Tuesday, April 27, 2021

April Showers Bring May Flowers and Mayflowers Bring Pilgrims

Predictably, Omaha has gone from wintery weather directly into the throes of summer with it reaching an almost unheard of 91 degrees F (33 C). I'm sure it will settle back into more seasonable temperatures but it does make getting dressed a bit challenging. I've packed away most of my winter items but left a few warmer cardigans and coats available-just in case it decides to snow again. I like living in Nebraska, but our weather is bonkers. 

Yeah, don't mind me-just holding the wall up, as you do.

I bought this silk/linen blend skirt for the antique looking print. If you look hard you might be able to spot a cheeky monkey in the leaves. It doesn't crease as horridly as most linen and I wonder if that's down to the silk. The label suggests dry cleaning, but I've been laundering it gently in cold water with no ill effects. Line dry though-I wouldn't tumble dry anything silk. 

The block printed blouse was made in Pakistan. I fell in love with the pattern as it is so different from the typical prints you see from the region. It almost looks like a line drawing. The tiny sequins at the neckline and cuffs are annoying, and slightly scratchy but probably not worth removing. It is rather long, but looks better tucked in on my body as it is a bit narrow through the hips and...I am not. 

Outfit Particulars:
Linen/silk blend skirt-Goodwill
Block printed shirt-Thrift World
Vintage belt-New Life Thrift
Earrings (part of a set)-Goodwill
Vintage Shoes-Goodwill
Fragrance-Cabotine Rose (poorly named as it is a cherry blossom fragrance)

I can't remember the last time this dress was worn, but it has been a few years at least. No reason, I like it well enough. There's a built-in slip on the bottom half but the top is quite sheer as well, so I'm also wearing a full slip with it (in navy blue-knew there was a good reason I hoard vintage slips in a variety of colours). Next time I need to remember to photograph the slip-it is almost pretty enough to wear alone (I mean, by someone much, much younger. Not me. If I go out wearing a slip I'll look mad.
Close-up of the ring I'm wearing. It isn't Georgian, but rather a modern reproduction piece. It is a very, very good copy though. I like being able to wear it without worrying about it being damaged or lost, especially now when I'm subjecting my hands to sanitiser and frequent washing. This particular design is currently sold out, but do have a look around Danielle's shop. She even has a sale going at the moment. 

I'm trying to shop small whenever possible, and when I can support artists at the same time, that makes it all the better. Gwen is someone I've met through Tumblr. She's a student and selling her beautiful art to help with tuition. My photo does not do justice to how lovely this bee print is. You may find her shop Earned Magic by clicking the link. 

Now, you're probably wondering what I've been cooking. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these so feel free to scroll past. 

Last summer before the Fresh Thyme organic market closed I bought several deeply discounted lamb shoulder chops without any real plans. As they'd been in the freezer some time now, I decided to trim the meat from the bones, cube it, and use it to make a Navarin (French lamb stew). That turned out to be a very good decision. I didn't have any potatoes, but I had several pounds of very small Swedes (rutabagas) and turnips. That was also a very good decision. They boys ate it for several nights with it improving upon sitting. I followed the basic recipe HERE substituting turkey bacon and adding some red wine and celery to the mix. I also used both frozen green beans and peas. It was well received. I'm cooking much differently now to accommodate both their dietary requirements (because I am NOT cooking them each separate meals-I ain't a short-order cook and this ain't a diner) but  so far have been able to keep the meals interesting. Earlier in the week I made a fish chowder from cod and salmon and used non-dairy cream to great effect. The Silk brand heavy whipping "cream" does an excellent job of mimicking heavy cream and doesn't split or separate when heated. It is also very nice in mashed celeraic. 
Of course ratatouille works with both their diets, and with colourful bell peppers on sale it seemed like the obvious thing to make. This is the Julia Child recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking and it is, well,  a major pain in the ass. There, I said it. It is however, the best ratatouille I've ever run across. It took a couple of hours, and I'm afraid there aren't any shortcuts. Worth it? If you enjoy ratatouille, then yes, certainly. Caponata is definitely quicker though, if you're looking for an eggplant/courgette/pepper dish. They ate this for several days as well, so I thought of it as a good time investment. 
This is also a Julia Child recipe for Carbonnades A La Flamande
That's mashed celeriac in the photo. They adored this, and it was a good use for another bargain cut of meat I found in the "Reduced for quick sale" chiller at Target. It wasn't expired or anything-don't want you thinking I serve my family tainted meat. There's always something on a special offer, so I buy whatever it is (unless it is pork, obviously). I've come home with some interesting cuts of beef/lamb/chicken that I never dealt with before, but it is always good to learn something new. Anyway, they're well fed. 
This is Soutzoukakia, a Greek meatball dish. It isn't terribly photogenic, but they loved it. I followed the recipe HERE. The pasta I served it over is more of the chickpea flour noodles from Banza. They like it. The chickpea "rice" is rather convincing, especially when you're serving something on it. 
This is what the "Rice" looks like. I haven't tried any of it, but if they're happy, I'm happy. It cooks quickly-about five minutes. 
This was a stew with white beans, bell peppers, spinach, onions, herbs, and chicken sausages. I'm of the belief that if you use good quality olive oil and enough herbs and spices even the most basic white beans can become something impressive. I make this sort of dish when it is close to shopping day and I only have a bit of this and that left in the vegetable bins. 
And when all else fails, there's always tofu😀. So that's it for interesting food from here. I try to make things that have at least a day's worth of leftovers because who wants to do this every night? I've been feeding Mr. ETB for close to 30 years now-I can take a day off here and there. Once the temperature gets steadily into summer I'll break out the slow cooker so the kitchen doesn't get too heated up. That's even easier-set it in a pot and forget it for 8 hours. 
You've seen this dress many times over the years. 
This was 2015. In hindsight, I'd do the hat or the parasol-not both. 

