Friday, November 19, 2021

Art Project Reveal: The Tammy Jacket, Plus Red Leopard

Happy Friday, my friends! I have a lot to share, and frankly, blogging is not what I want to be doing on a Friday night, so you'll forgive me if I zoom through a ton of pictures. 



First up: 

Art Project Reveal: The Tammy Jacket

I know you want to see the Before...
And the After:
So pretty! I have tons of pics of the details down below - go ahead and scroll down if you're dying to see. 

Here's what I wore today. 
So much pattern! That's a lot of leopard, but I felt like a badass. 

  • Denim jacket - Smashed Lemon; last worn here in September with more black, white and red
  • Jeans - Smashed Lemon; last worn here with the jacket for Canada Day in July
  • Blouse - Brooks Brothers, consignment; last see here in February in vintage D&G
  • Shoes - Wittner, consignment; last worn here in August with satin and optics
  • Coat (below) - Denny Rose, consignment; last seen here in September

I liked the rose pattern mixed with the leopard. 
I rolled the jacket cuffs slightly, as they are quite long and I wanted a bit of the silk blouse's sleeves to poke out. 

No pic of the jacket off as it stayed on all day. 
I escaped the office for half an hour to drop off Tammy's jacket and took a few pics of her and her store. 

Masked up. 
I love this denim suit - it is one of my best purchases of the last couple of years. 

Outerwear - this coat was a snug fit over the jacket and blouse, but snuggly warm. 
It's a cashmere blend. More pattern! 

The temps are dipping down to 2 degrees tonight. Brrr! 

  • Scarf - Carol Gold, vintage, Lazy Susan's
  • Mask - by Mom
  • Gloves - Danier

Do you see the kitties on my mask?  

The stuff: 
Not sure if I am feeling these shoes. They're...fine. 

Black bling: 
All the badass stuff. 

  • Belt - gift from Ruth
  • Leather cuff - Guess, thrifted
  • Studded cuff = c. 1996
  • Necklace - Club Monaco
  • Zipper rose - V&A Museum gift shop, London
  • Earrings - thrifted
  • Hematite ring - thrifted
  • Silver/onyx ring - Toccara, vintage fair

Okay, back to the...

Art Project: The Tammy Jacket

Process and detail pictures, plus me blathering. 

Tammy's store, Catawampus Fudge & Funk, at 1208 Wharf Street, in Old Victoria. The building is known as Hartwig Court. I used to work in this building in the early 00s in an office, and before that, I worked across the road at the Christmas store in the 80s/90s. It's Gold Rush era, from 1882.
Tammy has been the sole owner/operator of Catawumpus Fudge & Funk for over 10 years. She's so small she doesn't have a website, but she did pen an article for the local paper about why she was staying open during the initial months of the pandemic here (all links 'cause I love, of course). 

I actually found a couple of pictures of this building in the Victoria Archives (here). Tammy's storefront is one of these. 
This is sometime in the 1950s, maybe? The entire building has been redone, but you can recognize the  mouldings and roof trim.

I think she might be in the Marine Supplies store. There's a restaurant now on the left of her
In the 90s, her store was an ice cream shop that catered to tourists. I often bought ice cream there in the summer. 

This is a major tourist walking route from the picturesque Inner Harbour - this is Wharf Street, so you're only steps from the ocean, although the street is about 30 feet above sea level. You can see a reflection of the old buildings across the street in the windows. 
I arrived a few minutes before she opened (oops!), but saw a light on and knocked, and there she was! 

Tammy specializes in fancy accessories and clothes: hats, scarves, purses, jewelry, plus odds and ends of weird and wonderful things and loads of dog and cat (and wine!) themed things. I caught her behind the counter, putting her homemade fudge out for the day. Note the old stone and brick and mortar walls, original to the building. 
"Don't post that one!" she said. Heh. That motorcycle helmet you see in the foreground is actually a real helmet - it's been upcycled into a backpack! Isn't that cool? 

I shoved the gift bag at her and stood back. 
Looks likes she's got lots of new stock in - I'll have go pop back and do some Christmas shopping soon. 

