Sunday, September 21, 2014

Gee, I Wonder What This Big Button Does...

You know how it is-you're walking along outside of Big Lots and spot a large button on the side of the building. Of course you want to press it! If they didn't want people to press it they would have a sign with big bold letters saying, "DO NOT PRESS!" Sure, that would just be encouragement to some people (me) but as there was no signage at all, I had to wonder if it did anything at all. Oh, how I wanted to ring that bell! I didn't though, because if it did ring the loading dock, and someone came running to assist me, I'd feel terrible. It does seem sort of cruel though, having a great big button on the side of a building with no explanation whatsoever. Hrumph.
Once inside, Danny found what he was looking for-Sunrise brand Halloween candy corn. Sunrise makes candy in a nut-free facility, and it is one of the few things he can have when it comes to Halloween candy. As a bonus, it is inexpensive. I made my own candy corn and mellow-cream pumpkins from tinted fondant one year. The fondant was no big deal to make (you do need a strong arm though) but fitting together pieces into candy corn was a bit tedious. At a dollar a bag, everyone is happy.
Speaking of happy-these flowers sure are cheerful. Can you spot the bee? He seemed happy too.
Uh oh...
And just look at that sinister laugh! He said he wanted to...
...good thing I was wearing my Pervert-Proof Panties. Good heavens, he was terrible!
These guys weren't much better. Filthy minds, I tell you!

Outfit Particulars:

Esprit dress-bought it in the 80's
Coro necklace-Imaginarium
Other necklace-Goodwill
Vintage hat-Years ago somewhere in Boston
Bangles-here and there
Vintage clip earrings-Hand-Me-Ups
Rings-here and there
Vintage handbag-gift from old neighbor
Pervert proof panties (shorts, actually) thrifted
Tights-at least 20 years old-can't remember where I bought them
Brooches-both Thrift World
Fragrance-Elizabeth Taylor Gardenia (not terrible-review soon)

Yeah? Well I don't think so.

This weekend was too short, but I hope you had a nice one. Watch out for the perverts.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Transitioning-Sort Of

Our cold snap was short lived, and today saw our temperatures soaring back into the upper 80's with humidity to boot. Next week will be cooler, but still warm-ish in the day, downright chilly at night. I'm a reasonably stylish woman, but I have no clue how to dress for this sort of rollercoaster. Obviously, layering helps. Colour palette is quite another matter as almost nothing seems to work for me this time of year. I have plenty of Autumn clothing in appropriate colours-but they're all woolen. Gasp-I broke a sweat just typing the word.
I don't like to labour over clothing selection. A typical morning has me grab something clean that isn't too wrinkled, and I get dressed. I do get dressed each day as I couldn't conduct classes in a bathrobe. I'm not judging anyone that does-just pointing out that I mentally feel more prepared when I'm showered, dressed, and ready to tackle the day. But that's me. I've never been a sportswear sort of woman. This morning, I could not put together something to wear for anything. I was only taking Danny for his flu vaccine at the pharmacy-hardly an occasion to worry about wardrobe, but I wanted to look halfway decent as it is my day off as well. I just have tried a dozen combinations of shirts and skirts before finally selecting these, still not thrilled with the overall effect. Then, I brushed my teeth and managed to spit toothpaste all over my blouse. After all that fuss getting dressed, I wasn't going there again, so I dabbed it off as best I could, arranged the bow so it was less noticeable, and got the hell out of the house. Some days, you're only going to look so good.

Outfit Particulars:

1970's polyester blouse (Russ Togs, I think) Goodwill
1970's Fire Islander Polyester double knit skirt-Goodwill
Shoes-K Mart
Handbag-Thrift World
Earrings-Liz Claiborne (I think I bought them at Von Maur years ago)
1970's Polyester jacket-Thrift World

We did a bit of thrifting, and generally speaking, it was kind of a dud. I found a cache of old lady purses at the Goodwill for $1.99 each, and another (like I need more) robe and bed jacket. That was about it. I've been noticing the stores are putting out stuff that really ought to be thrown away. I mean filthy clothes that look like they were sitting in an abandoned house getting mould and water damaged, and things you wouldn't want to touch, much less buy. Thrift World has been especially bad lately, and they think they can slap a high price tag on any old polyester piece from the 70's, call it "vintage" and sell it for $15.00 or more. Sigh. That's fine if you are going to clean it, fix the tears, repair the hems-but otherwise, that is just silly. People think they're going to make a million dollars selling something just because it is old.

