Thursday, October 29, 2009

On Thrift: Musings and Motivations

barely there braid

Normally I wouldn’t post such a decidedly unthrifted outfit, buuuut I was wearing those newly thrifted boots, so here you go:

New Boots

I realized that it’s been well over a year now that I've been thrifting/buying second hand all of my clothes (excluding underwear, socks, and tights, though I have had some luck with thrifting new tights). There are still enough stragglers though, like this Forever 21 sweater and cardi and my trusty GAP skinny jeans, left over from my days of mall shopping, that I will still occasionally find myself in a completely non-thrifted outfit.

I started thrifting as a kid. We didn’t have much money growing up and at the end of each summer my sisters and I would get a small amount that we could spend on new clothes for school. Then my mom would take us to the thrift stores.

At the time, I probably would have rather been going hog wild at the ESPRIT or Benneton stores, ah the 80’s, but I think this is when I first began trying to recreate designer or whatever looks using thrifted finds, I‘ve always enjoyed that challenge. With so many vintage-inspired designs out there these days too, it only seems to be getting easier!

Into junior high and highschool, I became interested in various “alternative” styles… punk, hippie, grunge, what have you, and thrift stores became less of a necessity and more of a choice.

As for the present, I never consciously decided to do a retail shopping ban, it was something that just sort of happened naturally for me. I don’t have any rules set for myself that I can’t go and buy something new if I choose, though I have become more conscious of the ramifications of feeding into the “mass market machine” and I’m all for re-use as a consumption alternative.

I will admit though that my motives have been mostly selfish: I like shopping for clothes and the cheaper the clothes, the more of them I can afford to shop for (with me at home and the majority of our extra cash going toward home improvement these days this is important), I love vintage and find the unique types of pieces that can’t be found in the mall more aesthetically pleasing and interesting to work with, and perhaps most importantly I thrive on the thrill of the hunt and the high one gets from a really excellent find…

New Loves

… like these for example : )

More fun with Rollip for the braid wednesday flickr group.

*BTW, Frankie Magazine has some fun free wallpapers to spice up your desktop, including the two images I posted here. Found via Loveology.*

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekends and Pumpkins

lumpkin, originally uploaded by bee hives.
I love the ghostly quality of this image by bee hives on flickr. So perfect for Halloween. Speaking of which, we picked up pumpkins for carving at a local farmstand over the weekend.

I’d love to get my hands on some woodcarving tools and do some beautiful lacy cut-outs like these.

Unfortunately, my pumpkin carving skill level may be more along the lines of these little fellas!

We’ll see though. I did one of those carrot-nosed ones but added a mouth with a couple of teeth, he’s pretty cute. We decided to save the rest for later in the week though, so they don’t start to rot before Halloween. (Carved pumpkin images found here.)

In other weekend pumpkin news, we made the most utterly mouthwatering pumpkin pancakes, something which I had never tried before. I really can’t even describe how moist and amazingly good they were… so much better than a normal pancake and I am a fan of normal pancakes. With some butter and syrup, just heavenly I tell you. In fact I implore you to try them yourself, you will NOT be disappointed!

Super Yummy Pumpkin Pancakes
(Makes: About 8 pancakes; 2 to 3 servings)

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
¾ cup milk
¾ cup canned pumpkin
¼ cup plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt
2 tbsp butter, melted

In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. In another bowl, mix egg, milk, pumpkin, yogurt, and butter until well blended. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened. Proceed with normal pancake making procedure :) ENJOY!

We walked downtown Saturday morning and I was so excited to find the latest issue of Lula at the bookstore. Spent many of my spare moments this weekend leafing through the pages and soaking in all the amazing style and beautiful imagery. The above photo is a favorite from the lovely Wander Bird editorial.

I had been feeling stumped about what to wear for Halloween this year, until Sunday morning that is, when I went to the Goodwill and found a vintage dress for $9.99 that just may be the best Halloween dress ever.

Above is just a sneak peek but think floor-length shimmery black and silver brocade that appears woven straight from the starry night sky with fluttery elbow-length bat wing sleeves! Now what to be... witch, dark sorceress, night sprite, space fairy, bat queen? Suggestions more than welcome!

Well, I guess you could say the Goodwill has been good to me! Earlier in the week I found these perfect black suede flat lace-up boots for $6.99 and they are so comfortable and such a perfect fit that I still can't believe my luck. A good pair of boots that fit well are for me one of the most exciting items to be found!

I'll try to work these beauties into an outfit post soon. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Farm

“We try to foster a wonder and love of nature by allowing our kids to be out on the farm throughout the seasons. We climb the trees, run barefoot through the corn, graze in the garden, feed the animals, collect the eggs, and get stuck in the mud. It’s all part of finding our place in the world.”

