About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

Click on Products to browse hand-crafted scarves, bags, and jewelry from India for sale.

The Joyatri on Etsy shop will be temporarily closed until mid-January, 2015.


 

 

 

Please do leave a comment and let me know that you stopped by! I love hearing from you.

Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)

 

 

“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin

 

 

 

Why Vegan?

 


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Sunday
Jan122014

Ragtime blues

Vintage hat, Frocktasia. 1970s The Villager velvet vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Late 1970s dress by Ragtime, thrifted, Goodwill. Fleur boots by Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. Bangles purchased in India.

Before I went on holiday in mid-December, I was wearing the hat I bought from Frocktasia nearly every day. I was very bummed when I accidently left it in the taxi from the airport on our arrival in Lisbon. To make matters worse--I was reminded of it when my boyfriend bought this vintage magazine at the Feira da Ladra (flea market) the next day. ABC Revísta Portuguesa magazine, May 11, 1922. Cover illustration by Emmérico Hartwich Nunes (1888-1968). Signed 'E.H. Nunes/1922.

I love the intersecting geometric shapes and simple color palette of this cover.

Another hat-centric illustration from this magazine. I can't make out the signature.

Illustrations of gloves, bags and shoes.

A. also picked up this issue of the same magazine at the flea market.

ABC Revísta Portuguesa magazine, November 3, 1921. Cover illustration by Jorge Barradas (1894-1971). Signed 'Jorge Barradas/1921.

I don't think this illustration is as successful of some of Barradas's other magazine covers but I like the emphasis on the Chinese floral coat with its feathered shawl. (This Barradas illustration for the same magazine, also from 1921 uses the same colors and angle but has a much more pleasing composition.)

Jorge Barradas was a painter, illustrator and ceramic artist. I only just realized that shortly after buying this magazine, A. and I saw a tile panel by Barradas at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon.

The Magi. 1945, by Jorge Barradas, produced by Fábrica Cerâmica Viúva Lamego. Museu Nacional do Azulejo, Lisbon.A. bought me this ceramic toadstool magnet at the National Tile Museum in Lisbon. Unfortunately, I can't decipher the maker's signature on the back.

In October, I showed a vintage dress I found at Boomerang and mentioned that I hadn't heard of its label, Ragtime. Just a couple days after that post, I found another Ragtime dress, this time at Goodwill.

In October, I showed a vintage dress I found at Boomerang and mentioned that I hadn't heard of its label, Ragtime. Just a couple days after that post, I found another Ragtime dress, this time at Goodwill. Research on the label didn't turn up anything, but from other dresses with this label I found online, it appears to have been going in the mid- to late-1970s and early 1980s. This dress is a little big, hence the waistcoat in the first photo.

Joining the Visible Monday get-together at Not Dead Yet Style.

P.S. When I think of 'ragtime' I always think of a Leon Redbone album I listened to over and over again in the late 1970s.

Sunday
Dec292013

A happy holiday

It seems like ages ago now, but in mid-December, A. and I spent 10 days in Lisbon, Madrid, and Barcelona.

Psychedelic interior of Juicy Jones café, BarcelonaHere are the highlights:

Tiles

Left to right, top to bottom: Tiled barbershop facade (now a restaurant), Madrid. Store facade, Lisbon. Art Nouveau tiles on store facade, Barcelona. Art Nouveau tiles by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro at the, National Tile Museum, Lisbon. 17th c. Portuguese tile panel of Bacchus in the National Tile Museum, Lisbon.Art

I finally saw much-loved works of art that I'd only ever seen pictures of: Hieronymous Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights, Rogier van der Weyden's The Descent from the Cross, Albrecht Dürer's Self-Portrait and Fra Angelico's The Annunciation. And I discovered new works to love at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon and the museums in Madrid.

The Sultan's Horses, Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, 1912; The Mirror of Venus by Edward Burne-Jones, and painting for a clothing store by José de Almada Negreiros, 1913. Portrait of a Woman, Hans Baldung Grien, 1530. Richard Lindner, Thank You, 1971. 

Food

All three cities, especially Barcelona, were extremely vegan-friendly. We ate very well.

Vegan burger plate, The Green Room, Lisbon. Lasagna, Teresa Carles Cocina Vegetariana restaurant, Barcelona. Eggplant sandwich, Gopal Maxi burger, patatas bravas at Gopal, Barcelona. Avocado sandwich and tomato bread at Juicy Jones, Barcelona.And my sweet tooth was well-satisfied in Barcelona.

Doughnut and cinnamon bun at Gopal, Barcelona. Pumpkin-walnut cake at Biocenter, Barcelona. Lujuria Vegana gateau, Barcelona. 'Sweet Kryptonite' avocado/pistachio smoothie at Juicy Jones, Barcelona. Architecture

In Barcelona, we toured the Palau de la Música Catalana, built between 1905 and 1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (who also designed the interiors of our hotel). Every surface is covered in Art Nouveau decoration.

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona Park Güell, Basilica of La Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà, (‘La Pedrera’), and Palau Güell. All by Antonio Gaudí in Barcelona.I was very impressed with all of the museums and architectural sites in Barcelona. The labels, audio-guides, overall interpretation, and contextual materials were extremely well done. Even the museum shops were filled with tempting, high-quality products.

