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.


 

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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

 

 

 

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Entries in thrifting (28)

Sunday
Jan112015

It's hard to say goodbye

I leave London tomorrow. Bunhill Fields seemed a suitable somber location to take my last outfit photo of this visit.

Greek Fisherman’s cap, purchased in London in the 1990s. Handknit cardigan, from Goodwill thrift store. Tie dye scarf purchased from a street vendor in Rome in the 1990s. H & M denim skirt, purchased in the 1990s. Tights, from Goodwill thrift store. Boots, purchased at Vegetarian Shoes, Brighton, UK. Bag painted by me.Today was a quick visit to Spitalfields stopping at Bunhill Fields on the way. This site was used as the cemetery for the City of London from 1665 to 1854. And where one of my favorite artists, William Blake, is buried.

William Blake’s watercolor etching, The Ancient of Days in Europe a Prophecy copy D from the British Museum. Originally published in 1794 (later copies were made by Blake).Yesterday, the City of London organized a “Give and Take” day for people to give unwanted items and take whatever they want. We dropped off our stuff in the morning, the organizers set up, and we queued up in the afternoon for entrance. After checking for proof of city residency, the public was allowed in.

The event should have been called “give and grab” as it was a mad dash in and a crazy free-for-all as people started stuffing clothes, housewares and all manner of things into the bags they had brought along. A scan of the clothes revealed nothing of interest, then I quickly made my way to the jewelry, decorative tchotchkes, and books.

I was very surprised not to see any vintage but later learned the reason why. My boyfriend chatted with the organizers and learned that the charity shop TRAID, which sells vintage, had been allowed in early to take their pick. Same with a charity bookshop and the books. Oh well.

Anyway, I’m quite happy with my takings:

A vintage Tchibo tea tin, two Indian scarves and assorted buttons.

Scraps of very expensive silk velvets, linens, jersey and silk to be used for craft projects.Detail of fabric.Detail of fabric.Detail of fabric. The Encyclopedia of Fashion, a set of Margaret Rutherford/Miss Marple dvds, a Morrissey cd and The Smiths cd.A jar of assorted jewelry bits and a box of big glass beads. I passed up some other desirable items as I already knew I wouldn’t be able to get all of these things into my suitcase. Speaking of which, I must get packing.

Linking up to Not Dead Yet Style’s Visible Monday and Spy Girl's Pantone Party. Although I often wear this year's Pantone color, Marsala, I'm thinking today's outfit is a combination of Mimosa, Tangerine Tango and Emerald.

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
Sep012013

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.

Sunday
Jun232013

Some dreams do come true

My last full week in London has been jam-packed.

I visited the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow 20 or so years ago. Since then it went through a major redevelopment and has just won £100,000 Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year so I was eager to see it again.

I enjoyed the works by Morris, stained glass by Burne-Jones, embroidered bags by May Morris and all the other original Arts and Crafts works. I did not enjoy the floor-to-ceiling, “where do I look now” installation geared for the attention deficit and the interactive children’s activities in every gallery (which meant that there were children banging on things and running around throughout).

I also saw the multi-media David Bowie exhibition at the V & A and quite enjoyed seeing the many creative avenues Bowie has been down: songwriting and music, stage set, costume, acting, painting and drawing, and probably a few more that I’m forgetting. I’m not an obsessive Bowie fan so I didn’t fight the crowds to see every hand-written lyric sheet or set design notes. It was fun to see his costumes and learn about all the influences for each phase of his persona.

V & A David Bowie is exhibition, 2013. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London A sign at the entrance of the exhibit said, “No photography or sketching.” Sketching? I wondered if my memory would be erased at the end, but thankfully it wasn’t. Or maybe it was that they didn’t want visitors parked too long at any point.

As a child, I had a re-occurring dream. Struggling to wake up to get ready for school, I would dream that I did get up. And when I walked into my tiny closet to find something to wear, it had turned into a giant closet filled with the most gorgeous clothes imaginable. I got to live that dream in the vintage wonderland that is Frocktasia's stockroom.

