Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Brighten Up Those Buckets of Rain

Cats and dogs?! More like tigers and wolves, the rain we've been having. Doing my hair is pointless, and any fabric that can't be wrung dry sitting in the car won't be of much use. Umbrella? Forget it, better to just make a run for it and hope for the best. With the heat, it is a bit like stepping into a shower each time I go outside, so obviously a raincoat won't help either. Instead, I grabbed the lightest, brightest, silky dress I own and made my own damn sunshine.
 

This is my second Diane Freis dress. There wasn't much I liked about 80's fashion, but I really like these dresses. They're flattering with a waist that can be worn drop, or on the natural waist thanks to an wide elastic band, the drape is attractive, and the sleeves, well...
You know how I feel about massive sleeves. I didn't need to do any housework or cooking today, so I made the most of my impractical dress. I probably won't need to cook for a week-I made about 100 vegetarian dolmas yesterday (lentils and rice work as a nice substitution for lamb) in another bout of stress-cooking. Rolling lentils in grape leaves is therapeutic in the same way that making dumplings is. I've often thought I missed out on a career as a factory worker-I'm really good at repetitive tasks. But not in big sleeves. You don't wear big sleeves to cook. You wear big sleeves to go to the craft store!

Wide eyed anticipation?
Relax, I'm just going to crochet some dishrags, and I needed cotton yarn. I do wish I were making something more exciting, as I have this great close up photograph of my eyeball. Don't worry, this isn't going to turn into some surrealist film...
Blondin! You get the hell off the birdfeeder!
Now!
Sorry. Got a bit off topic there. I had a successful trip to the Hand-Me-Ups store as well. The 17 yards of yellow polka dot fabric I had my eye on when it was $14.00 moved to the 1/2 price room, so I pounced. I also bought a vintage Donegal Tweed blazer, a velvet and Lurex suit (because obviously, I needed that), two vintage cardigans (one, Amana Woolen Mills) three vintage blouses, a couple of patterned tops, a pair of shoes, two wooden bowls from Hawaii, vintage embroidered napkins, a deck of old playing cards, a pin, and a boatload of clip earrings. The financial damage was minimal. I really do adore thrifting, I feel a little sorry for the suckers paying top dollar at department stores though. OK, I really don't.
 Outfit Particulars:

Diane Freis Dress (80's)-Goodwill
Madden Girl shoes-Goodwill
Necklace-Von Maur ages ago
Red bracelet-can't remember
Green clamper bracelet-K Mart
Earrings-Mum's, Mexican Shop, Evanston Illinois
Red tights-Walgreen's store brand (and they're terrific tights!)
1960's Lucite handle bag-A thrift store in Western Massachusetts years ago
Rings-here and there


 Funny story about the wedding band/engagement ring. A woman commented that it was beautiful today, and I told her the truth-it is glass. She couldn't believe it, so I told her, "Everything I have is fake, except THESE" and I grabbed my boobs. It took her a minute before she could let herself laugh, but she finally did.
 I like these shoes a lot, but I wish my Goodwill would stop writing the price on the bottom with permanent marker. There's a limit to how much thrifty pride I'm willing to display.
This is my other Freis dress, which has some lovely beading on it. I know these dresses are sought after nowadays, but I don't think I'm ready to part with either. I'm not a fan of purchasing for a label (though obviously there are exceptions) particularly if I don't intend to wear it. I try never to say, "never" but I hope to get some good wear and enjoyment out of these before I consider moving them along. Clothes that flutter as you walk are worth holding onto if for no other reason than they feel great to wear. As I've grown older, I'm less willing to be uncomfortable in clothing. I may not be ready for a pair of yoga pants (unless in the very unlikely situation where I might find myself doing yoga-that made me giggle at the mental image just typing it) and a pair of gym shoes, but I'm not willing to cause nerve damage from a pair of tight fitting jeans. Have you heard about that? People are getting numb patches on their thighs from the skinny jeans.
This dress took all of ten seconds to pull over my head, and I was dressed. I'd still be trying to pull up a pair of skinny jeans if I'd tried to wear them. With a pliers to close the zipper.