I’ve been spending time at “The Farm” lately. Clover has started attending a creative play preschool on a small family farm twice a week. I pulled the above quote from their information packet. I liked the way it summed things up :)

Clover has always been a mama’s girl, very attached, so we’ve been taking the transition slow with me spending the full four hours there with her and progressively fading off into the background more and more.

She's become really comfortable with the two wonderful women who run the place, and has even for the most part overcome her initial terror of Cosmo the "noisy pig," one of several farm animals who roam free, including "Skippy" the bunny and "Oh Suzanna", the chicken who endearingly thinks she's a person.

It’s such a fun and creative place and Clover is loving it.

For something to do while "fading into the background", I wandered around taking pictures the day after our big rainstorm. I finally tried messing around with Rollip on the photos, which I'd been wanting to try ever since first hearing about it through Caroline. My favorite effects turned out to be the first and last. I also really like that it has the option of leaving the pics full-size.

I thought the farm atmosphere along with the abundance of charming vintage books, toys, and play equipment (flea market, garage sale, and thrift finds abound!) lent itself well to the old-timey Polaroid effects.

As I was taking photos it began to rain and the girls headed inside and straight for the dress-up clothes… that's my girl! They were so adorable bouncing around on a mattress in their “princess dresses” and tattered fairy wings.

I couldn’t help but take a little video:

Unfortunately, this camera doesn’t capture sound (or the settings are off?) but if you can imagine “Hey Hey, We’re the Monkey’s…” starting off in the background at the point where Clover starts off the jumping, it’s only that much cuter : )

The woman who started the pre-school, lives on the farm with her family and also happens to be close friends with one of Lucas' sisters. So, six years ago when we were planning our low key, low budget wedding and they were kind and generous enough to offer us the use of their farm as our location, free of charge, of course we jumped at the opportunity! It ended up being a perfect location and a perfect day.

Also, the fact that our child will now be swinging up in the field on the rope swing right under the big oak tree where mama and papa got married is pretty cool too.

Oh, and good news! I've successfully been able to leave for a couple of hours on the last two visits with no issues whatsoever and having four consecutive hours to myself twice a week is looking like it will soon be a reality and a much welcomed one at that!

What will I do with all this free time? Well, go thrifting of course! Haha.. just kiddin' Lucas! I will totally be at home keeping everything clean and organized and fulfilling all of my housewifely duties... totally ;)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rainy Day Outfit Post

Rainy Day Outerwear

Rainy Day Outfit

Well, we had our first rainstorm of the season this week. That was kinda fun. Of course today was 80 degrees and sunny again... Oh Fall, where did you go?

I wore this 100% thrifted outfit the day of the big storm. A remix of old finds and the sweet Nordic sweater thrifted and given to me by internets pal Liz. Ever since seeing this gal in the wardrobe_remix pool last week, I've wanted to try something similar with the dress/sweater layering, after going back and looking at her outfit again I see that I apparently ripped off the whole bluish tights/ brown boots combo as well, haha.

Today I've been feeling inspired by the latest brilliantly styled Teen Vogue editorial to be making the blog-spiration rounds:

Ah, grunge sweet grunge...

View full editorial here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Come said the wind to the leaves one day...

...Come o're the meadows, And we will play. Put on your dresses, Scarlet and gold, For summer is gone, And the days grow cold.

- A Children's Song of the 1880's

Sweater <3

Fancy Dress

Fall Color

Although it’s taken me longer than usual to come around this year, I think it's official… I’ve finally fallen for Fall. I am ready to trade in my cotton sundresses and bare legs for sweaters and tights, wool and flannel. Oh, and boots sweet boots, I do believe I’ve missed you most of all!

I’m all about sipping warm beverages, baking, and eating comfort foods. I want to nest and be cozy and listen to mellow folksy music while gazing out at the rain. Read, watch movies, knit… I’m all ready to hunker down.

I think all of the Fall inspiration floating around the interwebs combined with the weather turning over the weekend finally made it click for me. On Sunday afternoon, we met up with my in-laws to do our annual family picture taking.

This year we went up to Spring Lake, I know, odd that I should have my Autumn Love epiphany at a place called Spring Lake, but it also happens to be the very spot where Lucas and I had our first date 14 years ago! Just a little side fact :)

Fall at Spring Lake

The day was cool and gray and I got all layered up for the occasion. The little vintage sweater from the 30’s is a favorite recent find. I got it at the flea market (unearthed from the often mentioned amazing pile o’ vintage) for ONLY TWO DOLLARS because it had a decent sized hole on one of the shoulders where some of the yarn threads had broken. I was able to sort of tie the ends together in a way that closed the hole and it’s barely noticeable.

