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.

From my collection to yours: Check out Joyatri on Etsy shop.


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?


Visit Vintage Network Worldwide

 Follow me here:


Joyatri is on Spy Girl's Digital Catwalk

I hang out here:


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. 


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.


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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


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.


Using the veg box, part 1

Thank you so much for your kind comments on my last post!

I love my veg box. The home delivery service, Boston Organics, brings vegetables and fruit to me every other week. I do all of my food shopping on foot and can only carry so much. I eat so much better when my fruit and veg is taken care of. And it's fun trying new recipes to use whatever arrived. 

The coconut milk and the sweet potato give this dish a lovely soft orange color. Lately I've been getting lots of dark leafy greens and sweet potatoes. A big bunch of callaloo was turned into this Jamaican stew of the same name (recipe here--it can also be made with spinach). I tend to cook for an army and eat the same thing for days. In order to mix things up a bit, I've made the freezer my friend, and in goes the callaloo or vats of minestrone or lentil stew.

One of my favorite summer recipes, using summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and basil is Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta. I double the recipe of the tomato-cashew sauce and freeze some. Instead of pasta, I use a vegetable peeler (you can use a mandoline if you want to get all fancy) to make “noodles” of summer squash or zucchini (or both as here)The tomato-cashew sauce needs lots of stirring to 'toast' it after it's blended. The squash ribbons are sauteed in oil just to get them hot and slightly softer.The sauce is very rich (and addictive) so this meal is as satisfying as a plate of pasta. This summer I have been eating lots of homemade 'ice cream.'

For a single serving, put a chopped up frozen, very-ripe banana in a food processor with about 8 frozen cherries, add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon cocoa. Blend until there are no lumps (it'll be the texture of soft-serve ice cream). If I want it sweeter, I also blend in a teaspoon of agave nectar. Voila, a chocolatey dessert with virtually no fat!

I'll save 'baking with my veg box' for another post.


Dog was my co-pilot


With two of my favorite charges at the hurricane relief center. 'Red dog' just wanted cuddle all the time. From his scars, it appears he was a 'bait dog' used in dogfighting.I started this blog on December 23, 2005 and two days later, on Christmas Day, I flew to New Orleans to take care of dogs rescued from Hurricane Katrina. In February, 2006, I went back for a second volunteer stint. This blog was intended to be about the plight of the rescued dogs, but then came to be about all animals and particularly animals in India (how’s that for a niche?)

Looking back at old posts, I see that I even managed to work in my craft endeavors.

Embroidered and painted quilt square inspired by images from aftermath of Hurricane Katrina For decades I collected vintage dog photos (unfortunately, still packed away since my move back into my apartment 3 years ago) and all manner of dog tchotchkes.

Vignettes from my living room:

1950s Phil-Mar Corporation ceramic TV lamp. The company called this the TV 110 Wolfhounds lamp. Click pic for more info on Phil-Mar TV lamps.

One of my favorite vintage photos, of a woman and her German Shepherd. The cookie tins store my postcard collection. And in my kitchen:

Contemporary and vintage dog mugs.Glass dog-shaped containers and glass dogs. Vintage "my best friend's biscuit" tin, 1930s framed tile and 1930s painted tray. And, of course, there were a dozen years with the love-of-my-life, Rudy, who’s been gone for 10 years, but I still think of her nearly every day.

Me and Rudy when she was quite young, 1991.As you can see in the photo that accompanies this post memorializing her, Rudy liked to ride shotgun with my friend Chris (who I co-parented her with). So, I created some low-budget bumper stickers for his truck.

Rudy poses with bumper sticker with her likeness.After neglecting my blog for a couple years, it was reincarnated in 2010 as a ‘whatever-strikes-my-fancy’ blog (which usually means vintage clothing, thrifting, sewing, shoe painting, vegan food, books, and travel).

So back to the present, which, unfortunately, is not so dog-focused --

My local thrift stores aren’t as cheap as I would like, and I’m always jealous of bloggers who find treasures for pennies. A couple weeks ago, I took a bus over to the next town, to a giant thrift store I had never been to before. Wednesdays are ‘senior’ (to them, anyone over age 50) discount days. The place is huge, and it took some digging, but I ended up with 2 dresses, 4 blouses, 2 scarves, some hair accessories and a pair of curtains. In the check-out line I was pleased that I was going to get the senior discount, which I assumed was 20-25%. Imagine my delight to find out it was 50% (but just on clothes and accessories). My total came to $21.00!

My favorite purchase was this late 1960s-early 1970s peacock blue, paisley/ikat patterned, low-cut, empire waist maxi dress (I think I just typed all of my favorite dress descriptors). It cost all of $3!