I'm off to do a ton of laundry, and start making dishrags (excitement!). Hope your midweek is treating you well.


 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Man Has a Name

 



Years ago, before answering machines, or call messaging my parents ran a food distribution business. Because it was a small operation, they didn't have the money to employ someone to do the telephone work so my mother took the position, along with the bookkeeping. My mother was an incredible bookkeeper, and she knew it. I would guess her confidence probably did lead to some heated confrontations when someone had the idea her accounting might have been off, with one particular incident resulting in her calling someone a, "Toothless Wonder" before slamming down the receiver. She was right though, her accounting was accurate, and the individual in question was a "Toothless Wonder." I believe they lost that account. As the business-speak people say, she wasn't a people person. Placing mother in charge of calling accounts to take their purchase orders for the week was a serious business gamble, but the way my dad saw it, there were a million restaurants in Illinois and Wisconsin-she couldn't alienate everyone. Most of the customers would order the same thing regularly, and after a while my dad got to know what they needed, avoiding calling for an order, but there were always a few that had small cooler space and didn't want it taken up with food they couldn't use. Once a week to take an order-how much damage could she possibly do?

My dad was a people person. He may have been a mean son of a bitch at home, but people that didn't live with him really loved him. As a businessperson, he really did place the customer first so if they ran out of something on a Sunday afternoon, he'd hop in the truck and bring them what they needed. I remember him regularly bringing a pail of pickles to a frantic hot dog stand an hour and half away on a weekend, sometimes borrowing it from another customer with a promise he'd be back first thing Monday morning to replace it. You didn't get that sort of treatment from the large, corporate food suppliers, and people knew it, appreciated it, and were loyal to him. I'm sure he calculated that into whatever mental business plan he had when he asked my mother to start taking telephone orders.

I remember the green telephone book with the padded green vinyl cover that had, "Telephone Numbers" embossed on it in a loopy golden script. In the front cover, she'd written the days of the week, and who needed to be called when. Some were weekly, some monthly. To her credit, my mother kept all of that straight and running, so that generally the person she needed to speak with was expecting her call and if not available, had left the order with someone to relay it. It sounds so complicated today in an age of electronics, and computers but in the late 60's and early 70's even the simplest tasks required a bit of planning and several steps. This would often get complicated if the person doing the ordering moved on to another job-something that happens regularly in the restaurant business. A new person would have to be trained to deal with my mother as it was best not to just toss someone to her clutches, as it were. She wasn't a mean person, but she did have very strong opinions about the way things ought to be done which more often than not was, her way. Follow the rules, and everything was great. I get that, I really do. If you can't be orderly in your life when things are going well, how will you cope when the shit hits the fan?  The most important thing I learned from my mother was that you can't be an effective control freak if you leave people to do as they please. You need to guide people, sometimes subtly, other times less so, in the direction you want them to go otherwise you may have to compromise with what someone else wants. She wasn't having any of that.

My dad needed a new customer put on the call list. My mother got out her green, padded vinyl telephone book with the embossed gold loopy script, and asked for the cook's name as she'd done so many times prior.
 "Just ask for Ho Chi Minh", he told her. Flabbergasted, and quite rightly, she refused.
"I am not calling a kitchen,  and asking for Ho Chi Minh. The man has a name, what is it?"
"I don't know, that's what everyone calls him" he whined.

She wasn't going to do it. Not long before she'd called another restaurant asking for a Mr. Ali Baba, because that was what my dad swore his name was. His name was, Ali but the "Baba" part was added as a form of good natured ribbing around the kitchen. She'd soon become aware that, "El Greco" was a Greek man named, "George", and that she should under no circumstances trust my father when it came to supplying her with a customer's given name. There are a lot of Poles in Chicago, but they aren't all named, Roman. Not every German is named, Hans.  She knew the cook wasn't named, Ho Chi Minh.

Finally, my dad tells her, "His name is Mr. Chinn, but nobody is going to know who you're asking for because everyone calls him Ho Chi Minh." Satisfied, mother wrote it into her special telephone book and got ready to call him on Monday for an order.

