Friday, November 28, 2014

'Tis the Season

...for shameless self promotion. I'm offering discounts in both my etsy stores now through the end of the year.

For the vintage lovers 20% off any purchase of $10 or more at Mid-Century Mania! with coupon code VINTAGEHOLIDAYS.  

There are all sorts of goodies to chose from.  Fab vintage cocktail dresses.

 Or make your own with authentic vintage patterns and fabrics.  


Retro jewelry to give or to keep.

And for the knitters take 20% off any order of $5 or more at ArgentGal Designs with coupon code KNITHOLIDAYS

There are so many patterns to chose from.

Patterns for quick knits to give.

Or quick knits to keep.

Or start something larger to keep your hands busy and your nerves soothed during holiday travel and visits with the in-Laws.  

And of course Hat Couture would make a great gift for the knitter on your list!

Thanks for checking it all out.  I'll be back to my usual whimsical self on Monday, I promise!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today is Thanksgiving in the US and I wanted to take a few minutes out from preparing food for the feast we'll share with some of our dearest friends later today to say "Thank-you" to the people who read and support my blog. Working on this for the last six months has been far more rewarding than I expected. I find that I look forward to sitting down a couple times a week to write out the little stories of my day to day life. It has a therapeutic quality in addition to being a creative endeavor. I'm sure I would have let it fall to the wayside if it hadn't been for those of you who take the time to come read my posts and leave such kind and encouraging comments. I am grateful for you. 

Thank-you also to those of you who invite me into your lives each week through your thoughtful, funny, and inspirational blogs. I have found a community of wildly interesting people flung all around the world that has accepted me with open arms.  The feeling of belonging to a group is more precious to me than you probably realize.  Maybe someday I'll get up the courage to write a post about bullying and the lifelong scars it leaves but for now, just know that you have truly given me a gift by welcoming me into the community. 

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is truly secular (making it completely inclusive) and because it's non-commercial.  It's about celebrating bounty with the people who you love and who love you. It's about taking a day to focus on what you have, not wishing for things you don't have.  I choose to ignore the retailers who insist on trying to turn it into another shopping opportunity. There's plenty of time for that starting tomorrow.  Today sit, eat delicious food, visit with lovely people, and count your blessings.

Today I am blessed with a husband who smoked turkey leg quarters!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bringing Black Out of the Closet

This week Anne's 52 Pick-me-up prompt is "black."  I have a very odd relationship with black clothing.  In high school and college I definitely had leanings in the goth direction and wore plenty of black. Black has never been a depressed or otherwise negative color for me. It's strong and defiant. It's mysterious and secretive. And sometimes, it's just plain simple.

A rummage through my closet resulted in this all black outfit.  I think the layer and textures give it a lot of interest.

At some point in my mid-twenties, I was clothes shopping with Hubby and trying to decide which color of a garment to buy. I decided to get black because it goes with everything when Hubby pointed out that of course it went with everything because everything else in my closet was black too. Oops!  I guess I had taken it a bit too far. 

I see all of the gorgeous colors and patterns that other bloggers are wearing and keep thinking that I should do that too, but try as I might I keep coming back to dark colors and black.  This tug of war I have with myself over black vs bright colors has resulted in several angsty moments in the fitting room and at least one very odd hole in my wardrobe.  It turns out that in my attempt to not buy black clothing I never replaced my basic black skirt when it gave up the ghost a while back.  I keep pulling out shirts that would look great with a black skirt and then realizing that I don't own one and thus not wearing the shirt.  Or, I should say, DIDN'T own one.  Yesterday I filled the gap with the great basic linen/rayon blend skirt I'm wearing today.  It's just the right length to be long an flowing but also let my shoes show.  I expect to be wearing it a lot. 

All black and all thrifted from head to toe except the polka dot socks.  I threw them in just for fun! Don't you just love a good granny boot?

Vintage rhinestone jewelry.  The earrings are another pair of converted screwbacks.


So, yes, I'm trying to add more color to my closet but apparently not doing a very good job of it. To be fair I do generally wear them with assorted shades of red (but my obsession with all things red is a topic for another post) such as here and here

My Maine Coon is supervising.  He's a giant fluffy marshmallow of a cat and I love him to pieces.