This is a shot from a video at Casa Milà which depicted how Gaudí designed furniture, door handles and such to fit the human body. Here ghost-like figures in stripey pajamas relax on a two-seat bench.In front of the modern courtyard outside our room at Hotel España, Barcelona. Michael Kors top I've had since the 1990s. Thrifted contemporary plaid skirt. Thrifted tights.' Restricted' brand non-leather boots. Earrings and bangles purchased in India.

Outside the National Tile Museum, Lisbon. 1970s Butte Knit velvet jacket, thrifted. Contemporary plaid skirt, thrifted. Tights, thrifted. Fleur boots, Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. Fringed scarf, thrifted. 1990s DKNY nylon bag, painted by me. Tote bag I made from a thrifted batik tablecloth.Joining Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday get-together as I was certainly visible on my holiday in my short skirt, gold tights and red boots. In Lisbon and Madrid, women my age conservatively dressed in camel, navy, and brown scowled at my legs. Thankfully, there was no scowling in Barcelona.

I leave you with this little guy.

Feral cat at ruins of Carmo Convent, Lisbon.

Monday
Dec022013

In the home of the brash, outrageous and free

I'm in the U.K visiting my boyfriend. It was a challenge packing two months worth of clothes suitable for a variable London winter into one suitcase and a carry-on bag. Here's a few of my outfits so far.

At the British Film Institute. Vintage hat, Frocktasia. Custo Barcelona top, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s Butte Knit velvet jacket, thrifted, Goodwill. Contemporary plaid skirt, thrifted, Goodwill. Restricted non-leather boots, purchased on sale. 1970s gypsy shawl, thrifted, Goodwill. DKNY bag, purchased in the 1990s and painted by me. Indian necklaces and bangles.
At the Cinema Museum, London. Hat, gift in 1984. 1970s ASA wool vest, thrifted. Fab India wool kurta, purchased in India. Leggings, thrifted, Goodwill. Restricted non-leather boots, purchased on sale. Silver and black scarf purchased in India.
At Royal Festival Hall. Greek fisherman's hat, purchased in London in the 1990s. 1970s The Villager velvet vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Mustard leg 'o mutton t-shirt, thrifted, Goodwill. Contemporary plaid skirt, thrifted, Goodwill. Mustard tights, thrifted, Goodwill. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill and painted by me. Necklace purchased in India. 1940s Bakelite brooch I've had for decades.
At the Barbican Design Market. Vintage hat, Frocktasia. 1970s Butte Knit velvet jacket. 1960s Styled by Sybil blouse, thrifted, Goodwill. Leggings, thrifted, Goodwill. Restricted non-leather boots, purchased on sale.
In the 10 days I've been in London so far, A. and I have seen four films and one exhibition. We've been to a design and crafts market and an antiques fair. I've also been to a book club/author event and a Zumba class. Still from the silent film, Flesh and the Devil (1926) with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert

In addition to "Flesh and the Devil," we saw a charming romantic comedy from 1935 called “Car of Dreams.” (You can watch the entire film on YouTube here). And we went to a monthly silent-film event at the Cinema Museum. I saw this book in their little shop.

Cinema Uniforms: Sartorial Elegance at the Picture Palace by David TriggThe highlight was a 6-hour screening of the 1926 silent film, Napoleon, which was, and still is, a tour-de-force, of cinema. The members of the Royal Festival Hall Philharmonia Orchestra and the conductor, Carl Davis, showed remarkable endurance. There were several intermissions, but still! 

Click for sourceWe saw Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House. I admired Blow's ability to turn herself into a work of art through fashion and accessories and I enjoyed seeing the incredible craftsmanship and inventiveness of the Philip Treacy hats and fashion by Alexander McQueen and others.

http://www.80trains.com/Now that I've read the book (which I highly recommend) and met the author, I need to go to the book's website and read Monisha Rajesh's blog.

Another highlight of my time so far was a blogger meet-up in Walsall. When I got off the train, it was easy to spot Vix and Annie who were beacons of color in a train station full of drably dressed people. First we went for a quick hot drink and exchange of gifts.

A pretty rainbow-colored butterfly necklace and packet of beads from Annie. From Vix, a green velvet coat, 70s striped jersey, and Liberty-print dress I had admired from the "suitcase of forgotten 70s fashion" seen on Vix's blog here

First stop was the vintage shop, Second to None. As soon as I entered the door my eyes were immediately drawn to the back of the store. Could it be? Yes, it was. A Marks & Spencer velvet skirt in a faux patchwork print.

Kelly of Grunge Queen has the matching jacket and Vix has this same skirt.

Not even waiting to go upstairs to the changing room I tried it on under my dress.

Vix attacking the rails with gusto. Annie bought this wonderfully slinky snakeskin-print maxi that looked amazing on her.Annie bought the most and Vix did quite well. I only bought the skirt and a blouse, but was quite happy with my finds.

With a medieval heraldic horse print, there was no way I could pass up this Chelsea Girl blouse.

Not bad at 50p each.We made the rounds of the chairty shops where I purchased four pairs of ribbed tights.