My mother spent years developing her speaking voice. She may have been the daughter of a milkman, but with years of careful attention she managed to sound at least upper-middle class. This would disappear five seconds after you put her in the same room with my grandmother, but for everyone else, and particularly on the telephone her manner of speech was, for lack of a better term, posh. She might have been calling you a toothless wonder, but it was done so in those soft tones that the well-bred adopt and use so carefully that people would almost want to thank her following a dressing down. I recall an unfortunate police officer that once pulled her over to try and point out she had been speeding being so caught off guard, he let her go without so much as a warning. I learned to speak late, and with great difficulty so I never acquired my mother's verbal gifts, but I wouldn't possess the confidence even if I had the accent. She could be positively terrifying without ever raising the volume of her voice.

Monday morning rolls around, my mother takes out the puffy green vinyl telephone book with the gilt embossed script, turns to the front cover and dials Mr. Chinn first on the day's list. She asked for "Mr. Chinn" and as my dad had warned her, was met with a person asking, "Who?!" Finally, she explains that she needs the cook, and the person on the other end of the line finally gets it and says something like, "Oh, Ho Chi Minh, Let me go get him for you."

My mother waited, and waited, and finally the man returned to the line telling her he wasn't in, and would she care to leave a message?
"That's quite all right, I can call back" she informed him, and went about the rest of her daily calls. For several days, she'd call back, ask for, "Mr. Chinn" only to be told he wasn't in. Becoming irritated with the additional work of calling after someone who seemingly never worked but had the responsibility of ordering supplies, she lost patience and left a message that he would have to call her if he wanted any bloody pickles!" It didn't take long for the telephone to ring with an apologetic Mr. Chinn on the other end of the line.

Between the formality of her voice and the use of his proper surname, poor Mr. Chinn was convinced that anyone calling his place of employment looking for him was from the government, and given his immigration status the news probably wasn't going to be good-so he avoided her. When he asked why she called him, "Mr. Chinn" she replied, "because you have a name, and it isn't Ho Chi Minh."

By the mid-1970's my dad made the wise decision to purchase a home answering machine. It was a gigantic, hulking black piece of office equipment with keys and levers and two cassette tapes (incoming and outgoing messages). It was so huge it wouldn't fit on my father's desk and still leave room for the telephone, adding machine, and perpetually overflowing ashtray, so instead it went in the kitchen-atop the free-standing dishwasher that could be wheeled around, but not so far that it would rip the telephone line out of the recorder. I remember it was Halloween, and I was supposed to go to a party but was instead at home with my sister waiting for the stoner sent to install the thing to finish up and leave. I don't know how complicated wiring an answering machine to your phone line could have been, even back then but I suspect it might have gone smoother if  Phineas of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers hadn't been sent to install it.

Eventually my mother worked it out so that people would call to leave orders, and she's have them tallied and scheduled for my dad. A few people still needed a call, among them Mr. Chinn, though I suspect it was not exactly necessary. I doubt their conversation ever extended much beyond, "How are you?" and "May I take your order?" but my mother always figured he enjoyed having someone (that didn't work for the government) call and ask for him by his proper surname. And she did, for many, many years until he retired because the man had a name, and it wasn't Ho Chi Minh.



Monday, August 25, 2014

I Know You Have Better Food In There...

...come on, let me in!
Look what a mess our little friend has made kicking breadcrumbs from the platform feeder. I'm not worried, he'll have it cleaned up in no time at all. We are now having a nightly visit from this fellow, right as we sit down to our evening meal there he is, peering through the glass doors. He isn't the slightest bit shy. I've taken to calling him, Blondin after the pet squirrel in Doreen Tovey's books *. http://www.amazon.com/Cats-cahoots-Doreen-Tovey/dp/B0007E6HVK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409011863&sr=1-1&keywords=doreen+tovey+cats+in+cahoots
Now I need a pair of Siamese cats to keep him in line.

