Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pepto Pink and Seeking Your Help

 There's "Millennial Pink", but this is definitely, Pepto-Bismal pink. No getting around it. Being polyester, it just takes on that added bit of silliness. I'm pretty sure it is home sewn. I hope she received good marks in home economics because this is a very nice dress, save for the colour.

I attracted my share of odd looks wearing it around Omaha today. One fellow had to stop, turn around and continue looking at me like I'd somehow caused him psychic discomfort by existing. That was kind of rich coming from someone with a hipster beard, and a waxed handle-bar moustache.
 This pendant has a secret. Flip it over and... can check your lippy. I love accessories that mix beauty with function. This one is vintage Avon. They made some very nice stuff in the 70's.

Outfit Particulars:Vintage 70's maxi-dress-Defunct costume shop
Vintage Johansen shoes-Thrift World
Vintage Margaret Smith handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage bangles-Both Goodwill
Vintage bracelet(part of a set)-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage earrings-Can't remember
Fragrance-Vintage Miss Dior

 Made in the USA-you don't see too many shoes that are anymore.

I should clean these earrings-yet another case of not spotting a flaw until I post a close-up photo.

Now for the request. It is Syllabus writing time again for the 2017-18 school year. I need to have it submitted by July, but I hope to be done much earlier (I'm ready for Summer break). Each year, I try to focus the curriculum around a single theme for each semester. Next year, I'm doing our neighbours, Mexico and Canada. I typically select some readings in history, literature, humanities, anthropology etc. that I can focus on the theme.

This is where I ask you for suggestions, I don't want to assign Paz to a 12 year old, although he would probably get more out of him than I ever did. Any Mexican literature spring to mind that you'd like to suggest?

For Canada, I've been teaching post-European arrival history for a few years now, but I'd like to add some readings that acknowledge the people already living there. I have a textbook that covers pre-Confederation Canada, but I don't have any modern indigenous authors assigned for readings. Any suggestions?

I think I have maths covered but if you have a favourite Trigonometry textbook, I'd love to hear about it.

Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Judgement of Plaster of Paris

Sorry, had to. 
You can't take me anywhere. 
I'm confident I'm not the first person to take advantage of a photo-op in the statue area of Mulhall's garden centre. Now give me my golden apple and I'll just be on my way.
What is it about statues that encourage silliness?  
Memorial Day is the official point (in the US) where it is considered acceptable to wear white. I don't give a toss about that rule (or most others for that matter) but it has been far too cold for a gauze/cheesecloth. We finally had a nice day with sun and temperatures in the 60's, so I broke out the white and headed to Mulhall's. Mulhall's is my "Happy Place."  I never leave there in a bad mood. I never leave there with any money, but still-you can't put a price on happiness. They have a rewards membership programme, but that just encourages more spending. I came home with a few more pepper and tomato plants, as well as yet another bay laurel. I keep killing them. This one is already Christened, Apollo III. I also purchased a jelly-feeder for orioles. Less than 24 hours after hanging it, the orioles started coming to our balcony. I didn't think we had orioles, but I guess I was wrong! 

I bagged up sorrel and set it out by the sidewalk with a note to help yourself-no one took any! I have pounds and pounds of sorrel and there's only so much schav I can eat. I might need to start leaving it at people's doors. Our cool weather resulted in the bumper crop from hell. We're about to be overwhelmed with peas as well, but
I can freeze those. Ah well, I guess you can have worse problems. Sorrel makes a nice sauce for fish, so I can always do that.
This is my first wear of this beautiful Judith Leiber belt. I was so happy to find it at New Life Thrift. If I ever find a Judith Leiber handbag I'll probably fall into a coma from the shock. I'm happy with the belt. White accessories can look naff, but not this belt! It is heavy, and well made but not adjustable. It is a bit large, but I don't care. 
Outfit Particulars:
Gauze blouse-K Mart
Gauze skirt-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Air Step handbag-Can't remember
Judith Leiber belt-New Life Thrift
Gold shoes-Goodwill
Shell earrings-Sears
Whiting and Davis vintage panel bracelet-Goodwill
Damascene bracelet-Goodwill
Gold bangles-various places
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Diorissimo
 My skin is finally healing with the multiple salves I'm using now. I'm happy it wasn't my wrists as that would impair my ability to wear bracelets and that would be like running around stark naked (or as we say, "Starkers.").  What do you call it when you walk down the stairs naked? Starkness descending."

