Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Reproduction Dress

I found this reproduction 50's dress at Thrift World for .98 cents some time last year. I'm glad I didn't pay the $150. it lists for online because it is barely worth the .98 cents.

\I could forgive the too-wide arm holes, the bodice that hangs funny at the skirt, even the lack of a button or snap to hold the wrap top closed...but nothing gets me fuming more than dresses held together with loose overlocking. This isn't made of jersey, you could make proper hems and seams and finish them in a manner worthy of the price these dresses sell for. 

Yes, the print is nice, and gets compliments from strangers. That's not enough.  The fabric is a weird stretchy cotton sateen-ish material that instead of being comfortable feels like something that will stretch out and look like a rag after a few wears. It wrinkles horribly just sitting, and the fabric does not breathe. Perhaps that's why they put in such enormous armholes.

"Whoo wee, I'll just stand here in the breeze with my giant armholes and air out my pits. Don't mind me."

"That's better, fresh as a damn daisy."

I have arms like a dockworker, so if they were big on me, I don't really know who the target audience is.

I wish I could find something nice to say about this dress, but I can't. Because it is the only item I have tried from this company, I'm not offering this as a review- it is possible the item was bought in the sale, or it was advertised as, "Factory oops." I don't know, and I can only hope it isn't representative of the rest of their clothing line. I do understand why it ended up donated to the thrift store. Life's too short to spend it taking apart repro-clothing to make it fit somewhat okay. I rarely bother that much with true vintage. Anyway, I'm glad I didn't splash out big money on this dress. If I can muster the energy I might cut it down to a skirt.

For those of you that worried over the fate of the lamb cake's head. After the photo was snapped I marched the head to the table ceremoniously before the boys finished it off. I never did get around to using the bunny shaped tin. Oh well, next year.

Outfit Particulars:
1950's repro dress-Thrift World
Vintage wool cardiagn-New Life Thrift
Belt-Shop Ko
Shoes-K Mart
Vintage handbag-Salvation Army
Pink Bangle-Goodwill
Vintage beads-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Flower-Tiff and Tam
Celtic brooch-Can't remember
Fragrance-None (sad face) it was allergy jab day (I don't like to subject the allergic to perfume)

We stopped by Hand-Me-Ups on the way home to donate some of Danny's outgrown clothes, and they had just put out a load of vintage patterns at ten cents each. I spent $4.50. For my money I came home with designer Vogue patterns (YSL, DVF, etc.) and a tonne of 50's and 60's Butterick and Simplicity. Most of them by some miracle were in my size (because grading a pattern is more work than I'm up to most days). The few smaller sized patterns that were too good to leave will be off to new homes shortly. I really did get a bit of an endorphin rush going through the patterns. A kind woman seeing how happy I was pointed out a few more boxes of patterns in the corner. I nearly fainted from excitement. It was that good. 
Danny seemed confused about how patterns work (he's never been interested enough to watch me cut one) so we're going to do a 1950's Western shirt I found today that's roughly his size (with some adjustments). I don't enjoy sewing men's shirts, but I think it will be a good project for us (mostly me) to do.  As great as the patterns were, the jewelry was even better. Here's a peek at some of what I found:
 Who remembers their Greek Mythology?
 Beautifully Carved screw-back earrings

A China brooch to match my earrings. That was lucky. 

Another brooch because I obviously don't have enough. You'd have bought that for .50 cents too. How could I say no?

As I was walking home this evening from the park, two gigantic vultures began circling low overhead. They followed me some distance. I tried screaming, "I'm not dead yet!" but they seemed rather intent on following me home. Vultures are such assholes. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter

A Very Joyous Easter to my readers that celebrate it.

Yep, that was Danny at four moths old. Serious case of wry neck going on there, but it didn't stop his checking out the funny eggs. The egg holders in the photo were my mother's and still had the original Woolworth's price stickers on the bottom.

I'm off to make the most of the day off...by sleeping! Hope you have a lovely day.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One (Bread) Basket

I can't decide if it looks more like a basket of eggs, or a bunny with horrible boils. Either way, it looks better in person and the lemon zest and anise seeds smelled wonderful as it baked.

The "trick" to the bread is dyeing the uncooked eggs, and then tucking them into the bread to bake along with the bread. You can avoid the dye running by baking white eggs to hold the place and then replacing them when cool with cocloured eggs. I think that's madness (and wasteful). A little food colouring bleed isn't the end of the world.

None of the eggs broke, which is like a small miracle. I've been awake since 3 AM baking. I'm nearly done, but it has been another successful Easter baking season. Thus far I have baked:
Hot Cross Buns
Easter Egg Bread
Lamb Cake
Decorated Easter Cookies

And probably something else I'm forgetting. Whew, I'm ready for a break.

Did anyone bake anything interesting this Easter? I'd love to hear about it.

