Thursday, October 31, 2013

Seasonal Greetings





Who is that mysterious figure, flying through the night sky, helping citizens in distress and keeping Gotham free of crime?

 
It's Old Bat! Swooping in to ask embarrassing questions, tell boring stories, and show her surgery scars to unsuspecting muggers and terrorists until they run away in fright and shame!

The Old Bat was born in a flash of inspiration, followed by a guttural cackle and a snort. I decided that I WAS the Old Bat. I quickly painted an old – and dirty – shirt, pulled together some other old clothes, and got my Bat on for the day.




Halloween is over now, but the shirt lives on.

Now that it's November, there's no way I can pretend there's still a hint of summer in the air. I'm wearing socks, tights, boots, scarves, gloves, hats, coats, camisoles. Of course, that's a good thing - more raw material on my palette.

But I was feeling very chilly in my old profile pic.

 


So I decided it was time for a seasonal change in my blog presence. Let me know what you think. The background is a photo taken in a small town in the Pyrenees of southern France, Prats de Mollo.

I'm wearing a new headband/earwarmer that I bought in Brownsville on my fun trip with my cousins (see here). 


The indoor pictures are drab, but check out the colors outside.




Dear Melanie talked about coming up with a witty post title after she had already published her Mysterious Rabbit post ("Bad Hare Day" – still funny, even a few days late). After I took these pictures and finally looked at them, I thought, "Why didn't I wear that scarf that would have brought all the colors together?"


But I'd already put away the camera and was wearing different clothes and I just wasn't going to go back and reset everything. Sorry.

I'll make it up to you by taking you over to Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up (Paint it Black), and the Style Crone's for Hat Attack! Then on to Visible Monday for more New York stories from Patti.

Val

Monday, October 28, 2013

Fame and fortune and everything that goes with it



This little blog must be reaching critical mass, or else my own brand of timidly restrained quirk is catching on. In one week I was contacted to do a sponsored styling, and was asked for permission to pin my photos on a Pinterest board. Fame hog that I am, I said yes and yes.




The Pinterest board is hosted by Josep-Maria Badia. I'm sure a lot of you have seen his blog and/or his comments on other blogs. It was very courteous of him to ask my permission, and now I'm on his Pinterest board, La Moda Madura, and he's added a link here on his blog. He has very good taste, and yet there I am. I'll be following his blog now, too.

My sponsored styling will be on behalf of Marketplace:Handmade of India. When I got the email from them, I was wearing one of their shirts, so it's not like they had to twist my arm. I already like their clothes and appreciate the fair trade aspect of their company. I'll be wearing one of their tunics next week for a post, so keep watching.


coat - Guess; pants - Lee; boots - Caressa, thrifted

It's kind of weird. Here I am in my little backyard, yet I'm being seen around the world. But I guess if I didn't like a little bit of attention I wouldn't be blogging, would I?



I got the coat at Nordstrom Rack, which just opened here a few weeks ago. I loved the color (teal is everywhere lately!) and style of the coat, but it looked like it had been at the bottom of a box since last year. So I took it home, just like a stray kitty. I brushed off all the fuzz and hair, and steamed out all the wrinkles. I also had to sew on one of the replacement buttons. But it was only $60, and now it looks pretty great.



The scarf was a gift from my mother-in-law several years ago – perfect for fall, and a perfect match for the coat. The earrings you can barely see were also a gift. The pin is just a bunch of beads and wire I mangled together - fertile chaos!



So that's me at the start of this week. No, I'm not dressing up for Halloween. What's up with you?

Val


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Things to Do When Your Husband is Away



First of all, it helps if your two favorite girl cousins are visiting. Second, you take a couple of days off work. Throw in some really good weather, your sister and mother, lots of coffee and lashings of wine, and soon the estrogen is flowing like a champagne fountain! The credit card gets worn out, the camera batteries need replacing, and your jaw is tired from smiling and laughing and talking. If your sister has also lent you the E.L. James trilogy, you may soon forget what you needed a man for.

Then he comes home, and when the smoke alarm goes off in the middle of the night, he takes it off the ceiling and cleans the dust out while you and your cousins are running around in circles waving your arms. That's what men are for.

It's been an eventful week, or two. Thanks for all the birthday wishes! Someone indiscreetly asked my age, so I guess I'll admit it - I'm 57. Which would be a perfect retirement age, if only I could still get paid.

Now, let's start with an outfit shot, taken last week before my cousins came, then some pictures of our local touring. I hope you like blue, because there was a lot of it in the sky.

boots and belt - thrifted

I had to give in to tartan when I saw this clean, crisp Michael Kors men's shirt at our new Nordstrom Rack store. It pulls a little bit over my massive bosom, but the scarf helps keep me decent.



The skirt, boots and belt have all been seen before and will be seen again. The Oscar de la Renta scarf is from a second-hand shop.

I'm going to link this up on Friday with Show Me Your Style on Style Sud-Est. A bientot, Ariane!

Now some pictures from my long weekend with my cousins. It's great to be a tour guide! First up, Brownsville, about 30 miles from here.


