Wednesday, December 20, 2023

The O Christmas Tea Hodgepodge

 From this Side of the Pond

1. Did you do more talking or more listening yesterday? Was it by choice or by necessity? 

Oh, that's right--when I first saw this question, I thought "I should pay attention to this today!" but then I forgot. So I'm not sure; I think it came out about even.

2. Are you a tea drinker? Hot, cold, or both? Flavored? What do you like in your tea? Do you make Christmas tea this time of year? What time of day do you like to sip your tea? 

I have a small collection of teapots, and I will drink tea when it seems the polite thing to do, but I actually like coffee better. So, pretty much no to the rest of the questions.

3. What's an activity you won't try, an event you won't attend, or an athletic challenge you won't take part in not even for 'all the tea in China'

Anything involving the phrase "athletic challenge." 

4. What's something most people seem to love but is not 'your cup of tea'? 


5. How does your family celebrate New Year's Eve? 

When our kids were younger, we used to do theme parties with them. These days, my husband and I might watch an old movie, eat snacks, play a Christmas-gift card game, and somewhat ashamedly fall into bed sometime before 12.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

When we came into church the first week in December, we were each handed a broken piece of coloured glass (with a warning to be careful!). The message was that each of our lives resembles a fragment of a stained-glass window, made complete and brought together by God's hand. I kept forgetting to take that piece of glass out of my purse--but if you're expecting to hear that I cut myself and am going to carry the scar of that fragment on my hand forever, no, I did eventually give it a safe home on top of a vintage canning jar, where the light can be seen through both the clear glass lid and the almost-triangular green shard--which, I've noticed, is almost the shape of a Christmas tree. Maybe even the broken bits have meaning when we look close enough.

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

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Crank it Up for the Wednesday Hodgepodge

 From this Side of the Pond

1. What's one fun thing on your December calendar? 

Having a dessert party with our church group.

2. Sherwin William's Color of the Year for 2024 is Upward, described as 'a hint of silver lining', 'a breezy blissful blue' (see sample here). Benjamin Moore's Color of the Year for 2024 is Blue Nova, where 'violet and blue come together in a sumptuous hue'. (see sample here) Valspar's Color of the Year for 2024 is Renew Blue, a balanced blue with a touch of grayed sea -green' (see sample here)

Seems like the design world is keen on the color blue for the new year. Do you have a lot of blue in your home decor currently? What shade? Of the three colors listed which one's your favorite? Do you need to paint? How likely is it you'd select one of these shades for your home? Which one? 

Blue in my closet: yes, sure, fine.

Blue in our house? Hardly at all. As a GenXer, blue feels like too much of a throwback to the blue carpets etc etc etc of the 1980's. 

3. Do you struggle with 'the seasonal blues'? What are some things you do to try to beat the blues? 

Listen to some different kinds of music, or at least Christmas music in a different style. Right now I have a "Christmas Around the World" CD playing that has a lot of South American rhythms and steel drums.

Turn on the star light in our living room window.

4. Blue 'em or no? How many pair do you own? Are you married to a particular brand? 

I have two pairs, both thrifted. One pair are Levis, one are a brand nobody's ever heard of. 

5. In terms of holiday preparation (baking, shopping, wrapping, mailing, meal planning, etc) how far along are you? 1=haven't given it a second thought, 10=nothing left to do but wait. 

Managed to address all the Christmas cards today plus make chocolate banana bread for the dessert party, so I'm feeling pretty 10 just at the minute.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Instead of random thoughts, random shots?

New-to-me bookcase to hold art and poetry books

Advent wreath
Hand-crank coffee grinder we just bought
Euro-groceries for Christmas
Three-dollar box of iffy Christmas stuff from the thrift store
This is what was actually in the box
And these are the candle rings and candles on our dinner table, looking quite festive and not at all blue.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Time for a Wednesday Hodgepodge

 From this Side of the Pond

1. Does anybody really know what day it is? Last week we skipped the Hodgepodge and I just assumed this week would find us in December, but nope. Still November. Do you wear a watch? Use a paper calendar or strictly electronic? What's your favorite hour of the day? Why?

