Thursday, February 11, 2016

I'd Buy it in a Heartbeat

 My heart is in the 80's. See what I did there?
 I see you rolling your eyes, by the way-just so you know.
I bought this 1980's Bonnie and Bill applique sweater for my collection as I think it is a very good example of the style. I decided to give it a wear before packing it away (in acid-free paper). To those of us that lived through the era, these are not the sort of thing we'd imagine anyone wanting to study thirty years from now-but I never imagined anyone would want the old paper dresses from the 60's, or jumpsuits from the 70's. I've learned my lesson, and I've started putting away 80's pieces. As a collector, I like to include not just the outrageous, or designer pieces, but the sort of thing people wore day-to-day. I collect vintage not for the future dollar value (though it is sometimes a consideration when making a purchase) but to have a representative collection.  I doubt this sweater will ever be a sought-after item, but it is the sort of thing I was wearing in the 80's (and well into the 90's).

 There's a good chance that I would have worn a top like this with a button-front skirt in the 80's. I had one in green, the other in blue, and one in a light denim. I wore them practically to death. The blue one finally had the elastic crumble last year, and I'm planning to replace it (the rest of the skirt is fine). Talbot's, Jantzen, and Land's End really knew how to make a good button-front skirt that would remain closed when you sat. They're worth grabbing if you see them in the thrifts as they're virtually indestructible (though you might need to replace the elastic). This one even came with extra buttons sewn to the inside seam. Am I nostalgic about 80's clothes? Sure. I might not miss the shoulder-pads, but I pine for the quality of those garments.

The perfect 80's outfit needs era-appropriate shoes. These could use a good brushing, and I'm not wearing them out in the rain today, but were the weather more cooperative, this is the footwear I'd select. My dad would only buy shoes at one place in Chicago (to be fair, they carried a wide range of sizes and he had gigantic feet). He went through work shoes quickly, so I'd tag along because I knew I'd get a couple pair of shoes, and lunch out of the trip to the West side. Chernin's had the craziest selection of women's shoes on the planet. My mum said it was where all the prostitutes bought their footwear- there was always a good deal of what we'd call, "fetish wear" today. If you needed over-the-knee boots in the 70's, there weren't that many places you could shop. Remember life before the internet? Work boots/gym shoes/hooker heels-Chernin's had it all, and I loved the place.

Outfit Particulars:
1980's Bonnie and Bill applique Sweater-New Life Thrift
Jantzen button-front 80's skirt-Goodwill
Heart Earrings-K Mart
Heart necklace-Shop Ko
1970's makeup case-Hand-Me-Ups
1980's suede shoes-Chernin's
Satin Neimann Marcus (needless markup) jacket-Thrift World
Fragrance-Paco Rabanne Eau de Metal (I'm sorry to say I had to scrub it. Even Cabotine sprayed over it couldn't clear the stench, and Cabotine is like an antiseptic cleaner)
Lippy-Loreal British Red

I probably won't last five minutes in a quilted, satin jacket before shedding it outside, but I hear my mum in my head saying, "Where's your coat?!" I suppose it is good to carry a jacket in case the sun burns out or something. 

Speaking of mum, I wore this "waterfall" ring she bought me shortly before she died. It is so huge, and raised-up that I rarely wear it for fear of ripping off a finger if it gets caught on anything. Still, it fit with the 80's vibe of the outfit, and it feels very Valentine's Day-ish to me. Somewhere I have a ruby and diamond heart pendant that would have matched perfectly, but I think it is in a safe-deposit box at the bank. I rarely wear anything but costume.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I thought I'd re-post this recipe so you can bake yourself something nice. Sure, you can bake them for someone else...but why would you? I bought Mr. ETB a selection of IPA's in one of those mix-and-match beers specials, and a pound of expensive cheese only he likes- biscuits are for me!
The recipe for these rosewater beauties may be found HERE

Really, you won't want to share these, much less give them away as a gift. Better bake a double batch.

File Under-Society is Doomed

Nothing says, "Happy Valentine's Day" like a pole-dancing plush animal that gyrates and sings. I'm not a prude, but really? Really? This is right up there on the tasteless index with red undies twisted into the shape of a rose. Who in their right mind would present someone with this? God help us, I suspect this was intended as a toy for a child.