I realize looking back through my outfit pictures on this blog that you wouldn't realize how much black I wear from just looking at the outfits I've shown. Of course that's because I don't bother taking pictures of yet-another-black-outfit, but trust me it's a staple.  Maybe after this post I won't be so shy about posting pictures of outfits centered around black.  After all this is a blog about my style.  (Note to self, stop worrying so much about what other people will think.)

I did decide the all black outfit was a bit much (but I could see wearing that out somewhere) and changed into softer knits for a day of errands and chores.  And on the whole I think I prefer the cheerfulness of the fuchsia. 

Whew!  I had no idea this would turn into a therapy session. 

Also linking with this week's Share in Style: Black and White (there are some white polka dots thrown in with all the black after all) and Patti's Visible Monday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I Have a Little Dreidel

I made it out of YARN! This pattern includes directions for both an amigurumi toy and a drawstring gelt (loot) bag using the same charts and techniques. The size of the gelt bag can be adjusted by removing or inserting extra repeats of the checkerboard pattern between each letter chart. The colorwork on this is simple enough to make it a good choice for someone who wants to try colorwork for the first time. 

This is a free holiday knitting pattern available through Knit Picks.  Go get yours today!

When Knit Picks put out the call for pattern submission for the holiday collection I knew I wanted to create something just for Chanukah and came up with this stuffed dreidel toy and matching gelt bag.

It was a lot of fun working out the charts for each of the four letters.  

The letters are נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hay) and ש (Shin).  They are the first letters of each of the words in the Hebrew phrase, "nes gadol haya sham" which means "a great miracle happened there."  This refers to the defeat of the Syrian armies of Antiochus by Judah Maccabee and his followers.  When the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple they only had enough oil to keep the eternal flame lit for one day, but instead the flame stayed lit for eight days which was enough time for more oil to be brought.  

After the State of Israel was founded in 1948 the Hebrew letters were changed for dreidels used in Israel. They became: נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hay) and פ (Pey), changing "sham" (there) to "po" (here.)

Gelt is a Yiddish word meaning money.  Traditionally money is given as gift at Chanukah but because of it's proximity to Christmas, many Jews have taken to giving other presents too.

And since this it the season of gift giving, I'm offering 20% off all ArgentGal Designs patterns.  If you're not on Ravelry you can also purchase patterns on etsy.  Just send me a message and let me know which pattern(s) you want and I'll set up the discount.  It's not to late for hand knit gifts! 

Monday, November 17, 2014


Ever had one of those day where nothing seems to go quite right?  Well, I'm on day three. Saturday The Sprog was away all day doing Rangers stuff with Trackers so Hubby and I decide to make a day out of it. First on the plan was a stop off at the archery range but when we got there we found it full of little kids.  Since this was our kid-free day we decided to pass.  Next we went on to the thrift store. Hubby and I both had lists of things we were hoping to find. And of course going in with a list just about guarantees you'll leave empty handed.  In our case it wasn't a complete strike out. Hubby did find one thing he was looking for and I found this lovely vintage embroidered maxi dress from Mexico.

But this one is for etsy and I had actually been looking for things for myself. Oh well.  

A couple of more stops to get a new pair of gloves for Hubby and to warm up with a coffee and then it was time to collect Sprog. 

Once at home, I realized that I was starting to feel sick. That nixed our plans to go out for Korean BBQ, one of our favorite family meals out. Instead Hubby very kindly picked up Chinese take-out. Hot and sour soup is hands down the best thing for a cold. 

I woke up Sunday morning with a full blown head cold and spent the day on the couch watching tv, blowing my nose, and generally feeling pathetic. So much for anything I had planned to get done. 

Thankfully it seems to have been a fairly whimpy cold and I woke up feeling much better today. But apparently things are still just a bit off.  I tried to take pictures on the deck but between the wind and the weird light angles I didn't get anything useable. So I moved inside where at leat there wasn't any wind. The light is still completely off and this time the camera was crooked. 

And my hair is flat and I think the underneath dress is actually too short to look right. Oh well, I'm wearing my it's-exactly-the-right-color-and-so-wonderfully-soft-and-warm pashmina so life is still ok. 

