Monday, July 31, 2017

Sunshine on My Shoulders

There's off-the-shoulder, and then there's this.

 I guess I can rule this out as a potential State Fair dress-I can't lean forward in it. Don't want people whispering about, "The pie slut from Omaha," Sigh. I bought this dress in the sale at Lady Vintage, but I bought it too big. I'm so accustomed to clothes being small on top that I err on the large side of measurements. The dress is cut very generously up top for a US size 14. The sleeves are meant to fit tight on the arms as well. That's okay, I'll make a few adjustments and it will be perfectly wearable-so long as I don't bend over!

"Hey Pie Slut, didja drop something over here? Heh, heh."
Not falling for that one.
 I should mention that the dress is beautifully made from a heavy sateen cotton. The print was inexplicably called, "Art Deco" when, "Atomic" would be more accurate, and the background colour looked less grey on the website, but I'm still very pleased with the purchase. I don't wear a lot of repro, but I've been happy with the Lady Vintage dresses.

Outfit Particulars:
Dress-Lady Vintage London
Johanssen vintage handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage coil bead bracelets-both Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage panel bracelet-New Life Thrift
Vintage crystal earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Well, I've had my second cup of tea, so I'd better get moving with my Monday morning. Hope you have a great week.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Beige and Peach to the (Wardrobe) Rescue

Tricky, tricky beige. Is there a simpler, yet more confounding colour to build an outfit around? I was attracted to this skirt for the turquoise and coral details, but I rarely wear it as I lack tops in *the right shades* of turquoise and coral. I'm sure you've experienced similar wardrobe issues. Enter, a beige sleeveless tunic.

Oooh, exciting.
 Quite possibly the ugliest top I own, this nylon zip-back vintage number is an indispensable layering piece when I need a neutral.
 Ta-da! Suddenly, we have an outfit. Is the match perfect? No, of course not, but the top bridges the beige and coral in the skirt just enough to pull everything together. I'm happy I finally found a way to wear this silk skirt as it has been hanging on the back of my bedroom door seeking inspiration since early spring. Sometimes I need to live with a piece of clothing before wearing it. I have things I purchased years ago still seeking a proper outfit, but I've learned it is better to wait than wear something I'll be displeased with, just to get it worn. Obviously, I have plenty of storage space, but I'm also selective about items I keep around. If I didn't love this skirt it would have been moved along by now. If you do however love something, give it time-you never know when a beige tunic will come into your life to make you look at your clothes with fresh eyes.
The three bangles at the back are wood, painted to look like cloisonne. The two bracelets at the front are genuine. The brooch is a hand-painted ceramic I bought for .59 cents last week at Thrift World.

Outfit Particulars:
Silk skirt-Hand-Me-Ups (I think)
1960's nylon tunic-Hand-Me-Ups
Gold vintage shoes-Goodwill
Vintage Gaymode handbag-Goodwill
Belt-Thrift World
Brooch-Thrift World
Painted bangles-Goodwill
Vintage clip earrings-New Life Thrift
Clamper and bangle-Both Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-none, kiddo's asthma is kicking up again. He's never been triggered by fragrance, but why risk it?

This dress is on the peach side of beige.
 It really is too big, and as a result looks funny in the arms. I appreciate a roomy dress as much as the next person, but I don't like being swamped by my clothes. Still, it was worth wearing just to show how well peach/beige works with brown.

I've done the peach/brown thing before-this was back in 2014
What can I say? I'm a creature of habit.
Summer before last, I wore it with brown and blue.

 But in the heat, nothing beats keeping it simple. I thought about adding a jacket, and the thought better of it.

Outfit Particulars:
1970's polyester dress-Goodwill
1960's straw bag-garage sale
Marbled bakelite bangle-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage earrings-Etsy
1970's bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Hat-K Mart
Vintage sandals-Sequels
Hard-to-see coral brooch-Thrift World
This grasshopper was hanging about as we took photos. I can't tel if he's shedding skin or if he has injured wings. Any grasshopper experts out there? We set him down in the nasturtiums and he's stll hanging out hours later.

In other news...