Know what makes a nice Valentine's gift? Flowers. Got that? Flowers. Not pole-dancing toys.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Digging Deep Into the Wardrobe

After several attempts at writing (and deleting) a post, I'm going to just stick to clothes today because the tone I seem to be projecting doesn't necessarily correlate to the way I'm feeling (mostly). We all have those days where we can't stand the sound of our voice, even in print-and this week has been a challenge for me. I think there's enough disgust and frustration out there on the internet without me adding to it. Thankfully, I snap out of things quickly so in the meantime...let's look at clothes. Clothes make everything better.

 I have a terrible habit of forgetting what I have, largely due to my clothes being spread out over three rooms. Both the silk blouse and the mohair cardigan are things I've had for a while, but never got around to wearing. No time like the present! Thanks to the menopause, a cardigan was sufficient outdoor wear for a February day in Nebraska. It might be some time before I require a coat again.
Note to self-silk doesn't breathe. The cardigan was dispensed with rather quickly.
 Both the brooch and necklace are items I've had for years, but rarely wear. What on earth is wrong with me? I need to have a good sorting of my stuff before I bring in more.
Outfit Particulars:
1970's mohair cardigan made in Crown Colony of Hong Kong-New Life Thrift (I think?)
Talbot's silk blouse-Salvation Army, Lincoln (two summers ago!)
Liz Claiborne earrings-Von Maur about 15 years ago
1980's belt-Hand-Me-Ups
Madden Girl shoes-Goodwill
1940's velvet handbag-Thrift World
Necklace-Gordmans(?) about 15 years ago
Da Rue skirt-Goodwill
Nana tights-K Mart
Fragrance-Bijan (and LOTS of it because you don't wear a little Bijan! The first fifteen minutes makes me sneeze, but it is soooo worth it).
 Why yes, I do smell good. Thanks for noticing. I'm wearing Bijan and pretending I'm shopping on Rodeo Drive instead of the Goodwill. Oooh, I smell good.
So that was today. Yesterday, I went for a classic look...
 No, that's not a skirt...
 ...and yes, I did notice how unflattering they are.
I'm too old to give a toss about whether plaid shorts are flattering. I wear what I like. 

Outfit Particulars:
1980's blazer with over-sized shoulders-Goodwill (part of a suit)
JH Collectibles wool shorts (80's, I think)-Goodwill
Bass Weejun Loafers-Goodwill
Carolee rhinestone brooch-Marshall Field's about 30 years ago
Heart earrings (they flash when pressed)-Big Lots
Fragrance-Ferragamo Incanto Heaven (It smells like a very posh air freshener. I don't like it, but it was quite cheap, so I tried it as a blind buy. Learn from my mistakes, and avoid this one unless you have a toilet in need of freshening. The bottle is pretty though). 

Pancake day ended-up as mushroom and goat cheese filled crepes. Well, if you roll them like this and fry them in butter then I guess they're technically blintzes.  Whatever you call them, the boys seemed to enjoy them. 

I might need to take inspiration from Veronica and her, "Not buying it" month, and start shopping my own wardrobe for a bit. I did drop some items at the thrift store today, but two pair of trousers and a jacket doesn't even qualify as a proper donation, particularly when I came home with two Geiger boiled-wool vintage jackets (I know, when will I ever wear boiled wool? I AM boiling-I don't need wool!). 

Wednesday? The Great Backyard Bird Count starts on Friday! Better get those checklists ready. 
Will you be joining us? 

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Let's Go Shopping

I haven't done one of these posts in ages, but I've been seeing too many great buys online to keep quiet. I'm not being compensated by any of these sellers, though I have bought from a good many of them.

American Duchess is having a sale. If you click the link you can see the pair I purchased. They are beautiful beyond words. I'll need to move the buttons, but that's not difficult, and I'm glad I bought them a size larger as they run narrow. The shoes come with extra buttons and replacement heels. The quality of these shoes is nothing short of incredible. If you've been admiring the shoes at American Duchess, now is the time to buy.