Those are a lot of questions! Yes, I have a wristwatch, and I wear it whenever I think about it, but not as often as I used to. I don't use a paper calendar on the wall anymore, but I do have a planner book (bullet-journal style, more or less). 
And sometimes it's sunny like sweet apple honey
I try to remember my name
Sometimes the sky is like blueberry pie
And my heart feels the same 'til
I just don't know what time it is... (song by Dennis Lee for Fraggle Rock episode "Wonder Mountain") 

2. Tell us something about how you celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday. 

Well, it wasn't Thanksgiving here, but it was a day to keep thanking anyway, no matter what, and there were a few no matter whats. I had ordered a boxful of this and that to go in Christmas stockings, and the delivery service finally admitted they'd lost it. I was waiting for another package as well (different company, this one was a winter dress for me), so that made me a bit antsy, wondering if it would come without problems or get lost as well. My husband had to go out of town for the afternoon, return time uncertain, so we agreed that whenever he did get back, we'd go to Swiss Chalet for chicken and fries.  While I was getting changed to go out (because it was a date with my husband after all), there was a big hard bang on the door, and it was a delivery person putting something into the mailbox by the door, and it was the dress. Yay! Then I got a text that had gotten delayed (Be there in half an hour) and another one at the same time (Be there in five minutes). So I quickly pulled off what I was wearing, put the new dress on and didn't even take the tags out of the back, pulled on my coat and grabbed my purse as my husband was pulling in the driveway. (You can believe I was really careful with the dipping sauce that night.)

3. What's a sound you hate to hear? 

Paper jamming in printers.

4. Where do you not mind waiting? 

At the library!

5. I really wish____________________________________. 

The sky was blueberry pie. Today it's more like snowball special.

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

Friday, November 24, 2023

Sun, Snow, and Something Purple (An Update to Hoppy Holidays)

"Snow Fantasy," by Lawren Harris (1917)

Christmas update: porcelain earrings made by a local artist.

On her adventures during the bunny holidays, Betty Bunny withstood the pressure to wear festive colours. But I'm not as grumpy as Betty, and sometimes I do want to mix some red or green into my pinks and blues and greys and purples. 

How to do that without looking like I got dressed in the dark?

To slide things even more into the non-traditional, I recently bought a purple bamboo-blend fleece dress from Duffield Design, and I want to get as much wear as I can from it over the winter.

Janice at The Vivienne Files has pointed out that, if you have a red sweater and a pink sweater, or tops in different shades of green, you're probably not going to be wearing them together anyway, so it's all fine. While there are things here that I won't be wearing at the same time (the burgundy skirt with the blue polka dot shirt), there are enough other ways to wear each of them to make this (mostly thrifted) December-January wardrobe work.

Let's start with Betty's 13-piece travel capsule. You can see more photos of these clothes in the earlier post.

Winter-white t-shirt, long sleeves

Lavender mock neck top

Chambray shirt, blue with white polka dots   

Blue and white striped shirt

Dark blue merino wool cardigan 

Purple/pink pullover              

Navy turtleneck pullover           

Dark grey pull-on pants  

Navy "office pants"      

Boot-cut blue jeans

Navy ultrasuede skirt (upcycled)       

Grey Revolve dress [Switching this to the purple fleece dress]

French-grey wrap dress

If I were Betty, after hopping home from my travels, and seeing snow clouds overhead, I'd add in a few warm, casual pieces of clothing, including those corduroy pants that wouldn't fit in the suitcase. The travel wardrobe was a little short on t-shirts, so I'm including a couple of those along with a warm sweater.

Light grey corduroy pants 

Navy Henley top, long sleeves. I wouldn't likely wear it with a skirt, but it would work with any of the pants.

Grey-blue ribbed cotton t-shirt, long sleeves. Ditto.

Grey zip-up hoodie (not shown)

Grey heavier pullover with kangaroo pockets. For those days when everywhere seems cold.

I'd also want to make the most of the purple and pink pullover by adding this pink sweater underneath it.

Other useful things:

Blue tank, dress length

Burgundy tank top

Burgundy pleated midi skirt   

The wrap dress can be tucked into a skirt to look like a blouse.

The burgundy skirt also works with this dark red silk-cotton cardiganSo, there's my dressy-red outfit, for whatever festivities might require it.

Finally, I have a not-as-dressy red leather vest that generally comes out around Christmas time. I'd consider wearing it with navy or winter-white tops, the chambray shirt, or possibly on top of the grey pullover; so that's probably enough to keep it in business.

