Friday, March 25, 2011

The Virgin Suicides

We knew the girls were really women in disguise- that they understood love, and even death, and that our job was merely to create the noise that seemed to fascinate them.

"Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a 13-year-old girl."

 Sophia Coppola's 1999 film 'The Virgin Suicides' (based on Jeffrey Eugenides' book of the same title) is quite possibly my favorite movie ever. Dark, yes, but also so terribly ethereal and dreamy.
Musical score by the band Air = extra bonus points. 

I first saw this film when I was a senior in high school. I fell in love instantly. Perhaps it was because I was home sick for an entire semester that year and felt so alone, or because I grew up in a very suburban, very homogenized neighborhood in South Orange County, but I felt like Sophia Coppola dove into my head and fished out all the pretty and terrifying things and threw them all into one magnificent film. 
It haunted me. It still does.

"She was the still point of the turning world, man."
 Plot Synopsis: 
Strict parents Ronald and Sara Lisbon keep their five beautiful daughters (Therese, Mary, Bonnie, Lux, and Cecilia) sheltered from the world. When the youngest daughter, Cecilia, commits suicide during a party on her behalf, the neighbors gossip and judge rather than embrace and love the grieving family. In an attempt to let the girls have a normal life, Mr. and Mrs. Lisbon allow the girls to attend the school's Homecoming dance. After the dance, Lux fails to make curfew, and the family becomes even more reclusive. The neighborhood boys finally decide to call the girls, but they still seemed so distant. They were fading away. Ultimately, the girls' miserable house arrest could only be escaped by death.

Narrated in a collective first person voice (one voice for all the neighborhood boys) it focuses on looking back to the past to put together the pieces of the mystery surrounding the girls' deaths- how the boys tried reaching out to the girls, but ultimately how they couldn't save them from themselves or their parents. 
Why I Love It: 
The aesthetic of the film is dreamy- like old Polaroid shots- misty, understated and washed-out like a memory Appropriate, as the film is narrated in the past-tense. I especially love the sun shining through the trees, the golden-hued dream sequences, and the almost dusty quality of nearly every shot inside the house. The costume design was great because it wasn't the typical distractingly bad 1970s- bright clashing colors, lots of orange and tan, etc. It was light and airy. Sundresses, simple floral patterns, and school uniforms.

Brilliantly beautiful, but sometimes almost too painful to watch. If you were uncomfortable even for a second in high school, and I sure hope you were, you'll feel it all over again when watching this film. The awkwardness of the Homecoming dance in this film is comparable to the awkwardness of my senior year prom... the one formal I ever attended... in a "sadly hopeful" pink dress...with a blind date... who never called me after that night. 
I'm cringing right now.

Of course when I read the book a couple years later I loved that too, but the book focuses more on the point of view of the neighborhood boys. The film strays slightly from the book in that the viewer gets an inside look at the family dynamic of the Lisbon house. I loved seeing the inside of that house in the film. The set design was impeccable- the stickers on Cecilia's door, the perfume bottles, the squeaky recliner, the creepy bronzed baby shoes on the entry table, as though the parents couldn't embrace the fact that 
their children were growing up. 

It didn't matter in the end how old they had been, or that they were girls... but only that we had loved them... and that they hadn't heard us calling... still do not hear us calling them from out of those rooms... where they went to be alone for all time... and where we will never find the pieces to put them back together. 

A beautiful film. A haunting story. Characters you'll never be able to forget.  
Probably because you knew them. Or you were them.
I adore this film, but not everyone will. If you've sugar-coated your high school memories and want to continue thinking back on that time as "the best years of your life," then you won't much care for this film. 
But you'll never forget it.


P.S.- I just found this link to some scanned pages of a behind-the-scenes article from a magazine 
called "The Face." Great photos! Text by Sophia Coppola.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ready for Spring

Featured in Some Treasuries

Several of the items in my shop have recently been featured in Etsy treasuries. Here are two from yesterday:

Thank you, Aria and Sunny for including my pieces in these beautiful collections!

