Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What's the Buzz (ing)?

It was a perfectly lovely day, so we got up early and headed over to the Ak-Sar-Ben (Nebraska, backward) aquarium in Schramm state park. I've been bringing Danny here since he was a toddler, and he's never tired of visiting.

The aquarium is quite nice (and admission is free) but our reason for visiting is the wonderful variety of birds that come to the feeders, and the indoor space that lets you view the birds without disturbing them. There's flora, and fauna, and the nicest people you'll ever meet working there. We spent about an hour doing a checklist of birds before going to wander about outside in the park. 

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage (early 80's) Laura Ashley dress-Goodwill
Old Navy shoes-Goodwill
Vintage 60's/70's vinyl handbag-Goodwill
Liz Claiborne leather belt-Goodwill
1960's purple clip earrings-New Life Thrift
Clear bangle-bought it when I was expecting because nothing I owned would fit my swollen wrist, and this one is HUGE!
Purple bangle-Goodwill
Purple ring-K Mart
Fragrance-NONE! State Parks are not a good place for perfume (I'll get to that in a bit). 

We spent a bit of time goofing about and taking photos beside this sign on the building. I must have been there a good five minutes before noticing a number of wasps buzzing my head. I'd swat them away, annoyed but not really thinking much about them until...
...I glanced up. Shit. Oh shit!

I got the hell out of there (quickly and quietly) without disturbing the very large hive directly above my head. Good work, nature girl! 
Thank god I skipped the perfume.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Last One in the Pool is...Wait, Where is Everyone?!

We had the pool to ourselves this morning. We were there for an hour and a half without anyone even poking their head through the gate. It was a bit cloudy, but no rain in sight. School is out-where is everyone? I really hope they aren't spending summer sitting at home texting their friends on smartphones rather than getting outside and you know, interacting.
Outdoor photography has been a challenge of late. The high humidity fogs the lens on the camera the moment you step outside.
Frequent lens wiping helps-but you need to snap the photo quickly as it will only steam up again. 
Outfit Particulars:
Eileen Fisher linen-rayon blend suit (also has a matching skirt)-Hand-Me-Ups
Tank-can't remember
Straw bag-Goodwill
Earrings-K Mart
Fragrance-Cabotine Rose

 I'm a day late with Caftan Sunday, but I hope you'll find this one worth the wait. It is a silky, nylon parachute material, and judging by the uneven seams-home sewn. I paid .49 cents for it figuring I'd recycle the material into something else.

When Vix mentioned how much Indian block print gauze skirts and dresses were selling for, I nearly fainted. I have some I've been wearing (to shreds) since the late 70's, but this one was something I happened upon in the Goodwill last week. I paid .99 cents for it-and it has the all-important (to young people paying crazy amounts of money for these) metal bells at the end of the drawstring waist. I don't really care for it, so I'll look for someone with more money than brains to take it off my hands. 

The sleeveless shell and matching linen jacket were purchased years ago at Talbot's. There was a matching skirt as well, but I have no idea what became of it. I don't wear the pieces often, but when I do it is always a delight. I like the embroidered pattern on the linen, and though it wrinkles a bit, I still feel wonderful wearing it. It might seem strange to keep something that gets worn once or twice a year, and I suppose it is. That said, I wouldn't dream of parting with either piece and will probably still be wearing them when they're threadbare. Quality Irish linen is worth hanging on to. 

Outfit Particulars:
Linen shell and jacket-Talbot's, early 90's
Indian block-print skirt-Goodwill
Straw bag-Goodwill
Quartz necklace-garage sale
Quartz bangle-Goodwill
Shell earrings-World Market
Fragrance-Eau de Gaga (BEST ten bucks I've spent in a while)

"Stand like this and act like you're flapping your wings!"

"Like THIS!"

Sigh. I suppose the neighbours already know we're bonkers, so no point denying it. 

Well what do you know? We've made it through Monday. Onward!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Eau de Givenchy-Review

When Eau de Givenchy was a fairly new fragrance in the early 80's, I thought it was too, "old" for me. Today, it strikes me as being on the youthful side-funny how that happens. That hasn't stopped me splashing it on, but it does make me wish I hadn't wasted so many years thinking it wasn't for me. I'm having a difficult time imagining anyone it wouldn't be lovely on, particularly in hot weather.

