Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Recording the Wednesday Hodgepodge

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What are you currently juggling in your life?

I don't know that I'm juggling too much right now, at least not compared to some other people I know. Other kinds of circus stunts might seem more appropriate.

2. How often do you buy new clothes? What was the last piece of clothing you purchased?

New as in brand new, or new as in thrifted? Actual clothing or accessories? We are in and out of thrift stores at least once a week, so I have opportunities to buy things there. How often I actually buy anything depends on the season and what I need, though I like surprises too.

The last clothes-related thing I bought was today: a vintage scarf, which will go well with other summer things.

3. What food festival would you most like to attend? 

I can't think of a lot of primarily-food festivals I've ever been to or would want to spend all day at. The Elmira, Ontario Maple Syrup Festival, a couple of times, that's probably it. Maybe you have to be a certain kind of person to gravitate towards rib fests and garlic bonanzas.

4. May is the 5th month of the year. Tell us something you remember about your 5th grade year. 

Fifth grade? Learning to play the recorder in music class (we were so relieved not to have to sing for once); and, I think, crochet in an after-school class one of the teachers led. I still like to crochet, but I haven't played the recorder in years.

5. What are your favorite five words right now? 

Green, because things are. 

Warm, because it is.

Art, because that's mostly what I'm reading about. (Pottery dish bought at a yard sale last weekend)

"On sale," and yes, that's two words.

6. Random thoughts?

I think that's random enough already.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Imagined Becomes Real: Riffing on a Vivienne Files Wardrobe

In a pair of posts (here and here), The Vivienne Files has come up with another example of a small, classic, neutral summer wardrobe, which can then be perked up by half a dozen bright additions.

The thirteen core pieces are a balance of navy and white. They are mainly casual (I think of shorts as casual), and the dress is hacked from a swimsuit coverup, but there is also a  more expensive sleeveless top for dressier occasions (I assume to be worn with navy pants, although it's hinted that it would also look good with a skirt).

The accent pieces take their colours from a Mark Rothko painting in shades of red and pink. There is an eye-popping set of bright pink linen shirt and pants, plus a pink dress and a couple of tops. 

This isn't too far from the spring/summer wardrobe I already posted here. But if I wanted to create a closer match to the VF wardrobe, say for a trip, how would I do it? Particularly considering that I gave away a large bag of clothes that had seen a few too many better days, so there are fewer things to work with. On the other hand, I just bought a pair of white jeans, and also thrifted a summer top that would work well. So let's do this.

The closest thing I have to a fancy sleeveless top is a fancy sleeveless dress, so that checks off both those boxes. Note to self: make sure the dress in Part 2 is more casual.

Bonus dress, neutral and linen though not navy.

Navy shorts and navy pants: yes, I have those. (I also have an extra pair of dark blue shorts, so that's enough for me--I don't wear shorts much.)

White shorts: substituting white jeans. (And goes without saying: a pair of blue jeans.)

Two navy tops: I have one navy top with same-colour embroidery, and I just thrifted a navy and grey top with some texture.

A pinstriped navy linen shirt: I do have a blue and white striped shirt, not as dark but I think it would work.

White summer cardigan: On this one I might have to split between a white linen pullover (which would work some of the time but not with everything), a navy linen-blend pullover (ditto), and a jean jacket which is okay on cooler days but isn't something you're going to want to wear wandering around the beach town in July, right? Note to self: keep this in mind at the thrift store.

White sleeveless blouse: I'm substituting a white t-shirt.

Striped casual top: Striped t-shirt.

Two accent-colour tops or blouses: Since I haven't completely decided which direction I'm going with Part Two (pink? blue? green?), I'm going to play it safe with a blue t-shirt and a magenta one. Note to self: that magenta t-shirt is not in the best shape, so I either need to thrift a replacement, or choose something else I already have. (Bonus points for this scarf that blends with most of the upcoming colours.)

Navy crossbody purse and sandals: I do have navy sandals, and a large navy purse. But I would also include my white (technically Coconut Cream) Pixie Mood purse. And a hat as suggested.

Navy espadrilles and white sneakers: Loafers with bows, and a pair of sneakers.

Navy and white scarf: I don't seem to have anything summer-appropriate in just those colours; I might have to either thrift something or just go with a brighter scarf (see the t-shirt photo above).

Earrings: something navy, something pink. What else would look good? Silver hoops, for sure.