I had volunteered for the role of personal shopper for a friend in the States who was looking for a special vintage maxi for a special occasion. Jennie kindly pulled out every frock that fit the brief. To get a sense of the fit, I tried on each candidate and Jennie took pictures for me to email to my friend.

Of course, I couldn’t help falling in love with a number of dresses for myself. I bought this slinky purple ‘New Generation’ number. 

I love the color, the 70s-does-30s vibe and the label! Jennie also gave me two presents that couldn’t have been more perfect. One, a flouncy brown lace blouse, I wore that evening. Check out the gorgeous print of this skirt! The other present was this Indian printed wrap-around skirt, that I wore the next day.

Given that my outfit shot before I left the flat to go to Jennie's looked like this:

I asked Jennie to take some pics at the end of my visit and she graciously agreed.

This printed rayon top is one of my most favorite and I wear it often. Jennie saw the print on it and pulled out the skirt--with it's matching print--for me!

Hat, purchased from Frocktasia. Indian blouse, purchased 6 years ago at a consignment shop. Velour jacket, thrifted. Jeans, purchased at Gap and patched by me over the years. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me. Pakistani tote bag, thrifted, Boomerang. Bangles, purchased in India. Necklaces, purchased in the 1970s, purchased from Frocktasia and purchased in India.

There were far more activities this week than I can comfortably fit into this post so they’ll have to wait for another time.

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

Wednesday
Jun192013

Waste neither time nor money

This post is a bit all over the place as I’ve been a bit all over the place in my last days in London.

I can’t resist the thrifting bug even though I’m in one of the most expensive cities in the world and have managed a few acquisitions, mostly books and jewelry.

Red dress 1970s polyester dress, thrifted, PDSA, Kentish Town, London. Striped vinyl belt, thrifted, Goodwill. Natural Comfort sandals, thrifted, Goodwill. 1970s vinyl bag, purchased on Etsy.This is the dress I picked up at PDSA. At £9.99, it was than I would have liked to for it, but seeing as how it was for an animal charity, I bought it.

1960s flower brooch, no idea where I got this. I’ve had it for decades.  I walk everywhere and the sidewalks in my neighborhood are quaint brickwork that trip me up even when I’m wearing the flattest of shoes. So anything that makes me feel even slightly unstable is out of the question.

‘Natural Comfort’ sandals, thrifted, Goodwill. However, I thought I'd give these sandals a try. They are well-padded and I really like the ‘70s look of them. I’ve worn them when I only had to walk a very short distance. Unfortunately, because the strap around the ankle is wide elastic, walking in them produces a loud flapping noise – which is probably why they ended up at the thrift store.

I didn’t have to go far from my boyfriend’s flat for this lot. The library that is about 3 minutes away has a wall of shelves with books for sale. I picked up the novels for 30p each. Those in the middle and on the right are both told from the perspective of a young girl in a dysfunctional family and are set in Wales in the 1960s. ‘Mary George of Allnorthover’ by Lavinia Greenlaw is about a young woman growing up in an English village in the 1970s. I don’t know if the library was having a clear-out of books with this theme or what, but I’ve enjoyed “The Hiding Place” and “Shake!” and the other was on my “to read’ list.

The museum members’ magazines were free. The one for the V & A has articles regarding their Hollywood Costume exhibition and the Tate magazine is all about the Pre-Raphaelite show I was lucky enough to see that last time I was in London.

The 1970s pewter and ceramic pendant on the right (£2) came from the car boot sale a few weekends ago. The ceramic pendant necklace (£1) on the left came from Age UK in Kentish Town. The abstract design and blue/green color reminded me of the pewter one.

The spiral design on the back of the pewter pendant makes it reversible. And the ceramic one has a maker’s stamp of a weird little stylized face. If anyone recognizes the mark, let me know.

