Tuesday, December 31, 2013

black and white and...


I've been nesting for the last week...well. er, really more like snoring really, but I do wake up and look around me every few hours. As a year-ender, I'm hoping to bring the hodgepodge of 'decorative' elements together into a coherent er...something around the home.  I am a very lazy decorator, alas- frames go up where a nail is pre-existing, the pictures just pages pulled from old magazines, fitting some temporal notion of colour and space. (Yes honey, I promise to finally remove the record album of the Cossack choir that has been drooping out of its frame for a couple of years now!)

I'm cleaning the palette a little with some black and whites, inspired by a couple of recent finds.On boxing day, a minor miracle, I found some actual vintage dresses in a thrift shop!  The highlight is this 50s polka dot chiffon number, with matched lining. I may wear it tonight for our small and intimate New Years celebration at home (the other piece was a lovely black 'french' sundress by 'La Gamine'...very Bardot...but not to be worn for a several months yet!).  For the occasion, I've added this decorative bedspread to the feather duvet- I bought it at Urban Outfitters about a million years ago with the idea of a wall-hanging-like wallpaper.  I think it's about time I used it.


 I also picked up a really cute black and white dress for $20 at the Urban Outfitters Boxing week sale last week, though true to Urban, I have to tailor it a bit to make it fit a real body...

The kitchen gets in on the action too- we have a few lovely coloured ceramic bowls that have gotten chipped and tired over the last several years.  I have long admired this sort of oversized patterned soup bowl and was thrilled to find some of my own for great prices at Winners over the holidays.  I just need to find another amazing black and white print to make new curtains for the space!  Goodbye, old bowls!

And then there's the living room, with its comfy white couch I swore to re-cover about 8 years ago.  Many's the temporary fabric I have draped as a test, but it really is...almost...complete.  I don't think there are any pins...(Though now I'm ready for a nice brown cover maybe) (stop that!  finish the grey cover first!)... 

I have also made a few easy cushion covers recently- that's a fun way to add more print and texture! Except now I find myself making new ones constantly!  Oops!

In truth, though, the concept of black and white plus one dominant colour is basically the colour scheme I adopted in planning the home of my future self when I was about 10 years old.  Oh well, it's a good one!

Now if I could just figure out how to get my new plant obsession to fit in...er, and stay alive...something to hope for the new year! I think I may just have to take up still life painting and drawing, to catch the brief moments of green in a more permanent manner.  Perhaps it's telling that in French a still-life is a nature morte or literally, dead nature.  eeps.

mmm and how about a few vintage black and white items from Etsy?

vintage silk Nelly de Grab skirt via 1919vintage

1950s silk blouse via 1919vintage
Happy New Year, whether you're quietly saying goodbye to the old year with hugs at home, or embracing the new in crowds of revelers!

Monday, December 30, 2013

bear hugs (and other fuzzy animals)

The past few days have been spent in a lazy haze of sleeping, eating leftovers, reading and watching bits of movies.  Soon the cycle of work will begin again, so I'm trying to fully enjoy some cozy time at home. Our Christmas festivities are a marathon of hosting and house-hopping (and cleaning, baking, and knitting). I like to throw on this faux fur coat this time of year, when you just want to be enveloped in a hug at all times. (it's faux seal, or 'faux phoque' to be correct.  Yes, say it out loud!  The french word that juveniles of all ages enjoy repeating!)

Anthropologie Geo-stitched tank, Emanation cardigan and AG Stevies in Sulfur Faded Plum, Born Bitsy boots
These dark brown AG jeans came in as a last minute Christmas gift to myself! Thanks Sarah Santa! And well, this boxing day gear is really just my Christmas eve outfit revisited...because why have to think too much at this time of year! Itself inspired by an anthropologie styling...

Ellery top
So, along the way, Santa and family found some great books and gifts for me, including a little Anthropologie action:

Tonnere buttondown
Taryn crepe shift
Cabled garonne dress
I immediately wore the scarf print dress out to Christmas dinner! It's a great retro shape and forgiving a-line cut- perfect for mounds of turkey and mashed potatoes and pie!

And of course I went out and treated myself to a couple of boxing day sale items too (er, well, day after boxing day.  I think I slept through the 26th!) A couple of these awesome felted ornaments were just waiting for me:


And some more cozy layers, for a lover of knitted things and wine...

Ellesmere Tunic
Scalloped Flutter cardigan
Voila.  A couple of post christmas notes.  I wish you big fuzzy hugs, and a few more rounds of cookies.  My piggy cookies (inspired by Danibp) are sadly all gone.  I wonder if I could justify making another batch...

Friday, December 27, 2013


Merry Christmas!  After several days of non-stop errand-running, baking, cleaning and knitting and non-sleeping leading up to my family's marathon Christmas festivities, I am finally well-slept, overfed, and lying on the couch watching old 80's action movies as part of a 'seasons beatings' series on some random cable channel (I have acquired basic cable for the first time in my life!).  Back when I 'wore clothes', I had a Christmas party at work and I thought I should share a 'classic' green dress with you!