And here she is, with the jacket on. 
Ooh, I'm mesmerized by the pans of fudge behind her. It is the best fudge ever - I always buy a 1/2 pound box for L for Christmas every year in flavours I don't like. Otherwise I'd just scarf it all down. The salted caramel is to die for. 

Admiring herself in the mirror. 
I love all the clocks tick-tocking. Tammy, I hope you enjoy your "new" jacket - I loved making it for you. 


Tammy and I worked together at Fairweather, a mall chain that was around until the early 00s. She was the manager of the big store in downtown Victoria (at Eaton Centre, which is now the Bay Centre) and I was cruising through, dropping off paper resumes while I looked for part-time work while I was at university finishing my degree (after an 11-year gap).

I left my CV at the store, and headed off towards Eatons down the mall. Suddenly, I heard, "Sheila! Sheila! Wait!" and it was Tammy, running after me. She hired me on the spot. 

Tammy and I were an amazing tag-team on Saturday mornings, when I would handle "Beechers," a small section of the bigger store (with one of the in-house brands Beechers Brook) with its own separate changerooms and natural light, and she would do the main part of the store. On my way to work, I always stopped in at the now-gone Starbucks in the now-gone Chapters next door and picked us each up a ginormous coffee - mine with Hazelnut, hers with Irish Cream flavouring. We sucked them back and zoomed around on caffeine, handling the crowds until the rest of the day's staff came on. We usually worked straight through a nine-hour day, with an escape to the food court if we were lucky. And we did it in suits and heels! 

I worked there for two years and left just after I graduated in 2000 to find office work (regular hours and better pay being my goal), but Tammy and I kept in touch - we even went to Vegas together in August 2002. We always try to get together every 6 months or so for dinner and a catch up.

When we had dinner out recently, I wore my Tattoo Jacket and she admired it, and I encouraged her to bring stuff from her closet for me to decorate for her. She said she had this jacket in black as well, but rarely wore this one.  
That's a jacket just crying out for decoration! 
It has stretchy fabric panels on the sides and on the arms. 

I kind of knew what I wanted to do on it: a back panel with something relating to our long 20 year friendship, and I also knew that I wanted it to be tattoo-inspired. 
I searched on banners and tattoo fonts - I won't copy other artists' work, but I am happy to borrow ideas from clip-art! I used one of the banner styles for the shape and the other for line shading. 

That's my assembly of Tombow alcohol-based markers and my usual black permanent markers. I bought colours that Tammy wanted - pinks and purples - in an assortment, as you never know how they are going to work on leather or faux leather (which this jacket is).

I always do tests on the inside seams. 
Here I am discovering that one of my water-based pens barely shows and can also be wiped off with a damp paper towel. 

This was extremely useful, as the idea of free-handing multiple banners, a complicated font and also planning roses around it... was absolutely terrifying. 
I practiced the font on the bottom of the printed page to get a feel for it. This is actually a fun and not too tricky font to do. I'll use it again. 

I set up on the deck last weekend, on Saturday. 
I wanted to get this done for her birthday, but life got in the way. I was only 5 days late, though. This is definitely the fastest piece I've done, but my fingers (early arthritis, joy) are feeling it. 

Okay, let's look at these banners. My plan was to write, "Friends in Fair-Weather and Foul", a nice little nod to our days at Fairweather, plus testament to our long friendship. 
I practiced a bit on the bottom to get the hang of it. This is the style I used for the shapes. I had to plan out how the 5 words would balance. 

The I started sketching on the back to get each banner laid out. 
I nearly had "Friends" done, then realized that the word itself was off-balance, so I had to wipe it off and start again. So glad I didn't start with the permanent marker! 

My old skills from making hand-lettered signs for the Christmas store came back into play. In the Days Before Computers, all signs were hand-drawn! 

It's a bit hard to see, but here's the back, sketched out. My hand smudged some of it off as I went. 
You can kind of see the curlicues on the banners. 

I liked this one. Very curly.
I didn't angle the letters to fit the banners at first. 

I regret that on the "and" - but it's not a huge deal. 
There's the "Foul". Another nice curly bit on the banner at the bottom. 

Deep breath, the moment of truth. Permanent marker. 
I left gaps on the banners, so that I could draw roses and leaves overtop, to give it layers. 