 Want to know how much the ointment cost? With insurance, it was $2.00. That's the price our insurance company negotiates for it. Without insurance a tube of generic ointment would have cost $869.00. I often wonder if the people screaming about being forced to buy insurance have ever had a serious case of allergic eczema? The second salve cost $35.00. I have no idea what that would have cost without insurance and a coupon from the drugmaker. This isn't some rare disease people are unlikely to contract-everyone gets a rash at some point in their life. I don't know about you, but I don't have eight hundred bucks sitting around to pay out of pocket for a rash ointment. Yes, our premiums are high, and yes there are co-pays, but if rash ointment costs this much I shudder to think what it would cost if I broke a leg. Young, healthy people have accidents too.
*Steps down off soapbox*

On a happier note, I baked my first cherry pie of the season. These are sweet Bing Cherries from California. I used instant tapioca as a thickener.
 I also made vanilla ice cream because you can't have cherry pie without ice cream-not at my house anyway.
I didn't wear white to bake the pie!

I'm finishing up the syllabus writing this week and next. The paperwork for next year needs to be in by 15 July, but I feel better having it done by June. We homeschool year-round, but I build in breaks during the summer. Half-days in July gets our work out of the way by the time the pool opens. The teacher needs a holiday too.
I wonder if a fish and sorrel pie would be good? If you live in Omaha and need some sorrel, drop me an email!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fragrance Review-Estee Lauder Knowing (Vintage Formulation)

My introduction to Knowing was shortly after it was introduced in the late 80's. My mum wanted the large Christmas set that was, "Free" with a fragrance purchase, so she gifted me a bottle of Knowing. For a woman that got it so wrong, so often in nearly every aspect of parenting, she'd somehow managed to select a fragrance that was at least in the spirit of something I'd wear. I never bothered with a second bottle, and didn't think about it until I was in New Life Thrift and found a half-filled bottle for around two dollars. "Why not?" I thought. I brought it home, put it away and forgot about it all winter.

A few weeks ago I came across the bottle and decided it was now or never. I always thought of Knowing as a cold weather fragrance-boy, was I wrong! Thanks to our wild weather that has fluctuated between frost and 90 degrees, I've been proving everything I thought about Knowing wrong (I imagine an ad campaign;"You don't know Knowing"). This is a wonderful late Spring fragrance-after the lily of the valley scents get old, but it is too early for gardenias.

Knowing is a chypre, but I hesitate to mention that for fear of scaring off the oakmoss and civet shy. Yes, those notes are there, but so are melon, plum, aldehydes, cedar, and the most glorious rose. On paper it sounds like someone let a ten year old loose in a lab, but after that initial suffocating blast of aldehydes (and it is strong) Knowing settles down and spends the next several hours compelling you to sniff your wrist. Bay leaf, cardamom, coriander-the spice notes in Knowing never veer into smelling like a kitchen cabinet-rather they're more like an herb garden warmed by the sun.

To my nose, Knowing isn't a typical 80's fragrance. Perhaps it is the aldehydes, or the civet but there's something old fashioned about it-my grandmother wouldn't have found it too different from the perfume bottles on her own tray (even if she only ever wore Lentheric Tweed to the annoyance of my mother). I won't say Knowing has some sort of old fashioned glamour, as I think people often associate anything old fashioned with the version of the past they get from movies. Rather, Knowing is reminiscent of an era where you wouldn't go to the dentist wearing yoga pants. Dressed, rather than dressed-up.

Knowing isn't a powerhouse, but the first few minutes of aldehyde cloud can be a bit strong. It does settle down, but I wouldn't spray myself head-to-toe all at once unless I was particularly skilled at holding my breath. Only you know your lung capacity, and your aldehyde endurance, so spray lightly until you know your limit. The longevity is good, but a second application mid-day isn't an outrageous indulgence.