 I may not know everything there is to know about vintage clothing, but I know my way around 70's polyester and I know you don't pay that kind of money for it. Polyester is typically on the stain resistant side, so if you find something that looks reasonably clean but has a stain, odds are you won't get it out (as someone else already tried). Oxy booster is good, but it has limitations.

Is the price of more recent vintage going up where you live, or are our yokels just trying to cash in on a trend without really understanding it?


Friday, September 19, 2014

Start-to Finish

Here I am at the end of a day that started with a kitchen fire Mr. ETB managed to start attempting to boil water for coffee (got it out without too much damage, but oh the smell of smoke!) and ended with the high wind knocking my car door into the massive SUV parked next to me (in the wrong direction, and partly in my space) causing a miniscule scratch that sent the owner into hysteria. I gave  her my insurance info, called my insurance company, and that was that. My god how she freaked out over what was at most 1/16th of an inch scratch. I dunno, maybe she thought it was deliberate. Anyway, that's what insurance is for, but I could have done without the whole bit where she whipped out her camera phone and started taking photos of my car, Danny, myself, and my insurance card. I think if you're that obsessive about your car maybe you shouldn't park it incorrectly (and backwards) in a crowded lot on a very windy day.
But in-between those events, I had a rather interesting thrifting day. It got hot again, so I wore this Laura Ashley dress that (like most Laura Ashley) dresses adds about 30 pounds to my appearance. Do I care? Don't be silly. Look at those lovely roses on the print. And no, I didn't wear the headband out-I just washed my face.
First stop was the Sarpy County Historical Society Garage Sale. This is a yearly event that runs three days. Items are all donated, and were the sewing gods ever good to me today! The two Bakelite buckles above were in a box of sewing notions for $2.00 There were celluloid buckles as well, and glass buttons, fasteners, zippers, pom-pom trim, and other good stuff.
 Come on, two bucks?!
I like to think these were my reward for getting lost, and driving around Belleview for an hour trying to find the place. It should have been a 15 minute drive. Oh well, nothing else to do as I couldn't stay at home until the place was aired out from smoke. While we were driving around, we passed the building where the long-gone abortion clinic was. To my surprise, there were people lined up in front of the place praying. That clinic has been gone a long time-I wonder if it is just a matter of routine, or if they are praying for the embryos? Opinions about abortion aside, I find it fascinating that the people continue to hold a vigil at the location after all these years. That's real devotion to be out there when no one is there. Anyway, once we found the sale it was, as always worth all the trouble.
 But there was more...much, much more...all between .25 cents and $1.00
 Such beautiful rings. The Monet ring on the bottom right could use re-plating, but I will wear it and enjoy it anyway.
Hey! That's me in the ring's reflection.

Owl bet you want to know where I went next (I'll be getting my hat now...)
We stopped at Hand-Me-Ups, and I found all sorts of great clothing, games, and fabric but it was these earrings that really caught my eye. $1.99 is a bit more than I like to spend for clip-ons, but they were so pretty, I splurged.

It would have been a terrific day had it not started and ended in quite such dramatic ways. I told Mr. ETB he's not allowed to make coffee anymore.
He can still play the Arthur Brown record.

Avon Charisma

I spotted the bottle at Hand-Me-Ups and knew at first sight it was Avon. I don't collect the bottles (though they have had some great ones over the years) but I thought my little ornithologist might be able to make use of it. Picking it up, I realised it was full.

