Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Swaptastique!



Based on the response to my January 27 post, women like to tie themselves up! Or they like to see other women tied up. It's kind of confusing.

But in relation to wearing neckties, I really should also have mentioned Melanie, who has done some very cool androgynous outfits with ties, vests, hats, and attitude (see here and here).
 
In that post I wore some buttonflowers I'd gotten as a swap with Megan Mae. Feeling emboldened (you never know unless you ask, right?), I also did a swap with Joni James of Walking Colors blog – I'd been eyeing this Eiffel Tower calligram shirt in her Etsy shop, and finally made my move.

Bois de Boulogne

I haven't had a baggy shirt for a long time, so I wanted to experiment avec mes ensembles. I decided to photograph them all to chronicle my research.

Here we go. There will be a brief quiz at the end, so you might want to take notes.

Ile Saint-Louis


La Rive Gauche

Les Halles

Quai d'Orsay

Montparnasse
 
Joni also sent me a tote bag with a beautiful sun calligram. Joni is a true artist, and an excellent silk-screener – go check out her shop!

Now for the quiz - which outfit do you like best? And for a bonus point, who played the female lead in The Moderns?

Val

Update Feb. 3 - So far, looks like Quai d'Orsay is the winner, so I'm going to link that one up to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. If you haven't expressed your opinion yet, please let me know your favorite outfit from the above choices!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Tomboy Tie Up

Did you read the post on Not Dead Yet Style about Henny Garfunkel? I just gave you a link, so you should go check it out if you haven't already.

Besides being an interesting person, Henny Garfunkel is what I would call a handsome woman. The reason I use the word handsome is because her clothes look masculine. But they don't look like she's denying her femininity, if you know what I mean. Men's clothes can be way cool - on women (see Patti here). And I like the way a woman looks in a necktie (see Sheila here). If you agree with me, you really should check out the blog Faintly Masculine, proving that you can be a tomboy and still be a minx.

So I decided to wear a tie this week. This is sort of a 1940's secretary look.
shirt - Crazy Horse by JCP; skirt - Christopher & Banks; belt - thrifted; tie - Claiborne, borrowed from hubby


And what's this? Buttonflowers! I finally got some, too, from the talented Megan Mae. She has wonderful grab-bags of flowers, and obi belts - something for everyone!


I'm showing off my age spots iron-on appliques and my full-Windsor knot. I can't remember why, but I asked my dad to teach me to tie a necktie when I was about 10. He taught me both the full- and half-Windsor. I kind of like the ostentatiousness of the full-Windsor.

haughty or what?



The earrings were made by me, using origami paper and resin. They're slightly mismatched, as are the collar appliques..

This is my asymmetrical skirt, last seen here. I never showed the back in the previous post, so here it is.

Close-up of the shoes -
shoes - Marc Fisher from TJ Maxx; tights - Target


I also took some pictures outside with my "naugahyde" coat.

brown faux leather coat - thrifted, no label

And the shoes from the side, 'cause they have a lovely shape.



When it comes to dressing, are you a total tomboy? A handsome hussy? A masculine minx?

I'll be going to Patti's for Visible Monday on Not Dead Yet Style, and The Weekly Thrift on Young Heart, and Ta Dah! Tuesday at Faith Hope and Charity Shopping!

Val

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Background



Ah, you think I'm going to tell you about my parents and where I went to school. No, that would probably be a little boring - respectable, no scandals. Instead, I'm talking about the background on my blog page.

I usually surf on my netbook, which means I don't always see the sidebars and backgrounds. It's always a surprise when I use the big-girl computer and can see the full picture! So I wanted to show you the real full picture of my background.


This is a portrait of me that was drawn by my middle granddaughter, Amelie, age 5. She drew it for me when we were visiting last summer. This is her signature style – eyelashes, mermaid skirt, curly hair. And I just love that she gave me glasses!

There's a heart and puffy sleeves, and Amelie's name backwards.


And since I'm talking about my British granddaughter and our trip there last summer, here are some of the best photos I took (no snow here). I used a decent camera and was going to make a calendar with these (which did not happen). I hope you like them.

If you want to share, that's fine as long as you link back to this post (and send me royalties : )).


 
Wrenbury, Cheshire - this was just after the Diamond Jubilee, so lots of flags
Marbury, Cheshire

Marbury church
Marbury

Barrington Court, Somerset


Barrington Court

Barrington Court

Barrington Courth

Bill Nighy at Barrington Court!

Stonehenge on the beach near Burton Bradstock, Somerset


Val

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ageless

I know a lot of women are very conscious of every wrinkle, every sag and jowl, age spots and drooping flesh. I know I am. I see my crepey skin and think, how did I get so old? How do I look to younger people?

No amount of cosmetics or styling my clothes is going to change that I'm going to keep aging. All I can do is accept it and accept the me that is a crone.

I watched one of Michael Palin's programs the other night, one of his Himalaya series. When he first appeared on camera, my husband said, He's looking old. But I thought, He's a handsome person. Sure, he's not young - he'll be 70 this year.



But he's the kind of person I would love to be around, no matter what his age. He's fun, open-minded, friendly. He doesn't appear to be concerned about his own image. He smiles a lot.

I hope I can be like him as I continue to age - courteous and respectful, open-minded, and with a good sense of humor. I want to see the good side of things, and not be concerned that my eyebrows are turning gray and my upper arms wobble.

I want to have a personality that is ageless.

Val

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Adventure Sunday

We've been experiencing a horrible weather inversion here in the Willamette Valley. We've had freezing fog for over a week with no break - it's like being inside a Tupperware dish, in the refrigerator.

