Monday, December 31, 2018

December 2018-The Last

Oh my goodness-it is nearly 2019! New Year's Eve in Omaha has largely been cancelled due to the ice storm, sub-zero cold and ferocious wind headed our way tonight. I'm glad the city cancelled the fireworks event downtown because I was NOT looking forward to risking a slip and fall on ice covered streets. At my age a broken hip can be a damn death sentence. Instead, we're staying in, playing board games, listening to music and hopefully getting to bed at a reasonable hour. 

  So, 2018. What a year it was, too. For Danny, it was wonderful finding out he was mis-diagnosed with both a nut allergy and asthma. And yes, I am still mighty annoyed with the old allergist, but am moving on. He has another year of allergy jabs, and then he's pretty much free to just get on with it, and I am so, so happy for him. The rest of the year I could have done without, but I'm going to stay focused on the happy moments. The kid is pretty grown up for fourteen, but I still buy his clothes for him
God bless Shifty Thrifting and their Teespring shop. I'm never at a loss for a creative gift.

 Anyway, here we are, nearly in January and I've barely scratched the surface of my winter wardrobe owing to our strange weather. I used to divide it into Winter I and Winter II with the first part being largely sequins, sparkle, velvet and other gaudy assorted items. This year though, I've had days that would be too warm for velvet and days where woolens aren't nearly enough. It has been very week-to-week. I shudder to think what January and February are going to be like. Sweater/jumper wearing has been light so far without any need to bring out the heavy hitters like the Irish fisherman's sweater or the Norwegian ski sweater. Personally, I kind of hope I don't need them this year although I know it won't be a good sign if I don't.

 This is a vintage piece from the Amana Woolen Mills (though it is acrylic) in Iowa. They no longer produce clothing, but they do make lovely blankets if you are looking for a nice gift. I have several sweaters and even a wool suit, but this piece is my favourite. It doesn't look like much, but I wouldn't want to be without it.
 Some days though, I just want to wear a scratchy wool sweater with a reindeer on it.
The back is solid blue. Less versatile than the Amana piece, it makes me feel ready for fun whenever I wear it. This year, I wore it for a Christmas Day hike around the NRD.
 It was an absolutely gorgeous day.
It was warm enough to go without a coat or sweater if you are a teenager. He's always hot five minutes after starting a hike. Me? I could freeze to death on a 70 degree day.
 We came home and enjoyed our leftover Feast of the Seven Fishes paella from Christmas eve, and had the Christmas cake Danny made back in August (we've been feeding it brandy regularly). I did the icing and decorating, obviously. An angel is traditional on a Christmas cake...
...I really shouldn't be trusted with gingerbread and royal icing. 
After owning this bracelet for years, I finally remembered to wear it. 

I also, at long last plugged in the electric tea kettle I bought ages ago but was too intimidated to use. In my defence it came with a substantial booklet of instructions and everything was labelled, "CAUTION!" I once gave away an unused, expensive espresso maker because it was too scary-and it had a video tape of instructions to go with the booklet!

Sure, go ahead and laugh but I can think of better ways to injure myself than with pressurised steam. 
The boys surprised me with some wonderful textiles. I bought Mr. ETB a much needed wallet, and Danny some tickets to ballgames this summer. Neither make for great photos, but they were pleased with their gifts. Danny will be getting a new camera for birding/nature photography this year, but December isn't the best time to buy that. Hopefully we'll find what he wants at a price we can manage before the crane migration starts in February. 
 If you look closely, you can see thew quilted skirt depicts scenes from The Iliad. The textile designer is Victor Malta who was never a terribly sought after artist until a few years ago. This was a wonderful find, and I'm so happy to have the circle skirt in my collection. it is a very wide skirt, with an unfortunately tiny waist. That's what button extenders are for!

 Years ago I made Danny an embroidered quilt with scenes from the Iliad on it. Some stories just work well on fabric, I guess.
 This vintage tea towel depicting sites along the Freedom Trail in Boston is too nice to use! I'll be framing it and hanging it in the kitchen.
I had a bit of a scare with my vision this year, but after a re-check it looks like everything is fine. The arthritis medication I take can cause eye problems, so it was a bit worrying over the holidays until I went back on the 27th. Now I can relax. I'm still cross-eyed, but that hasn't got worse over the last year either, so good news all around! This photo really drives home why I need big frames as a distraction from my face. If I wore contacts I'd have to devote more than 30 seconds to drawing my eyebrows on evenly...and I think we all know that isn't going to happen😀.
I've been forced by bad outdoor light to take photos indoors and strangely the best light in the house is on the stairs. I can prop up my phone on the piano, set the timer, and manage halfway acceptable snaps without going outside or bothering anyone to take photos. I'm quite pleased with this as I really prefer to do things myself. I'll have to think of ways to dress up the stairs to keep things interesting.