Hair flower taken from a hat purchased in the 1980s. 1970s pewter and ceramic pendant, purchased at a car boot sale in London. Embroidered corduroy and velvet Pakistani bag, purchased at Boomerang’s.There is no Visible Monday this week, so I’m joining Judith at Style Crone’s Hat Attack. For all manner of vintage and contemporary headwear, have a look!

It seems like most of the bloggers I know live with cats and not so many with dogs. More dogs on blogs, please.


Rock, roll (and recuperate)

My end-of-summer lookI hope to get this post completed before I pass out from exhaustion. Today my friend Chris and I were selling at the annual Rock and Roll Yard Sale, a street fair/market with vinyl sellers, live music, crafters, and vintage dealers. I’ve spent most of my free time the past few weeks sorting through boxes of stuff that I’ve had for decades as well as pricing and preparing -- with the hopes of clearing out loads in one fell swoop. And I did. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather and the crowds were non-stop all day.

I didn’t get much time to perfect my display before it got very busy. With the exception of two right nearby, I didn’t have a chance to visit the other vintage sellers, so no purchases for me today.

.I’ve always loved the scarves, linens and jewelry in the shop ‘Carmen & Ginger’ on Etsy, so it was fun to get a quick glimpse of their retro wares. 

On the other side, I met vintage seller, July White who was sharing a space with Maria of Tezcatlipoca

July purchased this early 1970s striped knit mini by Whistle Stop from me and wore it immediately.

Tezcatlipoca’s Colin Glascoe plum and gold print velvet maxi dress was drop-dead gorgeous.

I didn’t get to see much that wasn’t in a 15-foot radius of my tent. So I was glad that Famous Seamus, the world's mellowest cat who puts in appearances at a number of outdoor events in the area, passed close enough for me to give him a head scratch.

Skirt, tie-dye peasant blouse, and corset, all thrifted. Moon face pendant purchased in the 1970s. Bangles from India. Flower crown made by me.No pictures of me at the Sale, (and I wouldn’t have allowed any as I was too hot and bedraggled). I wore this outfit with a straw hat instead of my flower crown, and tons more jewelry.

I'm linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday and then crashing into bed. Now that this event is over, I do plan to catch up on my blog reading!

Nighty night.


King's Row anyone?

Darn you, eBay.

Since they added the ‘here’s some listings from your recent searches” on the home page, I’ve been sucked into perusing 1960s and 70s dresses that I have no business looking at. Well, I bought one. It fit but I just didn’t like it on me. So the dress is headed for Etsy.

I have a weakness for fabric-covered buttons and psychedelic prints.

I was intrigued by the label, King’s Row, which, of course, sounds similar to ‘King’s Road’ in London, home to 1960s avant-garde boutiques like Granny Takes a Trip. But which company issued the King’s Row label? By searching the RN number, it was revealed that the manufacturer was Puritan Fashions!

Puritan Fashions, a Boston company that had been around since the beginning of the 20th century, helped introduce British mod fashion to the U.S. Aided by Paul Young, a British entrepreneur, Puritan launched the Youthquake label in 1965 bringing in designers like Mary Quant, Sally Tuffin and Marion Foale and fostering young American talent like Betsy Johnson. At this time London had a number of forward-thinking boutiques, but the U.S. fashion industry was fairly staid in its approach to the youth market. So, the establishment of Youthquake led Young (who was inspired by Biba in London) and Puritan’s CEO to open Paraphernalia in New York, a ‘happening’ store that brought together music, fashion, art and popular culture to give American youth their own shopping experience.

I own a metallic knit Youthquake dress that I bought decades ago, which I used to wear to art exhibition openings in London in the early 1990s. It was far too short for me to consider wearing in Boston. Note that the delightfully flouncy sleeves are as long as the dress.

I love the label.

So it seems that Puritan also had the King’s Row label (again capitalizing on British fashion), but I can’t find out when or why. The King's Row clothes for sale online appear to cover the early to mid-1970s. If anyone knows more about this label, please let me know.

Like the ice-blue dress in my last post, I seem to be finding lots of 1970s vintage at the thrift store (I’m guessing no one else wants it). Since I have a dearth of short sleeves in my wardrobe, I picked up this early 1970s knit dress (no label) and shortened it (thanks to everyone who offered that advice for the ice-blue dress).

For the bag, I broke out my textile paintsand painted gold stars on the Tyvek-like fabric (when it comes to crafts, rather than ‘put a bird on it,’ I put a star on it) and made new straps out of star-print fabric.