Linking up to Medieval week at 52 Pick-me-up.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This Week's Treasures

I spent another productive Wednesday working my way through the backlog of vintage treasures. Here are a few highlights. 

Uncut 70s sewing pattern. 

Early 60s Westover New York shift dress. The lace pattern is actually flocking on the fabric. It's feminine and funky at the same time. 

Funky Manford 70s shirt dress. 

Check out the points on the collar.  Very disco!

And last but by no means least, these amazing Bobby Brooks plaid acrylic bell bottom pants. Absolutely brand new with the original tags still attached. They were $16 which would have been quite a bit in the 70s. Groovy!

Check out my Etsy shop for these and lots of other treasures. 

And me?  I might have spent the day working in my jammies. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sweater Weather

Up until just the last year or two I never used to feel the cold.  I'm guessing it is one of those things that goes with being a woman of a certain age (bah!)  Though to be fair I'm actually finding the experience of being cold a novelty and one that I'm embracing fully.  I am taking full advantage of the phenomenon to pile on sweaters and purchase warm striped socks to wear under skirts.  While this look may not be the most flattering to my figure, it's very good for my soul.  Definitely an outfit that makes me feel like me and one I'll happily be seen in over at Patti's Visible Monday! 

This is the sweater I didn't knit but wish I had.  It's a big fluffy hug!  (Corduroy skirt, wine colored shirt, sweater, hat, and shoes are all thrifted.)  The oversized silhouette makes me feel a little like a cartoon character so I'm linking up with Anne's 52 Pick-me-up


My new found love; stripey socks!  Super fun earth tone ones paired with green shoes.  And shoes happens to be the theme of this week's Share in Style.


My mother-in-law gave me this lovely cameo from her mother's jewelry collection.  I suspect it goes back several generations further than that.


And, of course a stack of vintage plastic bangles. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I've Got a Case of the Wiggles

Well, I don't but this dress sure does!

I've been avoiding the thrift stores the last couple of weeks in an attempt to get the backlog of inventory listed before buying more. Shopping is so much more fun than sitting at my computer. But yesterday I had the itch so I decided to go to one store and figured I'd only really look at things for myself.  I've been on the hunt for long sleeve shirts and dresses for winter. Did I ever get all that wrong!  I came home with nothing for myself but what a haul for the shop!

Besides the amazing Sue Leslie 1950s wiggle dress I also found this great mod number (Lipman's.)

A groovy Frances Brewster floral dress in a larger size.  

And an assortment of lucite jewelry.  Moonglow bangle with rhinstones.

Gorgeous jet black faceted ring.

Delicate little reverse carved ring in pink!

Love all the sparkles in this one! Still deciding if I love it too much to sell.

And I was a very good shop owner and listed all of it this morning.  Take a peek!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ogres Are Like Onions

I took one look at Anne's 52 Pick-me-up prompt for this week, layers, and thought, "now there's a look I can rock!"

When I was a kid I hated dressing in layers.  But I think that's because my mom's version of "dressing in layers" translated to "way too many clothes" on me.  By the time I had the coat on top of the long sleeve sweater, which was on top of the long sleeve shirt, I far too warm and thoroughly incapacitated, like a pipsqueak version of the Michelin tire man.  And when I got too hot, which I always did, and started stripping off layers, I'd have all this extra clothing to carry around and keep track of.  Nope!  As soon as I had autonomy over my own outfits I was all about one thickness of clothing with a coat over top if absolutely necessary. 

And then I discovered the short over long version of layering.  Suddenly, with the addition of a long sleeve T my summer shirts and dresses became my winter shirts and dresses!

With this outfit I took it one step further adding a sleeveless sweater to the pile and giving the whole outfit a bit of everyday steampunk that I love.

Topped it all off with a wonderful old hat up-cycled by me with embroidered ribbon and a metal flower more steampunk.) Linking to The Style Crone's wonderful Hat Attack!

I got these fantastic, apparently new Clarks boots at Goodwill last year.  They are by far one of my favorite/best finds.

In other news, I had a meeting with my publisher and got the go ahead for a new book of knitting patterns.  I can't really tell you anything about it at this point other than it will include a range of projects from sweaters to scarves and hats, and maybe even an afghan, and it will be so much fun!  It also means I now have a LOT of work to do.  I'll post little sneak peeks as I can.