pink slips, etc

NO, NOT THAT KIND OF PINK SLIP!! The silky kind, the kind you want to see. we’ve got lots. We’ve got slips in other colors, too: tangerine, scarlet, black and cream, but you may notice by the photos that pink is the theme of this blog. Oooh, i hate the word blog. It’s such a dense word. But that’s off-topic. I went around taking photos in the shop and everything that caught my eye was the same rosy tone. It is spring in Portland, most emphatically. Our weather is spectacular, warm enough to wear a skirt and sunny enough to coax the irises out (and the daffodils, and the crocuses..). This is the magic hour, before hayfever starts in earnest, when outdoor activities hold the most appeal for me. Plus, I can bike to school and not come back in the dark (thanks to daylight savings). I’ve been rocking my Pandora station in the store and people are really commenting on it. It feels funny when people ask me what’s playing and I shrug my shoulders- it played the Ryan Adams song “firecracker” a few days in a row before I finally made it back to the computer to see what it was. I was totally surprised, I didn’t expect to like Ryan Adams so much. Here’s a link to Flutter’s pandora radio station online, and I think to connect you have to make an account with them. It’s free, and completely rewarding, and then you can listen to our stations whenever you want. Former unknowns may become guilty pleasures, and familiar musicians will show you sides you’ve never heard. It played a good Bowie song I’d never heard, and I have every one of his bbc/b-side/live/studio/compilation recordings up til the late 80’s. Yes, that means it was late-late-era Bowie, and yes, I did say it was good. Also, I’d never heard John Doe’s gorgeous solo stuff before, or Bobby Bare. Or Smog. If you find even one new artist you like through this site, then they’ve done their job. And then you can tell me all about it.

dazzled by vintage

Everyone knows the feeling of scoring a really great one-of-a-kind vintage piece, or if you don’t maybe you’re familiar with the feeling you get when you compliment someone on their Halston disco cocktail dress and they tell you the great story of where they found it (perhaps Flutter!)… any way you slice it, vintage is the way to go. It’s great for the environment. It’s easy on the pocketbook. It gives you the adrenaline rush of the hunt, and the thrill of discovery. It also whispers insidiously in your ear to take chances and be daring in ways you never would have thought of on your own. Let us investigate the newly laden racks at Flutter, shall we? Case number 1: the white leather belted coat with raccoon trim on the top AND bottom. Just putting it on is transformative, a cross between Margot Tannenbaum and Mia Wallace (both women who, though fictional, seem to appreciate the art of dressing up). Case number 2: the pink sequined miniskirt. Do I even need to say anything more here? If Madonna can do it, so can I. Case number 3: Huge gold earrings. If I look a bit overwhelmed in this picture, it’s only because I am dazzled by my own reflection in the mirror. Dressing up at work has never been so much fun.

*Sara Kolp

kick out winter gloom!

We all did our share of hibernating during Arctic Blast 08, but Cindy shook off her mantle of snow pretty quick and is already brightening up Flutter for spring. There are flashes of color everywhere you look, in fact the store really seems transformed. It’s like a kalaidescope of cool stuff. There are new rings and bracelets with deep green, turquoise or bright scarlet stones, and a new batch of scented candles from Voluspa in juicy lychee or orange blossom scents. We’ve also got their Valentine-ready line of seasonal perfumes, Fragaria and Josephine, which are just about as feminine as you can get. There are about twelve pairs of amazing vintage cowboy boots in ladylike sizes, and some sparkly belt buckles made by assembling complimentary jewelry pieces- they range from subtle and classy to completely ostentatious. There are velvety armchairs in candy colors, terrific stacks of books and cards and, yes, even more awesome old stamps than before. All of that and the gorgeous sustained sunshine are enough to help forget completely the doldroms of winter and point yourself boldly towards spring. Seasonal Affective Disorder? We’ve never heard of it.
**Teaser alert: By next week we should have lots of unaltered vintage dresses on the racks!

My Life, and other distractions

It’s been a whirlwind of impacted activities lately. Whirlwind is such a tame cliche, how about a hurricane of activities? Midterms, moving, all that other stuff.. then my daughter’s birthday sneaks up on me. Turning 8 is a big deal, and I didn’t want to rob her of her right to a lavish party just because I was a little busy, so I rented out the Mt. Scott skating rink. That place is awesome for a few reasons- they let you play your own music (Lola’s playlist consisted of La Bouche, Neil Young and New Order), they let you bring your own food (carrot sticks and brownies for us), and they have great skates. The rink itself is not as large or elegant as Oaks Park, and there’s no cool old photo booth, but it doesn’t smell like old pizza, and you can rent the entire thing out for private parties at a very affordable rate. Fortunately, I didn’t have to look far for great presents for her. She’d been eyeing a deck of Magic Cards for a while- they come with punctured aces, two-sided cards, blank cards and all kinds of crazy stuff. Now all I need is time to sit still while she practices them all on me. I need to practice my “amazed” face. There’s some Steve Martin quote about how everybody loves when tricks get messed up- honestly, it’s adorable, but I’d feel so bad if I laughed aloud.
Flutter has these amazing stamps right now from the fifties and up, from Hungary and India and all over really, and they’re 15 for $1! I could spend all day sifting through the box of them, the pictures are gorgeous. I made a collage with a stamp that looks just like her, reading a book- how appropriate! It’s the first thing she hung in her new room.

