Thursday, February 27, 2014

Freeze Frame

It has become obvious that Mother Nature has confused Southwestern Ontario with Alaska, or perhaps Winnipeg.  As I write this, it is  -15 celsius outside with a wind chill of -20, and the predicted low tonight is -20 with a windchill of -30.   And I saw a guy wearing shorts with bare legs when I was coming home from work - I can only assume he was insane, or had lost a bet.

Mother Nature, I bow my head in submission.   When it gets to the point where I am afraid to go outside, you know you are dealing with some serious sh**t.   Hmmm, looking at this photo, I realized my hair looks kind of cool from above.

But as the Fabulous Ms. Streisand once sang...

"A Girl's Gotta Have a Sense of Humour..."

My inspiration here was "frozen stuck to a window" (hence the title, Freeze Frame, get it....yeah)

I bought the yarn necklace/collar from the woman who made the cool dolls in this post.  It fastens with a big button at the back and as there is some wool in it I thought it might be itchy, but it was cozy, not scratchy.  You can find more of her knitwear for sale on Etsy here.

 I am wearing a dress over pants, which apparently was "on trend" last year.  This year, it's a way to keep warm.  I found this dress at H & M in November and I was drawn to the funky print, which reminded me of a rib cage.  In warmer weather, it works on its own, or as I'm wearing it today, as an extra layer.
ribcage dress - H & M
leather and fabric pants - Danier leather
boots - Housing Works Thrift Store in New York
knit collar - Humble Home

And just because it's cold, and I have a cold, I spent $10 on the new L'Oreal Colour Riche Press-On Nails.  My nails are a mess; they won't grow past the ends of my fingers without splitting, and polish just chips off, so I thought I'd see whether these are any good.  They were pretty easy to put on (the adhesive is separate from the nails) and look real.  I'll report back on how long they lasted.

Thanks for all the "Get Well Soon" wishes on my last post - they were much appreciated, and seem to be doing the trick!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Not The Post I Was Hoping to Write

I've been working on two other posts that have more meat to them, if you know what I mean, but then I got sick (AGAIN) and I can't type more than two words without having to stop to blow my nose or cough.   If I was a horse, Grandad would have taken me out behind the barn and shot me by now.

So in the meantime.....

Here are my friend Heather's ultra-fab Sex Pistols-themed tights

Here's me, from when I was sort of healthy, tugging at the puffy pleated sleeves of the Mary McFadden-esque dress I found at Mesh Consignment Boutique back in December.  It's pure polyester pleated pleasure, made in the USA.

and here are the sterling silver sombrero earrings I found at The Sentimentalist.  They originally had screw-back posts, but a friend generously converted them to shepherd's hooks for me.  Isn't the detail amazing?

That's all I've got for now folks.....bigger and better stuff to come.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"Give Me Whimsy!"

This is a long weekend for me because of "Family Day" here in Canada, and I'm trying to balance fun with productivity.  Friday night I attended the opening of two new shows at Strand Fine Art - work by Bill Stelpstra, co-owner of the gallery, and by ceramic artist Susan Day.  Stelptra's work was a collection of brightly coloured sculptures/furniture, meticulously painted with polka dots in contrasting colours.

It was suggested by someone who was also planning to attend the show that I should wear polka dots, because as every good gallery-goer knows, it's important to coordinate with the art.  A trip to Forever 21 added the dinosaur print top and polka dot leggings ($6!) to my wardrobe, and paired with my polka dot mini skirt, it made the perfect eyeball-searing outfit.  I liked the colour combination, patterned swirl of dots, and the serve-no-purpose balls on the side of this bench so I asked another guest to immortalize the dots on dots action.  It's too bad the bench wouldn't work in my apartment, where every piece of furniture must also serve as a container in which to store/hide the magazines/books/papers/random stuff.  I suggested that Stelpstra might want to incorporate drawers and shelves into future creations.

Stelpstra, wearing a tie made by artist Vicki Easton McClung

There was a large crowd at the show, which was also a birthday celebration for Stelpstra.  His collection of work was called Stippeltjes, which roughly translated means "small dots".  It was cool to see the gallery space filled with so much colour.

There were groupings of small painted squares on the walls, and I was rather inspired by some of the colour combinations for future outfits.  The orange and wine/purple combination was one of my favourites.

