Sunday, 22 December 2013

Longest Night

Much gratitude for several recent blog mentions - I'm honoured to be linked to by Jean of Dross Into Gold, Suzanne Carillo Style Files, and Sally McGraw's Already Pretty. Thank you kindly! 

green scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here
blue wool/synthetic blend turtleneck sweater with flared sleeves: Tommy Hilfiger Denim, local discount / overstock store
black tank top: Vanderbilt, Zellers, 7+ yrs. old
silk recycled sari skirt: Alchemy Eco-fashions, The Circle Game, worn here (another favourite outfit)
amazing bottle-green boots: Fluevog Radio Ard

I'm returning the favour by telling about three holiday-themed posts that I found especially moving for their focus on reverent connection rather than consumerism: 

vintage grey leather coat: Derbers Voco Leather-Fashions, Netty Vintage, worn in excellent light here

Apologies for these dark photos as we head into longer days. I felt quite festive in this outfit, exposing the skirt's nearly secret bits of blue and green. I'll say more about this latest celebratory footwear next time - better-lit pics are already lined up!

I wish my fellow North Americans safe passage through the storm. I awoke to a goodbye this morning: our beloved ancient plum tree, featured as it burst into glorious bloom in my own Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show post, collapsed under the weight of the ice.

With its heart cracked open and steaming yet, we wait for spring, harbouring a tiny bit of hope that it may still sprout from the centre and someday spread again.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Always Greener

Hi ho, hi ho … or after the last couple posts, I should maybe say ho hum, ho hum with this regular work outfit. But it's perfectly comfortable and serviceable, it'll do!

green scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here
corduroy blazer: Urban Behaviour, thrifted for ~$2, couple of years ago
black leather obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, worn here
shark-bite hem tank top: Bellini, Winners, and
black / ivory sofa-print skirt: Triangle, Winners (7+ years ago) also worn together here (3rd outfit, with red obi)

In the early 2000s, the Winners dressing room was my natural habitat. I thought the Winners store built last spring in the next town over could be a trap, so I avoided it for months. The one time I went there (in my ongoing search for a new office wall clock) was so dismal that it laid my worry to rest. Same as the vast majority of regular retail these days - low quality, high homogeneity, zero interest. 

jointed leaf necklace: Tradewinds (local shop), worn here
all the lint: blogger's own
green Slap watch: Cactus Flower
silver OM bracelet: Lollapalooza vendor, early '90s
leather and silver "hands" bracelet: AGO, precious gift 1994, replaced 2005
rubber O-ring
green-soled shoes:
Arche Gayal, worn here for twirling and a goodbye to a sweet hen

Fortunately, the clothes I already have will last me a long, long, long time.
And now, to the grindstone! Which is always, always the paperwork and never, ever the people. Perhaps it's good that I have neither windows nor clock to watch.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

And Its Heart So Savage

Further to the theme of "had to have it," it's high time to take my favourite special event ensemble over to Gracey's Fashion for Giants for the latest episode of Literary Stylings  - check out the book-inspired looks!

mythical critter-print maxi dress: La Casita de Wendy, ModCloth
red leather obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, worn here (3rd outfit)

My sister taught me to read when I was 3, and ever since the nights of Nancy Drew and dwindling flashlight batteries I've had to be reading in order to fall asleep. Nowadays, together with a hand-me-down e-reader pre-loaded with extremely terrible vampire novels, there are usually several books stashed between my pillows (and woe betide anyone who tries to turn off my little light or ease the pages from my sleepy clutches).  


An exceptional read this fall was Savage Love by highly esteemed Canadian author and my friend Douglas Glover. In contrast to the aforementioned extremely terrible yet effectively soporific vampire novels, the stories in Savage Love more easily encourage a deliciously unsettling insomnia as they tend to stick to the ribs, or in many cases between them, being keen-edged with interpersonal horror, levity, and relentless skewering. 