When the weather turns hot and muggy, I look for fragrances with a substantial amount of lily of the valley as I like the way it smells fresh without smelling artificially, "Clean." EdG combines the lily of the valley with honeysuckle, which are brilliant together (I don't know why this isn't a more common combination). Where EdG gets unique is the addition of oak moss. Bright, sweet, green-EdG is like a Monet, decanted. There's mist, and water lilies, and moss-pale colours and just a whiff of showing off. EdG has a very limited silage, but it is a delight for the wearer (this wearer, anyway).

For the longest time, there was a note I couldn't identify in Eau de Givenchy. The harder I'd try to identify it, the more my nose betrayed my efforts. I finally looked up the notes and immediately understood-mint! My brain couldn't process the idea of mint in this fragrance as it seems so out of place, and that's exactly why it works so well. The mint is strange-not a spearmint, and definitely not a peppermint, I wonder if the note is synthetic as it suggests mint more than it demonstrates it. Let's call it a, "Watery mint."  Ordinarily, I can't stand orris root, but combined with mint it takes the medicinal, antiseptic edge away and lets the more metallic aspect come through. I finally, "get" orris root-at least used the way it is in EdG.

Once the lighter top notes fade (and they do, a bit too quickly for my liking) the rose and tuberose emerge in a cloud of musk and sandalwood. I know that sounds terrible on paper-how can tuberose and musk smell light? I suppose that's the artistry of the perfumer, because EdG never becomes close, or heavy, or anything near suffocating. The tuberose and rose give the fragrance depth, and the musk gives it personality-not too much, mind, but enough to keep you from losing interest.

Of course, finding EdG in the vintage formulation is getting harder as with most fragrances. I suggest grabbing what you can, as there are still affordable bottles out there. My bottle is from the late 80's, and it hasn't lost the top notes though as I say, they don't have much longevity on my skin. There's nothing like a good oakmoss (provided you're not allergic to it) and it makes me a bit sad to think what's out there to be purchased is it. I understand the regulations, etc. but I still mourn for the classic chypres. EdG isn't fully a chypre, but it is close enough that I feel confident recommending it to someone that category of fragrance. EdG is pretty, without being cute.

Bergamot, grapefruit, mandarin orange, fruit, mint, cyclamen, honeysuckle, tuberose, orris, jasmine, ylang, lily of the valley, narcissus, rose, sandalwood, musk, vetiver, cedar.

If Givenchy would go back to making fragrances like Eau de Givenchy instead of imposing the Dahlia line on the world, I'd hold the company in higher esteem. Don't even get me started on  Pi and the subsequent flankers. I have two letters to sum up my feelings about that-P & U. More isn't always merrier.

Strangely, the nose behind Eau de Givenchy, Daniel Moliere is also responsible for another of my favourite 80's perfumes, Balahe. I say, "Strangely" as Eau de Givenchy shares absolutely nothing with the powerful, rich notes of Balahe. Had I not looked it up, I'd have never guessed we were talking about the same perfumer's creations. What the perfumes share, I suppose is the use of unexpected notes in combination-mint and honeysuckle, for EdG, pineapple and civet for Balahe. Neither should work, and yet...

This has been a strange summer in Nebraska. We always get heat, but this year the dew points have been so high, the air and earth themselves project noticeable odours-and they aren't terribly pleasant! Wet, mouldy hay. Decomposing wood mulch. Fungus. Algae covered ponds. Sulfur.  Fumes from idling traffic. Damp cement. It ain't pretty out there (though if Demeter bottled it and called it, Nebraska Summer" I'm sure people would buy it). Tailoring fragrances to my surroundings has been a bit more challenging this year. Eau de Givenchy has been a lifesaver in these conditions. Sure, when summer rolls around I want to break out the tropical scents and douse myself in gardenias an coconut but that's not going to happen this summer, even poolside. If there was ever a time and place for unscented sunscreen-this is it! Classic Coppertone would be gagging.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that Eau de Givenchy is strictly a summer fragrance, as it also works beautifully in the dead of winter. I'm having a difficult time imagining a situation where it would be out of place. I won't go as far as calling EdG a, "Perfect" perfume, but honestly, it is pretty damn close. For me, Eau de Givenchy has become a default scent. Don't know what to wear? Grab the bottle of EdG. We all need that sort of thing in a perfume wardrobe, particularly when the climate decides to throw the worst of everything at you. If your surroundings insist on smelling like a trash heap, Eau de Givenchy can ensure that at least you won't. Hard to ask for more.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Dragonflies, and Art Supplies

Have you ever seen a dragonfly swarm? Years ago, we had a cloud of dragonflies that spanned several miles as they made their way past the farm out to the wetlands. Yesterday, at Heron Haven it wasn't quite a swarm, but there were thousands of them darting about over the water. They're mating now, and sometimes you can see them fly past still engaged. Don't worry, I covered Danny's eyes with my hand and told him not to look!

