Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

This is a write up of a unicorn costume I made last summer, I can’t believe I never posted it here!! I think it was maybe before I started this particular blog? Anyway…this is the first time I ever dressed up as a unicorn and what started me on a hair adventure that ended up in a mohawk :)

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

I made this outfit the night before the event!  My headdress was so heavy and unbalanced that I pulled up my hair and sewed it on with big yarn!  I borrowed a cyberlox hair fall from my roommate and added some of my own flair to it to make it more of a mane and horn.  This bikini top is very simple, more or less a rectangle gathered in the middle with straps. I love this top because it’s reversible!

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

The hooves were one of my favorite parts of this project. I had a blue holographic bag that I got at a thrift store and I knew it would be perfect for the horn and hooves.  The hooves are also quite simple though I can’t find anything online similar to what I made so I should make a tutorial for you!

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

This skirt is truly a favorite! It’s based off a treasured vintage piece my friend Eddie Kent found for me several years ago.  There are lots of great tutorials for similar skirts so check ‘em out and experiment.  I made mine tie in front so it would adjust to different parts of my body depending on my whims.  I didn’t have good comfortable shoes that looked cute so at the last second I tied some fabric onto my shoes and voila! Cute and comfy!

Tess @ Kaleidoscope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

Tess @ Kaleidoscope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

It’s hard to resist holding your hooves up when you have them!

Tess @ Kaleidoscope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

Back view of the headdress, hello tattoo!

Unicorn Ike at Kaleidoscope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

I decided to make blue costumes as Ike always wears the color blue and I wanted a good excuse to make him a new pair of bell bottom pants. Ike was a saint and carried all my gear so I could prance about.

Unicorn Ike at Kaleidoscope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

Ike made his own horn. And I love those glasses!


Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

Last minute swishy tail. Just some cut up fabric attached with a giant safety pin.

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

We found lots of blue friends, awww!  I also got some cute picture of other unicorns! Check out ‘em out in rainbow order!

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

Chris makes amazing tie dyed flags.

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

Eva is amazing and always wears amazing bicycle helmets!

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

Disco Unicorn!

Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition


Kaleidescope: Rainbow Unicorn Edition

And my favorite unicorn of all Ali Luminescent!  She is truly amazing and one of my biggest inspirations. She is always doing some sort of amazing creative project and brings so much light to this world. She led us on this parade for hours on stilts!

Boston is really rainy now so it’s beautiful to go back in time to when the sun was energizing atoms to warm our skin :)

<3 Tess Aquarium

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Iphone Journaling

For the next while my posts are going to be all over the time and place as I go through my photo archives to share things.  These are a few slice of life Iphone snaps from right before I left in August til arriving in SF a few weeks ago. Enjoy!

My new and totally ridiculous hat.

I swore I wasn’t going to buy any more stuff from my work (which is full of amazing and inexpensive STUFF) but I saw this hat and couldn’t resist. I added the pheasant feathers, the duck feathers came with it. I ended up adding shorter feathers as these took out anyone who walked behind me! When I wear this hat (especially if I’m using my cane!) I get the BEST compliments from people who normally don’t acknowledge me. One thing about using a cane is it’s made me see the world in a totally different way.

Hasta la vista, Boston!

Lily dog sits on my lap for her last drive down Memorial Drive. She was such a good little doggy and really took the car travel and hotel stays in stride!

Kim Jong Il'n

Ike got these glasses for us. I think he may have been a little bit serious. I mean, he looks so serious in this picture. We both do.

Blue skies and puffy clouds abound here in the midwest. Reminds me of Magritte. http://tinyurl.com/43uxeqg

Pretty clouds in Indiana. Fluffy, beautiful clouds.


Wow, after that we jump to Reno! Post Burning Man. I feel like I went to every single thrift store in Reno, which has bunches! I found a giant pink piece of coral that I’m so excited to display once I’m not a hobo.

Beautiful mural in the mission.

I am absolutely bananas for this mural in Clarion Alley in San Francisco. What’s not to love?

Itty bitty Meyer lemon from the tree in the yard where we are staying

The friend we were staying with had a lemon tree in their yard. I grew up eating lemons from our greenhouse all winter so this was a nostalgic treat.

Reblued my hair. Feels so good.

Me giving face in my friends front yard. I’d just retouched my hair. I felt so bad, I didn’t notice that there was a white washcloth in the shower and I totally stained it blue! I don’t mind staining my own possessions but feel terribly guilty if I stain anyone elses!

Cat ears and pimp coat ab to head to a psy trance happy hour w Zach :)

And my final iphone life pic, me dress up at a kitty pimp on my way to a Psy Trance happy hour with my friend Zach. Now I’m not crazy about Psy Trance but I do like happy hours and Zach so it was quite delightful :) A little secret? I dislike Psy Trance because I find it impossible to dance to which is perfect for the state of my back right now (as in, no dancing for a while!). I wasn’t even tempted.