We've been spending the week finalising our State Fair entries as the paperwork needs to be in by the 9th. The past week was spent adjusting recipes, working out what needs to baked with sponsor's products (flour, sugar, yeast, etc.), and setting a baking schedule. As with most things, good time management is a must. Some things like decorated cookies, tea breads, and candies do better made ahead so they can age. We'll get those items out of the way, and then work out what can go in the oven as we wait for yeast breads to rise, etc. We took this approach last year and I was ever so glad we did. Having a large wall calendar to consult each day makes it seem so much less overwhelming. I think Danny has around 50 entries (some are jams/chutney/etc. that were completed months ago) some requiring more hands-on time than others. Mapping your time out step-by-step saves a good deal of frustration...and let's face it, frustration is best reserved for icing that won't set, or breads that won't release from the "non-stick" parchment. You can't anticipate everything, so best not to use up your patience on the avoidable.

I can't believe school will be starting again in just over a month. We have an interesting year set up, and I'm looking forward to doing some more in-depth studies with Danny. I'm probably going to regret the piano lessons, but I feel bad that we have a perfectly good piano sitting in a corner collecting dust. Hopefully, Danny will appreciate it when he's older. I still sort of have childhood trauma from my mum screaming at my sister from the next room, "COUNT!" as she'd practise her scales, etc. I won't do that-I'm just going to get ear-plugs, and some extras for the neighbours. Can't possibly be worse than the kid across the street learning to play the drums.

I'll leave you with this little blissed-out fellow who clearly isn't suffering from allergies or contest anxieties (not my photo).

I'm off to check the dried fruit supplies. Have a lovely weekend.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Baking-Figuratively and Literally

Greetings from my sunny kitchen.

 What's cooking? At the moment, a peach pie. I hope they don't expect a proper meal as well-I haven't planned the day out that far yet. I wasn't kidding when I said the kitchen is sunny-see that glowing space beside me? That's with the blinds drawn. It can be annoying in the summer, but come December I'm happy to have a light-filled kitchen, even if only for a few hours. We're getting a temperature break today, but then we're back into the heat and humidity for at least another week. I took this break as an opportunity to wash and dry my hair because I know by mid-week no product on earth will combat the inevitable curls and frizz. Eh, that's why I have hats.
I haven't been feeling motivated to do much, and with the car at the garage for repairs I have felt even less motivated. We did get out last weekend to see Dunkirk, but that was hardly a mood-lifter! I thought it was well done, but I'm also glad I didn't see it in IMAX-that would have been too much.

 Outfit Particulars:
Nylon dress and jacket-Thrift World (years ago)
Thermoset necklace and matching bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Sarah Coventry brooch-Goodwill
The plastic moulded wall decorations on the wall behind me are the ones that I switch out on the front door. I'm partial to the owls.
I knew there was a reason I bought these shoes. Now I need a matching blue patent handbag.

Last weekend, in the throes of 100+ degree temperatures, I finally wore this Mexican embroidered dress I bought last winter at Sequels (the thrift store in the Dairy Queen) in Council Bluffs, Iowa. I think it set me back two dollars, but it might have been less. It is bright, and it caused an old man to shout at me in the street, "You sure do like red, don't you?!" Well, actually, I don't but I like being shouted at in the street even less. At least he wasn't shouting that I should, "Go back where I came from", or driving up slowly beside me to roll down the window and shout, "How much do you weigh?" but truth be told, I still don't like being shouted at in the street, even if it is a fairly innocent observation by a pensioner. It is a bright red dress. 
 Outfit Particulars:
Mexican embroidered dress-Sequels
Vintage straw-look bag-Can't remember(I have several and they're all quite similar
Bangles-all over
Hair flower-Tiff and Tam
Franco Sarto shoes-Goodwill
Vintage clip earrings-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Tuscany per Donna

 It must be the annual Nebraska heatwave if Chilly Willy is out in the garden with his sign. I wonder how many people laugh, and how many others pass by muttering, "Fuck off, Penguin!"
I still have Roland the Snowman's* head in the freezer from last winter. He'd better behave himself if he knows what's good for him! 
"I am in ur freezer drinkin ur gin."