Urchin Manifesto


Sonia of Urchin has sent me some photos and a manifesto to share with the blog readers. She makes amazing dresses, headbands, necklaces, bracelets and art pieces of varying size and description. Her dresses are exquisitely tailored and can be altered to suit your exact size and shape. Her use of found objects and reconstructed vintage multimedia bits are testament to her endless creativity!
Here is her manifesto:
Urchin is a combination of old and new.
Vintage garments, accessories and ephemera undone, re-done, and as found.
It’s a mixture of the beautiful, delicate and intricate, with the crusty, rusty, and hopefully not too musty. It marries my passions: Vintage, apparel design, and scavenging/re-using.

The re-done garments are all hand draped and dress form fitted, the jewelry and feather pieces are designed on a dress form as well, so their proportions and esthetics are form tailored.
I hope you find some things you really enjoy.

Good Times on Rainy Days

It’s been so much fun at Flutter lately. It’s a small neighborhood, so I see a lot of the same characters every weekend, but I enjoy meeting new people and getting to hear a different point of view. A lot of out-of-town parents come through the store, dragged by their enthusiastic offspring exclaiming “they have real birds, come look!” or “check out their chandeliers, will you buy me one?”. I really get a kick out of showing people around the store, but my absolute favorite is when someone usurps my tour with their own witty and fascinating stories. A gentleman came in today and wanted a closer look at some delicately carved wood candle holders we have in the window. “See the antlers, how they touch the little branches of the tree? You know why they made it that way?” No, i humored him, why? I got a lengthy explanation of structural integrity in carved wood objects, he had me practically planning my own piece with his involved architectural gesturing and suggestions. This segued into a wonderful speech about bees, I’ll call it “how to fall in love with honeybees”. He told me to go to an amateur beekeeper meeting, find someone with a little hive, and ask if I could watch them when they switch trays. On a nice day, he said, not a rainy one, that would only irritate them (I guess I’ll have to wait til July). He told me to just watch them, to see how they groom each other and tend their young. He told me to watch for huddled groups of male bees ousted from the hive. He told me about these hives you can put in a wall, too small for honey production but big enough to house a little swarm. It sounds so cool to have a little bee colony as pets, to see them turning their eggs and building wax combs, to see the queen strutting her stuff. The best part was his plan for finding out whose bees come to his yard every day. “I’ll catch a few of them by their wings and put them in a little cigar box. Then, I’ll watch the remaining bees for as long as I can. They fly straight home once they eat. If I lose sight of them, I’ll open the cigar box and let one loose. It will circle a few times to get its bearings, then I can follow it to its hive.” I guess he wants to buy the honey the bees make from the flowers in his yard, or maybe he just wants to chat with another amateur beekeeper. What an awesome guy. What awesome bees. I decided to find some local honey, and to check out the book he referenced from the library, it’s called “ABC’s of beekeeping” or something. Above are some pictures of gorgeous things in the store: a silky kimono, a detail from an Urchin slipdress, and the wall of Mary’s crosses.

Ladies Art Explosion

If you haven’t been into Flutter lately, it’s worth an extra trip. It’s full of fantastic art by women in the neighborhood, even more than usual. Julia (Frocky Jack Morgan) and Sonia (Urchin) have brought in silky armfuls of reworked vintage dresses and fur coats. There’s one faux leopard print coat in particular that I love, it has “E S” sewn into the red wool lining- I like to think it belonged to Edie Sedgwick, or an adorable copycat. Up above there’s a picture of a sculpture Sonia made, it’s really pretty, like those jade flowers on mahogany that you see in super fancy chinese restaurants, only hers is made out of…… I won’t tell you. You have to come in to find out. Susan and Sari have, as you may already know, teamed up on jewel toned, silkscreened drapery panels and pillows that are brightening up the four corners of the store. The two of them are like a dream team of interior design, I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. It’s awesome that they thought to do made-to-order curtains, I bet they’ll be very popular. Curtains are the kind of thing people always put off, usually I end up hanging a spare sheet up on a rod and calling it a day. Mary, from Hail Mary on Killingsworth at NE 30th, has brought in a cadre of mosaic crosses and chalices as well as hanging lamps. The lamps are incredible- the chunky bits of colored glass look great when illuminated from the inside. I don’t know how she works in the patterns, it seems so complicated, but Mary is a master mosaicist and the effect is stunning. Every trip I make to Hail Mary inspires me to make more art, and now I get to see it at Flutter too. Another lady lending her talents to the store is the mysterious Elizabeth Johnson. Her crowns have been in the store for a few weeks; they are woven (sculpted?) out of bits of silk, lace and other soft gorgeous things, and her attention to detail makes me suspect there may be a union of elflings in league with her (see Cristin modeling one above). There’s a chandelier in the store done in a similar style, it’s deep blue and scarlet and cream lace and embroidery, I’ve never seen anything like it. Her art is sometimes at Bernadette Breu, like gigantic shell mosaics on bureaus and tables. In addition to all this magnificent talent there are the drawings that Casea and I made. We framed them in gold glitter, they’re in the window looking iconic. Of course, the mama of the operation, the grand dame Cindy, keeps it all looking stellar. Boy, can she move stuff around, no joke. You can check her out in this month’s Portland Monthly, there’s a great photo and interview.

