Thursday, March 31, 2011

A purchase or two?

No, I haven't made any purchases yet, but I've been thinking pretty seriously about a couple of spring essentials. Shockingly, I don't have a pair of cute, colourful summer sandals, and I think I need some to wear to a couple of weddings this summer. Honestly, I went through every shoe I own, and I just don't think any of them will do. Believe me, I'd sleep better at night if I didn't have to shell out $69 for these wedges by Roberto Vianni, but I can't very well wear the wrong shoes to a classy wedding, can I? And I can't imagine finding a pair I like better at a cheaper price. Value Village just won't do, I fear.

Also on the shopping list: a pair of powder-blue jeans for $29 at Joe Fresh, and maybe a bright t-shirt. T-shirts at the thrift store just aren't working for me. Faded or pilled, and for five bucks I'd rather just splurge and get a new one for $8 at Superstore, you know? My light cardigan has seen better days, and has a few too many holes to be considered presentable for work, so it might have to be replaced. My budget is about $110 (well, actually it's zero, but I'm getting pretty antsy), so I'll see what I can do. My big dilemma is whether or not to wait a month or six weeks to see if the sandals go on sale? But what if they don't and I miss out on six weeks of open-toed fun? Or what if they sell out? Bah, I know I'm silly to have such shallow concerns, but when money is tight, these little luxuries take on a big significance.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What the...?

Yesterday Karl and I went for a drive and were surprised to see what looked like a blue tree in Port Moody. It wasn't the tree pictured above, it was a big, mature fruit tree, and it was one of those moments when we were both doing a silent "huh?' as we drove by, then looked at each other, thinking "Did you see that too?". We couldn't even come up with a theory. But then today I saw a post on a blog from Nashville about blue trees in Vancouver, which lead me to this link, and this link. It's part of the Vancouver Biennale, an art installation by an artist from Australia. The links have other pictures, but I couldn't find any of the tree we saw yesterday, which was way more beautiful.

Monday, March 28, 2011

lay me down in the tall grass

Having faith that summer will come and laying down in the grass won't result in frostbite or muddiness. Grass stains are OK.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

forgotten industry

I have a little soft spot for clothes that were made in countries that no longer have thriving garment industries. When I see something in the thrift store and the label says "made in Bulgaria" or "made in Czechoslovakia" or "made in South Africa", I want to take it home with me. This blouse was made in Austria. It's a little bit greener than this in real life (what's this colour called?) and it's super soft and drapey - 100% viscose.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Usually my outfit posts are of outfits, right? Well, I thought I'd show you what I look like the rest of the time. Today was a work day, and usually I dress up more, but I only had one appointment today and I had a LOT of work to do. For some reason, I feel much better equipped to work my butt off when I'm in jeans and a t-shirt and sneakers, and no one really sees me when I'm in the workshop all day. Comfy and utilitarian.

By the end of the day though, I had decided that this top is officially too big for me. It felt sloppy and kept falling off my shoulders. It was depressing looking at my t-shirt selection this morning: entirely too much navy, black and grey. Spring makes me want pink, grey, turquoise or lavender.

Below are some shots of our neighborhood pals. For some reason other cats like us more than our cat does. There are at least four cats that regularly hang out on our front steps, other than Morgan. Of course we have to make up names for them. When I got home today, Freddie Jr. was on the top step...
And Blackie Fluffers was sunning on the sidewalk.