I am blessed with very little inhibition, so I unscrewed the cap which had likely not budged since the late 60's, and took a whiff . I should mention the store was crowded.
"So what does it smell like?" Danny asked.
"Well, it smells like civet."
"And?" he asked hopefully.
"And civet. And 1970. Maybe some carnation. And someone that didn't wash as well as they could have but then they had a cup of Earl Grey that was heavy on the bergamot."
"That's too bad."
"Too bad?! Are you crazy? I'm buying it!"

A man about my age tried not laughing , but failed horribly.

If you had asked me the name of this perfume, I wouldn't have remembered it, but once I smelled it I remembered the cupcake shaped bottle of perfume given to me when I was young by a little boy named Mikey that came to see me in a play. I think his mom sold Avon, and must have thought he should bring me a gift for after the performance. Really, it was I that should have provided the gift for making him sit through The King and I. *
Hello Young Lovers Wherever You's some perfume that smells like cats in heat and unwashed undergarments. And Carnations.

The high point of being in that play was contracting chicken pox on the next to last performance. Mum didn't like my understudy's family, so she wouldn't let me skip the last show and slapped oil-based stage makeup over the emerging pustules. After the show, she scrubbed my face clean, and then used Ten-O-Six astringent on it to make sure it was all clean. I got over the pain, but the pockmarks stayed with me. She felt bad about it, and wanted to pay for cosmetic surgery for the scars, but I never wanted it done. I wasn't being passive aggressive about it (she did hate looking at the scars)I just don't like the idea of unnecessary procedures. As I've aged, they sort of blended into the wrinkles anyway.

See? You can hardly notice them.
Honestly, the only part of having the chicken pox I remember being pissed off about was President Nixon. I finally got to stay in bed all day with a small portable television set up, and PBS had preempted all their shows for the Watergate hearings. It wasn't much better at WGN. Uninterrupted television access, and all I got was Archibald Cox. So. Fucking. Infuriating. Forty years after the fact and I'm still pissed off about it-I wanted to watch Banana Splits. The pock marks? No big deal. Now, the scoliosis they chose to ignore thinking it would just go away if I stood up straight...that's something I resent, but that's another post. I do find it amusing when I have a chest x-ray, and the technician always feels obligated to ask me if I knew my spine was so bent. Gosh, no, I never noticed. Geez.
Here's another recent acquisition from the same era. It doesn't smell like feral cats or someone that doesn't, "Wash her sister", rather it smells sweet. Very, very, sweet. I really just wanted the bottle, I can't imagine anyone over the age of six wearing Blue Waltz. It is getting harder to come by (I got the last bottle at Ben Franklin) but that's what Vermont Country Store is for. Sure, they're expensive but nostalgia don't come cheap.

Do I feel charismatic wearing this Avon classic? No, but jokes aside, it is a very good perfume. It smells like the late 60's (it was released in '68) and the aldehydes, musk, and florals do really work well together. I remember really liking the cupcake bottle Mikey gave me (understandable, as it was the closest anyone in our house was getting to a cupcake-"You'll get fat!") but I'm sure I never wore the perfume. Peter gave me a bottle of Evening in Paris around the same time, and I was kind of sweet on him, even though he was clearly gay. Gawd that kid was beautiful, in a young Paul McCartney way. Mikey looked like Bruce McCullough. Anyway, I should have worn the perfume because it is terrific, but at that time I just wanted to wear Je Reviens, which was horribly unfashionable. Yeah, that's me-always 40 years out of date!

The good news is that Avon fragrances don't go for outrageous amounts of money these days, so if you want to give Charisma a try, it shouldn't set you back much. For something that was manufactured to be a cheap collectible, the perfume is surprisingly complex.

