Friday, July 29, 2016

Princess Qiana, Alex, and a Vera Nice Skirt

Qiana nylon was around in the mid-60's, but it really became popular with the disco era. Whether you danced or not, nearly everyone had these close-fitting, silky shirts with wild prints on them. My dad, possibly the least-cool person ever to walk the earth, had a brown, red and black Qiana shirt with a gigantic collar and a prints of flamenco dancers that he wore unashamedly with white polyester trousers. White polyester trousers with a built-in-belt. This blouse is on the more subtle side of the trend, and as the weather behaves better I will wear some of the crazier examples from my collection. 

Outfit Particulars:
1970's Qiana blouse-Goodwill
Polyester skirt (has a matching top)-can't remember, bought it in the 90's
Shoes-K mart
1970's shoulderbag-Goodwill
Belt-Retail, 90's
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Azuree

I bought this Alex Colman blouse not knowing if it would fit, but being unable to pass up such a great print at a bargain. Alex Colman of California was one of my very favourite labels as a young person as their shirts were always so colourful and fun. I have a few I've collected over the years, but this is the first that fits well enough to wear. Hooray!
The skirt is pinned in the waist, and held with a belt but really needs more work than it is worth. As it isn't every day I find fabric with a great hieroglyph print, I'll take it apart and make something else-I'm thinking hot pants, because every anthropologist needs a pair of hieroglyph print hot pants. Fact.  
I am the goddess of...well, I dunno...Burt Street? Well never mind that, I command you to go get me a cocktail-all this polyester gets warm and uncomfortable. Don't forget the ice. 
 Outfit Particulars:
Alex Colman 70's blouse-Hand-Me-Ups
Belt-Can't remember
Vintage lucite earrings-Thrift World
Vintage Papagallo shoes-Goodwill
Aigner shoulder bag-Goodwill
Fragrance-Rive Gauche (Had to, it went with the vibe of the blouse)

Moving along...
(The sun was in my eyes, but I always look a little squinty)
I spotted this vintage skirt on the picked-over rail at Goodwill on the last day of the colour tag sale. I guess it looked too old fashioned for the people scouring the rails for designer jeans to re-sell online. I didn't know what it was when I bought it as the tag was hidden away deep within the waistband seam, but when I went to launder it I spotted (ha ha) the familiar ladybird trademark and Vera signature. I knew there was a reason I was drawn to the print! I always did like Vera Neumann's designs, as evidenced by a quick look around my home. 

The waistband of the skirt is interesting-there's a rubberised seam meant to hold the skirt in place. It isn't elastic (and believe me when I tell you I just barely got it to close) but a thick, rigid piece meant to keep it from folding over. The skirt is quite well constructed, and my guess is it would have been worn with a long-sleeved blouse, possibly ruffled. To me, it is the epitome of early 70's style for housewives (an office worker wouldn't wear this, nor would anyone under 40) and I'm definitely not wearing it in the spirit it was intended. The 80's blouse and bag are glaringly out of place for anyone seeking authenticity. Personally, I'm not ready to be a suburban, middle-aged, housewife-though Valium and Key Parties don't sound all that bad to me at this point. 

Well...perhaps we can skip the Valium-at my age it would just put me to sleep. 

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage Vera Neumann skirt-Goodwill
Blouse (part of a set)-Sequels
Vintage 80's bag-Goodwill
Vintage Trifari necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Quartz bangle-Goodwill
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Chamade

Hope everyone has a great weekend. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Vintage, True and Reproduction

I hope everyone enjoyed the weekend. Ours was pleasant, and we even found a bit of time for outdoor photographs. There was silliness, of course, though I wonder what the people on the other side of the window must have thought!
I believe he was doing a, "Thumbs-up" gesture despite the boxing stance. There's an urgent care directly opposite in the complex-I do hope we kept some patients entertained during their undoubtedly lengthy wait. "Quick, come look at the imbeciles in front of the Hallmark shop! Oooh, one of the imbeciles is wearing a lovely vintage dress."

