Thursday, December 01, 2016

Dress Like a 1940's Spy Novel Heroine

 I came downstairs wearing this black 1980's dress with red trim and Mr. ETB said I looked how he'd envision a character from a 1940's spy novel he was reading. I hadn't yet accessorised, so I took that as a challenge. I own some 1940's pieces that don't get much wear, so why not?

 The dress is made from a polyester fabric that can't decide if it wants to be brushed nylon or Ultra suede and falls somewhere in-between. It launders easily enough, but it does attract every bit of lint. I keep a lint roller in the car for just such fabrics, and this one really put the roller to use. As the dress was absurdly inexpensive I don't mind a bit of effort keeping it tidy.
 Two recently acquired brooches.
 Seashells encased in lucite with glitter-can earrings get any better?
 A bracelet that is fast becoming a favourite. It is quite heavy, which makes it difficult to wear for more than a few hours.
 Another velvet 40's handbag for my collection. I own a similar bag in a taller design, but at $3.99 I couldn't really refuse. The bag was in remarkably good condition, and probably didn't see much use.

 Outfit Particulars:

1980's does 40's dress-Goodwill
Belt-Came with another dress
Stockings-K Mart
Vintage swing jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
1940's velvet handbag-Goodwill
Both brooches-Goodwill
Bracelet-Goodwill
Vintage earrings-garage sale
Gloves-Mum's
Vintage velvet hat-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-YSL Paris
I looked for a suitably vintage drink that a spy might have enjoyed in the 40's and found 

The Cablegram:
2 oz. whisky
1 teaspoon icing sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Stir well with ice. Strain into a tall glass and top up with ginger ale. 

I made a foam-board template for this year's gingerbread house today. I'm feeling pulled in a dozen directions at the moment, so I'm keeping it simple this year. We're heading into the end of semester and there's still so much ground to cover. I bought myself a present...
 I never knew I needed giant mugs until they ended up on the clearance shelf at Big Lots for .50 cents each. I bought two, because I like to go wild with money sometimes.
And now I have a cold, so they will get plenty of use delivering hot drinks. Pass the whisky.












Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Clothes I Forgot I Own

How could I forget a paisley, Shantung silk blouse from Talbot's?!


 I don't wear many blouses as our weather goes from tee-shirts to sweaters (jumpers) without much seasonal change between. There's probably two weeks a year in Omaha where wearing a silk blouse makes sense. That hasn't stopped me buying them, but I tend to forget what I have the other fifty weeks of the year when I can't wear them. This year has been an exception where we're having a proper autumn. I found the blouse in a box looking for a jacket, and I thought it best to hurry up and wear it before we have a foot of snow.


 The only thing more impractical than a silk blouse in Nebraska is a satin skirt. I've owned this one since 2012, but am only figuring out how to wear it now. This outfit is far outside my comfort zone...and I'm a slob. Nice fabrics are wasted on me as I'll catch the skirt in the car door or spill coffee down my shirt. Thankfully, the clothes came through this wear unscathed, but I did lose an earring. Grr.

 This is the jacket I went looking for when I found the blouse. Being patchwork it should go with nearly everything-it doesn't. I like the velvet and silk fabrics, but I'm afraid it has to go. Space is limited, and I can't keep clothes that don't play well with others unless they are exceptional. I've been ruthless in my clear-outs of late, but it must be done. Being able to bring home quality clothing for .49 to .99 cents does lead to over-doing it.

Outfit Particulars:

Satin skirt-Hand-Me-Ups
Talbot's silk blouse-Salvation Army
Coldwater Creek jacket-Goodwill
Boots-Hand-Me-Ups
Valdrome purse-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-gift
Vintage chain belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Venezia Pastello (hell, it feels like spring, might as well wear a light perfume)


Today's drink is from the sixties when it would still be acceptable to order a drink called a
"Naked Lady."

1 oz. rum
1 oz. sweet vermouth
4 dashes apricot brandy
2 dashes grenadine
4 dashes lemon juice
Shake well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. 

I unpacked my winter China today, and it finally feels like the holidays even if the weather is a balmy 60 degrees and raining. I still have borage and nasturtiums in the garden! If you've been around this blog for a while you know that Birthday Cake Mania is about to begin. I've made some strange ones over the years, but Danny's request for his 12th Birthday might be the oddest yet. I have three weeks to pull this off. I'm going to need a cocktail (or three). 



