I want to thank everyone for your kind words of encouragement of late. I do try to keep my moaning on the blog to a minimum, and I do appreciate the kindness you've all shown me. I can deal with just about anything (tornado, moving house, unemployment, major illness, dental work, bank hackers) but toss a sick kid into the mix and I just get overwhelmed. I mean, obviously I don't just shut down, and I do deal with it, but this cycle of asthma/virus/asthma/virus has been going on since April. I know a good part of it is his asthma medications which suppress his immune system making him a magnet for viruses three states away. On the positive side, he's been tearing through reading which is great (believe me, when I was nine I wouldn't read Moby Dick if I had been sealed up like the boy in the bubble) but it has been a very, very, long spring and summer. I'll get him to the fair on Monday come hell or high water, but it will probably be a very quick visit, and then straight home. We'll see.

As for my friend the squirrel...

I can hardly blame him wanting in the house, what with all the wonderful aromas wafting out the window. Faced with more rosemary that I can dry and give away, I had to get creative.
 
I spread a layer of red grapes on a baking sheet with a (very) generous amount of rosemary. I tossed it with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkled it with salt. An hour in a 300 degree F. oven did the trick. When cool, I worked them into a bread dough with about a cup of semolina flour and extra olive oil for a light texture. Here's what I got
I did steam in the oven to get a crackly crust, though the breads themselves are quite light. I'm planning to serve these with cheese-maybe something like Havarti. So that took care of a few sprigs of rosemary-now to figure out something to do with the rest of the madly growing plant. We won't discuss the madness that is the out-of-control oregano.

I don't think I ever showed you the bottles I bought within a week of each other (ever notice how thrifting goes that way?). Both were from Goodwill (one in Iowa, one in Nebraska) and I think the folded bottle is particularly nice. It is almost feline looking.
 
School is starting again, which will be nice to have a routine if only to keep me from obsessively baking and scrubbing floors (my kitchen floor is brown-if I never scrubbed it again, I doubt anyone would notice). We're starting with WWI, so I'm sure I'll work some baking into the lessons by way of a Trench Cake or some Anzac Biscuits. I'm less sure how to work floor scrubbing into a lesson, but where there's a will there's a way.

*If you aren't familiar with Doreen Tovey's writing, you're in for a great delight. Yes, they're children's books but you would have to be a terribly grumpy adult to find fault with them. I'm as grumpy as they come, and I find them charming so if that isn't a ringing endorsement I don't know what is.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Orange You Happy?

Well, I don't know if I'd go as far as to say I'm, "happy", but life goes on and I'm making due. You know what would make me happier, if not outright happy would be something fab to wear. Let's just go have a look and see what I have...
Oh, a scooter dress. Those are nice on an obscenely hot day. Speaking of obscene-this dress isn't because...
Ta-Da! Pervert-proof! Yes indeed, those are shorts under there. I could do cartwheels and headstands (not literally, of course as I might dislocate something) and no dirty old farts can so much as catch a glimpse of my gigantic cotton granny pants.
 
Look what we had falling from the sky last night. The plants are mercifully all OK, and I won't need to be watering for a while (3 inches of rain!) but going out to fetch samples of hail mid-storm was not my best-ever decision. As hailstones go, these were quite pretty.
I'm still working through my stress in the kitchen, so I used the leftover cherries and chocolate from yesterday's cookies to bake buns. It didn't help, so I made several batches of pot-sticker dumplings for the freezer. If things don't calm down soon I'll have to open a bakery.
 There's still plenty of summer left, I'm afraid.
 There's a cold front headed our way in the first part of next week, but until then, it is hot and humid. I got in the car today and my glasses fogged over. I'm not sure I've ever had that happen. Very strange.
I couldn't stand being home any longer, so I hit the Goodwill at 108th and Blondo which is often good for vintage. I came home with an orange and white 70's maxi (I'm sensing an orange theme here) and a vintage Pendelton suit. Then, because the Universe owes me for all the shit being tossed my way of late, I found a pair of beautiful Valentino peep-toe suede pumps with the most gigantic bows I've ever seen. $3.99
Thanks Universe!
 