Then I drew dots to indicate where roses would go. 
Always be planning! 

I did a light outline. 
Then went over all the lines to make them thicker and bolder later. 

I did the loose outline of the roses where I'd planned. See how nicely they overlap on the banners? A little planning goes a long way.
Then started darkening up the banners. 

I added lines for shading, and filled in and darkened the letters. 
Yeah, should have angled that "And". Grrr. Let it go, Sheila. 

Then I started darkening up the roses and adding details. 
And also the thorny vines. 

And here's the back, all done and waiting for colour. 
There is far more black than colour on this jacket. The black is all the work. 

Adding the pink and lavender, alternating colours. 
The darker purple marker looked too gloomy when I tested it on the inner seams, so I didn't use it.  

Now the greens (two shades) have been added and I've done some grey over the drawn shade lines on the banners. 
No more touching this. The back took about 5 hours. 

On to the sleeves! We need a little side interest to help balance that badass back. 
I like symmetry with an element of chaos. I mirrored the placement of the roses and where the leaves and thorny vines were, but they're not totally even, but they are balanced. 

Darkened up. I worked on the sleeves all day on Sunday while I watched football. 
I snuggled under my TV blanket with a bunch of pillows. 

And...about 5 hours later. 
The sleeves are done! I flipped the colours on each sleeve. 

On Monday night (during football), I roughed in the roses under the front lapels and down the front of the jacket. 
Secret roses! I start with the dot, then the rough roses. 

Down at the hem. 
About 3 hours later, I had darkened up one side. 
I stopped after that. Sore fingers. 

I spent another three hours yesterday/Thursday working out on the deck, darkening up the other lapel/side and adding colour. 
Both sides darkened and detailed. 

This is close to how the jacket hangs when it's on. 
And then I noticed...oh no...

I made a mark on the elbow, in a totally noticeable spot! 
This is permanent ink - it doesn't come off. 

So...and this was hard for me mentally...I let it go of all the little voices in my head, and I made it work. I noticed another mark on the back on the fabric part later and was able to shrug it off. That's how you know a real person drew this! 
I drew a leaf along the mark to hide it, and I added my signature (blotted out), Tammy's birthday this year, and a tattoo-style heart with a T. When I wore this yesterday, I found myself looking at it and smiling. I hope Tammy does the same. I'm thinking of you! 

Colour done! Woo! 
The colour part is really fast - I love my paint-markers for this. Colouring all of the front and lapels took only about 45 minutes. 
So pretty! 

I'm really happy with how this turned out. 
Ah, that is so awesome. Yay! On to the next project...

And now, my friends, I'm outta here for the weekend! Have a lovely one, and thank you for stopping by. I'll be back on Sunday with tales of adventure. 


  1. I loved reading about how you met Tammy and the fun times you had when you worked together. I'm swooning over the vintage carand van in the old photos and waned to dive into the screen to look at Tammy's incredible shop. Yep, I'd be buying all my Xmas presents from there, too. I rarely eat sweets but I'm rather partial to some fudge, too - mmm, salted caramel!!
    Tammy looks incredible in that jacket and it was wonderful to follow your progress, seeing it transformed from a plain piece to a work of art with such a meaningful and personal messgae.
    You are such an amazing friend. xxxx

  2. Sometimes life friend's come in unexpected encounters. Her store is so sweet, a good place to wander. The jacket is a gem.

  3. I loved seeing the transformation of that plain jacket into this real work of art! The details are just incredible. What a talent you've got, Sheila.
    Your leopard and roses outfit gets my full approval, what a way to end the week.
    What a lovely story about how you and Tammy met! You must have made quite an impression if she came running after you and hired you on the spot!
    What a wondrous shop she's got - and now I'm craving salted caramel fudge! xxx

  4. Sheila, That jacket is gorgeous! Well done. The colours are so soothing and the design is wonderful. I love how 'errors' turn into the best solutions. That is how we learn from mistakes. Amazing. Congratulations!

  5. The jacket is amazing. Seeing all the details, wow, it really is a fashion treasure you created here. Your red leopard outfit is fantastic as well. You suit up with style. Have a great weekend dear!!!!!!!