*Fun Fact- I was in The King and I twice, a couple years apart playing the same role. I can't sing, and I am definitely not graceful when it comes to dancing, still I spent a good ten years doing musicals. I despise musicals (even the good ones). I will never spontaneously break into a show tune. I may be able to do all the lines and songs from South Pacific the way some people do The Rocky Horror Picture Show-but I won't. You will never hear me washing that man (or any other) out of my hair. You won't. I won't be, "Getting to know you" in song either, but if you splash on a bit of Avon's Charisma...I'll get to know you...and your feral cat.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Things I'd Buy If Money Grew on Trees

Haven't done one of these posts recently, so here goes:

Skull Soap on a Rope-Put that theatre training to the shower!

The 1960's Coat of my Dreams!
A Beautiful 1950's dress
Something a little more 1895, perhaps?
 A Blouse I'm Seriously Considering (I don't understand why it hasn't sold-the price is great, and just LOOK at it!)
I Tried Dropping Hints That I'd Like This Coat (I don't think I'm getting it)
The Only Thing Better Than a Great Blouse? A Great YSL Blouse
Now That You're Dressed, You'll Want to Smell Good
Or Maybe You're More the Yendi Type (This is the fullest bottle of it I've seen in years)
Or a Perfume For The Grove Press Fan in Your Life
Alas, money doesn't grow on trees, so it is thrift shops and the odd Ebay score for now. These are all shops I haunt regularly, and when I find great places on the Internet, it only seems right to share.

And if anyone wants to buy me that velvet coat (or Grove Press books) I wouldn't protest.

When Life Gives You Green Tomatoes...

...hide behind a tree and whip them at people waiting for the bus make green tomato relish.
I'm down to just what's left in this bowl, which I can finish off in a green tomato pie later in the week. Gosh, that was a lot of work. I made a batch of relish, a batch of tomato chutney, and some pickled sour tomatoes. Let's have a look, shall we? Fire-up the canner Mama, we're preserving tomatoes!

 Very Nice.
What the hell?!
Yeah, that's a regional thing with the bright green food colouring. Personally, I think it is silly, but there's an expectation that relish is really green if you're from Illinois, or parts of Wisconsin. I don't eat hot dogs, therefore I do not care about the hue of my relish. For the sake of the people these are being made for, I added the food colour as untinted relish would be (try not to laugh) unappetising.
Yeah, we're all going to die of some horrible food dye related cancer (if the nitrate-soaked meat doesn't get us first).
This is my new favourite outfit (click to embiggen the photo). I never thought I could love a 1970's Act III polyester blouse quite as much as I love this one. It is perfection. The sleeves stay pushed where you set them, the bow ties easily, and the buttons don't gape. Add a nice leaf print in a versatile shade of brown, and I'm in happy-vintage heaven. I may insist on being buried in this blouse, I love it that much. The skirt is a vintage Jantzen from the 70's, and it is exceptionally well made. The cotton does not wrinkle, the buttons stay closed, and it has a bit of elastic at the waist. I spend my day on my feet, and it is nice to have clothes that not only move, but move with me.
Blondin has been visiting regularly. There's a certain satisfaction seeing him tear into a piece of stale cake like it was some sort of delicacy. I mean, it was a good cake, and if you're a hungry squirrel, it still is. I've been watching him bury nuts and acorns in the yard. He's been nibbling on cake as he works-I swear he gets more human by the day. I fully expect to see him reclining in a chair drinking a cup of tea. The strong kind, that you can stand a spoon in.

I've been (not so subtly) reminded by the younger atheist that I need to bake honey cake for Rosh Hashanah. Sure, I'm all for preserving cultural traditions in the form of baked goods, but I do find it a little funny how seriously people take their holiday foods. I mean, I get it-honey cake is really delicious. So is apricot noodle pudding which will also make an appearance, along with challah, and rugelach. When that's all done, I can get started making the Christmas puddings! Yeah, we're all over the cultural landscape. I'm not making Christmas cakes this year as it is a ton of work making all that candied fruit from scratch, and the keeping them stored, coated in booze, etc. I know recipients of the five pound doorstops will miss it this year, but I'm not getting any younger and life is too short for spending weeks candying fruit.

Then, in a few weeks we'll have Barmbracks, toffee apples, molasses popcorn balls, parkin...