Outfit Particulars:
MPC Fashions of Warren Pennsylvania Scooter Dress-Thrift World
White Sara Coventry necklace-long-gone Venice Antiques Mall
Earrings-Thrifted
Bracelets-Thrifted
Rings-here and there
 
A rather cheeky squirrel found his way onto the bird feeder, so I went to shoo him off. The little(_____insert insult of your choice) looked at me and continued munching on his raisins as though I were chatting about the weather.
"But those are for the birds" I tried to reason with him. Eyeball to eyeball less than a foot from him, the furry bastard continued eating, his chubby cheeks packed full of dried fruit and yesterday's bread. "You really need to leave now" I scolded. He just stared at me and sat there casually shoving raisins into his mouth, until finally I advanced on him enough that he took off. It was only then I realised the neighbours on their patio were listening to me attempting to reason with a squirrel. Yeah. That's just. So. Great.
 Crazy squirrel lady.
Damn this week.
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, August 22, 2014

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Some things just go together like guns and alcohol!
http://www.ketv.com/news/cityowned-gun-range-gets-beer-license/27674986#!bH5KLX

It just doesn't get more American, does it?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Pattern Mixing and Buried Cherry Cookies

Well that was a shitty day. Oh sure, I was well dressed for my shitty day, but I still could have done without it. The trip to the dentist didn't make the day any less shitty, nor did having my bank account "compromised" (Their wording, which means they got hacked, and now my account is shut down until they send out new acct #'s, cards, etc. ). Oh, I could go on but when you've got this much successful pattern mixing on your person, it just seems pointless to go and ruin it with a glum face.
See what I mean? This was, in my defense immediately after the dentist. daaaaaamn, I'm in pain. Only one thing to do with a day like this-break out the giant edition of Better Homes and Gardens Our Best Recipes. "Buried Cherry Cookies" sound interesting. Chocolate? Cherries? Frosting? I won't be eating them so sure, why the hell not?
 Think of it as a cross between a brownie and a thumbprint cookie with a cherry rather than jam.
They were a bit fiddly, but when I'm so stressed out my shoulders are hunched up by my ears, there's something calming about baking. My hands find use, my shoulders (sort of) relax, and I (sort of) forget the throbbing in my face. Sure, tomorrow will probably be hellish too, but it is a very large cookbook. Chocolate biscotti sound good. I'll post the recipe at the bottom of the post. It sounds fiddly, and I suppose it is compared to a drop cookie, but they came together easily enough, and if I could manage them on a day like today, I'm sure you can handle them without much effort.
Being from Illinois, I have a love of the long-gone Berggren Trayner ceramics and enamelware. We had several pieces, but the kettle saw the most use, and would frequently get forgotten, boiled dry, and ruined. Dad would stop at the factory store in Libertyville, Ill. on his way back from the Wisconsin route, and replace it. I lost count how many times this happened, and I still don't know why they didn't simply buy a few extra. I suppose no one thinks they will do that again, but after the tenth time or so, reality should have kicked-in. The burnt out kettles became planters on the yellow tiered plantstand in the corner of the kitchen, which eventually had all matching kettles. A few years back, I was lucky enough to locate a set of canisters in a thrift store, and along with my percolator I've enjoyed having them brighten my kitchen counters. I never imagined I'd see these coffee mugs, much less the matching cake plates. I forked over my twenty bucks as fast as I could before anyone tried to purchase them out from under me. I needn't have worried, they'd been in the shop for months having been discounted several times from the original asking price of $70.00

I know coffee is only as good as you make it, but I swear it tastes better out of these mugs. Crazy, I know, but it does make the experience all the nicer. Mr. ETB rather likes the shape and design as well, which is nice as he rarely shares my taste in d├ęcor. Don't ask me to translate the Swedish (I may have spent the last 12 years living in a predominantly Swedish town, but that doesn't make me fluent). I know the kettle translates to, "A watched kettle never boils" because we used to joke that it didn't mean you should ignore it! Kaffetaren would have to mean coffee (wouldn't it?) but beyond that, I have no idea. Just looking at this cheerful little mug as I type, the day becomes less shitty. Maybe I should fill it with Absolut. That'd fix this shitty day.
And when it is time to do the washing up? This fellow was $1.00 at the hardware store. I was a little surprised they are still making them, but then some things never go out of style, and you need a place to set your dish scrubber.

