Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Style inspirations for The Entwife's Coat

And They Saw the Sloe in the Thicket, and the Wild Apple and the Cherry Blossoming in Spring

In a piece of lovely symmetry, I arrived home from my time in the ancient woods of Mt Hood to find that my pattern based on JRR Tolkien's vision of ancient woods and the creatures who live there is now available!  The Entwife's Coat is my contribution to Interweave's Enchanted Knits.  

The beautiful Entwives were partners to the Ents of Middle-earth, helping to tend and protect growing things. But they left their husbands to create lush gardens in the East. With the rise of Sauron, the Entwives mysteriously vanished, leaving just the memory of their existence. 

This poignant tale from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is the inspiration for a warm and feminine coat. Heavily decorated with flowers, leaves, fruits, and bark texture, it embodies the exuberant lushness and fertility of their gardens, while the wrap closure and heavy yarn create a garment that is warm and nurturing in its feel.

The story of the lost Entwives has always been one of my favorite parts of The Lord of the Rings trilogy and I am over the moon that my design was included in this magazine!  

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Went to the Woods

Yesterday Hubby and I dropped Sprog off for camp and then packed up our stuff and headed up to Mount Hood with Giant Dog for a few days. We're renting a very cute little cabin in the woods.  It's surrounded by big trees and there is a creek in the back. It's a lovely setting for a quiet getaway with Hubby.

So much for Giant Dog to explore!

My delightful companions..

We're keeping it simple and relaxed.  Food is mostly nibbles through the day rather than prepared meals. There is time to knit , read, talk, and ...  I'm hoping for an easy hike later today and a chance to poke around the creek.  I've kept the wardrobe simple too. I channeled my inner wood nymph and picked woodsy colors and flowing silhouettes. 

I found this great skirt last week at the thrift store. It has ties underneath to pull the hem up into lovely bustle like swags but there are a couple that need repair so for now I'm wearing it full length and flowing. I rather like the dark green paired with the orchid color. 

And, entirely by coincidence, orchid is Spy Girl's theme for this week's 52-Pick-Me-Up! This outfit reminds me of pink lady's slippers.  They're fairly common on the East Coast and definitely one of the highlights of a walk in the woods. 

I'm also linking to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. With its muted tones, this outfit might not fit the literal definition of visible but I think it does fit the spirit of visible dressing. It's an outfit that I thoughtfully and intentionally picked to create a look that suits my surroundings and my mood. It makes me feel very ME!  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

I love rainy days in July!  Despite its reputation for being wet, Portland actually has very dry summers. We often go weeks (and sometimes months) at a stretch with no rainfall. Add in heat like we're having this year and I end up feeling parched.  So this morning I was thrilled to wake up to the sound of rain. Real soaking rain too, not silly little sprinkly rain. The temperature also dropped quite a bit so I was able to pull out a nice comfy, cozy outfit for today.

I like the balance between the full top and the slim skirt. I call this my goth Snow White top.  It has cute little puff sleeves and the sweetest button up bodice but it's fundamentally a black hoodie!  Add in the biker vibe bracelet and it's a veritable cacophony of contradiction  

For some reason my hair was chanelling Jessica Rabbit today. I'm not sure I really pulled it off but it's a good picture of the shoes.

My lovelyJeffrey  Campbell red wedges with a 40s vibe. Worn with Karen Kane Skirt, Coast 2 Coast top, and leather and chain biker bracelet (all thrifted.)

On another topic, the arrival of the dress I talked about here turned out to be much more of a downer than the rain. It was a complete disaster. On the website it's shown and described as having a high waist but what arrived had an empire waist. If the skirt had been plain it would have worked.  But with the piping it was all wrong and made me look incredibly thick through the torso. Rats!  I guess I'll leave it up to the Thrift Store Goddesses to grace me with the perfect dress for the wedding sometime between now and mid-September. Anyone know what the appropriate sacrifice to the Thrift Store Goddesses is?

Monday, July 21, 2014

This Could Be Dangerous

Yesterday I learned how to use Polyvore to make collages and I think I might be a
little obsessed now.  It's like a cyber version of paper dolls!

Here's one I did to show some styling ideas for a Hawaiian Maxi I have up for sale. 

Style Ideas for Mahilini Barckcloth Dress

Then I got inspired by SpyGirl's 52 Pick Up prompt and put together a delicious disco outfit.


Isn't that dress amazing?  A girl can dream right?

Do you use Polyvore?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wedding outfit

Wedding outfit

I have a wedding coming up and I'm playing with outfit ideas. The dress is on order (fingers crossed it fits.). I'll probably go with a more classic/vintage looking shoe but I'm toying with the idea of something more modern too.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bed Sheet Skirt and Getting All Dolled Up

Inspired by some of my fellow bloggers, I've been experimenting with making clothes from sheets, curtains, and such found at thrift stores. The Marimekko maxi wasn't the only project in the works lately. Here's a skirt I made out of an adorable Snoopy sheet a found a few weeks ago. It's in French so I've decided that alone means it qualifies as couture. Seriously, how cute is this print?

