Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review: the me you didn't see!


At the Reykjavik contemporary art gallery
Heh, this is sort of a looking back, and also a sort of a slap on the wrist.  As I stumble into almost 3 years of blogging (what?!) I'd like to challenge myself to actually keep up with the purpose, of documenting what I wear.  At the end of the year, I find I have set aside a whole backlog of unposted outfits.  Sometimes 'cause they suck, but often just because I plan on contextualizing it somehow, and then the impetus (or season!) passes. And then I forget it even happened. And even if you aren't sharing all the personal dramas behind the scenes, there's still a compelling story told in the day to day of our lives.

Or worst of all, my favourite looks seem to happen on days when I get home too tired to take pictures, and suddenly I've got nothin'. Below, some moments from the year just passed...

Faux 'Prom' event in May (trotting out a classic Anthro dress!)
Kaleidoscopic outfit, in our delightful Icelandic apartment!
Style stalking my future self in Reykjavik
  

 Icelandic lambs come in various sizes...
mini-me in a mini-check sundress (thanks, tall photo man?)
a bittersweet sunny goodbye to an old buddy, Rousseau

wearing mustard tights and my fave vintage check dress in Amsterdam!
and a new fave, Anthropologie Dot Jacquard skirt and denim shirt!
It's been an up and down year for sure, with some amazing experiences and some difficult times (#notverygoodatsharingapparently...). But they're all things we build on, right? Yep, so there's a resolution: I hope you see more of me in 2013!!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

knitted and knotted...

I hadn't realized at first that these two stories were intertwined...but then I think everything I've done this year ties in with the formative Iceland trip somehow (and like all my Icelandic stories, tend to ramble on and take forever to conclude!)


Beach at Vik (this is where my icelandic wool is from!) source
source
Back in May, I spent the most amazing week in Iceland, in awe over the landscape, the people, the language, and of course the knits!  Besides the traditional Lopi sweaters, I was also obsessed with the delicate lace shawls and decided it was time I learned to knit more than just a purl straightaway.  I picked up some lovely skeins of yarn, in as many shades of the landscape as I could carry home, and determined to follow it up once the hot summer was over.


source
source

Well, time passed, and I finally started investigating some simple chevron lace patterns so I could make the grey scarf I'd been planning to give my sister for Christmas (in thanks for all the splendid trip planning that made Iceland possible!)  I started trying to learn this beauty, but far too late in the game:


Promenade Lace Wrap, via Ravelry
I think I made good progress in teaching myself some of the basics of pattern reading and the special stitches involved, but had to admit defeat with Christmas nigh.  I did however learn of the powers of wool blocking and realized I could actually fake a pretty good scalloped-edge scarf.


 

You see, even this detailed lace knit requires proper laying out to take on the chevron form.  So I 'cheated' at the last minute and reknit my grey wool into a basic stitch scarf and stretched the darn thing as long as it would go after washing it, whilst shaping the ends to my needs, laid flat. I'm pretty pleased with the result and might make my own cheatin' scarf before re-embarking on the lace project!


The final product- light and lacy...(maybe a little scratchy)


During this whole dreaming and plotting phase, imagining lots of knit patterns in soft grey chevron wool, I happened to be standing at the counter at Anthropologie one day and saw just the piece I'd been dreaming about behind the counter!  I asked to see it, and realized it was this sweater, so much more beautiful in person than online!


Knitted and Knotted's Obscured Window Pullover
Unfortunately, it was already being held for a customer, except that they didn't have the SKU and price information to actually sell it!  Helpful Anthro nerd that I am, I whipped out my phone and pulled up the information from my wishlist.  Then I left them my number just in case the other customer decided they didn't want it (at $19.99!) Two weeks later, I was in the store and saw the same manager pass by, so I asked him if the sweater had ever been picked up- well, it hadn't, and so I got to buy it for myself at the perfect price with an additional 25% off (I just typed 'addictional,' which I guess works too...)!


Shades of grey- with J Crew pencil skirt, Chie Mihara shoes, silver chain and purple tights
And voila, some chevrons to tide me over until my knitting is up to scratch. Actually, I can pretty much guarantee I will never knit a full sweater...despite yearning still over this beauty that I didn't buy at the time...hmmm...how badly do I wants it? :)



Actually, a fabulous wool store just opened at the base of my street, AND I found a site where I can order anything from icelandic wool to licorice to Brennivin alcohol so...I think there will definitely be some more knitting projects this spring!  Wish me luck (kn1, kn2tg, yo, etc...).  Any knitters out there able to talk me through lace knitting, so I don't lose too many stitches along the way?!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

cardigans on parade!