And that's about it for now. I hope you have a wonderful 2019. Thank you all for tagging along with me here. See you after the ice storm!

Saturday, December 22, 2018


 That went quickly. I was just bringing him home, carrying him in the crook of my arm.
One day he's learning to form words, the next he's a sarcastic teenager. Happy Birthday kid-I wouldn't want to be mama to anyone else.

 I feel the cakes need a bit of explaining. One of the few thing we enjoy doing together is reading Shifty Thrifting. We spend enough time in thrift stores that it is amusing to see the odd things other people find. One post that became quite popular was of a seemingly innocent SylvaC beetroot jar. Because of the way the lettering had worn, it looked like it read, "Beetpoot."
via shifty thrifting
One night (or was it very early morning?) when Danny was having breathing issues and needed to sit and take a nebuliser treatment, I looked at his red face and expression and said, "You look like the damn Beetpoot." It stuck, and thereafter taking breathing treatments came to be known as, "Beet pooting." Thankfully, he never repeated this at his doctor's office because it would have been hard to explain. Anyway, he asked for a Beet Poot cake, so I made one. The eagle eyed reader will notice he is wearing a Beet Poot shirt as well.
The poot looked more purple in person. The other cake is Shifty too. If you've spent much time in thrift shops you'll have noticed quite a lot of seashell "art" or as they call it at Shifty Thrifting, "Seashells Glued to Shit." Obviously, that needed to be a cake as well, so...
 Seashells glued to cake. In the end I gave up and used chocolate to make the shells. It was difficult to photograph, but it really did look like thriftstore "art."
So realistic it is almost disturbing!
We had a fun day wandering around Lauritzen Gardens (our local botanical gardens) to see the poinsettia show and the tropical plants in the glass house.
We've been doing that for years, but he can't ride on his papa's shoulders anymore. 

They had giant lighted orbs throughout the glass house that reminded me of the Rover from The Prisoner. 
So naturally, we made jokes and got strange looks from people that never saw the show...
Can't take us anywhere. 

Happy Birthday, Pardner'. We sure do love you!

Monday, December 17, 2018

An Assortment of Holiday Outfits

I'll bring the sparkle.

Mid-December, it is 50 degrees F. outside and I am waiting for the plumber to come fix the blockage in the kitchen sink. I should be annoyed, but I'm just so glad it didn't happen as I was baking the birthday cake, or at Christmas. If it had to happen, this was a good time for it. I put my time at home to good use and washed some windows because I don't typically get to do that in December!
 This was Sunday's outfit. I had chores to run, but figured so did everyone else. Why not wear something fun and give everyone a laugh? I'm not the "Spreading holiday cheer  " sort of person but my goodness, this year has been so awful for so many people that I figured a break from the overwhelming seriousness would be welcome. I wasn't wrong-smiles everywhere I went, and many more random conversations with strangers than I typically get in Nebraska. I guess there's something approachable and non threatening about a woman in sequins and a silly wig.
Outfit Particulars:
Sequin dress-Goodwill
Vintage sequin jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes-K Mart
Wig-Nobbies Costume shop
Beaded necklace-Goodwill
Beaded earrings-New Life Thrift
Fragrance-Marni Rose (not terrible. It was a cheap, blind buy at Marshall's. I like the wood notes, but the longevity is terrible. It was under ten dollars, but still).

 Staying with the silly holiday outfits for the moment, this was Saturday.
I bought this dress last summer for .49 cents. I knew it would be worth the money😁. The top is a knit jersey material and the bottom is some sort of nylon/parachute-like fabric. It would have been phenomenal with a ruffly short crinoline, but mine were all too long. Perhaps I'll make a red one for next year.
Don't worry-no pole dancing was involved. I had to keep it clean as I was in view of a mini-van full of children (they were delighted with the performance).

Outfit Particulars:
Faux fur headband-K Mart
Santa Pants handbag-made by me from a basket for carrying wine
Vintage belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Nuit de Noel

Know what screams "Festive" to me? Animal prints. I bought these velvet, animal print, over-the-knee boots five years ago and wore them twice. That seems like a terrible oversight, so what better time to wear them than December, when fashion sense and taste go out the window anyway? I especially enjoyed wearing them with this terribly mumsy, over-sized dress from Boden. Sort of felt rebellious.