The other artist whose work is on display is Susan Day.  Her  collection of ceramic plates and platters titled "Crazy Birds" echoed the whimsical, quirky vibe of Stelpstra's polka dots.

More of Day's quirky birds

Andrew Smyth, co-owner of Strand Fine Art, looked very dapper in a custom-made jacket with contrasting lining.

There is always at least one person wearing cool footwear at every art exhibit (remember the embroidered boots from Turkey from Rosemary Sloot's show?).   These strap-wrapped ones are a Portugese brand I was unfamiliar with.

The show runs until March 8th, 2014

And The Whimsy Continued...

I liked the polka dots so much that I incorporated them into my Saturday outfit.  It was sunny, and  not ridiculously cold, so I was able to swap out my down-filled coat for faux fur.

My ever-patient photographer, Heather, noted that my outfit deserved more "oomph" than I was conveying in my photos and promptly switching to Director mode, shouted "Give Me Whimsy!!"
I think I'm giving more crazy than whimsy, but she seemed satisfied.
faux fur - Lovesick
skirt - thrifted
dotty leggings - Forever 21 (a good deal at $6)
Ray Ban sunglasses - courtesy of SmartBuyGlasses

We proceeded to have a few hours of fun that included yummy treats from the Western Fair Farmers' and Artisans' Market,  Starbuck's beverages, and a visit to Sephora, where I gave myself a quick surreptitious manicure with the Marc Jacobs Enamored Hi-Shine Nail Lacquer that claims to be a "superior polish with an unprecedented finish and the shine of 30 coats of lacquer".   I used "Desire" on my fingers and "Glinda" on my thumb.  Given that I only used one coat, it gave amazing coverage, and dried pretty fast.   I rarely wear nail polish because my nails split and peel, especially when I use them as tools (screwdrivers, etc.) so it was nice to have pretty nails for a few days.

I took an extra day off this week in order to have four days at home in a row and now that I've had the fun (that also included naps, The Walking Dead, and chocolate hazelnut brioche), I'm attempting to make good on the "productivity" part of the plan.  Hope you are enjoying your long weekend, if you're lucky enough to have one.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday (Who Knew?)

I didn't even know that Throwback Thursday was a thing (and I call myself a blogger!), but apparently it is an excuse for people to post old photos of themselves from way back when on Social Media.

It's a good reason to post this photo of a photo that my mother has in her apartment.  I believe it was taken in the mid-1990's, and I am modelling a thrifted paisley print maxi (with a train!!!) in a friend's backyard.  That was the most hair I've had on my head for about 25 years.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blessed Are the Seamstresses....

...for they create things of beauty and magic using fabric, thread, skill, and imagination.  Alas, as I am not one, I have the utmost respect for those who are.

For instance, the person who made this jacket.   I spied it, AND the matching skirt,  at the May Court Consignment shop in my neighbourhood.  It was obviously handmade, and very carefully so.

The collar was added separately, and is very skillfully done

as is the hand sewing in the lining

The shape is very boxy, and not particularly flattering, but I was drawn to it just the same.  The skirt, which was priced separately, was straight cut, just above the knee, and together, I think the effect would have been rather overwhelming, and very bulky.  I decided to get just the jacket, which turned out to be half price, and was mine for a mere $6.   I tried to balance out its shape by pairing it with slim pants, and added a pop of colour by turning my sweater cuffs back over the bracelet-length jacket sleeves.

I would love to know who made the jacket and what they were thinking when they chose the faux fur fabric.  Had they seen something similar in a magazine and were trying to duplicate it?  Did they like challenging themselves?  Was it for a special occasion?  So many questions.

faux fur jacket - May Court Shop
turtleneck with ruffled neck and cuffs - thrifted
jeans - Mexx (70% off)
Boots - retail, some store on Queen West in Toronto

And Speaking of Seamstresses...


I was at the Western Fair Farmer's and Artisans' Market on Saturday, and noticed a new addition to the group of craft vendors on the second floor.  The first thing I saw were the dolls...

Each was wearing an adorable outfit made of recycled fabric scraps and knitting with buttons and snaps for decoration, and had a funky hairstyle made of yarn.  Even with minimal facial detailing, there was a variety of expressions.

The colour combinations and patterns in the outfits were cool, not cutesie, and there were no frills or ruffles to be seen.  I would definitely wear the human sized version of the outfit on the red-haired doll in the photo above.