Here's to tomorrow (because I really can't take much more of today)!

Hidden Cherry Cookies

1 10 ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained with juice reserved. If cherries are large, cut in half.
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutched)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarb
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate pieces (6 ounces)
1/2 cup condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine flour and cocoa. In a large bowl, beat softened butter 30 seconds, then combine sugar, baking powder, bicarb, and salt. Add slowly to sugar as you beat. Mix well. Add egg and vanilla and beat well. Slowly beat in the flour/cocoa mix until you can no longer incorporate it with the mixer, then finish by hand with a wooden spoon (mine all went in with the mixer).

Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Make a thumbprint, and press a cherry (or half) into the centre. Meanwhile, make the frosting by slowly melting together the chocolate and condensed milk, When all smooth, stir in 4 teaspoons of the reserved cherry juice and blend until smooth. You may need more juice if the mixture is too thick. Spread the frosting over the cherry (about 1 teaspoon per cherry) smoothing it out over the sides of the cherry. Bake 5 minutes, rotate pan and bake another 5 minutes or until edges are firm. Mine were a bit tricky to remove, so use a very thin, flexible spatula if you have one. Makes about 48.

Now, climb into bed with a tray of no less than ten of these, and a pretty Swedish coffee mug filled with grain spirits. Kiss your bad day goodbye.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Orange Sherbet

In the US (and maybe Canada?) we have a couple frozen confections that would also describe this dress but I was afraid putting, "Push-Up" or "Creamsicle" dress in the title would bring some strange search engine hits-and then they'd see this polyester creation and be disappointed because nothing kills a boner faster than a dress like this (unless you're a real sicko, in which case-knock yourself out, love). No, the pleasure in the wearing of this dress is all mine.
 Apologies for the mirror photos. My photographer is having asthma again, and the medication makes his hands quite shaky. Poor kid, he finally gets over being sick most of summer, then the allergy induced asthma starts up again with the moulds. The first hard frost cannot get here quick enough as far as I'm concerned. I love summer, but listening to Danny hacking away like a guy whose been smoking a pack a day for fifty years is hard to take.
Tomorrow I finish up with the dentist (for now) and then pretty much do nothing for the rest of the week because the one car is in the shop, and the heat is going to be insane. Mr. ETB thinks I'm going to let him take the bus on a 98 degree day (I'm not) and I'm sure as hell not going out. The pool would just be like bathwater anyway.
 Know what's good to cook in hot weather?
 Indeed. Tastes better when you have a special plate too.
 OK, it was BBQ tofu, but it made killer sandwiches. They're eating the leftovers tonight because I'm a "cook once, serve it for days" kind of homemaker. Thankfully, they don't object to re-runs.

Outfit Particulars:
1960's orange polyester home-sewn (not by me) dress-Goodwill, .99 cents
Shoes-K Mart
Flower pin/hair clip-Tiff and Tam
Earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Hat-Goodwill
Bangles-thrifted
Fragrance-Innisfree
Lippy-Revlon Jungle Peach (who the hell names these?) a vintage re-issue that probably should have stayed in the 60's with robin's egg blue mascara)

Let's see if we can get a better look at that...

Huh. It looks better in the photos than it does in person. You'll have to take my word for it, this is the strangest, dullest, matte orange lippy I've ever encountered. That's how they sell this stuff-good lighting.

Light orange dress? That's s sure-bet! (Sorry, I had to).





 

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Speaking of Gangsters...

 So yesterday, I was complaining everyone equates Chicago with gangsters, and today my kid is dressed like one. Sigh, no one to blame but myself-I bought him the suit. The hat was his decision.
He needs a moniker, maybe "Smilin' Dan" would work. The sort of guy that would rough you up for you first editions. "Hand over the books mister, and no one gets hurt..."

While we're thinking about the 1930's, here's the dress I mentioned in the previous post. I could not get it on my dress form, which is strange as it is small, but not that small. I think my dress form has unusually broad shoulders. Because of the bias cut, the dress looks smaller than it is, though I doubt very much it would fit me.
 