Rochas, Femme EDT-Review (Post 1989 version)

I didn't expect much when I purchased the gigantic bottle of reformulated Femme, and figured I would end up making a gift of it to someone. It was a bargain at the thrift store, and the bottle (though missing the box) was from what I could tell, used perhaps once. For years I'd been reading that it was a, "Cumin bomb" with a huge hit of plums, and peaches. I'd met cumin/fruit combination perfumes in the 80's, and we didn't get on well. I don't mind cumin notes in perfume (Cabochard, Aramis, Azuree) but plum will almost always send me running. Poison? Jean Paul Gaultier?  No thank you. About the only fragrance I enjoy with a plum note is Sofia Vergara, and the plum is muted against wood notes. So not a fan of plum. Happily, the plum in Femme is not the plum of Poison, a point I'll return to in a moment.

I'll say one thing for Rochas-they know how to do an impractical bottle that's hard to grip, and sprays out far more fragrance than you can comfortably wear. My experiences with Rochas perfumes have either been memorable for possessing infuriatingly clunky bottles with bad sprayers, or for being unable to smell them due to heavy concentrations of jasmine. Unlike the mammoth bottle of Byzance I once owned, I can smell femme-and she's as strange as the listed notes make her sound.

I've read reviews of Femme that talk about the perfume's sexiness. That happens quite a bit when perfumes have a noticeable cumin note, but I don't read that as "sex" in Femme. If there's civet in there (as the listed notes suggest) it has been neutered beyond recognition. Cumin+ civet ought to equal, "Sex" but here, (and I know I will get an earful for saying this) it smells like a cheeky smooch and a grope in the retirement home after a game of shuffleboard. Femme smells like elderly sex. I'm getting the horrible mental image of Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch. Sorry. You can scrunch up your face and say, "Ewwwww" if it helps. Now that I'm getting along in age I can say that isn't a bad thing (the elderly sex, not the Jerry/Rupert marriage) but it does alter the idea of sexiness as typically approached in perfumery. Femme isn't a youthful perfume. That's not to say a young person couldn't wear it, but it does project maturity in a similar way Mitsouko does. I wore Mitsouko through my twenties and thirties, and I suspect had I been aware of Femme, I'd have worn it as well, but be warned, it isn't a "romantic" fragrance in the sweet/floral way we have come to think of them.  Femme isn't a perfume  that makes me think of hot, sweaty, sexy dancing and clubbing. Femme is a perfume to wear to the library book club if you're hoping to get some afternoon action with the widower in the tweed jacket, and an early dinner at the country club followed by a nap (not sex) before drinks. You know, your desire for sex might not change with age, but the amount of work you're willing to do getting there does. Femme doesn't have time for the angsty bullshit-it just wants to get naked and be home in time to watch reruns of Matlock. Perhaps it is appropriate that the plum note comes across as a newly opened box of prunes. Ah...Sunsweet.

Rochas Femme isn't described as a chypre, but the hallmarks are there. Along with the plum/prune note there's a whole hell of a lot of oakmoss. A whole hell of a lot. I like oakmoss, and I particularly like the way it is used in Femme-massive quantities that last from start to finish. This moss clings on for dear life-it is the Roundup-resistant weed of the perfume world. No level of scrubbing will fade Femme's moss attack until it is damn well ready to wear off. Longevity on my skin was over ten hours-about two days on clothing. Don't say I didn't warn you. Femme is for serious "Moss Heads" only and heaven help you if you're one of the people that are allergic to it. Thankfully, that's one allergy I missed.

Half an hour into Femme there was a note I couldn't quite place that bothered me. It wasn't cedar or pine, but more common and it drove me half mad trying to pin it down as some vague "herbs crossed with pepper" note. Eventually I worked out it was a combination of rosemary and carnation playing with my nose-imagine wearing L'Air du Temps and chopping up fresh rosemary, whilst drinking mulled cider. I'm still not certain I like it, in isolation anyway, but in the overall composition it isn't bothersome.

Longtime readers will know that I don't care for noticeable cinnamon or cloves in perfume. Mix them with patchouli as in a perfume like Tabu, and I get an instant headache. Femme has both the spices and patchouli but it is so subtly done it appears almost as an afterthought Against all that oakmoss and plum, the spices didn't stand a chance-a positive to my mind (and nose). I keep making comparisons to Mitsouko, and I will make one more relating to the careful, measured use of cinnamon and peach with oakmoss-but be aware that Femme is a much different fragrance than Mitsouko, they simply share some skilled arrangement of notes. .

So what's in Femme? I'm glad you asked.

According to Fragrantica:

Bergamot, peach, cinnamon, plum, apricot, lemon, rosewood, rosemary, carnation, iris, jasmine, cloves, ylang ylang, rose, leather, amber, patchoiuli, musk, benzoin, vanilla, oakmoss.