I also scored some books at the Oxfam bookshop and Age UK in Kentish Town. I had flipped through the Twentieth-Century Fashion book in the library and was thrilled to see at Oxfam for £1.99. It has academic articles such as, “Dress and Culture in Greenwich Village” and “The Beat Generation: Subcultural Style.”Gyoza with a mojito and a smoothie; raw lasagna with cashew ‘cheese’ adorned with a decorative and delicious dehydrated tomato; berry cheesecake and English trifle.And since A. and I seek out bargains for dining out too, we I took advantage of an online voucher to go to Saf in Kensington, which serves vegan, mostly raw cuisine. In well-prepred raw cuisine, every morsel explodes with flavor.

I’m headed back to Saf tonight to dine with my friend from the States, and tomorrow, I’ll have another visit with Jennie of Frocktasia. Then the David Bowie exhibition at the V & A on Friday night. So much to do!

Sunday
Jun092013

Denim blue fading up to the sky

In the early 1970s, when I was in junior high school, my friends and I would compete to see who could get more patches on their jeans. At a certain point you could barely detect any denim—sort of like the girl on roller skates in this Flickr stream.

Now I patch my jeans because they have holes in them. I’ve been wearing this pair of Gap jeans for the past 12 years. As I’ve posted before, if I like something, I keep it for years. And mend it until there’s nothing left to mend.

The fabrics for the patches have all come from something else. And most are cosmic themed as that’s my thing

On my right knee is a patch made from a thrifted 1980s Laura Ashley corduroy dress (the rest of the dress is slated to become tote bags). The left knee has a Saturn patch. Saturn was made from a pair of thrifted—and then worn-out—pair of velveteen pants. Leftover fabric from the striped cotton pants I made a few months back were used for Saturn’s rings. Above Saturn is red cotton fabric with white stars last used for the lining of my Indian print bag I made from a thrifted vintage jacket

There's also a patch made from cutting up a stained and worn 1950s cotton tablecloth (which also provides interior layers when I make potholders). And some 1970s fabric that also became potholders. The back has a couple round star patches; the fabric previously used to make a tea cosy.

All these fabrics re-appear on my jeans. Me-made tea cosy, trousers, potholders (to right of lasagna), and bag.

Today I went to one of the few regular car boot sales in London. I only found one small thing, which I’ll show in a later post. For the most part, it was newish clothes, toiletries, and household items and not a whole lot of vintage. A couple things of interest.

This creepy vintage resuscitation dummy comes with inflatable lungs, a heart and its own carrying case. I liked this large vintage French school poster of ‘Les Reptiles.’

My boyfriend treated me to hair salon appointment, hence I don't look as much like a ragamuffin as I could here.

PVC ‘Chanel’-shape jacket, thrifted, Goodwill. Kerchief, present from Jennie of Frocktasia. Jeans, purchased on sale at Gap a dozen years ago. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill and painted by me. Woven belt free at a clothing swap. Bag, purchased on sale 20 years ago and painted by me (more cosmic motifs). Bangles purchased in India.

Linking up to the 100th edition of Visible Monday. That’s a lot of visibility!

Thursday
Jun062013

A fine and dandy day

Here I am in London, surrounded by a myriad of things to see and do. But, the lack of blog posts is a reflection of my lack of activity. I did something to my back and have had a hard time getting around or even sitting comfortably (making using a computer a bit difficult). I have good days and bad, but I never know which will be which. It is immensely frustrating.

Last weekend A. and I went visited The Dandy Lion Market in Kentish Town, where I got to visit with Jennie of Frocktasia again. A bit of a chat revealed that we suffer from similar hoarding tendencies but we've both made the decision to mend our ways. She kindly invited me to her house so I will be able to see how our afflictions compare.

She had lots of lovely frocks on display, but my eye was drawn to the kerchief on her mannequin. I have an obsession with the color combination of purple (although it looks blue here), red and gold. Once I stated that, wweet Jennie promptly gifted it to me. I know I will get lots of wear out of it. 