The general style of the dress reminded me of this one by Betsey Johnson for Alley Cat, from an editorial in the March 1974 issue of Seventeen magazine.

The print of little pink flowers springs recalls the sweet floral prints of the early 1970s, for example, on these Butterick patterns for Betsey Johnson/Alley Cat designs.



In addition to filling out my summer wardrobe with short-sleeve dresses, the thrift store has me prepared for fall. A load of opaque tights by American Apparel had been deposited there yesterday. All looked to be unworn, perhaps just taken out of the package or used for display. Retailing for $16 - 25 each, I paid 99 cents each.

A dozen just-washed tights in lovely fall colors.

I pulled something out of my closet last week and thought, "this would look great with a pair of mustard-colored tights." Now, I have two pairs of mustard-colored tights! It's like the Law of Attraction or something.

Joining in with this week's Visible Monday.


Christmas in July

I recently drafted a pattern for an A-line skirt and when I went to the fabric store to get muslin, I found that the cheapest cottons they had were Christmas prints on sale. (What, me buy something new? My local thrift store rarely has fabric or cotton sheets). So I decided to make the muslin for my skirt out of green cotton with gold stars.

‘Christmas’ print cotton skirt, made by me. 1970s blouse by Nutmeg, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s green plastic bead necklace, thrifted, Goodwill. 1980s star pin, thrifted, Boomerang. 1960s striped belt, thrifted, Goodwill. Bangles purchased in India. Dansko clogs, thrifted, Goodwill. Thai silk handbag, thrifted, Goodwill.I then broke two of my own rules (Rule #1- Never tuck anything in. Rule #2 - Never wear yellow since it makes me look jaundiced) by tucking a mid-1970s blouse in yellow with black stripes and piping into my ‘Christmas’ skirt.

It was also like Christmas this weekend because I received a little package in the mail from Cardiff, Wales. I had sent Sian--who blogs about crafting, vegan cooking, books, and more-- a couple of the novels I acquired and read when I was in London. Both were set in 1960s Wales and I thought she would appreciate them.

She did, and sent me this sweet bluebird pin (packaged in a Leone pastilles box that matched the blouse I was wearing). I love it and planned to wear right away.

Like Saturday’s outfit, Sunday’s was in the category of “things I never wear.” I don’t normally wear pastel colors or lace or self-belts that tie. But, I was attracted to the butterfly sleeves of this 1970s home-sewn, ice-blue polyester dress at the thrift store.

I was put off by the large coffee stain (that’s the story I gave it and I’m sticking to it) on the back of the skirt. I've had good luck getting stains out of polyester, so I bought it, washed it and it was as good as new. Except for a couple pulls at the waist where the thrift store had pinned the belt that came with it. Aargh!

I wore it to trek over to the Davis Flea, a weekly flea market that started last year but which I hadn’t visited yet. Unfortunately, the market wasn’t very big and I didn’t see much worth reporting on.

1970s polyester dress, thrifted, Goodwill. Hat, no idea, as before. Bluebird pin, gift from Sian. Silver necklace, Cultural Survival Bazarr. Bangles, purchased in India. Late 1960s/early 1970s Pakistani velvet bag, purchased at a yard sale years ago (the first bag of what would become a collection!). Sandals, purchased new at Moo Shoes, NY.I’m thinking that I’ll shorten this dress to just above the knee. What do you think?

On my way to the Flea, I cut through the campus of Harvard University. And was dismayed to see that the tree where Winnie the Pooh has had his pied-à-terre for nearly 30 years (no one knows for sure how long) had been cut down.  Thankfully, a stump had been left and a new roof was built for it.

Happy 65th birthday, Yusuf (a.k.a. Cat Stevens)!


I wasn't invited to Yusuf's birthday party, so I'll head over to Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday shindig. And, join '70s flashback get-together on Spy Girl's blog.


Highlights from Hippie Chic

Here is a wee tour of the Hippie Chic exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This Facebook album (you don’t need to have a Facebook account to see it) has many more photos of the show. I didn't photograph every mannequin—so there will be some surprises if you do see the show or read the exhibition catalogue.

The exhibition shows designer fashion inspired by the street style created by hippies, and touches on the different elements that went into hippie style: Trippy Hippie, Fantasy Hippie, Craft Hippie, Ethnic Hippie, and Retro Hippie. The phenomenal wigs by Jason Allen, a hair and make-up artist for the Boston Lyric Opera and Boston Ballet, are critical to each look since hair was as way out as clothing in this period.