The doll with the cherry red hair and hood (with ears!) was one of my favourites.  The dolls range in  size from 12 - 21 inches tall, and there were also adorable and charmingly odd stuffed animals made from colourful wool and fabric scraps.   I was so absorbed by the dolls that I neglected to get a photo of the woman who made them, who was sitting to the side of her table with her two daughters.  Anwen Sutherland lives in Huron County (my childhood stomping grounds) and this was her second week at the market.  She told me that she wanted to make the kind of dolls that she would have liked to play with as a child, and gets feedback from her daughters on the "play appeal" of particular designs.  She also makes hats, mittens, scarves, and fingerless gloves in beautiful colour combinations, and my friend Heather took home a cozy knit toque in a rich plum colour.

Would I buy anything so practical as a hat?  Of course not - my attention went to these little cuties, in a box of prototypes that were smaller in size, and less expensive than the others.   They are destined for my living room wall, and I've named the one on the left Anna, after Italian Vogue Editor Anna Piaggi, whom she reminded me of.   The other one has yet to be named - any suggestions?

Sutherland sells her dolls and toys on Etsy here, and her knitwear (hats, cowls, and mittens) here.  She is also at the Western Fair Farmer's market on Saturdays, from 8 am - 3 pm, on the second floor.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Put A Bow On It

First things first - I put the names of the people who expressed interest in being included in the giveaway of the green hair bow into a hat....

...and this is what came out:  Congrats to Melanie on her new hair accessory, I know she'll do it justice! 

I decided to wear the bow last week before it went off to its new owner, and discovered that once again, the lovely Lili and I had some sort of style telepathy going on, as we were both sporting green bows that day. 

I wasn't intentionally going for a Christmas vibe - I was really just looking for an excuse to wear my new-to-me Maple Leaf Tartan (Canada's official tartan, which incorporates the changing colours of maple leaves into the design) jacket I found on the sale rack at The Sentimentalist for $5.  It's a lovely fine wool, made by the Canadian company Highland Queen, with covered buttons and flap pockets near the cropped hem.
jacket and pants -  The Sentimentalist Vintage Store
copper necklace - Lovesick Vintage
Plastic hair bow - made by Kayla Gibbens 

As usual, while I went for the casual and funky, Lili went for the Chic.  She found her plum-coloured cotton velvet dress in Copenhagen (yes, the one in Denmark) for $20, and accessorized it beautifully with a green leather bow belt, tassel necklace and sleek boots.

And while I'm at it, I might as well kill two birds with one stone, and get in on the Style Crone's February Hat Attack

With the weather we've been having, this is the only kind of hat that I've been wearing.
Wool cloche-style hat with contrasting side bow - From Mars

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Don't Be a Hater, Dear"

This post is tribute to a fictional character that became my new style muse....

By way of introduction to those of you who don't watch Ryan Murphy's series American Horror Story, this season focused on a coven of witches living in present-day New Orleans, with the Supreme Witch played by the ever awesome Jessica Lange.  I found the plot holes in this season of the show to be annoying and frustrating, and the frequent deaths, and subsequent resurrections of various characters tiresome.   However, the one thing that kept me tuning it was the character of Myrtle Snow, Head of the Witches Council, played by the marvelous Frances Conroy.  You don't really need to know more than that in order to appreciate my tribute to an eccentric, endearing, and fabulously stylish character.  A  picture really is worth 1,000 words, and thank goodness for the interweb, from which I gleaned these photos...

Myrtle's fab cat eye glasses, flaming orange hair, love of bold patterns and colours, and couture obssession earned her a place in my list of television  character style icons.

It was not only Myrtle's eccentric style, but also her dry wit and irresistibly quotable dialogue that held my attention.  The episode in which she plays the Theremin (of course she would) and advises one of the other characters, "don't be a hater, dear" spawned a spate of gifs like the one above.

I don't know whether the eyeglasses that Myrtle wears in the show are vintage or new, but I lusted after every pair.

....and the GLOVES, OMG, the GLOVES!!!

The fact that her character is portrayed as an eccentric outcast also endeared her to me

And, of course, there was her last word, before she was burned at the stake a SECOND time...

Rest in Peace, Myrtle Snow.  You were the MOST. AWESOME. WITCH. EVER.