Sunday, January 5, 2014

Girl In The Bubble

So, apart from the deer - blogger meetup, I've so far not been very impressed with 2014.  Most likely this is because I've been either dragging my phlegm-filled carcass to work, or covered in Vicks VapoRub and rendered unconscious by Nyquil in bed.   I've heard it said that however you spend the first day of the New Year, that sets the tone for the rest of the year.  Let's hope that doesn't apply here.  On the up side, my faithful ingestion of Oil of Oregano has kept my cold from developing into bronchitis or pneumonia, which, until a few years ago, was pretty much the routine, AND, I have been able to lie on the couch and start watching Boardwalk Empire, which I have been hoping to do since the series started.

So let's look back to happier days, and do a re-cap of December, 2013....

My friend Maureen Riley had a show of new work in early December.  I enjoy going to her shows because a) I like her women-focussed, jewel-toned, watercolours, and b) I get to hang with Maureen, who is one of the kindest, warmest people I know.  Also, her house is full of cool stuff...

"Lavender Snow" Watercolour by Maureen Riley

 "Cocktails with Jessie Tait" - Watercolour

Jessie Tait, who died in 2010 at the age of 81, was a British ceramic artist and responsible for some of the most recognized and innovative ceramic designs in the 1950s.  As chief designer of Midwinter Pottery, she incorporated the best of 1950's cheerful, modernist abstract design into their pottery.  "Cocktails With Jessie Tait" is Riley's tribute to the artist, and incorporates patterns from her ceramic designs into the clothing of the women who are enjoying a bit of bubbly with the talented woman.

"Eleven Block" - Acrylic and Watercolour

The majority of Riley's work has a joy and lightness about it so it was a surprise to see this work included in her most recent show.  She had been working on "Eleven Block" for the last two years.  The statement displayed next to the work explains that 11 Block was a red brick building in the camp of Auschwitz, that contained a variety of torture chambers designed to "punish" prisoners.  The Nazis first used Zyklon B, a hydrogen cyanide, in 11 Block.  The mundane exterior of the building gave no hint of the horrors that were contained within.  Riley has attempted to find out the names of some of the people who perished in the building so she can add them to the petals of the flowers on the shelf.

Everywhere you look in Maureen's house your eye lands on something wonderful.  I have coveted the Frida necklace since I saw it in her previous show  in 2012 at Strand Fine Art.

So from Art to Music...

The London-based Country music band The Rizdales host an annual "Rizdales Country Christmas" at the local downtown watering hole, The Richmond Tavern, which has been operating as a bar and a hotel for the last 150 years.  The Rizdales, lead by husband and wife team Tom and Tara Dunphy, play covers of gems by George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams (Sr.) and Ernest Tubbs, as well as originals in the classic country style.  Each year I show my support by heading to the Richmond for some tunes, some snacks (free chips!) and a cocktail.   The crowd is always an interesting mix of the Richmond regulars, die hard country music fans, and folks like me, who may not be regular listeners of Country music, but can appreciate an afternoon of classic drinkin' and hurtin' tunes played with skill and enthusiasm.   

Photo of The Rizdales from The London Free Press website

Unfortunately, I left before The Rizdales played (they are always on last) so I thought I'd include a photo of them that I borrowed from the interweb.  From left - bassist Oscar Macedo, guitarist Blair Heddle, Tom Dunphy, Tara Dunphy, and drummer Steve Crew. 
The Rizdales invite musicians from surrounding cities to join in, and this year it was Hamilton's Ginger St. James, and Toronto's Big Tobacco and The Pickers.

Big Tobacco and The Pickers

Hamilton's Ginger St. James, whose rockabilly-edged style and charm won over the audience

This is the second time I've seen St. James perform and both times she was wearing a gun print skirt

There was a good outfit or two...

Me, back when I was healthy and had a sense of humour, attempting some ballet moves in my birthday-present-to-myself dress from From Mars.  Yeah, it's black, and pretty simple, but the poufy skirt won me over.

My best curtseying days are behind me

Looking pretty chuffed in my new-to-me faux fur coat I got at Mesh Boutique, which looked pretty spiffy with the red hat and pants ( both from The Sentimentalist), I was wearing when I bought it.   I was obviously taken over by a moment of insanity, because even though the coat fit perfectly, was an amazing price, and is super soft,  IT'S WHITE for frack sake, and I am NOT the person who should be wearing a white coat.  Does anyone know if you can safely use Scotchgard on a faux fur coat?? I'd be concerned about it affecting the colour and the texture of the fur.

And I saw some movies...

