically pennies. Plus, when you make it yourself– you pick the size, shape and pattern.

Record bowls make great conversation pieces, instant works of art, and great places to keep odds-and-ends! They are also pretty simple and fun to make. Follow these directions and you will have your very own record bowl in near-to-no time!

First of all you need to choose a record to make your bowl out of. A good choice is to find a newer VINYL record– ones that still have a little static cling when you run your hand over them work best. A neat twist you can try is to use colored vinyl! Colored vinyl, especially a few different colored record bowls in different sizes (7”, 10”, 12”) on a table together look really awesome!

Your first step in actually making your bowl will be preheating your oven to 350ˆ F.

Next put an oven-safe bowl slightly smaller than the record you are using on a cookie sheet on lowest shelf of the oven. Once the oven is nice-and-hot, use oven mitts to balance your record on top of the bowl in the oven.

After three or four minutes start checking for the record’s sides to start drooping over the sides of the bowl.

When the sides drop, carefully remove the whole record/bowl/cookie sheet from the oven. Now, pinch your record into the shape that you wish your bowl to be in, then leave it to cool.

If you happen to make a mistake, put your project back in the oven and start over again.

Enjoy your bowl!”

Q

Thank you for sharing your fabulous style and crafty project with us, Lala. Any last words for our readers?

A

“Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to talk about the things I love most! I hope that no matter what your style is that you have great success with creating a unique ambiance that makes you happy.”

Don’t forget to visit Lala’s official website for more kitschy-vintage fun!