(ps my ears light up! I made them from scrap faux fur and suede while I was down for the count at Burning Man)

xoxo Tess Aquarium

Posted in Costumes, Good Lookin', Self Portraits | 2 Comments

My Pilgrimage to Carhenge

I don’t know at what point I heard of Carhenge, but at that moment I became obsessed. Something about how silly it seemed, while being so serious. So big. Made of steel and paint. But mostly I loved it because it was so farcical. Over the years I’ve only made it to one other Stonehenge in the US, of which there are many, though I’ve passed within 3 hours of the version in Washington State 2x. Being in a rush on a road trip can mean sacrificing large roadside attractions.

Fast forward to July. Ike and I decided to break up but still be friends and go on a big road trip together. We charted the skeleton of our trip, the first leg being Boston to Seattle via Cleveland on 1-80. Carhenge was only 3 hours off the freeway so we HAD to go. I couldn’t get that close and not go!

While on the road I decided that a photo shoot at Carhenge would be an amazing place to debut my new fashion concept, Tribal Psychedelic. My friend Aimee made me some truly amazing earrings and I wanted to make them my centerpiece.

Tribal Psychedelic

Unfortunately due to my back and the fact that it was hard to drive all night and all day we didn’t make it to Carhenge until sunset. Although my grand schemes of a fabulous photo shoot were foiled (we literally ran out of the car towards Carhenge to capture the remaining light), we still got some amazing shots! Check ‘em out.

Carhenge and Lily

Lookit little Lily dog! She was so sick of being cooped up in the car and was ready for adventure!


Grainy iphone pic. I think those cars look so adorable propped up there.


Hulk Tess holds up ancient cars.


Serious face.

Carhenge Pinup

Carhenge Pin-up.

What a blast! I’m already dreaming up my next visit! Been to any amazing roadside attractions this summer?

xo Miss Tess Aquarium

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Under the sea with Tess Aquarium

Sorry to be AWOL folks!! I going to be moving to San Francisco in less than 3 weeks and I’ve been running around the country and working so I haven’t had much internet time! Hopefully this mermaid will make up for it!

So in early June I posed for *****Dr. Sketchy’s in Boston  (organized by Aliza Shapiro of Truth Serum) with my friend Madelaine and we wanted to do an assortment of fantasy creatures, including a mermaid. I’ve been wanting to may a mermaid costume for a very long time and there was an event I wanted to attend themed “Atlantis” the week before so I decided to make my costume earlier so I could wear it there. I ended up staying awake until 4 am to finish the costume :)

I started with the skirt. I wanted to be able to walk in my skirt while keeping it super tight. The solution I came up with was to insert a zipper into the back seam. In the end I didn’t actually end up using it while I was at the club, it was just too funny to mince about with my mermaid hobble skirt. If there is interest I can give a lesson on how I made the tail, I’ve made 1 more since so I have it down.

I absolutely love headdresses and made that next, I had a blue bikini that I could wear if I didn’t get the top finished. I found the sea shells at the dollar store and the headband and zip ties for the spines of the fins at the dollar store. All I did was arrange the zip ties in a finny pattern on the headband and glue fabric to it, then cut it out to make the curved spaces between the spines. Then I wired a broken old necklace to the front and glued sea shells to it and I was done!

The top was quite simple, just a halter top with lots of necklaces dangling off to look dramatic and like I swam through some necklace sea weed and they got stuck. The last thing I made were these hand fins. I was so bummed that I left them home for “Atlantis” because I was supposed to look like an evil sea creature :) Minus those I looked nice and pretty!! It was very late when I made these so they aren’t the best thing I’ve ever made. I would like to revisit this concept and make some really cool fins where the glove goes up to my elbow.

I hope you enjoyed looking! Here are a few more pictures of the costume in action!

Me at No Tomorrow! I just flopped around on a pool table most of the event acting all fishy :) BTW My makeup took about 2 hours to do! Eek!! Maybe not the best idea since the club was so dark :) (Pics by Brianna K. Lord, thanks!)

This is my day after makeup photo shoot :) That stuff was on GOOD!!! Tip: Eyelash glue on glitter. Lasts a long time and looks awesome. Very Very difficult to remove, though!

And lastly some photos of me and Madelaine at Dr. Sketchy’s :) Warning: pasties are involved so if you have delicate sensibilities or are one of my relatives you may want to skip over the last few ;)

Aliza, Madelaine and me looking cute during one of the prize give aways.

Hold very still. 20 minute poses are hard!

Serious mermaids are serious.

Madelaine is so cute!

Drawing contest! There were some really amazing drawings made!

Caught Madelaine in my net, win!