Not listed but certainly there:
Civet, musk, cumin, aldehydes,

Half of what's listed can't be picked out in isolation which to me is a mark of quality. I don't like one particular note to scream, "Look at me!" and then hit me over the head for an hour. Even typically hard-to-ignore notes like iris and rose seem well behaved in Femme. The exception of course is the oakmoss-you'll smell (and smell, and smell) the oakmoss. Not a terrible thing in my book, but something to keep in mind.

I have to admit I'm delighted with Femme, and I will be keeping and using the lifetime supply sized bottle I found at Goodwill. I won't however be wearing it to the library lest I stir up some old geezer looking for a minute and a half of passion.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Shut Up, Or I'll Give You Tularaemia

You got a problem with my ears?  Look, don't piss me off-I'm skilled with using a carrot as a weapon, and you don't want to know what I use to sharpen my teeth. "Easter Bunny" my ass. You want a chocolate egg go ask Cadbury for one. Some-bunny woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

What do you mean you're going to sell me to a lab as a pregnancy test? Why, I never! You're definitely not getting any chocolate for Easter. 

Moving along... When I was a child I always looked forward to Good Friday because I knew there would be Hot Cross Buns, or as my dad called them, Piss-Pay-Li-An buns. He was physically and mentally unable to pronounce, "Episcopalian".  He had a friend that was a bakery delivery driver, so each Good Friday they'd swap wares; we'd get the Pisspaylian buns in exchange for a quart of pickles. My mother did try correcting him that she knew several Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, and even Catholics that enjoyed a Hot Cross Bun at Good Friday, but in my dad's mind, these buns were the work of the Pisspaylians. 

In the United States, Hot Cross Buns are iced with a cross rather than having it cut into the pre-baked bun, or made from a paste of flour and water. They also tend to be rather plain with a bit of cinnamon and allspice, and either raisins or currants. I used sultanas and mixed spice to give them a bit more interest. I skipped the grated orange zest because at this time of year, our orange season is essentially over, and until the Southern Hemisphere starts sending up theirs, we're pretty much done with fresh citrus. I don't think anyone missed the orange. 

I didn't follow a recipe. I used 2 cups of milk, a stick of butter, half a cup of sugar, some yeast,3 eggs, salt and flour. Chuck in the spices and sultanas and call it a day. I kneaded until the dough felt about right. I rarely use a recipe for bread, which makes it difficult to give you an exact recipe. Flour and humidity vary so much from place to place anyway, it is better to get a sense for how dough should feel, rather than have exact measurements. Just make sure to keep your hare out of the bowl. 
One year I even shaped them like owls so I could say I made, "Hoot Cross Buns." 

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-Sears, about 25 years ago
Polo neck-Gordman's
Vintage 1970's Lady Caper Mates polyester blouse-Thrift World
\Glass beaded necklace-Thrift World
Giant purple ring-K Mart
Boots-K Mart
Vintage Handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Bunny Ears-Can't remember
Vintage clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage enamel flower brooch-Goodwill
Vintage bunny pin-Goodwill
Vintage Lucite bangles-all Goodwill
Tights-Shop Ko
Fragrance-Chanel #22
Lippy-Revlon Fuchsia Fusion

Flashback to 2013. Danny said we look like a couple of gits. He didn't learn that from me. Obviously, he's channeling his nan. 

*note to self-no more fringe/bangs ever again. 

I'm off to get the weekend started with the excitement you only get doing laundry. Hooray for Friday night! Hope you're having more fun than I am. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I Can't Fight This Tealing Anymore

When I like something, I tend to buy a number of things in similar patterns/colours. This jacket and skirt/top combo are a good example.

"Hmmm, seems so familiar...guess I'll have to buy it."

It isn't that I lack originality, but rather a case of knowing what I like. I bought the jacket ages ago, but the top and skirt were a recent purchase from a trip to New Life Thrift. I'm afraid my "Buy, Wear, Repeat" syndrome has now extended from shades of brown to blue and teal.

 But enough about me, let's talk clothes!
 I had sets like this in the 80's when I went from working in a more formal office to a place where I could get away with separates rather than a suit. This did have shoulder pads, which I removed because they made me itch (damn you, latex allergy). Looking at the photos, I'll need to sew in a replacement that is latex free as the shape really suffers for their absence. So just use your imagination to get the full-on 80's glory of this outfit. The material is a thick double-knit cotton/poly jersey. Like wearing a sweatsuit, really given the knit cuffs and waistband. I loathe ironing, so three cheers for wash and wear.

You can get a better look at the print whilst I stand here holding the wall up with my boob. Gives new meaning to, "Support bra." 

It is remarkable how similar the pieces are. The jacket is new-ish, mid-2000's from Coldwater Creek. 