We've been spending as much time as possible outdoors, away from internet, and television, and a budgie that delights in screaming for hours at a time. Oh, sometimes he stops screaming long enough to eat, but how long does it take to eat a handful of millet? I'm not sure what's worse, the budgie or the 24 hour news cycle. 

I've found a few nice things recently in the thrifts. I had this skirt in all-white years ago, and I loved it but eventually the flowers turned yellow (they are painted on with some sort of raised acrylic that almost feels like rubber) and I had to discard it. I'm going to take extra careful care of this one (hand wash and air dry only) as I'm so happy to be reunited with it. I like the colourful version even better than my previous one. There's nothing particularly fancy about the skirt, but it did get compliments from strangers for looking, "Cool and pretty" which it is. I really should have worn a slip with it as the material is tissue thin, but I couldn't bear the thought of another layer. 

Outfit Particulars:
1970's skirt by KoKo-Goodwill, .49 cents
Linen blouse-K Mart a few seasons ago
White sling-back pumps-K Mart
Vintage Milk Glass bracelet-Hand-me-Ups
Vintage Avon Ceramic brooch-Goodwill
1970's Collins-esque bag-Goodwill
1960's clip earrings-Thrift World
1970's cloth and leather belt-Goodwill
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Jicky
Today, I once again found myself fleeing the house and instead of the nature sanctuary, I ended up at the art store. That place is dangerous for my pocketbook! I rationalise it by reminding myself I am now the art teacher, and I can't be expected to teach without the proper classroom supplies (it is mostly art history but, shhhhhhh). I do get a teacher's discount there, which I'm grateful for. I purchased a very old straw hat (I think it is 30's or early 40's) but some of the straw is shedding. I didn't want to re-block the whole thing, but I also didn't want to use modge podge or a heavy lacquer on it. I finally found a fabric glue that I figured can be thinly applied inside the hat without much damage or flaking off. I'll let you know how it goes. If anyone has a better idea, I'm eager to hear it. The hat was very inexpensive, so I won't be devastated if I ruin it, but I'd rather fix it, obviously. 

I might have left the shop with more than a tube of fabric glue, but shhhhhh. That's our secret. When I was a child I would spend my lunch money on art supplies from the school store-coloured pencils, sketchbooks, watercolours-that sort of thing. I was finally caught out when the teacher called my mum to ask why I never had lunch or any money. I caught hell for it, but oh the smell of a new box of crayons! I'm still that seven year old when I walk into an art supply store.
I'm still doing the summer-layering nonsense. Thank goodness for cardigans!

Outfit Particulars:
Talbot's seersucker dress-Hand-Me-Ups
Talbot's silk-blend cardigan-Goodwill
(oooh, double Talbots)
Sling-Back pumps-K mart
Vintage vinyl handbag-Goodwill
Initial pins of cardigan-Hobby Lobby
Heavy, carved bangle-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage stranded beads (marked, W. Germany)-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage crystal clip earrings-Hand-me-Ups
Flower brooch on dress-Goodwill
Fragrance-Max Factor, The Female Factor (cheap 70's drugstore fragrance that I picked up for .59 cents. Surprisingly, it isn't terrible!)

 That bangle is so heavy I can't wear it on the same wrist all day. I have no idea what it is made of, but the plastic is opalescent and very sparkly.

 The vinyl handbag also has a bit of pearlised finish to it.
The boys are off to bird banding in the woods tomorrow, which means I have the day to myself. I'm excited! I might even find time to cut my hair, and polish my toenails. Eh, I'll probably just sleep until noon. Oooh, I do like the sound of that. 

I hope you have a lovely weekend (even if the powers that be seem hell-bent on making certain you don't). Sleep is always a good form of escape, and it won't cause a hangover. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Look Out Summer, Here I Come!

This bag is about forty years too late in my life (where were you in the late 70's when I desperately wanted one?) but I bought it anyway as it was in excellent condition, and I'm sure I'll eventually find an occasion to wear it. The thing is heavy -literally, not in the sense of, "Whoa dude, that's heavy."