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage dress-Goodwill
Vintage handbag-Antique mall
Naturalizer sandals-Sequels
Bangles-all over
Large green ring-The much-missed Curtise
Hair flowers-Tiff and Tam

Not to be outdone by Mr. ETB's window photo bomb, I grabbed the kid and we walked down to meet his bus this evening. As the bus pulled to the stop, we stood on the sidewalk waving it in with our arms like airline workers on a tarmac. Had I planned ahead, we could have brought torches and worn headphones. The bus driver was cracking-up, and Mr. ETB was laughing so hard he couldn't speak for the first couple blocks of the walk home. After more than 20 years together, he should know better than challenging me to a public stupidity contest.

I should mention that this dress is so sheer it requires a full slip beneath to keep me from being charged with indecent exposure. I did own a pale green slip at some point, but it disappeared long ago, and now I'm on the hunt for another. I wore white here, which worked out fine with the white in the pattern, but green would have been better. I've never attempted dyeing nylon-might be worth a try.

This beautiful vintage reproduction by Lady Vintage turned out to be an incredible bargain due to the sale, and favourable exchange rate on the day I ordered it. I had never heard of Lady Vintage before the wonderful Miss Magpie mentioned them, and I owe her a great many thanks for introducing me. Much as I complain about inferior quality repro clothing, I am pleased to say this dress is perfect. The fabric is heavy, and falls beautifully. It is launderable, wrinkle -resistant, and has just enough stretch in the fabric to accommodate my ever-shifting weight. Turning the garment inside-out, I was able to see how well-made it is. No fear of the seams coming undone here. No stray threads needing to be snipped, the zipper works (and is sewn-in correctly) and I love the extra care that was put into the packaging. My dress arrived quickly, and folded in such a way that it could be worn immediately rather than spending hours steaming out creases from careless shipping.

 The dress looked greener indoors! Next time, blue necklace.

Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Lady Vintage, London
1940's Naturalizer pumps-Thrift World
Vintage necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
I found a strapless bra worked best, though there's enough support in the bodice to forgo one entirely, I bought the dress in a 14, which turned out a bit large, but I'd rather err on the side of too big. I'm a 36 DD and there's plenty of extra room on top. Because of my curved spine and messed-up right shoulder, I have trouble wearing dresses with straps like this as they tend to slide down on the right side. There's a bit of that happening here, but so much less than I typically deal with as the straps are heavy and well-constructed. You can read a bit about the company on their website, but the short version is that all the dresses are made in London, where they employ skilled pattern cutters and the like. It really does show in the quality of this dress. After several bad experiences with buying clothes by post (I'm looking at you, Chicwish) dealing with Lady Vintage was a joy. I am not being compensated in any way by Lady Vintage, and I paid $38.00 USD for my dress. I consider it money very well spent. Thanks again, Miss Magpie for alerting me to this terrific company.

This last outfit is a mix of vintage and contemporary items that came together better than expected. You'd think a heavy, polyester skirt wouldn't require a slip, but this one shows every lump and bump (of which I have many) making it nearly impossible to wear anything tucked into the waistband. I bought the two-piece top set last weekend as the colours appealed to me even though they veer ever-so-slightly into Lily Pulitzer territory (oh, barf). With our flaky weather, layering is definitely a good strategy, and I like to look pulled-together when I do. Luckily, the top is just long enough to hide my saddlebags, and make the skirt wearable. I love when that happens.

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage 70's Koret of California skirt-Goodwill
Two-piece top and jacket set-Goodwill
1960's handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Shell bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Shell clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Hair flowers-Tiff and Tam
Shoes-K Mart
Lippy-Maybellene Vivid Rose
Fragrance-Revolution a Versailles (Review coming soon)

Hope your week is treating you well.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Heatwave Style

No point owning gold lurex shorts if you don't wear them.