I found the dress at a costume shop that also had a selection of vintage clothing. I really miss the place as I'd always leave with something interesting. I once found a 1960s Mr. Blackwell evening gown there. *Makes mental note to wear the Mr. Blackwell*
How fun is that print? The dress is by Tanner of North Carolina which I think was sold through parties, like Sara Coventry, or Tupperware. 
Oooh, fashion pose.

I'm still regularly wearing the Merimekko for Target top I bought a few years back. There's matching shorts which give the overall impression of a vintage playsuit when worn together. The sleeves, and boxy cut of the shirt reminds me of some favourite items I had in the 80s, though without stand-up collars and diagonal zippers across the front. To my mind, worn with this 50s skirt, the overall look is something I'd have worn 35 years ago. I thought about adding an over-sized blazer, but it would have been too warm that day. The print is called Orange Slices, which takes a bit of imagination, but sure, OK. Short sleeves means the bangles get worn again and I didn't waste any time getting out my giant, white lucite one. 

Outfit Particulars:
Skirt-a thrift store in Boston, early 90s
Bangles-all over
Resin earrings-Target
Fragrance-I think it was Sunflowers. I've been wearing it an awful lot lately, but I have a giant bottle.

This was a first wearing of this skirt purchased long ago. The colour was so strange a shade of green that I never really knew what to wear with it. I finally put something together that seemed acceptable. I don't rush the clothes in my collection-sometimes it makes sense to live with something for a bit and see what suggests itself. I know there's the thinking that if something hasn't been worn in a year or two it should go, but for vintage clothing that just doesn't make sense-particularly if you are still collecting and acquiring pieces. Yes of course, space is a consideration, but I wouldn't get rid of something solely because it hadn't been worn in a year. 
Everything here is thrifted, including the vintage Scholls comfort shoes. I'm sorry to say I can't remember where I bought it but it was probably Goodwill. 

There's not a lot going on in the garden yet, but here's a few things...
Garlic and sorrel...
Mustard greens...
Sad doggie watching over the lettuce...
Startled cat watching over the chamomile... 
Lemongrass that needs to be planted in the ground...

And finally some peas and kale. 

The sunflowers, basil, violas, nasturtiums, and cardoons are starting to show signs of life as well. I'm praying we have an easy storm season because this time of year it can all be taken out by hail. Gardening is an awful lot like gambling in this part of the country. I didn't plant any tomatoes this year as the boys really don't like fresh ones. I know, I know. If I need nice tomatoes I can go across the street to the hippie health food store-they always have beautiful organic produce. 

Finally, these palazzo pants from the 90s. 
I last wore them in 2017. They're very comfortable, and oh so swishy when I walk, which is rather pleasing.
"Ta da!"
I've had this tank shirt since the 80s. 
An Enid Collins bag that someone on Instagram was interested in as she collects and hadn't known of this one. It is early, pre-copyright and made for a dress shop in California. She asked me to send several photos for her website (she'll give me credit for the photos) and I was happy to help, though my shitty phone photos aren't all that great. 
Lastly, I bought a bikini. Because it was green. Duh. The pool opens at the end of May. Know how to get your body "Bikini ready?" You get a bikini and put your body in it. See you at the pool. 


