Painting Cats in Clothes Inspired by Literature

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You Know It’s Time To Weed Your Closet When…

You reach for a shirt to put on, and catch your 10-year-old daughter studying you critically:

“Mommy, I think that shirt is too small for you. Or else it must really stretch.”

There it is. An incontrovertible sign that you’ve been holding onto clothes long past their expiration date.

Of course, there were earlier warnings…. twelve years ago, your mother came to visit and subsequently raided your closet while you were at work. Cherished sweaters were gobbled up into a black garbage bag, never to be seen again. (I did force her to retrieve one jacket from the Goodwill where she donated it)

I’m not a serious hoarder. Honestly. Things do tend to collect over time, but twice a year I’ll go into a fit of craziness, unable to stand the clutter… and I’ll clean out my desk drawers, shelves, refrigerator (haha! Actually we clean that out once a month), children’s toy boxes, and the vehicle.
At the end of each season, I’ll weed through my kids’ closet and dresser… either relocating older siblings’ clothes into younger siblings’ drawers, or else boxing up the outgrown items for friends’ babies and the Goodwill.

But I can’t seem to manage my own wardrobe. I’ve prided myself on being thrifty with my clothes… jeans get re-purposed into shorts, sweaters become vests, and I’ll wear a T-shirt until the holes out-measure the fabric. My closet is full of shirts and sweaters I’ve owned since high school, and in some cases ~ junior high, and I’m not ashamed to say so.

However…

“The time has come”, my daughter says, “to talk of many things. Of shoes, and sweats, and turtle-necks, pajama tops, and tees.
And why the drawers are overflow’n, and whether Mom can squeeze….
(into that small shirt).”

Let it be known that on this day ~ May the 22nd, in the year 2012 ~ Tara Fly did hereby successfully rid her closet and dresser of 36 articles of clothing, including sweaters, t-shirts, jeans, spandex, tank tops, shorts, and nightgowns; she has pledged to continue her effects on the two remaining undergarment/sock drawers, to be completed within the next month.

I thought you might be curious to see what has been lurking in my closet for the last decade… so I documented the event with pictures.

WARNING: This blog post contains a large quantity of photographs, which may slow down your computer, cause loud snorts of laughter, and may not be suitable for workplace viewing.

If you think you can handle it…. proceed scrolling. ;)

Case 1:

Here Comes Santa Paws kitty cat nightgown

I’m not really a nightgown kinda gal anymore… I feel more comfortable in pajamas, but let’s face it, I usually fall asleep wearing the clothes I wore all day.
So how does an individual who is allergic to holidays come into possession of not ONE ~ but TWO ~ holiday nightgowns?
I can answer with one word:

Mom.

My other holiday nightgown boasts a reindeer on it. But it’s flannel and fuzzy, with long sleeves, making it perfect for those long winter nights.
Alas, I haven’t worn Santa Paws in years….

Case 2:

Spandex biker pants

In the early 1990’s, these Spandex biker pants rarely came off my body… except to be washed. They were, without a doubt, my favorite form of leg-wear.
Confident in my style choices, I bravely wore them throughout my freshman year of high-school, earning me the reputation for being “stuck in the 80’s.”

I guess the extra-large sweaters, poofy bangs, and obsession with DeLorean time-machines didn’t help either. :P

Case 3:

vintage Garfield the Cat nightgown

This gown is so old, the image of Garfield (holding a candy bar) is barely visible, and the quote has long since disappeared which read: “A stomach is a terrible thing to waste.”

This was another contribution from my mother… which I believe was given to her by my aunt. So this gown should really stay in the family, bequeathed to each generation of girls. Lydia, Mia, please don’t fight over it!

Case 4:

ribbon pattern pajama top

This pajama top has been missing its bottom half for over a decade. My mother bought it for me because it matched the ribbon patterned fabric on my bed sheet.

The bed sheet ~ (no, I do NOT still have it! Sheesh!) was an orphan that my mom found in the communal laundry facility of our Silver Spring apartment building, circa 1983. She swears she waited, for a couple of days, for someone to claim the bed sheet before she brought it home.
You know, in case someone remembers having a ribbon-patterned bed sheet stolen from their dryer almost 30 years ago. ;)

Case 5:

Fluffy pink sweater

This large pink sweater… which actually doesn’t look terribly bad. Except that it gets very itchy after awhile. I can’t stand itchy fabric… I’m also throwing away an itchy nightgown (whoever would wear an itchy nightgown? Mom?!)

Case 6:

paisley printed shirts

I love… love….LOVE these paisley shirts. Even though the two on the right are 12+ years old, and the left two are almost 8 years old, I’ve been hanging onto them because they were very flattering and suited my skin tone. However, they’ve lost their shape, and the left two are waaay too small across the shoulders and …*cough*… the bosom. And these shirts don’t stretch.

See, Lydia? I can admit when a shirt is too small. ;)

Case 7:

Cat and Phantom of the Opera t-shirt

I purchased this Phantom of the Opera shirt in the summer of ’94, after seeing the musical on Broadway. It has been loved over the years, but I haven’t worn it recently. Honestly, I just don’t see myself reaching for it any time soon. So into the scraps pile it goes.

Case 8:

Asian printed shirt

A tiny Asian-printed shirt that I .. *a-hem* … “outgrew” a few years ago. My 10-year-old expressed an interest in it, but like a stray animal, it keeps finding its way back to my closet. I’ll give her One. More. Chance. to keep it on a leash before sending it away.

Case 9:

A bright orange sweater

A bright orange sweater… a gift from Mom. I must confess I’ve never actually worn this sweater, because bright orange isn’t my color. Somebody, somewhere, may look good in bright orange. But it isn’t me.

Case 10:

Striped Dress Pants

These black and white striped dress pants earned the nickname “Circus Pants” from my classmates. I guess because the reminded people of the tall man on stilts. They actually don’t look half-bad with a black or white blouse. However, they wrinkle very easily, and I’m a no-frills kinda gal; if I bother to get the iron warmed up, my pants had better stay wrinkle-free afterwards.

Case 11:

Hagerstown Walmart 1674

I no longer work there. Actually, this shirt should be burned! ….Enough said. :P

Case 12:

Jean shorts

These “shorts” began their journey as a pair of jeans that I outgrew in high school. After cropping the too-short legs off of them, I was able to extend their life a few more years. Until the front button popped off.

And then I did the unthinkable… oh yes. I did.

Safety pinned shorts

I used a safety pin instead.


This was just a small sampling of the horrors that lie buried in my closet. Some were too gruesome to share, and others were the usual suspects – faded designs, duplicate tees (doesn’t everyone have copies? I have several!) broken spaghetti straps, rips and holes that I planned to mend…. someday.

I had to ask myself, in my most condescending attitude, “Tara, will you fix those broken straps right now? Later today? Tomorrow? By the end of this week?”

Of course not. I will never fix them. It’s time to acknowledge my weaknesses and move on.

Now I have empty hangers and extra space in my dresser for any new or second-hand nightgowns that my mother decides to send. :)

Maybe my daughter and I will finally go shopping for Mommy’s new clothes…. apparel that doesn’t require stretching for me to squeeze into.

[Blogger’s note: Some sentimental items do still remain in my closet, despite their eligibility to be tossed. Perhaps I’ll share pics of those Left-Behind next time!]


These awesome polaroid frames were courtesy of PicMonkey.com, the FREE photo editing website!

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