Monday, November 28, 2016

Let's Visit Des Moines, Iowa

"Fancy running into you here, Danny! What brings you to Des Moines?"
"You did, I was riding in the back of the car."
"You don't say. Since we're here, how about going to visit the Saylorville reservoir to look for migratory birds?"
"Fine by me."
 There were both golden and bald eagles as well as pelicans, merganzers, and ring-billed gulls (none of which managed to be photographed by me).
Danny took better photos-perhaps I'll convince him to share some with us later on.



It was blowing a gale, but the weather was still unseasonably warm. I bought this leather coat expecting a few wears before I required something heavier, but I'm pleased to report it is getting plenty of wear this autumn.

Outfit Particulars:
Skinny jeans-K Mart
Vintage acrylic sweater-Hand-Me-Ups
Boots-Goodwill about 10 years ago
Vintage 70's leather coat-Goodwill
Vintage copper Hopi necklace-New Life Thrift
Knit headband-K Mart
Velvet shoulderbag-Goodwill
Fragrance-Alfred Sung

 We caught a buffalo.
Ready to tour the State House? Great, let's go inside!
The state house was constructed between 1871 and 1886. It is the only five-domed capitol in the United States. 
I'm sure they'll have this removed shortly as it is now been deemed irrelevant.
In the case is a replica of the battleship USS Iowa.
I'm glad polishing the floor tiles isn't my job. It must take a small army to keep this place as gleaming as it is. At the front bottom of the photo is a round of glass tiles that function as a skylight for the lower floor.
I did get a bit dizzy looking up, but it was so magnificent it was worth the discomfort.
I would imagine working in a building like this would give even the lowest-tier state workers the impression that their work was important and meaningful. It might not last ten seconds after sitting at a desk and getting to work, but I would think the walk in each morning would leave an impression.
 Obligatory covered wagon painting.
 Stained glass window.
 Fake marble. I learn something new every day.

 We learned so much on our visit, I'll bet we even look smarter.

The Iowa State Capitol is closed Sundays and holidays. Guided tours are available. 

Iowa Sunrise Cocktail:
1oz. vodka
1oz. white rum
1 oz. lemonade
1 oz. Sprite
4 ounces orange juice
Splash of grenadine
In a large glass add the alcohols, then the lemonade. Sprite, and orange juice on top. Add the grenadine and it should bleed through the layers making the sunrise.






Sunday, November 27, 2016

Mexican Tourist Jacket and Christmas Tree Shopping

 I have a new favourite jacket (I know, I'm fickle). This is the third Mexican tourist jacket I've bought, and it is by far, the nicest. The heavy, unlined flannel is warm, doesn't wrinkle and goes with just about everything in my wardrobe. I don't know enough about these jackets to accurately date it, but someone out there does-feel free to add any information you'd like to share in the comments.

 This jacket is machine embroidered as far as I can tell. My other jackets are hand embroidered with yarn rather than floss. There's no label, but it does feel mass produced. No matter, I love it anyway and plan to wear it at every opportunity before the weather turns too cold.
Outfit Particulars:
Mexican tourist jacket-Hand Me Ups
Jeans-K Mart
Poloneck-K Mart
Earrings-K Mart
Vintage handbag-Goodwill
Shoes-Hand-Me-Ups

Our old  artificial tree is showing wear, so it was off to the Menards for a new one. The last tree was purchased used at Goodwill for ten bucks when Danny was not quite four, so I do think we got our money out of it.
 That's the old tree the year we bought it . I had a box of old ornaments I hadn't opened in twenty years that Danny thought of as a treasure chest. I don't miss the drafty old farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. I thought I would, but I do not. At all.
This might be the last time he had short hair.
Fast forward to today. Danny is standing beside the tree we eventually settled on. At 7ft. it is a bit taller than the old one, but not so big that it will be a nuisance. It took him an hour and a half walking around with a notebook making comparisons before settling on this one. I was pleased he went for an unlit, inexpensive tree. For a moment I was nervous as he eyed a massive white tree, but he thought better of it.
 We found Santa. I'm not sure I like the idea of a blow-up Santa doll. You should see the other things they have on offer at this store.