Whew! That was a lot of action!! -sara kolp

Fun at Flutter

This is the best time of year. I love the feeling in here when it’s nice and warm but you can hear the rain on the roof and the swoosh of cars on the wet street. I love playing the accordion when no one’s in here, and I always get embarrassed when somebody walks in on me. I love helping people pick out presents. I love that I get to have so many random conversations with strangers at Flutter, I am always learning new things. Today I got to talk with this lady about her travels in Laos and Vietnam, it made me want to go. Usually, the tamale lady comes by at noon, and I buy six tamales for $5. Halloween was amazing, I went to a dance party dressed as Captain Hook. He represents everything that’s self-obsessed, sleazy and dishonest about adulthood, and he’s got great style. I just reread the original Peter Pan by J.M. Barre, it’s so deep. At midnight on Halloween I turned 29, and I carried the birthday vibe on to the next night by going out to another dance party. Birthdays always kind of bum me out, I haven’t figured out why. It’s not the getting older part, it has something to do with attention and expectations. In honor of aging and stop action animation, I’ll insert a Penny Cartoon here. These showed during episodes of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse when I was a kid, and I love them so much. The dialogue sounds like someone just turned on the tape recorder and captured a kid monologuing.

Sincerely, Sara Kolp [youtube=]

Shop Kitty!

Here’s a picture of our new shop kitty, Rizzo! She’s been with us now for almost two weeks, and is unbelievably well behaved. Well, she is a little too fascinated with our finches, but Cindy just got a new cage for them, and it’s hung on the wall where Rizzo can’t get at it. Cindy told me that the cat got into the old cage when she moved it and just sat there, checking out the bird vibes I guess. The Humane Society gave us these kitty nail tips called soft paws so she wouldn’t scratch the furniture, and they work so well. You just put glue in them and slip them on over their claws. We got a pink set, so it looks like she’s got a manicure. They’re so darn cute.
This is a picture I drew in the virgin mary sketchbook- there’s lots more where that came from. It’s from last week, when the muses were sweeping me off my feet. I finally edited the paper cuts atop action movie that my friends and I made last week, and it was submitted to the student film collective before the deadline! Yes!! I am usually a total loser when it comes to completing tasks. I am always reading three books, finishing none. Of course, I had tons of help, but the point is, we plucked the idea out of the ether and made it real. I learned so much doing it, and I am happy with how it turned out. There are two more that need to be edited, the two that I filmed in the store, and I’ll post them when they’re done. -sara kolp

This weekend I made like the masses and drove out to Sauvie Island (as an aside, I figured out why so many people call it Souvies Island: apparently it was renamed Souvies in the 1850s but the name never was committed to print, and lives on only in Portland vernacular). It was super crowded out there, but gorgeous and clear-skied. The textures of the rolling fields, with their rows of berries and sprawling pumpkins, were best viewed from the tractor-pulled hay ride. I bought some little cucumbers for pickling and some dark red apples that are crisp white inside, delicious fairy-tale apples.
Last week I had a customer ask me to show her around the perfumes of Flutter. She said she was a little obsessed with perfume, so I asked her what fragrances she liked. She looked me in the eye and said “leather”, so I steered her away from the “fleurs petillant” and towards the wonderful Amber by Cote Bastide. It smells like an oak whiskey barrel full of oily black vanilla pods. We talked about Chandler Burr, the brilliant perfume writer for the New York Times, and physicist/critic Luca Turin, subject of Burr’s book “the Emperor of Scent”. Both of them write volumes about perfumes and the heady cloud of culture and innuendo surrounding them. I tend to agree with them about 60% of the time, and they have turned me on to some amazing olfactory works of art, yet they are generally unimpressed by one of my favorite scents, Samsara by Guerlain. Turin said it was “more notable for its absence of faults than for its qualities”. He just hasn’t smelled it on me yet. Anyone who hasn’t been to the Perfume House on Hawthorne should make a trip down there and just smell for hours. Don’t spray one on yourself until you find one that’s just right, and then ask the kind people there if they can make a little tester of it for you. Last time I was in there I got a sample of the pink hand-grenade Agent Provocateur perfume, and the amber by Prada. Any of the Guerlain fragrances are transformative, they sit in these gilded bottles like a row of archetypical femininity; like the greek goddesses. Jardins de Bagatelle is like Diana, woodsy and floral. Mitsouko is like Aphrodite, obscenely perfect rose and peach. I think Samsara would be like Hera: overly sensual and heady, demanding, maybe a little needy. Hmm.