It has the sweetest details with the blue stripes, big carved wooden buttons, and that felted tie at the neck, I adore it. The vintage mohair tweed skirt was a find from late last Winter that I didn’t get a chance to wear much. It being just about the perfect Fall skirt, I think I’ll make up for that this year.

My brother-in-law took the family portraits with his fancy camera and I have yet to get copies, but I’ll post some pics when I do… Happy Fall y'all!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Back on Track(s)

Sorry for the blog neglect! I seem to be struggling to find the time since returning from our trip, or maybe I just got used to actually going to bed at a decent hour and now my night owl internet ways are suffering ;) Not to fret though, as this post has turned out to be one of epic proportions!

Wool Knickers

So, maybe you’re wondering what’s with the getup? Maybe not. I admit this “costume” doesn’t stray too far from the realm of normal attire for me.

It is however, what I threw together sort of last minute for our town’s
2nd Annual Great Handcar Regatta and Exposition of Mechanical and Artistic Wonders. This Steampunk extravaganza, the brainchild of a group of local artist types whose grassroots efforts have brought the fun and fanciful event (complete w/ concocted backstory) to fruition now two years running, is both free to the public and the coolest event our humble suburban town has to offer.

As for the getup, we returned from our trip just in time to make it to the final flea market of the season, which is where I came across this pair of genuine vintage woolen knickers (for $5!) which I then built the outfit around. The white cotton peasant top was also a flea market find ($2). I came across the vintage leather wrap skirt thingy complete with awesome vintage cub scout pins ($6) in the Halloween costume section of my local Hospice Thrift a few days later and found the vintage engineer cap there for a dollar as well.

Among the accessories I added was this necklace featuring a compass that belonged to Lucas’ grandfather. Hard to see, but the engraving on the front says "ENG. DEPT. U.S.A. 1918" and legend has it that it’s the very compass he used as a kid in the scouts!

I should probably tell you though that the day turned out to be a scorcher with a high of 102 degrees! Yup, wool knickers… maybe not the wisest choice after all. Discomfort aside, I very much enjoyed the day’s festivities.

The event, which is a smaller-scale mix of maker-faire meets burning man meets kinetic race with a distinct Steampunk aesthetic centers around the racing of hand-built railcars on the old railroad tracks in the historic section of downtown. With live music on three stages, food, drink, arts, crafts, sideshows and curiosities, not to mention the handcar races themselves, there is no shortage of wonders to behold!

On that note, I took photos until my camera battery died:

People milling about on the tracks between races. It was awesome that so many people dressed up and really got into the spirit of the event.

The scene had a very Vaudevillian vibe with lots of old-timey circus touches. Always fun!

This amazing rotating sculpture was built by a local artist for this year’s Burning Man festival.

Live music and an eclectic cast of characters on the “Front Porch” stage.

One of my picture taking strategies was to find people posing for a professional photographer and then stealthily (or not) sneak my own pics. Such was the case with these dolled-up gals.

This crazy makeshift percussion instrument was played by various passersby throughout the day.

As you’ve probably already noticed the parasol turned out to be the must-have accessory of the day.

Fabric flags and lace doilies strung up to add a crafty and festive vibe to the live music and vendor areas.

These suspender dresses were super cute, oh if only I had had some extra pennies to spare!

More random stylish folk melting in the heat. The music and races and sideshows and such are all really fun, but I must say, my favorite part is the people watching… so much amazing style to take in!

My sister-in-law and niece looking mighty adorable! If I do say so myself : )

Frilly Victorian frocks, feathers and fanciful hats were in no short order and this ship-toting top hat was definitely one of the coolest I saw.

This would have been the way to travel if for nothing other than the portable shade.

Clownin’ around. There was a whole team of these ladies who rode a handcar in the races. They were adorable!

One of the more impressive handcar entries.

Lucas took this shot of me with my friend Laura Jane. She looked adorable in her outfit! I guess I ended up going more the tinkering-tomboy-ready-for-adventure route with mine, but next year I think it would be fun to do it up a bit more and get all girly and frilly.

As you can see, it was quite the spectacle, and for anyone with a camera, just bursting with photo-ops! I did a little flickr searching and found some really excellent ones that I thought captured the mood of the day quite beautifully. Just to be clear, I did not take the following photos (each can be clicked to link to it’s source on flickr):

That’s our good friend Joey helping the cute stripey clown gals onto their handcar and then sitting in the back seat on the left racing with his own handcar team. Go Joe!

Found this video on youtube. It’s got some clips from the actual races (including the take-off of the above barrel car) along with some live music and other random silliness, enjoy!