Screaming Rags has a beautiful 1930's necklace with red stones and the best floral design ever. I've had the pleasure of buying from this seller, and if I thought I could get that necklace around my fat, old, neck I would buy it in a second. Alas, it ain't happening-but any swan-necked readers out there with a taste for vintage should jump on this-it is beautiful.

Scent-Cerity is an eBay seller I've recently purchased a bottle of Courreges in Blue from. It arrived in perfect condition, thoughtfully packaged and the perfume quality was excellent. I've started hoarding bottles of Courreges in Blue because I love it, and the reformulation is terrible. This is a very good price, the bottle and box were also in good condition. Looking around the seller's shop, there are many super deals to be had.
If I didn't already own a dozen or so coats, I would snag this one. The price is great, and LOOK at it! I haven't purchased from this seller (yet!). If you want this coat you'd better hurry before I change my mind and buy it.

Odona has a vintage bottle of Norell perfume in the 1/2 oz. size. $76.99 is a steal for this (Norell is getting hard to find) and though I'm tempted, I'm limiting my full bottle purchases these days due to space. I liked Norell, but I don't love it enough for a 1/2 oz. If YOU love it-this is a good opportunity to grab the perfume concentration for a reasonable price.

Vintage Hat Galore has an excellent selection of handbags as well. I'm eyeing the crocodile purse for myself. Located in the UK, the prices are so good they are still worth it even with shipping costs. Oh, and the hats? Let's just say the name of the shop is no exaggeration. Go have a look.

Past Perfect Vintage has a beautiful 1940's suit in a larger size that will knock your socks off. If you click the link, there's also a lovely appliqued cardigan on the same page. If I didn't already own similar pieces, I'd be getting out the credit card. I do like the cape detail on the suit.

Lesley's Girls Vintage has a stunning 1960's dress with the best plaid print ever. Seriously, this is a beauty, and at a good price as well.

Om Again Vintage has a pair of vintage, velveteen overboots that are to die for. Oh what I'd give for a pair in my size.  I'm seriously considering these just to have in my collection.

Dandelion Vintage has an incredible vintage, 1940's velvet evening gown in a larger size. These don't come along that often in wearable condition (the dress has a few small issues, but nothing that would keep me from wearing it) and the price is quite reasonable compared to what I've seen in other shops. You could easily spend that much on a Made in China piece of junk that you'd wear once or twice before donating. This is a lifetime piece. If you have the boobs to fill it out and you've been seeking a vintage evening gown with some serious style-this might be your dress. 

1860-1960 has an eBay auction page and if you're looking for a pair of unworn, 1930's shoes in a narrow size six-these might be your shoes! My beautiful crewel work coat came from this seller, and we had a great experience with the purchase. If you want these, you'd better hurry.
And finally, 
Viva Vintage Clothing has the most incredible fringed, Mr. Blackwell jumpsuit I've ever set eyes on. It won't fit me, but if you can pull this one off, it is a terrific deal. I promise, no one else will show up at a party wearing the same outfit. 

Hopefully, you've enjoyed looking at what these sellers have on offer, and perhaps you'll bring some of these great items home for yourself. Do have a look around the sites, because there are so many great items I couldn't possibly link to them all. These are the places I look when seeking out perfume or interesting vintage. I am not being compensated in any way by any of them, but I have (happily) purchased from several). 

...and if Mr. ETB is reading this, I wouldn't mind that blue coat for Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

I Was Born to Distract

I was once asked to remove these earrings during class as the teacher thought they were too, "Distracting." 1980 was such an innocent time, before teachers knew what distractions were yet to come. Looking at them today, it is hard to see what would have been so terribly interesting that it would keep students from their work. 
You want distracting? I've got distracting right here in this Diane Freis dress from the 1980's. With all the ruffles and wild colours I've come to think of this as the, "Carnival Dress", and so it was only fitting I wear it this weekend. 
 Did someone say, "Huge sleeves?" Well, here ya go.
I wouldn't have worn anything like this in the 80's, but through some fluke I now own two very loud, Diane Freis dresses. My mother had several in this style, but she was tall which helps with a dropped waist...I mean, on the dress. My waist dropped years ago along with my boobs. 