All fashion is in the collection of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, unless I’ve stated otherwise. Props and accessories provided by a number of lenders (including me). If you do share these images, please link back to my Facebook page or my blog.

The info on each piece comes from the exhibition catalogue, which is available for purchase here. I can't recommend it enough. It not only contains images of many of the pieces in the exhibit, but there are supplementary photos that place each example in context.

Trippy Hippie

In the center of the gallery, on round platforms covered with shag carpeting in acid colors, the Trippy Hippies lead you into the exhibition. In case the colors and styles of these psychedelic clothes weren’t mind-altering enough, a couple of the platforms actually rotate.

One first encounters Patti Boyd’s doppelganger in a Cosmic Couture dress by Barry and Yosha Finch for The Chariot, about 1970. After the design collective The Fool disbanded, Barry Finch and Yosha Leeger moved to Los Angeles where they opened a boutique called The Chariot selling handmade clothing and furnishing fabrics. They eventually shifted to providing the “Cosmic Couture” label to upscale department stores. This dress is perfection with its vaguely medieval style, celestial theme and rainbow sleeves in cotton velvet.

A peak at the lining of the sleeves of the Cosmic Couture dress.

Alkasura jacket with stippled cat and flower print, c. 1970. The mannequin wears my faceted rose-tinted glasses (the ones in the header image of my blog and blog's Facebook page), which I’ve had since 1968.

On the left, the Noel Redding (of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) mannequin wears a Granny Takes a Trip jacket in fabric by Morris & Co. designed by John Pearse in about 1967. On the right, a Granny Takes a Trip velvet suit from the early 1970s.

Lauren told me that these jackets and the trousers were so small, they wouldn’t fit contemporary male mannequins, which are 6 ft. 5 in. tall and buff. So it was necessary to take the mannequins to the Museum carpentry shop to be cut down to shorten them. It was also necessary to have the chest, shoulder blades, pubic area and buttocks sawed off, leaving an effect, as Lauren says, "like Swiss cheese" which "caused the carpenters to be scarred for life."

Fantasy Hippie

As a hippie, you could be a Renaissance troubadour, a homesteader on the American prairie, a medieval princess, or any other persona pulled from history or fairy tales.

The ‘three graces’ in the center wear some of the most beautiful dresses in the show. From left, designed by Lee Bender for Bust Stop, circa 1970. Silk crepe dress designed by Ossie Clark with fabric designed by Celia Birtwell,, early 1970s. The exhibition catalogue notes that the center dress by Giorgio di Sant’Angelo was likely inspired by Sandro Botticellie’s early Renaissance work, Allegory of Spring (La Primavera). Dress from 1972 by the fantasy-frock master, Bill Gibbs, in a sea-shell print.

Betsy Johnson’s 1968 Tara dress inspired by 'Gone with the Wind'.

Craft Hippie

Much of hippie fashion was about DIY and designers followed suit by using a variety of construction and decorative echniques.

You can’t have a hippie show without tie-dye. This Halston pantsuit in silk velvet from 1969 is a luxe version.

Star-embellished boots (made by Gohill, retailed by Granny Takes a Trip, 1969) accompany a Holly Harp tie-dyed dress with an embroidered suede belt. The mannequin is seeing stars in 1970s sunglasses.

Ethnic Hippie

The hippie penchant for travel and the romanticizing of cultures that seemed to offer a "purer" way of life was reflected in the use of textiles from these cultures.

Left to right: John Bates hooded djellabah (barely visible) Geoffrey Beane dress, Thea Porter coat made from an Iraqi textile with fur added to cuffs and collar (1969), Thea Porter dress, Zandra Rhodes dress, fringed and beaded suede East West Musical Instruments Company jacket (loan from FIDM Museum).

The mannequins have been raiding my wardrobe again. This one wears a stamped leather hair slide I bought in the early 1970s, when my hair was this long.

Thea Porter chiffon dress with Central Asian suzani bodice (about 1970). Velvet Pakistani bag with gold braid on loan to the exhibition from my collection.

Retro Hippie

Unlike the romance of fairy tales and costume from earlier periods of history, the ‘Retro Hippie’ mined the recent past—the 1920s-40s. Recalling free spirits such as bootleggers, flappers and Hollywood villains and vamps, these fashions have a more glamorous vibe.

Ossie Clark certainly knew how to make feminine, flattering dresses with his use of bias cut fabric (black and white one with fabric by Celia Birtwell).

An art deco-print jumpsuit designed by Barbara Hulanicki for Biba in the early 1970s. The mannequin holds one of Biba’s mail-order catalogs.

See more photos of the fashion in the exhbition on my blog Facebook page.