So today we'd had enough, and we decided to go to the beach because, in a weird reversal of fortune, it's been sunny there while we can't even see the sky. It's only 55 miles away, and it was like another world! G-o-r-g-e-o-u-s! It was absolutely bloody gorgeous! We had a long walk on the beach, had lunch, then headed back. My husband doesn't like to go back the same way he came, so we took some back roads through the hills. We're talking one-lane roads, partly gravel, partly covered with snow, partly barely passable because of downed tree branches. We saw about a dozen very large deer and some amazing views! But it took forever to get out of there. Fortunately, we got back to the main road before dark, and we are now home with the fire going. What an adventure, but so worth it to see the sun!

Now, what I really want to show you is this -

This is tilty me trying to be creative - I took all the pictures on my own. Thanks for all the tips!
I don't do a lot of sewing, but my sister has a fairly new, portable Singer, which she let me borrow. When I first set it up and sat down to thread it, I thought, it's like riding a bike, you never forget how to do it. But it was different – they'd changed a few guides, and the bobbin holder was more like the really old machine that Mom had before 1965. I actually had to read the manual! And I hate reading manuals.

One thing that hadn't changed, though, is the way a big knot will form in the bobbin case and cause outbreaks of robust cursing.

I managed to re-hem a couple of skirts before I got ambitious and decided to try to make a skirt out of a shirt. I liked the shirt, but I thought I might like it more as a skirt.
 
 

 
It wasn't quite long enough, so I used pieces from another shirt to make the waistband.



It's kind of sloppy (to my eyes), and I will NEVER try to sew knit fabric again, but I think it's usable.

vest - Christopher & Banks; shirt, tights and boots - Target; skirt - Never Ever Again

I thought the rust tights looked good with the dark blue colors, but they're pretty bright here. I am following at least one of the Rules of Tights Deployment (see this post on Already Pretty).

The tights pick up a tiny bit of orange in my necklace (from TzaddiShop on Etsy).



I know a lot of bloggers sew, but I find it just too frustrating. I have enough reasons to swear without adding sewing to the mix.

I'm linking up with Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday.

Val

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where are my manners?

Firstly, I want to thank you all for your wonderful comments and for welcoming me to this wonderful party! It's like having an embarrassment of riches, so many friends and so much inspiration online. I'd love to be able to visit even more blogs and comment more often, but there just aren't enough hours in the day!

Secondly, I stand corrected about the relative obscurity of the song Echo Beach (see post here). Several people mentioned it and didn't think it was obscure at all. Of course, the part I related to were the lines about boring work and passing time thinking about getting back to Echo Beach someday. Now I spend my time at work (when I'm not busy) thinking about my next outfit or my next post, so the blogosphere is like Echo Beach for me. Thankfully not always far away in time!

snow leopard cardigan - Target, white tee - Walmart, jeans - thrifted, boots - old

So, skinny jeans. Are they a force for good in the world? This is my maiden voyage with skinny, low-rider jeans (does anyone still use the term hip-huggers?). I thrifted these Levi's so this is a good, inexpensive start.

I love the slim legs, and the vertical texturing on these helps avoid the thighs-like-drumsticks look and makes my legs look longer (although I blew that by putting them in boots). 


Now here's the thing - and I'm going to sound very ignorant - can you get skinny jeans that have a zipper longer than two inches? 'Cause it feels weird to have my waistband circling South America. 

I have an air gap on my muffin-top!


The boots are old. I think they're too tight for tucking the jeans in, but I like the wedge on these boots (not too high) and the long toes 'cause they look a little rad.



 I previously wore the leather cuff here. (Thanks again to Joni and her post on Walking Colors.) I really like the look of the teal cuff next to the black-and-white leopard print.

cuff by Rimanchik on Etsy
 
Self-promotion alert! The earrings are my new creations. I bought some colored wire and am having a great time with it! I created a few different versions of these little wire and pearl "nests." You can find them in my shop on Etsy.


What's your take on skinny jeans, low-rider jeans, waistbands around Brazil?


Val

PS - Yes, it is really cold here right now, but I took these last week.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

About The Photographer



I am very lucky to have a live-in photographer, but let me tell you a little something about him. The Photographer has worked in video production most of his adult life, so stills photography is not a natural thing for him. He bought a pretty good Lumix camera and is still learning the nuances and menus and bells and whistles.

 
He usually tells me to stand still, but I noticed that this fancy camera can take shots very quickly one after another. So why should I stand still and look like a self-conscious dweeb?


Here I am getting sassy with The Photographer.

Suits you, sir!
 
The brown jacket (Christopher & Banks) is in a textured upholstery type material. It’s got neat little rivets, and three nested pockets on each side. It's the next best thing to a denim jacket.


The red shoes are recently thrifted – and they were discounted, so only $2.50!  The brand is Wanted, for whoever is interested. They’re a slightly unusual shade of red so I paired them with gray tights (Target).


The skirt (also Christopher & Banks) has got odd-shaped panels all around. It actually hangs pretty nicely, and I like asymmetric things (even without knowing it – see my last post here).


 The earrings are asymmetric, too.


I sold some similar mismatched earrings on Etsy, but I plan to make more. I really like mismatching, although I notice that people tend to look back and forth while they're talking to me, like they can't quite figure it out. Maybe I just like to confound people!

The vintage opal stick pin was a gift that I picked out (my birthstone). Unfortunately, this photo doesn't do it justice, but it is really sparkly.


Since The Photographer isn’t always available for taking outfit pictures, I may start taking my own using a tripod. Any tips from those of you who shoot yourself?

Val

PS - Linking up with Visible Monday. Come see the beautiful scarf Patti's wearing, and check out all the stylish ladies.