Outfit Particulars:
Boden dress-Goodwill
Boots-Thrift World
Handbag-antique mall
Bangles-all over
Fragrance-Burberry Classic

I'll bet you think it can't get any tackier.
 You thought wrong.
Because I own this cardigan.
And the matching earrings. But you already knew there would be matching earrings.
Outfit Particulars
Vintage Christmas cardigan-Hand-Me-Ups
Pleated skirt-Sears, about 25 years ago
Boots-K Mart
Bangles-all over
Earrings-Big Lots (I think)
Fragrance-Vintage formulation Elizabeth Taylor Passion

Did you know the Pantone colour of the year is, "Living Coral"? I guess when all the coral is dying it sounds...optimistic? Or something like that. This is a color I have quite a bit of. It is actually peachier than the photo suggests, and just about the perfect shade for my complexion.

This sweet angel brooch from the 70s always gets overlooked in favour of the flashier Christmas brooches. I made a point of wearing her this year.
The faux fireplace has returned to the hallway again this winter. I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoy this. We have a very dark home, so anything even suggesting a blazing fire helps.

*The plumber has now left. The kitchen is a mess, but the job is done and birthday party prep can now continue as planned. I am glad I am not the sort of person that leaves things for the last moment. I have until Thursday, so was able to take this in stride. *touches wood* hopefully nothing else will break.
Outfit Particulars:
Vintage skirt (has a matching blouse)-Goodwill
Coldwater Creek velvet top-Goodwill
Fragrance-Straight To Heaven By Kilian (I can't make up my mind on this one. I like the rum notes, and the spiciness of it, but I don't know if I would outside of the holidays. I wore it at Thanksgiving and it felt perfectly appropriate on a day when I was cooking. To just wear out and about? Not convinced. Definitely not worth the pricetag. I had a sample).

 Where are the metallics in the holiday wardrobe you ask?
Right here, in this vintage Halston skirt I found in a now defunct costume shop for 5 dollars. That place was the best-I really miss it.
 Outfit Particulars
Vintage Halston skirt-Fairy Tail Costumes (RIP)
Vintage Mexican tourist jacket-Hand-Me-Ups
Boots-K Mart
Earrings-Nobbie's costume shop
Fragrance-Reformulated Femme

Blue velour and a tutu-like skirt I bought in the children's department at Target? Why not?!
I've owned the top for 26 years (there's a matching skirt). Bought it with my employee discount at Jordan Marsh in Shoppers World, Framingham, Mass. Long gone, but I loved that store. The building was round with a fab domed ceiling. I also worked at Filene's later on (also now gone) but Jordan Marsh was the better department store, in my opinion. Anyway, very old top.
This skirt is much too nice to waste on children! They'll just drop something sticky on it. It is pleasingly well made-to stand up to rough wear of children, I suppose. Being just a bit past 5 feet tall (...and still shrinking) the clothes fit me well. I can't buy adult leggings as they look like I've been playing dress-up in my mother's clothes. Children's sizes run larger now (as they should to reflect the population-everyone deserves clothes that fit) and a 14/16 is just about perfect for me. Can't wear the tops though, but that's ok as I have unusually long arms for a short person! Is that over-sharing? Sorry! You probably don't want to hear about my deformed butt crack then. Okay, moving along...
Outfit Particulars:
Velour Top-Jordan Marsh, 90s
Vintage multi-strand necklace-thrift store in Western Massachusetts
Fragrance-Shalimar (to match the cap on the bottle, of course)

How about a break to look at some baked goods?
 Danny made the Lebkuchen this year.
 I made the gingerbread house. I used the same template as the past few years because it is easy.
Lucia buns full of saffron and butter. I have two dozen in the freezer as well. It is just the three of us here, and all these recipes make quite a lot. On the happy side, I can pull baked goods from the freezer well into summer. These always bring a smile in the summer heat.

I have been wearing specs for so many years they are very much a part of my appearance. Looking at this photo of myself should serve to dissuade me from ever considering contact lenses. Who is that?! I don't even recognise myself! If I ever go to smaller frames I'll need to devote more time to my eyebrows and really...that's five minutes a week I can't get back. Best keep to the large frames.

 This velvet suit by Act III is quite old-70's probably. The 80s blouse beneath it came with enormous shoulder pads which I removed. It is true that my shoulders are shrinking with age, and good shoulder pads would probably balance things out-but they weren't "Good" shouderpads-they were better suited for a football player (American football, obviously). I really ought to look into padding out some of my blouses and jackets though-just in smaller proportions.
Outfit Particulars:
ACTIII suit-Goodwill, I think
80s stained-glass look blouse-Hand-Me-Ups
Angela Frascone handbag-Goodwill
Vintage Christmas brooches-can't remember

Finally, Gritty.
Gritty is the Flyers mascot. 
And on that note, I'm off to bake a cake. 
See you later.