I completed the syllabus and paperwork for next year's classes and posted them off to the Board of Education for approval. If all is well, I should have my certificate back in a couple weeks. When I was putting together the second semester history course on the Roman Empire, I tried to include some popular movies for fun. Spartacus, Ben Hur, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, all made the cut, but I knew I'd never get away with Life of Brian. Overhearing me complaining that I needed more Roman farces, Mr. ETB went ahead and ordered something for me as a surprise. Well! That certainly was a surprise. I can't use it for class (I don't think some of the jokes would play well in 2016) but it will be fun to watch. I have no idea where in the world he found it.

I've been promising to show some more of my Collins-style bags. There's one more in my collection that didn't make the photo. I recently bought a large bucket of assorted plastic gems, so I am prepared to do the repairs required.

As we approach the Fourth of July, I've been getting wear out of my favourite pieces of Americana. This skirt, hand-sewn by a quilter in Texas is one of my all-time favourite pieces. I'm not a huge fan of flag motifs, but give me an eagle, or Washington crossing the Delaware, and I'm all over it! This skirt has a bit of the "Stars and Stripes", but in a way that's more historical than in-your-face, nationalistic. I get a bit fed-up with our symbols being hijacked by people that wish to use them in an exclusionary way. 
Outfit Particulars:
Texas-made skirt-Goodwill
Cotton peasant blouse-K Mart
Vintage Hand-Tooled shoulder bag-New Life Thrift
Vintage tooled belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Necklace-Yard sale
Earrings-K Mart
Fragrance-Taylor Swift Incredible Things (Not terrible, in an air-freshener sort of way)

 The garden is coming along nicely.

I was a bit disappointed with the cone flowers as they were expected to be pink and green (they're neither). They haven't really taken on the cone-flower shape either. Oh well, sometimes you don't get what you expect in gardening. 

I dug this beaded, lacy skirt out for one last wear to decide if I'm keeping it, or moving it out. Not much goes with a black lace skirt (except black, of course)but I gave it my best effort layering a waistcoat (or is it a "sleeveless jacket?") over a sleeveless blouse. In the end, I feel the skirt has potential-for someone else. My wardrobe rarely includes something this delicate, and black. I'm sure there's a Goth teenager out there that will wear the skirt much better than I ever will. That belt is really a necklace but shhhhh, don't tell anyone!

Outfit Particulars:
90's silk/lace/beaded skirt-Goodwill
Necklace worn as a belt-Garage sale
Shoes-K mart a few years ago
Blouse-K Mart
Waistcoat-New Life Thrift
Earrings-Had them since University!
Necklace-"                                         "
Faience and silver bracelet-Goodwill
Handbag-New Life Thrift
Prisim ring-Nordstrom's, 90's
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Cabochard

I'm going to take the next few weeks easy before State Fair preparations begin in earnest. I'm entering pies and breads this year (though not in any divisions Danny is entering because I don't want to compete with him-he'd kick my ass!). Danny will be entering jams, chutney, pickles, baked goods, and possibly some nature photography. I have a quilt to finish, and I might finally get to my repair basket (maybe). Still, all of that is on hold until I get my time relaxing at the pool. We have the July 4th holiday coming up which means a picnic, and watching fireworks from the parking lot of the college next door (they're at a much higher elevation above the tree-line and there's a magnificent 360 degree view of the city). In previous years we were able to watch the local fireworks as well as those across the river in Iowa from our excellent location. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate as it has the last couple years. July can be murderously hot in Nebraska, but I think we've managed to get that out of the way in June! We're still in the heatwave, but I think I've become acclimated to it. I went outside wearing a cardigan, and my young neighbour just looked at me like Id lost my mind. Perhaps I have.

Last one in the pool is a rotten egg!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

But Just at 92, People Get Irritable

(Danny being creative with photography)
We're so many days into a heatwave (days over 90 degrees F.) that I've lost count. We're headed to 99 again today (with a heat index of a bout a million) and there isn't much relief in the week ahead. This
has led to some creative wardrobe decisions as I need to not only dress for the outdoor temperature, but the indoor as well. I find a lightweight cardigan indispensable in such situations. 
Outfit Particulars:
1990's ultra-lightweight crepe dress-Some store in a mall I've forgotten
Cork-heeled sandals-K Mart
1970's Collins-style bucket bag-Goodwill
Bakelite bangles-several places
Hair flowers-Tiff and Tam
Vintage screw-back floral earrings-Can't remember
Fragrance-Evyan White Shoulders

With the heat, creative hairstyling has been a challenge. Although this photo shows a few stray hairs, the up-do did manage to stay up all day in 100+ degrees and high humidity. I first tied the upper section of my hair in an elastic, and then brought the bottom half together in another. I then tucked them into each other, and secured it all in place with the combs. My hair is unruly, and would never hold in combs alone. Sure, my head hurt by the end of the day, but my hair didn't budge!
Lightweight cotton dresses have also been helpful in the heat. I like this dress as it dries quickly on the line (I am sooo not running the tumble dryer in this heat). I could wear this dress day after day and always feel perfectly attired. I've dressed it up and down, and added colourful accessories as desired, never being disappointed with the results. Every wardrobe has a "Go-To" piece, and this is mine for summer. 