  6. You are AMAZING! That is an astounding art project! No wonder she was so excited! What a wonderful transformation from boring to stunning!!! What a good friend you are. It was lovely to hear about how you know each other and her shop looks sooooooooooooo exciting!x

  7. That jacket is incredibly beautiful, helt underbart vacker, if you´d like a little Swedish.
    Your pictures from Tammy´s shop also solved a problem of min, namely what to do with a bag of hand-spun wool that has been lying around for months. Reflected in the store window is a jacket, like a haori with (I think) embroidered roses on the front.I have now started knitting something like it!

    I enjoy your blog and I visit almost every day. The sad thing is I live many miles out in the forest and there are no consignment shops near (or far!). I envy your wee shopping tours!

    Keep up the good work!
    Eva in Sweden

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Eva! I'm glad this picture inspired you!

  8. The jacket you created is uplifting and eye-catching, and the story behind the words you chose and how you and Tammy met imbues the jacket with even more zest. The original jacket was nothing special, no wonder Tammy didn’t wear it much. Now she has a piece that is both stunning and filled with positive sentiment. I admire your artistry, vision and patience! I also appreciate your letting go of “goofs.”

    When I taught there would be parent tours every so often. As I was in a Maker Space, we had several sayings about “mistakes” including “You made a mistake, how wonderful!” (Taken from a video of a talk by Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic.) I used to share that with parents and then suggested they let their children see how they react to making their own mistakes. It can be very revealing. These were parents of 5-8 year olds.

    Your pants suit is wowing me and making me think how cool it would be to have an outfit like this. Hoping all those good vibes filled your weekend with delight!

  9. Ooh... the jacket!! Do you accept commissions?!

    And you don't think I could resist talking about a motorcycle helmet backpack, do you?

    1. If you have something you think would work, send me an email with the details and pictures of the item, and I'll look at it. If I can play with it, I'll have you send it to me! Totally! No charge, of course.

  10. This jacket and all of your artwork is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your creative process, I enjoyed it.

  11. I came across this article about a fashion writer of the 1400s and thought of you. The lovely colours and descriptions are a huge attraction of your blog, just as they were for this writer. (I hope the link works!)

  12. The whole jacket looks fabulous, but the back of it, with the perfect message is my favourite. Well done you! It looks like Tammy was thrilled with your gift.

  13. This is such a beautiful jacket and I really like the little extra decoration you had to add to that one sleeve after you noticed the pen mark! IT personalises an already special piece even more. Such a lovely gift for your friend!

  14. This jacket is a masterpiece!!! You have extraordinary patience, talent, and dedication. Just seeing these pictures of your handiwork brightened my day ever so much.

  15. That jacket is a stunner and you are very talented. Your friend is a lucky girl.

  16. I am a lucky girl indeed!!! Not just to have this lovely woman as a dear friend for over 20 years but to have someone in my life that cares so much and is always so inspirational, talented and uplifting. Words can't even describe how I felt when I opened the converted "Tammy Jacket", it is so much more than a masterpiece and made with the heartfelt thoughts of our journey together. I am so excited to wear it and show it off. I will definitely be thinking of you every time I put it on!!!Thank you for such an incredible gift and for our years of friendship!!! You're the best!!!

    1. Aw, it was a pleasure making this for you, Tammy, and I hope you wear it and are enveloped in the love.

  17. That is AMAZING! A real work of art - it says so much about how strong your friendship is. (Also: hurrah for the badass suit.)

  18. Leopard + roses all in a chic, gothy, rocker-esque palette of crimson and black is one of the most stunning ensembles I have ever laid eyes on. Seriously. You knocked this one out of the stratosphere, my dear friend.

    Just as you did with the Tammy jacket. Absolutely stellar work!!!

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

  19. Totally Fabulous!, love to see the work in progress and the way you drawed it, then coloured and how much time, effort and talent it took!
    And love Tammy's shop, totally my kind of cute local shop to visit for a chat and buy some original accessories!. And fudge!
    Obviously, I have to comment on your fab red leopard suit, one of my favourite suits ever! And you Rock it!, love particularly the badass black accessorizing!


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