I really wish we had these sorts of small, low-key markets at home. There are a couple crafts/vintage fairs in my area but they tend to be larger and more expensive for vendors.After the Market, A. and I walked to Camden Town for an early dinner stopping off at a couple charity shops on the way. I found a 1970s dress at PDSA that A. absolutely hated. I thought it had potential (in a church picnic sort of way) and bought it anyway. It was pricey at £9.99, but since the money was going for puppies and kitties I paid it.

At Age UK, I found two book: A History of Fashion in the 20th Century and The Practical Man’s Book of Things to Make and Do, reprinted in 1946. At £1.49, they were more in my price range. The fashion book has some images I haven’t seen before and the other book will be gifted to a practical male friend of A.’s.

After dinner at inSpiral in Camden Town, A. and I made our way to Kennington to a special event at the Cinema Museum. On occasion, the Oscar-winning film historian Kenneth Brownlow shows films from his personal collection. That night, it was a short comedy film and the 1925 silent melodrama 'Stella Dallas' (which was remade in 1937 and 1990). Both were shown with live musical accompaniment by Stephen Horne who played piano, accordion, percussion and flute – sometimes even playing two instruments at the same time! I'll post more about the Cinema Museum later.1970s-does-1940s dress, purchased at Spitalfields Market, London. Tights, retail. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me. Necklace, thrifted, Goodwill. Bangles from India. That day I wore my ‘1970s-does-1940s’ frock which has made several appearances on this blog. I was looking at vintage sewing patterns on Etsy recently and Butterick 3835 immediately jumped out at me. Although it’s for a blouse and skirt, the view on the right bears a remarkable resemblance to my dress. Here, I lamely re-create the pose.

I'm hoping this trip to London will include some treasure-hunting, but I'm sad that they can't involve any train journeys.

Wednesday
May292013

Liberty's re-visited

Back in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, I visited London several times a year, mostly for my job. For the first few years, I didn’t really know anyone in the city and, in my free time, spent hours and hours just walking around, visiting museums, bookstores, tearooms, and vegetarian cafes.

Liberty & Co. was always on my list. I could while away hours in there, looking at fabrics, rugs, Indian furniture, Arts & Crafts decorative arts, and books. There was a cafeteria-style tearoom on the basement level where learned to take milk in my tea and discovered millionaire’s shortbread (before I became vegan). I couldn’t afford much at Liberty’s, but the dollar was strong enough back then that I was able to buy some of their signature-print items as gifts.

I've popped into Liberty's in recent years and have seen many changes since I used to haunt its floors decades ago. The bookshop is gone, the lower level tearoom is gone, and there’s pretty much nothing in the store that I can afford these days. I decided to spend a little more time there today, on the 3rd and 4th floors which house fabric and ethnic and Arts & Crafts furnishings.

I love that there is still a department that sells ribbon, buttons, and sewing notions in addition to its famous printed fabrics.

The annual Arts & Crafts exhibition was on and prices have risen since the days when I used to source furniture, metalwork and ceramics from this period for a museum.

I own a couple ceramic tiles like those above. They were designed by J. Moyr Smith and depict scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. My U.K. trips provided opportunities to add to my collection of Victorian tiles, however I rarely paid more than $5 and never more than $15-20. These at Liberty were priced at £125 each.

You can view more pieces in the exhibition here.

Long-sleeve t-shirt, thrifted, Goodwill. 1960s woven belt, thrifted, Goodwill. Cotton patchwork wrap skirt sold by a non-profit that trained former sex workers to sew, bought at a fair trade bazaar ages ago for $15. Necklace made by my mother. Bangles from India. Clogs painted by me, thrifted, Goodwill. By coincidence I was wearing a belt and skirt that looked right at home in Liberty’s rugs and carpet department!

* I believe the name is just "Liberty London" now, but since I'm stuck in the 19th century, I still think of it as "Liberty & Co."

Tuesday
May282013

Let the sun shine

The weather gods that rule this country are a fickle lot. They were gracious enough to allow the sun to come out over the bank holiday weekend. But, lest anyone get spoiled, it’s gray and rainy once again.