Snow in the entryway!
It seems like a long time since we've had a real live 'snow day', but it is a veritable wintry blasting of white fluffy stuff out there!  I don't plan on leaving the couch today- instead I have some crafting projects I never finished/started, a rereading of Anna Karenina to wrap up (read it about 5 times as a teen!) and a fat fluffy cat sprawled out next to me!  Okay, maybe I get off the couch for periodic trips to the kitchen for more pie- somehow a medley of leftover pies is so much tastier than when fresh on Christmas day!  It's been a delicious mix of pumpkin, apple, and strawberry-rhubarb! So good!

Also good?  Apparently me, because Santa was awfully generous this year! I have a beautiful new array of luxurious Anthropologie cardigans to keep me warm:

Lace Framed Cardigan
Quinby Intarsia Cardigan
Tasseled Jacquard Cardigan
And then yesterday I popped into Anthropologie during the 30% off sale to pick up yet another cozy wrap. Oh my!
Blair Scholar Jacket
I guess I'll start playing with how to style these when I actually need to leave the house again. But then, I also need to catch up with a few last outfit photos sometime before the end of the year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

happy happy! In keeping with the season...

Isn't this where we'd all like to be?
After days of running around, on errands of my own and for others, it's finally been a cozy evening at home.  Christmas day is the big day for the whole family, while the eve is traditionally a quiet movie night with my mom and sister.  While we were batting food ideas back and forth over the weekend, a joke about Kraft dinner turned into a rather tasty feast of unexpected flavours!  We ate a buffet of traditional mac 'n cheese, white cheddar with pesto (a fave easy treat) and a new option: curried KD, which was the hit of the night. A surprisingly sweet and subtle flavour- who knew?! We ended up watching Coraline, which we've been meaning to see for some time- it matched up well with the mood of the 'Nightmare before Christmas' soundtrack I'd been listening to all day!

Now I'm sipping Jack 'n ginger ale while wrapping a pile of gifts for tomorrow- pretty much my favourite part of the evening- while a yearly screening of Scrooge takes me late into the night! I've pretty much watched the range of Christmas films by now- Thin Man, A Christmas Story, bits of Elf, It's a Wonderful Life, Rudolph...but Scrooge is the pièce de resistance. 


Anthropologie Oxidized Medallions dress
I found this dress in the sale room in my size for the first time last week- at $40 I was willing to give the weird fabric a second chance and boy am I glad I did!  I love this dress. The skirt flows impressively, billowing dramatically behind me as I went downstairs earlier this evening.   It's totally grown on me, and I can't wait to wear it year round. For comfort I threw on a rather soft and drapey t-shirt for a casual look, but I think there are many ways to bring this strapless print into my life!

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

spicy pumpkin and nutmeg!

Anthropologie Peppered and striped skirt, thrifted brown sweater and boots
Mmm- visions of sugarplums and mince tarts... I seem to be clothing myself in the tasty colours of, well they may not be seasonal, but certainly of seasonal treats!  These are all pumpkin and gingerbread and nutmeg and...oh gosh, I need to go do some more baking! I keep sharing them with others.  yeesh. :)

This ol' polka dot skirt is classic Anthropologie by now- one of the things that keeps me coming back to it is that it seems to go with everything, and especially enjoys the challenge of unusual combinations.  Spicy brown FTW.  Oh, and these fantastic booties that I picked up 'used' but hardly worn for $14 the other day!

Vintage pumpkin knit shift, J Crew buffalo check shirt and moss tights, Aerosole wedges
Heh.  I'm ashamed to say I bought this shift last summer (with an awesome matching pumpkin and grey polka dot jacket) and then totally forgot about it until recently.  I guess it needed hemming, but then this morning I just spent 2 minutes on the seam and it was good to go!  Welcome to my world, favorite new comfy dress!

I can't believe it's almost Christmas- so much to do (argh DIY projects- why do we do this to ourselves!) and so much to try and sit back and enjoy! Let's do it- enjoy every minute!

Especially when there are tarts and gingerbread to consume...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

going local...

Coloré collar, vintage plaid shirtdress, anthropologie Agadja sash, Hue tights, Chie Mihara shoes
It's that time of year again, when life turns into a mad scramble to shop, shop, shop!  While it's certainly a pleasure to find just the right gift for someone (or at least feel like it's perfect), it can be an exercise in frustration.  The brighter side is that suddenly there are a million craft fairs and sweet opportunities to sample local wares, from clothing to toys to jewellery to glorious pickled products.

Since I most definitely do my part to support certain big online stores through the year, ahem, and even the vintage sellers on Etsy, around now I usually try to support and discover some local makers, especially because you can see and touch pretty things, and meet a lot of great people!  I wish there were more of these big events throughout the year (I suppose these exhausted folks might disagree!)