Lovely, fluffy chips all around.A Walsall blogger meet-up tradition is a trip to Weatherspoons where I witnessed the "Vix effect" of all eyes in the pub riveted by her. Ensconsed in a cozy corner, we spent several hours chatting and gorging on chips. Then, I caught the train from Walsall to Birmingham with Annie, then back to London.

Whew! Now after this monster post, I'm off to read Vix's account of the day.

Linking up to Patti's Visible Monday and Judith's Hat Attack.

Sunday
Nov172013

Everyone jump upon the peace train

The two biggest categories of clothing in my wardrobe are 'things I've bought in India' and 'vintage 1970s'. So what do I do when MarketPlace: Handwork of India, which offers high-quality clothing made in India, asks me to collaborate by styling one of their garments on my blog? I take it through the 'way-back' machine.

First with an early 1970s, Teaser-and-the-Firecat sort of vibe.

MarketPlace Manipur Tunic DressAs anyone who's been reading my blog knows, my interest in India has focused on textiles and animal issues. I spent much of my travels there visiting and buying from artisans and connecting with animal welfare organizations. I've always been keen on supporting artisans and the preservation of traditional crafts. So, when MarketPlace contacted me, I jumped at the chance to collaborate.

MarketPlace is a non-profit, fair trade organization that has provided economic opportunities for low-income women in India since 1986. I used to get their print catalog and enjoyed reading about and seeing the faces of some of the 480 artisans whose work was represented. The artisans are organized into 14 independent cooperatives. These cooperatives create an empowered space where women can develop leadership skills and acquire the tools and confidence to advocate for social change in their communities. They have tackled a number of public health and social issues, and are more committed to keeping their daughters in school to get a better education than many of them did as girls. Please do read more about MarketPlace's mission here.

I love the combination of the ikat print with the block-printed floral print on the Manipur Tunic Dress. The floral print is embellished with hand-worked embroidery and sequins. And you'all know, I'm a sucker for fabric-covered buttons. MarketPlace Manipur Tunic Dress. Hat purchased at a street market in Toronto in the 1990s. 1960s Indian scarf. Assortment of metal pins I've had since the 1970s. Bangles purchased in India. Le Fleur boots by Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. At barely 5 ft. 3 inches tall, I often have a problem with clothes being made for someone taller. But many of MarketPlace's styles come in petite sizes, so the length of this dress is perfect.

The Manipur Tunic Dress nudged me into the mid-1970s as well.

MarketPlace Manipur Tunic Dress. Israeli Tichel scarf, purchased new. Embroidered velvet bag, gift from Vix. Churidar (pants) purchased in India. Bangles purchased in India. Clogs, thrifted and painted metallic blue by me. Just last night, after I had already taken the photo above, I was browsing some vintage Vogue magazines online and came across this.

Editorial from Vogue U.K. September 1975Linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday, where Patti has her MarketPlace jacket beautifully styled. Also check out the stunning MarketPlace tunic dress on Val's blog, Late Blooming Sparkle.

I was given an item of clothing by MarketPlace: Handwork of India for free, but my review is entirely my own opinion. Sponsored posts are not my thing, but I was already a fan of this organization, so am happy to lend my support.

Oh, and thanks for the book recommendations from my last post.

Wednesday
Nov132013

A new coat and some good reads

It's turned quite cold here so I've been perusing the winter coats at the thrift store. In terms of having a hard time finding one that fits properly, winter coats are right up there with shoes and bathing suits for me. They always seem to be too big in the shoulders or made for someone taller. My recent foray at the thrift store turned up the best fitting coat I've ever owned.

I love the flattering A-line shape, the asymmetrical button closure and the general luxe look of it. And it's in brand new condition. The only issue is the fake fur collar, which is so voluminous I feel like my head is being swallowed up.

Vintage Jules Miller coat, thrifted, Goodwill, $18. 1930s silk scarf I've owned for decades.Velour hat dubbed “The Flemish Burgermeister” hat by my friend, purchased at a street market in London or Toronto (can't recall which) in the 1990s. Restricted brand non-leather boots. Gloves purchased new in the 1990s, Filene's Basement. My research show that this label was used from 1976 to 1982.For those interested in books set in the 1960s and 70s, I can recommend a few. If you're on goodreads, I've written a bit more about them there.

Wonderful Tonight by Pattie Boyd, wife of George Harrison and, later, Eric Clapton. Not particularly well written but I enjoyed the insider's look at the London psychedelic scene, what people were wearing, where they shopped, the drugs they were taking and who they were sleeping with. I hadn't known about Friar Park, a sprawling Victorian Gothic mansion with 120 rooms and extensive grounds, that George Harrison bought and Pattie filled with Art Nouveau furnishings.

Dandelion: Memoir of a Free Spirit by Catherine James. This memoir is a fun read. Catherine James's pluck and resourcefulness (and the kindness of a few caring individuals, including a young Bob Dylan) helped her escape from a childhood of neglect and abuse. In the 1960s, at the age of 16, she joined the rock-star tribe in London. Her strong desire to remain in control of her life is admirable, as is her positive outlook and humor.