This is sort of flopped onto the form. Even the belt wouldn't go around. Strange. Leave it to me to buy a freakishly odd shaped dress form!
 I still can't believe I scored this for .99 cents. I suppose if you didn't know what it was, it might look misshapen. Once it is on, I think it will look lovely, and move with the wearer's body.
 This weight is worn inside the neckline to create an attractive draping. Amazing it survived all these years.
 
 The scalloped sleeves are sewn on over the sleeveless body of the dress making me think they were perhaps an afterthought. The dress is handsewn with the tiniest, regular hand stitching I've ever seen. It has a few snaps at the side to help pull it on (unless you are my dress form, then nothin' doin').
The dress was surprisingly clean as well. I apologise for the crappy photos-it is a dark day and velvet is reflective with indoor lighting. The material itself is in good shape, and drapes nicely. So that's a dress for the gangster's moll.
These shoes are from the late 50's/early 60's. They are just a hair too small for me because of the rhinestones. Damn it, I hate when that happens, but someone that can wear a size 7 is going to love them.

I should mention that Danny hasn't taken that jacket off since I washed it, and gave it to him. I'd better start looking for another (it is already a bit short in the arms).
 

 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What Were You Expecting, A Grass Skirt?

 
Aloha from my Omaha paradise. I've been accused of being a pessimist but...
The glasses really were empty! It was nine in the morning, but I'm not really a tropical drink sort of woman anyway. Bitchin' Tiki glass though (I have a second) from a Polynesian restaurant in South Dakota. Yeah, I know that's a lot to wrap your head around.
 Nifty print, eh?
I saw this jacket sitting un-loved on a rack at Hand-Me-Ups, and knew it was coming home with me. I wore it today for the sake of photos, but this will be packed away for Danny when he's a bit taller. In the event he takes exception to a belted Hawaiian shirt from the 60's, then maybe I'll sell it, but I do think it is best worn by someone tall, thin, and wearing surf shorts.
Liberty House was a department store in Hawaii that eventually branched out to the Western United States before going bankrupt. Mr. ETB thinks remembers it from the few years he lived in Hawaii in the late 60's (before moving to Germany)but he may well be remembering it from Washington State where he ended up when they moved back to the US. Poor guy, his dad was an Army officer, and they lived Everywhere. People ask where he's from, and he just shrugs.

Me? I open my mouth and everyone knows exactly where I'm from, even though I haven't been there in 25 years. I used to mind it, and it really used to irritate me to be halfway around the world and have someone ask if I'm related to Al Capone. I swear to god, if I had a dollar for every time someone (in halting English) made a mime of a gun with their finger and said, "Chicago! Al Capone. Bang, Bang!"  I suppose the Hawaiians are fed up with people reducing their culture to floral shirts, Don Ho, and Spam Musabi, so I won't complain too loudly as I pose in a Hawaiian shirt and drink from a Tiki glass. Any Hawaiians that want to make a mobster joke, feel free to have at it.
Outfit Particulars:

Black jumpsuit-K Mart
1960's Liberty House barkcloth shirt (or maybe it is a jacket, it has a heavy zipper) Hand-Me-Ups
Necklace-Goodwill
Bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-Had them forever
Shoes-K Mart
Hair Flowers-Tiff and Tam


I stopped at the new .99 cent Goodwill in the Old Market to see what it was like. Everything is .99 cents, and it is really just a couple small rooms. I thought this artwork on the wall was striking.
 I enjoyed my visit very much. I found 2 brass magazine stands, a 1930's velvet bias cut gown that looked well worn, but in decent shape (still had the belt, and hardware), and a pair of knickers (no, not undies, knickerbockers, that button at the knee). Danny got a hideous, black and white striped suit. The pants are a bit short, so we're going to cut them into shorts rendering the entire thing absurd. That's my boy!
I doubt it is that good, all the time but I sure was lucky there today. It is a bit of a pain to get to, and park so I don't imagine I'll put it on my regular stop schedule, but who knows?