I've wanted one of these detachable peter pan collars for awhile, but kept telling myself that I should make it myself. Having manifestly NOT done so, I was pretty pleased to see this beautiful printed collar a week ago.  It goes with everything!

At this past weekend's craft market, I also made sure to note some helpful gift suggestions for Santa!

Of course, I've put bright tights at the top of my list, like every year.  They help add life and fun to even the most staid and librarianly of outfits. Like so...


Anthropologie Pleated Cowl turtleneck, vintage pencil skirt and brooch, Madewell tights
Gah- I love this top so much I bought it in two colours when it went on sale.  I guess that means I need to do a little extra Christmas shopping at the craft fairs to balance out my 'carbon footprint'...!  :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mod me...and an Etsy roundup!


Mod print wool shift via Etsy, J Crew Blythe blouse, F21 necklace
 The last few years has seen me add a lot more clothing from stores like Anthropologie and J Crew- basics with a twist, either unique detailing or bright rich colours- but my heart still belongs to vintage. There's nothing quite like finding a dress of truly unique print or shape (and one that fits!)

Etsy is a an amazing and *slightly* addictive resource.  Looking for a green and orange floral print 50s dress?  Type in your keywords and scroll through the gems! Once you know the cuts that best suit your shape, a quick glance at the measurements and fabric can give you a *fairly* good idea of how something might fit (this dress turned out a bit snug on the hips, but there's also some room in the seams to make the fit right).

Despite my fabric snobbery when it comes to new clothing, some of my favorite vintage pieces are very, very polyester.  I wonder if it's because contemporary pieces in polyester are always trying to look like other materials, whereas 60's polyesters are gloriously and unselfconsciously all about looking like...themselves!

60s navy and green dots, M-L

60s mod geometric print S-M
Mod print dress M-L

(or topical unique Hobbit print dress, if you like! darn, now I want one!)

Mod geometric print jumper XS
60s navy and cream medallion shift S
Peter Pan collar wiggle dress, M


Blue and green mod print dress L-XL

Batik print shift dress M
Geometric print wool dress XS
Bronze floral print shift S
Peacock paisley print shift S-M
Olive and teal geometric print shift M
Sigh...I could do this all day.  so. much. fun!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

colourblocked and christmas partied!


Madewell silk palette tee, Anthropologie broken pleats skirt
I've been totally into the maroon/burgundy/bordeaux trend this fall.  It's a shame the colour has gotten a little bit instantly ubiquitous, as in we're absolutely drowning in it!  I hope that doesn't mean a red wine backlash come 2013...it is such a beautiful complement to a range of bright colours.  This silk blouse from Madewell is one of my favorite acquisitions in the colour- such a simple and elegant t-shirt cut and awesome combination of rich purple and maroon.  Sigh.

It felt a little early in the season, but my work Christmas party was Friday night and I was quite pleased that the Honeycomb Lace dress that I had my eye had gone on sale the week before.  It turned out that an ancient mossy green shrug matched well with the mustard tones and honeycomb patterning of the dress.



Oh, and at the last minute I added this teal feather clip to my hair- hey, how many times a year do you get a chance to dress up your head?  Exactly. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

in the mood for sheaths...


Vintage 60's cheongsam-style dress, vintage brooch
This lady loves a sheath dress, crazy as the pursuit may be. This fusion frock is a great example of mixing sleek 60s style and prints with the cheongsam dresses that were themselves a fusion development of 20s Shanghai. It came with a matching cropped 'Jackie' jacket and is both a substantial knit and sleekly comfortable.  After seeing 'In the Mood for Love' so many years ago, I have been obsessed with building a collection of cheongsams in 60's prints or totally basic, utilitarian fabrics.  The print and colouring on this one is still a touch 'eastern' but I also have a wool houndstooth knit and some basic cotton shifts and even a pinstripe. I totally don't wear them enough. I have been lucky enough to find a few that fit, since they're generally made-to-measure. This one is funny because it's totally a polyester knit but with a silk lining!





 

Oh Maggie and Tony, how I love thee. I'm pretty sure I've posted about this film/dress obsession before but it bears repeating. I'm always on the hunt for the right floral version- like a bevy of these beauties...


This might have been a compelling compromise were the print to continue all around (argh- such a pet peeve of mine...so irritating and 'cheap'!)

Anthropologie Heian Shift
But I'll probably just keep stalking Etsy until something in my size pops up again. Like these:

Vintage 60s cheongsam suit with jacket
Autumnal print 60s cheongsam
Vintage floral silk cheongsam
Or make your own (ha ha ha....*mad laughter*...yes, I have purchased vintage patterns for this very purpose that I guarantee I will never follow through on...)

Simplicity pattern 1447
Vogue pattern 5571