Split: A Counterculture Childhood by Lisa Michaels. If you want to re-live petty concerns and awkwardness and confusion of youth, this is a good book to read. I liked it as a novel, but it wasn't really about a 'counterculture childhood' so as a memoir I found it lacking. I also recommend the film Good Ol' Freda. Definitely not a 'tell-all,' Freda is the epitome of respect and restraint in recounting her 11 years as secretary to The Beatles and the manager of their Fan Club. Even so, it's still a good story about an exciting time.

Fairyland: A Memoir of my Father by Alysia Abbott. This book is a personal memoir of growing up in the 1970s and 80s as the daughter of a widowed, openly gay father. Using her father's diaries, letters, and other primary sources, the author tells an affectionate, but honest, story of her unusual upbringing while providing a historical account of the vibrant culture of San Francisco in the 1970s and, in the following decade, of the devastating toll of AIDS.

The Involvement of Arnold Wechsler by John Alexander Graham. The groovy cover illustration prompted me to buy this book at the thrift store. A classics professor gets dragged into a mystery involving the disappearance of the granddaughter of the dean of his college. As a mystery it was dreadful, but I enjoyed the description of a fictional college town near Boston in 1969 and, of course, the clothing. For example, in addition to faculty attired in tweed jackets, the author describes the students at a college rally:

Variations in dress here were wide. Most had apparently strived for casualness. Denim work shirts and dungarees and lumbermen's jackets were common, so were army fatigues. There were also tie-dyed jeans, gypsy blouses, railroad pants, and a number of cowboy boots and hats. Many wore suede jackets or vests...Finally, there were a few dandies wearing much the same clothing except new-looking, cut to fit, and colored in blaring neon shades.

Any books set in the '60s and '70s you can recommend?

Thursday
Nov072013

Nothing's changed

With the constant clutter in my apartment making it impossible to take photos without moving furniture, I tried improvising a backdrop to put in front of the furniture. Not sure if it saves me any work/time taking outfit pics...

I found this wonderful 1970s maroon polyester double-knit cape with its own scarf at Boomerang last week. At 20 bucks, it was more than I usually pay for clothes. But it's in perfect condition and I was hankering after a new cape after I realized that one I had since the early 70s had mysteriously disappeared.

Here I am in 1974 with oversized wire-rimmed aviator glasses, chipmunk cheeks, wide leather watchband, Indian cotton gauze blouse, and hip-length hair. And the blue wool cape (it had a hood!) that I'm pining over. I remember wearing it with clunky knee-high Timberland boots to traverse the snowdrifts of my college campus, and feeling like Kristin Lavransdatter. (I strongly recommend this trilogy written by Sigrid Undset in the 1920s)

1970s cape, no label, thrifted, Boomerang. Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti top, purchased new in the early 1990s, Filene's Basement. Restricted brand non-leather boots, purchased on sale. Hat and scarf from Frocktasia. Bangles purchased in India. 1960s glove,?, 1970s Pakistani bag, eBay.I bailed on Halloween last week. I had every intention of going to a party, sort of a community thing, with a friend (who wasn't that keen on going). But I called her at the last minute and said I couldn't go, “because I didn't have the right chain mail,” a reason she said she'd never heard before. I was planning to wear my chain mail tunic over a long gray dress that I made in 1976 and haven't worn since.

A couple days before the party I got the chain mail out of my storage space; all the other costume elements were accessible. A couple hours before the party, I realized that I had pulled out a length of chain mail, not the length of chain mail I had turned into a tunic, which wasn't to be found. I felt under-dressed without my chain mail and opted out of going out for Halloween.

Long dress made from sweatshirt material, made by me in 1976. Necklaces, also made by me in 1976. Belt, borrowed from a man in the 1990s and never returned. Wooden chalice and Indian bag I've had for decades. Man's shawl from India, no idea where I acquired this.Halloween at my office in 2007, with a colleague's princess pup. I know I've posted this pic before, but here's the tunic. I hope it turns up by next Halloween.

Garments that are vaguely (or not-so-vaguely) medieval, capes, and Indian shirts. My style really hasn't changed that much in 40 years. Do you find that you and your 13-year-old self dress similarly, too?

Monday
Oct282013

And death for no reason is murder

Just ten minutes after arriving at the incredibly crowded 18th Annual Boston Vegetarian Society Food Festival, a young woman came up to me and said, “You're wearing the best outfit of anyone here.” Why, thank you! (Unless vegans, vegetarians, and the veg-curious are really bad dressers -- which I don't believe).

Custo Barcelona shirt, thrifted, Goodwill. Tie-dyed velour skirt made in Nepal, Camden Stables Market, London. Boots by Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. Assortment of Indian and beaded necklaces. Bangles purchased in India. Mexican embroidered bag purchased at the Cultural Survival Bazaar. The Food Festival is a 2-day event with over 120 exhibitors (food, products, and organizations) and lots of great talks and cooking demonstrations. There was the usual food sampling. So at one table you're tasting artisanal chocolate, at the next pesto kale chips, then Ethiopian food, then dried gooseberries... and so on. My friend and I know to bring water to have a swig between tastings or risk some unpleasant combinations.

When we arrived we made a beeline for the Vegan Treats table. There was already a long line to purchase the most decadent pastries, donuts, and cookies I've ever seen.