Savage Love is enjoying sustained attention; it has been widely reviewed and recommended. Among its stories, I have a soft spot for The Ice Age, and the opening of Uncle Boris Up in a Tree is a gem. My personal favourite is The Sun Lord & The Royal Child for its painfully accurate send-up of our shared home region's local culture, ancient history, and geography. 

vintage clip-on sea monster earrings with jewelled dingle-dangles: Netty Vintage
stupendous olive green ankle boots: Fluevog Surrealist Pizza, worn here
all the wrist business: detailed here as well
antique amber ring: a gift from my mother, close-up here
giant red carnelian ring (seen below): El Disco Super Centre (Progreso, Mexico), closer look here

Douglas Glover is also the publisher and editor of the online magazine Numéro Cinq, where earlier this year he published a series of my tobacco-farming poems. It was doubly an honour that he liked them well enough to include an excerpt of his own memoir alongside. *** EDITED TO ADD: I've created a "Writings and Such" page via a tab up top to collect and make available my published works and celebrate recent developments. Thank you so much for reading!***

Today's post title comes from this song: 

I'm excited to catch up with other unique voices at some forthcoming gatherings, including Shoe Shine hosted by Bella of The Citizen Rosebud, and Share-in-Style: Christmas at Mis Papelicos, and, of course, Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. See you there! 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Emotional Baggage

 Well, sometimes I just have to have things.

brown wool hat: Parkhurst Basque beret, Netty Vintage
long green-gold velveteen jacket: Della Spiga, Winners (~2005), previously worn belted with two of my favourite outfits here and here
suitcase, sticker, and key print dress: Myrtlewood of California, ModCloth
crinoline underneath: 
Netty Vintage, worn here and here
brown wrap belt: Netty Vintage, worn here
olive green ankle boots:
Fluevog Swordfish Surrealist Pizza

wrist doo-dads, from top: rubber O-ring
yellow vegetable turquoise bracelet (Gabii's, Progreso, TX, worn here)
leather and silver hands bracelet (AGO, precious gift 1994, replaced 2005)
silver OM (Lollapalooza vendor, early '90s)
Swiss Army Cavalry watch (beloved gift, 1994)

Given my line of work (look here too) and sense of humour, how in the world could I resist a dress printed all over with baggage? And with my love of Fluevog Swordfish shoes abiding 20+ years (you've seen two of my three "homegrown vintage" pairs: Tara T-straps and oxblood Chelsea boots), what was I to do when Fluevog brought the Swordfish family back

glasses: Oakley
silver earrings: Lollapalooza vendor, early '90s
brown, silver, and hematite bead necklace: jewelry booth ~20 years ago, worn here

Despite the altered state of shopping known semi-affectionately around here as the "Aw, DAMMIT" I remain completely allergic to paying full price. Being that "Aw, DAMMIT" is very different from "I actually need it" plus I am blissfully immune to giving a hoot about trends, I lie in wait for substantial coupon codes, and / or sometimes let several seasons pass while prices come down (see red clogs, Tom Ford sunglasses). 

In the case of these boots, as the stock in my size dwindled alarmingly, I used a chunk of store credit I'd been hoarding for half a year. And it was my birthday.  For many years now, I have been celebrating milestones, events, and goal accomplishments with shoes. :) 

I'm marching on over to Style Crone for the amazing Judith's Hat Attack #5, and wonderful Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. Do come with, and see all the fabulous headwear and outfits!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Level Best

Here I go, hurrying to catch up my backlog of outfit photos to the actual weather with more layers! I've had this beautifully-made vintage vest-dress since last spring and I'm still figuring out just the right things to wear with it. 

brown vintage blouse: handmade, Netty Vintage
blue vintage vest-dress: Monteselli Original by Primrose of Toronto / Reflets de Couture Francaise, Netty Vintage
brown midi skirt: Worthington, thrifted
blue shoes: Fluevog Prepare Guide, worn here

watch: Swiss Army Cavalry, beloved gift (1994)
the chocolate milk bangle: Netty Vintage, worn here
rectangular ring: consignment, worn here
long blue vintage handbag: Netty Vintage