Denim jacket, H & M, purchased new in the mid-1990s. Cotton and metallic thread scarf, purchased in India. 1970s D.L. Barron maxi dress, Mr. Bird’s Flea Market, Birmingham, UK. Vintage Pakistani velvet and applique bag, thrifted, Boomerang. Thrifted Dansko sandals painted by me, Goodwill. Socks with striped toes, thrifted, Goodwill. But, I thank them for the weekend respite. On Saturday, A. and I went to the Can’t Buy Me Love Market at The Bugaloo in Highgate. We had visited this market before, maybe a year or so ago. A. liked this market as it’s in a pub and one vendor was selling vegan cake. Beer and cake—he was happy. Vintage clothes—I was happy.

I finally wore the D. L. Barron floral maxi dress that I bought on my shopping expedition in Birmingham last year with Vix and Annie. The sandals were thrifted brown Danskos that I painted silver.

I met Jennie of Frocktasia, whose blog incites envy – for the stunning photography as well as the gorgeous frocks. Even before I recognized her, my eyes were drawn to her dress, a vibrant mod number with bands of vaguely Celtic designs. Her stall had clothes at crazy-low prices and adorable little bundles of fabric that I was drooling over.

I was thrilled when she gifted me with one little bundle. Once home and unwrapped I saw that it was a trippy foliage and floral print with a 1920s vibe in some sections. I can’t wait to make a maxi skirt out of it.

I also met Leslie, the dynamo who runs The Dandy Lion Market and chatted about shared interests (like me, I imagine she’s someone who can’t imagine ever being bored).

On Sunday, A. and I went to the Columbia Road Market to buy flowering plants for his window box, then home to clean, clean, clean. Monday morning there was more cleaning to be done. In the afternoon, I traipsed about the city, enjoying the weather. Feeling ‘vaguely medieval,’ I wore my trusty gray-green tunic with green tights. The only problem was deciding on accessories.

Shell and silver bangle purchased in India. Silver and hematite bead necklace purchased in Turkey. Bronze moon-faced pendant purchased in the 1970s. Carnelian drop earrings purchased at a yard sale. Various silver rings. First I pulled out all my ‘vaguely medieval’ jewelry. 

Do I wear it with the Indian silk scarf (that I also bought in Birmingham) as a belt and my Vegetarian Shoes red Fleur boots?

My vintage polyester green jacket (that has made numerous appearances on this blog), 1960s woven belt, and thrifted clogs (painted by me)?

The constant was the applique vinyl bag, purchased on Etsy, that I spent hours researching.

In the end, I went for the green jacket, wearing the scarf at my neck, a thrifted mod vinyl green, white and blue belt, and the green clogs.

Not a very exciting weekend. The sun being out was excitement enough!

I hope y’all had great weekends.

Wednesday
May082013

Silents at the seaside

Greetings from the U.K.!

After a hectic few days of giving my apartment a good scrubbing in preparation for the house-sitter and trying on all of my clothes in order to figure out what to pack, I flew to London.

My luggage containing all the clothes I’ll need for the changeable weather of the U.K. and enough accessories to keep me from getting bored for two months.

The day after I arrived and before I really knew where I was, my boyfriend A. whisked me off to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast for a silent film festival. As I’ve reported in previous posts, A. is quite a silent film buff and I’m learning to be one too.

The cinema there was built in 1919, screening many a silent film in its first decade.

We saw quintessentially English, sea-side themed films based on the early 20th-century stories by W.W. Jacobs. Of course, they were accompanied by live music.

© 1928 Collection George Eastman House The highlight of the weekend was a screening of the American film, Beggars of Life (1928), “a rollicking saga of hobos on the lam” starring the captivating Louise Brooks. In keeping with the era and location, the music was provided by silent film accompanist par excellence Neil Brand and the U.K. skiffle band, The Dodge Brothers (which includes Mark Kermode, a film critic and TV presenter). I had doubts about Americana music played by a group of Brits (although one member is an American now living in the U.K.), but their performance was amazing and their music ranged from soulful to exciting (to accompany the chase and train crash scenes). If you haven’t seen silent films -- the musicians pretty much make up the score as they watch the film. So Brandt’s piano playing set the tone and The Dodge Brothers had to follow along.