Accent Pieces, Version One

Let's assume we're going with the pinks and reds of the VF plan. Well, I for sure don't have a hot pink linen shirt and pants. But I do have a vintage rayon blouse and skirt set with pink and purple stripes, so that's close.

What about a more everyday outfit? I have a white linen shirt (which offers another option for that white cardigan I don't own). I also have a pair of navy embroidered pants that go with the top from Part 1.

 Some more brightness: last year I thrifted a FIG Voyage dress in pink and red stripes. 

That leaves two tops, but I already added the white shirt, so let's go with one. If I wanted to keep going with pink, I would include this floral sleeveless top--it's a bit dressy for everyday, but sometimes that's what you want.

Two more pairs of shoes: the VF plan suggests pink and gold sandals, but I'm going to go casual with red pull-on sneakers and dark blue lace-ups.

Another scarf: again, I'm trying to pick out something that might be worn in the summer. Instead of going for something small, though, the best option I have is this large but lightweight scarf that includes navy, pink and white (among other things). It could even work as a wrap with a sleeveless dress.

Another pair of earrings (or other jewelry): Although I love scarves, in summertime I'm more likely to dress things up with necklaces.

The VF plan doesn't add any other bags at this point, but I probably would.

Accent Pieces, Version Two

If I weren't trying to duplicate the VF pink and red theme, I could easily go with blues and greens. I have a green t-shirt dress, a couple of green tops, a purse with green sea turtles on it, and a set of Fierce Lynx bracelets in teal and white. You've seen all those things here before, but here's a photo.

Plus a scarf. (Flea market find last week.)
And all that's pretty much what I was going to wear this summer anyway--it's just a different way to think it through.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for a replacement t-shirt (shouldn't be hard), and a white cardigan or small jacket that could be worn with a dress. Otherwise, we're good to go!

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

Wednesday Hodgepodge: May's First Day

 From this Side of the Pond

1. Mayday! Mayday!...when was the last time (or a recent time) you literally or figuratively needed to call for help? Elaborate. 

Watching Question Period in Canadian Parliament yesterday.

2. May Day...when was the last time you danced? Do you have a lot of baskets? What's something you keep in a basket? What's your favorite purple flower? 

Baskets: yes, I think we have quite a few of them, mostly on the small side, mostly yardsaled and thrifted. Some are holding things like bread, pens, dishtowels, and a begonia; others are just sitting on their own.

The flower: that's easy, violets.

3. What's something you may do this month? 

I'm still figuring it out.

4. Do you like eggplant? Quick topic changes lol? If you said yes in answer to the eggplant question how do you like yours prepared? Of the following purple foods, which one is your favorite...plums, purple carrots, purple asparagus, eggplant, acai berries, blackberries, purple cauliflower, elderberries, purple potatoes, or passion fruit? 

I haven't eaten any of those things in forever, except for plums (last summer) and purple potatoes when they pop up in a bag from the Little Potato Co. (but I can't say they're really my favourite, I feel like I'm eating something dyed for April Fool's).

How about some purple grapes in the fall instead? 

5. The calendar turns on Hodgepodge Day...

"Then you have to remember to be thankful; but in May one simply can't help being thankful that they are alive, if for nothing else."-L.M. Montgomery

Tell us one thing you're thankful for today. 

A car that has got us places for seven years.

Artists who do those mysterious things with paint and pencils and stained glass and pottery.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens, the first book in a set of Dickens that my father-in-law gave us. I just finished. Next (alphabetically) would be David Copperfield, but I've already read that so I guess we move on to Dombey & Son.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

I'm reading about English/Canadian artist (and art teacher) Arthur Lismer. One funny thing about him was that he came from a very ordinary, conservative, straitlaced background, and even as a famous artist he had a very ordinary kind of family and work life. He was also on the spot for the 1917 Halifax explosion and recorded it in drawings, which is a reminder that sometimes God asks us to remember and learn from our stories of pain as well as the good times.

In her 1977 book A Border of Beauty: Arthur Lismer's Pen and Pencil, Marjorie Lismer Bridges remembered the experience of camping with her father:

"In about two hours, whenever he finished a sketch, Dad reappeared and made a camp fire. The meal varied according to our supplies--eggs, beans, bacon. Occasionally someone would give us a freshly caught fish, but my father was no fisherman. Even if we were having cold sandwiches he still made a fire and boiled water for coffee. It was not so much that he loved coffee, but that he enjoyed building a fire."