I think I'd need a mini skirt and little square-heeled loafers for a more historically accurate look. Or, you know, wear it buttoned all the way and never sit down or bend over. And even though I started with the outfit rather than the movie, I'm calling this outfit good enough to link up with Sacramento's Share-in-Style at Mis Papelicos because it reminds me of the ensembles in On A Clear Day You Can See Forever

With that inspiration, and given how challenging it is to hold a loooong handbag level for outfit photos, I'm sure I can fit more hypnosis, tantrums, musical numbers, and past lives into my day. The Share-in-Style theme is Movies, and I bow deeply to the awesomeness already there - you must go see the Travelling Yellow Skirt have a Snow White adventure and remember Some Kind of Wonderful! And! And! And! The incomparable Desiree does Little Edie!!!

I will also see y'all over at Spy Girl for 52 Pick-me-up, where we're doing the Blue Hues. No fudging there, unless you count having some delicious chocolate brown in the mix. Mmm! Wishing everyone full bellies, and only the excellent kind of blues.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

And On This Farm

Brr, how the weather's changed! The hens awoke to January-ish temps of -12 C / 10 F with a wind chill of -18 C / 0 F and are huddled together with their feather suits poofed to basketball-size for maximum warmth. Though I don't have a feather suit myself, nowadays I'd be wearing this stylized-feather-and-floral print dress with a sweater or jacket. I figured it was high time to post some outfits so Butane Anvil can at least sort of stay in season. 

If you're curious what kinds of care chickens need in winter, see Terry Golson of HenCam's post here. Terry also just did a 10-post series on her collection of vintage aprons - gorgeous! I could almost reconsider my default at-home gear of old concert t-shirts and ratty pajamas.

dress: Leota, My Habit
wrap belt: 
thrifted at the The Kitty Cat Store, worn here
old shorty cowboy boots: WalM*rt men's section clearance, worn here

Further to time marching on, I realize I haven't shown you the chickens since they were teeny-tiny day-old peepers, here. And now they are grown-up ladies: 

If y'all would like to meet them, I'll introduce you below the jump, and tell about the latest addition to the farm. Keep cosy, everyone!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Scary Every Day

It sometimes surprises folks that I'm not much of a costume person. I am, however, generally festive, and also scary every day. 

hat: no label, Burlington Coat Factory, worn here
scarf: Charming Charlie, worn here
sweater: Nurture, Dillard's, worn here
blue glass bead necklace: Gabii's (Progreso, TX), worn here
vintage floral dress: Nu-Mode Toronto Canada, Netty Vintage $5 dress rack
blue ankle-strap wedges: Melissa Toffee Apple, ebay, worn here

antique orange amber bracelet: a gift from my mother, worn here
the chocolate milk bangle: Netty Vintage, thought I wore it here and here
but apparently not - though I should have!
go see: the awesome way Megan Mae recently styled up these same shoes

The best of this dress's many excellent features are its puffed sleeves, a.k.a. "weener fenders" (h/t Man Repeller, language NSFW) - their rather tremendous amplitude created by secret stuffed shoulder ruffles underneath the gathers. Brilliant! I've already worn it with orange suede shoes as well, but these jelly wedges rock for rainy days. 

I didn't mean to take such a long blogging break - many, many thanks for not kicking me off your blogrolls in the meantime, and for all the kind comments and messages checking in. I've got a bunch of other outfits photographed, but by way of saying hello, what I had on yesterday hit the most blog-link-up-Bingo squares: 

I will see you at Style Crone for Hat Attack, Spy Girl for 52 Pick-up: Paint It Black, Mis Papelicos for Share-in-Style: Orange / Halloween, and Not Dead Yet Style for the upcoming Visible Monday. Hooray! 