Outfit Particulars:
Cotton dress-Thrift sale in a church
White patent slingbacks-K Mart
Vintage ostrich handbag-Goodwill
Vintage West-German beaded necklace-Han-Me-Ups
Vintage milk-glass clip earrings-Thrift World
Carved plastic (not celluloid, but a darn close copy) bangle-Hand-Me-Ups
1960's beaded dangle ring-Goodwill
Fragrance-Eau de Givenchy
I am *this* close to finishing the paperwork for school. I hope to have it sent off tomorrow morning, and I will hopefully be celebrating with a trip to an air-conditioned cinema. Danny wants to see the new X-Men movie, and I can get two hours of sleep in a cold room. Everybody wins!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

In a Haze

I apologise for the lack of posts lately. As I'm sure you're aware by now this has been a terrible week in the United States. In a period of national grief, it seemed rather inappropriate to be posting photos, and even now I don't really have my heart in it. When you start thinking people might gather together and take the opportunity to be decent to each other, along come the various groups using a tragedy for political gain. Not surprisingly, sales of assault style weapons soared this week after the shooting. A week ago, politicians couldn't pass discriminatory legislation restricting access to bathrooms fast enough-suddenly they're all over the media screaming about the threat from Muslims. You don't create the atmosphere that encourages hate crimes, and then get to point fingers because a member of another religion carried it out.  It is sad, and sick, and I wish I had something encouraging to say but I don't. You'll forgive me I hope, if my tone sounds a bit flat, because I've used-up most of my emotional reserve this week.

We're entering the second week of a heat wave. The weather service issued a heat warning for tomorrow (something absurd like 108 degrees F. with high humidity) and the morning the photo above was snapped the camera lasted three photos before steaming-up. My specs did the same. We have air conditioning, and I would feel foolish complaining as so many people are trying to make due with window fans, or worse, are homeless on the streets. After the first week, I think it started wearing on my mood-a sort of summer cabin fever. A dark house, a loud bird (good god, all that little beast does is scream) and the internet delivering worse and worse news by the day was getting to be too much. I finally dragged Danny out with me- we put the car air conditioner as high as it would go, and hit the thrift stores. Well, two thrift stores because not everyone is running their air conditioning as high as the weather demands.

I didn't buy this absurd Bob Mackie silk jacket, but I thought about it. $5.49 seemed a bit steep for a silk jacket with zebras. I didn't buy the vintage print of California in the nice frame below because it wouldn't have fit in my car, and it was too hot to consider walking home (less than a mile) with it.

I did buy several pieces of pottery by various American makers, and one piece of art glass that sells for hundreds of dollars at the local high-end jewelry boutique. Sure, it IS ugly, but someone will enjoy it-I couldn't really leave it at that price.

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt made from vintage 60's crepe-like polyester fabric (I suspect the skirt was put together with vintage fabric)-Goodwill, .49 cent sale
Tee-shirt-K Mart
Vintage, Iowa-made (Sue and Bev's Macrame) macrame bag-Goodwill
Jade bangle-Goodwill
1970's clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Napier ring-Goodwill
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Diorissimo

Today was cooler-only 97 degrees F. I have two parties I'm hosting this week, so I took advantage of the er...cooler weather to get the marketing done. I haven't really been lighting the oven, and we've been eating foods that can be served over toast, but this week I'm going to need to bake. I might be doing it at four in the morning to take advantage of cool morning air.

Outfit Particulars:
dress-Goodwill .49 cent sale
Vintage Koret of California polyester jacket-Thrift World
Vintage 60's handbag-Goodwill
Naturalizer shoes-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage Whiting and Davis paneled bracelet-Goodwill
Earrings-K Mart
Brooch (on bodice) Filene's, 90's
Hair flowers-Tiff and Tam
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Chanel No. 19

I have a few days of syllabus writing left before I send the thing off to the Board of Education-then, I can start my summer. 

I'm off to stick my head in the freezer for a quick cool-down.