Swim Caps

A while ago, my friend Sara called me to see if I had any interest in making some styling props or garments for a "60s swim" themed shoot. I knew she already had plenty of authentic swimsuits, so I decided to try my hand at swim caps.

All photos by Zaire Kacz

All photos by Zaire Kacz

I made the caps out of stretch neoprene and embellished with spandex and faux Plumeria flowers. I love how these images came out! The rest of the editorial can be seen at Vintage NYC Magazine.

Looking at these kind of makes me want to make more hats.

Interview: Tara Jensen / Smoke Signals

Once upon a time, I had an awesome roommate named Tara Jensen. She was pretty much the dreamiest roommate ever, coming home with piles of extra pastries and hot loaves of bread, which the rest of us housemates dutifully inhaled. At that point, Smoke Signals the bakery was only a dream. Now she works and lives by the fire in Marshall, NC and is an internet sensation. I am super inspired by her vision and work ethic, so I thought I'd ask her a few questions.


What's your story?

I’m from Maine. I live at and run a wood fired bakery, named Smoke Signals, in Marshall, North Carolina. I love art, dancing and astrology. I’m 33 years old.

Tell me something you have learned recently.

We have a monthly pizza night here at the bakery (the first Saturday of every month) and I stayed up late the other night figuring out how to poach lemons so I could use them as a topping. Turns out it’s quite easy and really tasty! To poach a lemon you simply need to place thin slices in boiling water for two or three minutes till you can see the rind turn somewhat translucent. If you start to see the “tissue” of the lemon break apart you can reduce the heat from a boil to a simmer so they’re not in such rough waters. Then you carefully lift them out of the water and allow cooling in a strainer. So good!


Describe a day in your life.

I wake up around 6 A.M., make coffee and read my horoscopes. Then I try to have an hour of studio practice. Just get in the bakery and make something. A paper cut, a print, a new recipe. Or I’ll use that time to write at my desk or journal. By now it’s mid-morning and I get on with whatever needs to be done that day. Baking, preparing workshop materials, firing the oven, printing invoices: that kind of stuff. When I stop working depends of the flow of the day. Sometimes I’m going till 6 or 7 P.M., other times, with the summer heat affecting fermentation I might work till 1 or 2 A.M.  If I’m pushing for something to happen and it’s not working I set it aside, do some other task and circle back around. I generally try to sit on my porch for an hour in the evening to watch dusk settle in.


Personally, I rely heavily on outside media stimulation to get anything done. Do you listen to music, podcasts, etc while you work? What is your Jam right now?

I listen to a LOT of pop music in the bakery. I’ve also been really happy to get into some “new” soul like Leon Bridges and Michael Kiwanuka. I look forward to every Monday when Anne Ortelee releases her Weekly Weather astrology podcast. When I really need to focus I prefer silence.


What is the best advice you have received?

Go with your gut.

How do you currently define success?

Success to me is a balance of inner peace and outward action. Success is taking the right action at the right time and trusting in a larger, hidden plan. I don’t measure it in terms of products sold, money in the bank, followers and likes, but rather: Am I reasonably happy today? Can I take care of myself in this moment? If the answer is yes then I’m at least heading in the right direction.


What are you excited about?

I’m happy my two loves, astrology and baking, are become more and more popular. I think there’s a correlation and I’m working on putting the puzzle pieces together. I was completely inspired by the recent photos of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons mission. At the same time I’ve been experimenting with traditional, Scandinavian flatbreads for an upcoming event, Smörgåsbord, with Amber Jensen of Sketchbook Crafts. And I’m always excited about PIZZA!


This year, I participated in the Asheville Community Theater's "Costume Drama" fundraiser fashion show. My category was "Christmas in July." I felt like I had something to say about Christmas in July, so I joined in.



This was an alternative material challenge - everything made was made from "xmas stuff." My dress was made from wrapping paper and vintage light reflectors. The hat was woven with ribbon.

Photo: Angeli Wright for Asheville Citizen Times Model: Margaux Winestock Schrager

Photo: Angeli Wright for Asheville Citizen Times
Model: Margaux Winestock Schrager


After the show, a passionate audience member stopped me to thank me for "telling the truth about Christmas." You are welcome...lol!! He also mentioned that during my video interview, the woman next to him gasped "Keep Christ in Christmas"!! I choose to take that as a compliment.

photo: Angeli Wright for Asheville Citizen Times

photo: Angeli Wright for Asheville Citizen Times


Hi! Welcome to my new site. On rare occasions when I might string together coherent phrases pertaining to my brand, they will be in this space.

Wishing myself luck! Thanks for clicking all the way to here :)

<3, Alanna