Oh, what's this we have here? Wouldn't that be a conversation piece all lit up in front of the house? Sort of reminds me of that modern art they had in front of the Louvre last year...
But hey, that's modern art for you. If you hire McCarthy to do a large inflatable, you sort of have to expect something like that, but I'm not sure what Menards was thinking. Right. Moving along...

The old tree will be going in front of the house to be converted into a giant bird feeder. We went out collecting pine cones last week, and we'll slather them in sunflower seed butter and various bird seeds, dried fruit, etc. I have some shatter-proof outdoor ornaments as well. I hope that works out (and that the squirrels won't steal it all) and doesn't blow away in the first storm. I'll get some bricks to weight it down.

The gingerbread men are baked, decorated, and ready to wrap and put on the tree. This is Danny's job now, and I take a hands-off approach to it all. I'll never be the sort of person that re-does the tree after the kids go to bed and blame it on elves. I can't imagine my life ever getting to the point where the decorating of a Christmas tree would be so important that I'd re-do my kid's decorating.

Thanksgiving was quiet, the neighbourhood was abandoned (most of the college students head home for the holiday) and Danny spent the afternoon adjusting the tree and shoving nails of cloves into oranges. I made a baked cod with dressing which we call a "Massachusetts Turkey." The  weekend has been nice so far. We did a short visit to Des Moines, Iowa which was lovely (I'll have photos in a forthcoming post) and a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska. I didn't go near any of the Black Friday madness, and we've been enjoying some wonderful birding at various spots around Iowa and Nebraska.

 There were a great number of pelicans about, which was great as Danny hadn't seen one yet. Anytime he can add birds to his "life list" he's happy. Until you see them taking flight it is hard to imagine just how large pelicans are.

I'll leave you with a preview of our visit to the Iowa State Capitol, with a promise of interior photos coming soon. It is a remarkable building, and we had such a lovely time touring and admiring it.

Today's Cocktail is an Adonis:
2 oz. dry sherry
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
Stir well with ice and strain into a glass.

Hope your week has been as fun an interesting as mine. I'll be over to your blogs getting caught up.












Monday, November 21, 2016

The Nine Of Cups-Vintage Perfume Shop on Etsy

If you spend any time around this blog, it won't come as a surprise that fragrance is an important part of my life. Online shopping has made it easier to get my hands on long sought-after perfumes, but not every transaction has been what I'd hoped for. When a seller does stand out from the crowd, and supplies items that are exactly as described at outstanding prices, I become a loyal customer. I've been purchasing vintage fragrances for a couple of years now from Emily at TheNineOfCups on Etsy, and I have been so very happy with every aspect of the transactions.

 I am not compensated by Nine Of Cups. I am simply so pleased with the experience of purchasing fragrances from Emily that I wanted to introduce her to my readers. I approached Emily to ask if I could review her shop.

You won't see this one all over the Internet.
Emily knows her fragrances, a fact that is apparent after a quick glance through a few of her listings. Anyone can buy a bunch of old perfumes at an estate sale and sell them online-a seller who knows the difference between a turned fragrance, or one that has simply lost a few of the top notes is the person I prefer to do business with.

I asked Emily what sparked her interest in fragrance and was fascinated to hear it was the reformulation of Chantilly by Houbigant, and how it just didn't smell the same as it did when she began wearing it. I know more than a few readers are nodding in agreement having experienced similar issues with their lifelong favourites. I was struck by Emily's comment that she can appreciate a perfume even if it isn't something she wants to wear. That, to me is the mark of someone that has spent a great deal of time thinking about fragrance, and appreciating all the artistry that goes into creating a composition. For my part, I'm probably a bit hasty in my dismissals of scents I don't care for, and wish I could at least attempt to understand the work that went into the finished product.

Hard-to-find Patou
A look around Nine of Cups is like taking a tour through the very best parts of Twentieth Century perfumery. Guerlain, Caron, Patou, Dior, Chanel-they're all represented, and often in sample sized bottles that save the collector from the albatross that a full bottle of rarely used perfume can be. Decants are nice, but sometimes you want a bit more, and having the original bottle and packaging can add to the overall enjoyment. Who would want a bottle of Hypnotique without the "Sophisticat?" You know you want the Sophisticat.