 How is everyone? We're smack-dab in the middle of another heat wave with excessive heat warnings, high humidity and all the rest that goes with it. By this point in the season, I'm better acclimated to it, but honestly-I'm dreading the next few days. Our air quality has been perfectly shit, so I couldn't spend much time outside if I wanted to, which I don't.

SK&Co. Shorts-Goodwill
Top-K Mart
Gold Bangles-Various shops
Fragrance-Love 2 Love peach and rose-Meh. Five bucks at Marshalls, smells like air freshener.

I heard an interesting idea today if you're suffering in the heat and your children are going stir-crazy. You can crush up sidewalk chalk and freeze it in cups with water to make, "Ice chalk". Sure, it will be a mess as it melts in their hands, but it sounds like great fun to me! Danny wasn't interested.

 The Boden sundress got worn, but as no one was handy to help photograph it, this was the best I could do. Yeah well, my hair looked shit anyway, so just enjoy the great pattern on my .49 cent Boden. I swear, some camera-shy clothes just refuse to be photographed properly, though I wear them all the time. It is maddening really, because I end up snapping a photo like this at the end of the day. So yay, here's a photo of my geriatric tits. You're welcome.

Boden sundress-Goodwill
Bamboo bangles-Hand-Me-Ups
Bakelite bangles-all over
Fragrance-Laura Ashley No. 1 (I imagine my fragrance choice as a sort of bitch-fight between the Boden "Yummy Mummy" set and Princess Di-wanabees in frocks with mutton sleeves. No, you really don't want to know how my brain works sometimes).

 In other news, I bought yet another dotted polyester dress. Yeah, I'm hopeless but I swear this one is different from the others. Ahem. What does that make, six? Seven? Why they're all blue (save for a single one in pink) I don't know. Didn't anyone wear red in the 70's? Or perhaps a nice earth tone like avocado? I know they're out there, it just means I need to spend more time in the shops.
These shoes have kitten heels that catch on everything, so I typically only wear them around the house, or to take out the rubbish. Last week, I was wearing a housedress that had seen too many washes, a badly stained pinny,  my hair was in rollers, and I was trudging along in these shoes with an overly-filled bin bag when a new neighbour stopped to introduce herself. I'm guessing she was dazzled by the shoes and didn't notice the rest. Nice shoes can work miracles.

Sears 1970's polyester dress-Goodwill
Earrings-New Life Thrift
Flower-Tiff and Tam
Fragrance-Jovan Woman (Still the best bargain chypre I know of still being made)

Nothing says, "Summer" like a barkcloth wrap skirt, and a brightly coloured linen blazer. I went ahead and threw caution to the wind because, 111 degrees F! I still needed the blazer though, because we're crazy for our air-conditioning in Nebraska. I did manage to get out for a walk this evening, but it was like breathing through a hot sponge (sea sponge, not the cake variety though I've baked a few that would withstand use in the tub). I have to be careful in this sort of weather as I don't really sweat much anymore, and my body isn't able to cool as easily as it did when I was younger. 

Vintage barkcloth skirt-Thrift store in Boston
Handbag-Jenerations in the Crossroads Mall
Linen-blend blazer (part of a suit)-New Life Thrift
Shirt-K Mart
Fragrance-Ombre Rose (I only wear it when I feel contempt for the world and want to subject people to the olfactory version of their behaviour)
Lucite bangle-Goodwill
Green bakelite bangle-Goodwill

I simply had to wear this skirt one more time before moving it along. I adore the frog, but the skirt really is (and has always been) too large for me. I have a similar skirt in a wrap with a frog on the back pocket, so I'll keep that and re-home this great piece of 70's casual wear. We stopped by the abandoned/feral mall on Dodge Street to see the Douglas County Fair. It was basically a quilt show, and a few 4-H projects. It took all of ten minutes to see, but the quilts on display were magnificent. Our county is largely urban, and though they've been trying in recent years to make the whole thing more attractive to participants and visitors, it just isn't getting the momentum it needs. Moving it from downtown to a centrally located mall was a good plan though, and the parking is free. The winning pie was rhubarb, without a lattice crust which is encouraging as I'm planning to do rhubarb/blueberry for the State Fair, and I suck at lattice crusts! I'll cut attractive shapes for vents and hope for the best. I might also do a treacle tart because that's the sort of thing fair judges like (though the thought of eating it sets my teeth on edge-and I like sweets). 