She also wrote:

“[My father’s] restless pencil was constantly in his hand. He never went anywhere without drawing material in his pocket. Whenever he sketched he usually had a group of people watching over his shoulder, but this never seemed to bother him, and he would carry on a conversation as he worked…[While waiting for meals] he spent the time drawing on menu cards, table napkins, placemats—anything that came to hand. To my mother’s horror, he would even draw on the plates, and then quickly wipe them off with a table napkin when she protested. In any ship or hotel dining room the drawings would be snatched up by the waiters and the diners. Some were even taken back to the chef in the kitchen. There must be Lismer drawings in every corner of the British Commonwealth and the U.S.A. Wherever he was, he illustrated the daily activities, or an item on the menu, or the group at the next table. He never seemed to stop drawing. If he was writing a report he doodled in the margins. If he was reading a paperback book he drew in the blank spaces. He also illustrated his personal letters and his crossword puzzle books…”

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hodgepodge with ModPodge

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What's a skill you think everyone should have? 

Everyone everywhere? That's pretty broad. I could say something basic like "reading," but there are people in places and circumstances where even that's an n/a.

Can I say that I think it would be a good thing if more people (not everyone) had better reading skills, and not just what Mortimer Adler called the basic "I'm literate" skill, but the levelling-up skills that allow us to catch not just the words but the ideas that are thrown at us in a text?

2. Do you have a special place or organizational system for gift wrapping? Do you still buy 'real' cards to send for birthdays, anniversaries, get-well, etc? 

Gift wrapping--I have one bin to collect ALL the used gift bags, tags, pieces of recycled tissue paper, etc., so that's "wrapping central." I don't buy new wrap very often, maybe for Christmas sometimes. I also don't buy buy individual cards very often because they're super-expensive. But I do make cards, or at least improve plainer ones that have come in a pack or from a thrift store. (Sometimes with Modpodge.)

Grab bag of bits and pieces. Somebody had started painting the wooden shapes and then quit.

I used the shapes, the tape, and the floral cutouts to "juice up" some otherwise blah cards for Easter.

3. It's National Banana Day...are you a fan? What's your favorite thing to make with bananas or, if you're not a cook, your favorite thing to eat that contains banana? 

Around here, probably banana bread. We keep finding it for half price at the supermarket, so it's hard to say no to that.

4. Do you believe in second chances? Elaborate. 

A second chance for...what, a career or something? Sure.

Maybe not so much for a hairstylist who shears you the wrong way.

5. What is your idea of fun? 

Realizing that the secondhand bookstore you're checking out also has a second floor.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

It's Fashion Revolution Week, that time when we ask "who made my clothes?" Or when we at least try to do some good for the fashionary planet. 

My contribution is creative thrifting. A couple of days ago I found this scarf for a couple of dollars, that was kind of calling my name.

I pulled out some (also thrifted) spring/summer clothes and had a floor-modelling session.

I love the way the scarf seems to work with everything else; that's when you know something was a good buy.

Linked from the Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Tossing the Wednesday Hodgepodge Salad

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What's a talent you wish you had? 

My husband's skill with electronics. Still Mr. Fixit after all these years.

I do know how to make chocolate chip cookies.

2. In one word, what's your state of mind right now? 

My mind this afternoon is a salad of 1830's U.S. history, decluttering the hall closet, Canadian politics, a writing project that's due soon, and the potato soup that's cooking in the slow cooker.

3. What's the next major purchase you need to make? Will it happen this month? This year? 

These days just getting a load of groceries qualifies as major.

4. Tuesday (April 2nd) was National PB and J Day...did you celebrate? Is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich something you eat weekly or more? What's your favorite kind of jelly? 

PBJ is more of a once in a while thing than weekly; no special kind of jelly required.

5. Are you easily intimidated? Who or what intimidates you?

Television remotes.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Easter candy from the Eurofoods store.

And a mostly-thrifted Easter outfit. I was not sure at first how these vintage stripes were going to work with my other clothes, but actually they fit in quite well.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Start With a Notebook (Spring/Summer Clothes)

 This floral notebook cover is called Blooming by Eliza Todd. I thought it was very cheerful and colourful, so I decided to use it as wardrobe inspiration for the coming months. The photograph makes it appear  bright blue, but the real-life book is closer to slate blue. Besides that, I see a lot of pink and pale blue in the design, plus white, soft green, and the odd bit of orange and brown.

I posed the book against a few favourite things.

A couple of scarves...

A bit of makeup...