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Do the Hustle

 Polyester Jumpsuit, anyone?

The only really shocking thing is that it took more than a year stuck at home before deciding to try it on. Don't know what I was waiting for. The rhinestone details get a bit lost in the photos, but in person they're quite lovely. A polyester jumpsuit without rhinestones is like a bump without a grind. 

Obviously, the jumpsuit called for some platforms. I'm going to paint these in an op-art style because I never wear them, and I might if they weren't beige. Anyway, that's something to work on. 

At one point I think I had the jumpsuit in pink as well-or maybe an apricot colour, I can't remember. It was probably pre-blog as I can't find any photos of it. How did we survive before digital cameras and smart phones?! Clothes lovers of yore had to commission a painting. I'm not kidding-look at a John Singer Sargent and tell me it wasn't all about the clothes. Portraiture, sure, but while he lets some people get away with half painted hands, (which to be fair, painting hands is hard) the clothes are always perfectly depicted. 
Throw some giant safety pins at it, and you have Versace😁

Madame X (hand conveniently hidden behind table) might not be much to look at, but her dress is beautifully rendered. So yeah, technology is a great way to share what you've worn when there isn't a painter of society figures at your disposal. 
Still digging way back through the wardrobe for neglected items of clothing. I found some photos from the last time I wore it-in 2013! Now that's some neglect.
And a roller-set too!
I remember that shower curtain-it had the Rain Cycle on it. That's what you get when you let the child select the shower curtain. I'm going to make an effort to wear the blouse more often-a collar like that shouldn't stay hidden at the back of the wardrobe. 

Sometimes I cosplay a normal person. Vintage denim skirt though. 
This white cotton cardigan is falling apart, but it is good enough for being at home. I'm actively looking for a replacement, but don't want to buy something that'll need replacing again in a year. As much as I don't like the idea of Boden, I have to admit they do cotton cardigans better than anyone else. I guess there's Land's End too, but for the money I think Boden makes slightly better looking stuff-in a style sense. Who would have thought something as simple as a white cardigan would be so difficult to find? 
I will be keeping those buttons though. At least they're well made even if the knit isn't. 

This dress is well-made. Over 70 years old and still wearable! The just don't make things like they used to! No, they certainly don't. When I bought it in the early 80s it was merely "old", not vintage. 

Another selection from deep in the depths of the wardrobe are these culottes from French Connection. They're old. Like, 90s old. Surprisingly well made though, and still holding up, though that's possibly due to how little wear they get. 
I wouldn't be wearing wool culottes in April if it weren't currently snowing. Don't worry, I put the fleeces over the garden bed. 

Last wear for these culottes was 2014! 
That was a much nicer day weather-wise than current conditions. Oh, not to worry, it will melt, but I was hoping I'd be through running the furnace for a bit. No such luck as we're going well below freezing tonight. What I would give for a fireplace or stove. 

Mr. ETB has gone back into his office for the next three weeks. They're rotating the teams through the building in three week cycles so that they can keep the occupancy low, and everyone spread out. I think they are the only team on their floor, so it shouldn't be too bad. He's had his second vaccine, but will still be wearing a couple masks and eyewear. Danny is going back to school for the last month before summer break at the start of May. It will be eerily quiet in here alone. I'm already planning to do all my big projects like cleaning the carpets when no one is about. I'm a bit excited, if I'm honest. 

I have a friend getting married next year, so I'm starting an embroidered tablecloth for her. Most of my friends received a tablecloth when they married, and a quilt if and when a baby arrived. Sometimes the baby quilt without the tablecloth, because it is the modern era and such silly conventions are finally fading away. Anyway, I need to get started with that. I have an abundance of red embroidery floss for some reason, so redwork it shall be. I have a pretty tablecloth ready to be worked, and now it is just a matter of looking through my stencils and transfers for something I like. It won't be cross stitch, because I find it mind numbing to do. I'm glad I have new specs-threading a needle will be much easier. 

I'll leave you with this vintage Victor Costa crepe dress that drapes so beautifully. It came with a matching belt that is unfortunately too small. The dress is marked a 10 but the belt wouldn't fit a small child. I hate when that happens. Anyway, I would have preferred a wine coloured belt here but nothing I own was even close. The shoes are somewhere between oxblood and brown and do a good job of working with the dress. 

Hope you're having a good week. Take care.