It got its first outing tonight for Hubby's and my date. We got dolled up and went to see a burlesque show. By the way, if you've never seen burlesque you should. The art form is undergoing a period of rejuvenation and wild creativity and it's really a lot of fun. 

Bed sheet skirt (made by me), Old Navy T-shirt, Qupid black and white polka dot fabric shoes, bakelite bangles, micro mosaic pin, and vintage dangle earrings (all thrifted)

I've gotten in the habit of keeping my eyes open for vinatge dangle earrings. I don't like wearing clip on or screw backs but if the earrings have a drop, I can take them off and make them into peirced earrings. I like leverbacks for this.  I do sacrafice some of the original look since there is usually a design element attached to the clip or screw part but it seems to be a reasonable compromise.  I'll try to remember to post before and after pictures next time I convert a pair. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Some background and an announcement

I kinda dove right into the middle when I started blogging so I thought I'd take this opportunity to back up and give you some of my history.

I've always had a wide range of interests but was sure I was going to be a biologists. However, getting pregnant (quite intentionally) the month after receiving my masters degree derailed that plan. The fact that I also lacked focus didn't help either. I was happily living my life as a full time mom not really sure what would come next when I accidentally fell into the world of vintage resale.  It was a matter of hitting critical curiosity.  I had some old glass in my china cabinet from my grandmother and then Hubby's grandmother died and we got more from her. That's when the researcher in me kicked in. I started learning about depression era glass. Then I wondered if I could find more and that's when I started going to thrift stores and estate sales. Yup, I could find more.

The next step was to see if I could sell it to other people. Yup, I could!  This is where my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and I started growing a small business. At first I focused on depression and elegant glass but then I got bit by the mid-century modern bug. 

My attention turned to gorgeous sleek, space age art glass from Scandinavia.

And flamboyant colorful glass from Italy. 

I also stocked stainless and plastic as well as a little pottery. 

Russel Wright - Swoon!

I started out mostly on ebay but eventually rented space at a local antique mall (where I sold a lot of Pyrex) and created my own website. I even sold a piece of Chihuly! 

Then things started to go against me. The price of gas went up making it a lot more expensive to drive around collecting stock.  It also caused the price of shipping to go up noticeably.  The economy in general wasn't doing well so people weren't buying as much. Then Ebay did some outlandish things with their fee structures. And lastly, my antique mall closed.  And frankly, I was starting to burn out. The work involved, especially packing things for shipping, wasn't worth it to me any more. At the same time I was starting to do knitting pattern design and decided that I was getting a lot more satisfaction out of creating my own things than reselling other people's work so I shut down the business and focused all my attention on design work. 

Margarita Hat - one of my first designs
In the last several years I have put together a pretty good portfolio of designs.  I have a book of hat patterns to my name (Hat Couture)  as well as patterns included in several other group books (Doomsday Knits and Stitching in the Stacks.)  I've had patterns published in an assortment of magazines including two issues of Jane Austen Knits and one more coming out this fall in Enchanted knits. I love this work and have a plans brewing for my next book. My self published patterns can be found in my etsy shop and my complete body of work can be found on Ravelry (but you need to be a member to see it.)

On a Lark - published in Creative Knitting Magazine
 But... The thrift store bug never really went away. For a while I was content to limit myself to searching out treasures for my own wardrobe but inevitably I would find things, wonderful, lovely things, that didn't fit me or that I just didn't need. Sometimes I'd buy them anyway in the hopes that I could pass them on to a friend. They were just too pretty to leave behind.  A few months ago I started putting some of the overflow up on ebay and etsy with the idea that I was just selling off stuff from my own collection. But the more things sold the more I wanted to buy. I finally got honest with myself and admitted I wanted to be back in the vintage business. 

So, as of this month, Mid-Century Mania! is back in business!  

This time I'll be focussing on vintage fashion; clothing, accessories, jewelry, sewing patterns, and fabrics.  In other words, the things I love.  And I can't even begin to tell you have much easier packing a dress for shipping is than packing glass and other breakables. There will be an assortment of other random odds and ends thrown in. Some will be stuff I still have around from the previous incarnation.  And some will be because sometimes I just get lured in by the shiny (like we all do, right?)
Seriously, who could resist this beauty?
I love fashion. I've always loved fashion. I've been sewing and designing my own clothes since I was a kid. I probably should have gone to design school.  I don't see myself giving up design work, I just want to add the resale back into the mix.  I think this combination of doing my own design work and reselling vintage clothing and accessories will work out well. It will satisfy a wide range of interests and produce a more reliable income. 

So thanks for reading this far and here's to the journey!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beating the Heat (or at least trying to...)