What's interesting to me is the absence of any citrus notes in Knowing's opening. There's such a tendency to throw a bit of bergamot or orange at a woody chypre, that it is almost daring to omit it. There's orange blossom later on, but that's different of course. I suppose it would get lost in the aldehydes anyway.

So what's in Knowing?

Aldehydes, mimosa, coriander, orange blossom, melon, plum, green notes, rose, tuberose, bay leaf, patchouli, orris root, jasmine, lily of the valley, cedar, cardamom, sandalwood, amber, musk, civet, oakmoss and vetiver.

Knowing gets compared to Paloma Picasso, and that's not an unfair comparison. I find Knowing a bit nicer in the second and third hour where the second and third hour of Picasso makes me think I should wash it off and try something else. I like both fragrances for their own qualities but if I had to choose, I'd take Knowing without much deliberation.

I have issues with the Lauder fragrances. Actually, that's not fair. I have issues with my mother and sister who were loyal consumers of Lauder fragrances until my sister mercifully discovered Chanel No. 19 in the late 70's. Until then, it was a cloud of Aliage, Youth Dew, Estee, and White Linen. I can enjoy vintage Azuree in the right mood, but even the later fragrances like Cinnabar, Pleasures, Private Collection, and the like really churn my stomach. Today's Estee Lauder fragrances are tamer, but they still don't do much for me. That said, I will always turn my head to figure out who is wearing Aramis in a room, even when I know it will be a 70 year old gentleman that started wearing it when the fragrance was new. Every house has at least one good fragrance, and as far as I'm concerned Aramis is it-it is a stronger version of Azuree adding in what was missing (probably a shit-load of cumin).

I haven't tried the newer version of Knowing. The oakmoss is such an important note in the original I'd be curious how they've managed to duplicate it. Synthetic civet to my nose works well in most things (hell, it turns Jicky into something I'd actually consider wearing) and I don't imagine it could go too wrong in Knowing-but I've been wrong before. Hopefully the fragrance hasn't been gutted in reformulation as so m any others have been.

If you like woody chypres like Paloma Picasso, a vintage bottle of Knowing might be something you'd enjoy. Just beware the aldehydes. Really, I'm not exaggerating.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

True Vintage Rayon Dress

Here's one I don't wear much.
 I've owned this dress so long I can't remember where I purchased it. I do know that it is slowly falling apart, and is in need of being completely taken apart and restored. I have a box of items needing repair I call, "The Vintage Hospital" and I believe this dress is due for admission.

 I'm not sure if it is 40's or 50's. There's a metal side zipper, and the length (which appears to be original) seems more wartime (rationing) to me, but the neckline feels later. It doesn't matter much to me, but it is a difficult piece to catergorise.
I added the brooch in the centre, but the other adornments are original to the dress. I'll get the stones replaced when I do the repairs.

The original belt loops are still there, but the belt is long gone-I'm not sure if I ever had it.  A red belt would look better, but as fate would have it, none of my red belts are the right shade! That isn't a spot on the hem-it is the light shining through. Next time, I'll remember a slip.

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage rayon dress-Can't remember
Vintage rayon handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Blue sheer stockings-K Mart
Cinnabar bangle-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage coat-Thrift store in Wahoo, Nebraska
Earrings-Can't remember
Brooch in centre of neckline-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Geminesse (haven't tried the re-issue yet)
Lippy-Revlon Fifth Avenue Red
 If you've been wondering what's up with all the heavy fragrances I've been wearing lately I can only say it is a combination of strange weather, and strange moods. I seem to be wearing all the "Dead of winter" perfumes these past few weeks. Geminesse, Passion,Bandit, Cabochard, Knowing, l'Origan, Femme, Opium, Samsara, and Dark Brilliance. What's wrong with me? God only knows, but it has been interesting giving these a go without snow on the ground. One mistake I did make was spraying on a vintage bottle of Blue Grass. NO, NO, NO. Oh god, no. I apologise if you love it but it was as I furiously began trying to scrub it off that I remembered it is known for some serious longevity. *Shudder* It might work better in warmer weather, but I don't think I'm willing to try it again to find out. It isn't grass I smell, but hay. Bales of hay left out in the rain that have started to mould. Blech. I'm not sure I've ever liked an Arden fragrance, though Danny is partial to the Green Tea range which are generally inoffensive.
Speaking of things that stink...the big stinky flower that only blooms once a decade is about to go at Lauritzen Gardens. I'm going to take Danny over there tomorrow sand with any luck we can witness the bloom. It can't be any worse than Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass.