1970's novelty skirt-Goodwill
Sleeveless tee shirt-K mart
Ostrich handbag-Goodwill
Bangles-all over
Necklace and brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Arpege (Yeah, not great in hot weather, but I'm still feeling contempt for my fellow human beings and as I can't go about expressing it verbally, I let the perfume do the talking(shouting). 

I just checked the weather station-we're at 114 degrees F. That's about 45 degrees C. and our dew-point is 78. Remind me of this around February when I'm again complaining that it is cold and snowing. 
What a difference six months makes!

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Favourite Handbag

*Note-I have no idea why all the photos look elongated, but eh, whatever-I like Modigliani. You'd think all that elongation would make me look thinner, but alas, no. 
Army green really isn't my colour, so I guess I'd better forget enlisting (can't march worth shit or follow orders either) until they come up with snazzier uniforms (I could do alright in the Navy, so long as I never had to leave land).  

The outfit is unimportant though, compared to this beautiful Lady Jade Designs of Montana handbag. The photo doesn't show it well, but the handle is beaded on wire, and the tapestry design is also outlined in seed beads. This isn't a handbag, it is a work of art. The bags sell for hundreds of dollars (understandably) but I was lucky enough to find mine at Goodwill for $3.99 I rarely use it as I'm terrified of damaging it. When the rain started today, I ran as fast as I could, not to keep myself dry, but to protect my precious bag! Frankly, I had no idea I could still run that fast-guess all it took was the right motivation. 

Even the bottom of the bag is beautiful. 
 The plastic owls on my door are one of several in my collection that we rotate through the year. They were made in the 70's by an American company called, Homeco. My sense is that they sold at women's parties, sort of like Tupperware, or Avon. We have lions, a raccoon, more owls, and a swan. They're great for perking-up out front door between holidays when there's nothing special to decorate.
Outfit Particulars:
Coldwater Creek embroidered and sequined skirt (and fully-lined!)-Goodwill
Banana Republic sleeveless blouse-Hand-Me-Ups
Cardigan-New Life Thrift
Platform shoes-Goodwill
Cluster Pins-Hand-Me-Ups
1960's beaded clip earrings-Thrift World
Lady Jade purse-Goodwill
Belt-Can't remember, had it about a dozen years
Whiting and Davis vintage panel bracelet-Goodwill
Other bracelet-Goodwill
Lippy-Estee Lauder Maplesugar
Fragrance-Creed Spring Flower (Oh dear God in heaven this is the stinkiest thing I've ever worn. It smells like bathroom deodouriser...and the piss and shit it is trying to disguise! I try to give new perfumes an honest chance, but it took EVERYTHING to keep from scrubbing it off. Mercifully, the longevity is short. pretty bottle though. I've got two letters to sum this one up...P&U!)
No, I haven't shat myself. This is expensive perfume. People pay good money to smell this way. Usually, I can't smell jasmine but unfortunately, this had to be the exception. 

I hope you have a better smelling start to your weekend than I am!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Pool Is Sad

When the pool weeps, we all weep.
I'm not mocking the Bi-Polar, but I am definitely mocking the person that worded the sign. Anyone living in the US that's seen the absurd television ads for psychiatric medications knows enough to avoid the phrase, "Chemical Imbalance" particularly since the FDA called bullshit on it, and made them start saying, "May be due to a chemical imbalance" because you! Personally, I think the pool is suffering from chemical ambivalence, and isn't willing to work with the chlorine.Today. Tomorrow might be different. Perhaps. The pool doesn't care one way or the other.  