This is a Vegan Treats spread from a different event, as the photos on my phone didn't come out. The bakery is located in Pennsylvania, so it is quite a treat to have them come to Boston.

I bought a coconut cream doughnut, raspberry-cheese danish, cannoli, Boston cream donut and a sticky bun. All vegan, all out-of-this world. All for me.

There were plenty of cruelty-free products at the Festival. I really like the belts, bags and jewelry at Michelle Leon Designs.

I grabbed photos of my favorite pieces off their website. Not on their website is this great bag in a suede-like fabric made from plastic bottles with a hand-cast monkey closure.

I was also admiring the wares of Herbivore Clothing, including this 'good luck elephant' design on a hemp and organic cotton t-shirt.

Alas, my friend and I left with just our weighty boxes of pastries and a few free samples and coupons. Good thing the tie-dyed purple and red skirt I was wearing has an elastic waist!

I recently saw the film "Morrissey 25 Live", (you can watch a trailer here) a concert film shot earlier this year. I was somewhat surprised to see how gracious Morrissey was with his fans and was reminded of how powerful his performance of 'Meat is Murder' is. 

Sunday
Oct202013

HONK! and a cushy home for my rings

Last weekend was the HONK! Festival round here. As I wrote in last year's post, HONK! is an annual activist street band festival that spans 2 ½ days and includes a parade of the bands and various organizations.

Vintage hat from Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair, Spitalfields, London. 1960s black velvet cape, thrifted, Goodwill. Barely seen scarf I've had since the 1970s. DKNY nylon bag purchased new decades ago and painted by me. Tights (?). Purple paratrooper boots, Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK.I met up with friends to watch the parade. Sorry, I neglected to identify each band/group. Predatory Loans were pretty scary and the mini-stiltwalkers did a good job of keeping up with everyone.

After the parade we had a delicious brunch at Red Lentil, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant.

1990s black dress, thrifted, Goodwill. Banana Republic-does-1970s dress underneath, thrifted, Goodwill. Blue stone pendant (?). Bangles, purchased in India.On the weekend, I also followed through on making a ring display box that I saw on Anna's blog, Mondo A-Go-Go. Having rings jumbled together in little boxes and tossed out each time I put them on probably wasn't very good for them.

I started with a wood and metal antique tray-like box with niello decoration that I've had since the 1970s. I think it originally fit into some sort of cabinet or slid into another box. I've always used it to hold jewelry. The fabric came from a pair of brown velvet trousers purchased at the thrift store 20 years ago and cut up for various projects since.

I tried my three pairs of cufflinks on the left side just to see if it would work for things other than rings. I don't currently have anything with French cuffs so the cufflinks will go back into deep storage. After I've tidied up a bit in my bedroom, I'll post a photo of the ring storage box in situ with rings in both compartments.

Those of you who commented that Tigro might have been anxious as he was not at his home got me thinking about the reason for his 4am wake-up calls. His dad Chris moved twice recently in the span of 6 months. Each time Chris was packing up and hauling his belongings to a new apartment, Tigro came to stay with me for a couple weeks. So that means Tigro went 'home' to a new location twice. He definitely wanted more attention on this visit and I think his recent moves probably made him a bit more anxious (when he stayed with me the first few times before the moves, he didn't wake me up so early, and when Tigro's at home, he's dead to the world until Chris wakes him up for breakfast).

Speaking of cats, check out Patti's cat t-shirt and the other non-cat-wearing participants at Visible Monday.

Wednesday
Oct162013

An officer and a gentleman and a brat

I had a little visitor for the past couple weeks.

Tigro, the brat cat, stayed with me while his dad (my friend Chris) was away. He's appeared on this blog several times as I'm his favorite baby-sitter.

Why “brat cat”? As much as he can be a sweetheart during the day and evening, it's at 4am that he turns into a complete brat. He has visited before and would wake me up at 6am, but this visit it was 4am. Every night, at 4am, he'd sit 3 inches from my head and hit me in the face every few minutes. I never figured out what he wanted. Getting up and feeding him made no difference. He'd have a nibble of his food, then once I was back in bed, he'd resume hitting me in the face.

I only picked up The Catalogue of Catalogues because it was 50 cents. By Maria Elena de la Inglesia, it was published in 1972 as a compendium of mail-order catalogues from around the world, from England to Ethiopia and Malta to Malaysia. It was probably out-of-date within 6 months of the publication date. I picked it up as I thought it might be useful in identifying vintage items. Once I had a thorough look-through, I found that the only entries of interest are the ones below.

Cleo Munster Cloak in navy blue, maroon, green, purple or black wool. $86.18.


Cleo, 3 Molesworth Street, Dublin, Ireland Color leaflet. 25 cents. Prices in $.
Cleo sells flamboyant clothes based on traditional Irish styles to boutiques in America and also by mail. Aran knitting appears in all sorts of colors and shapes—as ponchos, full-length hostess skirts, knickerbockers, trouser suits and even as bedspreads. Bright crochet patterns and handwoven fabrics are used for skirts, vests, capes, hats and bags. And for evening wear there are colorful new versions of tinker's shawls, and the full length sixteenth-century hooded Munster cloak which used to be worn in Southern Ireland. Most of the prices are under $25.