*Have you seen the trailer for a horror movie called, The Snowman? As soon as Danny saw the frozen snowman head on the victims he started cracking up. "So THAT'S what Roland has been up to! 
Roland, you stop killing people...and stop drinking my gin! Don't make me send you to the naughty step in a heatwave.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Elusive Boden and an Effie's Heart

* This is another post from earlier in the spring that I forgot to publish. Better late than never!

I wear this dress more than just about anything in my summer wardrobe, yet somehow I never manage to get photos of it. I wasn't about to let it slip through yet again, so we stopped in front of Hand-Me-Ups for a quick photo. Not the best photo, but beggars can't be choosers. It was the end of a very warm day.

Yes, the dress is ill-fitting, and the top needs to be held shut with a brooch. The Empire waist makes me look pregnant, and the length is dowdy...but I love it. I mean, seriously love it. Cool, comfortable, fully lined in a non-clinging cotton-Boden might have a reputation for being a bit middle class, but they do make nice clothes. The zipper works. That shouldn't be noteworthy, but with the way clothes are made today, it is. The print is just beautiful./ The top doesn't absolutely need pinning, but I'd feel funny wearing it without. I don't think that's a fault of the dress, just me not wanting to go flopping out all across Omaha.
Outfit Particulars:
Boden dress-Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart
Vintage purse-Goodwill
Vintage blue and orange clampers-both Thrift World
Silver and orange clamper bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings-Thrift World
Fragrance-Fragile (something about iris and ginger feels right on a muggy day)

So what's in the bag from Hand-Me-Ups? A Vera tablecloth. I haven't decided if it will remain a tablecloth or become a skirt. There's enough there for a shift dress or a playsuit., Decisions, decisions. Anyway, I'm just thrilled to finally get a photograph of one of my favourite dresses.

Now, to Effie, or in this case, Effin.
 I was suckered in by the cute button details on the front and sleeves. I know shirts made of cotton jersey don't work for me but..,.cute buttons. When will I learn? Still, let's talk about the positives. As already mentioned, the buttons are a nice touch. Decent sized pockets, cute print, easy care. Would I pay the $100.00 USD this retails for? Absolutely not (it is a bloody tee shirt for heaven's sake!) but the .49 cents dug out of my purse to buy it at Goodwill was probably a deal. I plan to remove the buttons an make a skirt out of the bottom half. The waist hits me wrong, and a tight belt wouldn't work, nor would a loose one. At that point, I admit defeat and get out the sewing shears. I do really like the print-and the buttons.
 "Hey lady, nice buttons on that dress."

 We stopped by the park to see how things were after the severe storms we've been having. Most of the blooms are off the trees, and there's deep crevices in the path where the water runs downhill, but otherwise it seemed to fare okay.
Outfit Particulars:
Effie's Heart dress-Goodwill
Naturalizer shoes-Goodwill
Vintage straw bag-Goodwill
Belt-Thrift World
Bamboo bangles-Hand-Me-Ups
Bakelite and lucite bangles-all over
Vintage necklace-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintagfe ruby crystal earrings-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Versace Baby Blue Jeans (Nicer than I expected! A little like Imperiale. Thanks, Emily!)
The college next door has a small community garden. I love to see their progress with it (it varies year-to-year with the students).
One of those raised wooden planters has carrots growing! What a novel way to do that. I've never successfully grown carrots, so that's something to consider for next year. Personally, with all the bunnies in the park, I'd put up a fence-but that's me. I did see a pair of birds sitting on the cornstalks...waiting. Birds and bunnies ain't stupid-they know where to find food.
Danny tells me this is a firefly, out in the daytime. Who knew? Well, he did, obviously. 

*Update-here's the tablecloth in use.