Having a perfume dealer who understands fragrance and your tastes is a relationship worth maintaining (My husband can't figure out my taste in perfume, but Emily can.) As someone who likes to think she's "Smelled it all" it is wonderful to be introduced to something I wouldn't have discovered on my own. No recommendation engine will ever be as accurate as someone that knows you, and has an extensive knowledge of , and genuine interest in perfume. Emily admits to spending literally hundreds of hours reading about and researching perfume, something I can relate to. I suppose any perfume lover can-you want to know, smell, and possess it all! In the process, there's a lot of good, solid knowledge to be gained. Emily's research is conveyed in the way she speaks about fragrances. Expert knowledge stands out when it comes to selling online.
A beautiful fragrance with the original box.

I've been searching for the right word to describe the care Emily puts into wrapping and shipping out purchases and I keep coming back to respect. Respect for the item by presenting it in the best possible condition (I have bought perfume from other dealers where the box was filled with dust, animal dander and grimy bottles), wrapping it thoughtfully to try and prevent leakage, and shipping it out quickly-often the day the purchase was made. Last year, I received an order on Christmas Eve-the busiest time of the year. I didn't expect it, but I certainly appreciated it-who wouldn't want to wear new perfume Christmas morning? Respect for the items, respect for the customer-it is like falling into an alternate universe where people still care about building relationships with their customers. I spend a good deal of time on my blog complaining about the awfulness of most consumer activities. I don't like having my produce I spent time selecting crushed beneath tins of beans. I get impatient with medical offices that ask a million questions, but can't answer any. I spend a good deal of time feeling like I'm too old and cranky to interact with people, and wish I could just point and grunt to avoid conversation. Most consumer purchases are chores, but shopping for perfume from Nine of Cups is a delightful exception. No, I don't need fragrances but if I'm going to purchase them anyway, why not do it from someone I wouldn't mind having as a neighbour? Anyone that likes Perfume, and B movies is the sort of company I wouldn't mind keeping.
The perfect size to try something unfamilar.

After leaving the corporate world, Emily began selling on Etsy and eBay allowing her to do something she loves-and  it shows. I've always felt people who sell antiques, vintage clothing, perfume, etc. are so lucky because the work they do brings so much happiness and enjoyment to their customers. How many people get to say that about their work?

Unfortunately, shipping is to the United States only. My experience with Emily has been excellent as far as shipping costs go, unlike some dealers that will inflate the shipping costs. That won't happen to you purchasing from Nine of Cups. Is there anything more annoying than buying a five dollar item, then finding the shipping is fifteen dollars? If you look at the reviews on Nine of Cups you'll see hundreds of five-star reviews from happy customers, several of whom are return customers. You'll see me there as well.

With the holidays coming (sorry, they are) The Nine of Cups might be just the sort of vintage perfume shop you need to fill the stocking of the perfume lover in your life (or your own). You'd better hurry though, great fragrances move quickly.

Thanks, Emily for all the great fragrances, customer service, and conversations.














Sunday, November 20, 2016

Jumpsuit Week-Day Seven


 This one is from the archives, as the weather turned unsuitable for wearing a heavy satin jumpsuit. These snaps are from 2014.
As with most of my other 80's clothes, this jumpsuit had very large shoulder pads that I removed. I did however save them in case the look ever returns or I pass the jumpsuit on to someone that can appreciate big shoulders. Shoulder pads or not, these are the largest sleeves I've seen on clothing that weren't wide 60's type bells.
The shoulder pads in this blazer more than make up for the missing ones in the jumpsuit.

 Outfit Particulars:

1980's satin jumpsuit-Goodwill
Wedge heeled trainers-K Mart a few years ago
Necklace-Gordman's
Earrings-K Mart

Today's drink is an Artist's Special:
1 oz. Calvert Extra whisky
1 oz. sherry
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. sugar syrup

Stir well with ice, strain into glass.

I've had fun sharing some of my jumpsuit collection with you this week. I still have a few more (!) so loo for them at some point in the future. Fellow blogger Veronica has just completed a week of skirts-be sure to check out her fun post.