Friday, May 19, 2017

On My Best Behaviour

 Is it so very much to expect mannerly behaviour in thrift stores? Is there something that takes possession of otherwise polite people when they pass through the doors of Goodwill on the first day of the new tag sale that transforms them into boorish jerks? I like a bargain, but I've never felt acquiring one would require surrendering my upbringing.

I noticed the frenzied shopper filling her two carts with anything tagged the .49 cent colour. It was impossible to get through the aisle with the skirts, so I went around (the long way) only to have her whip around (the short way) to block me in the next aisle. Stretching out her two carts to block access to the rail until she was done skeletanising it, I once again moved on rather than confront her with a request to let me pass. It was as I retreated that I spotted this pristine St. John Collection twin set for .99 cents.  I like to think of it as the Universe rewarding me for proper etiquette. Instead of two carts filled with worthless tat from Wal Mart, I came home with quality knits I couldn't afford new. I've had similar things happen before, and while I can't promise the Universe will always reward good manners with something this spectacular, it sure is satisfying when it does. Really people, nothing is worth behaving like that-there's plenty of used clothing for everyone, I promise.
You can click HERE to get a rough idea what these twin sets sell for new. You might want to sit down. The quality is top-notch though. I'll give them that.
The necklace isn't photographing well, and that's a pity as it is beautiful vintage enameled Trifari. The BSK Lily of the Valley brooch is fading into the print of the cardigan as well, but take my word for it-it looked better in person.
I wasn't much more successful photographing them against a solid background. Some items are just like that!

Outfit Particulars:
St. John Collection twin set-Goodwill
Vintage Junior House wrap skirt-Thrift World
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
Vintage handbag-Antique mall (I think)
Vintage BSK brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage clip earrings-Goodwill
Vintage Trifari pendant necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Rochas Femme (the '89 reformulation, not the 2013 cumin bomb. I now own both and they're completely different. This one reminds me a bit of Mitsouko with some added plum)

We survived the severe weather. Tonnes of rain and wind, but that was about it. We've turned quite cold again which means I have used both the heat and air conditioning in the same week. Madness. The only thing growing well at the moment are the potatoes. Ah well, on the bright side I don't need to water the garden. I would however like to wear my new swimsuit...
Our outdoor pool will be open by the end of the month for Memorial Day weekend and I'd really prefer to avoid sitting poolside in a swimsuit and wool cardigan. I was going to buy this swimsuit in black and then thought better of it and went for hot pink instead. Just add sunshine...PLEASE!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


When I purchased this lovely little globe necklace, the salesclerk looked confused that I'd want it. Holding it up with one hand, and pointing with the other he declared, "That's all in Spanish. You can't use that."
That's my WTF expression. 
I dunno, does anyone buy a teeny-tiny globe necklace because they plan to use it? Would the fact that it is in Spanish make that much of a difference if you were using it? I reckon Australia would still be Australia in Spanish, and so on. I'd like to think I possess enough general geography knowledge that I could manage it if something in life necessitated peering at the globe around my neck to see if Canada borders the United States. 

What struck me was how serious the man was about it being a functional object. He didn't seem otherwise unintelligent, which now makes me wonder in hindsight if it was some sort of racist comment I didn't pick up on at the time. As someone who is routinely mistaken for Latina, it is all the more confusing. As I wasn't angrily told to, "Go back where you came from!" I'll assume it probably wasn't racism, at least not the blatant sort.  Very odd. 