If you somehow didn't get enough Halloween action, my FAVOURITE-favourite costumes are Val's Old Bat and Pearl's Princess & the Pea; there is even more mayhem and hilarity, and probably candy, at Ally's Halloween Party

Together with this "hello" post comes a farewell: the beloved Netty Vintage has closed its storefront as its proprietor, dear Jacqueline, prepares to welcome her baby this month. 

Besides creating a uniquely beautiful shopping destination in an area where such things are scarce, and being an amazing supportive presence in the community and building connections among other local businesses and organizations, Jacqueline let me prance around her shop in my favourite white feather dandelion-pouf hat while layering batwing jackets over batwing dresses and developing a special march for times of wearing gauchos. 

Fortunately, Netty Vintage lives on via etsy, facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest - and I have a stockpile of Netty treasures yet to post here. Congratulations and best wishes to Jacqueline, Will and their little one! 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Oh Yeah, Like I Pleats You

Did you know that my favourite evocative adjective "grotty" has its origin in the film A Hard Day's Night, where it is applied by George Harrison to shirts?  Fortunately, I did not feel grotty whatsoever in this vintage handmade dress of gossamer-light silk with its tremendous puffed sleeves and fancy bodice-pleat action, rather, I felt quite marvellously "gear".

sheer yellow scarf: Netty Vintage
vintage silk dress: handmade / no label, Netty Vintage
my favourite shoes: Fluevog Truth Britta, worn here

I've been doing some casual research on the Beatlemania era related to a writing project. Regardless of whether it yields much of anything, it's been great fun! 

sunglasses: Tom Ford Nikita, ebay
antique amber ring: a gift from my mother, worn here
blue glass bead bracelet with wood clasp: Gabii's (Progreso, TX), worn here
buttonflower: Megan Mae Designs, worn here

These are a few of the text sources I consulted:

  • "We're Going to See the Beatles!" An Oral History of Beatlemania as Told by the Fans Who Were There by Garry Berman
  • Beatles '64: A Hard Day's Night In America, text by A.J.S. Rayl and photographs by Curt Gunther
  • The Beatles Landed Laughing In New York, poems by John B. Lee
  • BOOM! by Tom Brokaw
  • Miss O'Dell by Chris O'Dell with Katherine Ketcham

However, the most absolutely fascinating writing about The Beatles I have ever come across is a series of blog posts - Yoko Ono: A Feminist Analysis by Cara Kulwicki, which Yoko herself liked so much as to re-post on her IMAGINE PEACE site. Cara's whole Gratuitous Beatles Blogging category at The Curvature is a treat.

Let's see if I can still link up to Gracey's Literary Stylings at Fashion for Giants, and of course I'm always ready for Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. AND Bella's Shoe Shine. Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Birthday Girl: Mum(ford)'s the Word

I was so lucky to celebrate my 42nd birthday last weekend with Beary, my mom, my sister, and 36 000 other people at the Gentlemen of the Road Simcoe Stopover. Not something I normally would have jumped on, but when a very big deal for our very rural county happens so close to home (a.k.a. no camping involved and dad on standby to chauffeur), well, a fantastic time is in order. I've put outfit details up near the top for y'all who'll want to deek out, and tons of other stuff beyond that for y'all who'll want to see. Seriously, tons - fair warning! 

I'm also glad to be celebrating by joining Judith's second instalment of Hat Attack at Style Crone. With Visible Monday on holiday, Ariane of Style Sud-Est is hosting Show Me Your Style - see you there also. Yay! 

green cowboy hat: one of those mall accessory stores 5+ years ago
green scarf: a gift from my mother, Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here
dress: Retrolicious, ModCloth, worn here

vintage crinoline: (not visible, but effectively manifest) Netty Vintage
DIY colour-corrected cowboy boots: Frye Billy Short, worn here as well