 

Cleo, which has been in business since 1936, still exists.

Way in Dodo cushion covers. The wooden candlesticks are made by Aarikka of Finland.

Way in Dodo, Harrod's Knightsbridge, London W1, England, Catalogue, 25 cents
Top pop for the home by Dodo Designs, which produces a witty, inexpensive line of things in '20s-'30s designs and good, strong colors. Trays, tea canisters, signs, posters, alarm clocks, plastered with Union Jacks and jokey scenes. The best are cushions with boldly designed faces of '20s film stars or gangsters, or a picture of Britannia with the suggestive message “England Expects Every Man to Do His Duty.” There are also sets of three cushions which, when put together, make a fat-thighed lady in purple-and-red corset and boots, or a mustachioed, tattooed strong man. Dishtowels and aprons in the same vein; one dishtowel shows a vamp with penciled eyebrows looking invitingly over her shoulder saying, “Honey, we're all washing up.”

I really like the sun face cushion and I know I have a little faux-basket tin by Dodo Designs somewhere. I'm guessing their 'olde time' tins are fairly common finds in charity shops in the U.K.

The entry of most interest is this one.

Country Cousins, 17” square “Officers and Gentlemen” cusion, $4.50. 13” square “Train” (or “Ship” or “Rocking Horse”) cushion in red and pink, $4.50. 6 1/2” mouse with removable red cloak and blue apron, $3. Prices include surface postage.

Country Cousins, Gorse Croft, Ranmoor Lane, Hathersage, via Sheffield S30 1BW, England
Price list and fabric samples, 45 cents

Mrs. Muriel Brown designs most of Country Cousin's toys, cushions, aprons and oven gloves, which are made up in gaily colored cottons by local people working at home. She says the cushions are by far the most popular with Americans and Canadians. First, the 17” square “Officers and Gentlemen” cushion with gold, scarlet, blue and black eighteenth-century soldiers printed on one side, and a solid color on the other, $4.50; then, patchwork cushions based on old English designs copied from museums: “Flower Garden” (top left) is a design used by Elizabeth Fry, who taught prisoners patchwork in Newgate Gaol before they were transported to Australia. The cushions, except for “Mosaic,” which has a mixture of jolly colors, are made in predominantly brown, pink or turquoise-blue tones, but any other colors can be made, and customers' own fabrics used. Patchwork quilts are made to order after a discussion of types and colors (single, $42), and old quilts can be restored. After the cushions, the most popular things are the toys: a furry white mouse with removable shawl and apron; stuffed kittens, rabbits; rag dolls; a pin-and-red weighted doorstop; and a red or green patterned hobby horse on a red stick with a wool mane, bell and bridle, $8.25.

You might recognize the "Officers and Gentlemen" cushion fabric as the same fabric used by Vix for her 'curtain couture' waistcoat.

I'll end with a few more pics of the brat-master.

Sunday
Oct062013

Because violence is unnecessary

Up until today, which was cold and overcast, the weather has been sunny and warm here in New England. Yesterday, I was able to wear this vintage dress I just found at Boomerang. It's lightweight rayon but in fall colors, so it feeds two birds with one scone.* With the cap sleeves and 'ugly' floral print in gold, turquoise and brown, what'dya think? 1975-76?

1970s Ragtime dress, thrifted, Boomerang. 1970s necklace, thrifted, Goodwill. Bangles given to me in India. Tights, thrifted, Goodwill. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill.

The label is one I hadn't seen before -- "Ragtime." Not a whole lot to say about this, except that I'm linking to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

With cooler weather, my thoughts have turned to baking.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that my veg box always contains bananas. So, in addition to my frozen dessert and smoothies, I make a lot of banana muffins (if I come over for tea I will probably bring banana muffins--you've been warned). They're very quick to make, with just a few ingredients that you likely have in your pantry, and can be modified all sorts of ways (I sometimes add walnuts, raisins, or shredded coconut—or all three).

I've adapted a recipe on VegWeb.com.

Joyatri's Banana Muffins (dairy and egg-free)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour ('fine wholemeal' flour in the U.K.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ripe bananas, mashed (sometimes I use 3 and add a little more apple sauce)
1/4 cup cane sugar (the original recipe calls for ¾ cup--too sweet for me)
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3 tablespoons canola/rapeseed oil
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or raisins or ¼ cup of each

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 10 muffin cups with muffin papers.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, applesauce and oil.
4. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in walnuts or raisins, if desired.

5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.
Oatmeal raisin scone I have made oatmeal scones every week for the past 30 years. It started with a recipe in a booklet received by mailing in two Quaker Oats box-tops. Since then I've veganized the recipe by using soy, rice, oat or almond dairy milk and ground flax seed in water instead of an egg. I also made them lower in fat by substituting applesauce for half the fat (I use canola oil). I never tire of them and, like the muffins, modify them to use whatever's on hand.

Oatmeal strawberry-almond scones

from veganstreet.com. This is handy for remembering egg substitutes when baking.

I freeze the muffins and scones pull one (or two for the muffins) out before I go to bed to have in the morning.