You can barely see her, but Morgan is camouflaged behind the planter on the right. Just a little grey blob of resentment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bolo Ties

I'm seeing bolo ties everywhere this spring! Not just in every fashion spread featuring western styling, but in movies, music videos, blogs... I think my window of opportunity for finding a hidden gem at the thrift store is closing quickly. I'm sure prices on Ebay have skyrocketed; of course I should have made my move last year. Oh well. I can still hope. Maybe a trip to the flea market is in order. You never know what you'll come across there, and it's a pretty good bet that not many fashion folks will beat me to a find. I'll keep my eyes peeled for the one below!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

i let my heavy eyelids flutter

I feel kind of wiped out after this work week. I guess I got a lot done, but the season is definitely gearing up for crazy time. It was sunny this afternoon though, and it's supposed to be nice tomorrow, which makes me cheerful. Also, seeing some colour in the front yard is good for the spirit.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

On the horizon

Is it true that this is the last week of winter? I need some reassurance - it's been raining for days on end. But there are purple crocuses and cheerful daffodils blooming, so maybe spring is just around the corner. In honor, here are the last few picks from my files of Spring 2011 collections. Seems so long ago, but now it's almost here.

The first ones are Sophie Theallet. I like the soft silhouettes and the mix of intense colours with white. That black taffeta blouse in the last picture is amazing.

The pictures below are Erin Fetherston. Again, great blouses! And I always have a soft spot for white, lavendar and pale green. Those are the colours I wore on my wedding day - a good reminder to wear my wedding earrings in those colours.

Monday, March 14, 2011


It's a true tale of love, loss, and re-discovery today. A few times since we moved into this house almost three years ago, articles of clothing have gone missing, specifically belonging to me. Just random scrubby stuff like gym tank tops and old sweatshirts, nothing of value but very sadly missed nonetheless. I searched and pondered, accused friends, raided Karl's drawers and checked behind the washer and dryer. I stopped missing the things, but I never stopped being annoyed by the mystery; it just didn't make sense.

Last week two of my gym tops disappeared, right after I did the laundry, and I needed to find them. I have a limited number, they get sweaty, and I only do laundry once a week, so I was determined to find them. For some reason I hadn't clued in to the fact that all of the missing pieces lived in my bottom drawer, and once I realized that it occurred to me to pull out the drawer and check underneath it. Glory be, there they all were, a little dusty but safe and sound. You should have heard me squeal with glee. Ask Karl, I was seriously SO excited! Not only to have my clothes back, but to solve the mystery and not feel like I was going crazy.

But here's a way better story: A friend of mine was having issues with her dryer. They just moved into their house last summer, and an old washer and dryer came with it, and they assumed there wasn't much life left in the pair. Sure enough, the dryer wasn't drying well, so before getting a new one, her husband decided to take the front panel off, just to see if there was anything obvious he could fix. So off it comes, and sure enough there are a bunch of linty old socks jammed in there, as well as three hundred and twenty dollars in twenty dollar bills!! What a score! Talk about getting some cash just when you need it. They bought a very nice new dryer.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gorgeous Movie!

I just watched I Am Love, and it's so stunning. Tilda Swinton is one of my favorite actresses, and she's amazing in this movie, dressed all in Jil Sander and Fendi, living a beautiful Italian life. The movie didn't get much coverage here - subtitles might have been a barrier - but it's totally worth watching.

Marisa Berenson is in it too; what a duo!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I listened to a piece on the radio that had a panel of writers discussing their collections of books. The gist of it was that they would never consider getting rid of any of their books. They all described their libraries, their houses full of overflowing bookshelves and their bedside to-read stacks, and the big question to discuss was "Could you get rid of your books, or are they a meaningful possession?" Of course they all agreed that their books are their most prized possessions and talked about how looking at their bookshelves was like a trip down memory lane and how their books tell the story of their lives.

Which I agree with in theory. But I don't have many books; I'm a library girl. My first real job was at a library and I love visiting the library. I rarely buy books, because they're expensive and bulky and reading them is so temporary and storing and moving them is forever. I love receiving books and I do buy art books and used books and cookbooks - things that I'll read again and again. This thing on the radio got me thinking that maybe I'm missing something. I keep a list of what I read but that's mostly to help jog my memory when I can't think of the name of a book, or who wrote something I read, but I don't have a visual record of my reading.