These dresses sell for crazy amounts of money at 1st Dibs, and other designer spots for vintage around the net. I found both of mine at Goodwill. As far as I can tell (where I live anyway) there are still plenty of them out there in the thrifts for considerably less than $595.00! I think I paid about five dollars. They're easy to spot by the wild designs, but also by the elasticised drop-waist design. They're worth keeping an eye out for. The design of these dresses makes them comfortable to wear, and forgiving if you put on a few pounds. 

Whenever I wear this dress I find myself wishing I owned a bottle of Poison, but looking through my perfume collection I settled on Fragile. It felt like a good fit, though it isn't quite as forceful as an outfit like this seems to demand. Next time, I'm doing Knowing. 

Outfit Particulars:
Diane Freis dress (80's) Goodwill
Sweater coat-Dots, about 15 years ago
Brooch-Antique store somewhere in Massachusetts
Early 80's earrings-I Think they came from The Limited, but I could be wrong. After three decades it all gets a bit murky.
Bracelets-I believe all of them came from K Mart at various times.
Boots-K Mart
Vintage Johansen handbag-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Jean Paul Gaultier  Fragile

I rarely wear stretch bracelets as they tend to cut off my circulation, but these are comfortable. The large blue ones need to be worn higher up because when they sit at my wrist they are heavy enough to bang at my wrist bones. The joys of RA! I've found that juggling the bangles/bracelets/rings around typically comes up with a way I can wear them comfortably. It might change day to day, but eventually I figure it out. Sometimes I can wear things later in the day that wouldn't go over my hand early in the morning. I won't even talk about shoes. It hurts to be fabulous!

I found a store in Omaha that stocks my favourite mints in the whole entire world. Naturally, I bought two dozen packets. Violets are one of my favourite edible flowers, and the mints smell so incredible it is worth keeping a packet in your purse just for the sachet quality. The lemon mints are excellent as well. Now that I know I could just order online, I never need be without them again...I have very low requirements for my happiness.

We have a busy week ahead, but I've put aside some time on Tuesday for pancake making. When Danny was little, we'd make crepes, and I'd let him have the first one or two imperfect ones. He'd cover them with the sorts of things a small child would-brown sugar, jam, chocolate chips, all of that at once, and so on. Over the years, my crepe making has improved to where I rarely mess them up, but Danny still gets the first two, perfect or otherwise. He's lucky he's an only child or he might need to fight for them! Typically, I make them early in the day and then use them for a caramelised apple pile of crepes that goes under the broiler for a minute before serving. It is a nice, once a year sort of dessert, but I've also layered them with apricot jam and melted dark chocolate.

My mother was not a pancake maker. At all. We'd have them if we went out, but that was it. In the American Midwest, pancakes tend to be a thick, fluffy, cake-like thing made with buttermilk. You can get buckwheat pancakes, or Swedish pancakes which tend to be thinner, but in most places if you order a "pancake" you're getting the sweet, fluffy things.
 Here's an old photo from a Mother's Day breakfast (Before Danny developed food allergies. This was one of his last meals eaten away from home) that can give you an idea of what, "Pancakes" means in Nebraska. They're served with whipped butter and warmed maple syrup. I think Danny was about four here. I remember they had face-painting and the woman wanted to do a funnel cloud design on him and he was laughing that we'd already had a, "Real tornado." I obviously couldn't be bothered to wear makeup, but I did drag my behind out of bed for a drive to the city for pancakes. And what pancakes they were!How many calories do you suppose a plate of carbs like that packs?

As it is traditional to get drunk and flash your tits at carnival/mardi gras, I hope this will do.

Pancake Day-fluffy or thin? Maple syrup or lemon and icing sugar? Or do you just go for a King Cake instead? I have also been drafted to make apple fritters this year.

If you're looking for my archive of lenten cakes, click on the Pages link in the sidebar.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Chop Chop

I did it myself with sewing scissors. 

I chopped off my hair this morning. I figured, I could hand over good money to someone that would give me a stupid looking haircut, or I could do it myself. With the money I saved, I can treat myself to some perfume. Any idiot should be able to cut a bob, but from what I see walking around, it seems to be a lost skill. Anyway, it came out even enough, I'm happy and I can stop screwing around with curling irons for a bit. Hooray.
Went to the library for the Friends of the Library monthly book sale in the basement. That was great, then I wandered the stacks upstairs looking for interesting books to check out.