I discovered that applesauce is not as readily availablel in the U.K. as it is in the States. Natural foods stores have it as “apple puree” (of course, you can make your own). I buy the kind without preservatives, which can get moldy quickly, even in the refrigerator, fairly quickly. So I freeze 1/2-cup amounts. Between the scones and the muffins, I go through lots of applesauce. And jam. 

My kitchen cabinet with lots of applesauce and jam jars as storage for grains, beans, legumes and nuts. I want to try making this. At an Armenian market in the next town, where I stock up on all my fig needs (fig jam, fresh figs, dried figs), I discovered that traditional Armenian tahini bread is vegan. It's like a cinnamon roll--it's just a yeast dough made with olive oil and spread with tahini, sugar, and cinnamon, rolled up and baked. I found a recipe here.

*from veganstreet.com

Tuesday
Oct012013

Hat Attack #3 and a testimonial

I have no idea if Home Economics classes have survived in U.S. junior high and high schools. I remember the first Home Economics class I had in 7th grade, which covered sewing for a whole year. The following year was cooking and the year after that was something like family relationships or child development or something. Boys took 'shop' to learn woodworking, car mechanics, and mechanical drawing. By the time I got to high school, these classes were no longer segregated by gender and I was able to take an architectural drawing class.

Click pic for source.This was my first sewing project in Home Ec.

My second project was a bit more ambitious-- a lined jacket made of blue and beige batik-patterned cotton with wooden toggle buttons. I loved that jacket and wish I had held onto it.

Recently, I found a black quilted velveteen jacket that reminded be of that 7th grade project. In anticipation of colder weather I created an outfit for the Style Crone's latest Hat Attack #3 challenge with my new jacket.

Wool beret I purchased in 1978 at Faces of Earth, Amherst, MA. 1970s F.A. Chatta black velveteen quilted jacket, thrifted, Boomerang. 1990s Jean Paul Gaultier wool trousers purchased new, Filene's Basement. Madden Girl non-leather brogues, thrifted. Bamboo-cotton long-sleeved t-shirt, thrifted, Goodwill. 1920s celluloid rose brooch I've had for decades. Amber beads I've had for decades. 1970s red belt, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s bucket handbag I've had for decades.This brooch has had a broken leaf for as long as I've owned it (40+ years), but I wear it anyway.Although I've been wearing trousers the past couple weeks, I spent the summer in skirts and dresses, a fairly recent phenomenon for me. Prior to this past summer, I bared my legs reluctantly.

For the past 20 or so years, I’ve had a skin condition I dubbed “itchy-leg syndrome.” I don’t know why but my legs itched all the time, especially at night. I would consciously and unconsciously (sometimes in my sleep) scratch them. This happened year round, at home, in the U.K., in India, everywhere. Doctors were of little help, suggesting that it might be a low-level allergy to something very common, like dust. I was told to use steroid cream or take an antihistamine daily. I wanted to determine the cause and not be reliant on medicines to just treat the symptoms--and did nothing.

So, I've spent decades looking like I’d been attacked by a pack of wolverines. Long red scratches criss-crossed my legs (and sometimes arms), which after years, built up into a patchwork of scars. When I did expose my legs, people would recoil in horror.

About six months ago, after watching this video by Dr. Michael Greger, I started taking a teaspoon of flax seed oil every day. I have it 'neat', on salad, or in smoothies. Now, my legs don't itch and the scars are slowly fading. It's a miracle, I tell you.

If you have any issues with sensitive skin, give flax seeds or flax seed oil a try and let me know how it goes.

Wednesday
Sep252013

On the Digital Catwalk

I am honored that Anne of Spy Girl has put me on her Digital Catwalk again. She has captured all the details of United Nations challenge outfit: the embroidery and beadwork on the Ethiopian scarf, the patterns on the Indian blouse and vest, and the embroidered patchwork of my Guatemalan skirt. And I love that I look 6 feet tall!

Thank you, Anne!

Sunday
Sep222013

Stepping through the wonderwall

What a fun, vintage-filled weekend! On Saturday, I re-visited the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (closing Nov. 11) with my friend Lauren (the curator of the exhibition) and Ms. Hippie Chic herself, the fashion designer Anna Sui, who came to Boston to see the show with a mutual friend of ours.

Her enthusiasm for fashions of the '60s and '70s has filtered into her collections of the past couple decades and she has been one of the few (only?) contemporary designers I have paid attention to. In the early 1990s, I often made the rounds of galleries in Soho (New York) for my job and always stopped for a gander around the Anna Sui boutique. With its dark red floor, purple walls and ornate furnishings, I admired the look of the store as much as the clothes. I remember racks full of panne velvet, leg o' mutton sleeves, stripes in primary colors, dandy hats, floaty fabrics and all the other fashion elements I've loved pretty much my whole life. I have a shiny, dark red Anna Sui jacket from that period. Then and now, it is my go-to jacket when I want to feel like a rock star.

Jan Toorop (1858-1928), Delft Salad Oil Poster, lithograph, 1894After visiting the Hippie Chic show, we took in a small Dutch Art Nouveau works on paper exhibit. Can you believe this is an advertisement for salad oil? 

I finally got to wear the vaguely medieval maxi dress I purchased at Second to None when I visited Vix in Walsall last year.