After the screening A. and I -- being the only attendees who had specially come to Aldeburgh for the festival -- were invited to a small after-party for the band and festival organizers.

Graves of Benjamin Britten and his partner Peter Pears. Aldeburgh is best known as the home of the composer Benjamin Britten and it hosts numerous music festivals, including one founded by Britten himself. Other than the festival, it didn't seem like there’s a lot going on there, which it turns out is its appeal for those with holiday homes. It’s also incredibly expensive and does not have a train station, which helps keep the riff-raff out. On Sundays and bank holidays, we found out that there isn’t even bus service in or out of the town, so we ended up having to take a taxi to the nearest train station, then changing three times to get back to London.

Shingle beach, self-catering cottages, 16th Moot Hall, ’Snooks,’ a memorial to a veterinarian couple. Me in my element at a car boot sale, our B & B, a wicker fence lining the footpath, my boot finds.We did enjoy the picturesque views and the laid-back atmosphere. Our B & B was on the top floor of a 19th c. former convent. We took a walk along a footpath that led us through a churchyard and cemetery. Other than the films and the after party, a high point was getting to a car boot sale on Sunday morning (the charity shops in town were crazy-expensive), where I scored 1965 and 1969 issues of Queen magazine.

1940s frock coat, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge. Clogs, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge, and painted by me. Hat, thrifted, Goodwill, Cambridge, embellished by me. 1960s sunglasses, purchased at Dollar-A-Pound, Cambridge 20+ years ago. 1930s Bakelite brooch I’ve had for decades. 1960s scarf, purchased at Mr. Bird Vintage Fair, Birmingham. Bangles purchased in India.  I spent the weekend looking out-of-place amidst all the tourists in their t-shirts, shorts and sandals. Yeah, it was sunny but there was a nippy breeze. My boyfriend commented that I looked like I had an aversion to the sun. My one concession to summer was the straw hat and sunglasses. It’s not like I was following the tradition of older women wearing street clothes at the seaside, I just feel cold more than others. And we spent four or more hours each day inside a dark theater and not romping on the beach.

1970s does 1940s dress, purchased at Spitalfields Market, London. Tights, retail. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me. 1940s necklace I’ve owned for decades.As above with thrifted straw hat with new ribbon and made-by-me fabric flower. I also made a red herringbone hatband that I wore the previous day. You can watch The Dodge Brothers and Neil Brand do a sound check for Beggars of Life.

After the film, The Dodge Brothers played this song, "No. 9." Here they perform it at The Royal Albert Hall.

Do go see Beggars of Life if the opportunity arises.

Sunday
Apr282013

I have art history in my soul

First off, it was incredibly exciting to find out that I’ve been Digital Catwalk-ized by the talented Anne (Spy Girl). I'm honored to have joined her gallery of bloggers.

This wasn’t going to be an outfit post.

I threw something on today for my exciting trip to Whole Foods to drop off my compost (I store it in the freezer and take it there once a week. So, if you ever come to my apartment, don't be surprised to find a freezer full of garbage). While out, I saw a former colleague from my previous life as a museum curator. She and I run into every now and then. We caught each other up our latest news. Although I don’t work in the museum or art history field anymore, she said, “Look at you with that scarf, and brooch, and those shoes. You have art history in your soul.”

So, when I came home--although I hadn’t been planning to-- I took photos of what I was wearing (hence, the glasses and lack of make-up. Sometimes I don’t put on make-up and contact lenses to drop off my compost).