Thanks for reading!!

xo Tess Aquarium

*****Aliza Shapiro who runs Truth Serum productions and does AMAZING work for the community here in Boston recently had a brain hemorrhage! Folks have organized a fundraiser to help her with her medical expenses as she has no insurance. If you feel like donating, even a small amount, you can do so here: http://alizabraintrust.org/

Posted in Costumes, Modelling, Portfolio, Projects | 5 Comments

Zoom zoom!

I hate to neglect my blog but things are totally nutso right now! After wrapping Project Runway (omg can’t wait to post about it!!!) I got back to Boston and rested a bit, then dived right back into work. Today I’m going on 13 hours which is really quite reasonable after a 20 hour day on Friday (with a 5 am call time, oh geez!).  I am leaving for Vermont Wednesday am Firefly, which is a small art festival.  I’m going to give away 100 light up tutu’s, among other things. Fun!! So much work to do.

I have a few pictures from a photo shoot I did way back in march with Teressa of Art and Discord. We totally clicked and had an awesome time walking around MIT’s campus snapping photos and astonishing a huge group of Chinese tourists who all want to take pics with me one by one :)
Anyway, onto the photos! All by Art and Discord. Modeled and styled by me!

Thanks for looking! I had so much fun on this shoot!

xo Tess Aquarium

Posted in Costumes, Good Lookin', Modelling, Projects | 2 Comments

Big News: Project Runway!

Hey guys! I have some super duper big news, check out this Press Release:

Big News!

On this season of Project Runway they must fill a tall order! Project Runway will create hand-crafted couture for amazing stiltressess Ali Luminescent, Anya, Claire de Luxe, Tess Aquarium, Airin Dalton, Tara McMannus, and Kathryn Van Assche. We will be gracing the PROJECT RUNWAYs first ever outdoor public fashion show at 9am Friday morning at Esplanade Plaza@Battery Park City (cross st Liberty st and South end). Standing Room Only.

This show is open to the public and you are welcome to attend.

See you there!!

xo Ali Luminescent

Amazing, right????? So if you are in NYC come and see the amazing creations the designers are making!

xo Tess Aquarium

(PS add my fan page on Facebook!


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Stunning in Silver: Custom Costumes for Vadalna

Time to do a little show and tell. A few months ago I wrapped up some custom costumes for Vadalna, a Tribal Fusion belly dancing troupe here in Boston.  The concept was to create something that gave a little nod to classic 40′s glamor, but with a belly dancing twist.  I had a few meetings with Naraya to figure out what they needed to be doing in these outfits and what they were looking for.

This was my first time making stuff for belly dancers so I did lots of  research! I’ve learned a tiny bit about belly dancing in  a class with Claire at Burning Man so I knew  a little bit about what needed to happen. These outfits were definitely a collaboration, I created the skirt, arm bands, belts and hats and the dancers made their tops and added all the BLING to them. I think these outfits came out beautifully, the silver fabric is so drapey and amazing in person.  I’ve had a lot of comments on the skirts so keep your eyes peeled for a tutorial on how to make your own!

All photos taken by Pixie Vision Productions who is totally amazing and I’m bummed I didn’t schedule a shoot with her when she was in town.


Aren’t these ladies simply stunning? Big thanks to Inaya, Kalidasi, Katie, Naraya and Shakti for being such glowing beacons of beauty and grace!

Find Vadalna: Twitter and Facebook
Find Pixie Vision: Facebook and Blog and Model Mayhem

xo Miss Tess Aquarium

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Day Glo Daydream: Isabelle

Oh my gosh, what a weekend!! Marching in the Pride Parade on stilts in the rain, taking in a circus and the modelling for Dr. Sketchy’s Boston with Madelaine. I am sooo groggy today, so this post is going to be heavy on pics and light on text.

This is Isabelle, I met her when she filmed me for part of a documentary for her film class. I wanted her dress to be fun, colorful and big! These are not uncommon goals for me to have :) I found this rainbow tie dye chiffon and neon melon fabric and had to use it. Here is Isabelle at her first fitting while I safety pin the darts in her bodice. Though the skirt doesn’t look too bulky there’s about 20 feet of fabric gathered in there!

You can see that it is too long and not puffy enough. I then removed about 10 inches off and added a super wide horsehair braid.  Next up was figuring out how I wanted the butterflies on the neckline to be. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make them the straps of the dress or make a necklace.

Fortunately the decision was made easy by my assistant K8 who came over Friday before the fashion show and made all the accessories with my creative direction (and a lot of her creativity, too).  This is what she came up with:

Tubular crin, extra fabric from the dress and sparkly beads. Before a fashion show there is a lot of waiting to be done and this necklace kept Isabelle entertained (when she wasn’t busy helping out with stuff like taping the bottom of shoes) for the entire time. The crin is super sproingy and lots of fun!