I can't promise it will remain a tablecloth, but it does look nice on the table. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I've run across my share of odd items in thrift shops, but this gold-plated seashell is certainly one of the strangest.
I have to wonder at the artist's thought process that finally arrived at, "Hey, I'll gold plate a seashell." It is a genuine shell (you can't quite see inside in the photo) which also makes me wonder how many tries it took to get something that didn't break. This isn't very carefully made, but it was just so odd, I felt compelled to purchase it. $1.99 has been spent on sillier things.
I have no idea what this basket's intended use is. I'm using it as a straw handbag, but I suspect it began life with other use in mind, I've thought about decorating it with some pom-pom trim but I also like the plain look of it. I still feel like I ought to be carrying tamales in it or something.
 I'm wearing it here with a favourite skirt.

The belt is another oddity-the edges of the brass disks are sharp and thin leaving me terrified I might give myself abdominal surgery if I lean forward suddenly. I take it off to ride in the car-can't be too careful. That would be such an embarrassing way to die, disemboweled by your vintage belt. 
Now this is odd! Anyone for a cross-body lunch bag? I'm already wearing my lunch on my stomach-can't I just carry the bag by the handles?  
I thought I'd just wear it as a shoulder-bag, but as you can see, the strap is too long (and not adjustable). I might just give up and carry my lunch in a paper sack like we did in the stone-age before paved roads and wipe-clean lining in Laurel Burch cross-body bags. 

Funny story about the denim shorts-I bought them in the late 80's at the Gap and my mum was horrified telling me I was, "Too old to wear them." Yeah. My Back Pages, etc. etc. I spent my youth dressed like a middle-aged widow in head-to-toe black. The only reason the shorts survived is because I rarely wore them as they were so out of character for me-an odd item if ever there was. They're VERY high-waisted, even by 80's standards. I'm getting caught-up with the 80's fad for day-glo as well. I had no idea how much I'd end up loving this cheap tee shirt when I bought it (or I'd have purchased a dozen).
*Whines* But I really like this bag...
This one is more a coincidence than an oddity. We drove out to Lake Wanahoo (in Wahoo, Nebraska-no, I'm not making that up) to try and see the Aurora Sunday night (there had been a recent solar flare and the chances looked good). It was only upon returning home that I noticed I was wearing my vintage cha-cha bracelet with the AB crystals. We never did get to see it, but we spent a lovely night at the lake being eaten alive by mosquitoes looking at the stars.
We could hear barn owls hooting in the distance, and plenty of frogs. I did see a meteor, so the night wasn't without excitement. You don't need to get too far outside the city to get free of light pollution in Eastern Nebraska. This was a 30 minute drive from home. 

Have any odd items found their way into your collection that you now love strangeness and all? 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Onion Rolls

 This will make about 4 dozen small rolls or two dozen large hamburger buns.

You Will Need:
3 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons corn oil
4-5 (or more) cups bread flour (strong flour)

1/8 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup dried onion
2 tablespoons paprika
Mix all in a small bowl. Add water to cover. It should be fully absorbed by the time you bake. If not, strain the excess off.

Egg Wash
1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and water-stir to dissolve. Add salt, eggs, corn oil, and three cups of the bread flour. Mix well, incorporating the eggs. I do this by hand with a wooden spoon, but if you use a mixer, set it with a dough hook.

Keep adding flour a cup at a time until you have a rough, not too sticky dough that comes together in a ball. How much you'll need will vary depending on your flour, climate, etc. Once you can shape it in a ball, remove the dough to a floured work surface (I use flexible plastic-mat cutting boards as bread dough doesn't stick to them). Stop kneading and adding flour. Instead, go prepare the topping to set aside, and wash the bowl. In the time that takes. your dough should have started firming up. At this point you can begin kneading (or doing French folds if you prefer) adding only as much flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands. Sometimes, I just flour my hands. Once you are satisfied that your dough is firm and somewhat elastic (you don't need to stretch it into a windowpane-we're not making French bread), place it in a greased bowl, cover with cling film or a damp tea towel and let it rise about 1 hour or until doubled.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F with racks in top and bottom third positions.

Deflate the dough, divide into as many pieces as you'd like, and then shape as desired (for hamburger buns you don't want them too ball-like but rather flattened into disks).

Line two baking sheets with parchment for easy clean-up or grease lightly if you enjoy scrubbing pans. Arrange the rolls and then brush with egg wash. Spread topping on rolls using your fingers and gently press it into the top. Let rise 15 minutes before placing in oven. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate pans on higher and lower shelves. Continue baking 5-10 minutes longer depending on size. Cool on racks.