A new pair of glasses. I thought I could see how this would work.

And here's the story...

It's Global Recycling Day, she reads online. She is curious enough to go and check out the website.

She doesn't consider herself a particularly political or protesting person, but she does understand "mend, repair and reuse in order to sustain the usefulness of the items around us for as long as possible." In planning her spring-into-summer wardrobe, she wants to use mostly the clothes she already has, but she's also not opposed to thrifting a few things to help them all hang together a little better. She might even buy a couple of brand-new things, with the intention of using them well and making them last as long as possible. 

What kind of weather does she need to plan for? Some years, where she lives, there's hardly any spring at all, and people seem to jump from coats and boots into shorts and sandals. This winter has been milder, though, and (barring an occasional tantrum) spring does seem to be staking out its turf already. She decides to start with a core of navy (or denim blue) and white clothes, in a range of cool-to-possibly-hot-weather types, and blossom out from there. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Wednesday Hodge-Pi-dge


From this Side of the Pond

1. Thursday is National Pi Day...are you good at math? What was the last thing you had to calculate? Did you use your head or technology? Last slice of pie you ate? 

I haven't had any pie for awhile, but I did make jam bars yesterday, so that's close. (And we had birthday cake on the weekend, so that has to count for something.)

Anybody shopping for groceries (or anything else) these days needs to be calculating: sizes change, prices change, ingredients change. Is it better to buy two packages of name-brand cookies so you get the discount, or another brand that gives you store points, or the generic brand that doesn't promise anything but cookies? Multiply that by...well, just keep multiplying. And dividing and adding and subtracting. 

2. What makes a house a home? 

Something you choose yourself, that makes you smile when you see it.

3. Your current favorite green thing? 

A green plant that came in a gift basket two years ago and has outlived all its basket-mates.

4. How do you define achievement? How does your personal definition look similar to, or different than, society's definition? What's something you think is worth achieving in life? 

Managing one particular thing well enough not only that you make it work for yourself, but that you are able to hand it on or down to others, to teach or inspire them to do the same for others in return.

Or, for some of us who have never figured out that one particular thing, squishing a few lesser-sized things together and doing the same.

5. What song is a good soundtrack for your life right now? 

This Good Day, by Fernando Ortega.

If rain clouds comeOr the cold winds blowYou're the one who goes before meAnd in my heart I know
That this good day, it is a gift from YouThe world is turning in its placeBecause You made it toI lift my voice to sing a song of praiseOn this good day.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

When I was younger, there were things I learned to do, things I took lessons for, things I thought I should do...and most of those things I haven't done in years. All the things the grownups tried to push me to be good at, I wasn't, very, or it just didn't work out. Sometimes I totally embarrassed myself by letting myself get pushed into doing those things that I wasn't, very. I could tell when I wasn't, very, because people would be too polite about it...or sometimes even not, which maybe wasn't as awful as the too polite way.

Now I do more of the things that I never had to prove that I could or couldn't do. Because they were the things I cared about in the first place.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Midway There

 From this Side of the Pond

1. February is coming to a close. Give us a two-word phrase that tells us something about how yours went.

No snow.

Until today.

And where we live, that's pretty unusual.

2. If you had to describe how you're feeling right now as an amusement park ride, what ride are you on? Explain. 

That's kind of hard, because you could be, for example, happily going around on a Ferris wheel, or you could be stuck at the top and feeling seasick.

Well, let's say that right now I'm walking around the midway, figuring out how to use up some tickets.

3. What's something on your desk or a nearby wall that cheers you up when you see it or walk past?

The artwork we've gradually added to the loft room where the computer lives. It's so nice to have enough walls for that! Two Group of Seven prints, two Mark Rothko prints, a poster of quilts from a museum in Lancaster County, and a folksy picture of a country store that we found at a thrift store and just liked. 

4.  Are you a salad eater? How many salads do you typically eat in a week? Your favorite kind of salad? 

No, we are not big on salads here, especially in the last few years as salad vegetables have become very expensive and often not very good either. Sometimes we buy a bagged salad on sale, the kind that has chopped kale or cabbage in it. We eat some of it that night, and turn the rest into a stir-fry.

5. Without telling us the category give us your top five ______________. 

Sun-dried tomatoes


Italian sausage

Black olives

Extra cheese

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

A thrifted dish for springtime thoughts. Except not so much for today, the blusteriest, wettest, coldest mess of a day I think we've had all month.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.