 We had some wild weather last evening (100 mph winds, downpours, hail, etc.) and the weather service just issued a tornado watch for this afternoon and evening. I was surprised we didn't lose power last evening and I'm hoping for the best tonight. We have a proper basement at this house, unlike the dirt storm cellar on the farm. I still take the weather warnings seriously after being through a tornado, but I don't dread sitting it out quite as much. For the moment, we're in a watch and wait mode, and the weather is quite nice at present.
Dramatic clouds, but blue skies behind.
I've never made a scarf-blouse, but I was happy to find this one for a dollar. The sleeves are sewn to the side of the body eliminating the problem I was having earlier with large sleeves. The silky material is fun, and the print interesting. It would probably look better on someone with smaller boobs.
Yep, that's my opinion on the concept of, "Flattering" clothes. Wear it if you like it and fuck anyone that doesn't.
Outfit Particulars:
Scarf blouse-New Life Thrift
90's skirt-Sears
Gucci shoes-Goodwill ($7.99! I know, I nearly peed myself with excitement)
Betsey Johnson purse-Hand-Me-Ups
Bangles-all over
Globe necklace-Goodwill
Earrings-Shop Ko at least 15 years ago
80's belt-Goodwill
Fragrance-Bal a Versailles
That's what a $500.00 pair of shoes looks like (I saw some listed for even more new with the box). I guess you pay for the little inter-locking G's on the sole? Walking around, it isn't like they're a whole hell of a lot different from a pair of sandals I can pick up at K Mart, but hey, Luxury Goods! Imagine having enough money that you'd wear something a couple of times and then simply donate it to Goodwill. Well, I can't imagine it. 
 A nice Betsey Johnson bag is more my idea of a luxury item. I think I paid around three dollars for it at HAnd-Me-Ups.

Those puffy white clouds have turned menacing in the time it took to write this post, so I'm off to unplug all my electronics in the event of lightning and power outages. I'll see you later unless I end up over the rainbow in which case, I won't be clicking my ruby slippers to get back here anytime soon.

"Auntie Em, Autie Em, Toto peed in my bed again!"

Monday, May 15, 2017

Not Vintage...Yet (The dress, not the blogger)

This dress isn't vintage, though it certainly looks it. I bought it over fifteen years ago at Target, of all places, If I keep it a few more years, it will be vintage. I have no idea when 20 years time became a marker of vintage-in my day that was just, "Old clothes." There you go. 
The dress ties in the back, which does create an effect of looking like a maternity dress, but at my age I'm unlikely to be mistaken for expectant. I was already elderly when Danny was born. I know this because they put a bright orange sticker on my chart that read, "Advanced maternal age" in bold print. Sheesh.

 See all that grey? The dress might not be vintage, but I certainly am. That's okay, I'm enjoying getting older-I've stopped giving a toss what anyone thinks and I just live my life. I'm rather good at doing my own thing at this point.

Outfit Particulars:
Merona dress-Target, years ago
Thermoset necklace-New Life Thrift
Clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Naturalizer shoes-Thrift World
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Brooch-Thrift World
Vintage milkglass bracelets-both Hand-Me-Ups
White bangle-Goodwill
Vintage beaded white ring-Goodwill
Fragrance-Vintage Houbigant Chantilly (gosh it was nice before Dana ruined it)
 Nana shoes need nana tights.
 Yeah, the Garmin is clashing with the vintage look. If someone could figure out a way
 hide a fitness tracker in a Bakelite bangle, I'd buy it.

The Apricot Olympiad went well this year. We made 16 half-pints of jam (with and without pectin-one is more of a fresh fruit spread), 10 pints of apricot chutney, an apricot cobbler (we had that tonight-it was perfect) and tomorrow we will finish off with a small batch of apricot/cherry jam, and possibly some fruit leather with any leftovers. Unlike previous years, we didn't peel the apricots as the skins were thin, and in beautiful condition. Why do extra work? I honestly can't see much difference between jam with peeled or unpeeled apricots-throw enough sugar at something and you'll notice little else. Anyway, I'm glad that's finishing up so we can rest before the strawberries! We will get some rest before the strawberries...I hope!