I highly recommend the CBC feature "The Mumford Effect" (extended band interview here) for more about the area where I live and this event's impact. Weather was perfect both days, and for Friday night's lineup the venue was wonderfully spacious. A favourite moment was Dan Mangan crowd surfing, tambourine in hand

bonus Friday "party pants" outfit: all info & details here
except messenger bag: here
on Beary:
cowboy hat: shop on the Six Nations reserve
trike t-shirt: screen-printed by Beary's friend Evans
banana popsicle: free at event (not as good as the strawberry)
cargo shorts: Joe Fresh

One of the buildings at the fairgrounds was set up like a wee miniature version of the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show (now in its 173rd year) with displays of local art, quilts, vegetables, youth projects, commercial displays, and livestock. I got to say goodnight to these chickens instead of my own!

flower hat ornament: Dillard's 99-cent clearance

Before the concert on Saturday, we toured the town's street fair, which featured live music on multiple stages and many other venues to jam, a mustachio'd Town Hall, rides, shopping, and a classic car show. 

guyabera shirt: gift from yours truly, El Disco Super Centre (Progreso, Mexico)

My favorite part was the prop-filled photobooth stations set up along the way, each with a historic Norfolk theme - and one of which incorporated the iconic horse head mask of Amazon customer images fame (I want one!): 

clockwise from top left: tobacco farming (which I've written about here), Dr. John Troyer the witch doctor (see here and here), dance and music halls of the area, and rail travel. 

If this were my car, I would HAVE to get these shoes

Dedicating an entire side of a downtown block to chalk art inspired everything from wieners to angel cats and beyond: 

Okay, this was my favourite part too - even pianos took to the streets: 

We had the good fortune to follow this adorable and multi-talented couple as they played their way along:

There have been many-many significant improvements to large-scale outdoor concerts since the Lollapaloozas of yore, which I enjoyed but found brutally gruelling even being in my early 20s. Here there was shade, water, flowers, chandeliers with candles, and actual gluten-free food. 

The sound quality was just tremendous as well, which helped the whole thing be enjoyable as well as comfortable and fun. Aside from the merchandise booths and sometimes food, line-ups were minimal - and there were enough staff on hand that they had the capacity to be funny and kind to the attendees.

all the wrist business plus: rubber O-ring, neon green 19+ band, Stuhrling Tuskegee Skylancer watch, axe-and-barley ribbon and bar code event ticket, silver OM bracelet, leather and silver "hands" bracelet, yellow vegetable turquoise bracelet,
deets of the usual stuff here

I've brought you some outstanding audience stylins as well: did you spot the tot with the red sequin cape, the hat made of cardboard beer case,  some high-fiving pass-through staff, a guy with nearly the same shirt as Beary, and the "QUIET AREA" standard-bearer? Okay, that last wasn't a great shot, but a favourite concept.

sing along

I had to include a special collage inspired by my friend Curtise, who, do you remember was so clever as to have a manicure that matched the port-a-potties? Well, me too! And the Sewage Waste truck! I found this happy coincidence on my way back into the melée after "scanning out" of the venue for a short scamper across the parking lot to the line-free and extremely humane facilities at the Aquatic Centre - sometimes a little local knowledge goes a long, long way. 

Sorry for the rather distant juxtaposition. That's as close as I was getting in bare feet, especially given that wet spot of indeterminate origin. 

I saw no juggling sticks or hacky sacks, both of which used to drive me just bonkers, but there were flower crowns galore - and powdered paint dancing:

I was desperately over-stimulated by the end, of course. 

New favourite picture of Beary, it's how he looks when he dances with me.

After all that grooving on the grass, we climbed the grandstand just in time for a perfect view of the unique Old Crow Medicine Show encore ... 

... and the best seats for watching an egg-shaped moon rise over the exuberant crowd. 

A crowd that particularly appreciated the finale, given that Rick Danko was one of us: 

Who should I have play my next birthday bash? 

Hope everyone's had an excellent Labour Day (or start of September) weekend!