This little town was the setting for the film "Stand ByMe" back in 1986. It's also home (at least part time) to Sam Elliott, and presumably also his wife, Katharine Ross. I've never seen them, but I have heard of Sam-spottings in the area. 


The town has an active art association, a great little jewelry shop, an amazing antique store, and a wonderful boutique called Isabella's in an old house with a broad porch. 




From Brownsville we went to the village of Shedd and toured the old flour mill. Yes, it was interesting – honest! The mill was in business continuously from 1848 to 2004, first as a flour mill, then an animal feed production facility, and finally as a hydroelectric plant.


We took the obligatory trip to the local wineries. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it.


Then we went over to the beach, first spending a couple of hours wandering in the Old Town section of Florence, then to Heceta Head Beach below the lighthouse and keeper's house. Too gorgeous to be captured on a tiny camera!






Things are quieter now – I'm back at work and my cousins are back in Iowa, Mr. Sparkle is home and all is right with the world. 

Except that I'm back at work.

November update - linking up with Share in Style at Mis Papelicos. It's plaid!

Val

Monday, October 14, 2013

And the winner is...

Before I tell you who won the contest in my last post, let me get some business out of the way. First of all, I hope I didn't offend anyone by using the term "gypsy." I used it only in the sense of a visual style that is commonly referred to as gypsy, although it may be completely off the mark in terms of true Romani culture.

Second, I hope my Canadian friends had a lovely Thanksgiving!

Now the contest. The town I was looking for was Odessa, Ukraine. And Becky of Pink Cheetah Village guessed Moscow, only 706 miles away from Odessa! Becky, I've sent you a message on Google+ to get your address. Let me know if you didn't get the message.


First Prize - the first prize I've given away, that is


This was fun! I enjoyed seeing what cities everyone came up with and hearing your reasoning, or lack of. So watch this space - I'll do more giveaways. I can't keep all the crap stuff art I make!

What else happened this weekend? My birthday was Sunday, and I went out to brunch at a lovely bistro here called Marche with my mother, brother-in-law, and the old man. Here's my birthday outfit - several of these pieces have been in previous posts.



outer shirt - White House Black Market, worn here; tank - JCP; "Saloon Sally" skirt - Avatar, worn here; shoes - Chelsea Crew, worn here; shawl and bag - gifts; opal earring, opal necklace, opal pin - gifts from Mr. Sparkle; longer pendant with bees - made by me and stolen from my Etsy shop, worn here

Marche also has a little deli/wine shop/gift shop/bakery/gelateria next door, so we went there for dessert and ogling.




Mr. Sparkle and I had been talking about my present for a few weeks because I decided I wanted a Kindle and he had to order it. Last week when I mentioned it again he said, "I thought you wanted kind-ling!" Oh, he does make life fun.



So now I have a Kindle, my first touch screen device! I'm so urban Amish. I've pre-ordered Donna Tartt's new book, The Goldfinch, but I'll never stop going to the library just for the thrill of it.





I have company coming to stay later this week, so I may not be around much. Plus, I'll be reading on my Kindle, and we're watching Brideshead Revisited from the library (the original series, which is 100 times better than the film, and 10 times longer). In fact, that's why I've been absolutely beastly about getting around to visiting and commenting, and I've been using the word "lovely" so much.

Happy Birthday to all you other lovely October babies! What an absolutely marvelous month!

Oct. 20 - Still celebrating a week later by taking my birthday style over to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style.

Val

Friday, October 11, 2013

Gypsy farts tea contest



True story – when we lived in Crewe, UK (the armpit of England), there was a vacant shop, among many, that had their painted sign left intact – Arts & Crafts. Except that someone had tacked a paper F in front of it.

It never failed to make me smile. :-)

So here are the latest things that have been smelling up the air in my arts & crafts room. The glue, people, the smell of the glue.



Mini gypsy caravan with hand-painted satin bedding, and mini tarot cards on the shelf.






Then there's this simple little portable tea tin. It'll hold several tea bags if you're a tea snob who likes to bring your own.


the inside is clean so there's no glue or lacquer to scent the tea

The thing is, I only drink tea at my mother-in-law's or National Trust cafes in England. So I'm going to give this away in a drawing, and I will gladly mail it to any country. If you'd like to receive this, all you have to do is leave a comment with your email address, and name a city anywhere in the world. I've already randomly selected a location (I thought of several cities, wrote them down on slips of paper, and drew one), and I will send the tin to the person who names a city closest to the place I selected. Very scientific, huh.

I'm most likely going to liquidate my Etsy shop after Christmas, so there may be future giveaways! Cheering or cringing, I can't quite tell what the reaction is...

I haven't taken a decent outfit picture this week, and I'm missing my usual linkups. I'll just have to stalk you lovely ladies at Bella's Shoe Shine, Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up, and Ariane's Show Me Your Style Blog Hop.

Don't forget to leave a comment and mention a city if you want to receive that exquisite, artisan, one of a kind, almost-magical, portable tea tin!

UPDATE: The contest will close Monday evening, October 14, at 9:00PM Pacific time.


Val