So what about you? Any seasonal baking going on at your place?
At least it is appreciated.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cabotine De Gres

Not my photo, but an uncredited one from the Internet.
I bought a bottle of Cabotine on a whim, knowing nothing more than I used to like Cabochard. The bottle is lovely (I also bought Cabotine Rose at the same time, so they make an attractive pair on my perfume tray) and the initial whiff I got taking it out of the box (tearing into it in the parked car like a damn junkie) was nice. A Nice, green floral. Mind, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a perfume sending a message of nice, but given the smack-you-in-the-head effect of other Gres scents, I was a little underwhelmed.

This morning, I gave it a proper spray. My initial reaction was that it reminded me a bit of our housekeeper who always smelled like a combination of hair pomade, black coffee, and Lysol disinfectant. Which isn't necessarily bad-you could smell worse, for sure. As it dried, I could detect coriander, and Palmolive soap. Still, I wouldn't say I disliked it, just that it was ticking so many things I wouldn't associate with a perfume I'd wear. Palmolive blended into Irish Spring, and something fruity, and a while later that synthetic civet smell. And more Lysol. It smells very, very clean except when it smells like synthetic civet, and then it smells like a chemical reproduction of something extracted from the glands of a small cat. Meow.

I know, I should hate it-but I don't. Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of it. For the price range (El-Cheap-O) it is quite good, in a green, antiseptic way. Like you just took a bath, with Lysol, Palmolive, and Irish Spring. Then, Ella Mae did up your hair with her old lady pomade. And made you a cup of black coffee. There's other whiffs of florals in there, but they're subtle and lost in all that green. I like a good green perfume (Guerlain Vetiver, Innisfree, Aliage) but I can't help but feel like this one is going off somewhere it hasn't quite arrived at. Do you ever smell something, and think...almost? There's so much perfume in the world that I love, it seems a waste of my time wearing something that is at best, almost. What's missing? No idea, this is a fragrance that feels all over the place to me, and I don't really need to go to any of those places as I've already been.

All of that said, this is a nice enough green floral, and it would be perfect for someone uncomfortable with heavy fragrances. It starts strong (you may wish to spray it away from others) but mellows pretty quickly. I did not find it long lasting on my skin, but then for less than $10.00 I wasn't expecting much.  There is an odd greenness to it that barely reminds me of the smell of tomato plants before they fruit, that is, the stalks. There's a whiff of fruit, but it is all very bright. I wonder if Cabotine would appeal to avid gardeners?

Have you tried Cabotine? Does it remind you of soap and cleaning products? Tomato vines, perhaps?

Art Appreciation

Mine used to be up there. Once. A long time ago. I mean, they're not supposed to be a chin rest or anything.
The legal stuff...
Except this was placed beside...
Well?! Is it or isn't it? Sheesh.
So, how are you enjoying the over-lawyered sculpture garden, kid?
This fella tried to get fresh, so I told him about Miss Bronze Bosom over on the other side of the building. I think they'll get along.
Oh, My!
We made our way inside to view a bit of the collection and generally behave like fools snapping photos of ourselves. No one asked us to leave, but we sure did get looks like they wished we would.
Being a museum, the light is pretty terrible, even outside the galleries. Still, it was a nice way to spend a Sunday, and we can avail ourselves of the free admission until they decide to begin charging again to keep out the likes of us.
Back outside, we did our usual song and dance routine on the stairs...

But that was exhausting, so I took a little rest...
Outfit Particulars:

1960's polyester double knit purple dress-Thrift World
Purple tights-Walgreen's
Clarks shoes-Goodwill
1960's hat-Goodwill
Italian glass earrings-Had them for years
Sara Coventry brooch-thrifted
Small mouse brooch-Thrifted
Slave bracelet-Mum's
Other bracelets-had for years
Rings-here and there

But all fun must come to an end, and there's piles of work waiting for me at home, so it was time to go but not before...
Oh, how firm!
Have a lovely week.