We did just have a series of heavy rains, so I suspect that is the problem. 
 With the pool closed, Danny decided to stay home and work on his kolache recipe for the State Fair contest. He tried both prune and apricot fillings that came out beautiful. We now have several dozen pastries in the freezer from all his various attempts. I might not need to bake again. Ever.
I worked on my blueberry pie recipe for the fair. I now have a crust that stays firm on the bottom for three days without being heavy. The boys really liked the filling made with tapioca instead of cornflour. 
I made certain to dot it generously with butter before securing the top pastry. I'm a bit worried that the good blueberries will be gone by the first week of September when the fair rolls around, so I'll be freezing several pints carefully now. I don't take chances with State Fair pies. 
There was also cherry jam being made.

I couldn't remember if this skirt ever made an appearance on the blog. I've had it for ages, and I wear it loads in the summer, but somehow it seems to have escaped the camera. The photo doesn't show them well, but there's sequins sewn on the feather designs. Made in India, the skirt is a heavy sort of cotton that never requires pressing, and stays cool in most weather. It isn't lined, and over the years I've lost sequins as the stitching on the inside catches on everything. I really should wear a slip with it, but I'm resigned to losing most of the sequins eventually. I should just pull them off, and start over.
Outfit Particulars
                                                              Cotton skirt-Can't remember!
Blouse-K Mart
Woven belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Bracelets-both Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart (yes, another pair of cork heel wedges)
Vintage macrame shoulderbag-Goodwill
Earrings-Gordmans, about 15 years ago
Vintage silver and turquoise necklace-Mum's from the 60's
Fragrance-Rive Gauche

I seem to be doing quite a bit of aqua and purple this summer-no idea why, and it isn't deliberate. The top is made of the heavy, old 60's polyester. There's a half zip at the neck (so you don't disturb your bouffant pulling it over your head) which is a feature I'd love to see return on modern tops. It would be a terrible fabric on a very hot day, but otherwise it is a very wear-able material (and super-easy to launder). 

The skirt is a silky rayon from the 80's that seems to defy static cling (unlike so many other rayon skirts) which is a definite bonus. I'm certain it had a matching blouse or jacket at one time but when I found it sitting lonely in the Goodwill for .49 cents, I figured there would be something at home to match it. 

Outfit Particulars:
80's pleated rayon skirt-Goodwill
1960's polyester sleeveless top-Thrift World
Margaret Smith of Gardiner Maine vintage handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Lucite bangles-both Goodwill
Vintage clip earrings-New Life Thrift
Naturalizer shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Marni (Okay, a little too woody for summer)

What's on this weekend? 
Saturday and Sunday in Omaha the annual Railroad Days celebration takes place. $15.00 per family gets you admission to several great museums, the botanical gardens, free transportation to the sites by bus, and the admission is good for two days, so you don't need to exhaust yourself on the first day. With the heat we've been experiencing, it wouldn't be a bad idea to see the exhibits early in the day, over two days. By the afternoon, it can get unpleasant on the bus. 

Hopefully, the pool will be feeling better, and I can get in a swim over the next few days. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Just Add Idiots

The closest I'm getting to Hawaii these days is my collection of shirts and dresses. Our weather has been tropical, but without a beach, of course. Oh well, we'll make do. Sunday was, "Act Like an Idiot in Front of the Goodwill Day" in Papillion, Nebraska so...
We had an audience gather to watch our antics, and they were happy enough to show their approval. Danny kept looking for a place to hide, but we had fun! Sometimes, I think we should pass a hat and get paid for our foolishness.
Outfit Particulars:
Jane M Hawaiian dress (really, a muu muu but I belted it)-Goodwill
Bamboo bangles-Hand-Me-Ups
Plastic bangles-Goodwill
Purple ring-K Mart
Shell earrings-World Market
Macrame handbag-Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart
Fragrance-Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia
It was blowing a gale outside, so I kept my hair wild. I know when to give up! I like off-the shoulder dresses as I have ok-ish shoulders, and the flounce hides my bingo wings. Strategic placement of ruffles can disguise quite a bit.