The other day I came across a website called Shelfari, and I guess the idea is that you can make just that - a visual compilation of what you've read or are planning to read. It's affiliated with Amazon, so I guess they want you to buy the books, but I plugged in all the books I've read in the last year, minus a handful they didn't have in their catalog, just so I could take a look. Kind of neat, but I think I'll stick to my list. Anyway, I don't have an extra wing in my house for a library!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

i can has colour?

I seem to be collecting lots of colourful images to provide springtime inspiration. It's all about the unexpected combinations and mix-don't-match.

Spring isn't so much springing here as it feels like winter is reluctantly being eroded to slowly reveal spring. A crocus here, a sunny morning of birdsong there. Yesterday was lovely, but the forecast for this week is rain.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Back in Time

We had a great time at the show last night, the one I mentioned in my last post. A little tricky to describe, but: a hall in Strathcona transformed into a 1930's dance hall with wooden grandstands built on three sides, a dance marathon and amazing concert inside a play, puppets, projections, acrobatics, magic. Part of what made it fun was the fact the we really had no idea what to expect, but we were pretty impressed! It was also really cool to see so many people in the audience dressed up.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hard Times

Tomorrow night I'm going with some of my favorite ladies to see this show and I'm pretty excited about it. It's, obviously, a theatrical extravaganza: part concert, part play, part dance marathon, all set in the Depression. I love the Depression, and the audience is encouraged to dress up, so I can't wait to see it all.
But here's my tale of woe, the proverbial dustbowl of my soul. This dress. I got it at a flea market years ago, knowing that it's basically unwearable. But it's so heartbreakingly, achingly beautiful. It's from the thirties, and it's cotton lace with silk chiffon at the neckline and crepe de chine lining and, oh, how I adore it. It would be more than perfect to wear tomorrow night, but the lining is shredded, as well as some of the chiffon. If I even attempted to put it on, let alone wear it, I would destroy it. The lining is as fragile as a cobweb. I tried to fuse the rips in the lining, but it was hopeless. Even putting it, gingerly, on the mannequin, shredded it further. The only hope would be to replace the lining, except then the shredded chiffon would be the weak link. I've resigned myself to gazing forlornly at it, and dreaming of remaking it anew someday.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Another rainy day.

Last week my mom reminded me of this book. I had it when I was little, and it was pretty depressing and kind of crappy, but I guess I picked it to be read disproportionally often. We laughed about how despite your best efforts to give your kids enriching quality storybooks, you can't control which ones become favorites. Anyway, it's starting to feel like the winter that wouldn't end, and I'm running out of strawberry jam.

Things are looking kind of bleak in the city this week. I'm making a dress for a customer at work for a big family party in Lima this spring. She's Peruvian and her friends here call her Gloria, after the character on Modern Family because she's loud and showy. The dress is fuchsia, red, orange and black and it looks amazing, but she says that if her Canadian friends saw her they would think she was crazy because all they ever wear is black. I thought about that on my way home today, and she's right: so much black. And gray. Blah.

Spring fashion is always about colour, and this year bright colour seems to be the focus. Shall I attempt red again? Never say never. For my outfit today I was kind of inspired by the colours in these shoes I posted the other day. The tights and piping on the blouse are navy. And the blouse is white! Speaking of colours I never wear... and it made it through the day without much visible damage.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Time to start planning for the two weddings I'll be attending this summer. I have a couple of pretty pieces of silk stashed away - one is navy with a white print and one is emerald green with a white print. I haven't decided on the style, but I've got a few months to figure that out. The "problem" may be that I might possibly need a new pair of heels to wear. Sad but true. I feel like I don't have anything properly festive for a fancy summer wedding, so I did a little scheming and found a few options online. A girl can dream...

I'm sure I won't find the exact same colour as whichever colour I choose for my dress, so I should take the advise that I give customers and go for something totally different instead of being just a shade off the dress. So I'm picturing the green shoes above being worn with the navy fabric. And I think I might be the last girl on earth without the basic nude shoe, but all of the ones I see just seem so basic, which is why I like the top two shoes. Anyway, I'd never really buy shoes online, because I've got to be able to dance the night away, but it's fun to imagine.