Total clothing items: 25 (including the new dress)


Outfits, Casual and Otherwise

Happy Holidays!

Last updated November 24, 2023
(A technical apology for the colour of some of these photos--it's snowing today, and the light isn't great even near the window. Somewhat appropriate for the theme, I guess.)

Saturday, November 04, 2023

Hoppy Holidays (A Clothes Post with Rabbits)

The holidays are coming. Can you tell how excited Betty Bunny is? 

She makes a large pot of tea and contemplates the next few weeks.

Her bunny family is rather scattered, so she will be making a roundabout trip to see them all.

Here is her travel outfit: navy pants, a striped shirt, and her brightest pullover sweater.

What's in her suitcase? She's going for a Whatever's Clean Thirteen, so she decides to limit it to ten pieces of clothing.

A dark blue cardigan that goes with the shirt and pants.

A turtleneck top that goes with everything else.

An extra shirt and a pair of jeans

A winter-white t-shirt. She considers adding a pair of light-grey cords. Will they go with enough of the dark blue/navy things? Well, maybe not with everything, but they are pretty useful, so she decides yes for now. If her suitcase won't close, she'll leave them behind.

She adds a navy turtleneck sweater, plus a skirt that goes well with it.

She thinks hard about the last two spots in her bag. She doesn't really want another sweater. 
She does like this striped t-shirt, but she has a feeling she might need something a little dressier for adult-bunny festivities. In a flash of inspiration, she decides to pack her blue-grey wrap dress, which can be worn open like a cardigan or  tied closed on its own. And also her darker grey Revolve dress, which was made to be worn as a top or a tunic as well. And since she's feeling so buoyantly bunny brilliant, she treats herself to an extra piece of clothing that won't take up too much room: charcoal-grey knit pants that can make an outfit with the Revolve dress.
She also doesn't skimp on accessories. Some bunnies might be expecting her to wear holiday colours, like lettuce green and carrot orange. She's having none of that, but she can be festive in her own somewhat snarky Betty Bunny way.

So Betty sets off on the BunnyTrak train, with her bag of clothes and shoes and scarves, and gifts for the multitudinous cotton-tailed relatives.

Her first stop is to see Cousin Rosa and her little boy Bongo. She is rather glad that she will be staying there only one night, as they are a little noisy.

The next day she arrives at the home of Cousin Tom, who is very busy this time of year nailing up wreaths on burrow doors.
In fact, he has an emergency callout while she is there. 
"You won't mind staying here with the twins, will you?" 
"No, not at all."
"They'll probably just nap all afternoon."

More like twenty minutes. 
Betty is glad she brought along an outfit that can survive paint, juice, peanut butter, and ketchup.

But she Is happy to change into something else when some other relatives drop in after dinner.

Betty's next stop is the town of Hooten Holler, where she plans to attend the annual holiday concert. 

Two of her nieces, Clara and Maud, are performing a duet.

After the concert, her friend Lucy Pocket invites her to stop by for carrot cider and cinnabunny rolls. Unfortunately, young Maud has had a bit too much cider and insists on doing several more encores.

But she eventually calms down.

The next morning, Betty and Lucy go out for brunch with a couple of other old friends.

Betty then catches a Bunny Airways flight to visit her brother Robert, whose passions are table tennis, model rocketry, and cave hiking. 
When Betty visits Robert, she dresses for adventure.

Betty's final stop is Granny Babbit's burrow, where a great number of bunnies, old and young, are gathering for the annual Run-From-the-Fox-Night Fireworks Party and Swap Hop. 

There are so many relatives there that she ends up sharing a bed with a couple of the young cousins, who have trouble getting to sleep because of all the excitement. She has to sing them some lullabunnies.

The next morning she pulls on whatever-is-still-clean and hops home. 

She did bring back some interesting things from the white-elephant gift swap.

But now she has to write a bazillion thank-you notes.
She's not coming out again until spring.

NOTE: Most of the rabbits are vintage Pendelfin, and their names are as given by the makers. "Betty" is actually "Boswell," maybe because of the writing desk, but I think she's more of a "Betty."

The travel wardrobe ideas are adapted from this post and this one on The Vivienne Files.