Vintage Watch Parts

I love this one because the numbers are visible even though it's so wonderfully worn. I'm also a big fan of sea creatures. The chain is a mixture of silver and brass- I think about 4 different chains all combined.
Ah, this necklace. One of my favorite things I've ever made. The little key is all scraped up and lovely, and the watch face is strangely and perfectly cracked and broken. It's so simple but it still tells a story.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Facebook Giveaway!

Like this? One lucky winner will receive this beautiful set! 
Just go to the Fox and Finch page on Facebook 
(click the link in the right-hand sidebar!), 
"like" the page, and find the giveaway post for instructions 
and rules for entry. Winner will be announced at 8 pm pacific time on Wednesday, March 16th. Good luck and spread the word! Thanks. :)

NEW Items in the Shop!

Locket Charm Necklace

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Double Chocolate Cupcakes


Baked these yesterday as a test batch for a coworker who wants 5 dozen "really dark" chocolate cupcakes for her upcoming wedding reception. The cupcake recipe itself was alright... I may alter it a bit 
(yogurt instead of buttermilk? Melted butter instead of oil?), but the frosting- oh my! So amazingly delicious. I've used this recipe before, with milk chocolate, for a 2 layered yellow cake. With dark (71% cacao) and 
ultra-dark (85% cacao) chocolate, though, it was absolutely phenomenal.

So, here are the recipes I used. 

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes - 'Martha Stewart's Cupcakes'
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk 1 1/2 c. flour, 1 1/2 c. sugar, 3/4 c. cocoa powder, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3/4 tsp baking powder and 3/4 tsp salt. Reduce speed to low and add 2 eggs, 3/4 c. buttermilk, 3 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and 3/4 c. warm water. Beat until smooth and combined. (It was super watery- I was concerned at first... wettest batter ever, but made for very moist cake.) Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake until done, about 20 minutes, rotating pan halfway through cooking time. Cool pan on a rack for 10 minutes before removing cupcakes. Cool completely before frosting. (The cookbook says it will yield 18, but I got one dozen regular sized, and 30 minis.)

I trust Martha, so I made these according to her recipe, but for the actual wedding reception cupcakes I used melted butter instead of oil (Because, really, why not? Butter rules!). I also replaced the 3/4 cup hot water with 3/4 cup hot, strong coffee. I'm not a coffee-drinker myself, but I keep some granules around for recipes, and it really bumped up the chocolate flavor. So good!

Foolproof Chocolate Frosting - Cook's Illustrated Magazine, April 2008
In a food processor, combine 20 Tbsp (2 1/2 sticks) slightly softened unsalted butter, 1 c. confectioner's sugar, 3/4 c. cocoa powder and a pinch of salt. Pulse until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add 3/4 c. light corn syrup, 1 tsp vanilla extract, and pulse until smooth. Add 8 ounces chocolate, melted and cooled, (You can use any type of good quality chocolate) and pulse until smooth and creamy. Can be made up to 3 hours before ready to use. Makes enough for a 2 layer cake, or lots of cupcakes. 
(Very soft, but pipes fairly neatly. Sets up very nicely after a day or so.)

I made some baby ones, too, because I'm a huge fan of mini food. Everything is better when it's mini sized.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kitschy critters

I made these this morning, then promptly photographed them and listed them in the shop. I even wore one for a little bit... I couldn't help myself. They're too cute. I love the Victorian romance of the flowers and keys combined with the kitschy cuteness of the bizarre vintage German pendants. They were so much fun to make!

At first I thought the squirrels were my favorite, but then the bunnies appear to be totally in love and the little birds are basically the happiest creatures in all existence, so I guess I love them all equally, and will have to make myself replicas of these pieces.

 They remind me of something you'd see on a vintage cross stitched pillow from the 60s or 70s... thanks to the vastness of the internet, I found a picture that sort of shows what I mean:

Later this week I plan on listing some darling rose cabochon earrings, except that I want to keep all 20 pairs that I made this morning!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A little bird told me...

So, I wore this all day at work to gauge reactions... and the consensus was: bird nest headband is a go! Yay! Since adding the pink highlights to my hair a month ago, I've gotten a bit more brave about funky hair pieces. This one takes the cake, so far. 

I added it to the shop, so now someone else can enjoy it!

Have a lovely day...... <3 Lauren