And hung out with The Bun..

who is now a year old - (omg, they grew up so fast!) and has not been happy about having her routine disrupted just because I'm sick.  

So yeah, December was good, and in fact, so was most of 2013.  I'm sure that once I'm feeling better, my attitude will improve as well.   As usual, I did not make any New Year's resolutions, but I was asked by Readers.Com to be part of a blogger panel and offer my opinion on the idea of New Year's Resolutions as a whole.  You can read what I had to say in the three part series here.
Here's to a happy and healthy 2014, and a big squishy hug (from before I was contagious) to the friends (here and far) and readers who inspire me to keep sharing stories, taking photos, dressing up, and being the best me I can be. 


  1. first, wish you get well soon and avoid all that awful bronchitis! oh yes, it seems that everybody falled ill on holiday (me too).
    and second, your black dress is really beautiful and love its shape, and your new furry coat is really fabulous!, I'm not an expert about faux fur, and I'm used to machine wash everything, including wool coats (avoiding spin-dry, of course). I'm washed faux fur little pieces into a pillowcase, using a 'wool program' and it was successful!

    besos & feliz año

  2. Oh sorry you've been so sick, that's no holiday fun at all. Your little pet is simple adorable! xo

  3. Shelley, everyone knows that you wear an extra-large shapeless black coat or raincoat over white coats to protect them. And yeah, your curtsy days are behind you because now the masses should be the ones curtsying TO YOU. Love that dress - I'd be won over by the pouf as well.
    Get better FAST and get out there to frolic in the snow. With the deer.
    Re. coat, spot cleaning with water or cold machine on gentle works for me. Now I'm off to read your interview. That's so exciting!

  4. Oh gosh, I've been sick too, pretty much non-stop for a month, so I know how crappy it can be. Here's to a fab new year, full of many wonderful vintage finds! Amazing coat! Not sure about protecting it. I have a white wool coat that I thrifted that's held up pretty well - don't think I've even cleaned it. Happy belated bday to you; what a fab dress! And do you know, I LOVE the Rizdales! Have one of their CDs and saw them in a wee bar in Kensington Market in TO a few years ago. We really do have to meet one day as I think we have heaps in common.

  5. Oh poor you, still ill, that's rubbish. But no, it doesn't set the tone for the rest of the year - let's hope the only crappy bit is just now!
    A good December though. I really like your friend Maureen's work, especially the Jessie Tait painting. I rather like a bit of country music (as long as it isn't tooooo right wing...) and I love your new dress and it's pouff! Ballet moves and curtseying - you have skills, Shelley! No idea what to suggest about the white faux fur coat, other than be very, very careful when wearing it. I'm so helpful, aren't I?
    A big hug back to you, my friend, and a mini rat-appropriate one for Fred too! Hope you feel much better soon. xxxx

  6. I got sick on New Years Eve( went to bed at 9pm) and have be sick since. My fingers are crossed that the both of us are health for the rest of the year.

  7. Well I do hope this cold gets on outta ya soon, that is no fun. It by no means has anything to do with the rest of your year. You have a life full of music, art, friends..both human and furry and a taste for the different, I think you are bound to have an even better year! Just wear that beautiful coat and if something happens so be it, the fit is too fab to not be on you all the time. I have been living in my faux fur coats since October!

  8. Love Maureen's way cool art work. :) But more than anything, really, really love that DRESS!!!!!

  9. Hope that you're feeling better soon! Your year in review indicates that you had a fabulous 2013, and hoping that the same will be true for the New Year. Look forward to following you throughout!

  10. Poor you! i will say like the others, hope you feel better soon!
    I have been lucky no major colds, flus or any shit winter inconveniences - D and I are taking Lapacho, or in french Pau d'Arco, it does wonders for your immune system, check it out!
    The white coat is superb but yes shit to clean, but nonetheless wonderful!

    The art you are showing us is simply amazing, love art and getting acquainted with new artists -

    I stopped smoking and checking what i eat very carefully - I had quit smoking for a year and started again in Cuba last summer - My head is fuzzy but i love a challenge!

    Take care my friend


  11. Feel better soon, Shelley! (Luckily germs don't transmit through pixels...)

  12. Here's to a healthy and happy 2014! I hope you feel better soon.

    What great art up there- I love the Cocktail watercolor- great graphic and colors!
    Your black dress reminds me- of a personal craving for the dark- is it that I finally overdosed on prints and colors? What feels right, right now are greys and blacks and dark solids. ... I figured the PacNW finally got to me.

    Hugs and hugs!

  13. i Love this Blog!
    -Ginger St. James <3
    p.s thanks for the photos and kind words. We had the BEST timE!