I missed catching the green Rodna dress at Anthro when it went on sale a couple of years ago, though I made do with the navy (seen here).  However when I got the chance to get one through the EA trade forum recently I was pretty pleased, and fortunately it came just in time for the party! The perfect occasion for a green dress (not that one needs any excuse...)


I paired it with this cute pale pink necklace from Forever 21 (I think a knockoff of a recent J Crew piece?), a feather clip and jewelled belt from anthro and an old rusty orange cardigan.  I was kinda sad at the end of the night when I thought I'd lost the brooch (and then I found it in my bodice..!).  I was never one for too many pastels, but I do love pale pink with dark greens!

Next time? What I wore for Christmas dinner (eve and day of).  Right now, Van Damme is about to kick butt in Blood Sport! (After a gratuitous butt shot earlier in the movie which the boyfriend very generously rewinded at my request...geez, new cable technologies are amazing!)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Oh, it has been cold outside!  Fortunately along with the -20 temperatures, we've also had beautiful layers of snow and frost.  By Sunday evening, there were high snowdrifts all along the roads, and cheerful fat gnome hats on top of small surfaces. I swear, it is also the sparkliest snow I've ever seen-glimmering and shimmering in the streetlights.  Truly magical (if you don't need to dig out a car. eeps).

Over the weekend I ended up seeing the movie Frozen, which is, well, rather delightful.  The characters are funny, and have a depth to their charming gawkiness.  The art design is lovely- I found myself imagining delicate arches and traceries of frost superimposed on the outside world for a couple of days afterwards. When my nose wasn't frozen.


Brittney Lee, one of the artists who worked on the movie, designs with paper cutouts- I love how this subtly affects the graphic character of the movie.

It was also funny to realize that one of my standby knit dresses for cold winter days is actually a pretty good inspiration for a 'Frozen' princess' dress! Nuts- you just can't see my princessy braids.  oh well.  If only I had her cute little boots with the decorative gilt inlay!

Brrrrr... Fortunately it's become a bit more bearable outdoors.  At least it will be a white christmas!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


J Crew cardigan, Anthropologie Geo stitched tank and Tillie belt, vintage skirt, aerosole wedges, brown tights
As a frequent wearer of greens (and with a propensity for sparkles to boot), it's easy to accidentally fall into outfits that look a little too festive.  Y'all know St. Paddy's day is my nightmare! Fortunately earthier fall tones can help.  Red and green- never.  Orange and green?  Always divine.

Ancient Urban Outfitters silk blouse, vintage corduroy skirt, Indigo boots
Earth tones again- rust is my favourite red. I found this extremely heavy corduroy wrap skirt over the summer- it's hard to imagine being cold during a heat wave, but this is an amazing winter skirt! Especially when paired with soft silk ruffles.

Vintage polka dot blouse and fairisle sweater, J Crew sterling skirt, Indigo heels. and brown tights of course!
Uh, you win some, you lose some I guess.  This is way festive! I wore this a couple of weeks ago and ended up with a giant gingerbread latte in hand!  Besides, I love the tiny polka dots with fairisle, and the tomato red with wine (yummmm). This poor sweater has been shunted in an out of the winter storage for years and rarely gets worn.  I find pullovers too hot in general, but it's such a great vintage piece (and totally of the moment) so every year I duly stitch up one or two moth holes (have you ever noticed they prefer red dyes? tasty...) and trot it out again.

I sent out the required Christmas list to the family over the weekend.  Edited my usual rainbow-of-tights request to specify a preference for browns as you can see coming in handy above!! Oh, and my Christmas tree is up, so I'm happy to reunite with my favourite kitschy vintage ornaments! sweet!  Let's get this season started!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

structured ruffles!

I always fall in love with those stupid shawl-collar frothy ruffled sweaters that Anthropologie delights in.  Except they look ridiculous on me, tiny head and all.  So when I saw this Ruffled Coda cardigan awhile back, with just a delicate hint of shawliness and subtle cropped ruffling at the waist I knew my day had come.  I haven't been disappointed- dresses, skirts and even (gasp) pants.  This thing goes with everything.

So unfortunately the outfit was pretty rumpled after a ten hour day, but it was very nice- colourful and elegant, and once again the sweater was the first thing that really worked with this sleeveles dress without resorting to the ol' boring buttoned cardigan look. Oh yeah, and the dress is rather spectacular too :)

Swallowtail sheath
I picked up this cardigan way back in September- things don't last long at my local Anthropologie store (it drives me nuts...) so I'm glad I didn't wait.  They were all gone a week or so later. Well, it finally  went on sale last week and I was happy to find one rusty red colour in the sale room! It may not demand attention, next to the aforementioned divinely ruffled wraps, but a worthy everyday piece!

Oh, but some of the aforementioned oversized delights...

Andover cardigan

Jacquard cocoon cardigan

Casado cardigan
Matinee cardigan

 And my personal favourite...I adore this look, but I just couldn't make it work! (Seriously, I have a tiny head...)

Rimbey cardigan