The clogs were thrifted and recently painted by me. They were brown and have gone through several shades of green, none that I was happy with until this bright olive green (the color is more like the before photo on the top right than the acid green in the bottom photo). At one point they even had vines and scrolls all over them. That looked messy, so I repainted them and kept a band of vines. I didn’t like that and painted them again. I am still not happy with the purple flowers. Too cutesy. The great thing is I can just paint over them.

I grabbed the biggest brooch I had to pin my jacket closed.

1970s polyester jacket, thrifted. Early 20th-century Renaissance-style lion’s head brooch, I’ve owned for decades. Scarf with hand embroidery and mirrorwork, purchased in Gujarat, India. Long-sleeved t-shirt and skirt, thrifted. Clogs, thrifted and painted by me.

I guess this is what having "art history in my soul" looks like.

My catwalk image is joining Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

Monday
Apr222013

Pretty and happy

Today was a beautiful spring day and there was a palpable sense of relief in my neighborhood after a harrowing week.

I felt like wearing a pretty dress even if it was just to run errands.

I bought this dress on Etsy a couple years ago. It was a maxi dress with short puffy sleeve. I shortened it and took the elastic out of the sleeves to make butterfly sleeves.

The print of the fabric makes me happy.

Bulbous-toed oxfords bought in London in the early 1990s. I've always called them my ‘clown shoes.’

Google search results for 'clown shoes.' Uh, oh, take away the inflated toe and boat-like proportions and I’d wear most of these. Some look very similar to the too-big (yes, even with a padded insole) shoes of my last post. Well, I guess if I can wear clown pants, I can wear clown shoes.

1970s dress, altered, Etsy. Corduroy jacket, $3, thrifted. Fabric flower pin made by me. Silver moonface/amethyst necklace purchased in the 1970s. Oxfords, purchased at Hobbs in London, early 1990s. Indian cotton bag made by me from a thrifted 1960s jacket. 

I'm out and about at Visible Monday.

Sunday
Apr072013

Style Imitating Art: Captain America by Alex Gross

I have been wanting to participate in Style Imitating Art (SIA) for a while. Before I knew of this blogger challenge I had done my own version in a couple posts called "Confessions of an Art History Nerd"-- this one for Vittorio Carpaccio and this one for Rogier van der Weyden.

Captain America, by Alex Gross Mixed media on antique photograph, 2006 When I saw the latest SIA challenge-- a multi-media work by Alex Gross in which he used an antique photograph as the base of an image of Captain America--I couldn’t not participate as I had already taken outfit photos that would work. But I decided to tweak the look by incorporating a high-neck Victorian-style blouse that more closely draws on the artwork.

Cardigan, skirt, blouse, all contemporary and thrifted. 1970s bucket purse I’ve had for decades with a newly thrifted sun/star pin added. Bangles from India.  Instead of the Red Skull lurking behind me, I have “Jet,” a black cocker spaniel photographed by R. Weinberger in 1943. (I collect vintage dog photographs. Or used to, until I acquired more than I could display.)

Originally I had taken this outfit shot.

I'm always inspired by other bloggers and I had noticed that shrunken cardigans flattered the ample bosoms of Helga and Curtise. So when I saw a star-adorned cardigan at the thrift store in a size too small, I thought I’d give it a try. They were also inspiration for the red, white and blue palette. (I'll also mention Kelly of Grunge Queen, who recently posted about experimentation being possible when one thrift shops). Have you been inspired so specifically by another blogger?

With the exception of the shoes, all clothing is contemporary and thrifted. This look doesn't excite me and I need to experiment with the sweater. So, ignore the clothes and look at the shoes.

Early 1970s Minnie by Weber shoes, thrifted. I’ve posted about my love of multi-colored shoes and my efforts to paint shoes to get the effect (here  and here). So, I was thrilled to bits to find a vintage pair of yellow, blue and red shoes. Unfortunately, they’re a bit too big. But I can wear them for an outfit post.

Inside one shoe is the name “Minni by Weber” and “Irvings’s Chula Vista California” in the other. The shoe store, Irving’s, in Chula Vista, California, started in 1954 and appears to still be in business. Although these shoes were originally sold in California, after some research I found that they have a Boston connection. (Nerd alert: This is where I tell you the history of my shoes. I’ll keep it short).