The label is still a mystery. Anyone know anything about a boutique in Hampstead (London) called Aurium?

Rayon dress made in India, Second to None, Walsall, UK. Contemporary denim vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Mid-century Norwegian brooch I've had for decades (I'll post more about this brooch later). Moon face pendant and silver and amethyst moon face necklace, purchased in the 1970s. Indian brass and glass necklace, purchased from Frocktasia. Strands of 'love beads' made by me in the 1970s.Vintage embroidered velvet and corduroy bag, Made in Pakistan, thrifted, Boomerang. Contemporary shoes, thrifted, Goodwill, painted by me. Vintage stockings with stars, thrifted, Goodwill. Vintage hat from Frocktasia. 1970s Butte Knit black velvet jacket, thrifted, Goodwill. Late 1960s/early 1970s Patty O'Neil polyester mini-dress, thrifted, Goodwill. Hand-crocheted vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Blue tights, thrifted, Goodwill. 1960s chain belt and 1930s Bakelite brooch, both owned for decades. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill, painted by me. 1990s black nylon bag, painted by me.Can I get away with wearing a micro-mini? I went out in public and I wasn't arrested, so I guess so.

The next best thing to fabric-covered buttons? Giant ball-shaped buttons.

Patty O'Neil Jr. Petites label. This dress once belonged to Anita L. Nichols. Thanks for the dress, Anita. Sunday morning, over home-made baked goods (including those banana muffins I inflict on everyone), Anna, our friend, and I met to pour over a selection of my horde of vintage clothing and Indian textiles. It's so much fun to hang out with like-minded folk who get excited by bits of schmata, especially ones who are as knowledgeable as Anna is about textiles and fashion. I only wish we'd more time to chat!

You know how much I enjoyed the exhibition, "Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde" that was at the Tate Britain last year. So to see a fashion collection inspired by that exhibition makes me too giddy for words. I keep watching the video of Anna Sui's Spring 2014 Collection over and over. It's a veritable bounty of Art Nouveau motifs, peacock blues, diaphanous tops and frocks, gladiator sandals, purples, Glasgow-School-style roses, panne velvet trousers, and glorious pattern mixing.

Enjoy!

Linking up with Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday party.

Thursday
Sep192013

Dressing for world peace: the U.N. challenge

You can tell the weather is getting cooler; I take outfit shots more frequently. There are a whopping three in this one post. In the summer, it is usually sweltering in my apartment, too hot to fuss about taking photos. The days have been gorgeous, cool air and lots of sunshine (sorry, people in not-sunny places).

When I saw that Spy Girl's 52-Pick-Me-Up challenge was 'United Nations' (wear items from different countries), I couldn't not participate. About a third of my clothes and accessories were purchased in India. Here's my India/Guatemala/Ethiopia/Pakistan/Kenya submission. How's that for diversity?

Vintage hat purchased from Frocktasia. Fab India printed cotton shirt purchased in India. Anokhi printed cotton vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Mayan Connections embroidered patchwork skirt, made in Guatemala, purchased at the Washington DC Green Festival. Vintage Pakistani embroidered velvet bag, purchased, eBay. Tights, thrifted, Goodwill. Embroidered and beaded scarf from Ethiopia, thrifted. Non-leather boots purchased on sale. Necklace and beaded bracelets, gifts brought back from Kenya.

I also have tons of thrifted clothes to show.

I love a striped menswear-looking shirt and I've been on a mission to acquire more vests.

1970s 'Catch Can' striped blouse, thrifted, Goodwill. Hand-crocheted vest, thrifted, Goodwill. Gap jeans, I recall getting these on sale ($7) at The Gap about 7 years ago. 1980S Fiorucci belt, thrifted, Goodwill. Indian brass necklace, Etsy. 1970S applique vinyl bag, Etsy. Boring black shoes, thrifted, Goodwill (worn to determine if they're comfortable enough to be worth painting). Mission accomplished.

This pattern has been in my collection for decades, but I don't yet possess the skills needed to alter it to fit. But, I've always wanted a 30's-inspired jacket with a large pointed collar and a nipped in waist.

1970s does 1930s knit top, no label, thrifted, Goodwill. Fedora from vintage/consignment shop Raspberry Beret. Michael Kors trousers purchased new 12 or so years ago Filene's Basement. 1940s or 50s metal bead necklace I've owned forever. Fabric flower from a hat. Bangles purchased in India. The thrift store gods again looked favorably upon me and I found one a few months back. 

Can't recall where this straw hat came from. 1970s does 1930s velvet and vinyl bag, purchased at the Rock and Roll Yard Sale. The chevron top stitching and insets in the pockets and sleeves are pretty cool. I most certainly don't have the 'dolly bird' shape of Biba's models, but I was reminded of this outfit from one of the Biba catalogues.

My wardrobe is so geared for fall weather: jackets, boots, tights, scarves, vests. Anyone else feel more inspired by cooler weather?

I drafted this post while sitting in a cafe earlier this evening and the guys at the table behind me were having a passionate conversation about meteorology, spewing out phrases like 'aerosol particles,' 'refractory material,' and 'invigorating convection.' I love Cambridge.