Outfit Particulars:
1980's skirt and top set by Terry of Chicago-New Life Thrift
Coldwater Creek jacket-Goodwill
Egyptian bracelet with faience scarabs-Goodwill 
Vintage shoes-Hand-Me-Ups
Gold vintage handbag-Goodwill
Vintage Mosell earrings-Etsy
Brooch on top-Mum's
Brooch on Jacket-Vintage Sara Coventry, Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Dior Escale a Pondichery
 I love the wild lining inside this bag.

The body of the shoes are made of a soft material somewhere between silk and velvet. The bows and heels are satin. These are for fair weather only, as they would never be repairable should they meet with rain.

"Listen stork, don't get any wise ideas...I don't need anything you might bring!" 
I always think this brooch would be better for someone expecting a baby. I'm going to call it a "crane" instead. Go on stork, beat it. Shoo!

We served the lamb cake. I put Danny in charge of carving slicing. 
Okay, I think the wall is shored-up pretty well now. I'd better get to the Hot Cross buns I have rising on the stove. I'm going to just step away...slowly...very slowly...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Spring Boots, and Other Season-Straddling Items

A pair of off-white boots were just the thing as our weather couldn't decide if it was spring or winter. I had boots like these in the 80's (didn't everyone?) but didn't think to hang onto them. Thanks to pack rats donating their 80's boots to the Goodwill, I'm happily reunited with what is turning out to be  very practical footwear. Leather, $5.99 Goodwill

 Uh oh, there's a spot on my boot. There's a family story about my uncle, aged about three stopping still on the street and crying because there was a spot on his new, white shoes. He wouldn't budge until my poor grandmother got down on her knees and wiped it off with a handkerchief. When I bought the boots they were filthy, but in otherwise good shape. As my nan is no longer around, I had to clean them off myself. I did a rather good job-they look like new. 
This dress is gigantic (the bust must be at least 50 inches) but rather than do alterations, I stuck a blouse beneath it and wore it like a pinafore. It has an Italian Label, and I would place it either late 60's or early 70's by the print and colours (in the US anyway, that sort of thing persisted into the mid-70's, but I suspect the Italians were ahead of us fashion/design wise). It is a very casual dress made of barkcloth, and was probably intended for wear at home, or possibly on holiday. How it ended up in Council Bluffs, Iowa is interesting to imagine. 

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage Italian dress-Goodwill
Talbot's cardigan-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage leather boots-Goodwill
Vintage Act III blouse-Goodwill
Handbag-Jenerations (in the abandoned mall) Omaha
Vintage woven metal and enamel earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Bangles (2 Bakelite, 1 brown not)-All Goodwill
1970's Enamel brooch on cardigan-Goodwill
Fragrance-Chanel #22

For the days when the weather behaves, I have a lovely pair of vintage Selby shoes to get me between seasons. These are " Old Lady Shoes" but perfectly appropriate as I am an old lady. 

I don't ordinarily bother with back and side views of a pair of shoes, but the details on these were just too nice, and I had to share.

These shoes set me back two dollars at Sequels Thrift Store (in the Dairy Queen) in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I do love that place. 

One of my other favourite haunts for a good bargain is New Life Thrift. I found this set of lucite bangles (there's a red one too) and the quartz bangle sitting there in the case unnoticed, and unloved. You know what a soft-touch I am, so rather than feel bad about the lonely bangles wondering why they were abandoned in a thrift store, I took them home. I should stop anthropomorphising my vintage.  

Anyone care to place a bet how long the bangle lasts before it slips from my wrist and crashes to the ground in a million pieces? I lost a nice glass bangle that way, and it is the reason I don't own any jade-I am too careless for anything that delicate. 

This necklace? Plastic. So much less nerve-wracking to wear. 
Oh would you look at that? No, really I have no idea what I was looking at. This must be my day for, "Glancing downward photo." 
Hey, how about that bag? 

It was falling apart, and it could still use some serious repair, but for a dollar I thought it was a good purchase, flaws and all. 
Some patience and a bag of assorted seed beads will take care of that.

Outfit Particulars:
Home sewn (not by me) skirt-Goodwill
1980'sBill Blass jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Silk novelty top-Goodwill
Vintage Selby shoes-Sequels
Caron of Houston vintage handbag-Fairytail Costumes, Omaha
Vintage Lucite and quartz bangles-New Life Thrift
1960's clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Plastic Necklace-Shop-Ko
Fragrance-Annick Goutal Eau d' Hadrien (for that fresh lemon scent that says, "I just washed up the dinner dishes!)

We're due for more snow tonight (I promise, no singing) so I'd better go cover the garden with the fleeces. I harvested a large bowl of spinach, sorrel, and pea shoots to serve with tonight's salmon salad. I'm sure by this time tomorrow, we'll be eating hot soup. 

P.S. My first Gladiola is pushing up through the ground.