In 1919, the Green Shoe Manufacturing Company was founded and started manufacturing shoes in converted stables in the Roxbury section in Boston. Jump ahead to the 1960s, when the company bought up smaller shoe companies, including the Weber Shoe Company in Missouri. In 1966, the name changes to Stride Rite. By 1969, the shoe conglomerate was producing over 30,000 pairs of shoes a day. Today, Stride Rite is probably best known as a maker of children’s shoes.

Here's an interesting tidbit: Stride Rite was a pioneer in providing social services for its employees. In 1971, it was the first company in the U.S. to open an employer-sponsored, on-site day-care center. The motivation at first was philanthropic; the president of the company wanted to ‘give back’ to the low-income community where its factory was located. But soon employees asked to take advantage of the day-care center. Stride Rite’s day-care program became a model for other companies. Unfortunately, various state regulations prevented them from opening such centers for their factory workers outside of Massachusetts, but they were able to provide day-care for workers’ children at their factory in Bangkok, Thailand. In 1990, the company decided to address the need for elder care services by opening an Intergenerational Day-Care Center.

I really wish these shoes were in my size. I’d like to wear them with my striped trousers. I guess I’ll have to paint myself some yellow, blue and red shoes.

Better late than never, I'm linking up to Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday.

Sunday
Mar032013

Reporting for duty

I’ve been MIA lately, taking an llittle, unannounced break. I'm back and have a lot of catching up to do with everyone’s blogs.

Here's a tiny bit of what I've been up to.

My street. Those are cars buried under the snow on both sides fo the road.Out walking in the blizzard.

The main road at the top of my streetJean-Paul Gauthier jacket, Dirk Bikkemberg trousers, both purchased new in the early 1990s.Attended an exhibition of 1980s art at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Everything in the show seemed very familiar as the 1980s were the last time I actually paid attention to contemporary art.

I wore my early 1990s Jean-Paul Gaultier jacket with its row of snaps down the front that I always felt was like a line of ‘vestigial nipples.’

I went to an all-vegan Valentine’s Day dinner (alas without my Valentine) where my friend and I shared these two incredible cakes.

I baby-sat for Tigro. He looks all sweet and innocent here, but the little brat's nighttime routine was to hit me in the face every few hours.

I made a pair of pajama pants out of this happy print (I bought the fabric new, but it reminded me of the whimsical prints of the 1970s).

Thrifted LizWear dress, t-shirt and Willi Smith corduroys; thrifted 1970s scarf; bangles from India; Vegetarian Shoes paratrooper boots purchased new.

And altered this thrifted black velveteen dress to fit so that I could wear it as a jerkin. I also altered the thrifted purple paisley corduroys which were three sizes too big. 

I thrifted this pair of never-worn white go-go boots and these so-ugly-they're-awesome late 1960s polyester double-knit trousers. The boots are glossy vinyl, but I’m going to figure out a way to paint them as I’m not really a white go-go boot kinda girl.

Thrifted sweater dress by Fabrizio del Carlo from Goodwill; 1970s vinyl applique bag, Etsy; lac bangles from India; necklace gift from my mother, Restricted Barricade non-leather boot, purchased new on sale.

I blogged recently about how I used to buy new—but heavily discounted—  designer clothes, and still have most of them. Now, I don’t buy anything new and most of the clothing of good quality I find at thrift stores is vintage. However, this cotton/rayon sweater dress jumped out at me recently. I wasn't sure a sweater dress would be flattering on me, but I liked the wide scooped neckline (it also scoops in the back), the length of the sleeves and the fact that it skims instead of clings.

Almond Joy cheesecake at Veggie Galaxy.The fact that I took the outfit photo after returning home from dinner and the dessert above is a testament to the magical skimming qualities of this dress.

As I haven't been visible in the blogosphere for a month, I'm joining Visible Monday to get back into the swing of things.