Earlier in the week, I tried out the other Heartbreaker Repro dress I found at Goodwill. This one is better made than the blue dress, but it still has trouble with sleeves that won't quite press flat. The inside of the neckline is also poorly sewn and really could have done with a bit of interfacing. There's a tie-waist, but the length is too short to make a proper bow. Again, I don't want to sound as though I'm saying these are the worst dresses I've seen-they're not, and the fabric is quite nice. As I bought them re-sale I can't say if they were seconds that were sold with, "As-is" issues. I can say that the two dresses I've tried so far haven't impressed me but perhaps the third is a charm-I'll let you know.

Cranberry is such a wearable colour for most people, and it goes with almost everything. I did beige here, but cranberry and pink is another combination that goes in and out of popularity. I do typically think of it as an autumn/winter shade but it felt perfect for a warm July day, so I ran with it. I don't know about you, but I get into colour combination ruts (blue and green, anyone?) and it is good to challenge myself with less obvious combinations now and again. I recently purchased a vintage pure silk, navy blue pleated skirt and I am positively struggling with how to wear it. I know I can do better than a flowing white crepe blouse, but the obvious match hasn't struck me yet. I'm sure it will, eventually. Investment pieces can take their time in my wardrobe as they're not likely to get the once-and-done treatment of cheaper vintage. I have the rest of my life to figure out how to style it-and I plan to be around for a while!

Outfit Particulars:
Heartbreaker vintage repro dress-Goodwill
Naturalizer wedge-heeled sandals-Goodwill (I really got my $3.99 out of these!)
Vintage Collins-style bag-Salvation Army, Lincoln
Vintage berry-basket earrings-yard sale
Vintage cinnabar bangle-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage bakelite bangle-Salvation Army
Red ring-Goodwill
Cherries brooch-Thrift World
Hair flower-Tiff and Tam
Fragrance-Pink Innocencia (stooopid name, great fragrance)

Finally, I spotted this game of chance at a gas station out in the country.
"Hey Vern, whatcha doin' this weekend?"
"Oh hey there Willard, I thought I'd go down to the Mobil and try gettin' into their Bonus Hole."

Bonus Hole.

Aw geez, Bonus Hole?!

I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

An Egg-cellent Time Was Had By All

Please permit me to brag on the youngster as he took third place in the Cluck Off at the Wayne, Nebraska annual Chicken Show. The video of him clucking wouldn't load (figures) but believe me when I tell you it was a proud, parental moment. He won $25.00 for his efforts, and a ribbon. I thought I couldn't be prouder than when he won the Little Edie costume contest at Film Streams last year, but this was a genuine triumph.

The parade was great fun too. There were "Exotic male dancers" this year.

 The look on the children's faces when the man in the chicken suit hopped on the see-saw was priceless!
The chicken in the post box is participating in a "flying" contest. It is really more of a jumping contest as chickens don't fly in the way we think of flying. Each chicken's distance of where they fall on the ground is recorded for a prize. This particular chicken was reluctant to leave the post box (well, yeah-I wonder why?!) so they has a toilet plunger to hand for gently nudging it out.

I didn't stay for the egg-drop contest where contestants had to catch a raw egg dropped from a crane (the construction equipment, not the bird) or the hard-boiled-egg eating contest (because...ewww) but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the chicken show. We were able to take in a quilt show in town as well.

There was so much to do, we ran out of time! Next year, we'll get there earlier. If you're looking for something interesting to do in Nebraska the second weekend of July, start planning your 2017 visit now.