The rest of the Photos are by Tom Kershaw

Karmaloop lent up shoes and Isabelle had bit white Lita’s from Jeffrey Campbell and those could absolutely not go outside, considering the rain.  She borrowed Amy’s shoes which are far too large but I think it looks so cute, she looks like a little kid!  You can see the back here, it laces up with some neon yellow ribbon.

Yay Baloons!

Gotta love the sign that k8 made me for Bazaar Bizarre in December, it made a perfect little prop!  You can see my outfit, too, quick and dirty. I made it the morning before the show at 5 am :) It’s just a simple 2 circle skirt, very full and it’s totally awesome when I spin!! Sometimes the things I make quickly without plans come out really well, I wear this skirt at least 1x a week now!

That is the end of my outfits from the Get Together Fashion show.  I may share a few more pics later as we are still waiting on one of the photographers to get pics to us, but those will be awesome actions shots of the show itself!

Have a good Monday folks!

xo Miss Tess Aquarium

PS Add my fan page on Facebook! I share different/more picture over there as well as event announcements and occasional wild card updates!

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Dorothy the Fox

Just wanted to share a project that I finished last summer for my friend Dorothy. She wanted to look like an adorable fox and that’s what she got! She wanted it to be soft and cozy, and easy to run around in.  She was planning on wearing this to Burning Man so layering is super important (the weather changes drastically) and it’s fun to have several outfits in one, all the pieces coordinate and can be worn together or seperate. All in all I think it had 10 parts: hooded cropped sleeveless jacket, mini skirt, booty shorts, leg warmers (2), mitts (2), fuzzy bra, detachable tail, and belt pouch. Check it out:

The costume is made up of cuddle fleece and fur. The hood is made of cuddle fleece as well as lined with a minky fur. It is soooo soft and cozy. Dorothy is so squeezable always, and now she’s extra cozy.

One of my favorite details on this piece are the ears. I put snaps on them so the can be worn up (excited), down (playful) and one each way (quizzical)

And just for the record this was not intended to look like a Firefox, but it is a bit uncanny :) Nerdy and hot, yay!

xoxo Miss Tess Aquarium

Posted in Portfolio | 2 Comments

Tutu Tuesday Resources!

So I did a great big tutu making event for the public this weekend as part of Figment Boston.  Figment is a totally free, volunteer run, participatory arts festival inside Boston and other fine cities around the country!  I’ve done tutu making events at small arts festivals and it’s always been well received but this was my first time doing it with the general public!!  To say it went well was an understatement, I ran out of 75% of my tutu supplies in about 2 1/2 hours on Saturday and the remainder went in 1 1/2 hours on Sunday.  My best guess would be that between 125-140 tutus were made.  That’s just a guess as there were lots of little tiny ones who didn’t need much fabric.  I ran out of 125 yds of elastic towards the end, and it takes a yard or less to make a tutu.

To continue the spirits of fun interactive costuming projects I wanted to share my resources and tips! First up, here are the basic instructions:

These should be ready to print, cut and hand out.

Next up, fabric! You can buy tulle on bolts at the fabric store + cut it into strips using scissors or a rotary cutter. If you are doing 1 tutu this is fine but if you want to do more than 1 I recommend buying tulle on the spool.  The tulle for my Figment project was donated by Edley Associates, Inc + they have very reasonable prices for large quantities of tulle.  Each tutu was apprx 1-3 total spools (5″ by 25 ‘) cut  at 3 foot lengths.

How did I cut everything to the same length? I got creative! Using 2 kitchen chairs places side by side, a piece of wood, a paint stir stick, a zip tie, a broken tent pole and a wire centered plastic orchid:

Basically we just wrapped the tulle around the chairs and cut at each end.  I did two spool at a time which is why we used the zip tie/stir stick to keep them separated.  After they were wound + cut all we did was tie the whole bundle together and set it aside. Easy peasy!

You can make the tutu’s any length, I decided to do these a little shorter than I’ve done in the past to make the tulle go further + in case there were lots of children (which there were!)

So that is tutu making in short! I hope this shows how simple it is to throw a tutu event, it just requires a little bit of knowledge and preparation.  If you have any questions at all, or comments, or pictures just email me/post here! I’d love to help you out and see your projects!

In closing here’s a quick pic I yanked from my friend Anne Lodick :) Shows just how wild tutu making got!! Hurray!

xo Miss Tess Aquarium

PS Thank you to Andrew Wienstock of Edley Associates, Inc for providing the tulle, it could not have happened with out you! Thank you to Ali and Justin who rescued me the night before + made the tutu flyer (I don’t have photoshop at home).  More thanks goes to Kendra who not only helped me prep, she also helped me all day Saturday and even got a total dude to make and wear a tutu (she wins Figment for that)! And special special thanks goes to Ike who helps me out so much with my projects with moral support, snacks + hauling my crazy ideas all over the place :)

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