If you have extra topping it will keep covered in the fridge for a day or so-it makes a great addition to a toasted cheese sandwich under the cheese.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Winner Winner Chicken Flinger!

The winner of the Chicken Flingers is Vix. Congratulations! They'll be er...winging their way to you shortly. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Culottes to Shorts

The first photos were taken earlier in the spring. I wrote the post, and I'm just getting around to publishing it. I've added on a recent set of photos for the second part of the post. As I have several older, half-written posts in the folder, expect to see a few of these over the next month or so as my schedule becomes crazier. Thanks in advance for your understanding. 

So bad, I simply couldn't resist.
 I'm calling these trousers late 80's by the designer and the style, but the fabric has a sun and moon motif which I associate closely with the early 90's. I remember trying to buy a shower curtain that didn't have a sun and moon pattern and finally ending up at Bloomingdales where I paid more than any sane person should for a solid colour, unadorned curtain. Twenty five years on, I bought these trousers. It seemed like a suitable amount of time had passed. Looking at the photos, perhaps that's not an entirely accurate assessment. I'm not sure enough time will ever pass for these culottes to be stylish. Perhaps, like bloomers this sort of thing is best left in the past. Ah hell, what am I saying?! I don't give a toss about being stylish. Hmm, bloomers eh? *Makes mental note to look for bloomers*.

I went with comfort shoes  as I put my poor feet through hell earlier. I promise, next time I'll wear my gold sandals but today these soft, cushioned Clarks were like heaven.  There's a gold sheen to the rayon that doesn't photograph well, but looks luxurious in person.

Outfit Particulars:
Vintage rayon culottes-Goodwill
Twin set-Sears, about 20 years ago!
Clarks shoes-Hand-Me-Ups
Necklace-The Mexican Shop, Evanston, Illinois-early 80's
Vintage embellished bag-Goodwill
Earrings-K Mart
Fragrance-Sun Moon Stars (Had to).

Impossible to photograph. Isn't it always that way?!
 Anyhoo, back to the present. I liked these linen sailor button-front shorts so much in beige, I went back and bought two more pair in black. The buttons are just decoration as there's a zip concealed at the side. That's why they don't bunch or gape. These shorts go in the wash, sometimes the tumble dryer if  I'm rushed. and they always look perfect-no ironing required. For inexpensive vintage-look shorts these were a pleasant surprise.
 I had to buy this dancers brooch.
 This is a Nantucket Lightship necklace. When Danny was little he'd grab hold of it, pop it open and ask (loudly, often in public) if there were, "Any cheese maggots in there?" Then, he'd laugh and squeal pleased with a joke only he seemed to understand. We'd get some looks though!
See?  No cheese maggots!
 Outfit Particulars:
Sailor shorts-K Mart (this season, still available)
Sleeveless tee-K Mart
Cardigan-Years ago in Boston
Shoes-K Mart
Vintage straw and shell handbag-Antique mall
Nantucket basket-somewhere in Massachusetts, but not on Nantucket where it would be priced for the tourist trade. I've only been out to the island once. It was nice enough, but it was March, and freezing cold. That was my dad's idea of a fun weekend.
Earrings-K Mart
Fragrance-Avon Mesmerize (90's version-sort of like Samsara without the floral notes. I absolutely adore it)

Just a reminder, there's still a day left to leave a comment on the chicken show post from last week to win a pair of rubber chicken toys (I'll throw something else in too so it is worth the postage). If you miss out, we'll do another giveaway in September for the yearly State Fair cookbook and other related items. We're both still baking like mad here trying out and perfecting our recipes. I cooked and froze some peach pie filling earlier this week, which ought to save some time later on.
We're back in the heat and humidity this week which means I might be doing my baking at 3AM when the house cools down. That's okay, I prefer sleeping during the day anyway.

I'll have an interesting recipe later this week for some rather successful onion buns I made today. For once, I remembered to write down what I was doing as I baked. Can you believe this was once a cooking blog?