It's been hot since we got home, really HOT.  It's been melt into a pathetic little puddle on the floor hot. I don't do well in the heat which is one of the reasons I like living in the Pacific NW; it's not usually this DAMNED HOT!  

The heat is forcing me to be a clothing minalmalist. Today I put on a light silk skirt that I found at the thrift store last week and a plain black cami.  It's cool and covers the necessary bits but honestly leaves me feeling more exposed than I like.  How about a silk scarf to cover up a bit more without adding a lot of weight?

Wheee!  There was a breeze. 

First I wrapped it around me like a shawl.  Pretty but lots of loose ends and it kept slipping around. This is great if you're a lady of leisure and all you need to do all day is look alluring while you readjust your shawl. So I tried just knotting it in the front to secure it.  That solved the slipping problem but left me feeling a bit like I was wearing a straight jacket. After more experimenting I finally tied a knot in it in the middle and tied two of the corners together to create a cover up that didn't move around too much and left both arms free. Grocery store, here I come!

Red silk skirt: Easy Silks (thrifted)
Silk scarf (retail eons ago)
Red patent leather sandals with Big Ass Bows on the Toes: Moda Spana (discount retail)

I love these sandals. They're one of the first pair of fun, silly shoes I got when I decided I had had enough of practical "mom" shoes. Hubby and I had gone to DSW looking for something pretty for me for summer. I was just about to give up when Hubby holds up these gorgeous red sandals with outrageous big bows on the toes and says, "What about these?"  I must have walked right past them but they were so different than what I used to wear that I think I hadn't even seen them. I'm so happy (and a little amazed) that Hubby did see them. By holding them up, he forced me to readjust my thinking and as soon as I did that I fell in love with them. Thanks Hubby!  

On my wrist

Black and red glass Indian bangles and a bone bangle with metal inlays (all thrifted)
The glass bangles make the most delightful tinkling sound when I move around. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

And finally on to Glacier National Park

In what I can only describe as some sort of miracle we arrived in East Glacier on the first train to be on time in over two months. In fact we were 5 minutes early!  A quick walk across the street to collect the rental car and we were ready to go. 

Because we got in on time I was able to make the drive from East Glacier up to Saint Mary Lodge while it was still light out. A definite plus on that narrow winding road.  It also meant we had some gorgeous views.

Once again Sprog manned the camera and did a great job!

We were up nice and early the next morning and ready to head into the park. We decided to go farther north and check out Many Glacier first. The lodge was built in 1915 and like all the lodges in the park was done in the style of an alpine chalet.

We had breakfast at the lodge and then took the 2.5mi hike around Swiftcurrent lake. Wildflowers abounded. 

Bear grass 

As did mountains. Mount Wilbur

Indian paintbrush in pink

Next we drove back south to the Saint Mary entrance and drove along Going to the Sun road (the only road through the center of the park) where we encountered these guys!

Momma black bear with two cubs in tow crossed the road right in front of us.  

Cub goofing around. 

Momma on lookout. Don't worry, we stayed safely in our car to take the pictures.  

Our home for night two at Rising Sun Motor Lodge.  We spent the evening sitting on the porch watching it get dark. Bliss!

The next morning we took a boat tour of Saint Mary Lake. Simply Gorgeous!

There was an optional 3mi hike to see Saint Mary Falls. It was worth every step!

After the boat ride we once again drove along Going to the Sun Road to see what we would see.

Oh, and what we saw!  At Logan Pass we encountered this guy. 

He posed so beautifully on the edge of the parking lot for everyone to get pictures. 

Sprog and snow. 

Me and snow and mountain

More mountains!

Lunch Creek was one of my favorites. 

Late afternoon and it was time to start heading back. We made the drive south to East Glacier where we checked the train status (nearly 2 hrs late) and returned the rental car. 

Then over to check out Glacier Park Lodge (built in 1913)

When we walked in with our luggage we were met by the bellhop. I explained that we weren't checking in, just stopping by to have dinner and then heading over to the train station. Didn't matter, he was happy to hold our luggage for us and we could take the shuttle to the train. Well, ok then!  The whole shuttle to the train is a little silly (and I'll show you why in a bit) but made us feel kinda pampered nonetheless. 

We had a very nice and indulgent dinner at the lodge. Huckleberry iced tea was the highlight for me, though the trout was very good too. 

We spent time checking out the lodge and just relaxing. See, the red clogs made it the whole way!

Our ride awaits. 

This is the view of the lodge from the train station. (Now you get it, right?)

Another darling little train station. This one was built in 1912. While I was taking pictures one of the two (yup, count 'em, two) employees asked what I was taking pictures of.  She said she sees people take pictures all the time but couldn't figure out why. I explained that I really liked to look of the station with all of its original details. I guess since she sees it every day it didn't occur to her that it's anything special. 

These benches have been here a while. 

When it was time to head out to the platform there were still beautiful things to see and silliness to be had. 

This guy was at least three inches across. 

And then our train came.