 My vintage Mosell earrings arrived in today's post, and they're beautiful-even better than the listing led me to believe. Mosell made serious art pieces disguised as costume. I was so happy to have these for a mere $13.00 There are still great deals to be found on Etsy, but you do need to search them out. The clips on the earrings are unusually comfortable-a nice bonus.

Outfit Particulars:
1990 Anne Crimins for UMI silk suit-Some posh boutique on Newbury Street in Boston, probably long gone.
Mosell earrings-Etsy
Niello bracelet-Goodwill
Fragrance-Guerlain Parure (wearing a perfume that smells like old paper to the library was an obvious choice)

That's a one-in-a-million match on the boots and bag. I was rather pleased with myself when I put them together. I might not have many talents, but finding shoes and bags that go well together is my gift.

It will probably be another 25 years before I feel the need to wear this suit again, but I thought it deserved a trip outdoors. If this had been thrifted, I'd wear the jacket all the time, but since I know what it cost new (because I forked over the cash) I'm reluctant to let anything happen to it. I do wish I could go back and tell my younger self not to shop on Newbury Street.

I can't say I learned much about "man nipples" from the book, but here's a relevant video.

I have to figure out something interesting to do tomorrow because I don't plan to watch the Superbowl. Well, I know where to find interesting books.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Who Bakes a Cake to Match a Dress?

 Behold the candied violets and borage from last summer...
 ...and a dress to match. Sort of takes, "Matchy-Matchy" to a new level, dontcha think?
The cabin fever is setting in.

This was the first year I tried making candied borage, and I'm pleased with how they turned out. The cake is a white butter cake, and the frosting is buttercream with white chocolate and brandy. I can't decorate a cake to save my life (unless of course it is a novelty cake with someone vomiting or what have you) but the candied flowers do look pretty against the white frosting. Speaking of frosting, we were surprised with a couple more inches of unexpected snow today. Danny has bird-banding tomorrow at the state park, so that ought to be good for catching them in nets-birds seem to like freshly fallen snow and an overcast day keeps them from seeing the net waving in the sunlight.

 No, I didn't wear the shoes out-I already have a broken toe, I'm not trying for a hip.
 I bought myself some tulips yesterday as mine are just starting to emerge from the pots where I've forced them. People ask about my wild tablecloths, but they're really little more than indoor/outdoor upholstery fabric that our Hancock always seems to sell in 3 yard remnants. That's enough to cover the table, and as a bonus-they're waterproof. After a few years of washing this one has lost some of the waterproof quality, but it could easily be re-sprayed with Scotchguard. These make excellent picnic blankets as well, particularly if the ground is damp. Typically, this sort of fabric runs about $5.00 a yard on sale, so it is competitive with buying a proper tablecloth.
I'm still fighting my hair. The only reason I haven't permed it is the memory of a bad perm in 1978 is still with me. It took years to finally grow out.
 Outfit Particulars:
80's does 50's dress-Fairy Tail Costumes, Omaha
Bangles-All over
Shoes-K Mart
Vintage box bag-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Worth Dans la Nuit (I had to keep with the violet theme!)

Tomorrow is the monthly Friends of the Library book sale at the Swanson branch in Omaha (if you're a local) so I'll be sending over heart shaped butter cookies decorated with royal icing. The book sale is weekly as well on Thursdays, but the big monthly Saturday sale is always fun. That's about all I have on for the weekend, but after this crazy week I'll be happy just to loaf about watching television. 
The boys bought me a heavy, glass owl paperweight as a gift . I'm calling him "Onion Eyes" because they look like little boilers studded with peppercorns. This thing is heavy, and I'm thinking it could be a good weapon, in a pinch. Perhaps I ought to carry it in my handbag. "Look out, I'm armed with a glass owl!" I mean, just about everyone in Nebraska has a gun but how many people are packing an owl? Points for originality. At the moment he's residing on the piano beside the glass squirrel paperweight. 

Owl right then...hope you have a lovely weekend.